House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was referendum.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

February 17th, 2003 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, last year the government had to pull back our soldiers from a mission to Afghanistan because we could not even sustain a commitment of 800-plus troops for six months. Now in order for the Prime Minister to avoid a pretty sticky international pickle, it has promised a new Canadian commitment to Afghanistan requiring a rumoured 1,000-plus troops for a full year.

My math may not be the greatest but I would like the government to figure this out. If we could not sustain 800-plus troops for half a year, how in the world can we sustain 1,000-plus troops for a full year?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, when we withdrew our soldiers from Afghanistan we still had, and we still have, air and naval forces there. We also said at the time that we may return to Afghanistan at some future date, which is precisely what we announced this week.

As I said earlier in answer to a question from the hon. member's colleague, this was a military plan. I had discussed it with the military for a matter of weeks. It came from the military. It is clear we are able to sustain this mission. The military said it was feasible, the government announced it and it will be done.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to assume that key military planners were in on planning and obviously let us hope that the minister would do that, but who has any idea whether they were actually in on any decision? The chief of the land staff apparently was advised of the decision only five minutes before it was released to the press. This is ludicrous. We know that members of our military are nervous. They do a tremendous job, but they are certainly wondering who is minding the store.

Regardless of whether the military was actually in on the planning, why does the government think that it can have surprise announcements like this when the Auditor General has said so many times that Parliament is kept in the dark. Obviously not--

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why I have to answer the same question so many different times. The fact is that the military plan was devised weeks ago.

The other point that everybody in the army understands but perhaps the hon. member does not, is that ultimately in a democracy it is not the army that decides where the army will go. It is the democratically elected government acting on the military advice of the military that makes that decision, and that is precisely what we did.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry refuses to order an investigation into the increase in gasoline prices.

Because of his inaction, the Bloc Quebecois has decided to use the parliamentary means at its disposal. Therefore, I have presented a motion to compel the oil and gas companies to appear before the Standing Committee on Industry.

Will the government tell its committee members to support the Bloc in voting in favour of a resolution to compel the oil and gas companies to testify about their actions with regard to the huge spike in gasoline prices?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that the committee has decided to investigate this important matter. But the reality is that the hon. member's complaint relates to retail gasoline prices in the provinces.

As I indicated last week, the provinces have jurisdiction over regulating these prices. So, investigate in the committees, but stay out of the provinces' jurisdiction.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, as far as I can tell, the Minister of Industry is still refusing to order an investigation into the collusion among oil and gas companies, I repeat, the collusion among oil and gas companies. People have the right to know if the government intends to support the Bloc Quebecois' initiatice.

Will government members on the committee be told to compel the oil and gas companies to appear before the committee and explain their actions, yes or no?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Competition Bureau has investigated the actions of the oil and gas companies on several occasions in the past. If the hon. member has testimony that should be considered, he should let me know.

In reality, the problem of retail prices raised by the member is a provincial responsibility. The provinces are responsible for regulating prices. That is why I suggest that the hon. member speak with representatives of the Province of Quebec.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, an audit of Transport Canada found that up to 5,000 confidential documents related to air security and national security were posted on an open database. Now the Liberal government is asking for more information for its insecure database, such as passport numbers, credit card information and other sensitive data.

Why should the public trust the Liberal government with their personal data when it already has shown its total incompetence in securing it?

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct in terms of the information that was inappropriately put on the website. An internal audit of Transport Canada caught the error and we have been assured that no security damage was done. I think the hon. member should be congratulating the department for actually catching an error and making a remedial action.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was on the Internet. It used to be that passengers only had to worry about losing their bags. Now they have to worry about losing their identities.

The computer database was leaking like a sieve for a long time before the minister and his transport department finally fixed it. Now they are still asking for more information to put into the database.

If the transport minister really wants to take action, what he could do is offer amendments to his Bill C-17, which asks for all kinds of information to be put into an insecure database, and make sure that the database is secure before asking Canadians to trust the government with their most personal information when it has shown complete incompetence in terms of securing it.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is, inadvertently I am sure, misleading the House in mixing up the issue of the inappropriate information on the website from Transport Canada and Bill C-17.

Appropriate safeguards for personal information have been incorporated into Bill C-17. If the hon. member is still dissatisfied, he has the opportunity at committee to try to convince us to put forward amendments.

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the Prime Minister's request, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has been preparing an action plan to renew official languages in Canada for some time now. This has included consultations with official language communities, members of the House of Commons, senators, ministers, and the provinces, and I commend him on his work. However, we want to see this plan. He has said he would reveal the content of it after the budget is brought down.

Since this is the day before the budget, can the minister tell us if he has set a date for releasing his action plan?

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in her last annual report the Commissioner of Official Languages said that she was pleased with the government's increased investment in the two official languages of our country during the last year. However she correctly pointed out that the government must now take the forum of a strong action plan.

I am able to announce that the action plan for the renewal of Canada's official languages will be released in the national capital on March 12, by the Right Hon. Prime Minister of Canada.