House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fish.

Topics

Crown Corporations
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister said, integrity and public trust are the foundation of democratic government. More than ever Canadians are demanding transparency, openness and accountability from all governments.

I would like to ask the Minister for International Trade, what steps he is taking to ensure that the important crown corporations under his authority are truly accountable to the Canadian public?

Crown Corporations
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for London—Fanshawe for his question. It gives me the opportunity to congratulate EDC on winning the Auditor General's award for excellence in annual reporting. This is the fifth time since the award was launched in 1994 that EDC has won the Auditor General's excellence award.

I also want to commend EDC on its corporate disclosure policy addressing transparency and accountability which reflects the government's policy on the openness of trade.

Transportation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport has stated on numerous occasions that the air security tax is justified because those who use air travel must pay all the costs associated with it.

That being the case, how does the minister justify providing almost $3 billion to VIA Rail since 1993 to subsidize those who choose to travel by rail?

Transportation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we believe in the passenger rail system. Nowhere in the world does passenger rail make money. It is subsidized because it is needed. It is needed to bring Canadians together and to relieve congestion. I hope the hon. member continues his attacks because it only highlights the fact that the government is totally committed to passenger rail.

Transportation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been bragging about his government's success in privatizing and commercializing a large part of the national transportation system. Recently, he admitted that 40 companies had responded to his previous solicitation of interest in running VIA Rail and that something could have been done.

Why then did the minister not pursue this alternative instead of continuing the $.5 million a day in operating subsidies and providing an additional $400 million in capital funding?

Transportation
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is true that many companies were interested in operating between Montreal and Toronto, but they were not interested in operating between Winnipeg and Churchill. They were not interested in operating between Montreal and Senneterre and serving Atlantic Canada. Only a crown corporation subsidized by the people of Canada will look after the interests of all Canadians.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport has described the new British tax to reduce traffic in downtown London as extraordinary and seems tempted by the idea.

Rather than thinking about taxing the taxpayers yet again, would it not be better if the minister refunded the special gas tax of 1.5 cents per litre for the deficit, and used the 10 cents per litre excise tax for road development, as is done in Quebec where the majority of fuel tax revenues are being reinvested in the ground transportation system?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora
Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, this issue of taxation keeps coming up and I do not understand. This is one of the great strengths of the government. We have reduced taxes by $100 billion. The average family is now saving 27% and the tax burden has really gone down.

Latin America
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the Secretary of State for Latin America, Africa and the Francophonie tell us what the Canadian government's reaction is to the anti-guerilla struggle and tensions between Colombia and Venezuela?

Latin America
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi
Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa) (Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, the President of Colombia, Mr. Uribe, is trying to make the revolutionary forces in Colombia see reason. The forces are currently holding 3,000 hostages in the jungle, including Ingrid Betancourt.

We support the efforts of the Organization of American States regarding peace in the region. We ask the international community, and more particularly the neighbouring countries, to give support and to provide solidarity so that violence will be alleviated in Colombia and in the whole region.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, western Canadians are at a loss to explain the environment minister's decision to close critical weather stations. The minister wants to close pivotal weather stations putting all our citizens and our agricultural industry at risk.

Why is he now asking Agriculture Canada to fund these critical weather stations and not his own department?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the objective of Environment Canada's meteorological services is to provide the very best weather forecast that we can for Canadians everywhere.

This does not mean continuing with old technology and continuing with organization of our personnel and managers which are related to old technology. It means taking into account new technology, such as computers, satellites and Doppler radar. If those three things are not understood by the hon. member, I will explain to her what a computer is, what a satellite is, and what Doppler radar is.

A message from Her Excellency the Governor General transmitting Supplementary Estimates (B) of sums required for the public service of Canada in the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2003, was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House.

A message from Her Excellency the Governor General transmitting Estimates of the sums required for the service of Canada for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2004, was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my point of order arises out of question period.

Members will recall that I asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to share with the House the proposed resolution that the Canadian government will put before the UN Security Council as a possible option to the two resolutions that are now before the Security Council. I was told by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in question period that there was no such resolution. I forget exactly what he said, but it was to the effect that it was a non-paper.

We have here a press report which says that the Canadian proposal is being circulated at the UN. There is obviously a proposal that is being circulated at the UN and I ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to table that proposal in the House of Commons so that members of Parliament can at least see what members of the UN Security Council--

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member is an experienced member. He knows that some proposals that circulate are purely oral. We cannot conclude that because the newspaper report says a certain thing that therefore there must be a document or a writing.

The hon. member I know has an interest in the subject. He can pursue the matter in question period tomorrow. I strongly suspect that the Minister of Foreign Affairs may even be putting in an appearance some time soon before the foreign affairs committee, for all I know. Again the matter could be pursued there.

I do not think it is a point of order. It sounds like a supplementary question to me. With great respect, I think he ought to raise it at another time and place.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it says the Canadian idea was circulated around the UN Tuesday receiving a mixed response. I do not know what oral circulation is all about, but I know what is generally meant when people say that a proposal was circulated. It generally means there was something written that people could read and we want to read it.