House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Health
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is still no accountability in the latest health accord and public funds continue to pay for the privatization of health care. Indeed, on page 37 of this year's income tax guide, expenses can now be claimed for staying in a licensed private hospital.

Will the acting prime minister explain why, instead of dedicating all of the $1.5 billion on diagnostic equipment like CAT scans and MRIs, federal taxpayers will almost certainly end up buying more icemakers, floor scrubbers, delivery trucks, sewing machines and lawnmowers for certain provinces?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.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 the last agreement with the provinces, it was agreed that we would have rules of accountability that would be much stronger than in the past. We are very confident that at the end of the day the great announcement that we have equipment will be good for all Canadians.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Solicitor General confirmed that the RCMP had conducted an investigation which related to the treason charges against the leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe. These charges could result in the death penalty. The Solicitor General also confirmed that the information had been given to the Department of Foreign Affairs, but he did not confirm that this crucial information had been sent to Zimbabwe.

Will the Solicitor General commit to send this information to the defence counsel in Zimbabwe like he would if this trial was in Canada?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know, and I checked with the department this morning, that these materials were given to our department some time this month. On February 20 they were forwarded to our high commission in Zimbabwe for transfer to the defence counsel for the accused. We have provided to the accused all information which we can possibly do under Canadian law. We have forwarded it to them.

We certainly sympathize with the prosecution. We do not agree with that prosecution and will do everything we can to help the defence of the leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe.

Drugs and Pharmaceuticals
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, recent news reports reveal that the tax evasion office of Revenue Quebec is preparing to launch an investigation into an alleged discount scheme involving generic drug companies and the province's pharmacists. Those same reports reveal that such practices, which may well be keeping drug prices unnecessarily high, might be going on across Canada.

Will the Minister of National Revenue tell the House whether her department is aware of the issue and is she contemplating following Quebec's lead and launching her own investigation?

Drugs and Pharmaceuticals
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, while I cannot comment on individual cases, I can tell the member that we work very closely with the provinces and that whenever evidence is brought forward of non-compliance or inappropriate activity, action is taken.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

February 28th, 2003 / 11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue has said that the total of GST fraud which had been identified was $60 million. Let us see if that is correct. She said that $25 million had been lost to previous cases and about $75 million was currently before the courts. That seems to equal $100 million. Clearly she does not know what the real amount is or she is afraid to tell Canadians how much has been stolen.

When will the minister end her creative accounting practices and give an accurate report to Parliament and Canadians?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the member opposite that everything that I have said in the House has been completely accurate. I look forward to appearing at committee toward the end of March so that I can explain more fully, in a way that perhaps he will understand, the situation which has existed since the Conservative Party brought in the GST.

We have received in revenues over $500 billion. As I told him, confirmed by the courts to this point in time there have been $60 million attributed to fraud.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have been down this path before. For years, ministers of the government withheld the true cost of the firearms registry from Parliament.

The Minister of National Revenue seems to agree that what Canadians do not know cannot harm the Liberals. Before the minister appears before the public accounts committee, will she reveal the true cost of the GST fraud to Parliament?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, let me be really clear. I said to the members opposite that it is fraud when the courts say it is fraud. That is the number that I provided for the House. I went all the way back to 1991. I say to them, prove some evidence, bring forward some evidence to suggest it is a billion dollar number. There is nothing to suggest that is correct.

There has been $550 billion collected and to this point in time the courts have determined that the total GST fraud in Canada, which I agree is a lot of money, is $60 million.

Oil and Gas Prices
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, every time we raise the issue of the cost of heating oil, the Minister of Industry tells us that he cannot intervene because he needs to respect provincial areas of jurisdiction.

Can he explain to us how this situation is any different than in October 2000, when the government did intervene, announcing that it was sending out cheques to everybody? Is the difference that oil cost 10¢ less a litre at that time, or did an impending election have something to do with it?

Oil and Gas Prices
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora
Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the tax cut that Canadians received was a $100 billion worth, the largest tax cut in Canadian history. It has brought about tax relief to the average family of approximately 27%.

It might not be good news for the opposition but it is certainly good news for the people of Canada.

Oil and Gas Prices
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of making ironic comments, I think the minister needs to face up to his responsibilities and demand an investigation by the Competition Bureau. Otherwise we will be forced to conclude that the minister is thumbing his nose at the public. Will the minister tell us which it is?

Oil and Gas Prices
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, 18 months ago, the Competition Bureau carried out a thorough investigation. It concluded that there is no collusion between the oil and gas companies. In the weeks to come, the Standing Committee on Industry will be looking into this as well. In the meantime, if the hon. member wants to see retail price control, that is up to the provinces.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, with war looming, the smallpox threat has never been greater and that is why the United States is aggressively proceeding with its vaccination programs.

Reports have it that our government has not yet ordered or made a deal for the 10 million new doses. I have a very simple question. When will the deal be signed and when will the first order be filled?