House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was protect.

Topics

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there is a question of good faith here. The hon. member should recognize that the policy of gun control is a good and valid policy that works in this country and elsewhere. Gun control exists in other countries in the world.

In terms of licences, about two million people have a licence. In terms of registered firearms, we now have close to six million registered firearms. Of course there are problems with the management. I have already said that we will table the two reports, one from KPMG and the other from Mr. Hession, this afternoon. We will move quickly to make sure we have a good tool for public safety.

Seal Hunt
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans just announced that the seal hunt quota will allow for a significant number of seals to be caught, a decision that we have been awaiting for a long time now.

Does the minister plan on distributing this 350,000 annual seal quota fairly across the eastern regions of Canada?

Seal Hunt
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to advise members that we will be using a management regime, like last year. We will be flexible, depending on the weather and market conditions, to ensure that everyone in the Atlantic region who wants to participate will be able to benefit from this economic opportunity.

Seal Hunt
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, because of its geographic location, it is difficult for the people of the Lower North Shore to access a sufficient share of the quota. Will the minister agree to setting aside 10% for the exclusive use of the Lower North Shore?

Seal Hunt
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the member's question involves details, and I am unable to respond in terms of exact percentages. I can assure the member that there will be a fair distribution and we will use flexible management criteria to ensure that everyone benefits from the opportunity.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has been warned on numerous occasions of major GST fraud.

The first warning came from foreign tax specialists at a 1994 conference on the subject, and the Auditor General reiterated this more recently in 1999. We have learned that the government's refusal to heed these warnings is costing the taxpayers $1 billion yearly.

Why has the government ignored all these warnings?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite keeps repeating a number that is clearly false and which has no foundation.

I have given him the facts. Last year the courts determined that $25 million was lost to GST fraud. I am pleased to tell him today that last year we actually recouped $850 million because of the expertise of our auditors who go after those who do not properly pay their GST.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, that clearly is still not attributable to just GST. That is the fraud in general. She has used those figures before.

The government's refusal to heed the warnings has made it complicit in the crimes of those who are bilking Canadians of billions of dollars in GST rebates. In fact, it took the parliamentary secretary on Friday to confirm that the government has known all along that drug dealers, gun dealers and organized crime have been abusing the system.

Why did the minister do nothing to stop this? Do we have to wait for her parliamentary secretary before we get a straight answer again?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we do not currently have any GST cases in court that involve traditional organized crime. We do have a special enforcement unit, comprised of some 175 investigators, assigned specifically to organized criminal activity, all kinds of fraud.

I have been clear in the past but let me say once again that if we identify fraud we do not discriminate, we prosecute. We are doing our job.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow and Wednesday the Prime Minister and the premiers will meet in what could become an historical conference on the future of our health care. Canadians will hear their leaders talk about values and proper access to quality health care. I wish to raise an issue that has received far too little attention.

How does the Minister of Health plan to ensure that the anglophone minority in Quebec and the francophone minority in the other provinces and the territories will receive the same access to quality health care as other Canadians?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important question.

Let me reassure everyone that the Government of Canada is committed to working with our partners in linguistic minority communities to improve access to health care services. We have been consulting with francophone and anglophone communities on measures to address their health care needs. I want to thank everyone who has participated in those consultations.

We have reallocated within our department funding from the primary health care transition fund to improve primary health care services and delivery to minority language communities. Also, I am working very closely with my colleague, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, on an action plan for official languages to fulfill our government's--

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Elk Island.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

February 3rd, 2003 / 2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1970 about 3.5% of our economy was underground. Now it is 16%. This costs Canadians about $44 billion per year in lost revenue. High income taxes, punitive payroll taxes, EI premiums, CPP premiums, GST, excessive regulations and the high costs of filing all of those reports has driven too many businesses underground.

What steps are being taken to ensure that honest taxpayers will not be stuck with the tab for this?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency takes the concern about the underground economy very seriously, notwithstanding the fact that some of my colleagues joke that Canada is the mining capital of the world and that underground activities are very important to our economy.

We do, however, in all seriousness, have working groups with interested parties that are conducting pilot projects in areas of the economy of particular concern because our goal is to see that everyone pays their fair share of taxes in the country.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that honest, law-abiding citizens are picking up the tab for others who are breaking the law: $44 billion per year, the same amount as we spend on interest on our debt.

I ask again, what specific measures will the minister and the government take to stop this fraud?