House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was life.

Topics

Financial Institutions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the finance committee so recommends, I will certainly consider it. I should also point out that anything to do with competition is a matter that needs to be addressed by the Commissioner of Competition.

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, time and time again the government has dropped the ball on securing our social insurance number network and system. HRDC has admitted that a $2.3 million student loan and tax scam involving 68 fraudulent social insurance numbers could potentially be linked to terrorism.

The Auditor General warned us last fall about the existence of five million extra social insurance numbers on cards floating around in Canada. That door is wide open to further abuse.

The department is completely unwieldy and the minister has zero control over it. Why is she jeopardizing our security by allowing identity theft of SIN cards?

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member of what the department is doing to secure the integrity of the social insurance number.

First and foremost, since 1998 we have had an integrity improvement program in place. We have more than tripled the number of investigations that are undertaken. In the year 2000, the Auditor General recognized this integrity program and saluted the department for it.

More recently, the Auditor General has asked us to increase the pace of that implementation. We are doing that, and I have made clear in the House three new additional requirements associated with the integrity of social insurance numbers.

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have gone from a six point plan down to a new three point plan and it does not seem to be a terrific success. This system has been abused and the minister cannot reassure Canadians, regardless of what she has attempted, that their identity systems are in fact secure.

Even after two years of departmental investigation into the student loan and tax fraud, the minister has done precious little to improve that security. Her department itself admits that there are loopholes in government programs which allow such fraud and identity theft to continue.

When will she stop talking and start plugging these holes?

Social Insurance Numbers
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is just plain wrong. As I said, since 1998 we have been working to increase and improve the integrity of the social insurance system.

I have announced, and it is very clearly understood, the three new regulatory measures that have and will additionally add to the integrity of that system, but one thing is clear, whenever the department receives information about fraudulent use of the social insurance number we investigate. We work with the appropriate authorities and we prosecute those who are proven to be responsible.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, since 1999 Canada has been holding ministerial consultations with Mexico regarding a complaint received in 1998 under the labour side agreement to NAFTA. The complaint, known as CAN 98-1, argued that workers in Mexico were not guaranteed the right of secret ballot votes during union drives.

I would ask the minister to inform the House of the outcome of these discussions.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that following several face to face meetings, my Mexican counterpart and I have concluded our consultations on this issue.

The Mexican government recently submitted a labour reform bill to Congress which will include mandatory secret ballots during union representation elections.

I would like to congratulate the staff of the labour program and our Canadian unions, both of which have worked very hard on this difficult file.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister about a grave threat to Canada's public health care system.

Today we learned that Don Mazankowski, who was the privatization minister under Brian Mulroney and the director of several private insurance companies, may chair the proposed Canada health care council. Does the government not understand that the appointment of Don Mazankowski, who is king of the privatizers, would be another step on the road to the dismantling of Canada's public medicare system?

Why will the government not stand up to the privatizing provinces and join with Lorne Calvert and Gary Doer in saying no to this outrageous appointment?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am stunned that he would raise this, because I know that the former deputy prime minister holds the member in such high regard.

The first ministers are still meeting. We are not at the point of determining today who is on or who is chairing such a council.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

February 5th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Last summer British Columbia fishermen in coastal communities lost over $240 million of economic opportunity to capture the millions of fish that came back up the rivers. The reason was that regional DFO managers were not allowed to make decisions that would greatly affect and help these people.

My question to the minister is this. Will he now allow regional DFO managers to make decisions that will benefit west coast commercial fishermen and aboriginal groups?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Nova
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, last year was one of the most successful seasons we have had on that coast in a long time. It perhaps could have been better. I am concerned with the fact that maybe we were unable to make decisions as fast as we could have. I met with all the groups that the member mentioned. I asked for a post-season review to be conducted. All those groups got together and are putting together recommendations that should be presented to me this year.

That being said, I should also say that the management of those stocks on the west coast is very difficult because there are some low abundant stocks that are mixed with high abundant stocks. Last year there was a great return for the high abundant stocks and, for the first year in many, a low pre-spawn mortality, which is a good harbour for the future.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Media reports published this morning suggest that in the event of a war against Iraq the Canadian government would send our troops to Afghanistan to relieve American soldiers. Only eight months ago we were unable to sustain a deployment of 750 ground troops for more than a single rotation.

Is this actually the government's plan? If so, where does the minister expect to find the manpower resources to replace our American allies?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly true that when the 800 soldiers returned from Afghanistan last summer we held open the possibility that they might return there at some point in the future. Our commitment to the war on terrorism has never been in doubt, so the military, as militaries do, is making contingency plans in terms of various possibilities in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the world. That is normal, but no decision has been made.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, even though the Minister for International Trade for months and months has said he would never adopt an export tax solution to the softwood lumber issue, this morning we received a copy of his own working papers that he is using in Washington. Line 1 states:

When the agreement comes into force Canada will collect an...export tax on softwood lumber exported to the United States.

If the government is finally adopting an export tax solution, why did it wait for thousands of B.C. jobs to be lost? Why did the government send over $1 billion to the United States that could have been kept here for health care? Why is there no recognition of the unique circumstances of the independent lumber remanufacturers?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey
Ontario

Liberal

Murray Calder Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, if the member had really read that article he would have found that the minister said first that they were going to work with a long term solution, and if they needed a bridging mechanism like an export tax that is what they would be using.