House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was religious.

Topics

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be an unholy rush on the part of the government and the official opposition to get out of here, even if it means getting out of here before these issues are dealt with.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will he commit that there will be solutions to these problems before he hits the golf course? Will he step up to the tee and hit one down the fairway for the victims of SARS and mad cow disease?

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, his is getting very ridiculous. I am doing my best.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has been complimented by his counterparts in the west. The people involved in the industry know that we have shown concern. I have raised the problem myself with the President of the United States. I was on the phone yesterday. There were some ministers looking at solutions.

I know that NDP members will never form a government, so they do not know how we must work to make proper solutions that will be lasting.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

June 11th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the beef industry is being held hostage and denied immediate financial compensation in an attempt to force the provinces to sign on to the agriculture policy framework. As of today eight provinces have not signed on to the APF.

I find it incredible that the government would use the beef industry and abuse it in this way.

My question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Why is the government blackmailing the provinces into signing the agriculture policy framework?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we are not blackmailing anyone into doing anything. As of the end of December last year, the old program, the Canadian farm income protection program, which the opposition did not like and others did not like, ceased to exist.

We worked with the provinces and the industry, and we have developed a new program that is more effective and goes deeper into disaster situations than the old program did. That is there for the farmers to participate in. I am sure they want to do that.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association has stated at the agriculture committee that the agriculture policy framework would not handle a catastrophe, such as BSE where the border has been closed to the United States.

All other major farm groups, including the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, have said the same thing.

Why is the government not willing to provide immediate compensation to our feedlot industry that needs the cash today?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has already said that we are having those discussions with the industry and with the provinces. I will discuss those and the ideas and ways in which we can do that with ministers again on Friday.

We very clearly understand the seriousness of this. We also understand the importance of scientists working initially to help us get the border open. A combination of all that is what is needed. Those are the efforts we are putting forward.

Amateur Sport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, in June 1999, I personally filed a complaint to speak out against the treatment of French-speaking amateur athletes. Again today, the Commissioner of Official Languages is harsh in her condemnation of the excessive slowness and the lack of a consistent approach in implementing the recommendations she made in 2000.

How can the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport claim that he is doing his job when the commissioner is saying today that Sport Canada is still a long way from reaching the podium and that, ultimately, English is the language spoken when it comes to sports in Canada?

Amateur Sport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Simcoe North
Ontario

Liberal

Paul Devillers Secretary of State (Amateur Sport) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, in answer to the hon. member's question about the fact that this report is very negative, I want to quote the report's conclusion:

Efforts made by SportCanada and other sport organizations demonstrate their commitment toincorporate linguistic duality within the Canadian sport system.

Given this conclusion, I believe that it is not as negative as the hon. member is suggesting.

Amateur Sport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport can say what he likes, but one thing is clear: in amateur sport in Canada, francophones are being treated like second-class citizens. The commissioner confirms this, and the athletes are tired of it.

What is he going to do to rectify this immediately?

Amateur Sport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Simcoe North
Ontario

Liberal

Paul Devillers Secretary of State (Amateur Sport) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there has been enormous progress since the commissioner tabled her report in 2000. This progress notwithstanding, the Government of Canada remains committed to working with the commissioner.

However, I want to point out that 33% of the Canadian Olympic team in Salt Lake City were French-speaking athletes from Quebec. This proves that francophone athletes can hold their own in our sports system.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the plan of the industry and now the plan of the premiers for BSE compensation was delivered to the Prime Minister on June 9.

Premier Campbell was not overstating the BSE economic crisis when he said, “If something is not done immediately, the feedlot industry as we know it will disappear”.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House why he has not agreed to compensation in view of the fact that the APF cannot provide immediate help?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, there is no reason why the business risk management portion of the new program cannot provide immediate help. That is indeed very possible.

As well I have said that we are looking into the possibility of interest free loans to help the industry's cash flows in this crisis. Along with that, we are working very diligently and the sectors are too to get the border open, which is even more important than all of the other. However, we need all of it.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Alberta minister of agriculture, who has signed on to the APF, has stated that any BSE compensation package has to be a compliment to NISA and that NISA alone will not address this crisis.

Why is the government refusing to offer immediate assistance to feedlot operators who are going broke?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct. NISA alone will not do it but the new program, which is a combination of the old NISA program and the disaster program, will do it. I had those discussions with the minister yesterday on a conference call, and she gave very strong indications that was one of the directions we needed to consider.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec claims that giving loan guarantees to the companies hit by the softwood lumber crisis could trigger reactions from the Americans, thus implying that this would be contrary to the provisions of NAFTA and the WTO. Nothing could be further from the truth. Canada Economic Development already offers loan guarantees to exporters and this is wholly in compliance with WTO rules.

Can the Minister for International Trade inform his colleague responsible for Canada Economic Development once and for all that loan guarantees are perfectly acceptable, and tell him at the same time to stop talking nonsense?