House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.

Topics

Emergency Assistance
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask today about the SARS crisis in Toronto and how the federal government plans to deal with that.

There are reports today that the federal government is reneging on a commitment that has been made by the federal government, through the Minister of National Defence, to help Toronto with emergency relief assistance.

The Ontario government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this emergency, mainly through spending emergency funds on the health care system. It has written to the government. It is expecting matching funds through disaster relief.

Could the government confirm that this commitment will be honoured?

Emergency Assistance
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, certainly the hon. Leader of the Opposition has correctly identified the close cooperation between the federal and Ontario governments in handling the SARS crisis. I would like on behalf of the House to thank the health care professionals who did such an outstanding job in dealing with the crisis.

We will be discussing the issue of emergency compensation with the Ontario government as he has indicated as we proceed. We expect that there will be announcements in this regard in due course.

Emergency Assistance
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I guess we have yet to see whether there will be cooperation. There seems to be some bureaucratic wrangling here about definitions.

If this is not a disaster now in Toronto, I would like to know what the minister thinks would constitute a disaster. If the government will not help Toronto now, when will it help Toronto? It put disaster relief funds into the ice storm in Quebec.

Will the government make a clear commitment to give matching disaster relief funds to the province of Ontario for the SARS crisis in Toronto?

Emergency Assistance
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, the issue of disaster relief funds is being discussed by the two governments in an amicable way. We fully expect this matter to be resolved effectively.

There is disaster relief legislation and funding under it. We have discussions with provinces frequently throughout every year that I have been in Parliament. It is not unusual for discussions to take place as to exactly how relief should be provided and to ensure there is no unfairness in any program that is put forward.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

June 6th, 2003 / 11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask about yet another disaster, and on this one we do not have endless time for more discussion and wrangling. This is the problem of course with mad cow and the beef industry.

As I have indicated several times this week and as the government knows, feedlots are on the verge of bankruptcy. Hardship and worry is spreading throughout the industry and throughout sections of the industry, obviously through farm families.

I understand the beef industry and members of it have presented a very reasonable, modest proposal for compensation assistance. When will we know from the government the details of its compensation plans for the beef industry?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member has said and he knows I have continually met with the industry, and on Wednesday in Edmonton. Officials from my department met with the beef industry yesterday. They will continue those discussions today. The meetings have gone very well.

They are working on some support for the industry. I guess it is best to put it this way. One of the vice presidents of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association last night told me that they had excellent meetings yesterday.

Air India
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service has belatedly released an internal memo. It concedes that CSIS might have been able to prevent the deaths of 331 people on Air India flight 182.

Now that it has been confirmed that CSIS may have been derelict in its duty to protect Canadian lives, why will the Solicitor General not launch a royal commission of inquiry to determine all of the facts in this case?

Air India
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this issue has come up numerous times in the House. I have responded consistently that there is no need for a public inquiry.

The fact of the matter is, and if I could refer the member to the annual report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee that reviewed thousands of documents and had numerous interviews, the bottom line was that it determined that, “the Service wasnot in a position to predict that the Air India flight was to be the target of a terrorist bomb”. That is in the good work from an independent review committee.

Air India
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the facts are that since that report has been done, more and more information is leaking out.

We now know that CSIS agents followed Parmar and Reyat to a secluded area on Vancouver Island where they tested a bomb. Had the agents understood the seriousness of this test, they could have intervened, had the pair arrested and thereby prevented the tragedy. It seems like only in Canada do we have spies that cannot recognize the sound of an explosion.

Why does the government not want all the details of this disaster known to the public?

Air India
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government has always wanted all the details, which are not related to operations at CSIS, known to the public. The bottom line is we have one of the best security intelligence agencies in the world bar none.

The SIRC report has reviewed it extensively. I already quoted its response to that. It reviewed thousands of pages of documents, held interviews with numerous individuals, met with the commissioner of the RCMP at the time and it laid to rest this issue which that member continues to raise out of the past.

Transport 2000
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, every year since 1996, Transport 2000 Québec has organized the awareness campaign for Clean Air Day, held on June 4. Despite a three-year agreement, however, Environment Canada last year appropriated the official Clean Air Day trademark and gave the Canadian Urban Transit Association the mandate, along with $250,000 in funding.

Why is Environment Canada not respecting its signature and why is it withdrawing funding from Transport 2000 Québec, although it congratulated this organization in the summer of 2000 for its exemplary contribution to public awareness?

Transport 2000
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, on February 13, I wrote to the chair of Transport 2000 to make an offer of collaboration. Unfortunately, I never received a reply. I am therefore very surprised by the press release the hon. member mentioned just now. Environment Canada did not refuse to cooperate; it is Transport 2000 that never asked us to do so.

Transport 2000
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the fact that what the minister is saying is incorrect, the Canadian Urban Transit Association has received the mandate from the federal government to put together a Canadian campaign to promote Clean Air Day with public funds. However, the organization's web site provides information on this event only in English.

How can the federal government explain that a Canadian campaign, with a registered trademark and funding from this same government, is providing the public with services solely in English?

Transport 2000
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my letter to the chair of Transport 2000 was in French. I do not think it contained one single word of English. Since I sent the letter and despite numerous requests by Environment Canada program agencies, Transport 2000 has not submitted an official application for federal contributions to organize Clean Air Day 2003, in Montreal or Quebec City.

Transport 2000
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in three years the sponsorship Transport 2000 Québec received from the federal Department of the Environment went from $80,000 down to zero in 2003. Not satisfied with just cutting them off, the department handed event organization over to the Canadian Urban Transit Association, a Toronto-based organization whose campaign was funded by ACART Communications, which gave $15,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Are we to understand that the Department of the Environment's choice of the Toronto organization over Transport 2000 Québec has much more to do with the $15,000 contribution to the Liberal slush fund by ACART Communications than with the undeniable expertise of that Toronto organization?