House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Americans are no longer even bothering to hide their impatience to start dealing with the future prime minister, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard. His positions on the conflict in Iraq or increased military spending are far closer to the U.S. positions than Canada's current positions.

Is the government going to admit that, under the direction of the new prime minister, Canadian foreign policy is going to have to change and move far closer to the American positions on these matters, and that the speech to the UN this evening by the currrent Prime Minister is nothing more than an expression of a policy that is about to disappear?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I speak for the current government. Our policies are clear and I believe that the majority of Canadians support our policies on the war in Iraq.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

With the exception of the new leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Speaker, who does not support the government's policy.

Despite the lack of clarity and precision we have been accustomed to so far from the new leader of the Liberal Party on important issues, do his foreign policy statements not indicate that, under his leadership, the government will be far closer to the United States than to the United Nations?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will need to await the arrival of the new prime minister if he wants to ask questions of a new prime minister. Tomorrow, however, the current Prime Minister will be here to answer questions.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture's deadlock with the provinces is holding farmers hostage. His refusal to compensate farm families on the brink of bankruptcy until the remaining provinces sign on to the agriculture policy framework is callous and mean-spirited.

In the meantime, the Canadian agriculture sector is facing its biggest crisis since the Depression.

When can farm families expect the minister to live up to his own government's commitments and start the flow of compensation? It is a liquidity issue. They need the money now.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should be aware that last Friday I announced $600 million in transition funding to farmers across the country. That is on top of the $312 million from the federal government, plus the provincial money, as far as the BSE recovery program is concerned.

The hon. member also knows from his experience, legal and otherwise, that there has to be agreements and signatures before money can be moved. Three or four provinces have refused to sign federal-provincial agreements which would allow us to move hundreds of millions of dollars to those provinces.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is blackmail. That is blaming the provinces again. His government's inability to strike compromise with provinces and other nations is legendary. When will the minister give up on this stubborn refusal to work with the agriculture sector on this critical file?

I ask the minister, I ask the Prime Minister and I ask his understudy, when will they get fully engaged on this file? What discussions does the Minister of Agriculture currently have under way with his counterpart in the United States? When will he come forward with a comprehensive plan to get the US border open to Canadian cattle? When will he do that?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, in the last number of months, we have had directly and indirectly, because I have kept track of them, close to 100 interventions with the United States. We have had face to face meetings, phone calls of diplomats, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, my colleague the trade minister, the industry, the food inspection agency and I can go on.

As far as working with the provinces, I have had signing authority since May. The provinces just need to sign the papers so we can flow the money to the farmers. We know they need money. Those provinces are not even committing their 40%--

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

September 23rd, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Yesterday, we know who did his Mr. Democracy shtick again. It is a very unique brand: take over a party; stifle debate; and excite people so much that a whopping 11% of Liberal members bother to vote.

What is the big democracy plan? It is let Liberal MPs change their system before voters get a chance to change our system. Why should democracy work only for those who are elected and not those who do the electing?

I would like to ask government members, will they support real democracy by voting for the NDP motion for a national vote on proportional representation? That is democracy.

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, that was a convoluted way of getting at the question of changing our electoral system. Need I remind the House that we have a bill before it now about modernizing our electoral system, about giving effect to the future electoral redistribution?

I thank the official opposition, which has even supported the bill. I hope all members of the House vote for it later this afternoon.

Let us do the modernization that is before us now before thinking of any new ones, particularly some that do not even work.

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

To the same minister, Mr. Speaker. I have been a member of Parliament for longer than the incoming prime minister and I know the House needs some change and reforms.

I think it is also elitist to change the parliamentary system for 301 MPs and not change the voting system for 31 million people. People are tuning out of politics because this House does not mirror how people vote.

I ask the minister this. Does the government not think that the Canadian people deserve to be asked in a national referendum whether they would like to change the voting system in favour of one based on proportional representation?

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is asking about proportional representation in a federation, something that exists virtually nowhere except one country in western Europe. I ask him to consider, aside from that, that all other western democracies which are federations have a system like ours.

If he is asking me if a party that barely wins any seats should have losing candidates win instead of winning candidates represent the people they were elected to represent, I do not think that is the way to go.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we would think the Liberal Party of Canada would have some shame but apparently not. The latest tax dollars for my buddies plan is being floated by the Liberal House leader to a $30 million slush fund so that MPs can hand out cash in their own ridings. That is lolly from heaven for Liberals trying to buy a little influence in their ridings, and conveniently, miraculously perhaps, it would be in place in time for the next election.

Why does the minister not simply acknowledge that dollars left in the hands of the taxpayer are more productive and more appreciated than dollars sucked out of their pockets?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a few facts out of sequence here.

The House has already voted against one motion in that regard. I understand that one Liberal member wants a parliamentary committee to review it. It is of course a free vote because it is private members' hour.

We on this side of the House are in favour of free votes. We practise it quite often. Perhaps the hon. member should engage in that from time to time.