House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of the Environment rejected the suggestion by his predecessor that some ministers were acting like lobbyists for industry in cabinet, and added that the Minister of Natural Resources, among others, is green.

How then can the minister explain that his colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, refuses to harmonize Canadian motor vehicle emission standards with those of the state of California? Is this not evidence that, far from being green, the minister is acting like a lobbyist for the automobile industry?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Richmond Hill
Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, if the member would read the Speech from the Throne, he would see the great initiatives put forth by the Minister of the Environment.

The Minister of the Environment is working with all his colleagues, both in the cabinet and in caucus, to ensure that we have a greener economy and that we meet our Kyoto commitments.

I find it rather surprising that the member would rise and make such comments. He clearly needs to go back and do his homework.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, after saying that the Minister of Natural Resources was green, the Minister of the Environment made an even more ridiculous statement when he added that the Minister of Finance is also a green minister.

How can the minister say such a thing, when the Minister of Finance continues to give major tax benefits to the oil industry in Canada? Are these not totally unacceptable comments on the part of a Minister of the Environment?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Richmond Hill
Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the government is working with all departments. Clearly, the minister understands the need to move forward on issues such as climate change. The fact that the member seems not to understand that is surprising, given his role on the environment committee.

We have and we will continue to move forward in many areas, whether it happens to be dealing with emissions or whether it happens to be in other areas. On the tax issue, we always work with our friends at the finance department to move forward on green technology issues, et cetera.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, gasoline prices are on the increase again and oil companies are again reaping huge benefits this year. These revenues do not only come from the prices at the pump, but also from refining margins. The federal government is responsible for the monitoring of such margins.

What is the government waiting for to assume its responsibility and create a petroleum monitoring agency?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Competition Bureau initiated a study of petroleum pricing on May 4 of this year. It continues to assess whether the petroleum prices, the gas prices that we see today, are as a result of global forces of supply and demand or a conspiracy to fix prices among petroleum producers. The bureau is also looking at the question of whether there is predatory behaviour and inappropriate conduct dealing with gasoline retailers.

When the Competition Bureau completes its report, appropriate action will be taken.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, creating such an agency is a recommendation made by the Standing Committee on Industry and is supported by oil industry officials.

Why is the minister stubbornly refusing to act?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am not stubborn at all. I like to have information and then make sound, reasonable, thoughtful decisions. At this point, we do not have the information that would justify revisiting that issue.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. There is $1.1 billion sitting in the compensation fund for victims of hepatitis C from tainted blood and it is not being used. Meanwhile, more than $250,000 a month is spent on administrative costs. This is not right. Money continues to sit in the fund with management costs of at least $3 million a year and no one outside the window is being compensated.

Since the minister supported opening the fund in 1998 as attorney general in B.C., why does he not do the right thing and today begin to compensate the victims outside the window?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver South
B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the government is looking at just that. It is important we recognize that this decision ultimately will be made by the court. The court is in control and is seized of the trust fund.

We will have to speak to the plaintiffs' counsel for the 1986-90 class. We will have to speak to the plaintiffs' counsel for the before 1986 class and the post 1990 class. We are attempting to look at this issue and to resolve it. It is a very serious issue, and I thank the member for raising it.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough. The actuarial report on the fund is not due out until next summer and these victims need help now.

The facts are that the government has overestimated the number of victims. The fund made $50 million profit last year and there is over a billion dollars sitting in the fund.

We on this side of the House support these Canadian victims. Why do the Liberals not care about these people and do the right thing today?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Vancouver South
B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we do care about these people. That is why $300 million was set aside and given to the provinces for the class of before 1986 and post 1990. It is important we remember that we also put the money into trust for the 1986-90 class. Caring is absolutely not the monopoly of that side alone.

Charitable Organizations
Oral Question Period

October 22nd, 2004 / 11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians feel strongly in the freedom of expression, the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion.

Prior to the June election, Revenue Canada attempted to quiet charitable organizations opposed to same sex marriage. It called in representatives from the Catholic church and the Evangelical fellowship, to remind them of the dangers of speaking against the Liberal government.

Could the minister tell us, whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

Charitable Organizations
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Revenue Canada has fairly significant rules with respect to the debate whereby a registered charity involves itself in political discourse. Those rules need to be followed. I do not think any of us would wish to have charitable donations used for improper purposes.

Therefore, any views that are based on a well reasoned position are acceptable, but activities which involve themselves in political partisanship are not acceptable.

Charitable Organizations
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the facts are these. Revenue Canada threatened to revoke the charitable status of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Calgary. It threatened to audit Focus on the Family after it expressed its views contrary to the government's. Yet the United Church of Canada, on side with the government, received no such threats. There is a clear pattern emerging. Those opposed to the government are threatened; those who support the government, hands off.

I would like the minister to stand in his place today and acknowledge that this and all public policy debates are the property of Canadians, not the property of the Liberal Party of Canada.