House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parks.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Question Period

October 26th, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the environment, the government is racing George W. Bush to the bottom of the international heap.

Today the environment commissioner in her report denounced the government for a lack of leadership, a lack of priority and a lack of will. With a record this embarrassing, will the minister at least commit today to implementing the recommendations of the environment commissioner?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada welcomes the report of Madam Gélinas and is willing to act accordingly. Even today the Prime Minister announced that a new ad hoc committee on sustainability and environment will exist. It will be chaired by the Minister of Industry. It will bring to the table the views of natural resources, fisheries and oceans, health and myself. This shows how much we want to change the way the environment is taken into account in this country.

Communications Security Establishment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, immense powers and resources are granted to the Communications Security Establishment with virtually no checks and balances, with no court order, no accountability and no specifics. CSE needs only the defence minister's authorization to listen to and record any communication from any Canadian to a designated country. To make matters worse, the oversight commissioner is a powerless part time watchdog. This is terrifying.

Where are the checks and balances? Why has the government failed to ensure proper accountability?

Communications Security Establishment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that the House would appreciate, and I do not think the Canadian public would appreciate a former chief justice of Canada being attributed the title of being a powerless watchdog.

I have met with Mr. Justice Antonio Lamer. He has eight people working with him constantly watching over CSE to make sure that it respects the law. I meet regularly with the director of CSE. I can assure the House CSE is watched. They are people with a culture of obeying the laws of Canada and recognizing privacy concerns. They operate within the law and they protect Canadians in that optic.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the OECD places us at the bottom of the environmental chart. Today the commissioner of the environment blasted the government for its environmental performance. I quote again what the commissioner said, “I am left to conclude that the reasons are lack of leadership, lack of priority, and lack of will”.

Why has the government not lived up to some of its environmental commitments and shown some leadership, some priorities and some vision?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, indeed the report said that the government has some improvements to make on the environment file. The Government of Canada welcomes this report and it is in fact what we want to do in order to increase our capacity to put the environment at the heart of the decision making process. It is why the Prime Minister created a new ad hoc committee to ensure that the environment and the economy go together in this country.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, another committee just will not cut it.

In her report the environment commissioner studied five out of the more than 100 international agreements that this country has signed. She found most of them lacking. She said that Transport Canada does not know how much oil is being dumped in the oceans; Environment Canada cannot even define what wetland conservation is; and the DFO does not know how many fish we have.

The government is about to embark on the Kyoto implementation plan. It is about the government. It just does not know where it is going. Why do you not come clean with Canadians and tell them--

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind the hon. member for Red Deer, who has a lot of experience in the House, that he must address his comments to the Chair.

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, although the report is far from being as negative as the hon. member wants to portray it, it is true that Canada has to improve its performance at a time when more and more the environment has become a condition to succeed as a sustainable economy. It is a matter of having a better environment and a better economy together, and it is what the Government of Canada will do.

Public Safety
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, Louise Pargeter's alleged murderer was granted day parole in 2000, but in 2001 Ms. Pargeter revoked his parole because of his violent treatment of his girlfriend. Ms. Pargeter's murder was brutal and marks the first time a parole officer working with an offender inside the community has died or has been killed on the job.

Could the Minister of Public Safety tell us if CSC staff had any concerns about granting full parole, and if so, did the Parole Board take these concerns into consideration?

Public Safety
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, this is a very tragic situation. On behalf of all members of the House we extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the parole officer, Louise Pargeter.

In fact there is an investigation ongoing. It would be inappropriate for me to comment in relation to that investigation, but the very matters raised by the hon. member will obviously be part of that investigation.

Public Safety
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, Jan Fox, the regional director for Correctional Services, reportedly stated that she did not know the risk category of Louise Pargeter's alleged murderer, but Ms. Fox said, “He must have been doing well on his earlier day parole since he had been granted full parole”.

Does the Minister of Public Safety support her regional director's assertion? Did in fact Eli Ulayuk's behaviour warrant full parole?

Public Safety
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is fully aware, the Parole Board makes independent decisions based upon the best evidence before it. I do not comment on any individual decision made by the Parole Board of Canada but, as I have indicated, this tragic situation is under investigation. I have further indicated that there may well be aspects of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and parole procedures that do warrant review in the name of public safety.

Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, all the stakeholders in the Quebec City area are wondering why the Minister of Transport will not fund part of the study to improve passenger transportation between Quebec City and Montreal and, at the same time, the feasibility of a high-speed train in that corridor.

How can the Minister of Transport justify his refusal, when a consensus exists among the stakeholders in the Quebec City area, who are themselves prepared to assume half the costs, and when this connection is crucial for the economic development of both the region and Quebec as a whole?

Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. Quebec officials did indeed request funding for a study. Their request was considered among all the other projects, and it did not make the cut.

I can tell the hon. member, however, that the future of VIA Rail transportationis not dependent on additional studies. We have enough studies to fill all the libraries. What we need now are proposals, something that VIA Rail's board of directors will eventually come up with.

We are talking about a very substantial investment. There will have to be discussions with my finance colleague, at some more or less distant point in the future.