House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Revenue Agency has threatened both Roman Catholic and evangelical churches with legal sanctions. Their mortal sin was freely and publicly expressing their positions on key moral issues. I find the government's actions outrageous. Our Constitution guarantees every citizen freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

I ask the minister, why is the government attacking our most cherished freedoms?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham—Unionville
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the question.

I would note that rules are in place to ensure that the money Canadians donate to charities is spent on charitable purposes. Charities are free to advocate points of view. There is nothing in the law to inhibit that unless the charity directly advocates for a political party. That is the rule of the land.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bishop Henry and other church leaders have been highly critical of the Prime Minister's position on certain matters of conscience. Now the Prime Minister, through his tax collectors, is threatening to remove tax free status from Roman Catholic and evangelical organizations.

Why is the Prime Minister permitting government agencies to attack and threaten freedom of religion in Canada?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham—Unionville
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no truth in that statement. In general terms Canadians want to be sure that the money they donate to charities goes to the proper place. Churches and other registered charities are entirely free to put forward their opinion on many issues. The only thing they cannot do as a registered charity is advocate for a political party or a political candidate in an election. That is the law of the land.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, last spring the Treasury Board announced that henceforth the appointment process for heads of crown corporations would be cleaned up and objective rules would be followed. But old habits are hard to break. The next month, everything new was forgotten. The minister of revenue parachuted his friend, Gordon Feeney, into a position at the head of Canada Post.

Does the Prime Minister believe that all these political appointments will just slip through like so much mail?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham—Unionville
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to report to the House that not only did the board of Canada Post judge Mr. Feeney to be competent, not only did the government make that judgment, but the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar in the meeting of the parliamentary committee with Mr. Feeney said, “My questions will not pertain to your qualifications,which are exemplary”.

The Bloc member, not to be outdone, said to Mr. Feeney:

“I do not want to question your qualifications, either.”

I am glad to note the opposition is with the government.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the appointment of the revenue minister's friend as chair of Canada Post is exactly the type of cronyism that the rules were supposed to prevent. Now that it is clear the rules have been watered down, it is obvious this was nothing more than a pre-election ploy designed to trick Canadians into thinking the Liberal government would clean up its act.

Will the Prime Minister instruct the President of the Treasury Board to enforce the original rules and apologize to Canadians for his deception to Canadians?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Markham—Unionville
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it would appear the hon. member asked his question without taking account of the answer to the previous question. I would remind him that his own colleague, a member of the same party on the parliamentary committee said, “My questions will not pertain to your qualifications, which are exemplary”.

Exemplary is quite a strong word and it goes to show that Mr. Feeney is well positioned to lead the board of this major corporation, to improve governance and to find an exemplary new CEO.

Natural Resources
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Following discussions a couple of days ago, Premier Hamm of my province said he was optimistic in regard to equalization talks and the possibility of reaching a deal with the federal government. Today the minister of energy in Nova Scotia was reported as saying that talks were positive and that he was satisfied with the progress made to date.

Could the minister give us an update on the status of discussions specifically with Nova Scotia on offshore revenues and equalization?

Natural Resources
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the remarks of Premier Hamm and Minister Clarke. They fairly reflect the rapport between Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada. We have been addressing serious issues in a serious way and trying to find real solutions that work.

We have also had the very helpful engagement of our national caucus. All of us want to get on with this and find the answers that will achieve the results in terms of future economic growth and development in Nova Scotia, which the province aspires to and that Canada supports.

Industry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the mayor of Timmins, Ontario joined the growing chorus of concern over the sale of base metal operations to Minmetals. He has written an open letter to the Prime Minister underlining the fact that there are communities completely dependent on these resources.

Instead of sitting back and waiting for this deal to be inked, will this government respond to the mayor's request, invite the base metal communities to come forward and bring their concerns in setting up a full review of this deal?

Industry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in the event there is an application under the Investment Canada Act, there will be a full and complete review of any proposed deal.

Housing
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, zonolite is an asbestos laden vermiculite that the government promoted for use in its Canadian home insulation program. Now hundreds of thousands of Canadian homeowners are sitting on a ticking time bomb in terms of the health of their families. On some Indian reserves it is too late and at least four deaths have been tied directly to zonolite.

The government helped pay for the removal of urea formaldehyde foam insulation in the 1980s because it was irritating. This is deadly.

Will the minister responsible for housing and CMHC commit to establishing a program similar to the UFFI program to help homeowners pay for the high cost of removing this hazardous material from their homes?

Housing
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

London North Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana Minister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, it is an issue of concern to the Government of Canada because the well-being of all Canadians is important.

I want to indicate that there is information available for Canadians to find out whether they have the zonolite to which the member referred. We have links to Health Canada as well as to other information sources. We want to ensure that we look at the situation as seriously as we possible can. We would be happy to report to the member and to the House when the information is available.

Natural Resources
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the province of Saskatchewan has been losing equalization payments in excess of $1.08 for every dollar of oil sold under the current equalization formula. The Prime Minister has promised that Newfoundland and Labrador will keep 100% of its offshore oil revenue, and maybe it is and maybe it is not.

Will the Minister of Finance, on the record in the House, promise not only to pay back to Saskatchewan all the excess clawed back under the equalization formula, but also ensure that the province of Saskatchewan will keep 100% of its oil revenues?