House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cabinet.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs says the government has not yet reached a decision on its participation in the U.S. Army's missile defence shield project. Yet the Canadian Minister of National Defence has indicated that there are interim contracts to the tune of $700,000 for radar tests during an exercise planned for this summer by the Americans.

In this context, how can the government continue to say that nothing has been committed, when it has sunk $700,000 already into the missile defence shield, even before anything has been signed?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I would like to emphasize once again that the government has made no decision on the issue of ballistic missile defence. The contract that was issued by Defence Research and Development Canada was intended to test high frequency surface wave radar. It was intended to participate in these missile detection trials with a particular emphasis on cruise missile detection. The nature of this radar is such that it looks over the horizon and does not look up.

I would urge the hon. member not to jump to conclusions.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the Minister of National Defence, who has just answered, that he himself wrote to his American counterpart stating that we would extend the Norad mission for the missile defence shield and that we would even share the costs. Today we learn that they are working on a project that will cost the taxpayers of Quebec $700,000. The amount of $700,000 is not peanuts.

Will the minister at last admit that he is interested in the missile defence shield, that he will be taking part in the project, and that it is already a done deal?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member got the figure of $600 million or $700 million. That is clearly not what is being proposed here.

As I indicated earlier, what is being proposed is to test a system that we have here in Canada, the high frequency surface wave radar system, that is going to be operational in August. We look forward to understanding all of its capabilities, but with particular emphasis on this business of cruise missile defence.

Firearms Program
Oral Question Period

February 16th, 2004 / 2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, according to the CBC, the Firearms Act has not cost taxpayers just $1 billion; it is instead approaching the $2 billion mark. There are many costs still unaccounted for in that number.

The Prime Minister said that he was outraged by the waste of $250 million on the sponsorship program. The cost of the gun registry is now not 500 times over budget but 1,000 times over the original projection given to Parliament.

Why is the Prime Minister not outraged about that?

Firearms Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear. We do not accept that number referred to in the report referred to by the hon. member. In fact, we have asked Radio Canada to provide us with its numbers and its calculations which to date it has refused to do.

Let me reassure the House that to date, the Canadian firearms program has not cost $1 billion let alone $2 billion.

Firearms Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the cost benefit analysis of the gun registry has been kept a secret. The Auditor General blew the whistle on that. Trust for the Prime Minister is in free fall and he still keeps the gun registry reports hidden from Parliament.

The gun registry is closing in on $2 billion and the Prime Minister just orders another review. Look at the similarities of this and the sponsorship scandal. Ignorance is no excuse on this file. The Prime Minister wrote most of the cheques. He helped hide the most damaging reports. When will he take responsibility for--

Firearms Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Firearms Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. House that since the Auditor General tabled her report in relation to the gun control program, we have accepted her recommendations and we have implemented her recommendations.

Full program costs, as the hon. member should know, were tabled last October as part of the justice department's performance report. I will soon table a complete response to the public accounts committee report on the program. A ministerial review of this program is underway.

We have been transparent in relation to the cost of this program.

Summer Career Placement Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gilbert Barrette Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, each year, students, businesses and other organizations in my riding show a keen interest for the summer career placement program.

Could the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development tell us what he intends to do with the program this year?

Summer Career Placement Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the pleasure of announcing the 2004 edition of Summer Work Experience. I am also pleased to point out that employers interested in hiring a student this summer have until March 26 to submit an application to our local offices, and until April 2 in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Last summer, through the summer career placement program, the Government of Canada invested $93 million—

Summer Career Placement Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Skeena.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the current Prime Minister is too busy putting out his own fires to deal with economic issues important to Canadians. For example, the softwood lumber community adjustment fund announced in October 2002, 18 months ago, was supposed to assist B.C. communities hard hit by United States lumber tariffs. Approved projects that should have been underway months ago have yet to be funded.

Liberal friends of the government seem to have no trouble getting cheques. Do B.C. communities have to wait for handouts during an election to get theirs?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, this issue was referred to me at once by my predecessor on the day of oath taking. I approached the Minister of Industry so that we could facilitate the process. In 10 days we had a definitive response from the Minister of Industry, right on the eve of Christmas. I have met with members of the advisory group and I have told them the status of the projects.

Oil and Gas Industry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is as clear as mud. The bottom line is when do they get their money? That is what they are waiting for.

On another issue, the throne speech highlighted new energy opportunities, including oil and gas development off the coast of B.C. The environment minister, the Prime Minister's senior B.C. minister, is currently pushing a plan for a marine wildlife area that would effectively prohibit commercial activity in the ocean from northern Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Why is this anti-development environment minister shutting down B.C.'s ability to decide its own future when it comes to offshore oil and gas developments?