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

Topics

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question and I also want to thank the members of my caucus who have pushed for a take note debate tonight on this very serious issue.

I want to assure him and all hon. members today that the Government of Canada takes this issue very seriously and that we will continue to work hard internationally to get the borders open to Canadian beef. I also want to thank the hon. member for bringing up the United States peer review report, which of course was announced today, and it is one that the government--

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Portage--Lisgar.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the HRDC minister made the incredible statement in the House that there is no $45 billion EI surplus. Over the last decade, this Prime Minister has misappropriated $7,000 from each and every working Canadian family in extra EI premiums. He has turned EI into a vast personal cash cow.

Can he explain what right he has to dupe low income, working Canadians on their taxes when he tries to avoid paying his own?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I guess we engage in hyperbole for the simple reason that we do not want it to go into disuse, but the hon. member would know, of course, that the amount of money he is talking about has all gone back into the consolidated general revenue and has gone to programs that have helped Canadians, all Canadians, especially the ones to which he has made reference.

Because programs have gone to poor families to provide for sustenance, to provide for community building, as I said, as well as for programs for their children and programs for the elderly, those are moneys that have gone to enhance the quality of life--

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Portage--Lisgar.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister suggested earlier today that the Auditor General could vindicate his dealings with Canada Steamship Lines. The Auditor General has already commented unfavourably on his ethics in her 2003 public accounts report, when she concluded that the government is violating the intent of its own Employment Insurance Act with excessively high EI premiums.

The Prime Minister is wanting to invoke the counsel of the Auditor General on one issue but he chooses to totally ignore the counsel of the Auditor General on another. I would like him to explain to the House the total contradiction in that remark.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I guess the hon. member ignores the fact that there has been a reduction in EI premiums every year for 10 years, both from employers and from employees. In fact, there is an additional reduction even this year. We are going on a constant path where we are reducing deductions and we are maintaining the appropriate level of benefits as required by the EI act.

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the throne speech, the government claims to want to strengthen Canada’s social foundations by changing the way things work in government, particularly with respect to programs to provide seniors with income assistance and care when needed.

If the government is as concerned about the situation of seniors as it claims to be, what is it waiting for to provide full retroactivity on the guaranteed income supplement it owes seniors?

Social Programs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Verdun—Saint-Henri—Saint-Paul—Pointe Saint-Charles
Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla Minister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

First, I think it is worth repeating that the lives of seniors were greatly improved through the public pension plan which, I must add, was secured by the current Prime Minister when he was the Minister of Finance.

It should be pointed out, and the hon. member failed to do so, that between 1980 and 2000, the percentage of low income seniors dropped from 20.8% to 7.3%. Obviously, we are aiming for 0%; still, I think this is pretty good.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has strongly criticized the illegal and inflammatory wall built by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. This provocative incursion beyond the 1967 borders makes the Palestinian people prisoners in their own towns.

To date Canada has taken no effective legal or political action in this matter. It is time for action, not just words. What specific action is Canada prepared to take to persuade Israel to tear down this illegal and inflammatory wall?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada has clearly indicated in our vote in the United Nations that in our view this wall is not contributing to the ultimate security and peace of Israel. We strongly support Israel in its security measures, but we believe that the construction of the wall and where it is going is such that it is inhibiting the peace discussions.

That said, Canada has continually urged the parties to work with the Security Council, to work with all the partners, to dialogue between them. It is a dialogue that will ultimately solve this. It is a political solution. Canada's balanced position in urging the parties to this political solution makes a contribution to that process.

Health
Oral Question Period

February 4th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, the throne speech on Monday stated the government's desire to strengthen drinking water guidelines.

I am sure that the Minister of Health is aware that over two years ago, in the wake of the North Battleford tragedy, the House passed a motion calling on the Government of Canada to establish a safe drinking water act. Of course that legislation would have to respect provincial jurisdiction.

Building on the throne speech, is the Minister of Health planning on moving forward by introducing a safe drinking water act?

Health
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman for his very pertinent question. Our government is collaborating with the provinces and with the territories at this moment to develop guidelines for drinking water quality. Our government understands that water quality needs an integrated, collaborative approach within the provinces, the territories and the Government of Canada. These guidelines are being developed now.

Justice
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the justice minister is well aware, the House passed the motion to eliminate all defences for the production, distribution and possession of child pornography. Can the minister tell the House today when we can expect this legislation?

Justice
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as part of a series of motions, we are going to be reinstating this legislation along with other pieces of legislation during the coming week.