House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was new.

Topics

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am truly very committed to the linguistic duality that lies at the heart of the Canadian identity.

It is imperative that the institutions of our government and our Parliament respect the reality of this linguistic duality, especially when it comes to the minority language.

Our government and our country are deeply committed to minorities. It is much easier for majorities to protect themselves. The minority will always have this government in its corner.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, after much procrastination and many fumbles, events have forced the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to face the facts: a public inquiry into the actions of the RCMP, CSIS and Canadian officials regarding the Maher Arar case is necessary.

Would the minister not agree that if she truly wants to shed light on this matter, the terms of reference given to Mr. Justice O'Connor should also cover the actions of the RCMP in searching the home of journalist Juliet O'Neill?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as we know, the matter is before the court this afternoon. It would be inappropriate to comment further, but I can tell the House that I have been advised that everything in terms of documentation that can be disclosed without injuring valid and recognized national public interests will be disclosed.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, curiously, the minister briefly indicated that the results of the inquiry will only partially be made public.

Does this government, which talks so much about the democratic deficit, not realize that the public has a right to know what really happened in a case where the rights of an individual and the freedom of the press were both interfered with?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Mississauga East
Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Civil Preparedness)

Mr. Speaker, we who are immigrants to Canada are shocked to find out that an immigrant can be deported.

The Deputy Prime Minister has announced the terms of reference for the public inquiry. The commission of inquiry has sufficient latitude to investigate all the facts and to present its conclusions to Canadians.

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

February 6th, 2004 / 11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that the objective of his most recent review of the firearms registry is to remove the irritants. Let me point out the obvious. There are no irritants for criminals in the Firearms Act. Toronto police chief Julian Fantino said that the gun registry has been of no help in his war against crimes in his city.

Why will the Prime Minister not allow his backbench MPs to reduce the estimates for such a useless program?

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the question is very clear. When we are talking about the bottom line in the budget estimates, this is a matter of confidence in the government. The question that has been asked is purely hypothetical concerning what details might be in the budget estimates. I refuse to answer a hypothetical question on a vote. That road goes nowhere.

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, what is not hypothetical is what the government is doing to democracy. It is deep-sixing it, burying it, and that is not acceptable.

While the former finance minister was writing cheques for the billion dollar gun registry, the former justice minister, now the Minister of Public Safety, was cashing them as fast as she could.

The Auditor General said that the biggest problem she saw and observed was that Parliament was being kept in the dark with regard to the gun registry. Instead of the usual practice of keeping Parliament in the dark, let me now ask, how much will it cost to fully implement--

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Mississauga East
Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Civil Preparedness)

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the members opposite panic about losing their ammunition once the review comes to the forefront. Our goal is to deliver a gun registry that is reasonable, that all members of the House will want to support and I am confident that the member opposite will be among the first to applaud the results.

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the billion dollar gun registry boondoggle costs are completely out of control. All MPs are getting this message.

Why not give members of Parliament a free vote on this issue so that they could freely express the wishes of the people to stop pumping their money into this bottomless sinkhole?

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, it is quite fascinating to hear that from a party that refused the offer I made it two days ago to deal with the reform that we are implementing with an agreement to have a free vote among themselves. They refused that and they dare to ask questions about free votes.

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is the primary job of Parliament to manage the expenditures of government. Why is the Prime Minister talking democratic deficit when he is totally undemocratic in ordering his MPs to vote on command on this important issue?

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat for the nth time--and I hope that my English is good enough for my colleague to understand it--that matters such as budgets, the Speech from the Throne and the bottom line of estimates are matters of confidence and there is no debate about that. Matters pertaining to each element of the estimates is a purely theoretical question at this time. It is totally ludicrous to even say how we are going to vote on something which does not even exist at this point.

Departmental Estimates
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, on the estimates, it has always been my impression from my years in the House that estimates go to committee and are subject to review by all parties in the committee. I do not think there is any great change that the member of the House has mentioned with this.

Could the government House leader further clarify for all members how estimates are dealt with, how they go to committee, how they are subjected to review and come to the House for approval?

Departmental Estimates
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, when estimates go to committee, they are examined by parliamentarians from all political parties. They look at the estimates and they come back with whatever they decide to come back with from these estimates. Then we have to make a decision as to the final result.

My only point, and I am glad to have the chance again to say it, is simply once we come to the bottom line of the final estimates, this is a matter of confidence. We cannot prevent government from governing. This is a responsibility that it has by the virtue of the Constitution.