House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elections.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, by refusing to enforce the Montreal protocol, this government aligns itself with George Bush, who wants to continue and even increase the use of this dangerous pesticide.

Does the Minister of the Environment not agree that following the American example in this matter amounts to wiping out 15 years of efforts by the international community to protect the ozone layer?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for pointing out that it was another country that really created the problem we are now facing.

If he is asking me whether we are going to follow the Americans on principle, I will tell him that we have serious difficulties with the American position. That is why we are having these talks and discussions, to try to protect the environment of our continent and of the entire world.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, because of serious financial irregularities, Nortel Networks has suspended its chief financial officer. This is the standard and the norm for Canadian corporate governance.

In our parliamentary system, the finance minister is our chief financial officer. When internal government audits revealed the extent of Liberal corruption with the sponsorship program, why was the finance minister at the time not held accountable?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have gone through this time after time. We have set up a committee of the House, the public accounts committee, which is now examining witnesses and which perhaps has been missed by the hon. member. We have an inquiry under a judge, which is taking place over the summer and into fall. We indeed have an individual who will be looking into recovery of money. We have an RCMP inquiry that has been going on for some two years.

These processes will bring us, we trust, to a full understanding of the problems that there are and that is why we have set them in process and why the former finance minister, now the Prime Minister, is so determined to get to the bottom of these things.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, they have not gone through this enough. Trusting a Liberal government to control and audit its own spending is like trusting the arsonist to come back and put out the fires. This is a sad commentary on the state of our democracy. It is the clearest sign that we have a democratic deficit not only with this old, tired Liberal government, but also with its leader and Prime Minister.

I ask the government again, other than the defence of ignorance, how can the Prime Minister escape responsibility for this government's corruption?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has very clearly taken full responsibility for the concern, getting to the bottom of it, and dealing with this issue.

With regard to the comment made by the hon. member that somehow, as I understood, the auditor would not be able to look into this properly, the Auditor General is doing a good job of looking into it independently. She works at arm's length from the government in that regard.

I really cannot see the slightest evidence out there, provided by the opposition or anybody else, that she is somehow working to protect the government.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the nation of Denmark has laid claim to Canadian territory. Its military, from its warship, hoisted its flag on our arctic territory without permission, without warning, and without any fear of being stopped.

This embarrassing situation shows that the Prime Minister was wrong when he was underfunding our national defence while he was finance minister. He was wrong in not stopping the hemorrhaging of hundreds of millions of dollars in scandal and fraud while he was finance minister, and he is wrong today in leaving Canada exposed and embarrassed.

Why will he not do the right thing and immediately announce there will be a restoration of funding for our navy so it can do its job of keeping our true north strong and free?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, a significant amount of money has been put into the navy over the last number of years. Since this government took over, significant investments have been made in the armed forces overall.

We have had $3.1 billion in terms of the maritime helicopter project. We have had $700 million in terms of the mobile gun system. We have had $1.3 billion in terms of fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft. We are continuing to rebuild the Canadian Forces.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, one military expert said yesterday that all we can do is send a dog team to the Arctic this summer.

The scandal and fraud that has paralyzed this collapsing Liberal regime has left it in utter chaos. The government is now incapable of responding to even its most basic responsibility: the protection of our borders.

The government's utter disarray is underlined by the fact that the scandal has led to the recall of our ambassador to Denmark, the very nation that is challenging our sovereignty.

We want to know, is the government so bogged down in its own scandal damage control that it cannot replace Mr. Gagliano? Or is it secretly keeping that spot open for his eventual return?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada has consistently defended its interests in the past and it will continue to do so.

Hans Island constitutes part of the national territory of Canada. No assertion by the Danish ambassador or other Danish officials detracts from the absolute sovereignty that Canada enjoys over Hans Island.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. It concerns the biosafety protocol.

In view of the fact that Canada signed the biosafety protocol in the year 2001 but has not yet ratified it, could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food please tell us when Canada will finally ratify the biosafety protocol?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is aware that 45 countries have now ratified the biosafety protocol. It takes 50 countries, in fact, to implement it.

The Government of Canada is presently consulting with stakeholders which is very important. The hon. member knows there were concerns by stakeholders. We are drawing up an action plan based on those consultations.

I can assure the hon. member that we are on the path toward ratification; however, first and foremost, we want to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in that process.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General spoke in committee about the purchase of the two Challenger jets in 2002 and said that the government could not demonstrate that it exercised due diligence in awarding this contract or that it achieved best value.

The Prime Minister, who speaks at great length about fiscal responsibility, was the finance minister at the time the decision was made to spend $100 million for jets that neither National Defence nor Transport Canada needed.

Could the Prime Minister explain why these jets were purchased instead of other much more needed military equipment by our armed forces?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has indicated in the past, not all of the cabinet processes were followed in connection with the purchase of the Challenger jets.

Having said that however, there was a need, and there is a need, to upgrade the Challenger fleet. The addition of these two jets is certainly an important addition to the capability of the Canadian forces.

We also, in defence, did not suffer as a result of the purchase of these particular aircraft, in the sense that the money was provided by the Department of Finance.

As I indicated before, there have been, and there will continue to be, more investments made in the Canadian Forces.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

March 26th, 2004 / 11:40 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister's budget is a recipe for privatization. There are no Liberal targets to create home care or cut pollution, but there is an artificial target for the debt to GDP ratio.

Assuming the Liberals' rosy predictions are correct, they want to spend $30 billion to meet this target in 10 years. Balancing the books, which the NDP supports, would meet this target in 11 years.

Why does the Liberal government want to spend at least $30 billion to meet an artificial target one year earlier?