House of Commons Hansard #42 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.

Topics

Whistleblower Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Ralph Heintzman, the government's top official on the whistleblower file, is reported as saying that Bill C-25 is not a whistleblower protection act at all. He says it is actually an internal disclosure bill designed to impose penalties on whistleblowers in order to prevent departmental reputations from being publicly tarnished. Moreover, Mr. Heintzman feels, as Martha Stewart would put it, that “that's a good thing”.

My question is does the President of the Privy Council agree, and can he explain how the act of reporting confidentially to the public sector Integrity Commissioner could publicly tarnish any reputations?

Whistleblower Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, I want clarify what Ralph Heintzman simply wanted to say, which is that the system that we want to put in place will be used to deal with the situation internally. He never said that it was something else.

This is an act to protect whistleblowers. We want to ensure that it is an inclusive measure that strikes a balance between the importance of protecting whistleblowers and the need to be able to prevent frivolous actions. I am confident that we can move forward very quickly with this legislation.

Whistleblower Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, prominent whistleblower advocate Ken Rubin said yesterday that the whistleblower legislation, Bill C-25, was a cruel and contemptuous hoax that would accelerate distrust and intimidation, and would end up hurting public employees turned whistleblowers who were doing their jobs.

One reason the bill is so bad is that clause 15 says that “No person shall take any reprisal against a public servant”; however, the bill imposes no penalties whatsoever for violations of this provision.

Will the minister commit today to imposing penalties for the violation of those rights?

Whistleblower Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, first of all, instead of reading all those papers, the member should read the bill. I think it is more important to take a look at the clause itself. He should take a look at clause 9.

Second, what I promoted since the beginning is to ensure that not only he reads the bill, but participates fully in the standing committee because this is a great piece of work. We believe that we can be flexible. If there are good amendments, I would be more than pleased to listen to them.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Léonard report released yesterday shows that between 1994-95 and 2002-03, the federal government's revenues increased by 45% and its operating expenses by 39%. During the same period, the federal government's transfers to Quebec—to fund health and education—decreased by 7.6%.

Faced with such shocking figures, can the Prime Minister deny that all those years when he was finance minister, he was the prime architect of the fiscal imbalance with which Quebec and the provinces must deal now?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in the last fiscal year for which figures are available, 2003, the Government of Canada generated revenues of $177 billion and the provinces received $166 billion including tax points.

Once the transfers are done, the provinces have just over $200 billion and the federal government is down to $140-odd billion. The federal government, however, is still left with 22¢ on every dollar for debt reduction where the provinces have 11¢ on every dollar.

Therefore, if there is a fiscal imbalance, it is the other way.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

In light of the Prime Minister's visit to the United States, will the minister report to the House on the progress of discussions with U.S. authorities in regard to creation of a safe third country agreement with the U.S. regarding refugees coming from the U.S.A.?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the U.S. have both published the draft regulations. We are awaiting comment back and we are looking forward to implementation before the end of the year. It is a very important piece of legislation that is going to improve the safety of both the U.S. and Canada.

Canada Labour Code
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, pregnant and nursing women who work under Quebec legislation and stop working for preventive reasons, are paid 90% of their salary, while women who work under federal legislation receive only 55% through employment insurance, if they are eligible, which is not the case for two thirds of them. The Liberal way of doing things simply creates two classes of workers in Quebec and endangers the health of women and their children.

Why does the Minister of Labour insist on encouraging such an injustice against pregnant and nursing women in Quebec?

Canada Labour Code
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in reality, 84% to 88% of workers who are eligible can receive the necessary benefits, but, unfortunately, only if they lose their jobs. There are successful situations too. One has to realize that many more women are working today than before. This is something quite positive that perhaps the Bloc cannot—

Canada Labour Code
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor—St. Clair.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Ontario College of Family Physicians released a report on pesticides. The report found that exposure to pesticides caused acute health risks to adults and children, as well as potentially deadly impacts on fetal development. According to Health Canada, pesticides cannot be registered if they have the potential to cause birth defects. We now know that is clearly the case.

Given this evidence, will the government move immediately to ban pesticides and implement a specific ban on their cosmetic use?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, before a pesticide is registered in Canada, detailed studies must be conducted to assess potential long term adverse effects on all systems, as well as potential, acute and short term effects.

The agency carries out a rigorous scientific assessment of these studies to ensure that pesticides, when used according to the label, do not pose a health or environmental risk for Canadians. No pesticide is allowed to be used or sold in Canada when it is determined to pose unacceptable risks to human health or the environment.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

We have now concluded the list, therefore question period is over for today.

The hon. member for New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby on a point of order.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

April 27th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, further to a matter that came up yesterday and to a conversation that I had with you in chambers, I wish first of all to apologize for expanding the envelope of the rules of this House and going against them.

Second, I would like to say I will make a commitment about cooperation with our rules. As parliamentarians we make those rules and then we elect you to enforce those rules, Mr. Speaker, so there should be cooperation and not any appearance of unilateralism to change those rules.

Third, I had some images on a digital camera and I wish to assure the House that I have erased those images.

In summary, I would say there is an apology, there is a commitment to cooperation, and I have described the subsequent action.