House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor West.

Border Crossings
Oral Question Period

April 28th, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is again dragging its feet on the Windsor border negotiations. Both the province and the City of Windsor have already selected their representatives and are waiting, literally, at the table by themselves for the federal representative.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why the delay? We need action, not more obstacles. Why make other levels of government sit in frustration and the citizens sit without any type of solutions for their health at the expense of the Prime Minister being indecisive?

Border Crossings
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex
Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Border Transit)

Mr. Speaker, there has been great cooperation between the federal government, the province and the City of Windsor, as well as the County of Essex, since December. There is no question that when we sat on March 11, we tried to move forward on the agenda of ensuring that the needs of Windsor were met, along with the needs of Ontario and Canada.

In fact, we are working as rapidly as we can. We will have people at that table, with the province and the city.

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government announced that it was re-establishing a national ports police force which it disbanded in 1998. Even though the Department of Transport lists 549 ports, this national system would apply to only three ports and give them first class security.

Why are the Liberals creating second class ports and second class security?

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's announcement goes a long way in terms of meeting our security challenges and our security needs.

The member continues to question the security at ports. I can tell members that marine security is a very big part of the national security program that was announced yesterday. I will be announcing in the next number of days a program and an initiative that will speak directly to marine facilities and ports.

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister thinks that terrorists and criminals cannot read and that they would not know that we only have three ports with first class security. Criminals and terrorists are going to home in on the ports that do not have security. The other ports are going to have ad hoc security, with commissionaires, local police, the RCMP, or some combination. It is not a good system. It is not going to satisfy anybody.

When is the government going to get serious and have a uniform enforcement system for every port in the country?

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, July 1 is the date on which we are going to be meeting the international ship and port facility security code. It is an international code. In fact, what we have done is gone a step further. We have put in place a North American code which is in fact higher and more stringent than the international code.

As I said, in the coming days and weeks, we will put forward a program which will speak specifically to ports and port facilities to ensure that our ports can compete. In no way will we have a situation where our ports are seeing trade diverted to ports in the United States. We will meet that international standard, but we will do so on July 1.

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the federal port police were axed by the government in 1998. Now it wants to bring them back but only in Vancouver, Halifax and Montreal.

On the west coast we have other deep sea ports, including Prince Rupert, Port Alberni and Nanaimo-Duke Point. There are dozens of other harbours that could be vulnerable.

When will the government commit to protecting all of our harbours and give our ports the resources they need to protect Canadian security?

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned to the hon. member prior to this question, marine facility security is an important component of the national security policy that was announced yesterday. We will provide further details in the days to come on how my department will in fact move forward in the areas of port facilities.

We need to ensure, and we will ensure, that our ports are secure so that we can receive the kind of trade that we need to receive and do receive for trans-shipment into the United States.

This is a North American solution to security and it is one that will continue to improve over the years. Marine facility security is important and we will meet that requirement on July 1.

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, years of neglect and yet here the government comes again at the last minute saying that it will provide the details some day.

Port security will be linked with the Coast Guard's Marine Communication and Traffic Services, but the government has been cutting Coast Guard services since 1995.

When the fisheries committee toured MCTS facilities, we found chronic underfunding, understaffing, rust out, failed transmitters, cancelled training programs and dedicated officers under great stress. Hundreds of kilometres of Canadian coastline are not even monitored by radar.

Does the government expect to reverse 10 years of systematic abuse and neglect with last minute pre-election announcements?

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question but he ought to perhaps know that in fact last year the Coast Guard received a permanent increase of $47 million.

Safety and service to mariners in Canadian waters is the mandate of the Coast Guard and that mandate will not be compromised.

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, Deutsche Bank, which has come to the rescue of Air Canada, stated yesterday that the company should be subject to the same business conditions as its competitors. We know the airline is legally obligated to maintain its headquarters in Montreal.

Can the federal government guarantee that it will not amend legislation applicable to Air Canada and that this condition will continue to apply should a financial agreement be signed between Deutsche Bank and Air Canada?

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, certainly the Government of Canada is aware of the agreement in principle between Deutsche Bank and Air Canada. We are encouraged by this private sector development.

I think we should also be very clear, in response to the hon. member's question, that we continue to expect Air Canada to meet all of its obligations under the Air Canada Public Participation Act and any other applicable legislation.

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question I am asking the minister was whether the headquarters will remain in Montreal. That is my question and I am waiting for an answer. This legal obligation is set out in the legislation.

Can the minister confirm that Air Canada's headquarters will remain in Montreal?

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, obviously, from the supplementary question, it is very clear that the hon. member does not know what is in the act. It is clearly in the act that the headquarters would be in Montreal.

I have just finished saying that I would expect Air Canada to respect the Air Canada Public Participation Act. The requirements are in the act and I am saying in the House that Air Canada will respect that act.