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

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week Statistics Canada released figures that show that the average Canadian student debt has nearly doubled in the past decade under the government. Figures show that today's graduates owe $20,000.

Now we hear from Judy Dyck, president of the Canadian Association of Financial Administrators, that the student loan system has deteriorated badly under the government, that it is a bureaucratic maze and that it is ruining credit ratings.

Will the Prime Minister admit that in reality all he has done on this file is increase our students' capacity to go deeper into debt?

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, try as he might, the hon. member is looking for a way to put a bad twist on a very positive issue.

The Government of Canada has already moved in the direction of making accessibility to university much more immediate for everyone. It has made it easier to get loans and made it easier to pay them off. It has reduced the rate of interest so that they are easier to pay off in the end.

In fact, we find that some 75% to 80% of all students have no difficulty paying off the loan. The reason for that is that they consider the loan an investment.

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad the government did not consider making an investment in post-secondary education.

The fact is that the minister fails to understand that too many Canadian graduates cannot afford a car for 10 years after they graduate. They cannot save for a home. They cannot afford any extras at all. If they live in a rural or isolated community, the barriers to education are that much higher and the debt is that much bigger.

The fact is that all the government has done is raise loan limits.

I would ask the minister to admit that all the government has done is make a big debt hole that much bigger.

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is just flatly wrong. The Government of Canada has created the Canada education savings grant, the Canada student bond and first year grants for tuition.

We have also improved the Canada student loans program and relieved the debt provisions at the end of the program. In this budget alone we have made an investment of $400 million a year every year, going forward forever, and we will continue to increase that investment.

Finance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. At this time of year everybody is concerned about filing their income tax returns.

Currently, on the death of an RRSP annuitant all capital gains are recognized to the date of death. Any gains from death to distribution are gains of the beneficiaries. However there is no provision to deduct capital losses.

Why is the government only interested in taxing capital gains but does not allow capital losses?

Finance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the hon. member's considerable interest and expertise in this field.

The current RRSP rules may indeed not always deal appropriately with situations in which losses arise within an RRSP. I have asked my department to consider possible changes to improve the rules in this regard. I take his question as a further representation on this point.

International Aid
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have noted that CIDA's aid policy has proven to be ineffective. The Liberal government has been giving out our tax dollars to over 100 countries.

An Environics Research Group report entitled, “Canadian Attitudes Toward Development Assistance”, states that eight in ten Canadians agree that much of the aid given to poor countries never gets to the people who need it the most.

When will the government bring an end to political interference in CIDA to ensure effective aid delivery?

International Aid
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I am at a loss in determining what the hon. member is asking with regard to political influence in the aid development programs of Canada.

We have an excellent reputation. Just recently we were moved to the position of six out of eighteen by an international body assessing our aid development effectiveness.

I would be more than pleased to share that study with him and perhaps it will assist him to better understand.

International Aid
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, CIDA is a bureaucratically laden and secretive agency.

The report also revealed that a majority of Canadians do not consider themselves informed about Canada's aid programs for poor countries. This is disgraceful.

Could the minister explain to Canadians why CIDA is not communicating how it spends taxpayer dollars on its aid program?

International Aid
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I am still working through his question but I think I can help in sharing the outcome of the polls that have been taken.

In every poll that has been taken, 80% of Canadians have responded that they highly approve of Canada giving aid to the world's poor and helping us reach development goals. I might add that similar polls ask that we be sure that we are achieving aid effectiveness. We developed an excellent policy just a year ago.

My colleague can be assured that we are reaching the goals set out within that policy.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

April 28th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Foreign Affairs is questioned about the government's position on the missile defence shield, he keeps repeating empty phrases that confuse everyone and avoids giving a clear answer to the question.

Will the Prime Minister, who keeps saying that he wants to be clear, make it clear to President Bush, during his visit to Washington, that it is out of the question for Canada to take part in the creation of a missile defence shield?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said on many occasions, we are committed to protecting the safety and security of Canadians. We are involved in discussions with the United States right now with respect to missile defence and those discussions are going well. We are involved as well with many allies in terms of discussing missile defence. This is something that we hope to bring to a conclusion in the not too distant future, and I think Canadians will be better protected as a result.

Health
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the hon. Minister of Health.

Just over a year ago my constituents in Thornhill, their neighbours throughout York region, the GTA and in fact all Canadians lived through the SARS outbreak that affected Canada.

Given the recent emergence of SARS in China, what new precautions are being taken by the federal government, and particularly Health Canada, to ensure the residents of Thornhill and all Canadians that we are prepared so that we will not live through another outbreak?

Health
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, since the SARS outbreak we have made significant improvements to our public health capacity in several areas.

National and global detection and surveillance systems have been strengthened. We have quarantine services at the ready. Guidelines are in place for hospital and frontline health care workers; data sharing systems; and regularly updated information vehicles for Canadians.

Yesterday, Health Canada began distributing a SARS alert notice to passengers arriving from east Asia at the Vancouver and Toronto Pearson airports.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, April 16, Guy-André Kieffer, a 54-year-old journalist with both French and Canadian citizenship, who was a Hill reporter for several years, went missing under mysterious circumstances in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He has not yet been found.

While French President Chirac has intervened directly and raised this matter on two occasions with Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, what is keeping the Prime Minister from also intervening and insisting that Ivory Coast move on the investigation of this matter?