House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the letter but it does confirm that the barriers are there. In fact, the rules state that a company can only tender on an entire province at once. The rules also state that all services must be in place within 120 days, which is just impossible for any company other than the current supplier, so it is not a level playing field.

Will the minister change these specifics to open up the bidding or explain why the government does not want the best deal for Canadian taxpayers' dollars?

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we will be issuing a request for proposals by the end of this month which will give a full explanation of a very competitive process.

Let me say to the hon. member that with respect to one provider of government telephone services per province, it is necessary for operational requirements and to provide value for money for the people of Canada. Also, in terms of barriers to entry, any new entrant into the provision of telephone services is allowed by the CRTC regulations to be sold services at the regular cost by an existing incumbent supplier so that there can be no barrier to new entrants--

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Oak Ridges.

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, Japan and Mexico have recently concluded a free trade agreement. Companies such as Nissan and Sony are able to compete on a level playing field in Mexico against rivals such as the U.S. and Europe.

Japan has realized that FTAs are important for its national security interests. Given that Japan is Canada's second largest trading partner, with an economy greater than that of all of Asia combined, and given that the United States is also aggressively seeking FTAs in Asia, can the Minister of International Trade tell us what steps he is taking to secure Canada's economic and trade interests with Japan, since members of the Japanese Diet are interested in an FTA with Canada?

Trade
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the area of northeast Asia is truly a driving force in global trade, and yes, Japan is indeed Canada's second largest trading partner. We will continue to explore with Japan ways in which we can enhance our investment and our trading relationship, but as a start we would ask that Japan open its markets to Canadian beef. That is our priority.

Health
Oral Question Period

May 5th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been dragging his heels on public health. He talked about a national public health agency and a chief public health official. He did that in the throne speech, and he did it again in promising that in the budget, but where is it? Talk is cheap, but he does not even have the forms for filling out the applications.

My question is simple. Will the chief public health officer's position be filled before the election?

Health
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

St. Paul's
Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Minister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that we will begin the search for the chief public health officer hopefully next week, and we will take the time it takes to get the right person for the job. We think it will be a short process.

Health
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, beginning a process is not a lot of assurance.

Does the government realize that SARS came to Canada over a year ago? This government was not prepared then and it is not prepared now. SARS could be only a plane trip away.

Does the government realize that West Nile virus is here to stay? The avian flu is also here within our borders. The agency has not even started to think about getting on its way, so will the agency be in place before this election is called?

Health
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that this country is absolutely ready to meet the challenges that could face us. We have learned from the experience of last year, with $665 million invested in last year's budget in the public health agency. We are ready to meet these challenges.

We are working very closely with the World Health Organization as well, which has acknowledged Canada's great contribution not only in this country but worldwide. We are on top of it.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, Edith Gendron, a public servant with Canadian Heritage, was dismissed because of a personal commitment as president of the movement “Le Québec, un pays”, despite the fact that her work is irreproachable.

How can the government claim that this was a purely administrative decision when Guylain Thorne, the person who dismissed Ms. Gendron, is a committed Liberal, a former chief of staff of the current President of the Privy Council, a member of the same team that claimed to be at war against the sovereignists in the sponsorship scandal? Is this not evidence that the decision was indeed a political one?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Louis-Hébert
Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I do not have much to add to what I already said last week and on several occasions this week. This is a labour relations matter. The public service standards were complied with. I must say that I find it rather strange that Bloc Quebecois members would call for political interference in the area of hiring and labour relations.

Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has a 1996 commitment to dispose of hopper cars. My question is for the Minister of Transport. Could he give us an update on the status of the Farmer Rail Car Coalition's proposal to own and operate the hopper car fleet in the interests of farmers and producers?

Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to working with the FRCC on its innovative proposal to manage the fleet of railway cars. We will continue with the necessary due diligence on the proposal to ensure that the roles and responsibilities are clear and that value for taxpayers is optimized.

The government and the FRCC have shared interests in ensuring that there is sufficient commercial and competitive grain transportation in this country, grain transportation that in fact meets the needs of producers and other stakeholders.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Hinton)

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 81(14), to inform the House that the motion to be considered tomorrow during consideration of the business of supply is as follows:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should propose, before the dissolution of the House, an employment insurance reform along the lines of the 17 recommendations contained in the unanimous report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Beyond Bill C-2: A Review of Other Proposals to Reform Employment Insurance”.

This motion, standing in the name of the hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, is not votable. Copies of the motion are available at the table.

I have received notice from the hon. member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin that he is unable to move his motion during private members' hour on Thursday, May 6, 2004. It has not been possible to arrange an exchange of positions in the order of precedence. Accordingly, I am directing the table officers to drop that item of business to the bottom of the order of precedence. Private members' hour will thus be cancelled and the House will continue with the business before it prior to private members' hour.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Sarnia—Lambton
Ontario

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 21 petitions.