House of Commons Hansard #63 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, a commitment was made by the Prime Minister to debate the missile defence issue in this House, so Canadians would have a clear understanding of what we are getting into.

Now it is apparent that he has once again flip-flopped on this commitment and secretly agreed to take part in the missile defence system, while still misleading Canadians on what that commitment is. Canada's international credibility is being seriously damaged by this deliberate slight of hand.

With his credibility ruined by the Prime Minister, will the minister of defence now resign?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I must tell the House and I hope hon. members will support me on this, they would not want me to resign before the budget this afternoon.

I am looking forward to that far too much. I know all hon. members will rejoice with me in knowing that today is going to be a great day for national defence in Canada, a great day for the security of Canada for Canadians, and a great day for the Liberal government.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, the post office is a highly visible federal service and functions as a centrepiece to many rural and northern communities across Canada. With that the minister will understand the public concern over rumours that the moratorium on rural post office closures is to be ended.

Will the minister today assure this House that he will protect rural post offices from being abandoned or closed?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham—Unionville
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly acutely aware of the great importance of the 5,000 post offices to rural and small town Canada. I am also aware of these rumours in the press to the effect that there was some kind of plan or list to close 750 rural post offices. Having spoken to Canada Post, I am delighted to inform the House in the most unequivocal way that there is no such plan. There is no such list.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport has declared a move toward an open skies agreement with the U.S. based on a seven page document that was clearly written for, if not by, Air Canada.

The minister has no real interest in maintaining services for all Canadians. He disregards cuts to NAV CANADA's services and safety at small airports, while making opening Canada's skies to foreign carriers his priority.

Better service for all of Canada cannot be created by having foreign carriers cherry-pick the most profitable routes. His Liberal government needs to work for Canadians, not for the Americans running Canada's airlines. When--

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to tell the hon. member that stakeholders across the country in the aviation sector all want us to move forward and start talking with the Americans, the Indians and the Europeans on an open sky policy.

We want to develop that. Air Canada, WestJet, and all the players say they can compete worldwide. That is why we are ready to open discussions and to ensure that we develop this air industry for the betterment of Canada and all travellers.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

February 23rd, 2005 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, a report card issued by Simon Fraser University gave B.C. a failing grade, the worst in Canada, when it came to language training for immigrants. Immigrants to B.C. end up with only mediocre language skills, blocking them from good jobs and community participation.

The B.C. government takes a whopping 47% of federal money earmarked for settlement services and diverts it to general revenue. There is no accountability for this spending and no national standard.

What steps will the minister take to ensure accountability for federal dollars and national standards for immigrant services?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for recognizing that the federal government is doing its share and more in the integration of potential citizens that it invites into this country. It is an important point to make. Not very many make that point as it is merited.

With respect to what our provincial partners would do on some of these issues, we have an ongoing review of our arrangement and they have to deliver on the services. They asked for our accord. British Columbia is one of those provinces with which we have an accord and therefore concomitant obligations that we will--

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver Island North.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian lumber industry has paid by far the largest legal bills during the four year softwood dispute with almost no assistance from the Canadian government. This is despite the fact NAFTA itself is under attack by U.S. softwood interests. The Canadian lumber industry has requested help. The official opposition has called for it and the previous trade minister promised it.

When can we expect this kind of help from the minister?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right, our softwood lumber industry has been under assault in terms of trade actions by the United States, which have been held unlawful by the panels of the WTO and NAFTA.

That was one of the reasons that we brought forward a $356 million package to support the workers, the communities and the industries. We are looking at further proposals in this area.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board is a government mandated agency. It exists because of federal legislation. It has its own minister who has ultimate responsibility for the board.

After the last election, the board hired the minister's campaign manager as its lobbyist. Now the minister is becoming hypersensitive, trying to sue opposition members who pointed out the obvious conflict of interest.

How can the minister justify this hundred thousand dollar plus patronage position for his close friend?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows and as all members who have paid attention to this know, this process was undertaken by an arm's-length recruiter. I played no role in this. I was not part of it. The Wheat Board has testified to that. I had no knowledge of the appointment until after it was made.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Belinda Stronach Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the re-opening of the U.S. border to Canadian cattle is far from a sure thing. The U.S. secretary of agriculture said that he may change his mind one minute before midnight on March 6. The U.S. government is being sued by a group of its own cattlemen and powerful republican senators are trying to keep the border closed.

The Prime Minister has failed to provide honest leadership to Canadians and has flip-flopped on missile defence with the Americans. His indecision could jeopardize the re-opening of the border.

If the border remains shut on March 7, will the Prime Minister take responsibility for the hardship he is causing the Canadian beef industry?