House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, over two years ago this House of Commons passed an NDP motion to ban trans fats in Canada. The entire city of New York will soon be trans fat free. Even the worst of the worst fast food has changed its ways, but the health minister is nowhere to be found on this issue. Trans fats have been scientifically proven to drastically increase the risk of heart attacks. They are totally unnecessary.

Will the minister announce today that Canada will officially be the second country in the world to ban trans fats in our food?

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is well aware, a report is under consideration by the Canadian public as well as by the Government of Canada regarding this very issue. We are certainly studying it very closely. The hon. member neglected to mention that food companies in this country have voluntarily gone trans fat free, or are radically reducing their trans fat. We would encourage that trend to continue.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the galleries today of young people who are participating in the Take Our Kids to Work Program.

The Take Our Kids to Work program gives participants an opportunity to experience the demands and the reality of the work world.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Bravo!

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

In oral question period, the hon. member for Outremont used unparliamentary language when asking two questions. I am now requesting that he withdraw his remarks immediately. Thank you.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, out of respect for you, I withdraw the word that has offended your delicate ears.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

November 1st, 2006 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege concerning remarks made by the Minister of National Revenue in yesterday's question period.

Yesterday during question period the minister responded to a set-up question from the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley that “since 1999, the Liberals cut 459 CRA positions in Summerside alone”. It is my belief that these comments raise a prime facie question of privilege as they are an inaccurate representation of the facts and a blatant attempt to impede my ability to effectively represent my constituents.

My first concern is the minister's assertion that past Liberal governments have cut 459 jobs at the Summerside tax centre. This is an absolute misrepresentation of the facts. There was no significant decrease in permanent jobs at the Summerside tax centre under the Liberal government. The centre was established in 1993 with a core 400 to 500 permanent jobs. The minister knows that there are considerably more than that presently employed at the Summerside tax centre. In fact a combination of permanent, contract and term positions can fluctuate up to 1,100 jobs at certain times of the year.

The minister's statements were a false representation. In fact, if the minister's statements were true that 459 jobs had been eliminated, the centre would be closed.

Second, I spoke with the minister before her meeting with the mayor of Summerside. I asked her before this visit about the situation at the tax centre. At that time she assured me that he, the mayor, would be travelling back to Summerside, and I quote what she said, “a happy man”. I took from that that she had solved the problem on her own and that she had convinced the Minister of Finance to rescind the cuts and the jobs had been reinstated. Obviously that did not happen.

To continue on this point, I have taken this issue to the Commons standing committee, this is true. My colleagues on my behalf took it to the Standing Committee on Finance. Following confusing media reports on the effects changing government policy would have on the tax centre and to ensure that all stakeholders were aware of the full implications of the decision, my colleagues moved a motion at the Standing Committee on Finance that requires the committee to fully investigate the local and national implications of the elimination of the GST visitor rebate program.

Again, I find it incomprehensible that the minister would not think that a parliamentary motion by Liberal MPs at a standing committee of this very House did not constitute bringing this issue to the fore. As a former member of the finance committee, one would think that the Minister of National Revenue would have more respect for the committee process and would recognize this as a legitimate function of my parliamentary duties.

I am just halfway through, Mr. Speaker.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

In that case the hon. member for Egmont will want to get to the point. It sounds to me like a major disagreement on facts, but on a question of privilege, he has to indicate to the House what privilege it is that has been breached. He said something at the beginning, but we seem to have gone astray since. I hope the hon. member will get to the point of the question of privilege because this sounds like debate.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, I want to call your attention to the ruling of Speaker Lamoureux referred to in Marleau and Montpetit at page 84.

--that parliamentary privilege includes the right of a member to discharge his responsibilities as a member of the House free from threats or attempts at intimidation.

I am trying to perform my duties as a parliamentarian described on page 186 of Marleau and Montpetit as representing constituents and getting action out of government, and yet find myself subjected to false accusations.

The elimination of the visitor rebate program has very grave circumstances for the constituents I represent. It means real job losses in the city of Summerside. It was announced as a complete surprise after no consultation with me, other parliamentarians, affected individuals in Summerside, or indeed the tourism industry across this country. I am attempting to find answers for my constituents and represent their interests here in Ottawa through legitimate parliamentary channels.

To conclude, Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to examine the merits of this question of privilege with respect to the remarks of the Minister of National Revenue on the grounds I have outlined above. The minister has given an inaccurate representation of the facts in a blatant attempt to impede my ability to effectively represent my constituents.

Mr. Speaker, should you decide that there is a prima facie case of privilege, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am actually quite surprised that the hon. member, who has considerable experience in this chamber, would rise on this matter. This is not even close to a question of privilege.

The hon. member does not like the facts being told to him by the Minister of National Revenue. If he does not want to hear the facts from various ministers of the Crown, then he should take it up in debate.

If he wants to talk about how the previous government so poorly treated the maritime provinces, it would not be a question of privilege. It was something that might take up the rest of the session, if we were going to fully explore that, but clearly this is not a question of privilege.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I support my colleague in terms of his facts as challenged by the hon. House leader. As a former minister of revenue who travelled to this location many times, his numbers certainly ring true and so does the logic of his statement.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am very supportive. We have to keep in mind that this was a set-up question by the governing party on the other side, a soft lob, of which it tried to put misinformation in the House, which affected the privileges of the member for Egmont.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Carol Skelton Minister of National Revenue and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, the numbers I received from my officials in Revenue Canada were the numbers that were given. The member opposite never spoke to me until after the mayor of Summerside visited me.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

An hon. member

Shame on you.

Remarks Made by Minister of National Revenue
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

No, it was after because he said something to me about Mayor Basil Stewart, and what he had told him after he met with me.

It is false. The numbers were given to me by Revenue Canada officials.