House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Summer Career Placement Program
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Orders of this House, I am pleased to table this afternoon a petition signed by more than 600 inhabitants of Verchères—Les Patriotes and the surrounding area who ask for the maintenance and even for the improvement of the summer career placement program.

I can say right now that I will be tabling a second petition on the same subject in the next few days.

Visitor Visas
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition pertaining to visa requirements for the Republic of Poland. This petition is signed by a significant number of people from my constituency of Winnipeg North where there is a very vibrant Polish community that has been playing a very important part in our community's cultural and economic life.

The petitioners point out to Parliament that there is a double standard. Canadians do not need a visa to go to Poland, yet Polish people need a visa to come to Canada. They think this is unjust and unfair for good relations and trading patterns. They call upon Parliament to lift the visa requirements for the Republic of Poland.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

April 16th, 2007 / 3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178 and 182.

Question No. 173
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

What projects, grants, contributions and any other funding support has Human Resources and Social Development Canada funded for the riding of Trinity-Spadina since January 1, 2006?

Question No. 173
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, government information on funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees issued by departments and agencies is based on parliamentary authorities for departmental or agency programs and activities. This information is listed by department and government organization in the public accounts and disclosed on the web sites of government organizations. However, government organizations do not compile or analyze expenditure information by electoral district. Consequently, at present, it would not be possible to provide the information in the form requested.

Over the course of the 39th Parliament, a number of government organizations have undertaken efforts to identify federal expenditures by postal codes which could then be summarized by electoral districts using a tool developed by Statistics Canada. While there is some promise in this approach, there remains a significant potential for error since over 5,000 postal codes straddle two or more electoral districts. Moreover, the government would have significant concerns about the quality of the financial data derived by this approach because there is no way to track the geographic area in which federal funding is actually spent. For example, federal funding could be provided to the head office of a firm situated in one electoral district, while the funding was actually spent by a subsidiary located in another electoral district. This may also be the case for payments to individuals, organizations or foundations. For these reasons, and the fact that fewer than half of government organizations have acquired the Statistics Canada tool, it is not possible to produce an accurate and comprehensive answer to this question at the present time.

That said, Statistics Canada has initiated a process to enhance the accuracy of the tool that provides the link between postal codes and electoral districts. The process will allow departments to better approximate by electoral district data gathered on a postal code basis. The improved tool should be available in the fall of 2007. In the interim, the Privy Council Office will also launch an interdepartmental process to determine whether this tool can be extended to all government organizations as well as the means to ensure that it is used in a consistent manner across the whole of government.

Question No. 174
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

With regard to new Canadians who arrived from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the last five years: (a) what is the number of recent arrivals who are natives or citizens of the DPRK; (b) what is the number of people who are natives or citizens of the DPRK and have been granted refugee status; (c) what is the number of people who are natives or citizens of the DPRK that were not granted refugee status; and (d) what is the number of people currently being processed through the refugee system?

Question No. 174
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada is concerned, with regard to foreign nationals who arrived from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK, over the last five years:

a) We have interpreted “recent arrivals” to mean persons who were granted permanent residence by applying from outside of Canada. This would include permanent residents in all of the immigration categories. We have also interpreted “natives or citizens of the DPRK” to mean persons who were born in the DPRK. Our systems do not enable us to reliably disaggregate natives from citizens. The 127 persons who were born in the DPRK were granted permanent residence in Canada in the last five years;

b) two persons born in the DPRK were determined in Canada to be convention refugees or persons in need of protection;

c) two persons born in the DPRK were determined in Canada to be neither convention refugees nor persons in need or protection; and

d) as of December 31, 2006, 26 persons born in the DPRK were awaiting a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board with respect to their claims for refugee protection.

Question No. 175
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell Vancouver Island North, BC

With regard to the 1992 decision of the government to seize fishermen's assets to pay for loans offered under the Fisheries Improvement Loans Act, will the government take action on the following requests from the Fishermen's Redress Committee to: (a) appoint a representative of the Prime Minister to enter negotiations with the Fishermen's Redress Committee; (b) compensate the fishermen in their loss; and (c) offer an apology for the many years of suffering they have endured?

Question No. 175
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the government is not considering at this time any actions related to past loan guarantees and debt recovery that occurred under FILA. The government did not seize the assets of fishers to pay for loans that were guaranteed under FILA. Through FILA, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans provided loan guarantees so that fishers could receive loans at favorable rates from lending institutions. In the unfortunate case of defaulted loans, the lending institution followed through with a collection process, and in some cases assets were seized. DFO was not involved in those decisions; indeed, the Department paid the difference on any remaining amounts, relieving fishers of any further obligations to the lenders. After the government paid a claim to a lender for a loss incurred on a FILA guarantee, the debtor (the fisher) was still expected to repay the government for the loss paid on his or her behalf.

However, collection action by the government was only implemented when the financial circumstances of the debtor (fisher) improved to where a repayment plan was possible. For those who were unable to pay in the foreseeable future, borrowers were asked to submit documentary evidence such as a statement of affairs, employment record, health conditions, etc. The debt was then written-off, pursuant to Treasury Board guidelines, if it was deemed uncollectible (e.g. the debtor was bankrupt) or otherwise did not merit further action. No claims paid under FILA are outstanding and no collection action is being pursued. The government has written-off $13.5 million in paid claims, almost 85% of all defaulted FILA debts covered by DFO. With respect to programs established under FILA, government actions were consistent with FILA and Treasury Board guidelines. The government’s position is that it would be inappropriate to provide compensation and/or an apology for the actions of private financial institutions.

Question No. 176
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

What funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued in the constituency of Ottawa Centre since February 6, 2006, that are available in an electronic capacity, including the 2006-2007 Budget and up to today, and, in each case where applicable: (a) the department or agency responsible; (b) the program under which the payment was made; (c) the names of the recipients, if they were groups or organizations; (d) the monetary value of the payment made; and (e) the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?

Question No. 176
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, government information on funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees issued by departments and agencies is based on parliamentary authorities for departmental or agency programs and activities. This information is listed by department and government organization in the public accounts and disclosed on the web sites of government organizations. However, government organizations do not compile or analyze expenditure information by electoral district. Consequently, at present, it would not be possible to provide the information in the form requested.

Over the course of the 39th Parliament, a number of government organizations have undertaken efforts to identify federal expenditures by postal codes which could then be summarized by electoral districts using a tool developed by Statistics Canada. While there is some promise in this approach, there remains a significant potential for error since over 5,000 postal codes straddle two or more electoral districts. Moreover, the government would have significant concerns about the quality of the financial data derived by this approach because there is no way to track the geographic area in which federal funding is actually spent. For example, federal funding could be provided to the head office of a firm situated in one electoral district, while the funding was actually spent by a subsidiary located in another electoral district. This may also be the case for payments to individuals, organizations or foundations. For these reasons, and the fact that fewer than half of government organizations have acquired the Statistics Canada tool, it is not possible to produce an accurate and comprehensive answer to this question at the present time.

That said, Statistics Canada has initiated a process to enhance the accuracy of the tool that provides the link between postal codes and electoral districts. The process will allow departments to better approximate by electoral district data gathered on a postal code basis. The improved tool should be available in the fall of 2007. In the interim, the Privy Council Office will also launch an interdepartmental process to determine whether this tool can be extended to all government organizations as well as the means to ensure that it is used in a consistent manner across the whole of government.

Question No. 177
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Can the Minister of Transport confirm what criteria are being used in the audit plan for the special examination of the National Capital Commission now being conducted by the Auditor General?

Question No. 177
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with section 138 of the Financial Administration Act, parent crown corporations shall cause a special Eeamination to be carried out at least once every five years. A special examination of the National Capital Commission, NCC, is scheduled for 2007. The Office of the Auditor General, OAG, will be conducting the examination and it is responsible for developing the audit criteria.

The OAG is in the very early stages of the audit process. As part of its standard process, the OAG presents the special examination plan, i.e. audit plan, which normally includes the audit criteria, to the crown corporation's audit committee. In the case of the NCC, the OAG expects to present this plan to the corporation in early spring 2007.

Question No. 178
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

With respect to agriculture programs are there any bilateral initiatives between Canada and Afghanistan such as farmer exchange programs, agriculture student exchanges, reduced tariffs on imports such as pistachios, almonds, apricots as incentive to curb poppy production, technology transfer, or any government agency linkages between Canada and Afghanistan?

Question No. 178
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, Canada’s approach is to help Afghans help themselves and to strengthen the presence of the national government across the country. Support focuses on Afghan national programs that ensure local ownership, accountability and community-based engagement.

The Canadian International Development Agency’s, CIDA, Afghanistan program’s assistance framework has evolved over the years. Its current priorities have been created to support those identified in the Afghan government’s interim national development strategy and have been identified by Afghanistan as key to extending the reach of the government and allowing development and economic growth to combat poverty.

CIDA’s three thematic priorities across the country, including Kandahar Province, are as follows: sustainable rural livelihoods and community-based development, improving democratic development and effective governance, and supporting the role of women and girls in society, including education. Canada’s funding is delivered through trusted and well-managed partner organizations including the World Bank, UN organizations as well as reputable international and Canadian non-governmental organizations, NGOs.

Afghanistan, along with all other least developed countries, LDC, benefits from the 2003 Government of Canada market access initiative, which allows for tariff and quota-free access for virtually all products, excluding certain dairy and poultry products, imported from LDCs. Agricultural products such as pistachios and almonds fall under the market access initiative.

Technology transfer for agriculture occurs directly and indirectly through certain projects of CIDA. CIDA has implemented a community renewal project in northeast Afghanistan through the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s, AKFC, community renewal program, providing alternative livelihood options in the context of concerted anti-narcotics efforts. Most of these efforts have been related to agricultural development, including livestock development centres, animal vaccination, livestock technologies training, rangeland rehabilitation and the establishment of forestry nurseries, horticulture nurseries, trial farms and farmer schools.

Canada has also contributed to the mine action national development budget which has focused on clearing areas affected by land mines and other ordnance freeing up key arable land for agriculture. Additionally, CIDA has been involved in a number of quick impact projects that have provided seeds and fertilizers to 70,000 farmers.

Indirectly, other CIDA projects such as the national solidarity program, NSP, have supported technology transfer. The NSP gives rural Afghans a voice in their country’s development through the election of community leaders to community development councils, CDCs. The program supports the CDCs to lead their communities through processes to identify, plan, manage, and monitor their own development projects. Under NSP, more than half of the community projects involve productive infrastructure such as irrigation, roads, and village electrification, thereby promoting productivity and stimulating local economies.