House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 413
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) response to the provisions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): (a) according to the government’s analysis, do the FATCA provisions comply with the provisions of the Convention Between Canada and the United States of America With Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital and its amending Protocol (2007); (b) how many citizens from the United States of America will be affected by FATCA, (ii) are there specific Canadian exemptions to FATCA; (c) has Canada negotiated with United States Treasury officials or the IRS following the announcement of FATCA provisions, (i) at what time was the government made aware of these provisions, (ii) how long did it take Canada to respond to the initial creation of FATCA and its implementation, (iii) are there ongoing negotiations in this regard; (d) will Canada inform dual citizens about FATCA and, if so, (i) how, (ii) at what time, (iii) what department or agencies will be responsible; (e) has the government conducted any studies or mandated a task force to look into how much FATCA will cost Canadians and, if so, what are the cost implications resulting from the additional regulations and demands, (i) for the government, (ii) for the CRA, (iii) for Canadian banks, (iv) who will absorb these costs, (v) are there other types of non-financial costs such as efficiency or fairness reductions; (f) which Canadian civil liberties associations or other types of association has the government met with to discuss the privacy implications of FATCA and what actions will the government undertake to protect the fundamental civil liberties of all Canadians in this regard; (g) according to the government’s analysis, do the FATCA provisions comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act or the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and if so, which department undertook this assesment; (h) in order to discuss the implications of FATCA, who within the government has met with (i) Canadian banks, (ii) other financial institutions, (iii) insurance companies; (i) how many complaints has the CRA received regarding FATCA, (i) what are the main complaints, (ii) what has the CRA done concerning these complaints, (iii) what department at the CRA is in charge of dealing with complaints of this nature, (iv) will the CRA cut Full-Time Equivalents from that department or reduce its funding, (v) has the office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman looked into the matter; (j) has Canada ever studied the development or implementation of a process similar to FATCA to improve tax compliance involving foreign financial assets and offshore accounts; (k) who will be most affected by FATCA and have concerns been raised by entities such as, but not limited to, (i) interests groups, (ii) stakeholder groups, (iii) hedge funds; and (l) will FATCA affect different saving vehicles such as, but not limited to, (i) Registered Retirement Savings Plans, (ii) Registered Education Savings Plans, (iii) Registered Disability Savings Plans, (iv) Tax-Free Savings Accounts?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 416
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

With regard to government funding allocated within the constituency of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles since fiscal year 2004-2005, up to and including the current fiscal year: (a) what is the total amount of funding by (i) department, (ii) agency, (iii) other government entity, (iv) program; and (b) how many (i) full-time, (ii) part-time jobs were created as a direct result of this funding?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 418
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

With regard to social and environmental security in the Canadian Arctic and following such environmental disasters as the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig: (a) how many emergency response or contingency plans are currently in effect, (i) which departments are responsible for these plans, (ii) in the event that several departments are responsible for certain plans, what coordination measures have been introduced to implement them, (iii) have these plans been adapted to meet the conditions in the Canadian Arctic; (b) what is the total amount spent by the government on social and environmental security in the Canadian Arctic from 2004-2005 up to and including the current fiscal year; (c) what facilities exist and are currently available in Canada to deal with an environmental catastrophe such as an Arctic oil spill; (d) how many infrastructures such as roadways, airfields, staging areas, supply areas, medical facilities, ships, aircraft and kilometres of booms are currently available and ready for use in Canada; (e) what are the estimated response times for oil spills in the Canadian Arctic given the geographic isolation of the area; and (f) what is the total labour force that Canada can call on to take action in this region in the event of a disaster like an oil spill, (i) how many people in Canada are currently trained for this type of response and where is this training offered, (ii) how many search and rescue personnel are currently north of the 60th parallel?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Before I can agree that all questions be allowed to stand, I rise on a point of order. I submitted a question that I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to answer.

On page 468 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, it states:

It is at this time that Members raise any concerns they have about their questions and request information about the status of the reply.

I have concerns about the answer to my question Q-410. The answer was tabled this Monday, March 12. In my question, I asked for specifics. Who was consulted regarding the creation of the office of religious freedom? When did the consultations take place? What are the names of those who were consulted in October 2011? What discussions were held at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade about inviting Amnesty International? Why was that organization not invited? Who are the employees responsible for the development of the office of religious freedom within the Prime Minister's Office, the Minister of Foreign Affairs's office and other ministers' offices? And so on.

All these questions were very specific, very concrete. The answer I was given was, “The government expects to have more to say about this important initiative shortly”. They say “shortly”, Mr. Speaker.

The rules tell us that members may also request that the government respond within 45 calendar days, by so indicating when submitting the question. That is what I did. I asked for an answer within 45 days.

I have specific questions about what has been done so far. The 45th day will be this Friday, March 16. The government has two days left to provide a full answer to my question. I am asking the parliamentary secretary to tell me if and when the government will provide an acceptable answer to my question.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I think it is a matter of definition what is considered acceptable.

What the government has done is respond to the member's question within the 45-day time limit. I think the answer is self-explanatory, which is that there will be further information coming in a short period of time. We expect that should satisfy the member's concerns.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very sensitive to what it is the member is actually proposing.

When a notice or a question is given to the government through the order paper, we expect that we will receive full and transparent answers to those questions. Suffice to say that it is not good enough for the government to say, “Here is some portion and then we will get back to you at some time in the future”. That is not appropriate. We would expect that the response to questions that are submitted to the government in this format is within that 45-day timeframe and that it is a complete response within that 45 days.

I would ask the government to recognize that it should be standard process in terms of responding, that the questions be responded to with full and complete answers within that 45-day time period, which is plenty of time for the government to respond to a written question.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his comments.

Indeed, contrary to what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons says, my question has not been answered. It is simple. Given that the deadline is this Friday, my question for the government is the following: when will it answer my question?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, as members know, and as I have already indicated, the government has made a response within the 45-day time period. Further information will be forthcoming and it should be done soon in an appropriate period of time.

However, I want to take this opportunity to answer one of the questions from a Liberal colleague. I should also point out questions, according to the Standing Orders, have to be concise. It is a fond and, quite frankly, more frequent practice of members of the opposition, particularly from the Liberal Party, to ask questions that are literally, in some cases, tens of thousands of words long. That I do not believe suits anybody's definition of the word “concise”. It is that reason why some questions answered by this government, in response to the opposition's queries, have cost over a quarter of a million dollars, what I consider to be an enormous amount of money to answer questions that many times are done for frivolous or partisan purposes, rather than a general enquiry.

I would encourage my hon. colleagues on both sides of the opposition benches to take into account all of the provisions in the Standing Orders and ensure that they try to conform to those as well.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I think questions like the one about how experts and invited guests at a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs were selected are concise questions.

The hon. member keeps saying that a response has been made, but unfortunately, the response does not answer the question. In 2004 or 2005, the Auditor General investigated a similar situation and said that responses to members' written questions were an integral part of our parliamentary system and should be respected.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Shall the remaining questions be allowed to stand?