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House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agency.

Topics

Immigration And Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I am going to let the minister of immigration answer the question if she wants to.

Immigration And Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, an unfortunate incident occurred on the Immigration and Refugee Board. The commission chair—and I would remind the House that this commission is a quasi-judicial tribunal—requested an outside inquiry, which was carried out revealing no general problem within the commission. The individual in question offered an apology to the entire staff of the commission. Accordingly, as far as I, the minister responsible, am concerned the matter is closed.

Immigration And Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the apology but that is not enough. The Immigration Act allows for a public judicial inquiry to investigate the need for disciplinary action against members of the refugee board. Instead of a public inquiry the same lawyer who is representing the government on APEC affairs was hired to do a report on the Frecker case. The refugee board hears the cases of people fleeing genocide, murder and torture and so on.

Why was there no public inquiry into Frecker's actions. Is this another cover-up like APEC?

Immigration And Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party is blowing the situation out of proportion. It was handled well by the chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The people involved in the incident accepted the individual's apologies and, as far as the commission is concerned, the matter is closed.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to RCMP tapes Jean Carle was the man giving the orders to the RCMP at APEC.

My question is to the Prime Minister and it is very simple. Did he give Jean Carle the green light and order the clamp down at APEC, yes or no?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as everyone in this House knows, there is an inquiry going on in Vancouver. It is being done in the way that parliament feels these kinds of issues should be dealt with. The commission counsel has access to $650,000 additional dollars to make sure everyone has the assistance they need to ensure this is done fairly.

I wish hon. members would let us get to the truth.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Prime Minister. The only thing we want to hear the solicitor general say when he stands up is “I resign”.

The Prime Minister is the only man in Canada who can clarify this issue. Let us try it again. Was Jean Carle acting on the orders of the Prime Minister, yes or no?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Carle will be a witness. He volunteered to be a witness. Let him appear in front of the commission. The commission will hear him. Mr. Carle was responsible for the operation because it was a summit receiving 18 other leaders of the world. Mr. Carle had to be communicating with everyone. He is a witness. He volunteered to be a witness and he gave all the documents the commission asked him for.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development used to tell us to wait for his study if we wanted to know the changes to be made to his program. Now he is using that study to disguise reality and to cover his colleague in finance, who wants to get his hands on the EI surplus.

Does the minister admit that the reality presented in his study is that, out of 100 unemployed workers who have paid into the fund, only 43 drew benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong, and he knows it. The hon. member is mistaken, and he has understood nothing in the study. Let us be clear, and I will make it clear for once and for all: 78% of those who contribute to employment insurance draw benefits from our system.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I invite the minister to have a look at the table on page 47 of his study, and then he will make no more ridiculous statements like that one.

The minister should tailor the employment insurance program to the new needs of the labour market. When we see that only 43% of unemployed workers who contributed to the plan received benefits in 1997, does the minister acknowledge that his program has been tailored to fit the Minister of Finance's need of funds far more than to fit the needs of the labour market?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it blows me away to see how incapable the Bloc Quebecois members are of doing their homework and reading the most elementary of studies.

The contributor-recipient ratio is not a good tool for measuring the efficiency of the system. The 58% of unemployed they refer to are people who never contributed to the employment insurance system. They are young people who are coming on the labour market but have not yet taken part in the labour market. They are self-employed workers, who are not covered, and for whom employment insurance was never intended. They are people who have been out of work for more than a year and have not contributed—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lakeland.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, international drug cartels have targeted our refugee system as an easy mark to get their dealers on to our streets.

Last week Vancouver police arrested 72 drug dealers, most of whom were refugee claimants. Rather than taking action to fix the situation our immigration minister says it is not her problem, it is a police problem.

I would like the minister to stop passing the buck and to admit this problem is her responsibility and not that of the police.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, our department is very aware of the present state of affairs in Vancouver and is concerned about drug trafficking.

Despite what the opposition member just said, it was my department that created a committee last May to co-ordinate the efforts of all agencies involved, including the police, in order to find out exactly what is going on.

The Immigration Act provides us with all the tools we need, and if foreign nationals are found guilty of crimes in Canada, we will be able to deport them.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will tell the minister what is going on because I was on the streets of Vancouver and I saw what was happening.

Refugees are abusing this system and dealing drugs on our streets. The police are calling for action. Officials in her own department are calling for action. She sits by and pushes papers. Why does she not push these pushers out of the country?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I trust that, as Canadians, Reform Party members subscribe to our justice system and its presumption of innocence.

Someone charged with a crime is not immediately presumed to be a criminal. The judicial process must be allowed to take its course. But the moment people are sentenced, it is very clear that the Department of Citizenship and Immigration will take action.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

October 21st, 1998 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development has already told us that young people will no longer have access to benefits as the result of his reform, because, and I quote “Every time we give young people ready access to the employment insurance system, we do them no favour”.

Is the minister not ashamed at having all the young people pay contributions, when, for their own good, they are essentially denied access to benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Human Resources Development in a responsible government, I consider it vital to not help young people gain easy access to a precarious life where they move from one little job to another. That is what I said.

As for those who have contributed, most of them get their contributions back at the end of the year when they are not covered.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand from the minister is that he is looking out for the welfare of the young people, but in exchange he wants to take money from their pockets to give to the Minister of Finance. That is unacceptable.

Let us take as an example a young person who has worked ten hours a week at McDonald's. Will the minister acknowledge that this young person had not been contributing before and now he is, except that he no longer qualifies for EI.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is vital that the system be fair and help young people get somewhere in life.

We are being criticized for having set up an hour based system. We did change from a system based on weeks to one based on hours and I think this arrangement has helped women in particular, because they work in part time jobs, which are now covered, whereas they were not in the past. This is a much more interesting situation.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I met with many farmers in the last while and they have a message for the minister of agriculture. There is a farm income crisis on the prairies. Average net farm income in Canada dropped 55% last year and will drop 50% this year. Farmers also told me that NISA and crop insurance do not cut it anymore.

Will the minister admit there is a farm income crisis on the prairies, yes or no?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we have for a number of months been having discussions with the farm leaders and the provinces to discuss the unfortunate situation as far as farm income is concerned.

What the farmers are fortunate for is the fact that the Reform Party is not the government because in the last election it said it would cut funding to departments like agriculture, fisheries and natural resources by $640 million and then it would take away from the departments another $690 million. Aren't farmers fortunate that Reform is not the government.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, this minister knows that the bureaucrats would have been the ones who lost the funding, not the farmers.

I cannot understand why this minister is not listening. The Saskatchewan legislature had an emergency debate yesterday. All parties passed a resolution. This minister ought to be listening to what is happening on the prairies. It is about time he got his head out of the stubble field.

The average NISA account is not even enough to pay for the fertilizer and the fuel next spring. Does the minister not recognize that there is a serious farm crisis in incomes that needs to be addressed now and not talked about?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that I have had discussions with my colleague in Saskatchewan and all my colleagues and farm leaders across the country. As recently as last week the safety net review committee met all day long in Ottawa. We have had discussions with those people and I am calling other meetings in the very near future to act on this in a very proactive way in partnership with the producers, the provincial governments and all those involved.