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House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the debate on the prairies is obviously healthier than the debate across the way.

An editorial in yesterday's Lethbridge Herald said this: “Democracy is alive and well in agriculture in western Canada. The most important thing from a farmer morale perspective is the actual vote. Finally, for the first time since the federal government instituted the wheat board in 1935, farmers will have a say in who serves them in the global marketplace”.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Reform Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Hong Kong war veterans, having endured as prisoners of war of Japan in World War II, also suffered from a Canadian government cover-up in 1955.

Fifty years later the concerns are still unanswered, though all-party committees give full support for compensation. Time is running out.

When will the minister listen to his colleagues, apologize for the cover-up and get on with the compensation?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is aware that there is an all-party agreement, presented in a committee report, which is before parliament and which the government is considering. He is very much aware of the file, as am I, and we have discussed it personally. He is also aware that this is a very complex file. It is 58 years old.

I want to assure the House that this government will take the time that it needs to take all of these factors into consideration and put forward the most positive solution possible to this age old problem.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has a solemn responsibility to look after our war veterans, and yet this government has neglected the veterans who are under care at the Perley-Rideau veterans' hospital in Ottawa. Our veterans do not deserve that kind of treatment.

I ask the Minister of Veterans Affairs, why is this government shirking its responsibility to provide veterans with adequate health care?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I have discussed this in committee.

I want to tell the hon. member that no one is more concerned about the health of veterans than we are on this side of the House, in this government.

I also want to tell the hon. member that this country has the best veterans' benefits in the world. I stand by that.

I also want to tell him with respect to the Perley-Rideau veterans' hospital that we are concerned about the level of health care. I do not know if the hon. member is aware of it or not, but I will tell him and all members of this House that we have done two audits. The last one was done in April. The audits show that the health care is the same level as it was four years ago.

Social Program FundingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

In the first year of the CHST my home province of Saskatchewan lost about $100 million in transfers for health and education. Now the federal government is going to allow wealthy hedge fund investors to make the same $100 million on tax deductions if they channel money into health and education.

How can the government justify putting hospitals and schools in the financial position where they have to rely on the casino economy and participate in hedge funds in order to secure financing for their operations?

Social Program FundingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government intends to monitor this situation very closely. We would certainly insist that any of the donors be fully at risk for any of the investments that are to be made.

At the same time, we are going to take a look at the advisability of a number of charities engaging in what could conceivably be risky investments.

Social Program FundingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hedge fund in question is for wealthy individuals who would receive a tax credit of up to $700,000 for an investment of only $250,000. It is really a subsidy for rich and wealthy gamblers like the Conrad Blacks of the world.

How can the finance minister possibly sit on his hands and allow schools and hospitals to starve in order to use a hedge fund to divert tax money to subsidize the rich?

Social Program FundingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the difficulties of having a supplementary question prepared in advance. I just said that the donors will have to be fully at risk if the tax consequences they seek were to arise.

At the same time, we are going to look at the advisability of hedge funds in this particular circumstance.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the CPP investment board is responsible for the pensions of all Canadians. It will have $80 billion worth of assets and it will be the most powerful force in Canada's equity markets.

The finance minister has assured this House that there will be no political interference with the Canada pension plan, yet of the twelve members of this board six are prominent Liberals.

How can Canadians trust that there will be no political interference in the decisions of this board when in fact there has been political interference in the appointment of this board?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is absolute nonsense. In fact, the provinces and the federal government got together on a list of some 20 appointees from whom the final list was taken. If one takes a look they will see that the vast majority of these people were recommended by the provinces. Unfortunately, the majority of the provinces do not have Liberal governments.

All of these people have outstanding qualities. It does no good to the Canada pension plan or to Canadians for the hon. member to demean some are very high quality Canadians.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister knows full well that the final decision rested with him, and the finance minister's final decision was to staff the board with Liberal partisans.

Canadians cannot trust that there will be no political interference in the decisions of this board because clearly there has been political interference in the appointment of this board.

Will the minister clean the slate and ensure that all appointments to this board go through a parliamentary review and approval process?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the provinces have already done this. The fact is that there was a joint stewardship between the provinces and the federal government. There was a committee set up to choose those people who would be nominated. We then went through and picked those people.

I simply go back to what I said before. When we ask Canadians to serve and to give up their time for the benefit of their fellow Canadians, I do not think it does anybody any good for the hon. member to stand in this House and decry what they are doing. They are serving their country and the hon. member should recognize that.

Canada CustomsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue recently issued a discussion paper on the future direction of the Canada customs and trade administration program.

How will the minister ensure that Canadian businesses and travellers are well served?

Canada CustomsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I recently launched a blueprint for Canada customs and revenue.

As our tourism has increased and as our trade has increased there are new challenges for Canada Customs in its trade administration.

We will be consulting with stakeholders, with employees and with Canadians on how to address the new challenges to ensure that we can expand tourism and continue to have increased trade, which is up 50%.

We are consulting, we are listening and we will be responding to Canadians.

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, in January 2000 we will see the sequel to the ice storm. There will be people without heat, there will be people without power and there will be people without water. There will even be people who will lose their jobs.

My question is to the Minister of Finance. What is the government's estimate for the number of jobs that will be lost and the drop in the GDP that will be caused by the millennium computer bug?

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, of course there have been all kinds of forecasts about the January 1, 2000 problem.

There is no doubt that we are trying to prepare the government and the various government departments to be absolutely ready for that date. Even the Bank of Canada is considering increasing the money supply.

The government has made plans to deal with the various contingencies that may happen at that time.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec minister of agriculture is holding a meeting in Montreal with the farming industry to discuss farm incomes and to prepare the upcoming negotiations with the WTO.

Why did the federal Minister of Agriculture, who was informed of this meeting, decide to compete by inviting Canadian and Quebec agriculture leaders the same day to discuss the same topics here in Ottawa?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we can do two things in one day and I am sure the people in the province of Quebec can too. I respect them for that.

I discussed the date for this meeting with all ministers of agriculture and people in the farm organizations in Canada and they agreed that they could attend the meeting tomorrow afternoon with some of their officials, while some of their other officials are attending other meetings in Montreal.

I will be in Montreal tomorrow morning and I will be in Ottawa tomorrow afternoon.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Mancini NDP Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it seems like a long time ago that a few students in British Columbia began to look for justice as a result of what happened at the APEC conference in British Columbia.

The legal complexities of this matter grow daily. The matter goes from the Public Complaints Commission to the federal court and back to the Public Complaints Commission, and yet the students are expected to represent themselves.

If this government will not set up an independent inquiry, will it at least reconsider its position and provide funding for the students' legal counsel?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, the Public Complaints Commission was established so that citizens would have access to a process that would not require that. That is the reason that counsel to the commission is assisting the students in their preparation during this procedure.

The Public Complaints Commission is an independent, arm's length organization established by parliament to do exactly what it is doing right now.

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

November 3rd, 1998 / 2:55 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata Independent York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The minister will know that Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto is an opportunity to showcase Canadian talent both here in Canada and internationally. The minister showed her support to the inaugural Walk of Fame last year in Toronto.

Can the Walk of Fame count on the minister's and the government's continued support for this most worthwhile initiative?

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, no, that was not a planted question.

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sheila Copps Liberal Hamilton East, ON

I will say that the launching of the Walk of Fame in Toronto was an absolute first for Canada. It was a blockbuster success. I am very pleased to tell the House that there are a number of Canadian cities that are looking at the option of establishing a similar walk of fame. I think it falls very nicely in line with the millennium. We as a country have to start to show the world our heroes.

That is exactly what was done in Toronto, and I think it could be done in Montreal, Vancouver and throughout Canada.