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House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Social Insurance NumbersOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thought I was very clear yesterday when I said that my department was the lead ministry on this file.

We have already begun to address the situation by setting up five working groups. One will be involved in cleaning up the registries. It involves working with the provinces, as they are responsible for births and deaths. They keep those registries. We need that information.

We are already working very hard at improving the security features of the card.

I also hope the standing committee of the House will help us.

We are making major improvements in this area. To do a better job we need the assistance of our colleagues in the House.

Social Insurance NumbersOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Progressive Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government says it has no money for the victims of hepatitis C, it has no money for the unemployed, it has no money for farmers, it has no money for health care.

Could the Minister of Human Resources Development explain why his government can afford to pay out millions of dollars to people making fraudulent use of social insurance numbers?

Social Insurance NumbersOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I think I made it quite clear that we have begun to work very hard to eliminate this fraud. We have considerably stepped up our efforts in this regard.

I would however like to return to the premise of the question asked by the opposition member: that we have no money for workers and for the unemployed. We have considerably increased funding for active measures to help them return to the labour market—up to $2 billion annually.

In the next two years, we will increase the tax credit by $1.7 billion in order to improve the situation of children living in poor families. We have invested $300 million in the transitional jobs fund. These are achievements—

Social Insurance NumbersOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Bourassa.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

All Canadians share the pain of the people of Honduras and Nicaragua. We are pleased, moreover, that the Canadian government has contributed $1 million in aid.

But I would like to know what the minister's intentions are with respect to future permanent residence or visitor visa applications by people from these countries.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by saying how distressed the people of Canada are by the dreadful consequences of the hurricane on the lives of thousands of people in Central America. That is why Canada is monitoring the situation closely and providing the aid we can afford.

As for immigrant applications for family reunification, visitor visas or student visas, I can assure the members of this House that steps will be taken to ensure that all necessary humanitarian consideration is given in such situations.

In addition, people from these countries who are currently visiting Canada have the possibility of extending their visitor visas at this time.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Reform Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, at a meeting I attended yesterday, the members for Davenport and Lac-Saint-Louis accused Health Canada of incompetence, negligence and using Canadians as guinea pigs regarding the use of the manganese gasoline additive MMT.

During the MMT debate in the House, Health Canada categorically stated that MMT did not pose a threat to the health of Canadians.

I ask the health minister: Who is telling the truth, Health Canada or these two members?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I will let that question stand, but we are getting close.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, he may be getting close, but he is not getting close to the truth.

The truth is that Health Canada—

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish we were playing horseshoes. The hon. minister is now even.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada oversaw the work done on research into MMT and the health effects. We made the results of that research available to other departments. Indeed, work continues to examine the health effects on humans, in particular children, with respect to MMT. As that science is done, using research not only here in Canada but around the world, we will continue to make the results available to those who are making policy.

Canadian PassportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the new incident involving passports shows there is a problem controlling the circulation of Canadian passports, but not necessarily a problem of passport security per se. The minister says this is the most secure passport in the world.

If the passport is so safe, why is the Minister of Foreign Affairs preparing to take away the contract of the Spexel company in Beauharnois to supply security paper in favour of foreign countries?

Canadian PassportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we review the technology of passports on a five year basis. No other country does that, but we think it is appropriate in order to keep up in the most modern way possible.

What we are now working on is a new photo digital imaging system which would make it virtually impossible to forge any kind of passport. That will require a very different technology. Of course, all that technology will be available for bid by Canadian companies and I hope that we will be in a position to start distributing it to Canadians next year.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Rick Laliberte NDP Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the health minister.

Now that the government has addressed the legal challenge surrounding MMT by paying Ethyl Corporation $20 million, when will the minister table the report that endorsed MMT? When will the study begin, a comprehensive study with money, to determine the health risks to Canadian children?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, work continues on research and the effects of MMT, which is a subject of inquiry not only in Canada but around the world.

As more is known about the health effects of MMT, government policy will reflect those research results.

Canadian FarmersOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise Progressive Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week I asked the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for a firm commitment on aid for Canada's farmers, in particular those drought stricken farmers in my riding of West Nova. His reply was to wait until he met with his provincial counterparts on November 4.

Today the parliamentary secretary said that the deputy ministers are meeting to discuss the issue.

How much longer will our farmers have to wait before the government steps in with some kind of emergency relief?

Canadian FarmersOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

Joe McGuire LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, the three partners in agriculture, the federal government, the provincial governments and the producers, did meet yesterday. They recognize the extent of the downturn and the impact it is having on Canadian farmers. That was only the first step. It was a major step.

The hon. member's problem is being addressed through that process. In due time I think he will be very pleased with the results.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has signed a United Nations accord on heavy metals, committing Canada to reduce emissions of mercury, cadmium and lead by 50% over eight years.

I would like to congratulate the Minister of the Environment and ask her when targets and timetables for the reduction and elimination of these metals in Canada are likely to be announced.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this is a very important issue for the health of Canadians. The protocol that we signed in Norway in June will be ratified by us before the end of this year.

The impact of this will be that it will prevent a lot of heavy metals coming into Canada from abroad. But Canada will continue to take its own actions. We have reduced levels of mercury to 64% below 1980 levels already, well beyond the protocol requirements.

We will continue to reduce levels of mercury. We are working through the harmonization agreement with ministers of the environment of the provinces and we will be making our announcement—

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

The HomelessOral Question Period

November 5th, 1998 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

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

Homelessness has reached crisis proportions across Canada. In response, apparently a cabinet committee will study the issue. I will save it the time.

Two hundred thousand Canadians are homeless. The lucky ones find temporary beds in shelters. Thousands of others sleep on park benches and huddle in doorways for warmth. We know what keeps them there. No federal funding and no support for social housing.

Will the Prime Minister scrap the hypocritical doublespeak and commit real dollars to the homelessness emergency in Canada?

The HomelessOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask the hon. member to withdraw the word hypocritical, please.

The HomelessOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Yes, I will.

The HomelessOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government is concerned with the problems of poverty in this country, including homelessness. Federal ministers are looking at the matter. They are working on it with provincial counterparts. The important thing is to recognize what we have already begun doing through the child tax benefit, for example. That is producing now and in future years an additional one and a half billion dollars to help poor families and children. That shows our concern, that shows our commitment.

It goes beyond the words of the hon. member. I cannot say they are hypocritical because the Speaker—

The HomelessOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I ask the hon. minister to withdraw the word hypocritical.