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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wheat.

Topics

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's chief information officer, Mr. Paul Rummell, quit his job over the weekend to move to the private sector. This move comes in the middle of the millennium bug battle, the largest technology project Canada's government has ever seen.

Mr. Rummell would have had to prepare a report on the status of the project for his successor. Will the Prime Minister release this report to the public?

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Rummell has served the government well. He came from the private sector and was here on a temporary contract. He has now finished his assignment. The year 2000 czar will now be in the public service, Mr. Guy McKenzie, who is a civil servant with an irreproachable past. He has shown that he has the qualities necessary to make a success of the endeavour.

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, the rats are fleeing the ship. Mr. Rummell left to avoid being the government's scapegoat when it ends up losing the race against the clock.

The millennium bug is a serious problem and the government needs to get it together within its ranks.

My question again is for the Prime Minister. Will he commit today to take personal responsibility and ownership when, 561 days and 9 hours from now, his government proves to be inadequately prepared for the next millennium?

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

The responsibility, Mr. Speaker, for dealing with the problem of the year 2000 bug has been given by the Prime Minister to Treasury Board. We have put together a year 2000 project office that at present has already done two surveys of the various federal departments and we are well on our way to being able to deal with the problem. The appointment of a first class official will help us take care of it.

YouthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development.

Can the secretary of state tell us what the federal government is doing to help young Canadians become active participants in the knowledge based economy?

YouthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalSecretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, besides providing a situation whereby Canada will be the most connected nation in the world by the year 2000, there is one particular initiative that needs to be mentioned. The Industry Canada SchoolNet digital collections program has already awarded 280 contracts, creating 1,400 jobs for young Canadians in order to increase Canadian content on the information highway in a significant kind of way, in the multimedia area and in entrepreneurship.

As well, for our aboriginal Canadians, on June 2 I announced a project for aboriginals that will be on the Internet, creating 200 jobs, giving them opportunities to be involved in entrepreneurship and giving us an opportunity to appreciate even more than we do our aboriginal—

YouthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary West.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, a long winded press release might have done just as well.

The minister responsible for Newfoundland is dumping 70 million Canadian tax dollars into the environmental mess at the former Argentia naval base. He is spinning it as a make-work project, just like the fishery, just like the Sydney tar ponds, just like TAGS; short term fixes ignoring the underlying problems of Atlantic Canada.

The Americans have committed to pay for the clean-up of their military bases in Newfoundland. Why will the minister not send the bill to Bill?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, Treasury Board approved a financial plan to clean up the Argentia site where American arms were left. The external affairs department is negotiating with the American government for a refund.

In the meantime we are cleaning up the environment and at the same time we are creating jobs in Newfoundland and in Atlantic Canada.

Year 2000 ComputersOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

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

In a unanimous report tabled May 14, the Standing Committee on Industry recommended that there be a complete tax write-off of new computers purchased by SMBs to replace those that are not Year 2000 ready.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister undertake to follow up on this tax measure by the end of the session so that SMBs may make the necessary adjustments as rapidly as possible?

Year 2000 ComputersOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are considering the situation very seriously. I would be very pleased to receive additional information to be able to give a more elaborate response to my hon. colleague as soon as possible.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's largest women's organization, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, has no funding to carry out the work of promoting justice and equality for women in Canada.

New funding guidelines are threatening the viability of women's organizations.

Will the minister responsible for the status of women ensure that her government spends at least $2 per woman and girl in Canada on women's equality and drop the new funding guidelines that are causing such unnecessary grief for women?

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is referring to the fact that the national action committee has not received funding yet from this government.

If the national action committee applies for funding it will be considered, but it has not yet applied.

Secondly, most of the large national organizations that are committed to working toward women's equality have already received their funding under the new guidelines.

I therefore appeal to the national action committee to apply.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, on April 30, 1998 the minister of immigration released a report on the number of ministerial permits issued in the year 1997. Of 4,059 ministerial permits issued, 37% were for individuals who were criminally inadmissible to Canada, 395 of the permits were issued for individuals who had committed serious offences including assault, sexual assault, and 79 had committed those offences within the last five years.

Can the minister explain why it is her government is assisting criminals to enter the country when we should be trying to keep them out?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, first of all, this information is not news. As the hon. member knows, the minister tabled this information in the House of Commons on April 2. The hon. member did not have to wait for it to be in the news to make a point of it.

Nonetheless, over the last five years the number of permits issued has decreased by 75%, from 16,000 per year to 4,000. We have changed it considerably. A permit can be revoked at any time. Permits are given for many different reasons, such as temporary work permits.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue.

As a member of parliament I have often been consulted by people in my riding to address Revenue Canada issues which are perceived as unfair to my constituents.

Under the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency will I still be able to assist my constituents with their concerns?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

London West Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Revenue Canada is committed to fairness in dealing with all taxpayers, individuals and corporations, and that will continue. That is why there is a taxpayer declaration of rights and a fairness principle. Both of these policies will continue with the agency.

All members of parliament, with the consent of their taxpayers, will have exactly the same revenue access to help their constituents as they now have. That also applies to all taxpayers in this country.

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, this government is nowhere near ready for the year 2000 or the fixing of the millennium bug. Today we recognize how quickly the ship is sinking.

The chief officer who is in charge of this himself said not long ago “We're increasingly nervous each day as we go along. We've never not been nervous about this issue—”.

How can the government continue to give the assurance that we will solve the year 2000 problem when its captain is leaving the ship?

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, once again, Mr. Rummell, who was the chief of information technology, was borrowed temporarily from the private sector under contract. He has now finished his assignment and will be replaced soon.

In the meantime, the person in charge of the year 2000 office will be a civil servant, Mr. Guy McKenzie, who has a lot of experience in this field. He also has the ability to help us solve our problems in time for the year 2000.

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

At this very moment, on the Magdalen Islands, 300 people are demonstrating in favour of substantial support measures for fishers and fishery workers when TAGS comes to an end.

Will the minister admit that this demonstration is a further indication that fishery workers are very worried about what awaits them and that they want from the federal government a response to all their demands as quickly as possible?

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, Human Resources Development Canada is now in a consultation process with the provinces. We are looking at a couple of elements, a couple of directions.

Once we finish that consultation with the provinces we will be going to the final phase of looking at alternatives and proposals that we will put to people. From there we will do like we did when the crisis first started, we will make sure we do what is right for the people who need our help.

EducationOral Question Period

June 8th, 1998 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, in an effort to provide access for students to post-secondary education, recognizing the need to prepare for the knowledge based economy of the 21st century, the province of British Columbia has frozen tuition fees for the past three years. It is now concerned that students from other provinces will move into that province to take advantage of these more reasonable levels of tuition fees.

Will the government take leadership on this issue and bring together the ministers responsible for post-secondary education and attempt to standardize fee schedules across the country so that Canadians, no matter where they live, will be able to access post-secondary education?

EducationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, this government is very concerned about the question of access to education. This is why we have acted so strongly. This is why we brought in the millennium scholarship fund. This is why we have the RESPs and this is why we have introduced the Canada educational savings grant where we will actually top up individual contributions in order to make access an issue.

This is why we have reformed the Canada student loans program. We have allowed a deferral of interest for up to 54 weeks after graduating. We will make sure that a person does not have to pay back more than 15% of their income in any one year. This is why we brought in the Canada study grant—

EducationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

That brings to a close question period.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order arising out of question period.

In the course of asking my question, at one point I referred to the concern that Canada was being seen as a hypocrite and at that point Mr. Speaker rose from his chair and cautioned me with respect to the use of language.

I understand the rule against calling a person a hypocrite, but my understanding of the rules is that they do not prohibit me from expressing a concern that my country is being seen as a hypocrite because of particular actions the government is taking. In my judgement that is perfectly within the bounds of parliamentary language and I think the admonition was unwarranted.