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House of Commons Hansard #197 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, it came out during oral question period that the defence budget included some $600 million in additional unexpected funds.

In the minister's response, he claimed that this was for use in disaster relief operations. Yet the land forces have received $184 million in additional funding.

Was this additional amount meant to be used to meet the land force's operating budget deficit? Is that why National Defence was unable to pay its bills on time, because it had no more money?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the defence department pays for its bills. Its procedures have improved over the years to make sure that they are paid on time.

What additional money we do have in the budget this year will go to pay for improvements to the quality of life of our troops. Our troops have given fine dedicated service to the country and they deserve our support in that regard.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, there seems to have been an increase of approximately $337 million in the air force budget for this year, without any announcement of this by the minister.

Can the minister confirm whether any of this $337 million, which came from provincial transfer payments or military pensions funds, will be used to replace the Sea King helicopter fleet, especially since another one experienced problems this very morning at Shearwater?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there are no funds relevant to the replacement of the Sea King fleet in this budget, but the government has had a long commitment, going back to the 1994 white paper, to proceed with a change in aircraft from the Sea King to a new helicopter.

A procurement strategy is now in the stages of being finalized and will be brought forward at the earliest opportunity. Meanwhile we will make sure that our Sea King helicopters are safe to fly.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are growing labour unrest and work disruptions among federal correctional officers which may put Canadians at risk.

Could the solicitor general assure Canadians that their safety and security will be protected during these labour disruptions?

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his concern. I can assure my colleague and Canadians that public safety is a number one issue.

Because of public safety, Correctional Service Canada has contingency plans in place but these contingency plans are quite expensive.

GrainOral Question Period

March 16th, 1999 / 2:50 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has done its very best to convince us that changes made to part 1 of the Canada Labour Code would ensure the unimpeded flow of Canadian grain to port on time. We have had people come before the committee. The Reform Party has said that this will not happen. Now we have a case where we have the grain stopped at port.

What exactly does the Minister of Labour have in mind to do about this problem and when will she fix it?

GrainOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this is more a problem of the picket lines that have been established by the blue collar workers. We are monitoring the effects of their strikes. We want the movement of grain to be unimpeded because it is in the interest of our farmers in the west.

At present we are taking all the possible measures. We will look at all the options in front of us to settle these strikes.

Internship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Department of Industry suddenly cut off its program of internships with export businesses across Canada, it did a real disservice to 14 young Quebeckers, who were dumped, some of whom had given up their jobs, and to 22 businesses in Quebec.

Does the minister intend to compensate the young people and the businesses for the costs incurred in the pilot program?

Internship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the program was initiated in April 1997 and was intended to give work experience to young graduates, by twinning them with SMBs in Canada or abroad to support export development.

The alliance of manufacturers managed the implementation of the program. It was cancelled in June 1998 following an independent evaluation and audit, which concluded that the low level of business participation did not justify the continuation of the program. It was a necessary but difficult decision.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Prime Minister about his constitutional responsibility to appoint senators.

Later on this afternoon the government will use its majority in the House to approve an 11.7% cost overrun in the Senate's budget. Last week the Prime Minister said that when there was a large consensus on the Senate he would act.

In light of the fact that over 90% of Canadian people do not support the existing Senate in any way at all, I want to ask the Prime Minister whether or not he will acknowledge that consensus, listen to the people, put a freeze on appointments and agree to an all-party committee to look at the whole process of what we do with the Senate.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that to change the rules for the Upper House in Canada we need an amendment to the Canadian Constitution. We have debated this issue for years and years.

I am reporting to the House that there is no pressure by any government, and every government has an obligation to concur in the changes before we can proceed. I do not think we can do that at this time.

I do not think it would be useful to open debate on the Constitution. I do not think Canadians are ready for it at this time. They have had enough debate on the Constitution over the last 10 years.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue. In its ongoing efforts to build a richer government within a poorer country, the government has now decided to deduct employment insurance premiums from volunteer firefighters who receive honorariums.

Volunteer firefighters risk their lives to protect and serve their fellow citizens and they receive small honorariums in return. The government is rewarding their brave service with a cowardly tax grab.

Will the Minister of National Revenue stop this deplorable tax grab now?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should have stood and applauded the Minister of Finance who increased the $500 to $1,000 for volunteer firefighters in the last budget.

In terms of deductions for the amount paid, this is something I am looking at right now because of the representations made by many of my colleagues. I will report back on what we will do. It is a very important issue and we are reviewing it right now.

Canadian Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Public service retirees and employees are saying that the government wants to use the surplus in the public service, RCMP and National Defence pension funds without being entitled to.

What makes the Government of Canada think that it has the right to this surplus but the employees and the pensioners do not?

Canadian Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there are two main reasons. The first is that the government guarantees the benefits of employees past and present. The second is that the government absorbs all the pension fund deficits and takes all the risks.

The retirees association is itself in agreement that, legally the surpluses belong to the government, and I quote their website:

The association does not believe that it has any legal grounds to pursue a court case. A legal decision would not be in favour of the association since the legal advice provided to the association by independent experts in the pension field has been that the employer can decide on the disposition of the surplus.

Rail TransportationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

Decision makers in the Haute-Mauricie and Abitibi regions are worried about what the Minister of Transport will decide with respect to the subdivision trunk line between La Tuque and Senneterre.

Can the minister assure us that the decision makers of the Haute-Mauricie and Abitibi regions will be consulted before the minister takes a decision regarding franchises?

Rail TransportationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I had occasion to make the trip from La Tuque to Senneterre a few months ago and I met many local inhabitants as well as travellers on the VIA Rail train.

As the hon. member well knows, we approved most of the Standing Committee on Transport's recommendations with respect to VIA Rail, including the recommendation to protect remote lines such as those in his riding.

GrainOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the answer of the President of the Treasury Board. I think farmers will not take any comfort from his remarks.

He can wring his hands and tell us he is working on this, but the fact of the matter is that farmers are strapped for cash. Their bins are full of grain. They have to get this stuff on to the railroad before the road bans come on. What in the world will he do to solve this problem?

GrainOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I agree that damage is being caused to the economy and to the farmers by the tactics that are being used by the blue collar workers. We have negotiated with them. We have offered them whatever we could.

Unfortunately, the union has the right to strike and it is using that right. We are at present considering all the possible options open to us to get them back to work.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Dr. Michael Woods, Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources of Ireland.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, during question period the Minister for International Trade quoted from a document which referred to the relationship between Canada and Brazil and an aerospace ruling of the WTO.

For the benefit of all members, I wonder if he could table a copy of that information so that all members could have access to it.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, during question period I gave a copy of the excerpts which show eight times in the report that the Reform Party provided information to the Brazilian government.

It is with pleasure that I table this document for the House of Commons.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, during oral question period the Minister for International Trade indicated that the official opposition had no evidence to indicate that Canadian productivity had declined.

I would like to seek unanimous consent to table an annex from an OECD economic outlook, dated December 1998, which indicates that our total productivity factor has decreased by—