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House of Commons Hansard #209 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was states.

Topics

KosovoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to the government House leader, 131 MPs took part in the Kosovo debate. The ministers held both official and unofficial briefings for the opposition critics.

If the hon. member feels that the stakeholders are in the process of changing positions, she had not given any facts to back that up. At this time the Canadian public supports the position of the government and the opposition parties.

TransportOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

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

Following the recent tragic air accident at Gaspé, L'Association des pilotes de brousse du Québec has expressed concerns about Nav Canada's plans to close yet another flight information centre, this time the one at Roberval.

When the Gatineau airport was facing similar cuts in services, the minister directed Nav Canada to revisit its decision and address the safety concerns of users. Will he now order a full review of Nav Canada's plans to consolidate flight information services in the province of Quebec?

TransportOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Thunder Bay—Atikokan Ontario

Liberal

Stan Dromisky LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to the hon. member that safety is the number one factor and our chief concern. I am sure he is quite aware of that fact. We have carefully monitored the situation in the Gaspé regarding Nav Canada services in the province of Quebec.

At the present moment, we must announce to the public that everything is according to regulations. Safety is number one and we are—

TransportOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

An hon. member

Answer the question.

TransportOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Yes, my answer is addressing the question.

I would like to point out that we are sticking to the regulation and are chiefly concerned with the safety of—

TransportOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.

TransportOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Penticton airport is an important asset to the economic viability of the south Okanagan.

Transport Canada has mismanaged the negotiations to transfer the airport from the federal government to the city of Penticton. The process has completely broken down due to a land tenure issue with the Penticton Indian band. The parties are at a stalemate which threatens the closure of the Penticton airport. The Minister of Transport will not even answer telephone calls from the mayor of Penticton.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Will the government stop ignoring this problem and appoint a mediator to resolve this situation and get people back to the bargaining table?

TransportOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Thunder Bay—Atikokan Ontario

Liberal

Stan Dromisky LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that Transport Canada has finalized negotiations with the city of Penticton for the transfer of the Penticton airport. The city signed the agreement to transfer on September 25, 1998. The date for the transfer of the operation to the city has been extended to May 15, 1999.

The band council advised on March 23, 1999, that it did not wish to sign the proposed documentation and opposed the transfer of the airport. Transport Canada will continue to discuss the band's concern in an attempt to reach a Canada-band agreement to deal with the land if it is no longer required as a public air zone.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the expulsion of Albanians from Kosovo resumed with a vengeance yesterday and is continuing with violence, with approximately half of the Albanians now having left their homeland.

The Prime Minister has just met with his Chinese counterpart to try to convince him of the need for UN security council involvement in the war in Kosovo.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Since China will not budge, and given the rate of expulsion, what does NATO intend to do to prevent the entire Albanian population from being forced out of Kosovo?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the Prime Minister had a good meeting this morning with the Premier of China.

During the meeting, there was a very important exchange of views about the Kosovo situation. There is an agreement to continue to co-operate on developing an agreement in order to underscore the importance of the UN and the importance of developing a UN initiative to resolve this major crisis.

GrainOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board.

With the Chinese premier in Ottawa today and as China has been a traditional customer for Canadian grain, are there any positive developments in the grain business between Canada and China?

GrainOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the grain trading relationship between Canada and China stretches back over 40 years. It has involved during that period of time over 110 million tonnes of Canadian wheat exports based upon a very strong and effective working relationship with the Canadian Wheat Board and the extraordinarily high quality of grain produced by Canadian farmers.

I am pleased to confirm that yesterday I joined with Chinese Trade Minister Shi to witness the signing of a new memorandum of agreement between the Canadian Wheat Board and the China national cereals import corporation. For Canada the value of this transaction is estimated at more than $100 million.

PenitentiariesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Cliff Breitkreuz Reform Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the solicitor general just spent $11 million to upgrade the Grand Cache jail to medium security. Now the bureaucrats want to spend millions more to turn the jail back to minimum security.

Surely the solicitor general realizes this just does not make any sense. When, for heaven's sake, will he order his officials to stop these acts of lunacy?

PenitentiariesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated to my hon. colleague, it was a medium institution and now it will become a minimum institution because that is the requirement of Correctional Service Canada.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Derrek Konrad Reform Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I received a letter from Environment Canada stating that the Muskoday Indian reserve near Prince Albert got a grant for almost $100,000 to plant trees on the reserve.

The letter states that funds are only granted to non-profit and non-government organizations. Why did the environment minister approve this grant to the reserve government in clear violation of departmental guidelines?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of the Environment I can assure the hon. member that we will take his representation into account and examine the grant in question.

I should add, however, that the understanding of the officials of the Department of the Environment is that the grant is in conformity in all respects with the law.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, last fall when the minister of agriculture finally admitted there was a full blown income crisis down on the farm, he conceded that it was worse in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Yesterday the parliamentary secretary had AIDA statistics available for P.E.I. and Ontario. Would he please inform the House today as to the number of applications the department has received and processed from Manitoba and Saskatchewan?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am unable to give those statistics.

Very few applications have come in from Manitoba and Saskatchewan to this point. In the meantime, both provinces have set up repayable loan programs which will take care of the spring cropping expenses, because it was understood that Saskatchewan and Manitoba did not have provincial disaster programs to piggyback on, like Alberta, P.E.I. and B.C. did.

It may take a little longer for those two provinces to come in with their application forms, but there is money to carry them over.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the problem with the AIDA program according to the farmers I have spoken to is that the government has managed to get the emphasis on the duh rather than on the aid.

In fact the Federation of Agriculture describes the application forms, not the booklet incidentally, as elaborate and charges that AIDA is all about saving money, not saving farmers.

How does the parliamentary secretary respond to the CFA or the Nixons of Earl Grey, Saskatchewan, who want AIDA redesigned in order to make it more accessible to the people it was supposed to help?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if the government were interested in saving money it would not have an AIDA program at all.

The minister has offered to meet with the people in Saskatchewan to discuss their problems. To this date they have not accepted the minister's request or proposal or offer to meet with him and talk with him about their situation. They would rather go to the press, go to accountants and so on, to vent their views.

The minister stands ready to meet with the producers of Saskatchewan at any time that they are ready to do so.

HealthOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

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

Deep cuts to CHST transfers over the past six years have had serious consequences. All Canadians, and in particular our patients, have lost faith in our health care system.

These cuts have also been deeply felt by those who deliver our health care services, particularly our nurses. Their compensation and working conditions have deteriorated continuously for the last six years. Nurses are on strike in Saskatchewan and have just been legislated back to work in Newfoundland.

Will the minister acknowledge that the real source of these job actions is the federal health transfer cuts to our provinces?

HealthOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the government is very proud that the first thing we did after digging the country out of the deep hole in which we were put by the Progressive Conservative Party during nine ruinous years in office, was to reinvest in our most important social program, our health care system.

Just weeks ago, $11.5 billion was added to transfers to the provinces so that over the next five years health services could be improved, integrated and made as accessible as they must be.

Part of that initiative was in favour of nurses. We created the nurse fund, which through research and other measures will help put nurses in the important place they must occupy in our health care system.

HealthOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the minister that at least for the nine years that we were in government we had a decent health care system which we do not have today.

Everyone in the country knows that nurses are underpaid, overworked and understaffed. Will the minister acknowledge that even with the Minister of Finance's recent so-called health care budget there is still a significant crisis in our health care system?

How many more health care budgets will we need to get back to the level of funding that was there when the Minister of Health took office in 1993?

HealthOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the largest single investment the government has ever made, the $11.5 billion in increased transfers to the provinces so that they could meet their responsibility for delivering health care services, we also announced in the budget $1.4 billion of spending by the federal government in health research, establishing the Canadian Institute of Health Research and virtually doubling the investment in health research over the next three years; an intervention to promote health and prevent disease, especially early intervention with children; and initiatives in aboriginal health like home care on reserves.

These are signals and signs of a government deeply committed to our health care system, to its quality and to its future.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

April 16th, 1999 / 11:50 a.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the defence committee commented extensively in its quality of life report about the need to help injured and retired Canadian forces personnel.

Could the parliamentary secretary to the minister tell the House about any new initiatives to assist injured and retired Canadians forces members?