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House of Commons Hansard #238 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was preclearance.

Topics

Bill C-32Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I was not at the hearing, but I am sure a close examination of the transcript will show that the officials who testified are committed to enforcing the laws that parliament passes, enforcing standards of safety in pesticides and dealing with environmental issues consistent with our objective, which is to maintain a safe environment for all Canadians.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, last night we received another two and a half inches of rain on already rain-soaked land.

In 1997 in the Red River Valley only 1,200 acres were affected. Right now, in my area of Manitoba, over two million acres are affected.

In 1997 the Government of Canada provided $26 million to address farm losses in the Red River Valley. To date, the Minister of Agriculture has announced nothing, zero for the people who are being affected by this terrible disaster in southwestern Manitoba.

What is the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food going to do for those constituents of agriculture?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, on a point of clarification for the hon. member, much of the assistance to the producers in the Red River Valley a couple years ago was part of a memorandum of understanding and part of a disaster funding assistance agreement. That is how much of that was handled at that time between the province and the federal government.

To date, the province of Manitoba has not asked to call on the disaster funding assistance agreement. It may or may not apply. It is up to the province to make its judgment call on that.

What I am doing is not leaving any stones unturned as far as looking at how we can use programs that are already in place and getting the flexibility in them that we can to assist these hard-pressed producers.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of rocks that can be unturned.

In the Red River Valley there was a program where $10 per acre was allowed for custom seeding. There is a small window that a lot of these producers may well take advantage of if the minister would look at a program like that. He may want to look at the JERI program which would also help producers to recover some of their lost input. Those are the options and those are the programs.

I would ask that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food reply to those and perhaps put them in place right now so that people can see their land.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I assure the hon. member and the producers that we are looking at every possible way to assist within existing programs. I will also be visiting the area a week from today.

I am not questioning the disaster situation that is there at the present time, but I will be reviewing that. I will also continue to discuss with my provincial colleagues, the industry people, provincial officials and my officials the different ways that we can help.

Health CanadaOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

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

Many Canadians suffer from the disabling effects of conditions such as fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivity. Can the minister tell the House what Health Canada is doing to help people suffering from these conditions?

Health CanadaOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, all of us admire the initiative the member for Ottawa Centre took in putting a motion before the House on this subject. It is a motion that I am very proud to support.

Health Canada has been active for some time supporting members of the scientific community to try to find out the causes of these very difficult and often disabling diseases and working with sufferers and others to look for ways of treating them.

Recently, the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control at Health Canada has been working on issues of research to find out how we can learn more about causes, treatments and hopefully cures. Working in concert with those most affected by providing funding where necessary, Health Canada is committed to advancing the frontier—

Health CanadaOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Speaker

The member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands.

Nav CanadaOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the conciliator's report on Nav Canada's dispute with the air traffic controllers was released on Monday. We could be facing a strike before the end of June.

Does the transport minister have any plan, other than the traditional Liberal approach to labour relations, which is heavy-handed, back to work legislation or essential services designation, to avoid a crippling shutdown of the aviation industry? Will he endorse final offer selection arbitration, a civilized approach in which the controllers have expressed interest?

Nav CanadaOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the parties intend to resume negotiations today. I would urge both sides to make every effort to settle their remaining differences.

Farm Credit CorporationOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the decision making centre for the Farm Credit Corporation has been moved from Ste-Foy to Kanata, Guelph, Winnipeg and Regina. This meant the loss of 19 positions in my riding, which were filled by competent professionals providing service in both official languages. Only front line staff is now left in Quebec.

My question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Can the minister explain the reason for this decision, apart from distancing Quebec farmers from the policy centre and putting competent professionals out of work?

Farm Credit CorporationOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, when we make any changes in the administration of the roles and duties of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada, we do it in such a way that we can maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of it so that every producer in Canada and everybody in the agri-food industry can be treated fairly and equitably. Wherever the actual people are does not really matter because the department is there to service all Canadians and all of the industry in every province.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, six provinces are delivering AIDA directly to their farmers, while four, including Manitoba and Saskatchewan where the problems are worse, are being administered by the federal government.

Where the program is administered provincially, almost 60% of the claims have been processed and paid to date. It is a much different story where it is supposed to be administered by the Government of Canada. There were 3,815 claims as of June 1, three days ago, and only 115 claims paid. That is an abysmal rate of less than 3%.

Even allowing for start-up time, what is the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food doing to revamp and revitalize this fundamentally flawed program?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the member points out the fact that applications are coming in now in response to all of us urging the producers to do that. The staff is working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week on a rotating basis so that we can make best use of the facilities, the administration and the equipment that we have.

I can pledge to the hon. member that we are turning the applications around as quickly as we possibly can because we know the need that the producers have for the support.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the conflict in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, one element that existed prior to it were the sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia. During the conflict the economic and military sanctions were applied once again.

I would like to know the position of the Government of Canada with respect to an immediate lifting of the economic sanctions in order to permit the people of Yugoslavia, including those of Kosovo, to rebuild their country as quickly as possible. What is Canada's position on the removal of economic sanctions?

KosovoOral Question Period

Noon

Halton Ontario

Liberal

Julian Reed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, since this agreement was ratified by the Government of Yugoslavia it has initiated a flurry of political activity and meetings that are ongoing at the present time.

I say to the hon. member that it is rather premature to look at exactly what will come out of these meetings. There are meetings being held today, tomorrow, Sunday and into next week to put together the details of how this whole agreement will be worked out.

Safe BoatingOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are very concerned about the nearly 200 deaths and 6,000 serious accidents that occur annually in pleasure boating. With National Safe Boating Week, which begins tomorrow, what measures will the Department of Fisheries and Oceans be taking to meet the concerns of Canadians?

Safe BoatingOral Question Period

Noon

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, DFO has consulted the boating community. With that input we have implemented stricter training requirements. We have implemented restrictions on age and horsepower to protect our youth from being killed in dangerous actions.

Promotion and boating safety awareness is key to the reduction of accidents and fatalities. I would like to take this opportunity to thank singer Loreena McKennitt for helping the Canadian Coast Guard to promote these new safety boating regulations.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Reform

Allan Kerpan Reform Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a point of national concern today. As I did not have access to the media last night or today, I wonder if someone in the House could inform me what the election results were in Ontario.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I will check with the clerk to see if that is indeed a point of order.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, responding to that point of national interest, the Reform Party in Ontario yesterday got 93 votes.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

Noon

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege of which I have given notice.

My question of privilege arises from a Canadian Press news story which appeared in today's Globe and Mail under the heading “Seal herds to be culled”. It gives its source as the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands deliberately divulged information from an in camera meeting of the Standing Committee of Fisheries and Oceans held yesterday morning, at which the committee was discussing the draft report as related to our study of the east coast seal issue.

The story carried in the Globe and Mail reads as follows:

The size of Atlantic Canada's seal herd must be reduced to save depleted cod stocks, the Commons fisheries committee decided at a closed meeting yesterday where it rewrote a report on the industry.

The story continued:

“The committee, acting on recommendations from the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, will urge the federal government to come up with a five year plan to reduce the size of the seal herd significantly”, said Reform fisheries critic Gary Lunn.

I draw the attention of the Speaker to citation 851 of Beauchesne's sixth edition which states:

When a committee chooses to meet in camera, all matters are confidential. Any departure from strict confidentiality should be by explicit committee decision which should deal with what matters should be published, in which form and by whom.

The statement attributed to the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was not delivered in the heat of debate in the House. This was not a mistake in judgment or any kind of oversight. This was a deliberate act, and one which demonstrates a disrespect and contempt for the privileges not only of every member of the Standing Committee for Fisheries but of every member of the House.

As well, I was informed that there was a major interview on CBC in Newfoundland also divulging information that was talked about in that in camera meeting.

If you rule this to be a prima facie question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

As all members know, the question of leaked committee reports in our parliament is one that has plagued virtually all committees and is of great concern to the Speaker.

I see the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is in his place. In a moment I will ask him to put his comments on record and I invite anyone else who would like to put their comments on record to do so.

I will take the question of privilege under advisement and bring it to the attention of the Speaker who will in due course report back to the House.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries committee with which I have been involved for the past year and a half has been plagued with this problem. In fact, some of the reports that we have done in the past have gone out of there by the truckload, by various people in various departments. We are never given a chance to respond and I agree it is a very serious problem.

In this specific case, the day before this report was in the public domain. It was in the media. It had been released.

Members never seem to get an opportunity to respond. In fairness, once this was in the public domain and I started to receive calls from reporters, I first of all notified the parliamentary secretary, the hon. member for Malpeque. I also notified the member for Burin—St. George's in Newfoundland. I told them that my phone lines were burning up with media interviews and it was just to let them know that I was speaking to the media.

Out of courtesy I advised them that the report was out there. Of course we knew that. We talked about the committee. It was in the Globe and Mail . The report was already in the public domain.

When I did these interviews, what I talked to the media about was the comments that I had brought forward to the committee, not what other members of the committee had said. I talked about my comments, what I was pushing for in the committee. I made it very clear. I said “This report is not completed. We will be meeting next week. These are the areas that I will be pushing for and I hope to get a recommendation”.

I was speaking only on behalf of myself; but out of respect for the member, and he will verify it, I notified him prior to that, that I was making these comments.

With respect to the CBC interview, that person also informed me when she called that she had received calls from other members of the committee whom I will not name and said “This is what they are telling me. Would you like to comment?”

It was in the public domain the day before. As a courtesy I notified the members. I only did interviews with respect to my comments. I made it very clear that the report is still not final at this time, that it can still be changed.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Much of what has gone on right now is debate that could take place within committee. The problem that we have is the question of trust within parliament as a whole in terms of the leaking of committee reports.

Committee work needs to take place in committee and perhaps the committee can look at this matter, make a recommendation and come back to parliament.