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House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Public WorksOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we have received the report of Mr. Barrett and we are studying it.

CMHC is working with all of the different local organizations to try to resolve the situation and will continue to do so.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development is unaccountable for a billion dollars of public money, yet the same minister is insisting that Atlantic Canadians be accountable for TAGS overpayments. Her department is clawing back TAGS overpayments as small as $6.

How can the minister justify this sudden interest in accountability for amounts as low as $6 when the same minister insists it is okay for $11 million in HRD grants in her riding to remain unaccountable and anonymous?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

Noon

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the premise of many of the questions that were just offered by the hon. member are wrong.

We are taking this seriously. We are developing a system so that Canadians can hold us accountable.

We will work with the auditor general and outside experts to ensure that we have a program that will fix the problem and make sure it does not happen again.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

February 11th, 2000 / noon

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—Assiniboine, MB

Mr. Speaker, the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec claim that our refugee determination system is costing money.

Quebec and Ontario want the federal government to give more money to cover costs related to refugees.

What does the government have to say about this?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

Noon

Kitchener—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the federal government transfers funds to the provinces under the health and social transfers. These funds cover related expenses to immigrants and refugees.

Let me further state that the three provinces are net beneficiaries of our immigration and refugee system. As a matter of fact our whole country is a beneficiary of immigration and refugees.

It is prebudget season. Last week the request was for health funding. This week it is for refugees. Next week it will be something else.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

Noon

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is about the fact that we requested the audit on January 17, and yet I heard the minister say in the House today that our request was not sent until after she released the audit herself.

Why is the minister deliberately misrepresenting the facts today in the House?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

Noon

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill knows that it would not be proper to ask the minister a question of that kind. I would ask that we treat the question as having been rephrased. If the minister wishes to answer, I will hear an answer. Otherwise, the question is out of order.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

Noon

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am only repeating what the officials in charge of access to information said yesterday at committee.

They checked with couriers to see if there were receipts for that delivery because they have no record of receiving the request until two days after they made it.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the past two days, a number of events have taken place in this House. Today, it is happening again.

Yesterday, referring to one of our questions to the Minister of Human Resources, the Speaker of the House commented that the question was too specific.

Earlier, the Minister of Human Resources Development and the Prime Minister had told us “Your questions are too vague. We would appreciate more specific questions. Give us examples of mistakes that were made, of instances where money was misappropriated”.

We did our best, even though we still do not have access to all the lists, to find the most specific examples possible, including one, which I raised myself, involving a $5 million subsidy.

With due respect to the minister, it seems to me that $5 million is important enough an expenditure for the minister to at least look at before authorizing it.

The Speaker of the House seemed to back down on this issue and, later, he let us ask our very specific questions. Then, the minister even told a Reform member that his question was too vague and she wanted a clearer one.

You have the responsibility to tell us how my colleagues and myself must act in this House. Even today, after the minister replied that the question was too precise, too in depth, you said you agreed with her. I have not heard such comments very often in my life.

How should opposition members act to please you, Mr. Speaker? Should we ask very broad questions, so as to allow the minister to say anything, or ask very precise questions and be told they are too precise and cannot be answered?

I would like to know the rules for asking a question in a parliament such as this one. In the other one that I have known, the more precise the question, the more accurate the numbers quoted, the happier the journalists, the happier the public, and the more the Speaker would let us carry on.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Roberval has raised a very specific point. I agree with him that, when questions are asked in the House, the answer is very often to the effect that the question is too vague, too precise or something of the sort. This is perfectly normal when questions are asked in an atmosphere of debate such as during question period in the House.

Today, the question addressed to the Minister of Human Resources Development concerned the percentage of applications or programs where something happened. It is a matter of statistics. A question that requires the production of statistics is a question for the Order Paper. That is what the minister said, and I indicated that I agreed with her to avoid having a supplementary question that would have been identical.

I really had to interrupt the member when she asked the question, and say that it was a question for the Order Paper. The minister said the same thing. I indicated that I agreed, that is all.

If the question is precise, it is acceptable. That is why I said I agreed with the minister's answer, to stop the member for Beauséjour—Petitcodiac from asking another question. I hope everyone agrees on that.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 12 petitions.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, may I ask a question to the government House leader concerning the business of the House? It is a very short question—

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Normally, the question concerning the business of the House is asked on Thursday. Perhaps the two members could—

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I would like to make life easier for everybody. I do not want to bother anyone and I will be very brief. To make life easier for everybody, I would like the government House leader to tell me officially what the order of business will be for today. Could any changes be made or is the order of business fixed? That is what I would like to know.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, we intend to complete, if possible, consideration of the bill introduced by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services pertaining to payments in lieu of taxes to municipalities and, after that, the government intends to submit Bill C-7 to the House.

If we do complete consideration of these two bills, I do not plan, I confirm that I do not intend to submit any other bill. In any case, we will not submit any other bill today except those two.

I wanted to confirm that for the members opposite because we discussed it informally earlier.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee met and listened to church, human rights and trade union organizations, as well as Canadian government officials on the subject of human rights in Columbia.

The committee denounces violence, kidnappings, massacres and repeated attacks against human rights in Columbia and asks the Government of Columbia to intensify its efforts in order to prevent such acts of violence and such abuses of human rights in that country and in order to put an stop to impunity, especially in the case of crimes against humanity.

Modernization Of Benefits And Obligations ActRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-23, an act to modernize the Statutes of Canada in relation to benefits and obligations.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Elections ActRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-423, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act.

Mr. Speaker, you will appreciate that this bill is very timely in that we are now just beginning to look at serious revisions to the Canada Elections Act. This particular private member's bill proposes to lower the voting age from the present age of 18 to 16.

There are many reasons for this. At age 16 young people are able to obtain a driver's licence and drive vehicles. They are able to join the Armed Forces of Canada. They are able to get married and raise children. They can leave school on their own volition. A variety of things occur at age 16 but the one thing they are not permitted to do is to vote for the member of parliament of their choice.

I think the time has come to acknowledge that young people of 16 and 17 are much more informed these days than their counterparts many years ago. To be part of the modern age, let us acknowledge that the future belongs to our young people. This will be a chance to recognize that by lowering the voting age.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Labour CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Fournier Bloc Manicouagan, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-424, an Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Public Service Staff Relations Act (scabs and essential services).

Mr. Speaker, seconded by my colleague, the member for Laurentides, Monique Guay, I am introducing a bill that would prohibit employers from hiring persons to replace employees on strike or locked out where such employers come under the Canada Labour Code or in the case of employees on strike in the federal public service.

The purpose of this bill is also to maintain essential services during a strike by federal public servants.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

National Environmental Standards ActRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-425, an act to provide for the harmonization of environmental standards throughout Canada.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce this bill in the House along with my colleague from Winnipeg North.

The purpose of this enactment is to establish a process of consultation with the provinces to achieve uniformity in the environmental standard applied in Canada and in every province. The minister is required to convene a conference of ministers of the environment, propose the formation of an advisory committee on uniformity in environmental standards and report annually to parliament. Also the minister is to report to the House of Commons. As well, his or her report should be considered by the standing committee on environment.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-426, an act to amend the Criminal Code.

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to introduce legislation to amend the Criminal Code specifically concerning the offence of theft of motor vehicles. This initiative is restricted to those offenders who are in the business, so to speak, of stealing motor vehicles. Organized crime and other gang related enterprises are becoming quite active in this type of criminal activity.

The purpose of this legislation is to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of four years of imprisonment for anyone who is convicted of more than one theft of a motor vehicle.

I ask all members of this place to support this legislation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-427, an act to amend the Criminal Code (abduction).

Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce this legislation to amend the Criminal Code, specifically the section concerning the offence of abduction of children. Section 281 of the Criminal Code currently provides for the offence of abduction of persons under the age of 14 years by a person other than the person's parents or guardian. I propose to change this offence so that it applies to the abduction of all children under the age of 16 years.

I ask that all members support this initiative.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to adopt the first report of the Standing Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations presented on Friday, December 10, 1999.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to concur in the report?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

An hon. member

Agreed.