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House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was family.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

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

The Ontario government is apparently dragging its feet in renewing the Canada-Ontario Great Lakes agreement which expired in March, thus putting in danger the health of millions of Canadians.

Can the Minister of the Environment indicate to the House whether steps are being taken to bring the Ontario government to its senses and discharge its responsibility?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I wrote to the Ontario government minister responsible asking for a renewal of the agreement before it expired. At that time we invited Ontario to enter into a new Canada-Ontario agreement on the Great Lakes.

It is my hope that the premier of Ontario will allow his minister and his government to step up to the plate and join with us in continuing with the protection of the Great Lakes. Until that happens we will continue to co-operate wherever we can with—

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the government said it could not release documents to the RCMP about the Montreal animation company CINAR because of confidentiality laws. However, according to a spokesman for the revenue minister, the Customs and Revenue Agency has the discretionary power to waive this restriction.

I have a very simple question for the revenue minister. Will he allow the RCMP to obtain access to the CINAR documents?

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I would first simply say that I cannot comment on a specific case, namely the case just mentioned or on any other case.

Second, there is a basic principle, which is a cornerstone of the legislation on taxation, and that is confidentiality.

Third, I am told at the agency that we have co-operated in the past, that we are currently co-operating and that we will continue to co-operate with the RCMP for all sorts of investigations.

Fourth, the matter of confidentiality is not a discretionary one, it is fundamental.

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the revenue minister's spokesman, Michel Cléroux, says that there are exceptions in a few cases that allow them to communicate or release information. This contradicts what the minister has just said. He said that he was co-operating with the RCMP, but then he said that there are confidentiality restrictions.

What is it? Why will he not co-operate with the RCMP and allow it to have access to these files so we can get to the bottom of this?

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe the member does not understand what I just said. I said that one of the cornerstones of the Income Tax Act is confidentiality. I have to respect that. It is not a question of discretionary power.

I have been told by the department that we have collaborated with the RCMP in the past. We are doing it and we will keep doing it. It is not a question of discretion. It is a question of confidentiality and, as the minister, I will protect that cornerstone of our legislation.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending NDP Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has been promising for years to reduce our polluting emission of greenhouse gases but all we have seen so far is foot dragging and delay.

Last week industrial nations met in Japan to get on with setting a specific date for ratifying the 1997 Kyoto protocol but Canada and the United States torpedoed the talks.

When will the government finally ratify the Kyoto accord? By what percentage will the environment minister commit to reducing our emission of harmful greenhouse gases?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the member has just said, the meeting in Japan over the last few days was very successful. It is true that there are difficulties with respect to ratification related to American constitutional differences between the senate and the administration, of which the member should be aware. However, we fully intend to put in place our plans to implement the Kyoto agreement. We will be working with the provinces in order to get that in place as soon as possible.

The important thing is not ratification. The important thing is making sure we have plans in place to reduce greenhouse gases.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Rick Laliberte NDP Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canada needs consistency on issues such as the Kyoto protocol, on persistent organic pollutants, on biodiversity and on endangered species.

In 1994 the Hon. John Fraser was appointed as Canada's ambassador for the environment and to follow up on all the promises that were made by the United Nations at the Rio summit in 1992.

The Prime Minister has left this crucial post empty since 1998. When will the government and the Prime Minister announce the replacement for Canada's ambassador for the environment?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that there is action on a wide front on many environmental issues. It is certainly correct, as he pointed out, that the Hon. John Fraser, the former speaker of the House, did switch from being the ambassador for the environment to taking on responsibilities for the Pacific Salmon Commission. If necessary, and as appropriate, we will appoint a successor.

At the present time, the work that John Fraser carried out is being carried out by Canadian ambassadors in every country of the world.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's friends are looking shadier and shadier.

All of them seem to be under investigation at some point. There is René Fugère lobbying without proper registration, and Mr. Riopelle lobbying without registering his clients.

My question is for the minister responsible for the ethics commissioner. What measures does he intend to take to ensure that the government heads off events or investigations, instead of reacting to them?

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the law is clear. There is nothing to wonder about.

But first, I think it is necessary to have facts. Second, there must be an investigation and, third, there must be a ruling that the law was broken.

Although there has been no ruling, the member has concluded that something was not right. This is simply not the case. The ethics commissioner may now examine the facts.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the ethics commissioner is on the case, I think it would be much simpler to give him a little help.

So perhaps the Prime Minister should make a list of his friends and hand it over to the ethics commissioner for his immediate perusal, thus putting a stop to questions here in the House.

Will the minister responsible for the ethics commissioner uphold the law and ask all members of cabinet and the government not to have any dealings with individuals now under investigation in order to ensure that the government maintains its credibility, which is a bit shaky right now?

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I take it that the Progressive Conservative Party believes in a presumption of guilt.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Last week she tabled the new Immigration Act. Many Canadians are very concerned that the new act no longer includes parents in the family class. Could the minister clarify the matter for us?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify for the member and for anyone who is concerned that in the regulations the definition of family class will include both parents and grandparents.

Further, it is our intention to see the family class expanded. I would also point out that in the existing Immigration Act the definition of family class is included in the regulations. Let me assure everyone that parents and grandparents will continue to be included in the family class.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister and his government mismanages the tax dollars of Albertans, he also ignores their democratic choices.

In 1998 Bert Brown won Alberta's Senate election with more votes than all the Liberal candidates combined. The fact is that the Prime Minister only appoints those who will play along with his song and dance, so to speak.

Alberta's first elected senator was appointed 10 years ago. Why has the Prime Minister broken another election promise and given Albertans the Trudeau salute one more time?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, why did the Reform Party vote against the Charlottetown accord? If it had voted for it, we would have had an elected Senate a long time ago. In the meantime the Prime Minister is following the existing constitution.

Public WorksOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the friends of the Prime Minister are not the only ones lobbying. So is the Prime Minister's chief of staff. He is lobbying the Minister of Public Works to get the government to pay a higher price for a building owned by Pierre Bourque, whose son ran for the Liberals in Rosemont in 1993.

Is it a common practice for the government to have Jean Pelletier, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, pressuring a minister to give an advantage, using public funds, to a friend of the Liberal Party who has already been convicted of tax fraud?

Public WorksOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is normal in day-to-day government operations for the Prime Minister's chief of staff to talk to ministers about this matter.

I can, however, assure the hon. member that there was no pressure on the part of the Prime Minister's chief of staff. We made an offer to purchase this building at the value of the 1991 lease negotiated by a Progressive Conservative government.

HousingOral Question Period

April 10th, 2000 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the moderator of the United Church is blasting the mindless ideology of a market driven society that abandons the poor. Tomorrow Toronto housing activists are holding yet another vigil to witness the tragedy of 19 deaths from homelessness this winter.

I would like to ask the minister responsible for housing why his government forfeited social housing and abandoned this most basic human right. Is it because the marketplace is the higher calling this government is beholden to?

HousingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada continues to invest almost $2 billion a year in social housing. Since 1995 we have been putting more than half a billion dollars into the RRAP to rehabilitate vacant buildings so the homeless could use them.

The member knows that we announced at the beginning of December a program to address homeless people. She should know very well because in her riding the RRAP is doing a very good job of creating units for the homeless to have a roof.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general releases his report tomorrow and is expected to address the problems that citizenship and immigration is experiencing with visas.

The new immigration bill introduces a new much needed global case management system intended to update and secure the department's tracking system. This initiative will be very expensive and the costs will not be covered in the increased budget funding. Could the minister tell the House how much this system will cost and when it could be in place?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I will be pleased to comment on the auditor's report once it has been tabled. However, I can comment on the global case management system which will bring together a number of different computer systems that function within the Department of Citizenship and Immigration at the present time.

It is anticipated that the total cost of the system when fully implemented will be about $200 million, but I am pleased to inform the member and all members of the House that the funds for development have been provided in the recent budget. It is anticipated and I am confident that the resources will be available to assure implementation of this very important measure to ensure integrity within the—