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House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was war.

Topics

Canada DayOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, obviously, my hon. colleague does not listen to the news. Yesterday, the National Capital Commission announced its plans to celebrate Canada Day here, in Ottawa, on July 1.

I invite every Canadian, from every province and territory, who can join us to come here on July 1 to celebrate with us the birthday of the greatest country in the world.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been a year now since hundreds of migrants arrived in rusting hulks off the west coast. Some have been returned, many have disappeared and many remain in detention. Recently seven escaped in Prince George. They fled into thick bush swarming with mosquitoes and prowled by bears where there is little, if any, food. Fortunately they were recaptured before they could come to any harm.

The government's refugee policy is a sham. It is a tremendous burden on taxpayers and it is so slow the claimants will put their own lives at risk rather than wait any longer. When will the minister speed up the process and make it fair for everybody?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for the question. With the co-operation of the member, his critic and his party, Bill C-31 which is presently before a standing committee will be passed so that we can improve the refugee determination system.

We all agree that it needs to be faster. We want to make it faster but keep it fair. With the support of the hon. member's party, Bill C-31 will achieve that goal.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week it was learned that about 30 juveniles who arrived on those boats and were placed in foster homes rather than detained have just plain disappeared. Some had gone AWOL before but instead of being detained when they were caught, they were just returned to the foster homes.

Authorities surmise that those who have now disappeared have made their way into the United States. Who knows what kind of nightmares their lives will become: crime, prostitution and sweatshop slaves.

How can the minister defend policies that contribute to the misery of young lives?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the whole issue of the arrival of minors and the international obligations we have to detain only as a last resort is of great concern given the fact that we know we are dealing in a shared jurisdiction.

Most of the minors who came last summer were not detained; they were handed over to the rightful jurisdiction of the provinces. We know that group homes are not secure. In some provinces the decision has been made to detain minors because of fear of flight.

We are reviewing our entire policy as it relates to detention of minors with a view to doing not only what is in the best interest of the child, but ensuring that we are living up to our international obligations.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Fournier Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the proposed reform of the employment insurance plan, the North Shore will be the most heavily penalized area.

Whereas the effective unemployment rate stands at 17.2%, it will be set à 12% by HRDC, and the maximum number of weeks of benefits will drop from 32 to 24.

Can the minister explain to the people in the North Shore area how this is going to meet the needs of thousands of workers who will be excluded from the EI program?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is referring to the plight of seasonal workers on the north shore and the particular problems that group presents to us. That is why the minister is working with the council of labour market ministers with particular focus on joint programming that will assist this particular group.

We are also learning more about their plight through the monitoring and assessment report which we bring forward on a regular basis. Decisions will be made about the future and what we can do to help these people in concert with the provinces.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Fournier Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, people in my area are going to fight this. On June 5, more than 500 citizens of the North Shore have demonstrated against this reform, and they have asked to meet with the minister.

When is she going to meet with them?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, work is ongoing on this file.

As far as unemployment is concerned, it is my great pleasure to share with the House the fact that the unemployment figures are at their best in 24 years at 6.6%. The unemployment figures for women are at their best in 25 years at 5.4%. Even the stubbornly high rate of unemployment for youth has dropped 2.5% in the last year. This is good news.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

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

Bill C-34, an act to amend the Canada Transportation Act, is linked to a memorandum of understanding between the wheat board and the minister responsible, in other words, an agreement between the minister and the minister.

The minister clearly told the standing committee that the MOU was prepared in consultation with stakeholders, but the grain companies, the railways and farm organizations that appeared have all denied this. Just who did the minister consult?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I know for a fact, because I was present for a number of those meetings with the minister in charge of the wheat board and the Minister of Transport, that those negotiations did take place with all those the hon. member just named.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I take it then that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is saying that all the people who appeared before us were liars.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I do not know that it is appropriate for a member to imply motive to another member using a word which is clearly unparliamentary. I would ask the hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands to please withdraw the word liar and proceed with the question.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Will the minister withdraw his remarks about the witnesses?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

Human Resources Development CanadaOral Question Period

June 9th, 2000 / 11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that elderly citizens have been the victims of administrative decisions by HRDC which are utterly unfair and unacceptable. The department went as far as to withdraw amounts from their bank accounts without their knowledge to recover overpayments.

Should the Minister of Human Resources Development not be ashamed of herself for allowing this harassment of ordinary citizens and the withdrawing of money from their accounts, when she is unable to recover millions of dollars in grants and to produce the invoices of Placeteco, which has misappropriated more that $1 million?

Human Resources Development CanadaOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I addressed this question yesterday. It is true that there was a mistake made by an employee and the situation has now been corrected.

Verbal and written apologies have been given to the family. We understand that the family has accepted these apologies. We have asked the official to ensure that the situation does not happen again.

Rural DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Larry McCormick Liberal Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, because rural communities in my riding and across Canada are asking what our government has done recently for rural Canada, could the Secretary of State for Rural Development please update the House on what recent actions the federal government has undertaken to benefit agricultural rural communities?

Rural DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalSecretary of State (Rural Development)(Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, the government believes that rural development needs to be a bottom up and not a top down driven process. The communities themselves must establish their priorities and establish the strategies to pursue community development.

The federal government acts as a means to provide a set of tools for these communities. I was pleased to announce, along with my colleague on May 25, the Canadian agricultural rural communities initiative which will provide $9.3 million to rural communities to assist them with community development. It is a great example of the bottom up approach to community development.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, it seems that the government is engaging in a pre-emptive strike of misinformation about our plan 17. It is really unfortunate because the Minister of Finance is stating things publicly that misrepresent what the plan actually says.

For example, he implied that government revenues would go down $20 billion under our plan. The truth is that over five years, while reducing the tax rates to 17%, government revenue would increase every year. Where does the Minister of Finance get his numbers from?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased that the hon. member has given me a chance to talk about their flat tax.

Let us hear from others: “The Liberals will tear this flat tax apart, telling everyone it is just a tax break for the rich, and it is”. That was Jim Silye, former Reform MP.

“In principle the single tax rate is a bad idea. It is a wise and long established principle that someone lucky enough to reach the $100,000 mark of income should pay a few more pennies of that dollar in tax than the person who only manages to reach $35,000”. That is from the Edmonton Journal .

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, it seems that some correctly predicted that the Liberal Party would be duplicitous about the facts in this statement.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The hon. member for Elk Island did not refer to a specific minister and he did not refer to a specific member. He is quite in order.