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House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was petro-canada.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the people in these churches are very worried and very concerned about the government's action against them. I am glad that finally the Deputy Prime Minister will meet with them.

In the meantime, has the government ceased to name these churches as co-defendants in these suits?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is probably aware, these claims reflect very complex and difficult issues. I think it is not appropriate for any of us in the House to attempt to score cheap political points out of the pain and suffering of victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Biosafety ProtocolOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, to date, 75 countries have signed the Biosafety Protocol, but Canada is dragging its heels and refusing to acknowledge the global trend to providing rules on GMOs.

Is it the intention of the Minister of the Environment to sign the Biosafety Protocol in order to put people's health and the environment ahead of commercial concerns?

Biosafety ProtocolOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the final phases of the Cartagena protocol were negotiated in Montreal in January, and I took part. Canada played a very important role. I thank my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, for the great work he did in this regard.

I point out that the standard practice of the Canadian government, when faced with the issue of signature and adhering to the protocol, is to consult with groups in Canada that may be affected and may have concerns. We have virtually completed those consultations. I fully expect a decision of the government will follow very shortly.

Presentation Of ReportsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader said that at the House leaders meeting on Tuesday the issue of the October 17 reports did not come up, and that is true. What is also true, of course, is that on Tuesday an election did not seem as imminent or probable as it does today.

I wonder whether it would be in the interest of the government itself and of its own reputation to dispel any perception that it might be contemplating an election because it does not want these reports to become public.

I ask the government why would it not agree, as all parties on this side of the House have suggested, to a procedure by which these reports could be made public. Transparency could be preserved, accountability, freedom of information—

Presentation Of ReportsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. government House leader.

Presentation Of ReportsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, House leaders seldom negotiate things like this during question period. We have—

Presentation Of ReportsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

You are the one that mentioned the House leaders meeting on the floor, not me.

Presentation Of ReportsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

No, I did not, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry, it was someone across the way who expressed that House leaders had made such an agreement when such was not the case.

If House leaders want to bring a suggestion to the next House leaders meeting, they are quite welcome to do so. We usually have very constructive work in which we participate all together.

I congratulate other House leaders for their usually constructive work. I look forward to working with them again at the next House leaders meeting and at all subsequent House leaders meetings as well.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour NDP Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, today a report was leaked on the health of children in Canada and we have another confirmation that we have 40% more children living in poverty in this rich country.

I hear Liberals laughing at me right now while I am talking about poor children. I think that is a disgrace.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development admit today that her government's cuts to the EI program in 1996 is a major factor in the increase of child poverty?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member is not aware of it, but I would encourage her to read the Employment Insurance Act wherein, as a result of the 1996 amendments, we made very effective and targeted changes. The family supplement is there for low income families earning less than $26,000. They do not receive the regular benefit of 55%. As of this year, it is 80%.

The recommendations from that party would be to raise the percentages not even close to that 80%. What would that do to poor families?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in one of my answers I may have referred to a national child care program. I should have either spoken of an early child development program or the already existing and very well funded national child benefit program.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to ask the government House leader this very important question on the business of the House for the remainder of this week and for next week.

Also, in light of the questioning during question period with regard to the auditor general's report, which we now know the minister of human resources has, would it be part of the government's agenda to release that prior to the imminent election call?

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me take those points in reverse order. First, no one said there was an imminent election call. That decision certainly has not been announced.

Second, the last point that was raised was the allegation that there is an auditor general's report to be tabled. In fact that is not what the minister said. The minister said that she, as with any government department, has been issued documentation from the auditor general on which to respond. That is not an auditor general's report.

To get back to the initial question that was asked, which was the weekly business statement, it is as follows. This afternoon we will continue to debate the report stage of Bill C-8, the marine parks bill. This will be followed by the second reading of Bill C-39 respecting Petro-Canada and Bill C-36 respecting the criminal code.

On Friday we will deal with second reading of Bill S-17 respecting marine liability and, time permitting, we will then commence Bill C-43 which amends the Income Tax Act.

On Monday we will debate the second reading of a new bill to amend the Employment Insurance Act. If the House is so disposed, we would be prepared, as the Prime Minister said yesterday, to go through all stages of that bill in one day in order to give the benefit to Canadians as soon as possible. We will see whether that is the wish of the House.

We will then follow on Monday, or later if we do not get to it on Monday, with Bill C-15 regarding the export of water.

It is my present intention that on Tuesday and Wednesday we would return to unfinished business from this week, more particularly or including Bill C-3, the youth justice legislation. I will be consulting further before clarifying this issue.

Next Thursday shall be an allotted day.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

September 28th, 2000 / 3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, in his preambular remarks, the House leader of the government inadvertently misrepresented the facts in question period. The question was about the receipt by the minister of the audit by the auditor general. Just so the record is clear, she answered in the affirmative, “yes”.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not want to get into a debate on what was said. The blues exist. If you want to check with what was said, I invite all hon. members to check on it. That will be made available to you very quickly.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I will now deal with a point of privilege that was raised by the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst yesterday. At that time I asked the hon. member directly if he was alleging that the Minister of Human Resources Development leaked a bill or a paper. I was referring to a bill. He answered in the affirmative, “yes”.

The minister is here. The allegation has been made. I ask the hon. minister to address herself to that particular fact.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have read the Hansard for the member for Acadie—Bathurst's point of privilege yesterday. Let me first say that I take strong exception to his accusation that I have shown contempt for the House and its rules. I respect the House and its practices immensely.

Let me be very clear that I never authorized or instructed anyone to provide a copy of the bill to the media or to any other individual.

After making inquiries with my department, I have confirmed that no copies were distributed to journalists or to anyone else. I can only conclude that no copies of the bill have been leaked and, therefore, any reporting in the media would be speculative.

I know that the member has been working very hard on this issue of employment insurance on behalf of many of his constituents and I know how seriously he takes this issue. He is aware of the adjustments we introduced today and that they have been a topic of varied speculation and wide discussion in recent months, both in the media and elsewhere.

I regret that he has drawn the conclusions that he has over media reports on this issue, but I can reassure him and this House that I would never condone any practice of leaking copies of bills prior to their introduction in this place.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

We have an allegation that was made by the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst. We have a denial by the minister that she was involved and, evidently from an inquiry that she made, that no one on her staff was involved in this.

This matter of leaking documents is one that continues to take our time in the House and, in some ways, to baffle us as to what we are going to do about it. Because there were direct allegations with regard to the information that was released and that which is in the bill, I will take a couple of days to look at everything. If it is necessary, I will come back to the House. What we have now is an allegation and a denial. Until I have a look at it, the matter will stay there.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I seek your advice on this question I have for the government on something that I know you have addressed in the House before during question period, and that is a tactic by the government in that when the opposition parties, which have a limited time to keep the government accountable, do ask questions, often a technique is for government members to actually ask questions of the opposition. I think if you check the record today, that happened on at least eight different occasions. I am wondering what can be done in order to remedy this.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish I had advice for hon. members. I have found myself in the same situation in years gone by.

You as a House have agreed that you will have about 35 seconds for a question and about 35 seconds for a response. We have had a pretty good run at it in the last three years. We started with getting in 24 questions in a question period. We have been averaging in excess of 35 for the last three years.

I can deal with the quantity, that is to say the timing, but my dear colleague, you will forgive me for saying that I cannot deal with the quality of either the questions or the answers.

My role here is to see to it that a question is asked and that an answer, whatever we want to say about it, is given. I do not make any judgment about the quality of the questions and I do not think you should ask me to make any judgment about the quality of the answers.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order arising somewhat out of the circumstances surrounding Bill C-44, which we now have in hand. It concerns the practice of supplying the opposition with copies of the bill in a timely fashion.

This morning the bill itself was tabled. It was introduced at 10.04 a.m. or 10.05 a.m. Within five minutes the minister promptly left the House and went on television to discuss the bill. Some members of the opposition who have the critic's responsibility for this department were not provided with copies of the bill until 10.40 a.m., 30 minutes later.

I know this may sound petty, Mr. Speaker, but it is petty on the part of the government not to ensure that the entire opposition, those critics, are given copies of the bill.

The bill itself was available on the media Internet site, which is where our critic, the member for Madawaska—Restigouche, went to get a copy when he was unable to obtain a copy from the government. Other members, and I will not single anybody out, received hand delivered copies from the government House leader.

There has to be parity. There has to be an attempt to see to it that all members receive the same information at the same time so that they can discharge their duties.

I ask the Chair to consider this in conjunction with the earlier complaints yesterday with respect to the government's seeming unwillingness to be forthcoming with this type of information. This place is not to be considered an afterthought. This House of Parliament has to be treated equitably on both sides. This is not to say that the government can give the information prior to the minister being prepared to do so, but we cannot be treated here like mongrel dogs, as an after supper thought. This has to be done fairly and in a straightforward fashion so that all members can respond.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I want to deal with this directly. I do not agree with all of the words the member used, but I agree and I order that these copies be given to all members of parliament so that we have access to them.

I do not know what happened such that some of the members on this side did not have this information but I will make inquiries, unless someone here can give an explanation.

Where these copies are distributed at a certain time for everyone, I believe that the copies should go to our members of parliament at the same time. If they are distributed on this side at 11.15 or whatever it is, then they should be distributed, out of courtesy, to one another. I will see to it that the minister is apprised that this was not done and if it is necessary she will come back to the House.

I agree with you that you should have the information to work with.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, we respect your decision. I would like to refresh the memory of the House. Last year, when I used to be the deputy House leader, I raised the same issue that the House leader—

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The point of order is closed for now. I will make inquiries about it and find out what happened in this regard because it is a matter of courtesy among the members of parliament and it should be respected.