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House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Yes, Mr. Speaker, we did talk about the importance of assuring both the citizens of Canada and of the United States that they live within secure borders. We also discussed at great length the importance of the border as an economic measure of great importance to both Canada and the United States.

We agreed we would continue to work closely together to ensure that the border remains as open as can possibly be.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the U.S. is more concerned with domestic security than international trade. Earlier this week U.S. immigration officials announced that exit and entrance controls would be implemented at border points within two years. This would create incredible backlogs inflicting a death blow to Canadian exports.

The minister has stated that no new security measures have been requested of Canada by the U.S. However, did Tom Ridge assure the minister that the exit and entrance controls announced by U.S. officials this week would not be implemented?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, a close reading of what was referred to earlier this week indicates an intention to transfer existing paper records collected at border points to electronic records; nothing more than that.

However, if indeed such measures were to be introduced, of course it would be of concern. We indicated clearly to Mr. Ridge how important it was, and he acknowledged that, as a former governor of Pennsylvania, by the way, to ensure that both goods and people pass freely across the Canada-U.S. border.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the key aspects of an employment insurance program is that it works and meets the needs of workers who become unemployed, particularly in crisis periods.

The Standing Committee on Human Resources Development made 17 unanimous recommendations to the minister, who rejected every one of them.

Does the minister realize that there is a crisis, that she has tools with which to act and that she is refusing to use them?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Yes, Mr. Speaker, and Canadians can count on a reliable and effective employment insurance program that has been around for 60 years.

Employment insurance is designed to adapt quickly and automatically to local labour market fluctuations. Eligibility is reviewed every four weeks, based on the latest unemployment statistics.

The system is there and it is working for Canadians.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the promises made by Liberal ministers from Quebec, the unanimous recommendations made by the committee, the decline in the economy and a $6 billion surplus forecast for 2001-02, how is it that the minister can still say no to women, no to seasonal workers, no to young people and no to older workers, in other words, to all those who are waiting for real measures in these difficult times?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. As a result of the fiscal measures the government has taken, the employment insurance program is there now for Canadians should they need it.

The system is flexible. Every four months it is reviewed. If there is so much as an increase of one-tenth of a per cent in unemployment, the system changes. Entrance requirements are reduced and the benefits duration is elongated. The system is designed to be flexible and responsive to the needs of Canadians.

Customs and ExciseOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is trying to reassure Canadians that all is well with Canada-U.S. border crossings. Even backbench Liberal members of parliament know differently.

The Canada Customs and Excise union is floating an excellent proposal for major commercial preclearance facilities in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario in partnership with U.S. customs. Will the government work with the union to make this happen?

Customs and ExciseOral Question Period

2:35 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, as I said many times, we have developed over the past few years a customs action plan. As I said as well, we went through a period of consultation in which we consulted with the union. I have met lately with the president of the union. Just before question period I was on the phone with the president of the union.

Our aim or goal today is to make sure that we put in place a border open for trade, a border for economic development, because customs has to be seen as an economic development tool. As well we have to make sure we work in co-operation with the United States. This is what we are doing.

Customs and ExciseOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, our security minister goes to the U.S. basically empty handed. Our commercial traffic is suffering and this is a proposal that could be done in partnership with the Americans. It is urgently required, not consultations.

The U.S. is spending a billion dollars to tighten the Canada-U.S. border. We already have U.S. customs passenger preclearance through Pearson and Vancouver airports and other places. When will the government adopt this proposal?

Customs and ExciseOral 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, if the hon. member would have a look at the reform, he would know it is already in place. We have some pilot projects at the land border respecting the crossing of goods and people, for example Canpass and Nexus.

We are working at this point in time, and my colleague in Washington talked about it yesterday, to ensure that we will resume those programs. More specific, we would like to resume Nexus which is a joint program, a harmonized program.

Apart from that he would know as well that indeed we are talking about preclearance using a new technology customs zone at airports and plenty of good things that will ensure we have an efficient border.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting which was postponed earlier this month would have provided an opportunity for Commonwealth leaders to discuss measures for international co-operation against terrorism.

Has the Commonwealth taken any steps since the postponement was announced to address the terrorism issue?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, earlier today the Secretary General of the Commonwealth issued a very clear and strong statement against terrorism on behalf of Commonwealth leaders.

This follows the suggestion that went to him, to the incoming prime minister of Australia, the incoming chair of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, and the outgoing chair, the prime minister of South Africa, from our Prime Minister recommending a strong statement. We are pleased that it was adopted.

It is yet one more step along the way to building the broadest possible coalition against terrorism.

Air CanadaOral Question Period

October 25th, 2001 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government is scrapping the 15% shareholder limit in Air Canada. Given that industry analysts are telling us that there are no large investors waiting in the wings to buy shares in Air Canada, will the Minister of Transport admit that the move is simply a substitute for taking substantive measures to help the airline?

Why will the government not consider significant proposals that will actually have some effect, like lower airport lease fees, lower air navigation fees and workplace stabilization plans such as those suggested by the employees?

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it has become quite apparent over the last few weeks that the 15% single shareholder limit under the Air Canada Public Participation Act provides a constraint on Air Canada's ability to raise equity in the markets. That is why we have taken the position to introduce the bill today that will eliminate the particular provision.

We are advised by our financial advisers there will be people in the country who will come forward to take an equity stake now that the changes will be passed by parliament.

TradeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the trade minister will know that western Canadian premiers met last August with governors from 18 western states. The Canadian government kindly prepared a briefing book for our premiers out west that contained messages and talking points on everything from P.E.I. potatoes to greenhouse tomatoes to Great Lakes water.

Strangely absent from the notes, however, was any reference to the growing disparity between grain and oilseed producers and prices because the government will not match U.S. support payments.

Why were matters such as export subsidies and domestic support for grains and oilseeds not given any profile whatsoever by his department in the briefing to western Canadian premiers?

TradeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I certainly trust enough the premiers of the western provinces to understand these issues very well indeed. Our determination for promoting at the WTO a reform in agricultural trade is loud and clear and is there all the time.

We often work with the Americans at the multilateral level, hoping that it will also help our farmers in competition with the Americans, while they will have to respect this important structural reform that we want in agricultural trade.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has referred defensively to politically motivated witch hunts, which is quite ironical and cynical coming from the architect of the ongoing Airbus investigation.

The Minister of Health felt compelled in 1997 to consult with the ethics counsellor about his potential conflict of interest due to a prior connection with Apotex.

However, if the Cipro kid wants to be consistent and credible, can he tell us if in 1994, when he was the attorney general and his department and Apotex were together before the Supreme Court of Canada, he consulted with the ethics counsellor about his then potential conflict of interest?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, when I was attorney general I told my officials I would disqualify myself from any involvement in any litigation involving Apotex because I had acted for the company.

I have behaved myself since I have been in public life, entirely in compliance with the highest standards of ethics. I say to this member, as I say to the rest of that party, if they have anything to allege against me let them come out and say it. Otherwise it is offensive to listen to these types of questions.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thought we were saying it.

There he was, the sixties hippie, the eighties lawyer and now Minister of Health. He should always obey the law but he broke the patent law and failed his number one responsibility. Then he said that there was no national emergency, and then he blamed it on his officials. Now he has been caught in a glaring conflict of interest.

In all these incarnations, why has this minister not learned that when he breaks the law he pays the price?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this member is wrong in everything she just said. The easiest way of dealing with that absurd question is to say no.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Algerian armed Islamic group had a 20 member terrorist cell operating in Montreal for years. It included Ahmed Ressam, who was finally arrested by American authorities when he attempted to cross the border with his bomb making material. We have now learned that although French authorities continually advised Canada of this group's terrorist activities the government did nothing to assist in their arrests. Why?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think in the Ressam case my hon. colleague is fully aware that the American government thanked the RCMP and CSIS for the part they played in that case.

My hon. colleague is also well aware that CSIS and the RCMP work with all the police and security intelligence agencies around the world.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the only thing I remember is the astonishment of the judge who remarked on the procedures of the RCMP and the member's department in that case.

While other countries assisted the French in carrying out arrests when some of these terrorists finally left Canada, Canada only frustrated French efforts to put an end to the activities of this terrorist group.

Were French sources correct when they advised the media that Canada closed its eyes to this terrorist activity in order to buy peace with these terrorists?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed that an hon. colleague would make such a statement in the House of Commons. I am really disappointed.

The fact of the matter is that my hon. colleague is well aware that the attorney general of the United States and the director of the FBI thanked CSIS and the RCMP for their co-operation and support in this case and in many other cases.