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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghanistan.

Topics

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, certainly the Government of Canada is concerned that citizens are involved. We are doing everything we can in our role to stand with our friends and allies, the United States and Britain, to make sure we defend the interests of Canada and the interests of the free world.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, this lack of response is worrisome, at the very least.

Are the accidental bombing of civilians, and the comments made by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to the effect that they may not get bin Laden and that, in any case, he has a number of accomplices with significant sums of money in 50 to 60 different banks not cause for concern and full justification for a call for a UN sponsored conference, before the world becomes further embroiled in this war?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada has long been a nation dedicated to peace and security. We have demonstrated this commitment time and time again through many means, including military. It helps define us as a nation.

By flushing out terrorists in Afghanistan, we are working to create a world that is safer and more secure for all nations, for all people, including Afghanis. We are fighting against a force that threatens our freedoms, our democracies and our very way of life. Canada will stand with our allies.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, our economy is in trouble. Scotiabank economists predict the loss of 20,000 jobs per month for at least the next six months. What is the government's response so far? To do nothing. What is the government's response to new infrastructure investment? None. What is the government's response to improving employment insurance. More studies. What is the government's response to health and social housing? No new money.

The finance minister has been able to find money to fight terrorism. Will the finance minister also find money to fight the erosion and the impoverishment of our communities?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP simply has to take a look at the programs the government has put in place and listen to the very substantial announcements we have made. The national child benefit is now at a record level. Our transfers to the provinces for health care and education are at record levels as is equalization payments that the provinces use to establish common services across the country.

The fact is we have put substantial stimulus into the economy and that is one of the reasons Canadians are coming through this downturn better than the United States. We will continue on this path.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is ignoring the crisis that is unfolding. Unemployment is already rising dramatically. In September alone job losses have been horrendous. Jobs in the accommodation and food services have gone down 31,000; in recreation, down 20,000; in transportation, down 20,000; and in agriculture, down 5,000.

Canadians want security on the international front but they also want economic security on the home front. We are ready to support the government with extra resources for security. Will the government support Canadians with extra resources for human services and community infrastructure?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that we have to be very worried and every job loss is of great concern to the government. The hon. member knows that in the month of September Canada actually created 20,000 more jobs, which most other countries are not in the process of doing.

At the same time, we are dealing with those areas of economic security, such as the absolute necessity of keeping our borders open, and taking a look at ways in which we can make that more efficient.

We are going through a very difficult time. There is no doubt about that. The government, the private sector, the opposition and all the communities in the country have to work very hard at that, and we will to continue to do that.

TradeOral Question Period

October 29th, 2001 / 2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the overly ambitious Minister of Industry is looking for a billion dollars for hooking up the Internet. Meanwhile traffic at our borders is in chaos. He should know that we desperately need to invest in up to date technology that will enhance security and keep the billion dollars a day of trade flowing between our border and the U.S. border.

Why has this leadership hopeful not done his job and insisted on the essentials?

TradeOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, if we thought the member opposite was asking a serious question that warranted a serious response, we would certainly give her one.

TradeOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, certainly keeping the borders open is a serious question. We would hope the minister would treat it as such.

The U.S. is spending $100 million for new security technology at their northern border. Meanwhile Canada's industry minister is trumpeting his ability to get a billion dollars out of his leadership rival's pocket for his pet Internet project, while downloading the border issue as an infrastructure problem that the provinces should solve.

Why does the industry minister insist on pursuing his pet project at the expense of securing freer trade for Canadians?

TradeOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House happen to believe that Canadians who live in rural and northern parts of this country have a right to expect the services of the national government. We on this side of the House happen to believe that Canadians who live in rural and northern parts of this country have an opportunity to contribute to Canada's wealth if they have the tools necessary to do the job. We make no apologies for that.

TradeOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the Minister of Industry showed a sudden interest in clearing up border lineups. Perhaps jealous of the spotlight other Liberal leadership candidates are getting, the minister weighed in in favour of transforming the Windsor-Detroit train tunnel into a truck route.

While we certainly support investments in infrastructure, I would ask the Minister of Industry if he has plans to improve spending at all border crossings or only the ones where Borealis Capital has an interest?

TradeOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, if the member is telling us that the free flow of goods, services and materials across our border, a border that handles $1.9 billion worth of business every single day for the people of Canada and the United States, is not a priority for him, I can tell him it is a very large priority for members on this side of the House.

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, minister on the run. Borealis Capital owns 50% of the rail tunnel. Among the senior executives at Borealis Capital are the chief fundraiser for the industry minister's leadership campaign, Steve Hudson and his campaign chair, David MacInnes.

Will the minister admit the obvious; that his support for this project put him in a clear and ugly conflict of interest?

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have seldom heard a more empty premise to a question: The notion that any minister or any member for that matter on this side of the House who is interested in making sure the border works well is a conflict of interest. The member opposite should really do his homework and try and dream up a better question. That one is completely nonsensical.

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is currently preparing a budget. During the G-20's last meeting, the minister also talked about international equalization.

In order to adequately meet existing needs, the UN recommends that countries allocate 0.7% of their GDP to international aid. In the year 2000, Canada only allocated 0.25% of its GDP to international aid.

Given the current extraordinary circumstances, we know that military spending will increase. Will the minister show consistency and increase international assistance in his next budget?

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if we look at the situation, and given the importance of trade and globalization, it is crystal clear that, in order for this to work, underdeveloped countries must be helped.

These countries need infrastructure programs. They need help for health and education. In fact, this was the object of the consensus achieved in Montreal one year ago by the G-20. We will definitely discuss this issue and continue to promote it.

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada agreed to write off part of Pakistan's debt to help it deal with refugees, but this measure will not be enough to counter the effects of war on Afghan people.

In this context, does the Minister of Finance intend to substantially increase the moneys earmarked for international assistance to Afghanistan, over and above the $16 million already allocated?

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, this is a very interesting question.

If the hon. member had done his homework, he would know that the Government of Canada has granted $16 million in international aid to Afghanistan since September 11. This is in addition to the money that Canada is giving to Afghanistan for international aid. For this year alone, it is around $28 million.

Canada has been there for Afghanistan. For the past 10 years, we have given in excess of $150 million. We are there today and we will be there tomorrow.

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, just a few moments ago we heard the industry minister say that his billion dollar Internet hookup scheme was, and I quote, “an essential service”.

Does the Minister of Finance agree with his cabinet colleague that his billion dollar Internet hookup scheme is as essential as health care, national security and maintaining a surplus?

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first, the member is now making up quotes to suit his question, which is not unusual because he has developed a pattern for doing that in the House. He did not hear me just say what he quoted a minute ago.

Second, yes I happen to believe that getting people who live in rural and northern Canada online and able to access the Internet in a meaningful way is important in building a modern economy.

The Alliance may believe that only those who live in urban centres should get access to technology, I do not.

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we believe there is such a thing as budgetary priorities. Now economists are saying that we may be heading toward a deficit next year.

The provinces are demanding more money for health care. We have an urgent need for new spending in national security and defence. What is the government's response? It is to spend billions, $6 billion more, on pork and corporate welfare as part of the industry minister's wish list.

Why does the finance minister not get his priorities straight and just say no to new discretionary spending while we are fighting a recession and a war on terrorism?

TradeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it very clear that it will protect our transfers to the provinces for health care and education. It has made it very clear that the involvement with our universities in research and development will continue. The government has made it very clear that the personal tax cuts, the corporate tax cuts and the increase in the child tax benefit will continue.

The fact is the government has made it very clear that it will operate within its constraints. We will do that because we are indeed building for the future of our country.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, with his next budget coming up, the Minister of Finance is singing the usual tune: he does not anticipate a very large surplus.

But figures from his own department show a surplus of $11.1 billion for the first five months of the fiscal year. Even in the worst case scenario, it will stand at $13 billion by year's end.

Will the minister admit that playing down the size of the annual surplus will create a worse problem than usual this year, since he must support the economy, and he has the means, provided he is telling the truth?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is true that we had a surplus of $11 billion in July. This is a huge cushion.

But the member must know that there was a slowdown in the third quarter. He must also know that the world changed dramatically and profoundly on September 11.

Is the member unaware of the terrible impact of September 11 on the global economy, including on Canada?