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House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was edc.

Topics

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, President Bush is now taking steps toward a common security perimeter with Canada and Mexico. He wants greater harmony in customs procedures, including a shared database of foreign nationals entering each country. Such a system will give all three countries early warning of potentially dangerous travellers.

Will the minister assure the House today that Canada will fully co-operate with the implementation of such a plan?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I said many times in the House, we started to reform the customs system a long time ago in Canada. What we are looking at is putting in place a much better risk management system using more technology.

As I said, customs has to be seen as an economic development tool. It has to be effective and efficient for the Canadian population as a whole and businesses as well. We have started to co-operate with the states. I will be in Washington, D.C., on Thursday in order to increase that co-operation. We have started to harmonize in some places like the Nexus program which I visited yesterday.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, in order for business in this country going south to be effective, security has to be a priority. The Americans have walked away from harmonization talks in the past but they have just put a plan on the table that is in the best interests of Canadian security and the Canadian economy.

Will the minister stop this political posturing and for once act in the best interests of Canadians by agreeing to President Bush's proposal?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, obviously the hon. member does not know what the customs action plan is all about.

As I have said many times, we are dealing with big volumes on a daily and yearly basis. In order to make sure we are able to fulfill our dual mandate, which is the protection of Canadian society and keeping the border open for trade, we need to use more technology. Using more technology will give us a safer society. We will also make sure businesses keep growing in this country.

International AidOral Question Period

October 30th, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government announced that it would be supporting the Bloc Quebecois motion on increased international aid. As we know, assistance for the suffering populations must be an ongoing concern.

Can the Minister of Finance confirm that international aid is among his concerns and that he will be including funds for this in his coming budget?

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, unfortunately for the hon. member, I am not the Minister of Finance but I can answer his question.

This government has demonstrated its commitment to international development. If the hon. member were to examine the last budget, he would see that we have increased our international aid by $435 million over three years. If he were to take a look at this year's throne speech, he would see that this government has again committed to increasing our international aid.

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, even CIDA, with its specific mandate of meeting the need for international aid, considers that the additional $16 million invested by the government in Afghanistan is clearly inadequate.

That being the case, does the government plan to promote humanitarian aid within a multilateral approach under UN auspices, and to allocate the necessary funds to it?

International AidOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to giving $16 million in aid to Afghanistan.

Since we have made this commitment, that is $1 million on September 29, another $5 million thereafter, followed by $10 million on October 17, we have both committed these amounts and delivered on them.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, Syrian Hassan Almrei was granted refugee status in Canada last year based on a fake United Arab emirate passport and a Canadian visa that he purchased for $5,000. He claimed that he feared persecution because his father was a member of the Muslim brotherhood in Syria.

The fact is the Muslim brotherhood is a well-known terrorist group that assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

My question is for the immigration minister. Why is having a terrorist in the family grounds for refugee status here in Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite keeps putting facts out that are inaccurate and wrong. They are then picked up by other people who repeat them like they are true.

I would suggest that what he do is remember that his title is a member of the loyal opposition and he should not be sending the message to people that they are admissible to Canada if they have a criminal record or if they pose a security threat, because they are not.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is this person was given refugee status in our country because his father was a member of a terrorist group.

The Canadian Alliance has been the strongest proponent for genuine refugees but the minister's poor screening has given refugees all a bad name in the country, and that is not acceptable to the loyal opposition.

Does the immigration minister think she did the right thing in giving refugee status based on family membership in a terrorist group?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that decisions are made by the Immigration and Refugee Appeal Board, a quasi-judicial body. Where we disagree with those opinions they are appealed to the courts.

Any persons applying for refugee status who uses fraud or misrepresentation, or are found to be inadmissible to Canada because they pose a security risk or have a criminal record, we take appropriate action to remove them from the country as quickly as possible. The member opposite knows that.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has the unfortunate habit of underestimating government surpluses in order to make his life easier and avoid having to justify his budget choices to parliament and his own caucus.

Will the Minister of Finance confirm that, for the first five months of the current fiscal year, his department's figures establish the accumulated surplus at $11.1 billion, whereas, for the next seven months, the most pessimistic scenarios predict an additional $2.5 billion, for a total of $13.6 billion in manoeuvring room?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that as of July we had a surplus of over $11 billion.

That said, the member must know, if he has not realized, that the economy was slowing down before September 11. After the 11th, it must be said that the attacks on the World Trade Center had a significant effect on the Canadian and American economies.

That said, there is no doubt that the surpluses will shrink, and, unfortunately, substantially.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, naturally we are taking these slowdowns into account. The figure for the next seven months is $2.5 billion, whereas it was over $11 billion in the first five months. We are not crazy.

We must have a clear plan in this House. Will the Minister of Finance admit that we in the Bloc have already presented a clear, targeted and deficit free plan that responds to the situation and supports the economy and employment?

He should use it, and for once have the wisdom to listen to us.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the member is so proud of his plan, perhaps he should present it to the Standing Committee on Finance, of which he is a member. I look forward with enthusiasm to the report.

I also suggest the member submit his plan to Ms. Marois, who is to present her budget on November 1.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Prime Minister just told the House, police authorities say that Toronto is a staging ground for al-Qaeda terrorists and that they have a stunning amount of evidence to prove it, including five suspects and more to come.

I would ask the solicitor general, in the face of intelligence information showing terrorist activity, such as fundraising, recruiting and counterfeiting of documents taking place in Toronto, how can he still deny any Canadian connection to the attack on America?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, is my hon. colleague asking me if there is a direct connection with what happened on September 11? If that is the member's question, the answer is, no.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, CSIS has told the federal court that it believes there are supporters of bin Laden and his terrorist network here in Canada now. A proper and more thorough investigation of Al-Marabh in June may have revealed this fact and exposed key evidence regarding the September 11 attack on America.

Our Prime Minister says that there is no imminent attack but we know that bin Laden's terrorists are here in Canada now.

Given the glaring evidence of CSIS and the RCMP, why should Canadians trust the solicitor general with their security and their safety?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have said a number of times in the House that there are people involved in terrorist groups in this country. Let there be no illusions, there are people in this country who belong to terrorist groups.

My hon. colleague asked why he should trust me. Who he should trust are the members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and CSIS who do an excellent job of making sure this country remains one of the safest countries in the world today.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Vancouver Sun reported today that the Government of Canada will be providing up to $5.3 million to encourage Canadian lumber exports to China.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources tell the House why the government is focusing on China and how this money will be spent?

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the Vancouver Sun may have jumped the gun a bit but the information is essentially accurate.

This Canada-China wood products initiative will help Canada take advantage of emerging markets in China and lessen our dependence upon American markets. All regions of the country will benefit from this initiative, with expected participation from several wood products associations across the country. The momentum toward this was substantially assisted last week by the Prime Minister's visit to Shanghai.

The money will be used for promotional activities, market studies, technical work on codes and standards, and worker training. It will be delivered by Natural Resources Canada in co-operation with the distinguished minister for--

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Regina--Qu'Appelle.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

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

Interest rates in this country are now at a 40 year low but the spread between interest rates and credit card rates is at a 24 year high. Canadians are now paying about 18% on credit cards, despite a falling bank rate and a falling prime rate.

When the minister asked his buddies at the big banks in this country for permission to bring in a fall budget, did he also ask them to bring down their outrageously high interest rates on credit cards?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that when the bank moves one wants to see all interest rates come down, which is why mortgage rates are virtually at an all time low.

The Bank of Canada was able to act in this way because of the elimination of the deficit, because of the pay down of $35 billion in debt and because of the significant tax cuts brought in by the government.

There is tremendous confidence among central bankers as to the governance of this country by the government and it is reflected in the drop in interest rates.