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House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-36.

Topics

Air TransportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I answered that yesterday.

It was not our intention to provide loan guarantees for new airlines. It was merely a decision made in connection with Canada 3000 and other major carriers because of the events of September 11.

TerrorismOral Question Period

November 28th, 2001 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the foreign affairs minister said Canada would not support intervention in Iraq until there was a United Nations resolution, but there are already resolutions requiring Iraq to allow weapons inspections. In 1998 the Prime Minister said that Canada would participate in military intervention to enforce those United Nations resolutions.

The mixed messages of the government weaken our international credibility and erode our capability to fight terrorism. Will the minister today explain the obvious contradiction between his position and that of the Prime Minister?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the point here is that the inspection right, which we call upon Iraq to respect, is authorized by security council resolution, as are the sanctions which are under way and which in fact the security council is revisiting and sharpening. They are there in order to give effect to the resolution to permit inspections. This we agree with, this we respect and this we support.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian forces are already deployed in support of actions in Afghanistan. However, there is confusion about our present role and there is great confusion about our future role.

Canadians, our allies and our military personnel deserve to know what Canada's role is going to be. Canadians want to make a substantial contribution to the war against global terrorism. Why will the government not spell out a plan for Canada's contribution instead of drifting aimlessly and embarrassing Canadians in the process?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, if central command has not been clear enough in explaining things to the hon. member, but this is a war against global terrorism. Everybody from President Bush on down has explained the fact that this is different from previous engagements.

The immediate objective of rooting out the al-Qaeda network and Osama bin Laden is proceeding well. We see governance meetings being held in order to deal with the post-Taliban situation in Afghanistan.

As things evolve, I am sure the hon. member will be well informed in due time.

Air TransportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, regional air transportation is certainly no luxury. In many places in Canada it is the only means of travel available to the public. In such difficult circumstances, air transportation becomes more than mere service, it may be considered an essential service.

In this context, is the government prepared to consider air transportation a public service as in the case of bus service and require future licence holders to offer quality service in the regions?

Air TransportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member makes a valid point about the nature of air travel in the country and that is why the government insisted, in the deal we made with Air Canada when it took over Canadian Airlines, that it provide service to small communities for a period of three years. That is something that Air Canada obviously has adhered to. That will end in December of next year.

What the hon. member seems to be saying, and I guess this is the position of the Bloc Quebecois, is that we should re-regulate the air industry. On the other hand, we have the position of the Alliance Party that wants to throw it open to U.S. competition, without any safeguards.

This is a very useful debate but it is not particularly useful at this time. We had a policy that was working. We have to adjust that policy to ensure that competition is there.

Air TransportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the minister draw from the example of bus travel, where busier sectors are twinned with quieter ones?

Air TransportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that I asked the Senate transport committee to look at the whole issue of bus deregulation. We hope to have that report very soon.

However, what has happened in the bus industry over the past 20 years is that ridership has declined.

One can only argue that in a deregulated environment in the air industry in the last 15 years, Canadians have had more service and cheaper fairs, and yes, we have cheaper fairs than between comparable cities in the United States as a result of deregulation. The hon. member wants us to walk back in time.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, Ken Hechtman is the Canadian reporter being held hostage and in chains in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister said, and I quote, “We will do whatever we can to secure his release.” What exactly does that mean? What specifically is the government doing to secure Ken Hechtman's release?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have taken every action possible so far in attempting to obtain the information required to deal with the situation. It is difficult to do given that we have a war situation in the region. Several officers from our embassy in Islamabad have been tasked with trying to make the appropriate contacts and endeavouring to get the information required.

In the meantime, we are trying to keep Mr. Hechtman's family informed as developments occur.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the situation, as acknowledged by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is very dangerous on the ground. Eight reporters have been killed in the last two weeks alone.

Because we have aid workers and journalists trying to do their job on the ground, what specifically will the government do to ensure that these aid workers and journalists will not be used as human shields by the Taliban?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, of course we are very concerned about the safety of Canadians who are in the region. That is why we have been in contact with the agencies with whom they are employed to ensure they are aware of the dangers implicit in going into a war zone.

In the meantime, we are doing our very best to maintain contact with such authorities as there are in the region in order to ensure that steps are taken to protect their safety and to determine, in Mr. Hechtman's case, his whereabouts and what will be required to secure his release.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently in Burma the military's most senior general raised the possibility that Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the country's democratic movement, might have a role in a future government.

The regime has allowed some of its offices to re-open and has released 200 political prisoners but human rights abuses are still prevalent in that country.

Would the Minister of Foreign Affairs comment on Canada's position regarding relations with this regime and give an assessment of the current situation?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada certainly welcomes the positive, if somewhat limited, developments that have been occurring in Burma. We also note that there are confidence building measures going on between Aung San Suu Kyi and the State Peace and Development Council. These are positive signs.

On the other hand, we note that there are continuing very serious human rights abuses that are occurring, in particular political repression and harsh treatment of those in ethnic and border regions.

In the meantime, as we observe developments, Canada's position on our relationship with Burma will not change from that which was introduced in 1997.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the acting prime minister.

Interest rates and credit cards are sitting at 18%. The prime rate is sitting at only 4%. That is probably the widest gap between the two in the history of the country. Meanwhile, consumer debt loan in terms of credit cards is sitting at $40 billion. That is bad for the economy, bad for consumers and bad for business.

Will the government approach its friends in the big banks and ask them to roll back these outrageously high interest rates in terms of being fair to the consumers?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, Industry Canada is required to publish credit card rates and those are available to the public. Consumers have a wide range of credit card offerings from which to choose, as well as other sources of credit which may very well be far less expensive than credit cards.

If the hon. member is paying 18% on his credit cards I suggest he should not be giving the House fiscal advice.

HousingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is an affordable housing crisis in the country and close to five million Canadians are at risk.

While the housing ministers' meeting in Quebec City tomorrow is a good step, the question is, will anything of substance happen? Canadians who desperately need affordable housing cannot live on principles. They need an agreement now to get non-profit housing built ASAP.

Does the minister have the provinces on board and is there a federal commitment for a fully funded national housing strategy? Does he have that commitment and does he have the agreement of the provinces?

HousingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the provincial and territorial ministers of housing will be meeting in Quebec City. I will join them Friday when we will be discussing the affordable housing program that we promised in the last campaign and which we put in the Speech from the Throne.

All this week I have been talking with my colleagues across the country and I am confident that on Friday by the end of the day we will come to an agreement.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Michael Hart, from Carleton University, stated that Canada had six months to resolve border issues with the Americans or it would face dire consequences.

The Americans have already taken unilateral action at the border with additional legislation currently before congress that could further jeopardize our exports to the United States.

Why is the government risking Canada's economic security by ignoring comprehensive border management policy?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have this question because it enables me to highlight the fact that we are co-ordinating the border issues with the United States through meetings so far that have been held between the treasury secretary, the Minister of National Revenue and the Minister of Finance, and next week with the attorney general of the United States.

I have spoken with my counterpart for these purposes, Tom Ridge, on a number of occasions. I expect to receive him in Ottawa in the near future.

Collectively, we have all agreed from both sides that the ministers responsible and the agencies responsible work to see that the border between Canada and the United States is not as good as September--

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for South Surrey--White Rock--Langley.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Hart's study, which was funded by the Department of Industry, clearly shows that the government has failed to provide strong leadership.

The Liberals were wrong on free trade, wrong on NAFTA and they are wrong to ignore Canadians' economic security with the two security bills before parliament.

Will the government negotiate a proper border agreement before the Americans lose patience and unilaterally implement tough security measures that decimate our export industry?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what exactly it is the hon. member thinks is happening but we have had very proactive discussions with the United States.

Let us be perfectly clear about what needs to be done here. The first priority for Canada has been to deal with security issues. The reason for that is that we need to be able to assure the United States that we, together with them, share the overall concern about security. That is why Bills C-36 and C-42 are so important to the continuing dialogue which is underway with the United States about the border.

That is a top priority for the government but we need our security house in order as we proceed with the border discussions.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are not interested in corporate welfare that destroys competition in Canada's air industry.

The transport minister gave $100 million to Air Canada for its out of pocket costs for the September 11 shutdown without the caveat that it could not use the $100 million to launch Air Canada Tango. Air Canada Tango pushed Canada 3000 out of business.

Will the transport minister now send a clear message to Air Canada that if it uses that $100 million to launch another discount carrier to destroy WestJet in western Canada that he will repeal the $100 million?