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House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, with only a few hours left in the climate change negotiations in Marrakesh, it has been reported that the Canadian delegation, headed by our environment minister, is threatening to jeopardize any chance of reaching an agreement.

Although we now have an agreement on legally binding enforcement mechanisms, that is in spite of Canada's position in opposition, now our delegation is bickering over minor details that could derail the negotiations.

Why is Canada dragging its feet and thwarting efforts by the whole international community to move forward on the Kyoto protocol?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Kitchener Centre Ontario

Liberal

Karen Redman LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the member needs to remember that the Minister of the Environment, as chair of the umbrella group in Marrakesh, is speaking for all countries and not just Canada.

Our positions in Marrakesh are consistent with the Kyoto protocol and the Bonn agreement. We are bargaining in good faith and we hope to reach an agreement before negotiations wind up today.

Our umbrella group partners have a set of rules that will ensure the effective operation and environmental integrity--

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor--St. Clair.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister last week was very clear that we were going to go ahead with Kyoto. There were no restrictions on that.

This week the Minister of the Environment is in Marrakesh saying just the opposite: do these things or we are not signing it. Whose talking for Canada? The Prime Minister or the Minister of the Environment.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the hon. member is stating correctly what the Minister of the Environment was doing in Marrakesh.

Our positions in Marrakesh are consistent with the Kyoto protocol and the Bonn agreement we successfully negotiated and took the lead in negotiating.

The Prime Minister speaks for Canada and the Minister of the Environment speaks for Canada in working to implement the Kyoto protocol in a way consistent with our Bonn agreement.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

During the recent tropical storm, Gabrielle, the city of St. John's was devastated to such an extent that a state of emergency was declared.

The city is now paying out millions and millions of dollars as its share of the loss. It has asked the federal government for help. The minister is saying that he is expecting to get it. When will the federal government deliver?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, normal processing of such claims under the DFAA involves the province, first of all, setting up a plan from which they reimburse people. They in turn make a claim within the policy to the federal government.

It is our endeavour to expedite all such claims where people have gone through this kind of suffering. We are certainly sympathetic to the problems that have existed.

As quickly as the provincial government gets information to us, we can respond accordingly.

Public WorksOral Question Period

November 9th, 2001 / 11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, the responsibility for Canada Post and CMHC followed in the purview of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

The minister's friend, Maurizio Creuso, has been given lucrative contracts with both CMHC and Canada Post.

Uncovering this fact has tainted the reputation of the minister. Why does he not clear his name by ordering a review of the circumstances under which his friend was given those contracts?

Public WorksOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I have said from the beginning, as a minister I do not interfere with the current management of any crown corporation. It is not appropriate for a minister to interfere.

I am sure there is a management board. There is a board of directors that has an audit committee. There is the annual audit report where the auditor general is involved. I am sure they will look at those things.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has turned the Liberal loonie into a lame duck. Today trading is at another all time low of 62.37 cents.

According to the Bank of Canada, the loonie has lost 20% of its value against a basket of six major currencies in the past four years. Since the beginning of this year, it has lost ground against the yen, the pound, the peso and the Euro.

Canadians want to know just how low the government is prepared to see the loonie go. How low will it go?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it is quite true that the global economic slowdown is causing pressures.

Let me tell the hon. member what is not weighing adversely and downward on the dollar. It is not our sound monetary policy. It is not our record pay down of debt. It is not our record tax cuts of $100 million.

Canada is very well positioned to deal with the current economic slowdown and to participate in the rebound that we know will come.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the 62 cent dollar is a sound monetary policy, I would hate to see an unsound one from the government.

On a different matter, the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils has been identified as a front for the Tamil tigers by CSIS, the Department of Justice and the U.S. state department.

Today the Tamil tigers have been added to the list of terrorist groups that have had their funding frozen in Canada. Will FACT be added to that list as well, notwithstanding the finance minister's support for that organization?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it would be totally inappropriate for me to comment on specific actions. This is within the purview of the police.

Let me say that yesterday the member for Calgary Southeast said, on the Lowell Green radio talk show, “We have had a good run. We have had 10 years of good economic growth”. For the first time in 10 years I agree with the member for Calgary Southeast.

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, another important voice, that of Sherry Cooper, chief economist for the Bank of Montreal, has just been added to that of the Bloc Quebecois, which believes that we should scrap the Canadian dollar, a secondary, unstable and declining currency, for a common currency in the Americas.

Does the Minister of Finance realize that it is his responsibility to immediately set in motion the process of negotiating monetary integration for the Americas?

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. We will not give up the right to have our own monetary policy. We will not give up the right to be able to establish Canadian rates of interest.

When there are conflicts between the value of the dollar and jobs, we will always put jobs for Canadians first.

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ms. Cooper goes on to say, and I quote:

We will do this inevitably when the pain of the falling loonie finally gets to be great.

How far will the Minister of Finance or the government let the Canadian dollar drop before realizing that their short-sighted analysis is weakening the Canadian economy: 50¢, 40¢ or 35¢?

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, what we are not going to do is adopt the Bloc Quebecois' fiscal policy.

They have called for $5 billion in stimulation programs and $8 billion in tax point transfers, which would put us in a deficit situation.

I would refer to Quebec's Minister of Finance, Pauline Marois, who said “I want nothing to do with deficits. This is a very touchy issue for Quebecers. They do not want to go back to a deficit”. He should listen to his head office.

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary seems to want to persuade us and Canadians that the fundamentals in Canada are strong. If that is true then my question is a very obvious one. How come, relative to the Americans, the value of our dollar keeps going down? It has reduced dramatically since the Liberals took power in 1993.

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that globally these are turbulent times. Let us look at what has happened in Canada since September 11. In the month of October unemployment went down in Canada. We actually created 1,800 jobs. The United States lost 415,000. Our housing starts were up 12.7% in October and Canadians have record real disposable income.

We must be doing something right because the global economic forum said that--

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Elk Island.

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, the numbers I have read show that our employment rate has gone down and unemployment is up. I do not know where the minister is getting his numbers from.

I have a further question. He brags about having paid down the debt. The fact of the matter is that under this government's watch the net debt has gone up $39 billion since 1993. It has not been responsible. It had an opportunity during the good times of the last four or five years to reduce that debt and it did not do it nearly enough.

Monetary PolicyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, that is just absolutely ridiculous. We have been paying down our deficit through four successive surplus budgets. Thirty-five billion dollars of debt has been paid down. That is a huge saving in interest to Canadians. We will continue to do that.

When we took over, the record reached was 71% of GDP in terms of debt. We were paying one-third of every tax dollar on the interest on that alone. We are now down to 25%. We are down to 50% of GDP in terms of our debt. This is a record accomplishment.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Rural Development.

Working with the Prime Minister's task force on agriculture, I have been in a lot of farm communities recently and they are very concerned about their social and economic future.

The secretary of state talks a great deal about the need for the government to think rural. Is this just talk on the part of the secretary of state or could the secretary of state express what concrete action the federal government is taking to back up its commitments?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalSecretary of State (Rural Development) (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of ways the federal government is assisting our rural communities and one of the more innovative ways is through our pilot project program. Through that program we are working with over 300 communities across Canada to test innovative solutions to meet the challenges that are faced by rural communities, challenges such as geography or low population density, for the cyclical nature of the resource based economies.

We have invested over $12 million in this program. In the last few days I have been able to announce the latest phase, $2.2 million in 81 communities.

Religious OrganizationsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Canadian Alliance Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

The churches named by the government as third parties in the lawsuits caused by its failed residential schools policy have said they are determined to contribute to the settlement of these claims according to their corporate ability.

Will the government respect the offer, respect the negotiation process, respect the victims and return to the negotiation table finally to reach a fair settlement, and, if so, when?