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House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I already answered that question when the hon. member from the Bloc put the reasons for not having armed personnel on planes.

It is very serious when weapons are introduced in a confined space such as an airplane at 37,000 or 39,000 feet. It is a decision we did not take lightly, but upon reflection and certainly after discussion with stakeholders, including the change of heart of the Air Canada Pilots Association, the government acted and it acted in the best interests of the travelling public.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, to Canadians it looks an awful lot like another cave-in to American pressure. On September 17 the transport minister said here in the House, and I quote:

We are committed to providing enhanced security on the ground so we will not need air marshals on planes.

That is pretty clear, but what did the foreign affairs minister say earlier today? Now he is talking about giving guns to Canadian customs agents. What is the next brilliant idea in Canada's smart border policy?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 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, this gives me the occasion to remind the House that a wonderful agreement and working plan was signed this morning. It will allow us to keep going and make progress in order to make sure that we keep the border open to trade while offering a very safe society.

Of course the hon. member is referring to the notion of customs pre-clearance. That exists in our country. It has been put in place at the international airports. It works well and U.S. customs officers are working without any sidearms.

Minister for International CooperationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister was caught in the act about the CIDA minister. The Ontario municipal elections act, section 19, requires that her name actually be on the voters list in the subdivision in which she resides, or if she is an owner or tenant of the land. It cannot be both of them.

It also requires in section 24 that she apply to the clerk to have her name removed from one list and actually put on the other, and that the clerk approves or disapproves it.

When will the minister stand in the House and table the approval that she received from the clerk to vote for her pal?

Minister for International CooperationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was a byelection. It was not an election, so it was only in one district. We have asked the ethics counsellor to look into this matter and report. When the report comes we will advise.

Minister for International CooperationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, at least the Prime Minister has admitted that this is a serious problem. It is off to the ethics counsellor. It is too bad it will not be treated that way all the way through.

The cabinet looks like a focus group on rule breaking for the elite. They break the law in good faith. They blame subordinates. They write to quasi-judicial bodies. They use government charge cards for personal expenses. They give untendered contracts for cash. They make unilateral announcements and now they vote whenever, wherever.

How can the Prime Minister defend keeping this serial voter in this cabinet?

Minister for International CooperationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, talking about serial promises, there was a member of parliament who three times promised her electors that she would never take a pension from parliament. After that she broke her word with her voters and got the pension, so I do not take her very seriously.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaïda terrorist network had a foothold in Canada. The solicitor general's continual denial of any Canadian connection ignores the fact that we are vulnerable to the infiltration of terrorists.

I ask the solicitor general, will he now pull his head out of the sand and acknowledge, as proven yesterday with the indictment of Zacharias Moussaoui, that Al-Qaïda is present and active in Canada?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have said many times that the terrorism web covers the world. This country is no exception, but I have to tell my hon. colleague again, as I have told him many times, there is no direct link of what took place in New York on September 11 with Canada.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, repeatedly we have heard and learned about the presence of suspected terrorists operative in this country from foreign countries, that is, from the States, from Jordan, from France and from Great Britain.

This is a sorry indictment of the government, which for almost a decade has financially bled our security and intelligence agencies to the point that there is a shortage of trained analysts here in Canada.

I ask the solicitor general, why did Canadian intelligence fail to uncover the Al-Qaïda terrorists operating in our country?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

It is unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, but my hon. colleague continues to want to discredit CSIS, the RCMP and the government. The fact of the matter still remains that the government saw fit to put just under $10 billion into the public safety envelope.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance opened the door to tax deductions for mechanic apprentices. I would like to remind him that the Bloc Quebecois has been fighting for such a measure since 1993.

Could the Minister of Finance explain why this measure is limited to apprentices, when experienced mechanics are required to spend up to $20,000 on their tools?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we looked into the situation. We are fully aware that we could provide many other deductions, but this would cost a great deal. However, in the case of apprentices, those who are really trying to improve their situation, we decided that we had to act. And we did.

I would like to thank all of the members of the House, and certainly the Liberal members, who encouraged us to do this.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, we would like to remind the Minister of Finance that this is an issue of fairness, because a number of job categories already have this deduction.

Why does the minister refuse to extend this same tax benefit to experienced mechanics, when other job categories already have it?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we had lengthy discussions on this matter with members, including the member who just asked the question, and certainly with members from our caucus.

Our goal is to assist those with the greatest need. This is definitely apprentices, those who must pay these costs for the first time, at the same time as paying for their education, and who do not have high salaries.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, we heard this morning that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is prepared to allow armed U.S. customs officers to operate within our country. This clearly contradicts what the customs minister has stated repeatedly.

Is the customs minister actually involved in this decision or are the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. homeland security director calling the shots?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 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, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I are saying the very same thing. This morning we signed an agreement to make sure that we will have, jointly with the United States, what we call a smart border, using more technology.

What the hon. member is referring to is the notion of customs pre-clearance. That exists in Canada. I have said many times that it exists at international airports. The U.S. customs officers are doing their work without sidearms, using local police forces. It works very well.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, Tom Ridge stated clearly that he feels both U.S. and Canadian customs officers should be armed to adequately protect the border.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs now acknowledges that American customs officers stationed in Canada should be armed. Why the double standard?

How can the Minister of Foreign Affairs still leave our Canadian officers protecting our nation unarmed? Is it more important to protect Americans than it is Canadians? What is--

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid the member has this all fouled up. He should know from his background that people do not chase foul balls.

Clearly what we agreed to this morning is that we will try to work toward a model such as we have for pre-clearance at airports. Of course everyone is concerned about the safety and security of the customs officers. Currently, safety for pre-clearance customs officers in Canadian airports is provided by armed personnel who are members of Canadian police forces.

TradeOral Question Period

December 12th, 2001 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Minister for International Trade took part in the inauguration of the Canada-Italy Business Council here, in Ottawa.

Could the minister inform this House of the benefits of this fine initiative?

TradeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, indeed, this morning, my Italian colleague and I officially launched the Canada-Italy Business Council and its first important undertaking. It involves creating a strategic partnership between Canadian and Italian SMBs in the information and communications technologies sector.

By co-operating in key sectors, Canadian and Italian companies will be able to form strategic alliances that will afford them easier access to their respective commercial spaces, in other words, NAFTA and the EU. The governments of Canada and Italy support this council.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, the transport minister says that the $24 round trip fee to pay for his new airport security fees is not a huge tax grab when in fact it is.

I would ask him to turn to page 92, table 5.1, of his own budget. It authorizes, in year 5, $306 million in new spending and in the same year $445 million in new revenue. That is a profit of $139 million. How can the transport minister say that he is not overtaxing consumers and providing a huge disincentive to travelling?

Will he lower the rate to provide people with a proper incentive and to bring real balance to this plan?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in the initial years, in fact, there is going to be a number of very important upfront costs which the government is going to have to absorb and which these air charges will not cover, so there will be a shortfall in government revenues as a result of this. Then, over time, this will pick up and it will be compensated for over the course of the next five years.

I assure the hon. member, as the Minister of Transport said yesterday, that there is no intention for the government to make any money on this. If the cash drops so in fact will the charge.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, rather than creating a system that is so unbalanced and runs huge surpluses into the future for the government, why did this government not follow the recommendations that were tabled by the transport committee which said that there should be a balanced approach to financing this? Asking air carriers to ante up more money for the protection of their assets is not a radical suggestion. It is common sense.

Will this transport minister reconsider his $24 fee, which is a huge disincentive and is triple the rate the Americans are charging, and implement a common sense policy that gets people flying?