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House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, our employment insurance program must be available for workers but it cannot be available to the point where it becomes a disincentive to work. We are concerned with what the NDP is proposing. The benefits would be so high that people would not go to work. We know in Ontario and many parts of the country that foreign workers are brought in because we cannot get Canadian workers to do the jobs.

That is the case in our slaughterhouse plants, our greenhouses in southern Ontario and our vegetable fields in Manitoba. We want to ensure that the employment insurance program does not pay excess benefits.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Selkirk--Interlake for allowing me to share his time. I am pleased to rise on behalf of my constituents of Surrey Central to take part in the debate on the supply day motion put forward by the Canadian Alliance regarding economic issues and the upcoming budget. Pressure from the Canadian Alliance finally scared this lame duck government from its apathy and moved it to table a budget 22 months after the last one.

Canadians are concerned that this budget will be politically motivated and be similar to the Liberal pre-election mini budget. It is shameful that rather than solving the needs of Canadians and setting the right priorities, this budget will serve the needs of Liberal leadership hopefuls in the underground campaign for the leadership. This form of patronage by stealth should not be a surprise to Canadians since time after time the government has shown that it has a habit of rewarding its friends with taxpayer dollars.

The Canadian Alliance motion asks the government to address a number of vital measures in next week's budget. We are calling on the finance minister to reallocate resources from low priority spending areas into higher priority spending areas; to reverse unbudgeted spending increases to a maximum growth rate of inflation plus population, which is approximately 3%; to increase national security and defence spending by $3 billion; to reduce employment insurance premiums by at least 15 cents for next year; to continue reducing premiums until the break-even point is reached; to enhance job creation by eliminating capital tax over three years beginning with a 25% cut this year; to sell non-core government assets; and to use the proceeds to accelerate debt reduction. The motion appreciates and strikes a balance between the current and future needs of Canadians.

Canada is in a recession and the weak Liberal government is asleep. It sleepwalked into a recession and stumbled blindly into this situation. Our leader and finance critic tried many times in vain to awaken Liberal members but they refused to be awakened. The finance minister is a mere spectator and unable to influence Canada's economic performance at this time. The government took over a month to make the announcement of an upcoming budget after the events of September 11.

The weak government's priorities have been wrong. The government cut the CSIS budget by $50 million which is about 20% and in real terms a massive $76 million or 28% since 1993. It cut defence spending by $1.6 billion or 14% and in real terms a massive $2.9 billion or 23% since 1993. The same story continues with the RCMP budget, the immigration budget and the customs budget. The government--

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I regret to interrupt the hon. member but following question period when debate on this matter resumes he will have six and a half minutes remaining in the time allotted for him to complete his remarks.

Auditor General of CanadaGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to lay upon the table the report of the Auditor General of Canada for the year 2001.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(e) this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

EmploymentStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Magog last week I took part in a press conference, which reported on the performance of the Mission compétence project made possible through the Youth Internship Canada program.

A great program and a great success. Eighty per cent of young people who took part in the Mission compétence program kept their job after the internship or found another job in the same field.

Thanks to these internships, young graduates with a bachelor's or master's degree got work experience and benefited from the expertise of the firms involved in order to make a successful integration into the labour market.

I wish to congratulate the Magog-Orford Chamber of Commerce and Industry on its considerable involvement in this project, along with the Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi Memphrémagog.

This important success reminds us of the importance and strength of partnership. When employers, regional organizations and governments work together, the result is often success.

National SecurityStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, our foreign affairs minister recently told the foreign affairs committee that the idea of a North American security perimeter was simplistic. He was right, but only in the sense that we need to have much more than a security perimeter to keep Canadians safe and the Canada-U.S. border open to trade. In other words, a North American security perimeter is necessary but it is not sufficient.

This hard reality seems to be lost on the Liberals. What more evidence do they need? We had the bracing attacks of September 11, reports of planned attacks on Montreal's Jewish community, the slowing pace of trade at the Canada-U.S. border and now U.S. military patrols along what was the longest undefended border in the world.

This Liberal reluctance is nothing more than anti-Americanism dressed up as nationalism, and a cheap nationalism it is. Canada is a great country but its greatness is not defined by how often we set out to tweak the nose of the Americans. We should embrace, without apology, a North American security perimeter because it is good for Canadians and all North Americans.

Richard Ditzel JonesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday Dr. Reverend Richard Ditzel Jones, chaplain emeritus of the Toronto Police Association, passed away at the age of 94. A respected member of our community, Reverend Jones was a founding member of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews.

He was also a master fundraiser for a host of charities and will be forever remembered as a close personal confidant to countless members of our police force. Among his friends could be counted former prime ministers St. Laurent, Diefenbaker and Pearson, as well as Dr. Martin Luther King.

He was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1972 for his work in fostering better relations among Canadians of different backgrounds. Reverend Jones enriched our community in many ways. We were indeed blessed to have had a person like Reverend Jones provide such a stellar example of dedication, caring and commitment.

While he will be truly missed his good works will continue to live on in all of us who knew him well. I know all members of the House join me in extending our sincere condolences to the family of Reverend Jones and his countless friends.

AgricultureStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to congratulate George Webster, a potato producer from Middleton, P.E.I., for being the first recipient of the Canadian agrifood award of excellence for environmental stewardship.

George and his brother in co-operation with a local environmental group opened the Maple Plains agro-environmental demonstration site in August 2000 on their respective family farms. The farm is a working potato operation that features soil conservation structures, enhanced wetlands, grassed waterways with filtering systems and enhanced riparian zones.

The work George has undertaken demonstrates that farming in an environmentally responsible manner can integrate successfully into the natural ecosystem. Having met with George this past weekend, he is not stopping there. He is working with farmers and others toward an Atlantic sustainable resource centre to build on ideas for the future. We congratulate George and the Webster family.

Air CanadaStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, we have a problem in the country. The lack of airline competition is hurting all Canadians. It appears corporate greed has allowed Air Canada to make some poor business decisions.

It swallowed up competition so it could control the sky, but all that resulted in was escalating debt, limited consumer choice, loss of jobs, decreases in flights, escalating prices and very upset passengers.

As soon as any regional or discount airline starts to make a profit, Air Canada steps in and undercuts the competition, even driving some into bankruptcy. Once the competition is gone Air Canada cuts routes and increases prices.

Most recently it appears Air Canada has set its sights on WestJet. By introducing its discount airline, Tango, Air Canada is trying to cut WestJet out of the picture. We all know about Tango in eastern Canada. For years we have had Tango service and high prices. Let us bring back competition.

Persons with DisabilitiesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this week we place special emphasis on disabled persons in society. Everyday thousands of Canadians face the day with great courage in a world that is not particularly friendly to them.

They struggle to get into buildings which still do not have wheelchair ramps. They work and play in facilities which still do not have washrooms for the handicapped. They face discrimination when they apply for jobs and if they get them they are often the brunt of prejudice in the form of sick humour and rude remarks from some of their workmates.

They come under attack by advocates of a philosophy which would condone the acts of a Robert Latimer in his right to end the life of his disabled daughter.

Why do I know these things to be true? It is because my wife and I are parents to Jill, our very physically challenged 10 year old daughter. She has given us so much, broadened our horizons as parents and brought much joy to our lives with her courage and her humour in spite of her difficulties. Jill keeps us thankful, hopeful and humble.

I have learned not to take the disabled for granted. We are called to be their friends, their protectors, their advocates and their partners in this journey called life. We are in this together and we can all be richer for it.

Dairy IndustryStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian dairy industry has just won an important victory.

The WTO has reversed a decision made earlier this year by a special panel of that body which, as the result of a complaint by the United States and New Zealand, held that Canada was subsidizing its dairy exports.

This decision, according to some, posed a long term threat to the entire system of supply management so dear to agriculture.

The Minister for International Trade and Liberal member for Papineau—Saint-Denis had no qualms about calling this a victory, saying “This decision is very favourable to Canada, which will be able to continue exporting its dairy products”.

I thank the dairy industry and the producers and processors who joined with the Government of Canada in presenting a solid case and bringing about this success.

I thank them for their work.

Water ContaminationStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Fournier Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, three years ago, the Minister of Transport admitted that his department was responsible for contaminating the water table in the beaches area of Sept-Îles. He promised that he himself would ensure that his department would repair the damage and find a permanent solution to the problem of drinking water.

For three years now, families in the beaches area must drink bottled water and use it for bathing their children. This is absurd in the year 2001. Furthermore, these citizens have formed a committee to put pressure on the minister.

A few weeks ago, members of the Sept-Îles city council voted unanimously in favour of demanding $2.5 million from the Minister of Transport for expenses incurred in correcting the situation. We are still awaiting an answer from the minister.

The minister must resolve this urgent situation. The health of families in the area is at stake.

Larry McCannStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon Her Excellency Governor General Adrienne Clarkson hosted the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's Massey Medal award ceremony. I ask the House to join me in congratulating this year's recipient, Dr. Larry McCann.

Dr. McCann is a University of Victoria geographer. His work on Canadian urban and industrial landscapes is second to none. He has published widely on family economies in industrializing societies and on the historical geography of Canadian cities.

The Massey Medal is Canada's highest geographical honour. I am proud to congratulate Dr. McCann.

International AidStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the post-September 11 world there is growing consensus that Canada must do more to promote broad based economic growth and the alleviation of suffering in the developing world. Today the Canadian Alliance is calling on the Minister for International Cooperation to launch a new international development white paper process to address Canada's approach.

CIDA has only had marginal success. It has been subject to criticism by the auditor general and subject to Liberal political interference, the last being CIDA funds going to the minister's campaign workers.

Parliament needs to debate key issues on Canada's approach such as tied aid, crisis response, economic growth, charity support and country selection. The launch of this process would ensure transparency and accountability for Canadians.

Jim CouttsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, today a great Liberal who made an indelible contribution to the success of the Pearson and Trudeau governments will be honoured with the Order of Canada.

Nanton born Jim Coutts was principal secretary to Prime Minister Trudeau during the years that defined our Liberal concept of social justice. In the time that I worked for Jim in 1983 and 1984 he demonstrated a genuine connection with the struggles of people trying to get a foothold in the country and become contributors to the economy.

His personal efforts and many charitable pursuits evidenced that the public policies he propelled were motivated by human concerns more than politics. In his book A Canada that works for everyone: changing the way we look at our future , he wrote in 1984:

There is an opportunity this year to examine two of our most fundamental national concerns: How to make the economic pie bigger and how to divide a bigger pie more fairly.

These goals defined his political party and continue to resonate today.

AgricultureStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal agriculture minister has not been upfront with residents of the Carrot River valley.

Before the last election, the minister agreed to work with the provincial and municipal governments on the Carrot River water pipeline project. This would bring water to residents of the Rural Municipality of Kelsey, the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and local farmers who need it to diversify.

Agriculture Canada assured the province and the rural municipality that it would share the cost of the pipeline, but once the federal election was over it left the community high and dry with a half finished pipeline.

A letter the agriculture minister sent to the reeve on September 4 states:

--resources are not available beyond what has already been committed to the project.

We have since learned that this was not the case. Agriculture Canada has at least $75 million in farm aid funds it made inaccessible to farmers.

With millions in his kitty, the minister cannot say resources are not available. The truth is that he is hoarding this money while farm after farm goes under. Farmers in the Carrot River valley have started diversifying like the minister said they should, only to find the federal Liberal government will not cover its one-third share.

On behalf of my constituents, I call on the agriculture minister to honour his commitment and help finish the Carrot River water pipeline.

Hiv-AidsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to pay tribute to the exceptional contribution made in recent years by individuals who have helped in the fight against AIDS, the Fondation Farha held its second annual “Hommage aux héros” on November 29 in Montreal. This event, coming just before World AIDS Day on December 1, underscored the extraordinary devotion and efforts of some remarkable people who deserve public recognition.

Ten persons were awarded the title of hero of 2001 at this evening ceremony, which I had the pleasure of attending.

One of those honoured was Lyse Pinault, a friend who, until very recently, was one of my closest collaborators. Lyse is a woman of great commitment who wants to get things moving, and does. I congratulate and thank her.

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention the wonderful work being done by the Fondation Farha, which helps men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.

TerrorismStatements by Members

December 4th, 2001 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister correctly characterized the terrorist assaults on Israel this past weekend as a “monstrous taking of innocent life”.

Indeed, they are a clear violation of United Nations international law principles that terrorism, from whatever quarter, for whatever purpose, is unacceptable and that it is prohibited to facilitate, support or perpetrate acts of terrorism. On the contrary, it is the responsibility of governments to bring terrorists to justice.

Accordingly, whether Arafat is a partner for peace or a participant in terror will be determined by his own response to the following verification measures for counterterrorism.

Will Arafat and the Palestinian Authority: first, cease and desist from government sanctioned incitement to terror and violence against civilians?; second, disarm and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure that enjoys base and sanctuary within the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority itself?; third, cease and desist from aiding and abetting acts of terror?; fourth, declare Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, organizations that publicly seek Israel's destruction and commit terrorist acts to that end, to be terrorist organizations?; and finally, will Arafat and the Palestinian Authority bring to justice--

TerrorismStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Dauphin--Swan River.

ImmigrationStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the auditor general in her report to parliament repeats what has been said for many years about immigration, that is, the government's lack of attention to the report.

Section 12.70 states:

In 1997 we recommended that Citizenship and Immigration Canada review the mechanisms used in applying the eligibility criteria set out in the Immigration Act.

For undocumented claims, the report states that:

Under Bill C-11, the decision on eligibility must be made within three working days--

Why does Bill C-42 propose changes to the 72 hour requirement?

The auditor general is having a difficult time assessing this recommendation of Bill C-11.

The auditor general also found that the safe third country provision made in the 1997 report was totally ignored by the government. So much for listening to the Auditor General of Canada.

TerrorismStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend the entire world learned of the horror visited upon innocent Israeli civilians by suicide bombers. Over 20 youths were killed and some 200 others were injured.

These acts of terror must cease. The deliberate targeting of civilians, whether they are Israelis, Americans or citizens of any other country, can only be qualified as an act of terror. The fact that they are carried out in the name of Palestinians' right to a free, autonomous state can in no way justify or even explain the use of terror against Israeli citizens.

Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian authority must now work resolutely to bring these terrorists to justice.

The Palestinian authority and other countries in the Middle East that have allowed these terrorist groups to spread their hatred of Israel must stop supporting this hateful cause.

Canadians deplore these acts of terror. I would offer my profound condolences to the families—

TerrorismStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if Canadians have been wondering why the armed forces budget has been cut so much over the last few years, the answer was given to us today by the auditor general. In her report, she states of the minister's national defence policy that:

--management decided to reduce the readiness level of Canadian Forces... because...the international situation no longer warranted high levels of readiness.

If ever there was a case of ministerial irresponsibility, it is here.

The report also says that pre-September 11, $1.3 billion was needed to help the armed forces.

Since the Prime Minister is writing the budget, will he write in at least $2 billion on the line for the armed forces?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there will be a budget in less than a week from now, so we have to wait.

It is always very interesting that when we come to the House of Commons, there is not one day when the Alliance Party does not ask for spending of $1 billion or $2 billion or $3 billion. It is very interesting.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general's report also shows clearly that the fiscal capacity is there, but there is a big if for this. The if has to be that the Liberals have to be willing to move from wasteful spending and low priority spending to high priority spending. The auditor general lists hundreds of millions of dollars of waste.

Does the Prime Minister have the will, and will we see it, to move from low priority, wasteful spending to high priority spending? It can be done within the capacity of the budget. We need to see $2 billion. Will he write it in? He is writing the budget. Will he write that in?