This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, from 1993 we cut a lot of spending in the government, more than any other government. When we formed the government in the year of 1993-94, the spending by the previous administration, excluding payments on interest, was $121 billion. We reduced it to $101 billion.

There is not one day that the opposition is not asking us to spend more money on health care, more money on defence, more money on everything. Of course we do not because we are very responsible.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister cut more than other governments and he cut it in health care to the provinces.

In Halifax yesterday the Prime Minister said that he did not support acts of terrorism, but we cannot get him or the government to come out very clearly against Yasser Arafat, asking Mr. Arafat to denounce all terrorism, including from his own Al-Fatah organization, to come out very clearly to stand shoulder to shoulder beside Israel and say that we will support whatever actions it takes to defend itself. Will he say that clearly?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I deplore it, and I said right after the incident on Saturday that these acts of terrorism by those who committed suicide are completely unacceptable. Of course Israel at the time had the right to respond to that kind of attack. That is what we always say. That is what we repeat all the time.

The escalation in violence will not result in a solution to the problem. They were very close to a solution a year ago. They should go back and try to resolve the problems that are left. More violence will not result in a peace process acceptable in the area.

Heating Fuel RebateOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general said today that the heating fuel rebate that was announced two days before the last election was a fiscal boondoggle. We all know it was a blatant vote getting exercise.

It was announced two days before the last election, but today we found out how much we lost: $500 million dollars was sent to people who did not need it, including high income people.

Will the finance minister apologize for wasting 500 million tax dollars on this blatant, vote getting exercise?

Heating Fuel RebateOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, when we instituted this program we put in place two criteria. First, it had to be targeted to low and modest income Canadians who were going to need it the most, and second, it had to be timely. There was no point in people getting a cheque in July when their heating costs had spiked so high in January. That is why we chose the most cost effective program for doing this, one which had the best chance of delivering that help and that relief to low and modest income Canadians.

Heating Fuel RebateOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, if it was targeted for low income people the target was missed by a mile. Ninety thousand middle and high income people got the cheques, $500 million worth, but many low income Canadians did not get anything, including aboriginal people. Some 1,600 prisoners, 7,500 dead people and 4,000 people not even living in Canada got these cheques.

Does the finance minister believe that paying out money to prisoners and dead people is a good way to spend tax dollars?

Heating Fuel RebateOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, first, the question dealing with prisoners was corrected last July. Let me admit this: anomalies have been identified and 0.2% of the cheques were anomalous, were not going to the people they should have.

That means that 99.8% of the cheques went to the people who needed them the most. Sure there were anomalies, but it was a darn good program.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the current escalation of violence in the Middle East is distressing. The attacks on Haifa and Jerusalem claimed by Hamas, and the attacks by the Israeli army against the facilities of the Palestinian authority are creating innocent victims.

The situation has grown so bitter so quickly that all hope of peace is now lost in this region of the world already so badly hit by war. As the explosion of violence currently wracking Israel and Palestine could well affect the whole region, Canada and the rest of the international community must act.

Could the Prime Minister tell us how his government will intervene to promote peace in the Middle East?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said a few minutes ago, the escalation of violence will lead absolutely nowhere. I hope these people will consider that the only way to have peace is to return to the negotiating table.

I hope chairman Arafat will put pressure on those using violence to attack Israel—Hamas—so they will stop doing so and he may return to the negotiating table.

A year ago, a solution was in sight, but it was dropped. Canada is asking the parties to return in good faith to the negotiating table—

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the head of the European Union has said, and I quote “—the destabilization of the Palestinian authority will not help put a stop to the cycle of violence in the Middle East”.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs has said that it would be a fatal error to go after the Palestinian authority.

To avoid playing into the hands of Hamas and the Hezbollah, will Canada too say that, in the current context, the Palestinian authority—and I stress this point—which must assume its responsibilities in connection with security, remains the only party Israel talks to in order to re-establish peace in the Middle East one day?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have just said, at this point, the only authority in Palestine is the Arafat government. There is no other.

We are not the ones choosing the governments. But I hope that Mr. Arafat will exert pressure within Palestine so that the violence stops and there is no further escalation by either side and that they return quickly to the table to come up with a fair and equitable solution establishing clearly that two countries can exist in that region with mutually respected borders.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the situation in the Middle East requires more than just wishful thinking. It requires extraordinary efforts by the various international stakeholders in order to find a lasting solution to a constantly deteriorating situation.

Given the current unprecedented escalation of violence in the Middle East, can the Prime Minister tell us whether he intends to take advantage of Canada's status as head of the task force on Palestinian refugees to bring influence to bear on the Palestinian Authority in order to get it to assume its full responsibilities for promoting peace in that region?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have done just that on several occasions. Last year, I was the first Prime Minister of Canada to visit that part of the world.

I had the opportunity to speak with all those involved and to encourage them to seek a peaceful solution to this very longstanding problem.

Obviously, the Canadian officials dealing with refugees are busy every day trying to improve the refugees' situation. We expend every possible effort on meeting this responsibility.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the violence in the Middle East is a threat not only to the balance in that region, but worldwide.

Could the government not use its preferential position as a signatory to a free trade agreement with Israel to intervene with its trade partner to advance some lasting solutions to the conflict?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I believe the Prime Minister has been very clear.

As much as we call upon chairman Arafat to do his part, we also of course understand what a terrible affront last weekend's attack was for Israel.

The Government of Canada is also calling upon Israel to do its part and to ensure that its response is measured and within the law.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Yesterday the government condemned terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, and rightly so. Now we have Ariel Sharon spilling the blood of Palestinian civilians and terrified, innocent children.

Before these dangerous and disturbing developments escalate further, will the government condemn attacks on innocent civilians, all civilians, regardless of the aggressor, and will it show some leadership and call for an emergency session of the UN security council?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have said that the attack last Saturday night by a suicide bomber on peaceful people in the street, young people of whom 160 were either killed or seriously injured, was an act of horror that was completely contemptible and should be condemned by everyone.

It is natural when something like that is done, the one who was attacked will respond. It is the nature of the situation. It is why we are urging them to stop this problem of--

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Halifax.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, sometimes it seems as though the government is playing into the hands of the terrorists. The government is pummelling civil liberties, ignoring racial hatred, acquiescing on the militarization of our borders, equivocating on the escalating Middle East violence, and it cannot even assure us that Canadian materials and technology are not in terrorist hands. How do these actions defeat terrorism? Does this not allow the terrorists to win?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have trade relations with both Israel and Palestine. We are not giving them any instruments for violence. They know Canada's position very well. We condemn violence all the time. If people are attacked, it is natural that they respond. If there is no attack by one, there will be no response by the other. Only common sense will prevail. They have to stop the violence and try to find a peaceful solution.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

December 4th, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is steadily building a secret government beyond the control of parliament. Bill C-42 lets ministers make secret regulations that limit the rights of citizens while bypassing parliament. The auditor general today reports that the notorious Downsview Park Inc. earned $19 million selling a federal asset without the knowledge or approval of parliament.

Will the Prime Minister take a tiny step away from secrecy and make the Downsview corporation subject to the same access to information laws that apply to most other crown corporations?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, Downsview Park Inc. is subject to all the laws and rules as all other corporations. The department reports to parliament through Canada Lands Company Ltd. Therefore, everything is on the table and before parliament.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general reports that the Department of Public Works is, and I quote, “the contracting authority for the largest number and value of service contracts. In most instances, such contracts are not subject to review—”.

Most of these contracts are not even awarded through a bidding process. This is an open invitation to patronage.

As a first measure to ensure transparency, will the government accept the auditor general's recommendation that Treasury Board demand internal audits for this type of contracts?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, our contracting policy is very clear. It is respected by all departments, including Public Works Canada, to ensure transparency in the awarding of all government contracts to outside suppliers.