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House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was animal.

Topics

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question is amazingly empty of substance. They must really be in trouble.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, here is the substance of the auditor general's report: “Treasury Board continues to reject our recommendations”.

On national defence it states:

Little progress has been made in carrying out the recommendations addressed.

On agriculture it states:

The organizations have made limited progress...since our audit.

On government grants and contributions, a cesspool of abuse, the auditor general says:

—these programs...have chronic problems and run an ongoing risk of using public funds ineffectively and inefficiently.

Is the reason the Liberals will not fix these chronic problems because they do not know how, they do not have the will, or they simply do not care about the government's wasteful spending?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing, the nerve of the Conservative Party and its allies. After they built up a $42 billion deficit, after they added astronomical amounts to the national debt and the steps they took which we are correcting, they now get up to try to attack us on financial management overall. I am surprised they even raise this as a question. I repeat, the auditor general said:

“the federal government has taken steps to strengthen financial management in its departments and agencies.

I think the report has many positive observations about what the government is doing as well as criticisms, and on balance he should recognize that.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance is very concerned that the Liberal position in the Middle East is not a balanced one.

Yesterday I asked the Prime Minister about his government's position on the anti-Israeli Geneva declaration and he told the House that the resolution was completely unacceptable. Yet, as he spoke those words, his representative had already supported the declaration.

When the Prime Minister attempted to create the impression that his government had said no, did he or did he not know that his representative had already said yes?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is totally mistaken in his allegations. There were no votes at that meeting and the statement of Canada criticizing the declaration shows clearly that the Government of Canada found that statement to be unacceptable. To say that Canada said yes, is absolutely something to which we have to say no.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I totally reject the premise of the member's answer.

The government's position will be used by terrorists, sadly, to legitimize their actions against Israeli civilians. A respected government member agrees with our position that this is one-sided. This declaration is not helpful to the peace process. The Canadian delegate to the conference said that it was more detrimental than ever to the diplomatic process. The Prime Minister himself called it totally unacceptable and the government supported it.

Was the government's position a mistake or does it agree with the anti-Israeli resolution? Which is it?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was no vote. To say that the Government of Canada supported the declaration is wrong. In our statement of reservation and criticism of that declaration, the government also stated:

--the Palestinian Authority should also ensure respect for the universal principles of International Humanitarian Law, including for the protection of Israeli civilians, regardless of their legal status.

Why does the hon. member not recognize the reality that Canada did not accept the declaration at that conference?

CinarOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to avoid answering our questions on the CINAR affair, the Minister of National Revenue hid behind confidentiality.

In order to avoid providing the necessary information for the RCMP investigation, he once again cited confidentiality.

Does the minister not realize that confidentiality is there to protect citizens who obey the law, not those who break it?

CinarOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the principle of confidentiality is included in the legislation. The member opposite should know this. It is in the legislation, and it applies to everyone.

If the member does not believe that the confidentiality of income tax returns is important, perhaps he should turn around and speak with some of his colleagues, sitting not far from him here in the House, who have had experience with this.

CinarOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the principle of confidentiality is there in the legislation, as I was saying, to protect citizens who obey the law, not those who break it.

How does he explain the Minister of National Revenue's complacency as regards CINAR directors? Why did he allow them to avoid a full investigation by Revenue Canada? Why, in fact, is he protecting them like this?

CinarOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the minister has done nothing of the sort. The member's accusations are not at all true.

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency may provide the RCMP with information only for the purpose of enforcing the Income Tax Act, once charges have been laid, and only if tax information is requested and related to the charges in question. That is the law.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

December 6th, 2001 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government of Ontario has called the EI surplus “staggering excess taxation” and “a money grab”.

Two-thirds of the surplus comes from Ontario workers and the best the government can do is a measly five cent cut in premiums. That means there will still be a $6 billion annual money grab from workers by the federal government with Ontario workers footing most of the bill.

When will the government stop its excess taxation and let workers keep the money that rightfully belongs to them?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member said that we have been grabbing money away from workers and taxpayers. Let me tell the member what we have done for the workers and taxpayers.

Since we have been in surplus we have cut personal income taxes 27% and 35% for families with children. That is on top of the cuts of $6.8 billion that we have made each year for the EI premiums.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is living in a parallel universe from the one where the government has raised payroll taxes by 26% since coming to power. The government will be giving a measly 38 cents a week back to workers in EI premiums but it will be taking back seven times as much next year in CPP premiums. Instead of giving a break to workers and employers, the government will be spending $100 million more on a crazy Internet scheme.

When will the government get its priorities straight and let workers keep the money that belongs to them, instead of giving it to the industry minister?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, let us go back and look at what we have done to help the workers.

When we took office the employment insurance rate was at $3.07. It is now at $2.20. This is a huge saving of $6.8 billion this year for those workers.

The member should look at the overall picture of what we have done in terms of our tax cuts. We have cut personal income taxes for our workers with families by 35%. That is a huge cut.

The member should not just pick out one small portion of it and say that we are wrong.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the principle of retroactivity is not new.

It exists, for example, in connection with income tax, and the government is not shy about using it to collect money from taxpayers.

Does the Minister of Human Resources intend to apply the principle of full retroactivity and give seniors all the money she owes them?

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the guaranteed income supplement, there is already a retroactive component to the legislation. The hon. member will know that it is the same retroactive principle that applies for the Canada pension plan.

I understand that in its work the standing committee reviewed the program. As I said before, I am looking forward to reviewing the recommendations of the committee and responding to them in due course.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, why limit the retroactivity to 11 months, as in the law? Why not full retroactivity? The minister has no excuse for refusing to pay up.

So, I ask her once again when she intends to pay and pay back the money she owes seniors.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the guaranteed income supplement, the most important thing we must do is ensure that Canadian seniors are aware that the program exists.

One of the key priorities for us, and indeed for the committee, is to take all opportunities, in forms of outreach, to make sure Canadian seniors who are eligible for the guaranteed income supplement have access to it.

I would welcome recommendations and suggestions from the hon. member as to what organizations in his own community we should work with to ensure that seniors in his region know about the guaranteed income supplement.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Joe Peschisolido Canadian Alliance Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, this question is for the finance minister.

The chief actuary has said that a $15 billion EI surplus that exists is enough for the worst recession, but by March 2002, the EI account should be more than $40 billion. Premiums can be cut by 50 cents, yet all Canadians have received is a five cent reduction.

The question needs to be asked again because the government has not dealt with it. If the EI account is in such good shape, why does the government not provide working men and women with a real EI premium cut?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out what we have done in order to help Canada's workers.

When we took office, the unemployment rate was at 11.4%. It is now significantly below that with the government having created over two million new jobs.

Let us look at what we have done in terms of tax cuts. A one earner family of four earning $40,000 will save $1,100 this year. That is 30%, rising to 59% by 2004.

A two earner family of four earning $60,000 will save $1,000 this year. That is about 18%, rising to 34% by 2004.

A single parent--

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Richmond.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Joe Peschisolido Canadian Alliance Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government does not want to deal with the question.

It is very simple. We have a $40 billion surplus in that account. The chief actuary says that we only need $15 billion. It is obvious the government does not trust its own numbers.

Since the minister must be using some other numbers rather than those of the chief actuary, is the finance minister prepared to table those numbers? How much does he need? Is it $25 billion, $50 billion or $35 billion? What is the number?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, let us look at what the official opposition would have us do. In just a little over a year since the last election it has come up with additional spending measures of over $30 billion and additional tax cuts of over $25 billion. Now it wants another huge tax cut.

This type of irresponsibility is maybe not surprising because when the leader of that party was the treasurer of his province, he increased spending 28 times. Within six months of Alberta passing its balanced budget legislation, it had to scrap it.

Copyright ActOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Copyright Act currently allows a compulsory licence for the retransmission of a broadcaster's signal by cable and satellite companies. As we know, several companies have shown that it is unclear whether and how the Copyright Act applies to retransmission via the Internet. Broadcasters, film and television producers have been very concerned that the unrestricted transmission via the Internet would adversely affect our rights.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell us what the House will do?