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 #4 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was leader.

Topics

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, Mr. Carle is a very well known Liberal. As a citizen he has the right to help in an election, as do other people in the public service.

The law of the land states that public servants cannot be deprived from working on an election, but that they cannot do it on company time or government time. They must take holiday time, which is exactly what Mr. Carle did.

AgricultureOral Question Period

February 1st, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said that his first order of business when discussing business with President Bush would be the unfair American agriculture subsidies.

Will the Prime Minister state to the House today that if the president refuses to remove those unfair subsidies that he will increase financial assistance to Canadian producers?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I clearly said that it was the wish of the government and the House of Commons that I express to the president of the United States that a war on subsidies between countries on agriculture is counterproductive. I will tell him that very clearly.

We have often said that we cannot compete and do not have the means to compete with the Americans and the Europeans in a war like that. We are not big enough. We have to convince them to do the right thing and make sure that there is a possibility for everyone to compete together on a fair basis.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Provincial Police have flatly contradicted the Minister of Foreign Affairs' statements that his department did not know about the drunk driving history of Russian diplomat, Mr. Knyazev.

Yesterday we also raised the issue of a letter that went to Mr. Knyazev in which foreign affairs apologized for his treatment by the police following his previous drunk driving conviction.

A day has now passed. Would the minister please clear up both of these issues for us?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first, I can confirm that there was an exchange of diplomatic notes between Canada and Russia with respect to this individual. However, what is really important here and what would disturb me and the hon. member very deeply is if there were information that ought to have led to this individual being forced to leave Canada before he was involved in the accident.

I do not have information that was the case, but I am asking for a thorough investigation to ensure that in fact was not the case. I also want to ensure that diplomats involved with impaired driving offences do not drive again in Canada.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we appreciate that assurance and we certainly take the minister at his word.

It is my understanding that the Ontario Provincial Police have in fact the names of people in foreign affairs who received documents indicating that Mr. Knyazev had been stopped. I trust the minister will discover that himself by talking with the Ontario Provincial Police. I would expect also that if he finds that, that the people in foreign affairs, who obviously messed up, will also pay a price. I want that assurance from the minister now.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, seeking the information is very much the first step in this process and one that I will certainly engage in personally and rapidly.

I am also very concerned by suggestions that there may be differing views between the protocol office and the Ontario Provincial Police about the matter of co-ordinating, having the police in and making sure that everyone understands what the principles are of immunity.

However, fundamentally diplomats are here to serve their countries and not to put Canadians citizens at risk. That is what the result of the process needs to be.

Economic StatementOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has said there would be no budget this winter. Fine, but he needs to recognize that a budget is an opportunity, not just to announce budgetary measures, but also to present up to date financial and economic data in order to provide people with some idea of the current situation and of future prospects.

Since, in the past, the Minister of Finance has been way off in his forecasts and does not exactly have top marks on his report card with a record of a 120% forecast error rate, will he not agree that he has an urgent obligation to present a true and carefully prepared economic statement?

Economic StatementOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the hon. member is blaming me for being overly cautious. Sometimes caution may be a good thing.

I can tell him that we have always, as hon. members are well aware, based our actions on a consensus of private sector forecasters and we will soon be getting their forecasts.

As I have always said, if another economic statement or other forecast, as the circumstances dictate, is appropriate, then we shall have one.

Economic StatementOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past few days the minister has not stopped telling us that Canada is not affected by the downturn in the United States. It may be a little hard to believe him, but we would love to.

Can he acknowledge his duty to make public all of the base data, the hypotheses, his own forecasts, in short all pertinent data, so that we may make a judgment on the current situation and on future prospects, instead of merely trusting him blindly?

Economic StatementOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well that I did not say Canada would not be affected by events in the United States. We are certainly going to be affected. Moreover, the U.S. accounts for close to 25% of the world economy, so we are not alone in that.

What I did say was that Canada is in a far better position today than it has ever been to deal with this turbulence.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, unlike law-abiding Canadian citizens who pay for their seminars and other such courses, Correctional Service Canada is shelling out $1 million a year to parole criminals to attend various courses in the form of attendance fees; $5 for each time they show up.

I quote one prison official who says “It is a small price to pay. It is a drop in the hat”. I would like to ask the solicitor general whether he thinks that this $1 million in attendance fees is a drop in the hat.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the $5 is for bus fare for prisoners after they leave prison to be able to attend courses and be rehabilitated back into society. I am sure my hon. colleague is interested in public safety. If not, this government is.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, he actually has not gotten the answer right because that is not quite the way it is. This is classic liberalism. It is like sending a child to his or her room for doing something bad and then paying him or her five bucks to make sure he goes.

I will quote another prison official, “The $1 million expenditure is worth it even if our department is unable to gauge its success”.

Since the solicitor general is spending a million bucks and he is unable to gauge its success, how many other courses in the prison system is he spending millions of dollars on with no idea as to whether or not they are successful?

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am fully aware that our rehabilitation programs are successful.

When people commit a crime in this country they are assessed, punished for their crime and then rehabilitated. Surely my hon. colleague realizes that those are the appropriate steps to take for public safety.

Speech From The ThroneOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne is full of examples of planned federal intrusion into provincial jurisdictions.

How can the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs justify that, from now on, the federal government intends to get involved in literacy, since education comes under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces? Does the government not have anything better to do than to generate confusion in an area that clearly does not come under its jurisdiction?

Speech From The ThroneOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if I could summarize the Speech from the Throne in one sentence, it would be: innovation, inclusion without intrusion. There is no intrusion whatsoever and the hon. member would not be able to provide any example.

Still, I congratulate him on his first question. He referred to literacy, a program set up in 1988 by then Secretary of State Lucien Bouchard.

Speech From The ThroneOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, if I had to summarize the Speech from the Throne it would be: infringement on provincial jurisdictions, establishment of a citizens' council, home care, dropouts and literacy. These are just a few examples of infringement on provincial jurisdictions.

Is it not a despicable form of blackmail on the part of this government to threaten to cut funds for education if the provinces do not opt for the priorities set by Ottawa, set by the minister?

Speech From The ThroneOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing unconstitutional in the Speech from the Throne. We will fully respect, as we always have, the provinces' responsibilities, but we will ask that our own responsibilities also be respected. Above all, we will co-operate with the provinces, because this is what Canadians, including Quebecers, are asking us to do.

House Of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is what the member for Lac-Saint-Louis recently said about his own government, and I quote, “Being on the backbench we are all typecast as if we were all stupid. We are just supposed to be voting machines”. Well, hopes for real parliamentary reform were dashed in this latest throne speech when the Prime Minister's promise was electronic voting.

Electronic voting will not reform parliament because it is not how fast MPs vote that counts. MPs want to vote freely without pressure from the Prime Minister's office.

Will the Prime Minister take meaningful steps to allow his own backbenchers to vote not just faster but freer on government legislation?

House Of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member no doubt listened to the throne speech and to the Prime Minister's speech as attentively as I did. If so, he would know that the Prime Minister said that I would work together with House leaders of all other parties to extend further reforms of the parliamentary process. I am looking forward to that.

I can tell the House that I hope we do not have an exercise like we did when the Leader of the Opposition was the House leader in Alberta where he moved closure to shut down kindergartens.

House Of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps he could dig a little deeper in the binder and find out that the Leader of the Opposition was the only cabinet minister who stood and voted in favour of parliamentary reform in the Alberta legislature. He could look at that.

The member for Toronto—Danforth says that parliament does not work, that it is broken and that it is like a car running on two cylinders. The member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge says that parliament's role is largely reduced to rubber stamping what government has already decided on.

If even Liberal backbenchers of parliament are begging for the chance to vote freely, not just on private members' bills but on government legislation, does the Prime Minister really believe that electronic voting will satisfy his own members' desires for free votes here in the House of Commons?

House Of CommonsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I find it astonishing that the hon. member would be so terrified at modernizing the House of Commons with such things as electronic voting. Perhaps the real test will come when we modernize report stage of bills in order to make this parliament work in a way that is very functional.

Being the objective person that he is, I am sure he will want to work together with me, if not others in his party and others on this side of the House, to make this parliament even more meaningful.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

Approximately 7,000 residents of Ottawa and eastern Ontario face waiting periods of up to eight to twelve months to receive an MRI because of a shortage of these vital pieces of diagnostic equipment in this part of the province.

What action is the minister taking to offer hope to those people who are currently waiting for an MRI in this region, since the government of Ontario seems completely unconcerned about the inequitable distribution of MRIs across the province?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is as deeply concerned as we all are on this side of the House with access to medical services in Canada. Working with our partners in the provincial governments who are responsible for delivering services, we are determined to achieve timely access to quality care for all Canadians.

In the case of Ontario we have acted recently in a very significant way. As a result of the agreement last September with the provinces, Ontario will receive in the course of the coming five years over $40 billion in cash alone. Apart from that, there will be $200 million for Ontario to encourage primary health care reform and almost $400 million to enable Ontario to purchase new medical equipment such as MRIs.

We have now furnished the tools. Ontario must do the job.