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House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

Topics

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber agreement is about to expire eight weeks from now. Until recently the position of the federal Liberals was unclear.

We wanted the assurance, and I think we have now it, that we will have one voice coming from cabinet on the issue. May we also receive assurance that the federal government will not be pitting one province against another in this discussion?

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our objective as always is to work with all parts of the country to see that all parts of the country are dealt with fairly. We intend to vigorously pursue Canada's interests once the U.S. trade representative is confirmed.

We know that three investigations in the United States have found that there are no improper subsidies of Canadian softwood lumber. We will pursue our objective for free trade in softwood lumber with the United States. In so doing we will work to ensure fair treatment of producers in all parts of our great country.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the government House leader said, and I quote “If there are amendments, they will be minor. In principle, it is the same bill”.

The government House leader thus contradicted the minister responsible for Quebec and the minister responsible for amateur sport, who said they were open to significant changes to the act.

Could the Minister of Human Resources Development tell us the real position of the government?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see the hon. member continues his interest in employment insurance. I am glad to convey to the House that today the government will be making good its commitment to the Canadian public made during the last election.

We will be reintroducing the amendments to the Employment Insurance Act. As usual the bill will follow the normal process through the House, including committee stage where witnesses are heard. I am sure the hon. member will engage fully in that process.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister saying that her bill will simply give back 5% of the annual surplus of $6 billion to the unemployed, while making it legal to misappropriate the fund surplus?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the hon. member wait to see the bill once it is tabled.

International AidOral Question Period

February 2nd, 2001 / 11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada has two highly trained emergency units specialized in saving lives and offering relief assistance. It is our responsibility to offer the services of these teams when countries are hit with natural disasters.

My question is for the Minister for International Development. The minister failed to offer the services of our disaster assistance teams to either El Salvador or India. Why?

International AidOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, that is not so. The hon. member is certainly wrong. We do not have two search and rescue teams in Canada, to start with.

We have responded immediately to both. I was on the ground with the El Salvadoran team and I surveyed the damage myself personally with the president of El Salvador. I can tell the hon. member that we responded appropriately and immediately.

With respect to India it was the same situation. I was on the phone immediately with the high commissioner of India on the day that it happened. I was on the phone with the high commissioner of Canada. He faxed me at my home over the weekend so that I could talk to him on an ongoing basis.

I have staff on the ground from CIDA and we are responding appropriately. At the moment we have close to—

International AidOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary East.

International AidOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's search and rescue disaster assistance team stayed home. Other countries sent their rescue teams immediately and other countries continue to do so now.

Canadians feel that the government failed to respond fully to these two unfortunate disasters. Will the minister tell the House if her government has a comprehensive plan to deploy our teams to respond to disasters anywhere in the world?

International AidOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is getting things confused. We have one disaster response team, DART, which is not a search and rescue team. It deals with the second phase of a situation.

With the information we have from the ground from our own officials and officials from India, we are responding accordingly. The Red Cross is providing through our funding a 350 bed hospital, which is providing shelter, clean water and sanitation to 300,000 victims in the earthquake area.

We are providing for 400 communities through CARE Canada. Some 20,000 people are being assisted, again with shelter, water and sanitation.

TradeOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, some have questioned the effectiveness of the team Canada trade missions. Given this, could the minister tell me why the government is now leading another trade mission to China?

TradeOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan LiberalSecretary of State (Asia-Pacific)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question and her interest in team Canada and its partners in Asia-Pacific.

The team Canada formula works. Since the first team Canada trip to China in 1994, Canada's commercial presence in China and Hong Kong has more than doubled. Moreover, the high level exchanges that team Canada offers also allow our two countries to work together to advance human values.

I am pleased to be joining this team Canada trip to China and Hong Kong from February 9 to February 18.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, Tuesday's throne speech talked of ensuring that all children are protected from the torments of poverty.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. Since the reform of employment insurance is in part the cause of this great poverty, will the changes to the employment insurance program to be announced by the Liberal government finally eliminate this scourge and give families and children especially some relief?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to see in the Speech from the Throne the commitment from the government to redouble our efforts to ensure that no Canadian child suffers the debilitating impact of poverty.

We have a number of strategies in place to work co-operatively with the provinces and territories to eradicate poverty in Canada. They include the national child benefit, the recent agreement on early childhood development, changes to the Employment Insurance Act, and other measures. I am glad to see the hon. member is interested and will work with us on this very important national undertaking.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, over 800,000 people do not qualify for employment insurance. The 1996 cuts to employment insurance left many families down because of the gap. They are without income of any sort for 4 to 8 weeks.

Could the Liberal government guarantee that the changes to the employment insurance program will finally eliminate the problem of the gap and make the program more humane, once and for all, for the children of Canada?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, employment insurance is there and provides a very important support for Canadians who through no fault of their own find themselves between jobs.

For us the most important social program is a job. That is why we are so glad to see levels of unemployment at record lows. Canadians are employed in numbers that we have not seen in decades. There are other strategies that we engage along with employment insurance to help Canadian families so that they can contribute to the success and benefit from the prosperity of the country.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

In March 1998 during the photo op used by the then premier of Newfoundland and the then premier of Quebec in relation to the development of the lower Churchill, a commitment was made by the Prime Minister and the premier of Newfoundland to undertake a feasibility study on the construction of a transmission line from the lower Churchill to the province of Newfoundland.

The results of that study were supposed to be known within a year, and I understand the minister's department was responsible. Could the minister tell us the status of that feasibility study?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the premier of the day undertook to examine a number of issues. There were no commitments made at that time with respect to particular outcomes or resolutions of those issues, but a good deal of study and investigation was required. That work has been ongoing.

In terms of bringing the House completely up to date, and in particular the hon. member, I will inquire as to the exact status of the report material and provide him with a response as soon as I have that information.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that after three years we have not heard anything of the feasibility study that was supposed to have been completed within a year. I know there was a study done and it should be tabled.

I ask the minister, or perhaps the Deputy Prime Minister, in light of the power shortages in the United States and in light of the need for stable power, if they will now commit to fund or share in the cost of a transmission line from the lower Churchill to the province of Newfoundland?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the studies that have been undertaken has been to illuminate this entire issue, both in terms of the pros and cons of the particular approach referred to by the hon. gentleman and many other approaches. When the information is fully available, sound decisions will be possible to make.

One of the great virtues of the country is that we do have an abundance of energy resources of all kinds, both renewable and non-renewable, and that is a great Canadian strength.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign the Liberal government made one meagre small promise to my province of British Columbia: mild assistance for home heating fuel costs. We are only a couple of days into this parliament and already the Liberal government is backpedalling from that promise.

With Christmas bills rolling in and temperatures dropping, why has the government not moved to fulfil its campaign province to British Columbians who are facing soaring fuel costs?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, at the end of December the Minister of Finance confirmed the details of the home heating fuel program and indicated that the cheques would be processed in February.

I would point out that it is February 2. Those cheques will be forthcoming very shortly, as promised.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think British Columbians and all Canadians who are waiting for this home heating assistance will take cold comfort in that sub-zero response.

Yesterday, when asked about this failed campaign promise, the finance minister admitted “there are obviously defects”. Now that the Liberals have admitted that their home heating assistance program is not working, just how long will the Prime Minister leave British Columbians and all Canadians waiting out in the cold for this assistance?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Natural Resources has said, we are carrying out our commitment. The cheques should be mailed to British Columbians and all Canadians in February.

Perhaps, if the Alliance Party had not voted against our ways and means motion to bring into effect the budget update, things might have happened sooner. They voted against it. They voted against the interests of British Columbians and all other Canadians.

We are not only moving on our fuel tax rebate, we are bringing into effect $100 billion in tax cuts which will help British Columbians and all other Canadians.