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House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was smoking.

Topics

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, if I understand him correctly, the hon. member is saying that the jurisdiction of Quebec is not being respected. The Government of Quebec was invited to take part at all levels. It was invited to the regional summit, and refused. It was invited to work on the action plan, and refused. Only this week did it agree to participate.

We are pleased. We want to have recommendations and we want to work together.

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario premier has sent shock waves clear across the country with his blatant bidding on behalf of health privatizers. User fees, no problem; private hospitals, no problem; means testing, no problem, according to Mike Harris.

Well there is a huge problem. Canadians want this government to meet that problem head on by using the only language that Mike Harris really understands, withholding public funds for violators of the Canada Health Act. Will the government give that assurance today, no ifs, ands or buts?

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has already given that assurance by its actions. It has taken action to withhold funds under the Canada Health Act when it has been proven that the Canada Health Act has not been lived up to. The government will continue to carry on its responsibilities. The hon. member should recognize it has been doing so and it will continue to do so.

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, here we go again: tough talk by the feds but not matched by tough action.

Federal lack of leadership on health reform, massive funding cuts and endless tolerance for Canada Health Act violations are what have made our health care system vulnerable to Mike Harris and his privatizing parasites. For good reason, the Canada Health Act gives the federal government clout to withhold public funds from violators. Will the government once and for all use the clout and cut the cash?

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has been doing that. For example, in the case of the province of Alberta, where there were complaints and where after investigation they were proven to be warranted, the government acted and it will act.

I ask the hon. member to have the decency to recognize those facts and, while she is doing that, not say things that undermine her former colleague, Roy Romanow, before he has barely begun his inquiry.

TradeOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

The minister knows that lumber mills across Canada face crippling countervailing duties that could be made retroactive to last Monday. The minister keeps boasting about his talks with Bob Zoellick, Bob Zoellick who is taking Canada to the cleaners. What about talks with Canadians? The minister refuses to draw together representatives in the Canadian industry to work out a common Canadian position.

Will the Minister for International Trade convene a meeting with the Canadian softwood lumber industry by next Wednesday to set a common Canadian position on the countervail issue—

TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister for International Trade.

TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our government has been very active on that file. We have been providing leadership for our industry and provinces in Washington. We have been in consultations with the department of commerce expressing very clearly the view of our country on that front.

Indeed we are in touch with the stakeholders all the time. Three weeks ago we raised the idea of having a stakeholder meeting. At that time they told us that they thought it was premature and that they preferred some further discussions among themselves. We are ready to have that meeting as soon as the industry is ready. It could be next week or the week after.

TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister of trade on April 9 in a news conference said there was no urgency in the softwood lumber industry because nothing would happen until August.

My understanding is that the countervail duties can be applied as of last Monday, not next August, and every load of lumber that leaves Canada right now is vulnerable to a retroactive duty for countervail and anti-dumping.

One of us is right and one of us is wrong. Could the minister correct that and say who is right? Are the duties applicable as of last Monday or next August?

TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, this case is a very complex one. Indeed the commerce department can make a preliminary determination as of the end of June or the beginning of July. When it is a very simple case it takes two months.

Normally with a case as complex as this one, the indication we have is that the determination should not be made before the end of August. However the law in the United States allows them to do it retroactively but that is done very rarely. Canada would absolutely insist that it not be done in this case as it is done so very rarely.

Industry CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday I asked the Deputy Prime Minister about the audit of the access.ca program. This is a serious matter. This is the second damaging audit in less than a year of the information highway branch. Both revealed shoddy management and a wilful disregard for government procurement regulations.

I am asking the minister the question again today. How could the minister tolerate this flagrant abuse of the government rules and procurement procedures? How could he let them get away with bypassing the process?

Industry CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Liberal

John Cannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there was no process that was bypassed. It is the same audit that we looked at.

Let me point this out for the member. He knows very well from committee that access.ca first of all is a program that benefits Canadians, especially Canadians in remote areas. It has made our country stand a cut above the rest.

When these audits came forward a way back, the department took immediate action to address them, and the hon. member knows that.

Industry CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary ignores the fact that the audit found that procurement procedures were being bypassed. That is very clear in the audit.

What is really troubling is that despite the process of bypassing rules to fast track the project, access.ca is six months behind schedule and may never be fully implemented.

Maybe the government could tell us what is the future for this troubled project? Is it going a head? Will it continue to be located in P.E.I.? What companies have been asked to deliver the project?

Industry CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Liberal

John Cannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, let me stress again that nothing was bypassed. Every opportunity was taken to make sure things were done and done properly.

The member is failing to understand, and I say it again, that this program has made Canada stand a cut above the rest with our connecting Canadians program permitting people in remote parts of our country to have access, not just to other Canadians but to the entire world.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of National Defence said that the pollution at the Bagotville military base was not in danger of migrating off the DND property.

That statement contradicts the documents of his own department, which indicate that there is a risk of migration toward the municipal drinking water wells.

The minister has had 24 hours to review the issue. Will he confirm his department's reports or will he continue to deny the facts?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is no inconsistency, and I certainly confirm what I said yesterday.

People will raise the possibilities if things go to an extreme extent but we will not allow them to go that extreme. In fact we have already taken action to remedy this matter. The nitrates in the groundwater will have biodegraded to safe levels before they reach the outer boundaries of the DND property.

We are acting in a responsible fashion. We are doing it in accordance with Environment Canada and it approves of what we are doing.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope these measures are not about delivering bottled water.

Yesterday, the Quebec minister of the environment wrote to the Minister of National Defence to ask him what the Canadian government intends to do to avoid a repeat of the situation at Shannon.

Will the minister tell the residents of La Baie what concrete measures he will take to prevent the municipal drinking water wells from being contaminated?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have been in touch with the municipality and provincial officials on this matter. They have not indicated a concern in terms of how we are handling it. They know we are handling it in a responsible fashion.

We have changed the kind of products that are used in the de-icing on the runway so that they are environmentally friendly products. No longer are these kinds of pollutants a factor in the new way we operate. As I said, we are taking action to make sure that they do not have any effect on the surrounding community.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, twice now we have asked the industry minister if Mr. Jonas Prince ever received any direct or indirect funding from his department, from the Business Development Bank or from the Export Development Corporation.

He took the question on notice almost a month ago. Since he has had a month to think about it, he must now be ready to answer our question. Did Mr. Prince or his companies get any help from Industry Canada or from the agencies it oversees?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Liberal

John Cannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, let me first point out to the hon. member that the BDC and the EDC operate at arm's length from the federal government. As such I am not privy and nobody is privy to this confidential information that cannot be provided according to subsection 37(1) of the BDC.

Also, the EDC falls under the same guidelines. Upon a preliminary look, any indication of any funding being provided has not been found.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor has participated in seminars about ethics, corruption, conflict of interest and public sector values in China, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, the U.K., France, Chile and the United States. In all that is 10 countries in every hemisphere and on every continent other than Antarctica and Africa.

With all this international travel, why has the ethics counsellor never found the time to travel to Shawinigan to investigate and verify the facts regarding the Auberge Grand-Mère himself?

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, the hon. member confirms that his colleague when he raised this question before stated an inaccuracy. His colleague said the ethics counsellor had visited 22 countries. The hon. member has just confirmed his colleague was wrong. I thought he would apologize on behalf of his colleague.

The hon. member is wrong in his allegations, in that the ethics counsellor has carefully studied the relevant documents and has reached the conclusion that there was no breach of the guidelines in question. The hon. member should agree that he is wrong in his allegations. That is what Canadians are trying to tell the Alliance. No wonder the Alliance is—

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made a commitment during the election campaign, and his ministers went one better saying that there would be a parliamentary commission to review the employment insurance system from top to bottom.

The members of the standing committee on human resources development unanimously agreed that such changes had to be made.

Does the government intend to act on the committee's recommendations?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond for the hon. Minister of Human Resources Development.

The member knows very well that Bill C-2 has now passed all stages in the House of Commons and is currently before the other place. We hope to have it passed in the very near future.

We must be seeing some act of contrition on the part of those who tried on a number of occasions to prevent passage of this bill to improve benefits to Canadians.