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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

They are very, very low, Mr. Speaker.

The Canadian dollar, since January 2000, has lost 8% in relation to the American dollar. The Australian dollar, 26%; the Euro, 15%; the U.K. pound, 13%; and the yen, 18%. Yes, it is a problem. It is not a weak Canadian dollar; it is a strong American dollar.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I see that the Minister of Industry's juvenile attitude is rubbing off on the Prime Minister. The member for Markham said for the Royal Bank two years ago with respect to the currency that Canadians were less prisoners to uncontrollable forces and more masters of their own destiny.

After 25 years of productivity decline, higher taxes and higher debt, why is the Prime Minister always satisfied to say that it is not their fault, that it is because the Americans are doing better. Why is he always satisfied to see the Americans get the gold in the economic competition—

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with the policy of the government we have created more than 2.1 million jobs since 1993. Unemployment went down from 11.5% to 6.9%. Interest rates went from 11.5% to 6%. The deficit was $42 billion and now we have a surplus of $18 billion

I could go on and on and on. The economic performance of the government is very good, but the level of the loonie on the other side is very low too.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

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

In order to make their mark on the world stage, the CLD of the Asbestos RCM and over six businesses of the region of Asbestos will be participating, in connection with the summit of the Americas, in an Americontact export trade fair on April 3, 4, and 5, 2001 in Quebec City.

Americontact 2001 will bring together business people from the Americas with a special interest in areas of economic activity.

Will the free trade area of the Americas, an integral part of the summit of the Americas, reflect the values, interests and priorities of the SMBs, which are vital to the prosperity of the regions—

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister for International Trade.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, in fact, I took part in the opening of Americontact in Quebec City and I consider it an excellent initiative.

Over 70% of Canadian exporters are small and medium size businesses. Some 94% of the products from the countries of Central and South America already enter Canada duty free. The reverse is true for Canadians exports to the countries of Central and South America.

The FTAA is intended to remedy this situation and give our business people better access to the markets of the Americas.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's response to the U.S. decision not to ratify the Kyoto agreement has been vague and inconsistent to say the least.

Last week the Minister of the Environment chose to criticize the European Union instead of the U.S. Last Friday and this Monday the Minister of Natural Resources refused to answer a simple question on whether or not they would ratify. Yesterday the Prime Minister indicated that he intends to respect our agreement on Kyoto. He is quoted as saying that.

Will the Prime Minister, once and for all, commit to the House, to all Canadians and to the international community that Canada will ratify the Kyoto protocol as scheduled in 2002?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no such schedule. The government, the Minister of the Environment and I are committed to implement the Kyoto agreement, but we would like to have two amendments that are extremely important for Canada.

The sink is extremely important for Canada. Because we have a lot of land we could create a situation where a lot of CO2 could be absorbed if we had a good system of trees or plants in Canada. Plus we want to have credit because we are exporting a lot of resources to the United States, such as natural gas and electricity that does not cause any—

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

TransportationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, once again the Prime Minister is providing Canadians with hollow assurances. In Vancouver striking transit workers and transit riders know that the government takes out over $350 million in gas taxes from the lower mainland but despite election promises refuses to put a dime back into public transit.

Why will the government not put its money where its mouth is, ratify the Kyoto agreement and provide funding for very important public transit in the lower mainland and the rest of Canada? Why will it not do that?

TransportationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the position of the government was made clear moments ago by the Prime Minister. Perhaps the hon. member was not listening.

The fact is we want the Kyoto agreement to be put into effect. We certainly want to make sure that we have sinks included because there are great opportunities for reducing greenhouse gasses through sinks and sinks are part of the Kyoto agreement.

With respect to transit in the lower mainland, we certainly hope the strike ends soon, but that is not a responsibility of the government to negotiate. I trust the NDP government of the province of British Columbia and the municipal authorities will get on with the job.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, when speaking of his new employee, the former Eurocopter lobbyist David Miller, the Prime Minister stated in the House yesterday:

When the bids are ready, I will demand of Mr. Miller that he not participate in any discussions.

Is the Prime Minister saying that Mr. Miller will be allowed to participate in Sea King replacement discussions that occur before the bids are ready?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

No, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Miller started work on Monday. He is a man who has worked on the Hill for many years. He will respect all the conditions of conflict of interest.

He has not been and will not be involved in the file because it is not part of his responsibilities. He has not been involved since Monday and will not be involved in the future.

I am very happy that a competent person like him from western Canada has decided to join my staff.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the maritime helicopter project has already come under heavy fire from the industry and from aerospace stakeholders. The ethics counsellor has stated that he would require that people not become involved in any file on which they had been making representation.

Will the Prime Minister tell the House today that Mr. Miller will not be involved from this day forth with regard to this industry?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I just said it in English and she did not understand, so I will repeat it in French.

Mr. Miller will not be involved in this issue at all, this is not his responsibility. He has nothing to do with that and will have nothing to do with it in the future.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

April 4th, 2001 / 2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Art Hanger Canadian Alliance Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, access to information documents show that the Prime Minister knew three days in advance of the funeral that King Hussein was dying. In fact on the morning of February 5, foreign affairs warned that King Hussein was clinically dead.

With that knowledge, later that morning the Prime Minister decided to go skiing instead. Worse, he blamed his absence from the funeral on the Canadian forces.

Why did the Prime Minister not have the courage to take the responsibility for his own bad judgment instead of blaming the Canadian forces?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said at that time that I was in British Columbia when I was informed of the death of the king and that the funeral was in less than 24 hours. I could not make it. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was there.

He arrived from Ottawa only a few minutes before the funeral. The president of the United States, with the big system he has, almost missed the funeral. I could not make it.

I met the current king when he came here. He understood very well. We have great relations with Jordan. I visited Jordan and I could not have received a better reception than offered by—

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Northeast.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Art Hanger Canadian Alliance Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, three days in advance of that funeral the Prime Minister knew about the situation, yet he chose to go skiing instead. When he got a bunch of flak for that particular decision in the House, he blamed the Canadian forces.

Will the Prime Minister apologize for denigrating the good reputation of the Canadian forces?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let us first make one thing perfectly clear. My predecessor attended the funeral of King Hussein. Canada was well and adequately represented at the funeral.

Let us ask a second question. Why is the Alliance Party not allowing the member for Calgary—Nose Hill to stand today to apologize for her outrageous comparison yesterday?

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the OECD's condemnation of tax havens, finance ministers of the Americas will not be discussing this issue at their meeting in Toronto.

Since 10 of the 34 FTAA countries are tax havens, does the Prime Minister not realize that a free trade area for capital will facilitate the annual exodus from Canada of several billions of dollars, leaving the full tax burden to be shouldered by citizens like us?

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth in what the member said here today.

The finance minister and the federal government have been on the leading edge of an OECD initiative that is trying to eliminate harmful tax competition. We also introduced some of the toughest money laundering legislation in parliament last year.

The finance minister is absolutely convinced that we need to have a transparent and fair process, but we also want to eliminate harmful tax competition, make it more transparent, cut down on secrecy and attack those countries that are harbouring tax evaders.

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, since it is tax return time, and since the Summit of the Americas is just around the corner, should the Prime Minister not take a position which is clear and reassuring for the people we represent by promising to fight harmful tax practices in the three Americas, contrary to the position announced by the Minister of Finance?

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our position is very clear, as are the positions of the Minister of Finance.

We are on the leading edge. We are involved with the OECD and many countries to eliminate harmful tax competition. We have tough money laundering legislation that passed the House and the Senate. We are on the leading edge of these discussions.

We want to make sure, though, that the process is transparent and fair before we list countries that are not involved in harmful tax competition. The Minister of Finance is leading this charge and we will get to the root of the problem to try to resolve it.