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House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chapter.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has answered the question on a number of occasions and certainly the government speaks with one voice on the issue.

The fact is that we do not believe in the concept of dedicated taxes. We believe that all moneys raised from all manner of sources go into the consolidated revenue fund and can be used for all kinds of government programs, such as health care, highways and the like.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Joe Peschisolido Canadian Alliance Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport admitted that $17 billion was needed to repair our highway system, but all the government promised was $600 million over six years. At this rate, it is going to take 170 years. This is not very credible.

Why does the minister not use part of the $4.5 billion in gasoline taxes to repair our highway system?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this is a budget issue. We received $600 million in the last budget. I hope that there will be more money in the next budget.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

April 24 marked the 86th anniversary of the Armenian genocide of 1915. What is the minister doing to promote understanding of this tragic event and its important message to mankind that crimes against humanity are society's worst scourge and must not be allowed and tolerated in a civilized world?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in 1999 the Government of Canada articulated its concern over the terrible calamity that befell the Armenian people in 1915, and today we restate that concern.

Canada is actively pursuing the development of positive and extensive bilateral relations with all the countries of that region. In particular, we are working very closely to encourage the Armenian and Turkish governments to reconcile and establish a more open dialogue between them.

CIDA is providing practical support to Armenia and annual assistance to a variety of Turkish non-governmental organizations. The events of the past must not be an obstacle to peace and prosperity in the future.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. minister, it was not just a calamity, it was genocide, and the minister should have the courage to call it what it was.

Yesterday the Inter-Church Coalition on Africa revealed that the Sudanese government is using the Talisman Energy Inc. airfields as part of their bloody scorched earth campaign in southern Sudan. In fact, helicopters owned by the Sudanese government are being used on Talisman airfields.

Last year Lloyd Axworthy condemned the Sudanese government and condemned Talisman. What is this minister prepared to do to stop the use of Talisman airfields by the—

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to forward a copy of my predecessor's press release over to the hon. member. I can tell him that I entirely and heartily agree with what was said by my predecessor.

I share the member's concern if these airfields are being used for offensive purposes by the government of Sudan. We do not have information to that effect. I will certainly examine any evidence that NGOs bring to us to that effect. We will continue to take a strong position in order to encourage a peaceful resolution in the Sudan. We need to encourage Talisman, among others, to work to improve the quality of life for the people living in—

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, the evidence is overwhelming that in fact these helicopters are being used from Talisman's airfields.

I want to ask the minister a supplementary question. The minister knows that Canadian corporations in places like Burma, Colombia and, of course, Sudan are contributing to massive human rights violations and collaborating directly in violence and repression.

Will the minister bring in strong amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act to ensure that the government can take tough action against corporations like Talisman and others that flout international human rights standards?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has never failed to call a spade a shovel. I do not have evidence that all these abuses are occurring. However, I will say that we are strongly and actively engaged with Canada's private sector to adopt standards of corporate behaviour that meet international standards.

Canada and Canadian firms ought to be world leaders in living according to the standards that we believe as Canadians ought to be pursued in international relations and international behaviour. Those codes of conduct must be adopted and followed, and we will continue to encourage that to occur.

Gun RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice.

The ludicrous, unenforceable long gun registry has taken a new twist. Omnibus Bill C-15 will designate paint ball players and operators as criminals. Because of the definition of firearms and the velocity at which these projectiles are fired, thousands would automatically be charged and I suspect many businesses will go under.

Will the minister agree that the focus should be on combating real firearms violence, not games or sports that are a legitimate form of entertainment? Will she commit to amending this anomaly in Bill C-15?

Gun RegistryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this issue of concern has been brought to our attention. We are working very closely with those who operate businesses that will be affected. We are doing everything we can to ensure that the firearms legislation protects the public safety of Canadians.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question pertains to an unanswered letter dated April 26 from the leader of my party to the industry minister.

Will the minister make immediate arrangements to ensure that BDC officials appear before the industry committee to answer questions on recent unusual practices and, more specific, on why they sought a court order to seize and destroy the documents allegedly in the possession of François Beaudoin? Why are officials in the BDC taking these extreme and unusual measures?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know, and his leader certainly should know even more, that Standing Order 108(2) permits a parliamentary committee to examine any issue that it wants to. That is already in the rules of the House of Commons. It does not need to be restated. It is already the case and everyone else around here knows it.

Treasury BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, it appears the government will raise the maximum for non-competitive bids to purchase goods and services from $25,000 to $81,000.

My question is for the President of the Treasury Board. Will this new policy be a means to legitimize all the irregular contracts that have already been awarded by the government?

Treasury BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, we have no intention of decreasing the number of competitive contracts.

I would perhaps ask the opposition member to be much more prudent and note what the official said to journalists.

The director said that the regulatory change still has not gone to cabinet.

The official was talking about working hypotheses with the journalist. I find it regrettable that the opposition member implies that the government has made a decision in this regard, which is simply not the case.

Treasury BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, that long answer sounds like a simple yes to me. For years the auditor general has been lamenting the lack of control on the awarding of contracts.

For example, Transelec and Mr. Gauthier, a good friend of the Prime Minister, failed every rule of qualification, yet received a $6.3 million contract.

Is this new rule being implemented to open the door for more friends of the Prime Minister to quietly help themselves to taxpayer dollars without going to public tender?

Treasury BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, there is no plan to decrease the number of competitive contracts.

Once again, I will read from the article, which quotes the treasury board secretariat director. He said:

That's a regulatory change and we still have not gone to ministers or anything like that, so they may say that's not an acceptable thing to do.

Let us be cautious with the conclusions here. This is not the plan of the government.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Baie-Comeau, during the lightning tour on employment insurance carried out by the Bloc Quebecois, the seasonal workers, who are still awaiting the outcome of the parliamentary committee promised by the Liberal Party, called for the minister to assign a special status to seasonal work regardless of the region.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development comply with this request, or is she going to ask them to adapt to the changes in employment insurance, as she did last year?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we have the Bloc asking for changes to the Employment Insurance Act when it voted against the amendments that were presented in Bill C-2.

If it were up to the opposition, the intensity rule would still be part of the act, medium income Canadians would still be subject to the clawback, and the re-entrance rule would not have been changed. I suggest that party is not standing up at all for workers in the province of Quebec.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Prime Minister himself acknowledged that the changes to employment insurance had had negative impacts on seasonal workers in the regions.

Instead of proposing measures that cannot be carried out, like extending the working season, is the minister going to reach the same conclusions and recommend special status for seasonal workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members are aware, certain measures are before the House at this time, ones that will be of great assistance to all seasonal workers in Quebec and in all of Canada.

I find what the hon. member has just said deplorable. To say that our actions to help diversify the economy, to extend the tourist season so that there will be a decent economy, are unrealistic is irresponsible. This government is going to work to help the people in the regions.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.