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House of Commons Hansard #60 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mechanics.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat. First, Groupaction is a qualified advertising firm. Sixteen agencies competed or were granted qualification after a competition. The particular contract involved was amended from evaluation and identification to simply identification of sponsorship opportunities. That is exactly what Groupaction did on behalf of the Government of Canada in accordance with the contract as amended.

Monetary UnionOral Question Period

May 11th, 2001 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Finance wondered why Quebec's referendum legislation of 1995 suggested that, following a vote in favour of Quebec's sovereignty, the Canadian dollar would remain the currency used in that province.

There were two reasons for this: first, the dollar belongs to Quebecers as much as it belongs to Canadians and, second, this legislation provided that the Canadian dollar would be the currency having legal tender in Quebec following a yes vote.

Since then, the world situation has evolved. There was the Euro currency and now the FTAA issue. The only one in Canada who has not evolved is the Minister of Finance.

I would like him to tell me why he is so stubborn and narrow-minded that he will not even consider having a single currency for the three Americas?

Monetary UnionOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot who, at the meeting with the Governor of the Bank of Canada, said “Mr. Governor, it is not the floating system I object to, far from it. I think it is the right way to go”.

Also, Mr. Dodge said that in the context of a common currency, Canada would have absolutely no influence on North America's monetary policy.

Why does the sovereignist party want to transfer our monetary sovereignty to Washington?

Monetary UnionOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is because the Governor of the Bank of Canada has no power to determine the value of the Canadian dollar, or interest rates. He is already doing what Washington does.

Therefore, why does the government persist in keeping a minor currency, which is the victim of speculators, which in turn creates instability in business planning, while everywhere else in the three Americas, they are talking about a possible single currency?

Even the Governor of the Bank of Canada agrees. Yesterday, Thomas Courchene described those who are not thinking about this issue now as dinosaurs.

Monetary UnionOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we really do know the motivation of the Bloc to attack the dollar. The dollar is a pillar of Canada and a signal of Canadian unity.

For the member to insult our dollar in the way that he has is an insult to Canadians. Our dollar has in fact been strong against every other currency and has done better against the U.S. dollar than many other currencies.

I would remind the member that the government has said that it is committed to a sovereign Canadian dollar and we will stick to that.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, in giving testimony to the finance committee yesterday, several of Canada's leading economists suggested that the current surplus position of the government gives it a perfect opportunity to make fundamental, needed changes to the tax system. This would promote investment, employment and economic growth.

Will the government use this opportunity to strengthen our productivity, economy and investment and thereby improve the status of our lowly Canadian dollar?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify some of the numbers that have been thrown around in the House.

In regard to the year in question, where some have questioned whether we would go into deficit, I should point out that this government and this finance minister have been very strong in building in prudence. In fact in that year there is $6.5 billion of fiscal cushion.

If we look at the red book commitments, over four years they are $5.9 billion. We do not have a problem with any deficits. In fact many economists were cited here in the House earlier. Tax reform is maybe something down the road, but we do not have any problem with deficits moving forward.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess that shows the flaw of reading the answer to the question he thought I would ask.

Integrating earned income with dividend income for tax purposes is a very necessary measure. This is an ideal time to do this since it can be done with tax cuts rather than with tax increases. Will the minister do this?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again we have the other side of the House wanting their cake and eating it too. They want us to deal with any looming, alleged deficits and yet want us to cut taxes as well.

Canadian productivity has actually been picking up in the last couple of years. We have set the fiscal climate: We are cutting taxes, we are paying down the debt and the business community is responding. In fact investment in machines and equipment and investment in some of the high technology equipment is happening at a very strong pace and our productivity will keep that upward track.

I think those members should have more confidence in the Canadian economy than they have in their leader.

HealthOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, as we can see on Parliament Hill, the tourist season has begun. Many Canadians will also be travelling overseas and Canadians can expect overseas visitors.

With this in mind, would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell the House what the government is doing to enhance public awareness of the need to prevent foot and mouth disease from entering the country?

HealthOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington Ontario

Liberal

Larry McCormick LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with the hon. member that it is extremely important for our federal government to remain vigilant in our efforts to keep Canada free of foot and mouth disease. We have all seen on television how this disease has ravaged the livestock industry in the European Union and around the world.

Our government has launched a public awareness campaign to engage the support and the co-operation of all Canadians, particularly the travelling public, in this very important effort. Our campaign includes an announcement that will air on television, a video to be shown on international airlines and a brochure to educate people. We ask for the co-operation of all Canadians on this very important issue.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure we all remember the last great Liberal task force on western alienation. That really nipped the problem in the bud, did it not? Now we have one on urban affairs. Meanwhile, the infrastructure in our cities is crumbling as municipalities try to cope with essential services such as public transit, clean water, sewage treatment and housing.

Why will the Minister of the Environment not commit to a real plan of action to help our municipalities with sustainable development instead of hiding behind yet another useless Liberal task force.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed that the hon. member appears unaware of a $2 billion federal contribution to the third infrastructure program, which will of course by matched by a provincial contribution of $2 billion and a municipal contribution of $2 billion.

Certainly there are many things that need to be done but we believe in allowing municipalities to choose their own priorities, unlike her leader who thinks they all should be top down. We think we should be bottom up from municipalities.

If there is a further need, the government, if indeed revenues are available, will undoubtedly consider how the program continues in the future.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the much touted infrastructure program has everything in it but the kitchen sink. With no funds to match, I might add, municipalities are forced into the impossible situation of having to choose between housing, public transit or clean water.

I will ask again. If the government is committed to the sustainability of our cities and infrastructure, why is there not a real plan instead of just another task force? Where is the plan to do that over a long period of time?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member served on a municipal council for some years before her election. This patronizing approach that we know best here in Ottawa about everything across the country and in every municipality is wrong. It is wrong headed. We do not agree with that.

We think we should provide a national program which assists municipalities in every part of the country to choose their own priorities. She does not believe they are capable of choosing priorities but we do. We think they understand local problems.

EmploymentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is actively promoting the brain drain. A search of the HRDC job bank website finds listings for jobs located in the United States.

Why is the Government of Canada using Canadian taxpayer dollars to promote the brain drain? Why is the government posting jobs located in the U.S.?

EmploymentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet Québec

Liberal

Gilbert Normand LiberalSecretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's allegation is utterly unfounded.

Canada is currently doing everything it can to attract the best researchers, including the 2,000 chairs and the money invested in the Canada foundation for innovation. All the programs are now in place to attract the best researchers.

Last week, in Germany, I was told that that country was anxiously awaiting the outcome of our efforts to attract the best minds to our country.

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I direct my question to the Deputy Prime Minister. In light of the incredible announcement yesterday that the privacy commissioner has attempted to interfere in and to influence the information commissioner's court case regarding the Prime Minister's daily agenda, did the Prime Minister or any official in his office or the Privy Council Office make the request for the privacy commissioner to intervene in the information commissioner's case?

Or, is this another case of the Prime Minister calling someone he knows to get something he has done fixed? I ask the Deputy Prime Minister to reject the premise of that question.

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to be ashamed of himself for asking this question. He is reflecting on an officer of parliament. In fact he is reflecting on two officers of parliament.

I am certainly not aware of any action that he is alleging. He ought to apologize for his reflection on two distinguished officers appointed by the House.

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are slamming into a brick wall on health care in part due to the medical manpower crisis. Canada will lack 112,000 nurses in the next 12 years. Despite repeated red flags the government has done nothing.

My question is simple and for the Minister of Health. Why will the federal government not work with the provinces to develop a national strategy for this national problem?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies Québec

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the federal government, through Health Canada, is working in close collaboration with the provinces on this matter.

This dates back to last September and the last federal-provincial conference; the ministers of health of both levels of government agreed that this was a top priority. They struck a committee mandated to establish a human resources plan, including one for nurses. That plan is now available.

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, while the government talks, people die. The bottom line is that the federal government shares responsibility with the provinces.

The situation is not only terrible among nurses but also among physicians. In the next 12 years half of all physicians will be over the age of 55. Instead of talking, will the government work with the provinces to increase enrolment in nursing and medical faculties by 20%?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies Québec

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I notice that our colleague had a two-part question prepared. He feels he has to read the second, even though it was answered in my reply to the first.

I repeat, yes a joint approach is being taken, and we are not waiting for some tragedy to occur. Action is already being taken, and has been for some years. The federal-provincial approach in this field will be continued.

ShipbuildingOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to yesterday's Le Soleil , all Davie Industries are waiting for to begin construction of a new $340 million drilling platform is adequate funding from the federal government.

Since EDC officials have a letter of intent from the important Davie client who has been interested in building this platform for three and a half months, will the Minister for International Trade tell the House what the Government of Canada is waiting for to announce some good news to Davie workers? The shipyard's closing?

ShipbuildingOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry is now looking at our shipbuilding policy and is studying the report submitted a few weeks ago.

I hope that there will be a positive response in the future.