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House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was insurance.

Topics

Members Of ParliamentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I did. I talked with the member and he said that he would be willing to help this gentleman.

I am very happy to hear the other side say that a member of parliament has to work for his constituents. I have said that in the House of Commons for the last two weeks about my own constituents.

Common CurrencyOral Question Period

May 9th, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Governor of the Bank of Canada appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance, he acknowledged that maintaining the Canadian dollar involves some costs. In fact, David Dodge referred to a ten year horizon for adoption of a common currency.

This position is nothing new for the Bank of Canada, as last year the director of its international division wrote that “a common North American currency is not such a farfetched idea”.

On the eve of his economic statement, is the Minister of Finance going to take the Bank of Canada analysis into account and acknowledge that consideration must be given to the adoption of a common currency within the context of an integrated economy?

Common CurrencyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the position of the Canadian government and the position stated by the Governor of the Bank of Canada is that the best solution for the Canadian economy is to maintain the Canadian dollar.

Common CurrencyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am directing my question to the Prime Minister because it is obvious that his Minister of Finance is saying one thing and Mr. Dodge something else.

Since he refers to a ten year horizon, and even the division director spoke of adopting a common currency, does the Prime Minister not think that what is needed is simply to give some thought to the idea of adopting a common currency within the context of North America, give some thought to it, debate it and discuss it in a reasonable manner?

Common CurrencyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on several occasions, it is in Canada's best interest, as the Minister of Finance has just said, to maintain a currency that is different from that of the United States.

Common CurrencyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the past four years Canada has dropped from sixth to ninth place in productivity terms, far behind the United States.

The Canadian dollar keeps dropping and has reached a level the Prime Minister could not even imagine when he mocked the “Lévesque buck” at 75 cents. All the while, the Minister of Finance intones a patriotic refrain.

In view of this constant erosion of productivity, the dollar and our standard of living, will the Minister of Finance finally agree to consider the possibility of a single North American currency in an effort to resolve the productivity problems Canada is facing?

Common CurrencyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is mistaken. There was certainly a drop in Canada's productivity in the 1980s and early 1990s, but since 1997 it has been on the rise. In fact, last year was a very good year in terms of Canadian productivity.

Common CurrencyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, a weak dollar helps our exports in the short term, but represents a substantial handicap to the economy in the medium term.

In addition, instead of making absurd statements on the supposed political uncertainty of Quebec, would the Minister of Finance not agree, as do the Governor of the Bank of Canada, a Nobel prize laureate in economics, the Toronto Dominion Bank and Quebec, that in the end the road to the future for Quebec and Canada is to work starting now to establish a single currency for all of North America, including Canada, the United States, Quebec and Mexico?

Common CurrencyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the hon. member that the position of the Governor of the Bank of Canada is exactly the same as the one I have just stated. I have discussed it with him on a number of occasions.

I would next like to ask the member a question. How is it that throughout the debates on Quebec's sovereignty, even the sovereignists said they wanted to keep the Canadian dollar?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Yesterday the U.S. defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, confirmed that the Bush government wants to weaponize outer space, realizing the U.S. space command's goal of dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investments.

Now that the U.S. has confirmed that its missile defence plans will in fact include a new star wars scheme, will the government finally make it clear that Canada will have nothing whatsoever to do with this dangerous U.S. missile defence scheme.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we said that the American government is making some propositions and that it will be having discussions with Canada, all the NATO nations, plus the Russians and Chinese, before putting this new program of defence into place.

The Canadian government is willing to listen but we have expressed some reservations in the past. We have some questions to ask and we will keep asking questions. However no decisions will be made in the weeks or months ahead.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

So much for leadership, Mr. Speaker. Even Brian Mulroney had the guts to say no to star wars in the 1980s.

My supplementary question is for the Minister of National Defence.

If Canada has really taken no position on the NMD, why is it that we are posting a senior military officer in the Arlington, Virginia headquarters of the U.S. ballistic missile defence organization, the only non-American in that position? The BMDO says that the guy is much more than an observer. Why is there this direct Canadian military link with the missile defence plan, right in the heart of the scheme?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it should come as no surprise to the hon. member, because it has been part of the defence white paper since 1994, that we would engage in consultation and observation. In fact, having somebody in that office is a good way of getting the information that we need to make a decision and to understand the process that the United States is going through at the moment.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, as a party leader, the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie has requested a direct briefing by the American experts on the proposed missile defence shield. I hope the Prime Minister would agree.

However, as a more general question, would the Prime Minister also agree to meet personally with the other party leaders to work out a new practice to give parliament earlier and more complete access to sensitive information affecting trade and foreign policy. That was done with the provinces in negotiating free trade. Would the Prime Minister show the leadership and take that co-operation a step further with this parliament?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, there was a debate in the House before the meeting in Quebec City and ministers gave information to members of parliament. The same information has been given to the provincial governments.

I do not think there was anything that was of a different nature. Everything that could be made public was made public.

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, on the question of parliamentary reform, the Minister of Finance has expressed an interest in giving more power to members of parliament. The economic policies presented in October were never approved by a vote in the House because the Prime Minister called an election.

Now the minister proposes to introduce his next economic statement in committee. Why is he not presenting it to the House and letting the House vote on it? How do his actions reflect a commitment to parliamentary reform?

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong. At the time, prior to the election, a ways and means motion was presented in the House and was passed by the House.

I would also remind the hon. member that the economic policies of this government were submitted to the highest tribune in the land, the Canadian people, and they voted for this government.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are losing confidence in their health care system. The portion of Canadians who rated the health care system as excellent or very good has plummeted from 60% in 1991 to less than 25% last year.

The verdict is in on our health care system. It needs resuscitation today. The Romanow commission will take 18 months just to finish its report. What actions will the government take to restore confidence today?

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, what the member did not mention, and perhaps he does not know, is that consistently over 80% of people who had personal experience with the health care system over the last year rated it excellent or very good, this member included.

What I want to stress is that last September all governments came to the same place. They had agreement with all the premiers and the Prime Minister, which involved not just more money but a coherent plan to address the issues we face, and that is what we are about to do.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve more than mediocrity in their health care system. Yesterday's report card highlighted that the federal government did not meet its own targets for review of new drugs. The fact is that it takes twice as long as it is recommending.

My question for the health minister is very simple. Will he throw severely sick Canadians a lifeline and guarantee at least to meet his own targets in life saving drugs?

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we published through the Canadian Institutes of Health Information a report on the state of health care in Canada. It is not yet complete, but it was an extremely good picture of where things stand. It contained some good news and some news that was not so good.

Overall the health care system is providing the care that Canadians need. In terms of drug approvals by Health Canada, we can and we will do better. However Canadians should know that all governments are working to improve quality care for all Canadians.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the organized crime bill would give undercover officers immunity by allowing them to commit certain offences with complete impunity in order to make it easier for them to infiltrate organized crime groups.

Will the minister guarantee the House that the immunity provided for in the bill will be limited to infiltrating organized crime groups and nothing else?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if my hon. colleague is referring to the delegation of undercover agents to do work to gather evidence and be able to provide the proper evidence to bring to court, I can assure him that they too will be responsible for their acts. They also have to provide a report to me each year.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, he has completely failed to answer the question.

The bill would allow the Solicitor General of Canada and Quebec's Minister of Public Security to authorize the commission of offences. It is unacceptable for the political arm to have the power to authorize the police to commit illegal acts.

My question is a simple one: Will the minister assure this House that authorization will have to be given by a judge, as is the case for wiretapping?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there are certain limitations as to what an undercover agent can do when he or she is designated this power.

With regard to sexual assault or abuse to individuals, the person has to ensure that he or she follows my designation or that of any provincial solicitor general who gives the designation to any police officer under provincial authority.