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House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was community.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

June 1st, 2001 / 11:20 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. It has to do with the study released today by the David Suzuki Foundation entitled “Fuelling the Climate Crisis”, which claims that the continental energy plan, and particularly the development of the Alberta tar sands, will raise Canada's greenhouse gas emissions to 44% above the commitment to the Kyoto protocol.

Would the Deputy Prime Minister commit his government to an environmental study of the greenhouse gas emission consequences of the development of the Alberta tar sands before any further commitment is made to that development?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it would have been appropriate for the hon. member to give me notice of this question. I have not seen the Suzuki report. We will certainly look into it. I reiterate that the government has said that it intends to meet its Kyoto commitments and that continues to be the case.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I could not have given him notice because the study only came out today, but the question really is whether the government is committed to an environmental study of the Alberta tar sands development.

I want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister again about energy. I raised it in the House the other day with respect to the purchase of Gulf by American interests. I know that the Deputy Prime Minister has had an interest in these issues in the past. We know that American ownership is lower than it used to be, but this could be the beginning of a trend upward.

I want to know from the government if there is a level of foreign ownership at which the government would begin to be concerned and begin to act.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Alberta tar sands, their development involves provincial jurisdiction. There may be a federal issue. Certainly we will apply the relevant laws in co-operation with our Alberta counterparts.

With respect to foreign ownership, there are laws on the books. They will be followed.

Energy IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Deputy Prime Minister. Premier Klein of Alberta originally indicated that his provincial government might interfere with the transportation of oil and gas from the north through Alberta to United States markets.

He has since said that the federal government holds the hammer when it comes to such issues. Will the Deputy Prime Minister clarify whether or not the federal government has such jurisdiction?

Energy IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member might be well advised to seek legal opinions from the appropriate sources, but what I can say to him is that the federal government is not interested in stopping the sale of energy resources.

The federal government is interested in working with our provincial partners, which have direct jurisdiction over natural resources, together with our international partners, including the major markets in the United States, to see that Canadians and Canada benefit the most that is possible from our natural resource wealth.

Energy IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister because I agree with him. I wish to ask him if he is now prepared to exercise the same power to let Newfoundland and Labrador electricity be transported through Quebec to United States markets without Newfoundland being charged exorbitant wheeling fees.

Energy IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it always unnerves me slightly when opposition members from any party agree with me.

On this one I would like to point out to the hon. member that the federal government, since 1993, has been working very hard to eliminate barriers to interprovincial trade, including in the electricity market.

As increasingly there is an interest in finding a means for the interprovincial sale of electricity such as arose, for example, with needs that came about at the time of the ice storm, it is incumbent on the provinces to resolve some of the barriers that exist—

Energy IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. Albert.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister told farmers in Winnipeg to stop complaining because there is no crisis on farms. Let me say to the House that the minister of agriculture cut $470 million out of grants to farmers. There is a drought on the prairies. There is no money to drill emergency wells to water cattle.

My question is for the Prime Minister. When will his government recognize that there is a crisis on prairies farms and when will it do something about it?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government wants to work with Canadians in every part of our country. It has been working with farmers in the west and in the rest of the country.

Proof of that is what the hon. member referred to, our close to $500 million emergency aid program for farmers. I thank the hon. member for mentioning that.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I said that was a cut of $470 million. The Deputy Prime Minister talked about wanting to work with Canadians. The member for Scarborough Southwest said “If you don't vote for me, I don't work for you”. It seems to be that the Liberal government is saying “If you don't elect Liberals, we will do nothing for you”.

Is this Liberal-type democracy where they say “If you don't elect members of the Liberal Party, we will do nothing for you”, or will they seriously do something for the drought on the prairies?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, beside the $500 million that the hon. Deputy Prime Minister mentioned, another $2.2 billion will go out in the next three years. Cheques are going out now. Also we gave $240 million to Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

On the particular question, there was no cut. It was bookkeeping. He had the answer before. I suggest he look it up. In fact, more money is going out this year than ever before in the last seven years.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Privy Council missed the point in the question asked earlier.

The government of Quebec cannot be asked to distribute Operation Unity documents when only the Liberal Party of Quebec has obtained a copy. Even the Bloc Quebecois MPs have been refused the entire document, under the pretext of section 14 of the Access to Information Act.

Why has the minister made the decision to restrict distribution of the full Operation Unity document to the Liberal Party of Quebec and to no one else, thus violating his own legislation?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the questions seem to be changing. What was said earlier was that we had obeyed the law, and we were faulted for having done so. Now, five minutes later, we are being accused of having done the opposite, in connection with the same matter.

The Government of Canada obeys the law, as we do at all times with all laws, including the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act and so on.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is missing the point as well.

Under the pretext of section 14 of the Access to Information Act, we were refused the full Operation Unity document. Under the pretext of that law, of compliance with that law, we were denied access to it, yet it was provided to the Liberal Party of Quebec. Thus, they broke the federal law.

Could some light be cast on this and could the documents be tabled, along with the others that have also been distributed solely to the Liberal Party of Quebec, all the documents relating to Operation Unity during the referendum campaign?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government made public what had to be made public under the law and in compliance with the law. Once again, the question seems to be drifting all over the map.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday western premiers were united in their demand that Ottawa give energy producing provinces a seat at the table during the negotiations on the continental energy policy. They stated that the provinces were the keepers, owners and guardians of our natural resources.

The constitution is very clear on the subject. Natural resources belong to the provinces. Will the minister recognize that provinces are full partners and respect their demands?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, obviously western premiers asked to be full participants in the international discussions related to energy. However, referring to the table, which table? There is no table.

It is clear, as the premier of British Columbia said, that Canada must speak with one voice. The Government of Canada will make sure that everything we do about energy will be for the benefit of all provinces, and indeed will include the premiers.

By the way, the Minister of Natural Resources is speaking with the premier of Prince Edward Island today about that.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, there will be a negotiation. I guess the premiers and the provinces would be more trusting of the federal government if it had not betrayed them in ignoring the limits agreed to at the Kyoto negotiations with the provinces. That is why they are asking to be at the table this time. That is why they are insisting on being at the table, because they were ignored last time and betrayed.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister commit to the western provinces and the western premiers that they be at the negotiating table when they meet with the Americans to hammer out a new energy agreement?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend is starting off, as usual, on the wrong premise. There is no table contemplated at which there would be negotiations for a new continental energy agreement.

We in Canada will be working on behalf of the entire country. For this purpose we will be fully consulting with the provinces. Each of us has our respective jurisdictions under the constitution. These jurisdictions will be respected and at the same time we will be working on behalf of all Canadians.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the national assembly passed the law to establish the Quebec parental leave program.

This law, passed unanimously, has the support of the unions, young Quebec families and management. All that is lacking to get the program going is to have the federal government agree to sit down and negotiate with Quebec.

Is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs capable of making a commitment on behalf of his government to begin negotiations with the government of Quebec? Yes or no.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we have had a system in place in Canada for several months now, which extends parental leave up to a year for all Canadians.

This system was put in place responsibly to ensure that the program remains affordable and sustainable.

I would also like to point out the fact that this is not provincial government money. This money comes from the contributions of workers and employers. In addition, we have extended parental benefits for Canadians across the country, including those of Quebec.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the desire of Quebec to keep rehabilitation the priority for young offenders, the need to readjust tax matters between Ottawa and Quebec City and the Quebec parental leave program are all the focus of consensus in Quebec, which largely transcends partisan lines, since the future of Quebec is involved. The federal government response to each consensus has been consistent: no.

In refusing to negotiate, is the minister aware of the message he is sending to Quebec families, stating clearly “If you want a parental leave program that meets your needs, you have only one option, become sovereign”?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we invite the government of Quebec to improve the federal program. As good federalists, this is what we can and should do. However, clearly, if they destroy the federation, we will be unable to do this sort of thing.