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House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreed.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, last fall we attempted to set aside all partisanship and asked members of the Bloc to join with us to speedily pass amendments to the Employment Insurance Act that would support seasonal workers. They said no.

We went to the polls and they lost seats as a result of it. They have a lot of explaining to do back home, where they say they support seasonal workers but then come to the House and vote against them.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, over $700 million to keep ancient Sea Kings flying until their replacement, over $500 million in cancellation fees, close to $2 billion before delivery, and we have not one new helicopter to show for that after a 25 year procurement nightmare.

Exactly where is the cost effectiveness the Prime Minister talked about yesterday? Where is it?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government will not shy away from its responsibility to ensure the safety of the Sea Kings and those who fly them. The air force follows a very strict maintenance and inspection regime, including three rigorous flight inspections. We will not put anyone's life at risk, no matter what the opposition wants to push.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals simply do not get it. Defence document after defence document and senior officer after senior officer state that it is operationally essential that the helicopter have a minimum endurance of 3 hours plus 30 minutes of reserve at all temperatures.

In fact, lowering the endurance standards to less than 3 hours would make IFR flights from Shearwater to Sydney or Yarmouth illegal. There is no long term evidence within the military to support endurance requirements under 3 hours. Who asked for the specifications to be lowered and when?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, these are military specifications, written by the military, passed on to the Minister of Defence, passed on to cabinet and accepted exactly as they were written by the military. There is no political interference whatsoever in the requirement of the helicopters.

What the opposition does not understand is that there are two different helicopter projects plus the upgrade of the existing requirements. They just do not understand that they are trying to compare apples and oranges. There is no political interference whatsoever here.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

June 6th, 2001 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has finally stated that the Americans' refusal to endorse the Kyoto protocol was a major political mistake.

As we know, the Prime Minister refused to criticize the American President's decision.

Will the Prime Minister confirm that his government is now on the side of the international community and will he condemn the decision by the American President to not ratify the Kyoto protocol?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the position of the Canadian government is clear. It has been repeated time after time by a number of ministers, including the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, myself and of course the Prime Minister.

We disagree with the United States on the decision that was taken with respect to the withdrawal from the Kyoto process. We think it was the wrong decision. We have said that time after time. We think the grounds given, namely the economic grounds and the grounds with respect to developing countries, are both incorrect. We would prefer to have the United States come back, but under the circumstances we also point out that there are certain problems with the European Union position as well.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is inconsistent.

This morning, he criticized the position of the United States and considered the European position too rigid. In addition, he announced measures to reduce greenhouse gases, but, at the same time, his government continues to subsidize the tar sands.

Does this not prove that this government's policy on greenhouse gas reduction is a failure and that, without Quebec's performance, the situation would be even more catastrophic?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is clearly unaware of the negotiations that took place in the Hague. We will be having these negotiations resume in Bonn. I would invite him to come with the Canadian delegation so he can learn something about what takes place.

The fact is the Hague meeting collapsed because of a very rigid position taken by the Europeans which was not matched by the Americans, and therefore we had a division.

That said, the Canadian position is clear. We have signed the Kyoto agreement, we wish to continue under the Kyoto process and we will meet our Kyoto targets.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has finally admitted what Canadians have long known: that our standard of living, vis-à-vis the United States, is dropping like a stone. Today figures are out showing that our per capita incomes are 30% lower than those in the United States. What is the Liberal solution? It is more Ottawa style big spending programs designed by those great champions of efficiency, the Ministers of Human Resources Development and Industry.

Instead of having the productivity file handed over to the cabinet's spenders, why does the Prime Minister not accept the recommendations of our finance committee to eliminate the $1.3 billion capital tax on innovation to increase productivity in this country?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the only thing dropping like a rock around here is the rankings of the Canadian Alliance in terms of public opinion polls. The chief architect of that descent is the member who just spoke.

The fact of the matter is Canada is making substantial progress in terms of its economic growth. We have gone from the largest deficit in our history to the largest surplus in history, the largest pay down of public debt and 24 quarters of successive growth. This is a policy of which to be proud, under a leader who is effective, with his colleague the Minister of Finance, in delivering a solid economic platform for Canada.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

That is the best he can do, Mr. Speaker? It would be nice if this minister would actually provide a substantive answer once in the House.

Canadian families have 30% less money to save for their retirement, 30% less money to pay for their kids' college education and 30% less money to buy a new automobile because of this government's high tax, high debt policies.

Why does the government not listen to every major business group in the country and the House of Commons finance committee and eliminate the $1.3 billion capital tax on innovation which is a barrier to our productivity and is hampering our standard of living? Why does it not do that?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, let me outline what we have done.

Apart from having one of the most generous R and D tax credits in the world, we have reduced our capital gains to where they are lower than the United States. Our employee stock options are better than the United States. Our corporate tax is going to down to 30% compared to 36% in Michigan, 40% in New York and 41% in California.

Those are some of the measures we have taken. However, it is not just about taxes alone. The member should look at what we have done in terms of the Canada Foundation for Innovation; $3.15 billion.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Last week the Canadian farm income program started processing and issuing cheques for farmers who have experienced a dramatic decline in income because of low commodity prices. We would like to thank the minister for that. However commodity prices are still low and incomes for farmers this year will still be low.

What further assistance will be made available?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year the government announced $500 million on top of the $1.1 billion for assistance to farmers this year. The provinces were going to put their 40% share with that and put their agreements together. Some of the provinces have given those agreements to us. We signed those agreements and some of the money was sent to the provinces last week. Other money will be sent this week. As soon as the other provinces have signed agreements, we will send them their share of the $500 million.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

Given that he is such a strong proponent of Kyoto and he obviously has the support of the House, why does he not just leave the House today and ratify the agreement?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the only industrialized country to have ratified Kyoto today is Romania. The reason none of the other industrialized countries have ratified it, and up to this point not a single country in the European Union, is that we have not concluded the negotiations on what will be part of the Kyoto agreement; what will count for those figures of minus 6% of the 1990 figure.

We are obviously going to continue. I would appreciate if maybe my hon. friend could come to Bonn so he too could learn more about the negotiations.

TransportationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in keeping with this government's feckless approach to all things environmental, the President of the Treasury Board has refused to authorize a scheme to allow public servants to access their bus passes through a payroll deduction. I thought we wanted more people to leave their cars at home and protect the environment. The government should be leading by example in supporting mass transit.

In view of the fact that it is environmental week and Clean Air Day, will the minister reverse her position today and encourage employees to use their payroll deductions to buy transit passes?

TransportationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague in environment has said, we are really committed as a government to reducing greenhouse gases. That is very clear. So, we give mass transit our utmost support.

However, the matter before us consists in using payroll deductions for all public servants. We are one of Canada's largest employers and the administrative impact would be substantial if we agreed to do it.

A study is therefore warranted in order that we may really know the administrative impact before agreeing to such a principle.

ShipbuildingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry has bent over backward to help companies like Bombardier through a system of interest free loans and tax incentives, yet when it comes to shipbuilding the minister is suddenly all talk and no action.

When will the minister treat all industries the same? When will he put his money where his mouth is and make good on his election promise to revitalize our national shipbuilding industry in Canada?

ShipbuildingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to hear that the Conservative Party is officially opposed to the protection of Bombardier, or at least the equal treatment of Bombardier, when Brazil offers up export financing for a company in an unfair trade practice, and that the Conservative Party is opposed to the tens of thousands of jobs in this industry in Ontario, Quebec, western Canada and, yes, in Atlantic Canada as well.

With respect to shipbuilding, as I said yesterday I am super confident that we will have an effective policy long before the member claims a seat in the second chamber.

ShipbuildingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I never said we were against Bombardier. We are asking if he will do the same thing for everyone else.

Could the Minister of Industry inform the House as to whether or not the owners of the Saint John shipyard have approached the government seeking financial assistance to help turn the shipyard into a wood processing plant?

Could the minister also confirm what portion of these funds is intended for the severance packages of the countless shipyard workers who have lost or will lose their jobs if this proposal is adopted?

ShipbuildingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised the member has now reversed herself. She is now in favour of the aerospace industry in Canada and she is now against a shipbuilding policy, because she is asking me for funds to ensure that workers never go back to work.

Our purpose is to put people back to work, to be competitive, to have a solid shipbuilding policy, not to close down shipyards.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Canadian Alliance Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans denied the assertion made by the Department of Justice that there was no legal basis for a lobster food fishery in St. Mary's Bay. Let me remind him of what justice lawyers said:

Prior to contact with Europeans, harvesting lobster for food—from St. Mary's Bay was never an element of a practice, custom or tradition integral to the distinctive culture of the aboriginal group.

That is to say, there is no aboriginal right to a lobster food fishery. Does the minister of fisheries agree with the legal advice from justice or not?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, first, the documents the hon. member is reading from are on a matter before the courts. However I want to assure the hon. member and other members of the House that I listened to the wisdom of the Minister of Justice and they should listen to the Minister of Justice as well. Her advice is taken very seriously.

We have set out a long term and short term strategy which is supported by the provincial fisheries minister of P.E.I., the provincial fisheries minister of New Brunswick, the provincial fisheries minister of Quebec and the provincial minister of Nova Scotia. It is a policy that is supported by all of them except the hon. member in the Alliance Party. That is very typical of them.