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House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is still consensus on a democratic charter. But I can say that, with only six weeks between the Quebec City summit and the conference in Costa Rica, there was not time for all the countries represented at the OAS to obtain the support of their government.

So, it is an ongoing project. There will be another meeting in three months, and the democratic charter will be adopted then.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister, who chaired the Quebec City summit, plan to intervene directly with his counterparts in the other countries to remind them of their commitment to include a democracy clause and make sure that what the minister has just said actually happens?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the minister has just said is that the ministers are discussing certain procedures to implement the decision taken clearly by all the government leaders at the Quebec City summit.

The democracy clause applies from now on and those who do not maintain democracy in each of the countries of the free trade area of the Americas will be excluded from the agreement.

This principle was clearly established by the heads of government, and I can assure the hon. member that we in Canada, and I in particular, will remind each of the heads of government present in Quebec City of it at every opportunity.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board is on record as telling farmers to grow something other than traditional wheat for export. Yet his legislation is preventing producers from doing just that. The minister's stubbornness is costing farmers money in their time of crisis.

During testimony in committee today organic farmers made it clear that the CWB's board of directors does not represent them. Yet they must submit to its authority.

Why does the minister refuse to allow these farmers who have already diversified into niche markets not serviced by the board the right to market and process their own grain?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, in terms of other grains, specialty crops, pulse crops and so forth, the Canadian Wheat Board is not involved in that field of marketing activity whatsoever. Its jurisdiction extends only to wheat and barley in particular circumstances.

With respect to organic farmers, a number have expressed the views that have been represented in the House today. Others have expressed other opinions. Obviously both sides need to be weighed very carefully and the ultimate decision making should rest with the duly elected producer board of directors.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, that is classic buck passing. The minister and his board seem to think that organic producers like John Husband are threatening other wheat and barley producers when they ask to opt out of the board's monopoly. This makes no sense when we consider that the board does not even market organic grains.

Could the minister explain why giving organic farmers an exemption from the board system threatens the income of other wheat and barley farmers in western Canada? He has never given us an explanation. Organic farmers deserve one right now.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the detailed explanation has been offered, not by the government, not by bureaucrats, but by the duly elected farmers who serve on the board of directors of the Canadian Wheat Board.

The party opposite has argued in the past for democracy in the administration of the Canadian Wheat Board. The legislation in the last parliament provided that democracy. Now the opposition wants to override that democracy by direct edicts by the Government of Canada.

Water ExportsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Dennis Mills Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Could the minister clarify why an official of his department put out a tender asking for bulk water export valuation?

The valuation of water studies that includes bulk water studies contradicts House of Commons Bill C-6. Does this not create confusion as to what the government's real intention is on bulk water sales?

Water ExportsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I make absolutely clear that there is no change whatsoever in the stated policy of the Government of Canada not to export water. I would go further and say our policy is not to have transfers from one water basin to another and that also remains the policy of the Government of Canada.

At the same time we have a data gathering project to which the member referred which is one of scores and in fact hundreds that take place every year. It is done for other areas of the environment such as waterfowl and wildlife. These studies have proved to be very valuable for conservation measures.

HousingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister responsible for housing will be hanging his head in shame as Canada gives its report on housing to the UN this week. What else could he do given the government's dismal record of cancelled social housing, offloading to the provinces and homelessness?

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why has the government failed on its own commitment to Habitat II and housing for all? When will the government get its priorities straight and provide a real housing program for Canadians who are desperately in need?

HousingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the government does have a national housing strategy. We have provided $1.9 billion annually in housing assistance.

CMHC mortgage insurance helps one in three Canadians access financing to purchase a home. Through home renovation programs and housing research we are improving the quality of housing. We have also invested $753 million to address homelessness.

Canada DayOral Question Period

June 7th, 2001 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, we recently learned that 72% of the year 2000 budget for Canada Day was earmarked for Quebec. Certain communities in my riding were given a mere $1,000 to organize their July 1 activities.

Are we to conclude that the amounts earmarked for Quebec was a federalist tactic?

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage commit to giving more money to the communities of Canada so that all can share equally in the funding for this celebration?

Canada DayOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Yes. Mr. Speaker.

Access To InformationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

We have learned that the department has struck an internal review committee to vet the approval of all access to information requests, but it appears the net result of the committee has been to deny information to the official opposition. In fact we have had to appeal to the information commissioner to help us get answers to 31 access to information requests.

Does the minister think it is appropriate for her officials to disregard both the spirit and the letter of the access law passed by parliament?

Access To InformationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should know, the decisions made on access to information are at arm's length from my office.

She also will know, I am sure, that there have been a number of requests made to my department over the last year. In fact we have had a threefold increase in the amount of information required. We are responding as quickly as we can. Again, as she points out, there is an appeal process that she should make use of.

Access To InformationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, our requests about Shawinigate do not receive a answer. Questions about last year's disastrous internal audit are met with months of silence.

We requested a list of HRDC grants and contributions to the minister's own riding and were told it would cost us $6,000 even though the information used to be provided to us free.

When will this minister stop stonewalling the official opposition and start obeying the law?

Access To InformationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again let me repeat that the access to information process is at arm's length.

The hon. member will recognize the amount of information that has been requested as we have provided hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper to her party at its request.

We have had a very good track record in my department of responding to requests. We hope to restore that capacity, but indeed the process is there if she wishes to appeal.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Last week there were about a dozen parliamentarians and diplomats visiting Canada at Russia's expense.

Today there are three Russian police officers in Ottawa to investigate a fatal car crash involving a Russian diplomat, but this time Canada has to pay.

If Russia can pay for the diplomats, why is Canada paying for the police? Will the minister just send the bill back to Moscow?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member shares with me a desire to see justice done in the Knyazev case.

The efforts that my department have undertaken to ensure that the investigation proceeds unimpeded are intended to do just that, to ensure that there is no obstacle to justice being done on behalf of the victims, Catherine MacLean and Catherine Doré.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government's new immigration Bill C-11 has been described as seriously flawed, draconian and even un-Canadian. Most of the 154 witnesses before the immigration committee said the bill strips the rights of permanent residents and does not provide for the protection of refugees.

The committee chair from London North Centre said at clause by clause:

It's lucky I don't have to vote...when they start to sound more Liberal than we do, I get a little concerned.

Why is the Liberal Party of Pearson, Laurier and Trudeau so unwilling to entrench the rights of permanent residents and properly protect refugees in Canada?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned that the member opposite, who has been a member of the immigration committee, is giving out serious misinformation about the bill.

We live up to our humanitarian and compassionate tradition of welcoming those who are in genuine need of protection. We enshrine the rights of permanent residents.

I think his constituents and Canadians would be very concerned to know he is proposing that we take longer than is absolutely necessary to remove serious criminals who pose a serious threat to Canada. I think his constituents would be surprised to know that he does not want to help us remove serious criminals as quickly as possible.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United States government has assumed responsibility for its military personnel with Balkan and the Persian Gulf service who are victims of the gulf war syndrome, unlike Canada, which has chosen to abandon its servicemen and women.

Given DND's number one priority to put people first and improve the quality of life of its military personnel, when does the Minister of Veterans Affairs intend to indeed make people a priority and to give these personnel veteran status?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada was the first NATO country to open post-deployment clinics. These clinics are open to Canadian forces members and their families and to veterans of any peacekeeping operation who have concerns about their health.

I urge anyone who thinks they have a medical problem to make use of these facilities and to visit one of the centres for injured and retired members and their families at the nearest medical facility.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the military personnel of other countries, Canada's military personnel are experiencing real physical symptoms: chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, memory and weight loss, urinary problems.

Does the Minister of National Defence, whose primary aim is to make people a priority, intend to immediately order a medical investigation of all those who served in the Gulf or the Balkans, to be carried out by a multidisciplinary team of civilian specialists?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in addition to a registry of gulf war veterans with health concerns established in 1995 and 1997, veterans with continuing health concerns were thoroughly examined and evaluated at a gulf war clinic which was established for this purpose. Some veterans were later admitted for additional assessment.

Once again I urge anyone who has a medical problem in the Canadian forces to come forward to the Canadian forces medical clinics and be examined.