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House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the rules were in effect when the JTF2 went over. The rules have always been in effect. They are longstanding in terms of following international law of conflict, following the Geneva conventions. That is something we are doing, that is something we expect the United States to do, that is something it is doing, and that is the policy of this government.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister of revenue did not answer the question as to how they are going to pay for the $3.3 billion boondoggle.

Are they going to cut funding for health care in Ontario, Manitoba or B.C. or are Canadian taxpayers going to be left holding the bag for that $3.3 billion? A straight answer, please.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, clearly the member opposite needs to understand that we identified a problem. We had that verified by the auditor general, who for 15 years had certified the books of CCRA. We took action immediately on a go forward basis to ensure that there was no overpayment in years beyond 2000.

We are going back all the way to 1972 at the present time, working with the provinces, so that we can understand fully the implications of any of the payments that took place prior to this time.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is very interesting but it is completely irrelevant. That is not what I asked.

I want to know: is the government going to cut transfers to the provinces for health care or is it going to increase taxes? Which will it be?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that we take very seriously any suggestion of underpayment or overpayment. In this case it has been verified that there has been an overpayment, a significant one, to four provinces.

That money has been collected. What we have done is make sure that there will not be any future overpayments. That is the first step that we took and we took it immediately upon this verification.

The auditor general, the provinces and CCRA are now looking at what the facts are, gathering in all the information, so that we can make a determination of what action should be taken regarding the--

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Portneuf.

International TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

People often doubted that Canada was a prime location for direct foreign investments. The KPMG study released this morning compares costs for businesses in North America, Europe and Japan, and it ranks Canada in first place.

What are the impacts for Quebec and how will that study be useful to the cities that took part in it?

International TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, Canada comes in first place, with a 14.5% cost advantage over the United States.

Edmonton got the very first rank in all the world in competitiveness.

Quebec City ranked second worldwide. In the case of large cities of over two million people, Montreal ranks first worldwide, followed by Toronto.

Cities like Halifax and Kelowna are first in their regions.

All Canadian cities did very well. This equips us well at the world economic forum to promote Canada from coast to coast.

International TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the conflict between Canada and Brazil over regional jets took on new meaning when the trade minister described our loss at the WTO as really being a win. The minister scored a hat trick all in one day. He trivialized our loss, he needlessly offended the Brazilians and he undermined the WTO.

When is the minister going to stop playing politics, which have real consequences for Canadians?

International TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to take this question very seriously, because frankly if I had done all these things, I would be very embarrassed.

In our strategy I have been saving jobs in this country because four WTO decisions had not been recognized by Brazil. This was a mixed decision of the WTO and I am very pleased that on the basis of this mixed decision we will be embarking on negotiations with the Brazilians to put an end to this litigation between our two countries over aircraft.

Young OffendersOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Minister of Justice said that he was prepared to meet with stakeholders from Quebec to discuss Bill C-7.

Will the minister tell us when he is going to meet with them, and promise not to bring Bill C-7 back to the House until he has had the chance to hear them, and more important, to understand the Quebec model? Otherwise, what is the point of this meeting?

I remind him that he has been Minister of Justice for only two weeks and that the coalition includes people who have dedicated their entire lives to creating the Quebec model.

Young OffendersOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, indeed, as I mentioned this morning, I will have the opportunity to meet with stakeholders to discuss and explain the legislation, which will be debated in the House tomorrow.

It is important to understand that the source of law is exactly the same for all of the provinces. The exact same legislation applies to them. True, Quebec has taken a more generous, constructive approach, one that is more avant-garde.

Young OffendersOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Young OffendersOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Liberal Outremont, QC

Incidentally, much of what is contained in Bill C-7 is based on Quebec's approach, such as the declaration of principle in clause 3.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. The minister has admitted today that the JTF2 force has been involved in the capture of al-Qaeda prisoners. This is a combat operation.

Yet the minister told our joint committee of defence and foreign affairs two weeks ago that the rules of engagement for the Princess Pats battle group are still not finalized for combat operations.

What we want to know is, are there two sets of rules of engagement, one for the Princess Pats and another for JTF2 operations?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the rules of engagement are quite similar for all Canadian forces, but they are also tailor made to the specific mission that each contingent has. Obviously the JTF2 as commandos have a different function than do the Princess Patricias, as a different set of circumstances exists for the navy out in the Arabian Sea. While they are very similar, while they are substantially the same from one mission to another, they nevertheless are tailor made. The one for the PPCLI is in the finalization stages and should be issued in the next 24 to 48 hours.

International TradeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is engaging in Pollyanna politics where everything is wonderful when in reality his strategy backfired for Canadians.

When we won earlier at the WTO Canada did not press its advantage. Then our industry minister, Brian Tobin, got into the subsidy act. Then we lose and the minister calls it a win.

Why is the minister undermining the WTO and putting Canadian jobs at risk?

International TradeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the member to really look at that decision. There were seven complaints by the Brazilians. Out of seven of these complaints five have been rejected and have guaranteed that Canada can continue to use the Canada account, the corporate account, Investissement Québec and a number of our tools.

On the two complaints that were upheld for the Brazilians, I can tell the House it gives us exactly the kind of negotiating table that we need with the information where both governments will commit not to do state financing on aircraft. That is what this government has wanted to do from day one, but we need the Brazilians to abide by the same rules.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

January 29th, 2002 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the minister responsible for official languages stated, “I will not say which initiatives we have had to abandon for the current fiscal year in order to fund these bilingual tickets”.

Is the minister trying to tell francophone minorities that their rights are subject to budgetary restrictions?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member quoted one passage. Allow me to quote another. “Until governments themselves assume their constitutional and legal responsibilities for Canadian bilingualism, citizens and communities will be justified in turning to the courts. The government will continue to analyze carefully any situation and support linguistic minority communities when necessary.”

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, a Philippine congressman says that Placer Dome is giving Canada a black eye in his country. That is because a massive leak of toxic tailings has caused the biggest environmental disaster in that country's history, and a bigger spill is looming as we speak.

The president of the Philippines is in this country tonight for a state dinner. What will the Prime Minister tell President Arroyo to restore Canada's reputation in that country and what will he do to rein in this Canadian corporation whose polluting activities are embarrassing Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to meet with the Philippine secretary for natural resources and the environment, where we discussed a number of issues, including mining related issues.

On this particular issue we have been informed that Placer Dome mine has spent $50 million U.S. to help with the cleanup. It had 39% ownership. It has now sold this firm to a Philippine company and it has also fulfilled its agreement to make sure that it continues to work on the cleanup, but it is Marcopper that is responsible now.

We expect all Canadian companies to make sure that they take seriously their responsibilities for the environment and be good corporate citizens no matter where they are in the world.

Ways and MeansOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I wish to table a notice of a ways and means motion respecting an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in parliament on December 10, 2001, and I ask that an order of the day be designated to debate the motion.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on Monday, December 10, 2001, by the hon. member for New Westminster--Coquitlam--Burnaby. I thank the hon. member for raising this matter and the then government House leader for his intervention.

In his presentation, the member referred to statements of the then Minister of Citizenship and Immigration quoted in a recent newspaper article, and argued that these statements constituted a personal attack on him and an offense against the dignity of parliament.

The Chair noted that during the oral question period just before the holidays the House heard some unusually strong language and forceful expression of opinion. On Monday, December 3, there was such an exchange between the hon. member and the then minister. I refer all hon. members to the Debates of December 3, 2001, at pages 7765 to 7766.

It is understandable that such exchanges should sometimes occur when there are strongly held views on either side on contentious issues. Therefore I thought it appropriate on Wednesday, December 5, to remind hon. members to use care in their choice of words both in answers and in questions. Again, I refer all hon. members to the Debates of December 5, 2001, at page 7896.

The situation before us at the moment is rather different for it concerns a statement made outside the House itself. I had the opportunity to review the newspaper article referred to by the hon. member for New Westminster--Coquitlam--Burnaby and to examine the relevant precedents. The cause for offense, as the hon. member described it, is the reporting of remarks made outside the House by the then minister and reflecting on the exchange during question period on December 3.

I refer hon. members to the following passage from page 522 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice :

Remarks directed specifically at another Member which question that Member's integrity, honesty or character are not in order.

In the case before us the comments were phrased generally and not directed at the member. Furthermore, Marleau and Montpetit in the same paragraph goes on to state:

The Speaker has no authority to rule on statements made outside the House by one Member against another.

After careful examination I have concluded that the case raised by the hon. member fails on two counts: the remarks in question were not clearly directed at the hon. member personally and the remarks were made outside the Chamber.

The Chair therefore rules that this is not a question of privilege though the hon. member may feel aggrieved by the remarks of the then minister.

That being said, I would like to reiterate my remarks of December 5 and encourage all hon. members to be careful in their choice of words in the Chamber during question period in both questions and answers and outside the House when responding to matters that arose in the House. I do not think I am being unrealistic here.

My predecessor, Mr. Speaker Fraser often said of the House of Commons that it was not and never had been a tea party.

On October 10, 1991, Debates , pages 3562-4 he said:

I do not think we need…to remind ourselves that there is often provocation in this place and it comes on both sides. There has to be, of course, some common sense in our approach because…strong-minded men and women who believe passionately in things are going to express that passion and conviction from time to time [but ]…when decorum degenerates , it leads to further and further excess.

It seems to the Chair that the sort of escalation in language complained of sheds more heat than light on important issues being debated. I would again ask for the co-operation of all hon. members in using more temperate language.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege with regard to the very grave matter relating to information I requested through Question No. 94 on the order paper.

Events have led me to believe that there has been a deliberate attempt to deny me the information by the Deputy Prime Minister and his staff with respect to the question. Accordingly I charge the minister with contempt of the House.

On December 3, 2001, I used an order paper question to ask for details about all real estate sales by Canada Lands, a crown corporation that sells surplus federal properties which at the time reported to the minister of public works and now reports to the Deputy Prime Minister.

My question sought information about all land sales since the Liberals took power in 1993. I indicated my desire to receive this information within 45 days pursuant to Standing Order 39(5)( a ). As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, the 45 day period has long lapsed and according to new procedures a committee investigation could be launched to look into this matter pursuant to Standing Order 39(5)( b ).

Under normal circumstances I would await the outcome of such an investigation. However I am in possession of information that elevates this matter to privilege. This is not a case of mere negligence or incompetence but involves and requires the attention of the House and a resolution through its authority. As a result, I am duty bound to bring this matter to your attention, Mr. Speaker.

While we may have a new procedure to deal with late questions in committee, order paper questions are instruments of the House and contempt against such proceedings must be dealt with in the House itself.

Before I present my evidence regarding the withholding of the information, I would like to set the procedural stage for this question of privilege. I requested information from the government through Standing Order 39(1) which states:

Questions may be placed on the Order Paper seeking information from Ministers of the Crown relating to public affairs; and from other Members, relating to any bill, motion or other public matter connected with the business of the House, in which such Members may be concerned;--

On December 16, 1980, at page 5797 of Hansard the Speaker ruled:

While it is correct to say that the government is not required by our rules to answer written or oral questions, it would be bold to suggest that no circumstances could ever exist for a prima facie question of privilege to be made where there was a deliberate attempt to deny answers to an hon. member--

As I stated earlier, I requested information under the provisions of Standing Order 39 on December 3, 2001, and the deadline to answer my question pursuant to Standing Order 39(5) had lapsed.

Yesterday a National Post reporter called Canada Lands to find out why the information I requested through Q-94 had not yet been delivered to me. You may find this article, Mr. Speaker, in today's National Post .

The reporter, Andrew McIntosh, put his question to Gordon McIvor, a vice-president of communications for Canada Lands. Mr. McIvor replied that information was sent off to the minister's office several weeks ago. The National Post article reported Mr. McIvor as saying:

It's all been completed and it all went to the minister's office, two weeks ago, three weeks ago. There's absolutely no reason why it shouldn't have been passed on to--

And he mentions my name.

The information I sought has been available for some time. The government agency responsible, Canada Lands, has complied with my request but the Deputy Prime Minister and his staff acting as the middle agent have deliberately withheld information from parliament for several weeks now. This dismissive view of the House and its members is contemptuous.

As members of parliament it is our duty to scrutinize the government and to hold it to account. The order paper question is one of those tools that we as members use to seek information from the government. The order paper question is part of our rules and is considered a proceeding of parliament commanding respect from ministers and necessitating protection by the House.

I ask that you allow me to move the appropriate motion to secure that protection and to bring a swift resolution to this matter.