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House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was lobbying.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Durham Ontario

Liberal

Alex Shepherd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the Treasury Board has, through its guidelines to other departments, requested them to inventory their contaminated sites and 85% of this work has now been done and is displayed on our Internet site. In addition, over $100 million a year is now being funded through various departments to ensure that we identify the remainder of those sites. By July 1, 2003, we believe that the balance, from 85% to 100%, of those sites will be identified and a plan for remediation will be in place.

EthicsOral Question Period

October 25th, 2002 / 11:40 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Deputy Prime Minister who tabled this week the government's new ethics package.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell this House whether the package is intended to cover situations in which parliamentarians advocate public policies that advance their own corporate interests?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, of course, some of the situations may prove to be rather complex so I do not want to give an off-hand answer. However there is a definition in the code that does try to catch private interests, including private pecuniary interests of parliamentarians, as being those with which they ought not to be advocating. That is distinct from a broader advocacy for interests that might be financial in their regions, for example.

I would commend the member to read the code and we will try to ensure it is clear in application.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, then let me ask the Deputy Prime Minister specifically about Senator Kirby who just released a report today which is a recipe for privatization and commercialization.

Given Senator Kirby's involvement as an active board member in Extendicare, which is a private for profit health company, could the Deputy Prime Minister explain how the government has been silent on that report and Senator Kirby's very obvious conflict of interest?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

I do not think that the question relates to the ministerial responsibility to the government.

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Kirby committee recommends raising the additional revenue for health care through a national health care insurance premium, and I quote:

--these new revenues will be earmarked and dedicated. The money will be spent on the health care of Canadians and health care only.

The current finance minister, the previous finance minister and the transport minister have all stated in the past that the Liberal government is opposed to a dedicated tax approach. Will the government be reversing this position by introducing a dedicated health care tax?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member is correct in saying that our general approach has always been that we do not favour a dedicated tax, that it is better that revenues be collected and then applied to the priorities as determined by Parliament from time to time. Tax revenues can increase on a particular source and do not necessarily, if they are tied to an expenditure, reflect appropriate levels of accountability.

That being said, I am prepared to consider the recommendations of both Kirby and Romanow. I think the outcome of the first ministers meeting will be important and I look forward to the views of members of the House with respect to how to deal with those recommendations.

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government spends less than 10% of gas tax revenues on highway infrastructure and pillages over $5 billion from the EI surplus for general spending. What guarantees will the government make that dollars raised for health care will be spent on health care? Why should Canadians trust it to not use dedicated money for health care for general Liberal spending?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member has to some extent illustrated the problem with a dedicated tax. I presume from what he is saying that he thinks 100% of all revenues from fuel taxes should be spent on highways. We do not know whether that is the right amount, too much, too little, or anything else. We know that highways are primarily the responsibility of the provincial governments.

When we consider whether we should impose a dedicated health tax, not only is there a question of how do we assure people that is where it will go, but is it the right amount, is it the right source and what do we do with increases in the amount of revenue that comes in for such a charge.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister stated that Standing Order 111 provides for the election by the House of Commons of the ethics commissioner. In fact it does not. It allows instead for the intended person's appointment to be referred to committee. After 30 days the proposed appointment would be put under routine proceedings. That is then decided on without debate or amendment.

There is no true election and no true influence by opposition parties on the outcome. Will the government commit to true, all party participation in the election of an ethics commissioner?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not know of any one else in the House who would think that an election is not a vote. Most of us think that it is. The member should recognize that under that Standing Order it is put to the House after a 30 day period so people can examine the candidacy. Then there is a vote. That is an election by the House for the individual by democratic majority, those principles with which the people across the way do not seem to be familiar.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to explain this. Perhaps the member could think of the days when he was in opposition. He would probably remember the anxiety that he felt from time to time when overwhelmed by a government majority. This choice will be made by a government majority and not give a true influence to opposition parties on a person who can rule on their behalf.

The last thing we need is an ethics commissioner who is a damage control officer for the Liberals and attacks people in opposition. Will they commit to allowing some true representation on this from opposition parties?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to this as seriously as possible. Yes, there needs to be consultation with opposition parties. Undoubtedly that is the case. That would occur before the name was even put to a vote in the House of Commons.

I would also say, however, that I would not recommend to the government that there be the ability by opposition parties to somehow prevent the choice of an ethics commissioner for reasons that are unrelated to that person's abilities, credibility or otherwise. I am interested in suggestions about things that would increase the credibility of the commissioner, including suggestions that were put forward by the leader of the--

EthicsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Charlevoix.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the announcement of a plan to assist workers in the softwood lumber industry, the disastrous effects of the trade dispute are multiplying, while companies are left on their own to fight it out and deal with the crisis.

What is the Minister of Industry waiting for to offer these companies loan guarantees, which would allow them not only to protect jobs, but also to save their investments while waiting for the crisis to end.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the government announced more than $246 million in assistance to help workers, communities and companies affected by this dispute.

I would remind the member opposite that this figure is in addition to the $450 million in employment insurance benefits that have already been paid out to workers in the forest sector, every year.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is preventing the minister from living up to his responsibilities and setting up a loan-guarantee program, knowing that this specific measure does not contravene WTO rules?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member opposite is mistaken in his choice of question.

I have already explained to the House what the government has already done, and what it intends to continue to do. I would add that the measures announced by this government will help ensure that workers have the skills they need in order to find and keep a job. I think skills are more important than lending them money; we are giving them the means to find and keep new jobs.

Government LoansOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, three industry ministers have assured the House that the loans made by Technology Partnerships Canada would be repaid. Now we learn that Industry Canada's own documents reveal that, at best, only one-third of the loans will be recovered.

Will the government finally come clean with taxpayers on this corporate welfare scheme?

Government LoansOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Beauharnois—Salaberry Québec

Liberal

Serge Marcil LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, these were investments, not loans. This program encourages businesses to put good Canadian ideas into application. What must be understood, however, is that as investments they are not short term. The return on this investment will be made in the coming years.

Government LoansOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, government documents revealed at the end of January that only 2% of the loans up until that point had been repaid. Now the government's own internal documents projected out to 2020 show that at best only one-third of the loans, investments or whatever we want to call it, will be repaid.

Is that acceptable to Canadian taxpayers, the cabinet of this House and to the government to continue this corporate welfare scheme?

Government LoansOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Beauharnois—Salaberry Québec

Liberal

Serge Marcil LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we have always made it clear in the House that the majority of the partnership projects are still at the developmental stage and will not generate any major repayments for some years.

That said, repayments have doubled in each of the past two years and they are about to do so again this year, as well as the next two probably.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister tabled last Wednesday a draft bill pertaining to ethics and a draft code of conduct for parliamentarians.

Could the House leader tell us when we can expect the other elements of the Prime Minister's eight-point plan, in particular the changes with respect to electoral financing?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the House will know the Prime Minister presented earlier this week, together with the Minister of Industry, the fifth and sixth elements of the eight-point plan. Two remain, one dealing with the public service which will done very shortly.

I am working very closely with colleagues, and I would like to offer before the end of the year, or at the earliest opportunity, improvements to the Canada Elections Act thereby confirming the commitment that the Prime Minister made to the House on the ethics package.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, five years ago the government committed to expand Canada's Emergency Preparedness College which trains disaster response teams, and is located in Arnprior.

Despite the $396 million specifically allocated to national security after September 11, not one cent of it has gone toward teaching police, firefighters and municipal leaders how to protect our citizens.

In this week's Arnprior News , a staffer from the Prime Minister's office confirmed that the closure of the college is imminent. When will the Minister of National Defence stand up to his boss and demand that the money meant for Canadian protection be released in his department and keep the college open?