This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in response to the new security environment, the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College is expanding its training program. The December budget allocated significant funds for this purpose. Much work has been done but no final decision has yet been made. We are considering all possible options.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Defence refused to acknowledge in this House that our military needed more resources.

Well, today is another day. In his speech to the Toronto Board of Trade, the minister said, “We should be spending more than is currently planned”. He went on to say, “Our most valuable members of our forces will quit if this issue is not addressed”.

My question for the Minister of Finance is simple. Will he invest the $1.5 billion his defence minister, the head of the navy and others are asking for so that our--

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know that in his speech the Minister of National Defence also acknowledged the significant increases in the defence budget that have occurred over the last number of years, in fact about 30% over the last five years.

I will take note of the fact that the Alliance Party wants us to spend more money on defence. It wants us to transfer the cost of air security to the general taxpayer and it does not want us to increase taxes for health care. We will try to square that circle to the best of our ability.

Ingrid BetancourtOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ingrid Betancourt, a former candidate in the Colombian presidential elections and sister of a resident of Quebec, is still a prisoner of the Colombian guerillas. She has been ever since her abduction on February 23. Reports of her precarious health indicate that it is urgent she be released.

Has the Minister of Foreign Affairs intervened with Colombian authorities to ask them to resume discussions with the guerillas in order to reach a humanitarian agreement to free Igrid Betancourt? If so, what was the outcome?

Ingrid BetancourtOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa) (Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, President elect Uribe was here last June. We raised the matter with him at that time. We are greatly concerned by the rumours of Ms. Betancourt's deteriorating health. She is one of 3,000 prisoners, including six former government ministers. We have stressed to President Uribe that the FARC must release Ingrid Betancour, considering her reported health problems.

LiteracyOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was Literacy Day on Parliament Hill. As we know, reading and writing skills are key to individual growth and development.

Could the minister inform the House of the role played by the Government of Canada in supporting literacy organizations such as Alpha Laval and in ensuring that all Canadians have the necessary skills to participate actively in the knowledge-based economy?

LiteracyOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my hon. colleague from Laval West for her excellent question and to inform the House that, each year, we invest no less than $30 million in support of 500 literacy projects throughout Canada.

With this investment, we help develop learning material and help people access learning programs, because the skills of reading, writing and numeracy are essential to social and economic success in Canada. These skills play a key role in the prosperity and quality of life of Canadians.

AgricultureOral Question Period

Noon

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Canadian Alliance Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

When we had the ice storms in this country the government moved quickly. When we had the floods in the Saguenay the government moved quickly. Western Canada is experiencing the worst drought since the great depression. The throne speech made absolutely no mention whatsoever of this great disaster. Existing government programs, including NISA, are totally inadequate.

When will the government announce an emergency--

AgricultureOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

AgricultureOral Question Period

Noon

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on June 20 the Prime Minister announced some $5.2 billion in new federal investments to ensure growth of the Canadian agriculture sector and of this, the hon. member will know, $600 million is flowing into the producers NISA account to help them deal with challenges such as the drought. This year almost 110,000 producers have also bought crop insurance which will reach $2 billion worth of benefits.

Finally a number of us, including his own colleagues and I, have worked in the Hay West program, which is a volunteer effort of all Canadians to--

AgricultureOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette-et-la Mitis.

CopyrightOral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 4, the Bloc Quebecois asked the government to refer the report on copyright to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, rather than to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, as it was rumoured at the time.

Could the Leader of the Government in the House confirm that a decision has been made and that this report will indeed be reviewed by the heritage committee?

CopyrightOral Question Period

Noon

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her continued interest in this issue and for her representations in the House today.

The government is about to announce to which parliamentary committee this report will be referred.

CopyrightOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

The Chair has notice of a point of order from the hon. member for West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, following up on other comments we have had about ministers, this morning in Toronto the Minister of National Defence made a major address to the Toronto Board of Trade reporting the state of Canada's military. This is the minister's first major address and, like many other government announcements, it was made outside of the House.

As all hon. members know, the report of the modernization committee recommended that these announcements be made inside the House. The report was adopted unanimously by the House. It seems to mean nothing to the government.

Yesterday, at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the Chief Government Whip flanked by a gang of parliamentary secretaries filibustered a motion to allow for secret ballot elections in committees. They argued that the secret ballot process would produce inferior results. I took offence to that remark, as maybe the Speaker should also.

The leadership over there is not interested in reforming Parliament. It cannot even follow through on its previous commitments to make announcements in the House.

So far the government leadership has been successful at beating down the efforts of those members who want to reform Parliament in a meaningful way, but now after nine years it appears there may be more of us than there is of them.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is on one hand asking for respect for the rules of the House and then refers to debate going on in committee which has not yet even been reported to the House. The Speaker will no doubt recognize the contradiction in the statement the hon. member just made.

First, in relation to the speech made by the hon. Minister of National Defence, this was a speech made by a minister speaking before a board of trade. It was not a new policy announcement.

Second, in the modernization committee report it never said that every government announcement ever made anywhere would always be made in the House of Commons and that ministers would cease to make speeches across the country, nor is it expected that opposition critics would do that either. That was not the point of the modernization effort. It was to increase statements in the House.

We had an excellent example of that the day before yesterday when the hon. Deputy Prime Minister made an important speech in the House with contributions of all parties, some of them I would argue more constructive than others, regarding the ethics package. Those were made on the floor of the House of Commons.

There will be another one shortly when I introduce the Elections Act amendment that I referred to earlier during question period. Those things are being done.

If it were to assist the Speaker, I would be prepared to table the speech made earlier today to the Toronto Board of Trade by the hon. Minister of National Defence. I am sure Mr. Speaker will recognize that there is nothing in there that would contravene the rules or the practices of the House.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair has dealt with this matter before. I have made it very clear that in the view of the Chair the point of order raised by the hon. member for West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast is not well taken.

He does refer to the report of the modernization committee and on that he is quite correct. My recollection was that the report urged ministers to do this, but did not recommend any change in the House of Commons rules that would enable the Speaker to somehow rule whether or not a minister had breached his or her obligations if the minister made a statement outside the House.

In the absence of some change in the practice or rule, I can only say that the past practice has been that members and ministers are free to make statements inside or outside the House. It is not for the Chair to decide on the propriety of the choice of locale for these statements. Accordingly, I find the point of order not well taken.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre is also rising on a separate point of order.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise with you concerns about your decision to rule my supplementary question today pertaining to Senator Kirby and the health report that was just unveiled as out of order.

The Chair will know that my supplementary was simply to clarify the answer provided by the Deputy Prime Minister regarding the ethics package. Yet his answer was ruled in order and my question seeking further clarification was ruled out of order.

As the Chair well knows, the government just tabled in the House a code of ethics which directly relates to not only members of Parliament, but also to senators and very clearly outlines provisions demanding disclosure for any conflict of interest where a member or a senator has a private interest in a matter that is before the Houses of Parliament or a committee.

I believe the Speaker will find that my question is relating to clarification of that code of ethics. It seeks an answer from the government regarding Senator Kirby's interest in a private for profit health care company, that being Extendicare, and requests the government to consider the validity of a report just tabled by that senator in light of that conflict of interest.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The question of whether there is any conflict of interest obviously cannot arise because the code of conduct has not yet been adopted. It is very difficult, it seems to me, for the hon. member to ask a minister, particularly a minister, if the code of conduct is one that governs all parliamentarians and is to be enforced by some other officer. To ask a minister whether or not somebody else has breached a code that is not yet enforced strikes me as entirely hypothetical and certainly beyond the jurisdiction of the government.

As I understand the plan that has been introduced, and I have not gone through it in great detail, it is something that will be part of the rules of the House, both this House and in the other place, and not therefore something that is under the control of the government. In fact it is under the control of the House. If that were the case, I do not see how a question to a minister could be in order and that is why I ruled the hon. member's question out of order.

I am prepared to examine the blues when they are available and if I have a change of view I will get back to the House, but in my view the question is quite out of order and I had no reluctance whatever in saying so.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 13 petitions.

VIA Rail Commercialization ActRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-255, an act respecting the commercialization of VIA Rail Canada Inc.

Mr. Speaker, this is a reintroduction of a previously introduced bill dealing with the privatization of VIA Rail.

VIA, as a crown corporation, is subsidized in the amount of about half a million dollars a day, and recently had an injection of over $400 million. The transport minister has admitted that the private sector has indicated a will to run this without subsidy. The bill addresses the fundamental problem that it is wrong for the government to subsidize a business which competes against other private sector transportation sectors.

I hope the government will see the light of day, recognize the error of its ways and support this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Health ActRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-256, an act to amend the Canada Health Act (conditions for contributions)

Mr. Speaker, this is also a reintroduction of a bill that I had previously introduced in the House. It addresses a serious problem for health and emergency response workers in the country who often risk being exposed to infectious diseases while in the course of their duties.

There are absolutely no provisions to provide them with notice if it is later discovered that the victims they had attended had infectious diseases.The bill is designed to provide a simple protocol that would allow those people to be notified while still protecting the confidentiality of the people who were infected themselves and with whom they had come into contact.

I hope the government will see fit to pass this quickly for the benefit of all those who put their lives on the line to protect all Canadians.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

First Nations Governance Review ActRoutine Proceedings

October 25th, 2002 / 12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-257, an act to establish a First Nations Ombudsman and a First Nations Auditor to assist with administrative and financial problems

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reintroduce this private member's bill entitled an act to establish a first nations ombudsman and a first nations auditor to assist with administrative and financial problems.

The first purpose of the bill is to establish the office of an ombudsman to assist persons if they consider that they are being dealt with unfairly or unreasonably. This is something that all members and every Canadian have access to, but the aboriginal living on a reserve does not. In order to maintain some equality across the country, this bill would correct that situation.

The bill would also provide for an official from the Auditor General's Office to be appointed as a first nations auditor, to carry out audits to communities that are insolvent or where impropriety or mismanagement is alleged.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-258, an act to amend the Criminal Code (arrest without warrant).

Mr. Speaker, this is the reintroduction of a private member's bill in regard to arrest without warrant. It is based on a number of meetings I have had with police officers across Canada in which they have repeatedly stated that they need more power in order to enforce the law to make society safer. They have also made their presentation on the Hill when they come here for their conventions.

This would assist peace officers by giving them the power to arrest, without a warrant, a person who is in breach of probation or conditions of parole. At present peace officers can only notify parole officers and with this time delay another crime is often committed. The bill would prevent that from happening.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)