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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

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Kirby report today states that any new federal money must be used to buy change not merely to support the system as it is presently structured. The report talks about $5 billion.

My question for the Deputy Prime Minister is: Where will the $5 billion come from and where will it go? Does he support, as he and his cabinet colleagues have suggested in the past, a national sales tax increase of 1.5% or, as Kirby suggests, a variable national health care insurance premium? What is it, a premium or a tax increase?

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if I understood what the member said, he suggested that somehow or other cabinet supported an increase in the sales tax. That is simply not true. I have said repeatedly that I have no intention of proposing an increase in the GST. It is a tax that his party brought in. It is a tax that Canadians continue to hate. It is a tax that we do not intend to increase.

HealthOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, does that mean we should immediately cancel the parachute that we ordered for the Deputy Prime Minister for his anticipated jump from the Peace Tower?

The fact of the matter is that the money has to come from somewhere. What is it? Is it a tax increase or a premium? Will the minister state very clearly in the House today so we will know? There has to be a level of honesty in the answer to that question. Does he approve a tax increase or a premium? What is it? It is one or the other. He should not dodge the question.

HealthOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would have thought that the parachute that they had already bought for Mr. Lord was available. In any event, they did not need to cancel anything.

Senator Kirby has provided us with a useful report. It will take some time to consider it. Mr. Romanow is preparing his report. The Prime Minister has indicated that he will meet with the first ministers early in the new year and after that we will present a budget. I do not intend to do so today.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has a track record of applying rules selectively, especially when it comes to its friends, and nobody knows that better than prairie grain farmers.

In less than a week the government will be jailing prairie farmers for doing what is perfectly legal in the rest of Canada: selling their own wheat. Why does the government insist on denying prairie farmers the same marketing freedoms that are given to farmers in the rest of the country?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from a letter written by Mr. Ken Ritter, the chair of the Canadian Wheat Board's board of directors. He said:

Misinformation has been rampant since a small group of Alberta farmers declared that they will choose jail over paying fines associated with a 1996 border protest.

No one wants to see farmers go to jail. Unfortunately, being jailed is the choice of these farmers to draw attention to their political concerns.

The Minister of Public Works cannot and will not intervene in any due process of law.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, despite what the minister would like the House to believe, farmers are not in control of the Canadian Wheat Board. It is the minister who appoints the CEO. It is the minister who appoints five of the directors. It is the Wheat Board Act that disallows farmers their freedom to choose. Even if all 15 directors supported favour of choice, the act will not allow it thanks to the government.

Will the minister give the farmers their rightful freedom to market their wheat in a manner they choose?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member continues to provide misinformation. Ontario farmers also must obtain licences through the Ontario Wheat Producers Marketing Board.

Two-thirds of the board of directors of the Canadian Wheat Board are western Canadian farmers and they control the policy and strategic direction of the Canadian Wheat Board.

International TradeOral Question Period

October 25th, 2002 / 11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, one of the FTAA negotiators stated that Canada wanted to replicate chapter 11 of NAFTA in the agreement between the three Americas. This is the chapter under which businesses can sue governments for lost future profits and, so far, it has led to some abuse and is open to misinterpretation.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister reconcile this statement by the negotiator and the one made by the Minister for International Trade, who said repeatedly that he wanted to replace this chapter by one that would not allow investors to sue states?

International TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that Canada does not advocate the replication of the chapter 11 clause that exists in NAFTA, in the FTAA or in other international agreements.

Having said that, obviously our investors need protection for their investments overseas. There has been a remarkable increase in Canadian investment overseas and that investment must and will be protected.

International TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, under chapter 11 of NAFTA, companies have already announced their intention to sue the Government of Canada for an amount of at least $1 billion.

How many more lawsuits and claims will it take for this government to recognize that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in chapter 11 is a mistake and agree to sign no agreement containing any such provision, as decided by the Government of Quebec last June?

International TradeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member is giving us a new revelation on Bloc Quebecois policy if he is telling us that it is not interested in protecting the investments of Canadian companies overseas. I certainly hope he is not telling us that.

I repeat, we are opposed to the replication of chapter 11 as it is written in the FTAA or other potential bilateral or multilateral agreements, but we can, we will and we must protect Canadian investors abroad.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, in 1989 the Iron Curtain fell in Europe and democracy brought a brighter future. It celebrated the ability of people to decide how they wanted to conduct their own lives. They buy and sell their property and products in a free marketplace, a marketplace that ensures they get a fair market price.

In 1996 Canadians were charged for freely selling their farm products. Now they are going to jail charged, not by a Communist hold out, but by the Canadian Wheat Board.

Why does the government defend the Canadian Wheat Board in its undemocratic actions instead of our prairie grain farmers?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, first, the people need not break the law to have their voices heard, and that is the point: Do not break the law; change it.

The member should also acknowledge that 85% of western farmers support the Canadian Wheat Board.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I can say that I am one of the members in the House that has the Canadian Wheat Board permit and I understand it more than he does.

The government is jailing our grain farmers for selling their own grain a decade after Communism fell. The Prime Minister offered advice to the Ukraine. He said that monopolies were not worthy of a great nation and a great people, that we must create a class of entrepreneurs to break away from the Communist legacy.

Why will he not follow his own advice and get rid of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, two-thirds of the board of directors of the Canadian Wheat Board were elected by western Canadian farmers. If western Canadian farmers want to change the Canadian Wheat Board, they have the means to do it and they should take care of the problems that they have.

International TradeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade has always depicted himself as a model of clarity and transparence with regard to his negotiating positions on the FTAA. However, the remarks made yesterday by a senior official contradict the federal position stated on the Internet, which says, and I quote:

Canada is not advocating the replication of the NAFTA investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in the FTAA.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister explain the fact that the position of a senior official can be in total contradiction with the official government position as stated on the Internet?

International TradeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, on trade policy, the Minister for International Trade speaks for the government in the House of Commons. He has repeatedly said, as I repeat again now, that the government is not interested in replicating a chapter 11 investor clause in FTAA or other multilateral agreements. However we know that we must have protection for Canadian investors abroad.

Is my colleague telling us that the Bloc Quebecois is not interested in protecting Canadian investments overseas?

International TradeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are certainly not against protecting investments, but we will never accept being exposed to legal action by multinationals. This is totally irresponsible.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Is this contradiction due to the fact that, in reality, there are two scenarios: the reassuring one that the public can find on the Internet, and the real one, the one that is on the table, the one that is hidden from the public and that says that Canada wants to replicate chapter 11?

International TradeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to hear the hon. member say that his party is interested in protecting investors but he does not want to give investors the right to sue or take legal action.

How would he propose to protect Canadian investors overseas who might be dealt with in a capricious and unfair manner by a foreign government? Obviously they must have recourse to the courts.

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, at the APEC conference this weekend in Mexico, 11 Asian countries, along with Australia and the United States, have signed on to a coalition to shut down the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah, the group believed responsible for the 200 bombing murders in Bali.

Why was Canada not included on that coalition list? Was it because of the Liberals knee-jerk anti-Americanism, or is it because of the Liberals' soft approach to some terrorist groups right here on our soil?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government of Australia sought Canada's support for listing Jemaah Islamiah as a terrorist entity by the UN. We reviewed the request. We, along with 20 other countries, including the United States, European countries and Asian countries, submitted a letter of support for this listing to the United Nations.

We expect that the group will be added to the UN list by the end of today, at which time it will automatically be designated by Canada under our own UN suppression of terrorism regulations.

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, we finally have a flip-flop on the Liberal side with which we agree. It took a lot of pressure from this party, from our leader and from Canadians to get the Liberals to finally do this. We are losing influence around the world internationally with a number of groups; at NATO because we do not properly fund national defence and now at APEC because of the foot-dragging.

Will the Prime Minister agree to list the other groups that many Canadians want to see listed, including Hezbollah, a terrorist group. Will he add them to the list?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that we seem to have caught the hon. member by surprise with the answer. If he had called in advance we might have been able to inform him that his information was incorrect.

We have taken the lead, with several other countries, in our listing of entities under the UN suppression of terrorism regulations. We differ in our view of how to list certain entities. However there are three countries that have listed Hezbollah: Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. We have done exactly the same as has the United Kingdom.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is the custodian of an unknown number of environmentally contaminated sites. My question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board.

In view of the recently tabled findings of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, what is the Treasury Board doing to ensure all sites are identified and there is a proper evaluation of the cost of remediation?