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House of Commons Hansard #19 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was opposition.

Topics

Prairie FarmersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is Halloween today and the Liberals' policy is as pathetic and scary as their responses.

Today the Liberal government will throw prairie farmers in jail for what is perfectly acceptable in the rest of Canada, selling their own wheat. This is not a complicated issue. Farmers should have the individual right to sell their property to the buyers of their choice.

When will the government stop throwing farmers in jail and give them the freedom to market their own wheat?

Prairie FarmersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the legislation that was enacted in 1998 provides very clearly for how the mandate of the Canadian Wheat Board can be changed. That mandate requires consultations with the board of directors and it requires a vote among prairie producers.

Interestingly, when we debated that legislation in 1998, this side of the House wanted to put in provisions that would allow farmers to trigger the whole change process and that was taken out at the request of the opposition.

Prairie FarmersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Prairie FarmersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I encourage members who want to carry on discussions that are not on the record to do so perhaps in the lobby. Those of us who are in the House want to hear the questions that are asked. The member for Crowfoot has the floor and everyone will want to hear his question.

Prairie FarmersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the only thing more distasteful than this policy is the government's refusal to take responsibility for it.

In 1996 the first farmer to be charged with selling outside the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly was found innocent. Immediately the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board rushed out to change the regulations, ensuring that all subsequent charges would result in a conviction.

When will the minister admit that he is personally responsible for sending those innocent farmers to jail?

Prairie FarmersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman's allegations are patently ridiculous. What is being suggested here by the opposition is that there should be some intervention in a court proceeding. That would obviously be an ethical violation and I will not do it, even when requested by the official opposition.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made the use of the surplus the major issue of the last federal election, promising a balanced approach, whereby 50% of the surplus would be used to lower taxes and reduce the debt, and 50% would be reinvested in the economy and in social programs.

Will the Prime Minister admit that we are far from the promised balance and that in fact it is 100% of the surplus that was used to pay down the debt?

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it may not be 50-50, but very close to 50-50, actually 45-55. Of course, when there is an $8 billion surplus in the last week or month of the year, it would be irresponsible to try to spend this surplus just to ensure the balance. Under the acts of Parliament, at the end of the year, the surplus is automatically applied to debt reduction, which enables us to keep interest rates very low, which in turn helps all Canadians pay less for their mortgages and make purchases at lower prices because our economic policy has produced very favourable economic conditions for all Canadians.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the kind of nonsense we have just heard from the Prime Minister comes as no surprise from people who deliberately ignore things and hide surpluses.

The federal surplus reached $17 billion in 2000-01, nearly $9 billion in 2001-02, and the Bloc Quebecois estimates that it will exceed $10 billion this year. If nothing changes, all $36 billion will be used to pay down the debt.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that, had he kept his promise, instead of applying the whole amount to the debt, $18 billion could have been put toward health, while at the same time paying down the debt?

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have very difficult problems to address. We have too many people at work in Canada. So far this year, 400,000 new jobs have been created, for a total of 2.5 million since 1993, and this is bringing in more revenue than expected. We are in the very unfortunate position of being too successful in reducing the debt and, consequently, the burden for future generations.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his economic statement yesterday, the Minister of Finance used the same strategy as his predecessor, which was to considerably underestimate the coming budget surplus in order to keep tens of billions of dollars out of the public debate on how it should be used.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that he has deliberately concealed the true figures on the surplus in order to continue to deny the existence of a serious fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces?

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I hope indeed that government revenues will be higher than forecast. I believe this would be a good thing. At any rate, we know the debt level of the provinces is half that of the federal government. When we make payments, like the nearly $9 billion we paid last year, this will reduce the Government of Canada's interest rates by $400 million for this year, next year, and the year after that. The interests of Canadians are well served by this.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, taxes to Ottawa and to Quebec are paid by one and the same individual.

Does the minister not understand that the present fiscal imbalance is the result of individuals paying too much tax to Ottawa compared to the services they get from the federal government, and that a portion of these taxes would be put to far better use if it went to the level of government responsible for health care in particular?

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the provincial governments have reduced the taxation level in the provinces, presumably because they decided that the taxpayers were paying too much to their provincial governments.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

More and more otherwise proud citizens are worrying about the value of their Canadians passports these days and with good reason. Canadians citizens are being fingerprinted, photographed, arrested and detained at the U.S. border. Why has the government not filed a formal written complaint to the United States demanding an end to this practice? What is it waiting for?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I told the member in committee this morning we have filed complaints with the United States. As I said to the member and as I have said in the House, a Canadian is a Canadian for all purposes. We maintain that. We maintain it with our American authorities. I have also said that the American authorities will work this out with us in a spirit of neighbourliness.

I wish to report to the House today that I spoke to Mr. Cellucci just before I came here. He informed me that, in the future, Canadians carrying Canadian passports will not be treated any differently depending on where they were born or for any reason whatsoever.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, after weeks of a faint whisper about this trampling of Canadian rights it sounds like we are finally getting somewhere. I want to applaud the minister if in fact he has gained an absolute guarantee that the rights of Canadian citizens will be protected and that our Canadian passport will indeed mean the same thing for all Canadians.

I want to ask the minister if he would report to the House when this practice will be initiated and what guarantee there is to an end to this obscene practice?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the first place, the important thing is to say that, as usual, we are working out these matters. It is our common security between Canada and the United States, and we work out these matters together as friends and neighbours.

The American ambassador made it clear that he has spoken with both Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Powell. They have given firm assurances that this matter will be dealt with by the American administrative authorities in a way that will ensure that the place of birth in a Canadian passport will not in any way affect individuals crossing the border and that all Canadians will be treated as Canadians when travelling on Canadian passports.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the House is pleased that our passports will be respected but there are still basic concerns about our security arrangements.

In April CSIS confirmed that it had been monitoring Hezbollah terrorist activity in Canada since at least 1999. That same year in Montreal CSIS questioned Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who recruited two of the terrorist pilots. The week following the September 11 attacks, in response to my question, the Prime Minister said in the House:

--there is no link to any group in Canada with what happened in New York and Washington last week.

Is that still the government's position?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the member should be aware we have now listed seven entities and are taking the necessary steps to ensure that our efforts are justified and effective. CSIS is doing its job in protecting international security and safety of Canadians, and doing the necessary investigations to see if other listings should come forward. It is working on that matter.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, in his unauthorized speech to the Toronto Board of Trade the Minister of National Defence said:

I don't know the probability of a terrorist attack in Canada but I do know that it is significantly greater than zero.

My question is to the Prime Minister. Have ministers been briefed on the possibility of a terrorist attack on Canada? If so, why was the Minister of National Defence not among the ministers briefed?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, like other ministers I have received many briefings about terrorism and the likelihood of attacks. However, it is true that there is not one person on this whole planet who can give us a scientifically accurate probability that such a terrible thing may occur.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

October 31st, 2002 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the Supreme Court moved from the law courts to the theatre of the absurd. It gave a motorcycle gang member and a prisoner convicted of first degree murder the right to vote in federal elections. In so doing it debased the value of our democratic system and the franchise of every Canadian citizen.

Will the Minister of Justice stand up for Canada and condemn this disgraceful decision?

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, first let me totally disassociate myself from the remarks of the hon. member that Supreme Court decisions are disgraceful. This is not the view of people on my side of the House and hopefully not of anyone else.

The decision taken today by the Supreme Court was a split decision, five to four. The government will review this decision and determine to what extent it can legislate in the future. The Supreme Court, as far as I know, did not say that there was no room to legislate, and that is not the same thing that the hon. member is alleging.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I stand by my words that it was a disgraceful decision. Prisoners in penitentiaries choose to commit horrible crimes against their fellow citizens. Providing convicted murderers with the right to vote undermines the legitimacy of government and the rule of law.

Will the Minister of Justice immediately table a constitutional amendment to overturn the effect of this perverse ruling?