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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-17.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, the government has said many times that it is committed to giving children the best possible start in life and helping families with children. Last year the government extended maternity and parental benefits under employment insurance to a full year of coverage.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development tell the House what concrete impact this has had on the lives of Canadians?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Nunavut for bringing this information to the attention of the House. The fact is that the improvements to maternity and parental benefits under employment insurance made almost one year ago have been a resounding success.

I can announce to this House that in excess of 200,000 Canadians received parental or maternity benefits in 2001. This is a 24% increase. For the benefit of this House, what is even more interesting to note is that 80% of those who received benefits were men.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Art Hanger Canadian Alliance Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, right this minute there are four western farmers who have been denied their basic freedoms as Canadians. Jim Chatenay, Bill Moore, Ron Duffy and John Turcado are serving their third week as political prisoners. This is not China, Iraq or North Korea I am talking about; it is Lethbridge, in western Canada. The government jails farmers simply for selling their own grain.

Why does the minister responsible for the Wheat Board believe that western farmers should not have the right to sell their own products to whomever they want?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in 1996, 13 farmers conducted a protest against the laws of Canada. They went through the legal process fully. Thirteen farmers decided that they would go to prison instead of paying their fines. I am pleased to advise the House that today 10 of those 13 farmers have paid their fines and are home with their families.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Art Hanger Canadian Alliance Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member should be ashamed of himself.

In Ontario--

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I think some of the language I am hearing may be unparliamentary and we would not want that.

The hon. member for Calgary Northeast has the floor and I know hon. members will want to hear his question.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Art Hanger Canadian Alliance Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government should be ashamed of itself.

In Ontario farmers can grow their own wheat and sell it to the highest bidder. Cross the border into Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and they cannot do that; they go to jail instead.

This should be brought to the attention of the Prime Minister to let him answer the question. Will he demand that the minister responsible for the Wheat Board table legislation that would allow farmers to sell their grain freely and set those farmers free?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board is highly respected and supported by western Canadian farmers.

There is a process in which the Canadian Wheat Board Act can be not applied. It requires a plebiscite of western Canadian farmers and a recommendation of the board of directors, two-thirds of which are western Canadian grain farmers.

I would also advise that in 1998 the government tried to change the rules to facilitate precisely what the opposition is asking for and they denied it.

LumberOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, logging companies keep on reporting financial losses. After Uniforêt and Abitibi Consol, now it is Tembec's turn to report a $158 million loss, including more than $17 million for antidumping and countervailing duties levied by the United States on lumber exports from Quebec.

How many more examples do the Minister of Industry and the government need before they understand that their current aid package is insufficient? What are they waiting for to put forward an aid package that meets the needs of the lumber industry? Time is running out.

LumberOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Timiskaming—Cochrane Ontario

Liberal

Ben Serré LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, this government is fighting hard for the interests of workers in the lumber industry. We have challenged the Americans in the WTO and NAFTA forums. Just recently, we announced a $340 million program to help our workers and communities, and we will continue to help them.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, remember Kelly Lesiuk, a part time nurse and mother from Winnipeg? She fought the government's discriminatory employment insurance rules and won. What did the government do? It decided to appeal the case and will launch its arguments tomorrow in Edmonton. It simply refuses to recognize the reality of women trying to juggle work and family responsibilities.

I ask the government, why not drop the appeal, admit the inequality and get busy removing the barriers that discriminate against women and part time workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I do not have knowledge of the person the hon. member is speaking about. I will take it under advisement and come back with a response as soon as I can.

Highway ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, on August 14 the Prime Minister announced the cost shared Trans-Canada Highway twinning program in the province of New Brunswick at a cost of about $400 million. The country needs a national highway program and yet since this announcement the Minister of Transport has been exceedingly quiet.

The Minister of Transport should extend this program to other parts of the country. Will he commit today to continue the remaining twinning requirement in the province of Manitoba?

Highway ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Chicoutimi—Le Fjord Québec

Liberal

André Harvey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our government has adopted a specific $2 billion strategic infrastructure program. We are doing on a daily basis what the opposition is asking of us, that is to respect provincial jurisdictions.

We have negotiations underway with each of the provinces. I hope that the opposition is going to vote with us when we take such positive steps to carry out projects that are so important to the provinces.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, grain handling in Vancouver has been stopped for three months due to a lockout of the workers and the minister has taken no real steps to resolve it. Talking is not working.

Our solution of final offer arbitration does not impose a contract. It simply stops the work disruption.

The government has always been quick to act when there have been work disruptions when workers go on strike. Why is it waiting so long to take similar action when those workers are locked out? Why the double standard?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there is no double standard. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is in contact with the parties. It is prepared to provide them with mediation assistance once they indicate a willingness to compromise.

The grain destined for export from west coast ports is being shipped through the port of Prince Rupert. We know there has been some legal disruption there lately. A legal work stoppage is in process and the collective bargaining process allows workers and employers to solve these kinds of issues without interference. The government is prepared to assist in the case.

Wind EnergyOral Question Period

November 18th, 2002 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the forms of energy with the most promise as far as lowering greenhouse gas emissions is concerned is wind energy. The current federal government program to encourage wind energy production has an envelope of $260 million over 15 years, which represents a mere $17.33 million a year.

Given the obligations Canada intends to commit to by ratifying Kyoto, does the government intend to substantially beef up the funding envelope for wind energy?

Wind EnergyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his excellent question.

The discussion on what will be in the Government of Canada's budget next February or March will be between the Minister of Finance and his colleagues between now and February. The hon. member's ideas will no doubt be taken into consideration.

Government of CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has revealed that in the past year and a half the federal government has added nearly 30,000 bureaucrats to its payroll, yet another indication of the complete loss of fiscal control over there.

My question is very simple. When Canadians are saying to the government that they want to see more soldiers in uniform and more doctors and nurses in hospitals, why is it the priority of the government to create a bloated bureaucracy?

Government of CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, at the present time, an examination of the way public expenditures have evolved will indicate that our government has been in control since at least 1993, and there has not been any excessive increase.

I would also point out that the figures given today in the newspaper in question represent not only the public service per se but also all the hirings by agencies, crown corporations and distinct employers. They also include seasonal and contract workers, indeed all those who are there to deliver services to the people of Canada.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Senator Alan Ferguson, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, and his accompanying delegation.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of Mr. George Bowering, the first Parliamentary Poet Laureate, who was appointed on November 8, 2002, in accordance with recent changes to the Parliament of Canada Act.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.