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House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

An hon. member

Yes, keep your shirt on, please.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure he will. The hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla has another question though and we will all hear it.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, they can joke about it but it is a very serious issue.

Why do other countries have to do the intelligence work for our government? We have court documents. They are already available. They reveal a close relationship between Osama bin Laden and the founder of this Canadian so-called charity that includes pen pal letters to Osama bin Laden and fuzzy photo opportunities with Osama bin Laden.

This is not a laughing matter. Charity begins at home. Why will the Solicitor General not take steps to protect Canadians?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first I was referring to the hon. member's haste rather than to the substance of the matter.

We take the substance of this very seriously. We do not have court documents. We have a newspaper article. According to what we can ascertain, the fact of the matter is the Americans triggered this just yesterday, and the United Nations is immediately acting on it.

When they list, this automatically triggers a Canadian listing. I do not think we can do more than that at this time.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, even the Prime Minister, who denies the existence of a fiscal imbalance while his government rakes in enormous surpluses, wrongly assumes that, and I quote, “if the financial situation of the Canadian government is better, it is because in recent years management in Ottawa has been better than that in Quebec”.

The reality—instead of blindly applauding, they should listen and look at the reality—is that there are 37,000 more public servants today than in 1999 because of these enormous surpluses.

Will the federal government finally admit that, compared to Quebec, its tax field is much too broad in relation to its obligations?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, at present, in the public service per se, there are still fewer public servants today than before the program review.

That having been said, we are asked on a daily basis to invest more in certain areas and to provide our fellow citizens with higher quality services. It follows that we have an appropriate size public service to deliver these programs and quality services to all the people of Canada, including in Quebec.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the programs. Outside of health, departmental expenditures in Quebec have increased by 7.3% since 1994, while federal departmental expenditures increased by 21.7% over the same period. That is three times more. Exactly three times more.

Will the federal government admit that, by collecting more taxes than its level of responsibility warrants, it is managing abundance while, in Quebec, there is a shortfall?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, never before have I heard such a thing: a government being accused of good management.

Look at what we have done since 1993, at the fact that we have eliminated the deficit, reduced the debt and lowered taxes, and cut program spending. Then, they blame us for having managed the country's finances well.

The proof is in the pudding: the people of Canada voted for us again last time, and I think they will do so again next time around.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the same period, the expenditures of the federal departments increased by 21.7%, while those of the Quebec government, with the exception of health, increased by only 7.3%. When we compare the results of the two levels of governments, we can see which one really made an effort to manage properly.

Will the federal government admit that, by letting its departments' expenditures increase by 21.7%, it is obviously not, in spite of its claims to the contrary, the one that really made an effort?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the level of public satisfaction with our government.

Let us look at the figures. We can toss numbers around. We can always interpret figures the way we want and use the approach we want.

Based on the gross domestic product, spending went from 17% at the time, in 1993, to 11.6% now, which is unprecedented. We also reduced public expenditures.

More importantly, we have provided good government to the citizens of this country, and Quebeckers recognize that.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is easy to see: the federal government has made no effort in terms of management. The federal machine has a life of its own and the only real effort it has made has been to cut transfers to the provinces and to cut benefits for the unemployed, while the government keeps on raking in the money.

Will the government admit that, in this context, anyone can claim to have a good balance sheet and to be a good manager?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if we want to compare what is comparable, let us compare Quebec with the other provinces. Let the Bloc Quebecois explain why taxes in Quebec are 40% higher than the average, and why Quebec is one of the provinces with the largest debt, if not because it is run by a government that should take a good hard look at what it is doing, instead of always blaming the federal government.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. If hon. members want to carry on discussions on this issue, they can do so behind the curtains. The hon. member for Halifax.

North American Free Trade AgreementOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, according to a memo to cabinet leaked to Le Devoir , the government is changing its position on NAFTA chapter 11.

That investor-state provision protects investors' rights to make money over environmental and labour standards. The government used to say that it opposed it. Now this leaked cabinet memo says that it wants to expand it.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister confirm that when it comes to expanding chapter 11 the government's position now is the sky is the limit?

North American Free Trade AgreementOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I guess the leader of the NDP has not been in the House when the Minister for International Trade repeatedly made it quite clear that the government does not support simple replication of chapter 11.

Having said that, with some $389 billion of Canadian funds invested overseas, obviously we want to protect such investment.

Book Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, today, as we applaud the winners of the Governor General awards, our government continues to undermine our book publishing industry.

This summer Canadian heritage allowed Amazon.com to enter the Canadian market. Today we learned that Distican has been sold to Simon and Schuster with Canadian heritage approval.

The heritage department is responsible for the Investment Canada Act as it pertains to the cultural sector.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell the House what steps she will take to stop the sell off of our book publishing industry and put teeth back into the Investment Canada Act?

Book Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I think the proof of the success of the Canadian book publishing policy is that this year for the first time we have actually had three Canadians nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize.

If we look at the incredible authors who are here in the audience today, they are from diverse backgrounds and diverse parts of the country. It is probably the healthiest industry of its kind in a country of similar size. I think we should applaud book publishers and especially the authors.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Krever report recommended that all hepatitis C victims be compensated. In 1998 the government rejected that advice and limited compensation to those who were infected between 1986 and 1990.

The RCMP has now laid charges against four doctors, the Red Cross and an American pharmaceutical company in the tainted blood scandal. Those charges reach back before 1986.

Is the government prepared to reconsider its decision to limit compensation and will it now help all the victims of the tainted blood scandal?

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the short answer to that question is no, we are not going to reconsider our position. It would be singularly inappropriate for anyone to comment at this point. Charges have been laid. These matters will be dealt with before the courts. Obviously we need to await the outcome of that litigation.

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

November 20th, 2002 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, she will await the outcome but her answer is no.

Earlier this fall the Minister of Finance asked both the House of Commons finance committee and the banking committee of the other place to review the current rules on bank mergers.

Obviously, to do their work effectively, the committees need to hear from the minister who sent them their task. So far the minister has not agreed to come before the committee in the other place.

Is that because the government has no position on bank mergers or is the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, the minister for fouling up Canadian security just too busy to attend committees of the House of Commons and the Senate?

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have already been to the committee of the House of Commons. I was there just two weeks ago.

I have asked the committees, both in the House and the Senate, for their advice. I presume they do not need my advice to give me their advice.

In any event, I have indicated to the chairman of the committee that I would be happy to make myself available to the Senate committee at an appropriate time. In the meantime, in helping fill out the scope of the public interest considerations related to possible mergers of financial institutions, I think that is a committee well qualified to give us advice without any further input from me.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, New Zealand warned Canadian officials about the potential for GST fraud at the very beginning, yet the barn door was left open.

By 1995 the Liberal government knew it had lost over $10 million to GST fraud, yet it failed to include safeguards when it revamped the GST legislation in 1996.

My question to the minister is quite simple: Why did the government sit idly by while criminals and con artists helped themselves to millions of dollars of taxpayers money?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is wrong when he says that we did not heed the warnings. In fact, we did.

We have taken very significant action that has resulted in 13 successful prosecutions, 14 additional prosecutions that are before the court today and 20 more that are under investigation.