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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

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is simply no excuse for this. The government was warned repeatedly about the dangers of GST fraud, yet it failed to plug those loopholes.

Even today the Liberals talk about auditing, investigating and prosecuting instead of closing the loopholes that led to these scams in the first place.

What we are talking about is fraud that may have cost Canadians over $1 billion. That buys a lot of Sea Kings and a lot of hospital beds.

When will the government do something concrete to stop the flow of free money to criminals and con artists?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about loopholes, we are talking about income tax credits, which are a very important instrument for business to remain competitive internationally. If this member and his party are calling for an end to import tax credits, he will hear loud and clear from some of his own constituents.

What I can tell the hon. member is that we are talking about fraud. We have upfront screening in place right now for those who apply for GST rebates. We also have a very effective 1,000 person investigation team doing a good job ensuring that where we find fraud we prosecute.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, all the studies indicate that the federal government surplus is going to reach as yet unattained heights in the years to come. By 2007-08, for example, barring corrective action, over $71 billion will have been accumulated.

Can the federal government deny that, without any particular effort, those in charge of the Government of Canada in five years will find they have astronomical sums available to them? This indeed confirms that, unfortunately, its tax field is too broad for its obligations.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is well aware, in the year 2000 we announced federal tax reductions totalling $100 billion. It is unfair to suggest that there will be no other tax breaks or increases in federal government spending on federal programs or transfer payments to the provinces.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government, through its Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, ought to admit that there is indeed a fiscal imbalance between the federal government and the governments of all the Canadian provinces. The taxpayers are tired of having half their tax dollars being sloppily managed by the federal government, while the provinces are being forced to pinch every penny and are having a tough time funding the services they are required to provide. Is this so hard to understand?

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is easy to understand. There are two facts: first of all, the provincial debt load is half the federal debt load. Second, over the past 30 years there have been 25 federal deficits. Was there always a fiscal imbalance when these deficits took place? I do not think the hon. member will admit that there was.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue says that there is adequate screening in place to detect a GST fraud. That is simply not the case. The agency may have found $10 million but there is $1 billion still out there.

I will tell the House why that is. It is, at least in part, because in 1995 the government shut down the fraud squad that was dedicated to detecting this fraud in the GST system.

Why, in 1995, did it shut down the one team that was doing the work?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Wrong again, Mr. Speaker. We have an investigation directorate of 1,000 persons and the result is that we are doing double the number of prosecutions today than we were in 1995.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the government is satisfied with collecting about one cent on the dollar but we are not.

The GST fraud squad was axed in 1995 so now the system works like this: all people need is a numbered company, an anonymous post office box and a word processor to get millions of dollars from the government.

Why did the government shut down the GST fraud squad that was at least able to pick up when someone was ripping off the government? Why is it picking on the legitimate business owners instead of picking up on the fraud artist?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is insulting to compare legitimate business people to people who are being successfully prosecuted for criminal activity like fraud.

Second, the member opposite is throwing around all kinds of unsubstantiated numbers. I would say to him that the numbers he is using are not based on any fact.

Our people are very aware of these issues and we are working very diligently to ensure that we collect as much as we possibly can from the criminals who in fact are sitting in jail. He should ask those in jail if they think we are doing a good job.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

November 20th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the enormous federal surplus has ballooned effortlessly and it is so sizeable that the federal government's only worry is to figure out where to spend it in order to justify itself.

Can the government deny that its main concern is finding new areas in which to spend its surplus, and that it should give this excess money—which it keeps taking from the pockets of taxpayers—to the provinces, who are the ones who provide real services to the public?

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:40 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, over the years, there have been a great many investment projects for Canadians that have come before cabinet. And I can assure the member that it breaks our hearts every time we realize that we do not have the money to implement them all.

There is nothing frivolous about the Government of Canada's spending, and if the member thinks there is, I would ask him to name one program that he would like to see cut by the federal government.

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we want is for the federal government to mind its own business and respect the provinces. The fact of the matter is that the upcoming initiatives fall under provincial jurisdiction, a few examples being urban affairs, training, pharmacare, home care, early childhood support.

Can the government deny that it is interfering in areas of provincial jurisdiction because it no longer knows what to do with the surplus taken from the pockets of taxpayers?

Budget SurplusOral Question Period

2:40 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, the member asked if we can deny erroneous statements. Of course we can deny them, they are false.

Is the member aware of any single government of a modern state in the world that would say that urban housing does not concern them; that urban transit is none of their business; that quality of life in cities or immigration or how newcomers are welcomed into big cities is not their concern?

Obviously this concerns us, and we will work together with the provinces, as mentioned dozens of times in the excellent report just released by the Liberal caucus.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, on November 5, 2002, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice said in this House, with respect to the age of sexual consent, “There are many social and cultural differences that have to be reflected in the law”. Yesterday the minister inaccurately suggested this had not been said in the House.

I repeat, what cultures in Canada would voice concern about raising the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years of age?

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand why the member keeps going back to what was said. That was a statement made by the parliamentary secretary.

I believe it is a very serious matter, the question of protecting our children in this country. We have been discussing the question of raising the age of consent. There is no consensus. What we would like to achieve is to offer much better protection for our children. Maybe we can achieve that through other means, or other offences within the Criminal Code.

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, unless pedophiles are a culture now in Canada, why will the minister not give an answer to that question? He continues to hide behind this cultural slander to do nothing on the issue.

Why will the minister not specify what cultural group would voice objection to this, other than pedophiles?

Criminal CodeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House when it comes to talking about the protection of our children, we talk about action. We took some action in the past in order to amend the Criminal Code. As the House will soon see, before Christmas we will table new legislation with regard to the question of child pornography and protecting the most vulnerable people in our society. This is good action. This will make a difference in our society.

AfricaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Cooperation.

The new economic plan for African development is to be based on the principle of responsible partnership among African nations and between Africa and the international community. The Prime Minister has announced a $100 million investment fund to end Africa's marginalization. Since Africa receives only 1% of global investments, what steps have been taken so far in the creation of the Africa investment fund?

AfricaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister for International Trade and the Minister for International Cooperation jointly announced the first step in creating the Africa investment fund. This fund is expected to be operational and financing projects in Africa within the next year. It will help Africans seek out new capital, take advantage of business opportunities, earn income, invest and create jobs.

The Africa investment fund is a concrete example of Canada's clear commitment to help Africa enter the global economy.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like the health minister to think carefully about her response to the charges of criminal negligence laid today by the RCMP in the tainted blood tragedy which saw thousands of lives lost and destroyed. It is now clear that the negligence of the federal government extended beyond the 1986-90 period for which the government has compensated victims.

Will the health minister today end the government's stubborn denial of its responsibilities, comply with the Krever recommendations and ensure full and fair compensation for all victims of the tainted blood tragedy?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I find it very troubling and disturbing that a member of the House would presume to prejudge the outcome of any trial. In fact, charges were laid today but it would be singularly inappropriate to prejudge the outcome of the trials that will take place.

As the hon. member should be aware, the government has in fact taken action in relation to hep C victims who are post-1990 and pre-1986. The government has committed approximately $525 million to assist with the care of those people.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today's report “Too Little, Too Late?” is a damning indictment of CSC's failure to deal with the HIV-AIDS crisis in Canada's prisons. Cases have increased over 35% in four years and still prisoners are denied access to basic HIV prevention measures. CSC has a legal responsibility here.

I ask the Solicitor General, will he commit today to implement needle exchanges and other basic health measures as recommended by his own committee in 1999? Any further delay would be reprehensible and cowardly. Will he implement those recommendations and needle exchanges?

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to tour a facility last Friday and in the health care section see what kind of work they are doing at CSC in terms of the problem the hon. member raised. Yes indeed it is a serious problem. We have improved our prevention and our treatment. We are using a number of measures to ensure that the health matters of inmates are handled in the best possible way.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue.

If a company registered for the GST, sent in the GST reporting form which included a fraudulent input tax credit entry in box 106 for $30,000 with no amount collected, no receipts, no documents, no paperwork to back up the claim, would Revenue Canada send that person a cheque for $30,000?