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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it would seem that two people took a stand on the defence budget recently. The Prime Minister took a stand in favour, and the hon. member against. Given that choice, I can only be pleased.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is true that there are opposing voices, and the Bloc Quebecois is one. Some question the financial requirements of the armed forces, and others want their mandate defined before any changes are made in favour of the military in the budget.

Is the Prime Minister not adding to the confusion by announcing in advance that the budget of the Canadian armed forces needs to be increased?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is no confusion on this side of the House. As we have said on several occasions, there is a lot of tension in the Canadian Forces because of the need to do on an ongoing basis what they are already doing.

This is the objective I have been talking about for months, and that is what the Prime Minister referred to.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister says that he is making the case to cabinet for an increase in funding for the Canadian Forces. However, the finance minister says that in order to increase funding he needs to know exactly where the money is needed, where it is going to go and what its strategic purpose is. Now the opposition has learned from sources inside the Department of National Defence that the minister has halted work on the defence review.

How does the defence minister expect to make the case for more funding to the finance minister when he has halted the process which would provide the information that the finance minister needs?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I must confess to being a little bit perplexed. The government in the throne speech announced that at some point in the future there might be a review of foreign and defence policy. That has not yet been announced, so it is very difficult to halt work on a defence review when that review has not yet been officially announced.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that in fact that process has been announced and now it has been stopped by the minister.

By not providing investment where it is needed, the government has reduced the benefit of the money that has been allocated to defence. For example, because the government does not invest in new ships or in helicopters, the effectiveness of each billion dollar frigate is a fraction of what it should be.

Could the minister explain to Canadian taxpayers why the government simply refuses to make investments that would multiply the effectiveness of the funding that it spends now on national defence?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have answered the helicopter question several times and it remains the top priority, but let me inform the House about one of the other benefits of the NATO meeting with respect to a second strategic need that we have, which is strategic airlift, getting our forces from point A to point B, whether within Canada or overseas. While in Prague I signed an agreement with our allies so that together the smaller countries of the alliance, including Canada, can work together to achieve strategic airlift in a highly cost effective manner.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the people of Peterborough are bewildered by the rises in gas prices. When crude oil prices rise, the price of gas in Peterborough goes up. Then, when crude oil prices drop, the price of gas in Peterborough goes up again.

I would like to ask the Minister of Industry if can explain this mystery to us. Is there anything he can do about it?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member has been very effective in bringing forward and expressing the frustration of consumers, frustration which I share about the disequilibrium sometimes between the price of crude oil and the price at the pumps.

The Government of Canada does not have the constitutional power to regulate the prices at the pumps. What we can do if there is ever evidence of collusion among the companies to fix prices then of course the Competition Bureau can become engaged. The Competition Bureau is always alert to what is going on in the marketplace to make sure the laws are respected.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, scientific studies reveal that irradiating meat creates new chemicals that are linked to genetic and cellular damage. Despite these concerns Health Canada today signalled that it is bowing to pressure from the meat processing industry and plowing ahead with food irradiation.

Once again the government is putting the interests of business, food processors and slaughterhouse owners ahead of the health interests of Canadians.

My question is for the health minister. Will she withdraw her approval of irradiation until such time as the do no harm principle has been fully satisfied?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the short answer to that is no, yet again. The hon. member has a very unfortunate habit of scaremongering on a wide range of issues of interest to Canadians around their health and security.

While I do not doubt her sincerity in terms of raising these issues, I think it is most unfortunate that she raises these important issues to Canadians in the form she does.

In fact, we have made a proposal to amend the food and drug regulations. The proposal has been prepublished in the Canada Gazette , Part I, for the very purpose of ensuring widespread--

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week, we learned that, as of January 5, Air Canada Jazz will reduce the number of its flights to the Bathurst airport. The reasons for this are Nav Canada, the harmonized tax, the security tax and the price of oil. There are more taxes in the airline industry than on alcohol and tobacco products. Bathurst is the only airport left in northern New Brunswick.

What does the Minister of Transport intend to do to save airports in rural communities?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the air industry has paid for all of the improvements in the various services over the last number of years, and of course air travellers are being expected to pay for the security charges. That is under review by the Minister of Finance.

There are some justifications to the arguments made by the airline industry. Such things as the charge and the rents at airports and other issues are under review, but the fact of the matter is that when one carrier leaves a particular market, such as in New Brunswick, usually another carrier comes in with a similar service.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development has spent five years and thousands of dollars trying to recover an overpayment of $1,368 from Mrs. Beryl Tucker, a St. John's widow with an annual income of $11,000.

The minister is appealing a Federal Court ruling and a review tribunal ruling that said the overpayment should be forgiven because Mrs. Tucker had received bad advice from the minister's officials and “relied on the erroneous advice to her detriment”.

Will the minister stop harassing this woman for the paltry sum of $1,368, a widow whose only crime was to follow the advice of the minister's officials?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and the House will understand that I cannot comment on the details of a particular case that is before the courts, but there are two points that I would make. First and foremost, there is a full appeal process associated with government programs such as the old age security system. Second, Canadians expect the Government of Canada to ensure the integrity of those programs. As such, we take actions to ensure that is the case.

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, the privacy commissioner is once again sounding the alarm, stating this government has lost its moral compass with regard to the fundamental human right of privacy”.

Personal information regarding the travelling public will be made available to departments whenever the government deems it appropriate. There are no limitations, no safeguards and no protection for a fundamental charter right.

Could the Minister of Transport advise us as to exactly what measures will be taken to ensure that the information gathered is used only for security and anti-terrorism purposes, or is he telling Canadians to trust him on this matter?

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the member's question is quite wrong. Section 107 of the Customs Act states very clearly the authority for advanced passenger information and passenger name recognition systems, as for commercial and tax information as well.

The CCRA has a long history of integrity in the protection of personal information. We have worked very hard to achieve the balance between civil liberties and protection of the public interest to include both terrorist activities, criminality, health and safety, and we believe this program is consistent with the charter.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Canadian Alliance Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, for the last nine years the government has been in charge of what was supposed to be a cod rebuilding program on the east coast. Now we find the cod are not coming back. The bureaucrats say that they do not know why or they give some self-serving environmental excuse.

Given the complete failure of the Liberal government's rebuilding of cod stocks over the last nine years, why should Atlantic fishermen have any hope that this minister will do any better now?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans works in close cooperation with the industry through our science branch and through the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council to estimate the cod stocks, follow their progress and take such measures as to make sure we protect them.

We will do that in this case, the two Gulf stocks and the northern cod, and we will report to the House later.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Canadian Alliance Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about another failure, on the other coast. The number of pink salmon spawners in the Broughton Archipelago collapsed this year, declining by almost 100% in some inlets. This morning the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council advised that the decline was unlikely to have been caused by chance alone. In fact sea lice were the problem, sea lice associated with salmon farming.

Will the minister regulate the salmon farming industry or will he just sit around and wait until the Pacific salmon goes the way of the east coast cod?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I can advise that I am quite concerned about the variations in stock size of the pink salmon. I met with the Premier of British Columbia this morning. We talked about joint cooperation in ensuring we had an efficient, economically and environmentally sustainable fishery.

I have yet to see the report from Mr. Fraser. I will have the report soon and I will have it reviewed by departmental staff. We will see the recommendations he has made and take appropriate action.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, after eliminating go-betweens earlier this year, the Minister of Public Works recently said that a decision would be made by the end of the year about maintaining or abandoning the sponsorship program.

Can the Minister of Public Works guarantee that the organizations that benefited from the sponsorship program in the past will not be the first victims of the corruption problems that plague this government?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we have always made it very clear that the community organizations, the local people who put together the events on the cultural sporting or recreational fields, are not the problem in this file and we work very hard to ensure that their interests are protected. That has been the case in the past, and I assure the hon. member that we will have their interests very much in mind in the future.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am taking good note of what the minister just said.

Rather than using the mismanagement of the sponsorship program as a pretext to kill it, why does the minister not take this opportunity to turn the sponsorship program into a true support program for sport and cultural organizations?