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House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government, evidently, will make its position known at the time of the budget so the hon. member will simply have to wait, as will I, for the budget to come down.

I might say this as well on her leader. Who is the dictatorial leader? Is it our Prime Minister who gives a certain freedom of speech to his ministers, or is it the leader of the fifth party, who gets all frazzled because the Prime Minister did not go over my speech with a fine-tooth comb? He behaves as if he is a little Napoleon, albeit with a very small yard in which to play.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, last October when speaking about defence spending the Deputy Prime Minister said “You can't just sit at the G-8 table and then, when the bill comes, go to the washroom”. He has now been finance minister for almost five months but has yet to reinvest or even commit to reinvesting in our military.

Why has the Minister of Finance not given badly needed resources to our armed forces? What is he waiting for? Is he still in the washroom? Has he not come out of the washroom yet?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member from Elba for her question and I assure her once more that the decision on this matter will be made in the budget.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, finance ministers come and go but the annual employment insurance rip-off goes on and on. Every year the Liberals force workers and business to pay far more into the EI fund than they will ever get out. The Auditor General is now not so subtly criticizing the government for its creative accounting.

My question is for the finance minister. Why are accounting scams so bad in the corporate world when shareholders are at risk but perfectly acceptable to the government when it involves tens of billions of taxpayers' dollars?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it seems like critics on that side come and go too, but it is nice to have the member for Medicine Hat asking a question about finance again. If he is having difficulty reading the public accounts we will try to help him with it. I think that the numbers with respect to employment insurance are very clear.

I have also, in response to questions last week at the time of the update, indicated that we will be setting the rate for 2003 in the normal time, by the end of November, and that we will undertake as promised to consult with Canadians on how the rate-setting mechanism should apply in future years.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister only has to listen to the chief actuary. It is very simple.

I cannot get anything out of the finance minister so maybe I will direct my question to Martha Stewart. Did I say that? I thought I was only thinking it.

If the human resources minister is at all concerned about protecting workers and expanding employment, expanding jobs in Canada, my question for the human resources minister is this: Will she stand up today and speak out on behalf of workers and employers and demand that the finance minister bring premiums into line with the rates that are demanded by the chief actuary?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I cannot say what he is thinking. He might want to make a mental note of it if he has something to write on.

A hundred billion dollars in reductions in taxes is the most in Canadian history. Who does he think pays those taxes? Does he think that contributors to the EI program do not pay taxes somehow and therefore they are getting ripped off? The reduction in taxes includes all the charges that people were paying. Canadians pay taxes. They wanted to pay less and they are paying less.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, after the Michel Jalbert case, newspapers are now reporting that a Quebec trucker was mistreated by U.S. customs officers when he crossed the border for his delivery. According to the citizen in question, he was treated like a circus animal, for no reason.

Given the growing number of such incidents at the border, is the Minister of Foreign Affairs planning on sending an official letter of protest to U.S. authorities to condemn the lack of discretion demonstrated by U.S. customs officials?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are in regular contact with our American counterparts. I assure the House that I will contact the U.S. embassy to share with them Canadians' concerns regarding all of these types of incident.

However, a handful of such incidents should not hinder the close relationship between two countries that have the best relations in the world.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed, this type of incident is unfortunate when it occurs between countries that are friends. For this reason, I ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to inform his American counterpart of the extremely serious consequences that any incident of this type at the border will have for Canadians, including for those travelling with Canadian passports who were born in other countries, particularly in the Middle East.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I promise the member that I will send the American ambassador a copy of today's Hansard so that he can read about these problems for himself.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is still quite confused. He says that he does not favour a tax increase for health care, but he also says that if we are driven to that conclusion we will have to consider it.

Let us just clear this up. Will there be higher taxes for health care?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we do not even have the Romanow report yet. I think the member is putting the cart before the horse. Let us get the report. Let us consult with the provinces. Then we will decide what is required and what actions need to be taken to deal with it.

As I have said repeatedly, I do not favour tax increases. I favour tax decreases. That is why we continue to implement the $100 billion tax reduction that was announced in October 2000.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the money for health care has to come from one of two places: new taxes or new priorities. The government has to come clean on this one. Which is it going to be?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are plenty of assumptions that we have to make when we go into the budget process and one of those includes future economic growth.

I want the hon. member to understand very clearly. We have committed ourselves to maintaining a positive budget surplus. We have committed ourselves to implementing the tax cuts. Unlike his cousins in Ontario who deferred their tax cuts after promising them going into an election, we intend to implement ours and we will meet the needs. We will do our part in terms of health care as we have committed to do repeatedly.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Elections Act allows persons the right to run for public office if they have the right to vote. During this government's watch we see that prisoners just got the right to vote. I would like to ask the solicitor general if he thinks it is appropriate and right for prisoners to run for public office since they just got the right to vote.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time this member has his facts absolutely wrong. There certainly was a court decision in one province relative to the matter. The matter is before the courts and it would be inappropriate for me to speak on it beyond that.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am just seeing one absurdity after another in Wayne's world. Talk about another absurdity, we now see--

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Langley--Abbotsford is an experienced member, especially in matters of procedure. I am not sure who he was referring to as Wayne, but I can guess, and I do not think it would be appropriate to use that kind of expression when he is addressing the Speaker. He would want to be careful and maybe save those comments for outside the House.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Yes, you bet, Mr. Speaker.

Let us go to another absurdity. We now see a provincial court decision that will affect federal courts and federal prisons. Yes, prisoners will now be able to earn themselves protection from prison life. The ability to make shanks in prison to protect themselves is completely absurd. Since the Solicitor General removed the right of guards to arm themselves, I wonder just what he thinks about prisoners arming themselves.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member is certainly reading more into this question than the facts. I expect the hon. member is aware that this is indeed a provincial matter. It is a matter that is before the courts. Again, I cannot speak specifically on the issue but I will tell the hon. member, and he knows full well, that we take the issue of public safety and security very, very seriously and will continue to do so.

Social HousingOral Question Period

November 4th, 2002 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to deal with the current housing crisis, including in Montreal, the federal government told us loud and clear that it had joined efforts with a coalition of community groups from the City of Montreal and the Quebec government, under operation Solidarité 5 000 logements. However, this initiative is experiencing major delays because, among other reasons, of the lack of available land.

Could the federal government establish standards for Crown corporations that come under its jurisdiction, such as the CBC, so that these corporations take into account government policies, including in the area of housing—

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Social HousingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to the hon. member that the government has done an outstanding job in providing affordable housing for Canadians. In fact, we have annual subsidies of $1.9 billion for housing, we announced $680 million in the throne speech and we now have 10 out of 12 agreements signed by the provinces and territories across the country.

The hon. member can get as upset as she wants, but the people of Montreal, the people of Quebec, as with others across the country, will benefit from this very enlightened housing policy.

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec government announced that it is ready to complete highway 50 and that, if the federal government procrastinates, it will build a two lane highway, as opposed to a four lane highway. We have been asking questions to the federal Minister of Transport for months and we have yet to obtain a firm commitment on his part regarding the federal government's participation in this project.

Does the federal government intend to announce its participation very soon, so that the original plans to make highway 50 a four lane highway can become reality?