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House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.

Topics

Member for LaSalle—ÉmardStatements by Members

November 8th, 2002 / 11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, an article that appeared yesterday in Le Soleil said that the member for LaSalle—Émard, and leadership candidate for his party, would increase funding for health care, education and social services if he were the head of government.

However, when he was Minister of Finance, the member for LaSalle—Émard cut more than $30 billion from provincial transfer payments, in addition to regularly pilfering from the employment insurance fund, to the tune of another $40 billion.

In this same article, he had the nerve to say, “I think it is unforgiveable that we have not established a program to provide services to people with disabilities”.

The member, when he was Minister of Finance, tightened the rules for eligibility for the disability tax credit, thereby forcing thousands of persons with disabilities to live below the poverty level.

The member for LaSalle—Émard, leadership candidate for the Liberal party of Canada, has been a member of this government for nine years. He is behind all of the drastic cuts that hit the most disadvantaged, the sick and people with disabilities.

I hope that people will remember this. Such hypocrisy.

Highway InfrastructureStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the statements made by the Quebec minister responsible for the Outaouais region, Sylvain Simard, concerning highway 50, generated confusion among Outaouais residents. The allegations made by the minister were not accurate.

I would therefore ask the federal Minister of Transport to inform the Quebec Minister of Transport that Quebec has the option of including highway 50 in the national highway system, since highway construction is a provincial jurisdiction.

Moreover, the Quebec government has not yet deemed it necessary to ask for the $108 million currently available under the strategic highway infrastructure program.

If Quebec wants to use the $108 million put at its disposal by the Government of Canada, it must have highway 50 included in the national highway system. Then, highway 50 can be included in the strategic highway infrastructure program.

Remembrance DayStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, every year November 11 is marked with ceremonies, wreaths and moments of silence for those who have served our country with heroic dedication and courage, those who have given up the precious gift of life for our freedom.

Much of the focus is on wars of long ago, but this year is the first that Canadians have actually been lost in battle. We are clearly reminded of the incredible contribution of our military personnel and the contribution they make to our country and their selfless dedication to our safety and security.

While all Canadians will pause and remember the efforts of our military on Monday, those in my riding of Cumberland--Colchester will feel firsthand the fresh impact of remembrance. Private Nathan Smith, 27, of Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, was one of the soldiers that was lost during the Afghanistan campaign. He was a young and heroic Canadian who like many before him served with dedication and whose sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten.

RamadanStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish all Muslims in Canada a Ramadan Mubarak.

Wednesday marked the beginning of the month-long fast in which Muslims from all over the world abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. It is a time when Muslims focus on family, communal prayers, alms-giving, self-reflection and community building. It is a time for peace and harmony.

Ramadan presents an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about each other. It is an opportunity to learn more about Islam and about the Muslim community in Canada. Canadians are committed to nurturing and cherishing our diversity. We share a vision of a country where diverse backgrounds of citizens are recognized and appreciated. The end of Ramadan will be marked by celebration and prayer on Eid ul-Fitr , or feast of the fast-breaking, on December 6.

RamadanStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Hon. members have already noticed that some of our lights have stopped working.

The Speaker can only say that I was concerned that our television viewers might not think that the House was as bright as it might be, but I was sure that the questions and answers would be no less dim than they would otherwise be with the lights in their current state. But now that all is illuminated again, all is sweetness and light, and we can continue with oral questions.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's lack of priorities is putting Canada's security at risk.

The Coast Guard is parking ships because it cannot afford the fuel. Naval patrols have been grounded, leaving our borders exposed. The Liberal government is quite content to have the United States look after us. The minister said yesterday:

There is a lot of water around our country. It is always a challenge for both Canada and the United States to defend it. We will be working more closely together in the future to do that.

Especially at this time of year when we honour our military, why is the government abandoning the military and turning our security over to others?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the last thing the government is doing is abandoning our military.

Cooperation with the Americans in the defence of North America goes back to 1940 and the Ogdensburg treaty signed by our prime minister of the day and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We have been in a joint venture with the Americans since 1940 to defend the continent and there is nothing new in that.

In terms of the navy, we have cancelled absolutely non-essential matters such as temporary duty travel expenses, which will be reduced. The core function of the navy to defend our coasts is very much intact.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to have joint action, but joint responsibility is quite another; to turn our sovereignty over to somebody else. The government's lack of foresight and planning has resulted in something very specific. The military says that it has a shortfall of $100 million this year.

Is it not interesting that the Challenger jets, the luxury jets chosen by the cabinet, just happened to add up to that exact same figure? Why did the cabinet choose luxury jet instead of looking after our military, a real priority?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as a consequence of the war on terrorism, we have already received an additional $295 million from the centre. All of this is very normal. In terms of the $100 million, discussions are ongoing with Treasury Board and finance.

In terms of handing over sovereignty, the member is absolutely and totally wrong. This planning group with the Americans will protect the lives of Canadians and Americans but it will not put our troops or sailors under American control, not whatsoever.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think we could turn the lights off again with that answer. Last year the former minister of finance said, “We will provide whatever funding is required for national security”. Obviously the former finance minister failed.

The government simply did not budget properly for the military. Here is the question that I asked before, and I want the defence minister to answer this question. Why did the government choose $100 million for luxury jets, when our military has said that it is $100 million short? Why?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the last budget being inadequate for security, may I remind the hon. member across the hall that we put in no less than a number exceeding $7 billion over five years, some of which went to the military and some of which went to other security measures. He may think that $7 billion is not a lot of money. In my books that is a substantial sum.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately there has been some ambiguity in the past on Canada's position relative to Saddam Hussein's failure to comply with UN resolutions related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

In an historic vote at the United Nations only moments ago, the United Nations Security Council by a vote of 15 to 0 approved a resolution demanding unfettered access to UN inspections and consequences for non-compliance.

Will the Prime Minister now stand and give clear, unequivocal support for this UN resolution?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I spoke with the Prime Minister earlier this morning and he certainly commends the United Nations and the secretary general for all the work in getting this resolution through. He also conveyed those same sentiments this morning to President Bush.

I do not think there is any ambiguity on the part of the government with respect to our position on Iraq. We have stood behind the international body that needs to deal with these issues, the United Nations, and we are very happy with the resolution today.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, we appreciate that final clarity on this very important issue. As we approach November 11, remembering over 100,000 Canadians who gave their lives in the last century to fight for peace, a statement has also come out saying that if war is to be averted, all nations must continue to pressure Saddam Hussein to accept this resolution and to comply with its obligations.

Could the Prime Minister tell us what steps the government has taken to communicate to the Ambassador to Iraq and Saddam Hussein Canada's 100% support for the resolution?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will be making a public statement, if it has not gone out already. We certainly support the UN and the UN resolution. I am sure those people in Baghdad understand that we are resolute in standing behind the UN on this issue.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, four weeks ago the Prime Minister said that he reserved the right to take steps himself to punish ministers guilty of a breach of ethics. One may well wonder about the Prime Minister's real intentions, as the evidence against the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport continues to pile up and we continue to wait for some concrete action from him.

Does the Prime Minister intend to do the only thing called for under the circumstances, that is to require the former Secretary of Amateur Sport to step down?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have been informed that all procedures and rules were complied with in this case. On behalf of the Prime Minister, I wish to state that he strongly supports the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, who is a good minister.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

An hon. member

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

David Collenette Liberal Don Valley East, ON

He is a good minister, and I believe I speak for all hon. members on this side of the House when I say so.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was the Prime Minister himself who put ethics on the agenda, and to clearly show his determination, he pointed out that he would deal with it personally. The government is feigning a desire to deal with the ethics challenge, because it claims to be aware of the public criticism. The former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport's behaviour is one more test for this government.

How many e-mails and how many comments will it take to make the Prime Minister see reason and demand the resignation of the former secretary of state?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again I would explain to the House and to the hon. gentleman that, in respect of the legal matter of a contract existing and coming into force, the requisition was dated May 29. The contract was dated May 30. If there were any activities undertaken by anyone in the private sector prior to those dates that was entirely the responsibility of those individuals and without risk to the government.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, an e-mail dated March 17 confirms that the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport intervened to impose Everest. A workshop, on April 10, 2000, identified Everest as a key player in developing the plan for the former secretary of state's tour. Two weeks before being awarded the contract, Everest had completed the Internet site and, three days after having been awarded the contract, on June 2, Everest launched, in Fredericton, the former secretary of state's tour.

What more does the Prime Minister need as grounds for the dismissal of the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we are the ones who released the e-mail.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the facts are there for everyone to see. The former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport intervened to secure the contract for Everest, the firm run by his friend Claude Boulay. The misguided actions of a single minister reflect on the government as a whole.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to ask this minister to resign now?