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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.

Topics

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, due to the government's cost laundering, the Auditor General found it so difficult to obtain reliable information from the justice department that she called off her audit of the gun registry before it was completed. The true cost may be even worse, more than $1 billion.

The justice minister and his predecessors used to say that they were completely responsible and accountable for the firearms program. Obviously accountability means nothing to the government because all three are still sitting on the front bench.

Given the scope of this financial disaster, why has the Prime Minister not fired the minister responsible?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said, of course we have been discussing with the office of the Auditor General with regard to the way we should report, as well as to what extent Justice Canada should report. That has been the subject of many discussions between the two departments.

We have accepted the recommendations. We have asked for an external audit as well. We will make sure that we fix the problems.

The difference between those members and us is that on their side they do not believe in our policy.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the minister about his policy.

The Auditor General reported that the gun registry has cost 500 times more than what Parliament and the public was originally promised. The RCMP has been registering handguns since 1934, but firearms homicides with handguns have doubled over the past 30 years.

Clearly, registration does not lower homicide rates. Obviously this is bad policy. Given all of this, why not just scrap the program?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, what the member just said proved that those members do not believe in safe communities. They do not believe in our policy. They do not believe in gun registration.

What we are talking about here is values. It is about making our communities safer. Having said that, let us proceed with a quote from Mr. Vince Bevan, the chief of police from Ottawa-Carleton. He said, “Information is the lifeblood of policing. Without information about who owns and has guns, there is no way to prevent violence or effectively enforce the law. This law is a useful tool which has already begun to show its value in a number of police investigations”.

TaxationOral Question Period

December 4th, 2002 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has denounced Canadian companies that, for the year 2000, received $1.5 billion in virtually tax-free dividends from their affiliates based in Barbados. In 1990, the amount was a more modest $400 million. Clearly, the companies have got this figured out.

How can the government explain that it has done nothing to tighten its tax controls, when Barbados did not hesitate to amend its tax rules to get around Canadian legislation?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we agree with the recommendations of the auditor. We have a plan to recruit and to train auditors. We have the resources to do that. One of the problems we have is that the private sector frequently hires our international auditors and pays them three times what we are able to pay.

We continue with our efforts to ensure that offshore accounts are properly audited. The international audits are extremely important to CCRA.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister to explain to people why she has done nothing to recover the hundreds of millions of dollars lost because of the tax treaty with Barbados, when she is so keen on us paying our taxes and does not hesitate to cut benefits for the unemployed?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the international audit department of CCRA has tremendous expertise. We agree with the Auditor General that we need more auditors to do our job even better.

We are very aware that there are some people who move accounts offshore. We are working to use the resources that we have been given to increase our audit capacity in line with the recommendations of the Auditor General.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from the Auditor General:

The resources that first nations communities must devote to preparing stacks of federal reports could be better used to meet pressing community needs.

Finally, a Sheila that makes sense.

According to the Auditor General, small first nations communities are being forced to file over 200 reports annually that the government rarely uses. Now the government is adding to the red tape burden. This week it announced plans to create four more aboriginal only agencies.

Why is the government's answer to every problem the creation of a new bureaucracy?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Liberal

John Finlay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is already taking steps to address the reporting issues raised by the Office of the Auditor General. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees that reporting should be transparent, efficient and results based.

Existing program areas are being examined to determine where single window reporting could better serve the federal government and first nations in general.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is illuminating. The government is choosing bureaucracy ahead of aboriginal Canadians.

Aboriginal Canadians face serious challenges, welfare dependency and a teen suicide rate that is eight times the national average. Yet the government has chosen to create a new, duplicate, expensive, separate aboriginal institution to keep statistics.

The Auditor General points out that the government is wasting scarce resources measuring the problems, rather than solving them. We are asking, why is the government investing in keeping statistical track of aboriginal teen suicide instead of preventing it?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Liberal

John Finlay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, steps have been taken to reduce the number of reports needed.

We are committed to improving the current reporting structure with first nations, while ensuring a balance is maintained between the accountability to Canadians on the use of public funds and coherent and consistent federal government reporting.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, when an individual owes the federal government money, it comes after him for it, along with a fine and interest, if you please.

How can the government explain that, having gone after the unemployed for benefit overpayments, and ordinary individuals who owe it a couple of hundred dollars, it suddenly becomes so tolerant of large corporations benefiting big time from tax havens in Barbados?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are not tolerant or sympathetic at all to those who try to evade taxes or those who engage in fraud against Canadian taxpayers.

We are doing everything that we can to recruit university graduates who have shown an interest in auditing, particularly in the international foreign audit area which is very complex.

We agree with the Auditor General that it is an area where we can do better and we will.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot claim that the government is not tolerant, when we have been speaking out against this government and the matter of tax evasion for years. It took the Auditor General to point out the one and one-half billion dollar advantage these companies have enjoyed.

Is not this tolerance on the part of the government, this inexplicable tolerance, related to the fact that the former finance minister and prospective Liberal leader himself owns no fewer than ten companies in Barbados? That might explain such sudden tolerance on the part of the government.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, that preamble is unbecoming to the member opposite.

I would say to him that it is the role of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency to ensure that the tax laws of this country are enforced in a fair way. We do that. We ensure that all Canadians are expected to pay their fair share. We know that over 95% of Canadians comply with the law.

When we find an area such as the international tax audit where we need additional auditors who are highly experienced, we recruit them and train them.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Chinese student Wei Amanda Zhao was murdered on October 9. Her boyfriend, Ang Li, reported her missing to the Burnaby RCMP the same day. The missing person report was not issued publicly until a week after her reported disappearance. A few days later, her boyfriend fled to China.

The RCMP believe that he killed Ms. Zhao. Canada does not have an extradition treaty with China. We cannot get him back.

Why did it take a week before launching an investigation? Why did the government let him leave the country? How are we going to get him back from China?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, all I can do is assure the hon. member that the RCMP has done its work in this particular area. There is a due process that takes place.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1995 Darcy Bertrand murdered his wife. He also murdered his wife's mother and father. He was convicted of three counts of second degree murder and sentenced to three life terms in jail. Two weeks ago, it was announced that Bertrand will be transferred to a minimum security prison 15 minutes away from a Port Coquitlam family member of the murdered victims. The prison does not even have a fence.

Why is it that a person convicted of three counts of murder, convicted to three life sentences, is now going to a comfy minimum security prison after seven years of being in hard time?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Correctional Service Canada always has the safety of the citizens of Canada at stake. There is a process established through the Parole Board and through Correctional Service Canada. The safety of Canadians is the bottom line and that is what we consider.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the PQ government recently questioned the importance attached to the Lacolle border crossing as far as the new accelerated border crossing systems for travellers and shipments, namely NEXUS and FAST, are concerned.

Could the Minister of National Revenue reassure this House that the Lacolle border crossing is, and will continue to be, a priority for the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the Lacolle crossing is and will continue to be a priority for the government. Here are the facts. The fact is that the FAST program will be implemented at Lacolle at the end of this month. The fact is that there will be a registration centre opened in January for the registration of both the FAST program and the NEXUS program. We expect the NEXUS program to be implemented at Lacolle in September 2003.

As I said, some people are playing political games with this and are misinforming Quebeckers, but the facts speak for themselves.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minster of Justice. It concerns the tragic death of Amanda Zhao, the young Chinese student who was found murdered in Burnaby last month. Now the RCMP have named her boyfriend, Ang Li, as the murderer.

In view of the fact that Li has returned to China, if an arrest warrant is issued by the RCMP, what action will the minister take to request that China return Li to Canada to stand trial for the murder of Amanda Zhao? What action will he take to make sure that the trial of Ang Li takes place in Canada?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I answered a similar question previously. As I indicated previously, a due process will take place and we will follow that due process according to the law.

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, we already know that the Brunswick mine in northeastern New Brunswick will shutting down in five or six years, leaving 1,000 people without jobs.

Yesterday we learned that the Noranda smelter in Belledune will lay off 70 workers in July and cut back its operations to eight months of the year. Some people are talking about salary losses of over $3.5 million a year.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Is the government prepared to invest in infrastructure such as roads and natural gas pipelines to offset the effects of job losses and the economic repercussions in northeastern New Brunswick?