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House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was national.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

We do have a concern about the process, Mr. Speaker. We want to make sure that the United States continues to abide by international law in dealing with this matter. It assures us that it is, that it is in fact only detaining unlawful combatants and making a determination as to their status.

We are pursuing the matter with the United States because there are provisions for competent tribunals if there is any doubt as to the status of any of these detainees. There is a question, however, as to whether that is in question or not and that is the current point of discussion with the United States.

Grants and ContributionsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, last March Magellan Aerospace of Toronto won an $8 million loan from the Technology Partnerships Canada program, but Canadians know nothing about this because the government has not told them yet.

Yesterday a TPC press conference was cancelled because the local Liberal MP backbencher was called back to Ottawa for the vote on closure.

I would like to ask the Minister of Industry, what is more important to the government, informing Canadians where their tax dollars are going or photo ops for its Liberal MPs?

Grants and ContributionsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, despite uninformed commentary to the contrary, Technology Partnerships Canada is an important source of investment for emerging and growing industry in the country. If it were not for Technology Partnerships Canada, Canada would not have given the world the BlackBerry, which is known throughout the globe as an important Canadian innovation and is used by many members of the House. These investments are good for the economy and they are good for Canada.

Grants and ContributionsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, that all may be, but it is completely irrelevant to the question I put to the minister.

This is not an isolated incident. The Magellan deal was just one of six government loans worth more than $328 million approved during last year's March madness. Yet they have not been announced by the government because TPC has not seen fit to do so. TPC has been criticized nationally and internationally for being secretive and has promised to be more transparent.

I ask the Minister of Industry, why do Canadians have to resort to access to information to find out about a loan ten months after the fact? What is the government trying to hide?

Grants and ContributionsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

First of all, Mr. Speaker, these are not loans. They are investments and, by the way, they are investments that pay dividends to the Canadian taxpayer.

Second, we do want Canadians to know about these investments because we want them to realize that public funds are being used for the good purpose of encouraging, building and broadening industries that create jobs and bring prosperity to the country.

We are proud of the program and of what it has achieved.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a document which he circulated to the media, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs twisted what Force Jeunesse said to make it sound as though there were no tax imbalance between Quebec City and Ottawa.

What Force Jeunesse said was this, “The dynamics of budgets are forcing Quebec down the path of budgetary, and therefore political, dependence on the federal government”.

Does the minister still agree with Force Jeunesse?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 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, if I recall correctly, Force Jeunesse also said that if a province wished to increase its fiscal capacity, the simplest way for it do so was to raise taxes.

Since the federal government has created some tax room by cutting taxes by $100 billion over the past five years, the provinces have some leeway.

It is hard to believe that a province has a fiscal imbalance when it is lowering its taxes.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the minister, by the way, that Force Jeunesse has harsh words for him today, of course.

And I have another question for him. The minister took this same approach on another occasion, misrepresenting a statement by the Association des économistes du Québec. The association said, “It is the use of surplus resources by the federal government to interfere, directly or indirectly, in jurisdictions where it has no business or for arbitrary spending, that could have serious consequences”.

Does the minister still agree with the Association des économistes québécois?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 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, this is precisely what the government is not doing. It is not interfering in provincial jurisdictions.

Whenever it intervenes, it does so within its area of jurisdiction. And, if I understand correctly, when it uses its federal spending authority to help the provinces, it is asked to do more of the same, not less.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that immigration officials at Pearson airport now have protective equipment such as protective vests, pepper spray and batons, yet the first people who meet new arrivals at Pearson, customs officers, are not equipped with any of that protective gear at all.

I wonder if the minister responsible for domestic security could explain why that is, why there is that contradiction.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we have our ways, and I think that there is a relationship with our officers, not only with the immigration agents and with the customs agents, but also with the RCMP, and we are doing a good job.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would argue the minister just did a very terrible job of answering that question.

If protective equipment is necessary for immigration officials, then why in the world would the government not ensure that customs officials, who are the first people to greet new arrivals in Canada, are not adequately protected? Why the contradiction? Why is the government not protecting our customs officials?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what crisis the hon. member is trying to create. Perhaps he knows of some incidents that we have not heard of, but to this date there are none that I am aware of, of customs officials and airports being threatened in any way. In addition, adequate police protection is afforded.

I think that realistically there is no need to create an apprehension of problems that do not exist.

JusticeOral Question Period

February 5th, 2002 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the House has been discussing an issue of great importance to Canadians.

The solicitor general has already said that he wants to keep improving the Canadian Police Information Centre to protect Canadians from known sex offenders.

Is he willing to consider sex offender registry legislation to impose a solution on jurisdictions with a responsibility for criminal justice?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Cambridge for this question. This is a very important issue which I have discussed with the provinces and territories a number of times and we have made exceptional progress.

The government has taken action on a number of issues. We have invested in CPIC. We have improved CPIC as Canada's sex offender registry. We are committed to do more. We are not ruling out anything. We want to find solutions that work, solutions that make Canadians safer and solutions that come from a consensus with our partners.

Access to InformationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government is clamping down on the release of information to Canadians and to the media, yet we are finding more and more situations where the government has to respond to allegations of corruption and influence peddling.

Transparency is important in order to keep the government honest, so my question for the Prime Minister is, will he direct the President of the Treasury Board to reinstate the regulations of the Access to Information Act that will provide for the release of ministerial and exempt staff travel and expense account statements?

Access to InformationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for St. Albert is asking the same question as last week, so my response will be exactly the same.

There are two pieces of legislation that we in this parliament must respect, and that departments and ministers must respect. One is the Privacy Act and the other one is the Access to Information Act.

We must always strike a balance between the two: the right to information on the one hand, and the right to protection of privacy on the other. This is the gist of the advice given by the Secretary of the Treasury Board to our government departments.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has just indicated its intentions in connection with the administration of the infrastructure budget. Judging by the earliest indications, an independent foundation is out of the question.

Can the Minister of Finance confirm that the government has definitively put aside the idea of an independent foundation to administer the infrastructure program, and has instead decided to opt for the government to administer it, as the Bloc Quebecois has been demanding ever since the budget was announced?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I can certainly confirm that the goals, objectives and financial commitment for the foundation also apply to the funding.

I can also assure the hon. member that the government intends to proceed with the negotiations as promptly as possible, and with the successful implementation of our infrastructure program, which will certainly include those initiatives in the province of Quebec.

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and his government have been skating around the issue of tampering with loan files at the BDC since last May.

I want to ask the new Minister of Industry to confirm that in the spring or summer of 1999, in response to the filing of an access to information request, Mr. Jean Carle and Luc Provencher, in their capacity as officials of the BDC, tampered with or removed information or sanitized files respecting the Auberge Grande-Mère loan file.

I will again ask the minister to be clear, the Minister of Industry, in feigned sincerity, to give a categoric assurance that no contents of files relating to the auberge file were removed or destroyed by officials at the Business--

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Industry.

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I will take the question under advisement and provide a response when I am able to do so.

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, February 15 is national flag day of Canada, the day on which we celebrate the adoption of the Canadian maple leaf as our national flag. It presents itself as an opportunity for Canadians to celebrate our identity, our heritage and our symbols.

Since 2002 is the 37th anniversary of the maple leaf flag, could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell the House what the department will do to promote national flag day of Canada?

Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I think all Canadians would agree that our flag is our country's most important symbol. It reminds us of who we are and also of the values we hold dear, values such as respect, compassion and inclusiveness.

This year the Department of Canadian Heritage has done a number of things. It has developed and distributed a national flag day of Canada poster to schools across Canada. We have also launched a website to promote public awareness, and third, we have provided members of parliament, senators and members of the celebrate Canada committee with information kits asking us to join in and celebrate national flag day on February 15.

Access to InformationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, further to my earlier question, as quoted in the Hill Times on February 4, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific have said they will voluntarily release ministerial and exempt staff information if requested, despite the new guidelines from the treasury board.

My question is for the President of Treasury Board. Will she follow her cabinet colleagues' lead and also voluntarily agree to release information on her expense account and her department?