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House of Commons Hansard #157 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

Airport SecurityStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been said that the Liberal government has never met a tax that it did not like. It must be delighted now that it is on the eve of the biggest tax grab of the decade. I am speaking of the $24 airport security tax due to commence in 15 days.

Is it a good tax? No, there is no such thing. Is it a necessary tax? Again the answer is no. It is far in excess of what aviation experts say is necessary. It is far larger than what is being charged by the U.S. who the transport minister said was well behind us in airport security prior to September 11.

There are many initiatives the government can and must take before embarking on another Liberal spending spree. It has no spending plan, no budget, no impact study on small and start up airlines and it has no plan on the implementation of the collection of the tax grab.

The government should delay the new tax grab until studies are done, budgets are prepared and alternatives are developed and implemented. This is the responsible thing to do. To do otherwise is, well, Liberal.

Leo YoungStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, the community of Laval lost one of its most prominent figures. After spending many years helping out people in need, Leo Young died at the age of 85.

Mr. Young, who was the co-founder, with his wife Cliffelene Horne, of the non-profit organization called Agape, spent time and energy helping out the poor.

Since 1976, Agape, which, in Hebrew and Greek means “love and sharing within a community”, has been working with poor families of Laval's anglophone and multicultural communities.

Through his work and dedication, Mr. Young succeeded in setting up an organization which has constantly expanded over the years, and which has shown the true meaning of the term agape.

On behalf of the citizens of Laval, I wish to offer my most sincere condolences to his family, his friends and his associates.

St. Patrick's DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, few people in Quebec do not know someone who is of Irish origin. In fact, close to 5% of all Quebecers can proudly say that they have some Irish blood.

Between 1825 and 1829, even before the great famine, there were already over 50,000 people from the Emerald Isle here. The Irish were courageous workers who were exploited, unfortunately, but they contributed to major achievements in the 19th century, including the building of the Lachine Canal. At the foot of Montreal's Victoria Bridge stands a monument in their honour.

On Sunday, at noon, the 178th St. Patrick's Day parade will set off in Montreal. It is with pride that we will join the Irish community to celebrate its roots. Its difference has enriched the people of Quebec and, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I am proud to thank the Irish community and wish them a happy St. Patrick's Day.

Wallace ShuteStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the life of a dear friend and a constituent, Dr. Wallace Shute. Dr. Shute was an exemplary Canadian citizen whose medical and literary contributions are recognized in Canada and throughout the world.

Dr. Shute began his lengthy and distinguished medical career in the field of gynecology as an army medical officer. His most outstanding accomplishment was the design and development of the Shute parallel obstetrical forceps. Designed to significantly reduce harm to both mother and child, the Shute forceps represented the first major change in forceps construction in over 400 years. In addition to his scientific successes, Dr. Shute was a true renaissance man as a published author, poet and painter. Dr. Shute was pre-deceased by his wife Betty.

I offer my sincere condolences to his son Christopher, his daughter Joan and his granddaughters Megan and Seonaid.

TaxationStatements By Members

March 15th, 2002 / 11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in response to a question regarding the government's latest cash grab on blank CDs and MP3 players, the minister of heritage said the Liberals support copyright.

She must have problems with her memory. Her short term memory failed her when she forgot how the former health minister totally bypassed Bayer's patent for Cipro to help out Apotex, a company he had represented as legal counsel. Her medium term memory failed her when she forgot how she dropped the ball on the MMT file in 1998 and triggered a $13 million lawsuit by MMT's patent holder, Ethyl Corporation, under chapter 11 of NAFTA. Her long term memory must not fail her since she flip-flopped on the GST, is infamous for spending taxpayers' money, and is now making a nice try to rake in money on CDs and MP3 players.

What an MP she is. She does not care that intellectual property only applies to original ideas.

Airline IndustryStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has a history of imposing high taxes in order to accumulate surpluses to make itself look good.

First, it was the EI fund and now it is the airport security tax. The government starts collecting this extreme tax on April 1, even though it has not yet hired any staff or bought any equipment and will not for many months.

We understand that over the next five years this tax will accumulate at least $1 billion more than is actually required. How can the Canadian airline industry survive this unreasonable tax?

Will the finance minister reconsider this ill advised airport security tax immediately before it completely destroys the Canadian airline industry?

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to congratulate the recipients of this year's Governor General's awards for visual and media arts. This award was created in 1999 by the Canada Council for the Arts.

These seven talented individuals will be honoured at a ceremony at Rideau Hall next Wednesday. They each excel in arts ranging from painting to photography to video. This year's recipients are: artist AA Bronson; painter, photographer and filmmaker Charles Gagnon; aboriginal artist Edward Poitras; new media artist David Rokeby; video-artist and photographer Barbara Steinman; artist, printmaker and architectural artist Irene Whittome; curator and philanthropist Ydessa Hendeles.

I ask the House to join me in recognizing the lifetime achievement of these creative media and visual artists and in extending congratulations to each and every one of them.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the split in the cabinet over the weak dollar is widening. Yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister again blamed our lack of competitiveness on a lack of investment by Canadian business, but the finance minister said that Canadian firms can compete even if the dollar rises.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister believe that Canadian business could compete internationally if the dollar returned to the 76¢ level it was at before the Liberals were elected and started driving down the dollar?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is not the policy of the government nor has it been the policy of the government to drive down the value of the dollar.

The fact that Canadian firms can and do compete internationally, not just in the United States but in markets around the world, demonstrates their competitiveness. Of course if the dollar were to increase in value then they would need to be that much more competitive. My belief is that they are making many of the efforts that are necessary to accomplish that.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister does not believe his government has been driving down the dollar, but just look at it from the time they were elected until now. Who has been driving it down, the Canadian public?

If the Deputy Prime Minister now believes that firms can compete with a stronger dollar, then why will the Liberals not take steps to strengthen the dollar by cutting taxes, cutting debt and cutting wasteful spending?

Is it Canadian business that is uncompetitive or is it the Liberal government, which has lazily relied on a low dollar rather than taking action to improve our productivity and our competitiveness?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, all the measures we have brought in over the years, including the creation of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, increased spending for research and development, support for the universities in doing research and development, investments in science and technology, that party has opposed.

These are the things that governments have to do, including investing in education, support for post-secondary education and support for training and skills development. These are the things that governments need to do. Likewise, businesses, as we know, have to make the investments that are necessary in technology, equipment, training and innovation.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is amazing. Those members blame the Tories for everything that happened before they got elected and they blame everything on us since they got elected, but it is the government that has increased the debt by $34 billion, not the opposition parties.

In 1991 there was what the Prime Minister called his weak dollar policy when he was finance minister, and I will quote him. He said he used it to “bring Canada back into a competitive position”. The Prime Minister does believe in a weak dollar position. The Prime Minister and the finance minister have been making Canadians assume the position for the past nine years and we have not found it very competitive.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister admit that the weak dollar policy of the Prime Minister and the finance minister has been a failure that has undermined Canadian competitiveness?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this government has not had a weak dollar policy. This government has had a strong economy policy. We have seen a reduction in unemployment. We have seen the elimination of the deficit and the creation of surpluses. We have seen the reduction in income taxes, corporate and personal. We have seen an improvement across the Canadian economy, sector by sector, over the last eight years.

The history that we have of achievement and success on the economy is one thing that party wishes it could have had the ideas to bring about.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the government calls that success I would hate to see its failures.

On Wednesday the Deputy Prime Minister claimed that Canadian industry was at fault for Canada's 30 year decline in productivity, but here are the facts. Under the government's watch, we have seen decades of growth in program spending financed by increased taxes and deficits. We have seen decades of decline in foreign investment in Canada, decades of growth in federal government debt and corresponding decades of decline of the Canadian dollar.

How is it that the Liberal government cannot see that its failed policies of high taxation and high government debt are the main reason for the dollar's decline?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have the lowest level of government spending as a proportion of GDP that we have ever had, or at least in 50 or 60 years. The changes we have brought about, including the reduction in government spending, particularly after the 1993 election, have been dramatic, with the largest reduction in program spending since demobilization after World War II.

Where have these people been? The achievements of the last eight years did not happen by accident. The drop in the unemployment rate, the accomplishments we have had in turning deficits into surpluses, the drop in interest rates and the boom in the construction industry: these things have not happened by accident.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, even alcoholics know that the first step to recovery is to admit that they have a problem.

Instead of blaming others, the Liberal government must own up to its failed policies of the last 30 years. For example, I want to quote that famous economist, our Prime Minister. “I have said many times that the Canadian dollar has to float downwards” he said in February 1978. In 1984 he said “I can personally live with a weaker dollar”. Now the Deputy Prime Minister is trying to blame Canadian businesses for the Liberal government's failed policies.

Why can the government not just take the first step to recovery and admit that the Prime Minister's policies were dead wrong?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, he only wishes that our economic policies were a failure. He thinks by repeating the notion they are that somehow or another he will make it so. It does not work that way.

Furthermore, I do not accept the characterization of my remarks in the least. In fact, on the contrary, what I said was that as the Canadian dollar rises Canadian firms are going to need to make investments to ensure that they continue to be competitive. That is consistent both with an innovation strategy and with a stronger currency.

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works said he was relieved by the production of an incomplete document, which was hastily put together and turned over to him by Groupaction yesterday. These bits of reports prove nothing about the services supposedly provided to the department at a cost of over half a million dollars. This report is nothing but a hodgepodge of motherhood statements.

Will the government admit that this document suggests that the contract awarded to Groupaction was no more than a conduit for getting half a million dollars to friends in exchange for their $70,000 contribution to the Liberal Party of Canada?

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the member is correct. Groupaction has located substantial portions of the report in question and has transmitted those to Communication Canada. Those documents also have been sent to the opposition critics for their perusal.

I want to assure the House that the minister continues to state that it is unacceptable that the report was not available and continues to be committed in a co-operative fashion to provide all documents to all hon. members.

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the parliamentary secretary has said, Groupaction says it provided the department with three copies. It was not just one copy which was supposedly lost, nor two, but three. Losing one copy is a concern, losing two is irresponsible, but losing three is pathetic.

Does the government seriously think that it has convinced us of its good faith with this scenario right out of a B movie?

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the minister again has declared to the House that it is unacceptable that these reports were missing from the files. He has undertaken to provide all hon. members with copies of this in both official languages as soon as possible.

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Groupaction was given a $550,000 mandate to analyze opportunities related to the Government of Canada's visibility program. The documents released yesterday by Groupaction come up a bit short on this score. What was released yesterday was mainly an inventory of events.

How can the government still be defending its decision to award this mandate to an outside firm, which just happened to be friends of the regime, rather than to public servants, whose job it is to produce this sort of list?

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Public Works and Government Services has the responsibility on behalf of all departments in the Government of Canada to acquire such services. Nine companies were pre-qualified in accordance with treasury board guidelines. In this case, with regard to this contract, on a competitive bid basis this was awarded to Groupaction for fair and reasonable value.

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, is it really necessary to pay up to $225 an hour to have it confirmed that Notre-Dame-de-Paris was a much awaited show that received good press coverage, when 150,000 CDs had already been sold?

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the particular contract in question was discussed at the Standing Committee on Transport and Government Operations on Tuesday. At that meeting it was disclosed to all hon. members that this contract involved the review of some 1,300 projects all across Canada, in every province in Canada. It involved some 3,300 hours of work.

The report details are available now for members. We will continue to provide them and to co-operate with members to ensure they have all the information they need with regard to this project.