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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

TaxationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is why the secretary of state has not done any for a long while. The answer is cynical and insipid.

I call on the Deputy Prime Minister on behalf of the government, to give us an assurance that the issue of fiscal imbalance will be tackled seriously and honesty by the federal government, and that it will work together with the provincial finance ministers to find a satisfactory solution.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as I have just said, the Minister of Finance is open to discussing these things.

However, as he has more than once said, the conclusion that there is fiscal imbalance is not at all correct for the first four or five years because the federal surplus will be less than the contingency fund. Therefore, projections over 20 years are worthless.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, for almost 30 years the government has known and has been warned that it could be held liable for not paying interest on the money being held in trust belonging to physically and mentally incapacitated veterans.

Earlier this week the Ontario court of appeal unanimously ordered the government to pay up. What can be gained by continuing to withhold this money from those who put their lives on the line for Canada?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Carmen Provenzano LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member for Souris--Moose Mountain is well aware that the decision of the court of appeal was given just this past Wednesday.

The government will consider the advice of the government lawyers and take a decision in due course. It is premature to indicate what action the government will take other than that at this time.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, we all have an obligation to pay debt: you and I and everybody else.

The government has an obligation. Each week that this obligation of the government is delayed it costs $2 million in interest. My question is simple. Does the government think it can disregard the court's ruling?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Carmen Provenzano LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of disregarding the court's ruling. The ruling of the court is very important to the government.

I can assure members of the House that this case is not about interest. The government has been paying interest since 1990. It is about the way the government does its business. The case has implications for the government and the government will take a decision in due course upon the advice of its lawyers.

Access to InformationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board. Often the minister has spoken about the importance of access to information and balancing that with the privacy rights of the individual.

Could the minister tell the House what the obligations of ministers are when it comes to their expense records and the release of those records?

Access to InformationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the government is of the view that information about government expenses should be made public.

While respecting the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, the Prime Minister has asked all his ministers and their political staffs to release information related to their expense records.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the last time I asked the Minister of Finance why he was retroactively changing the GST act to squeeze an extra $70 million out of our schools, he gave the excuse that the law was never intended to exempt school boards from 100% of GST on the cost of transport. That may be the minister's interpretation, but it is not the courts'. The way the law is written, that money does not belong to the minister, it belongs to our schools.

The courts have ruled that the minister was not following the law. Will he do what the courts have ruled is the law and rebate all schools the money they are entitled to instead of legislating a retroactive tax grab?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know that the 70% rebate was always the intent of the law. An effort was made to find a loophole. It is the government's responsibility to protect its tax base for the benefit of all taxpayers, and the school boards will continue to have the 70% rebate as was always the intention.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the consultation process on the first nations governance has been a failure since day one. The leadership of the AFN boycotted the process and hardly anybody came to the first rounds of hearings. Now we hear that, in an effort to get some bodies out, individuals have been offered financial incentives to attend these hearings. Worse yet, groups have been threatened with having their funding cut if they refuse to co-operate.

Just how much money has the government spent on this sham of a consultation process and is it true that individuals and groups are being bribed and/or blackmailed to take part in the consultations?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague was present at the committee meeting yesterday, he knows we dealt with the matter regarding a couple aboriginal women's groups that came before us and indicated that there were problems on the reserves.

I think my hon. member would do well to study some of these rather than cast aspersions.

Grants and ContributionsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada paid over half a million dollars for half a report. Then guess what? It lost it. It has been scrambling now for the last week to come up with something to justify its wasteful incompetence. What it has come up with is a 300 page report out of Groupaction's computer hard drive. For half a million dollars, that is about $1,800 a page. What a deal.

I ask the government this. Where is the value for Canadians? What did they really get for their money? Was the report not important enough to keep or was this all just a shell game to shovel more dollars into a Liberal donor's pocket?

Grants and ContributionsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think it is unfortunate that the member should make such an allegation here in the House. He knows that a political kickback is a criminal act, and I would ask him to reconsider.

With regard to the report, it was provided to the members. It involved an assessment of some 1,300 sponsorship arrangements. It also involved some 3,300 hours of work. We are continuing work on this matter and will be co-operating with the--

Grants and ContributionsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, if the government cannot find the report or an answer maybe it will find a conscience.

Yesterday the minister of fisheries denied the town of Canso quota needed to keep the Seafreez plant operating. Without that plant the town may die. The decision by the minister was a devastating blow to one of the oldest fishing ports in Canada. In his letter the minister said that access to redfish “would be contrary to Canada's international stance that this stock is being overfished”. Yet tonnes of that redfish are still in the water.

How can the Nova Scotia minister and his government deny access to a fish resource to save the very existence of a town, while ignoring the massive overfishing of Canadian fish stocks by foreign vessels?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the minister and the government are very conscious of the extreme difficulty that the townspeople of Canso are facing at the present time. That said, we cannot revert to Tory policies of destroying the resource, as happened on the cod stocks of the east coast, simply for political reasons.

The hon. member should be ashamed of himself for suggesting that we should ignore the risk to the stock simply to satisfy the short term political considerations which his party and his government, and he supported, did consistently and which led to the complete collapse of the economy of most--

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's new $24 air tax is a disaster waiting to happen. The government wrote this policy on the back of a cocktail napkin. For instance, passengers who have to take more than one airline to get to their destination will have to pay the $24 tax more than once.

How can the government justify taking $48 or $72 from someone going from point A to point B? Why does it not have a plan to refund taxpayers from whom it is taking this money unfairly?

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as the government has pointed out many times, we feel it is fair that the users pay for $2.5 billion out of the $7.7 billion cost of enhanced security. As we have also pointed out many times, the tax will be--

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham, ON

--or the charge will be reviewed in the fall. In the event we find that the projected revenues exceed the expenditure, the charge will be reduced.

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, congratulations, he flubbed twice. He admitted it is a tax and he did not answer the question. My question had nothing to do with whether the government would reduce the rate. It has to do with people having to pay it more than once. If a person has to go from Thunder Bay to Vancouver on three different airlines and three different legs, that person will have to pay $72 for only one security check.

Perhaps the minister of revenue can answer this question instead. Why does the government not have any plan to refund people who have to pay the $24 tax for multiple flights on multiple airlines? Will it come up with a plan to refund that money like the Air Transport Association of Canada wants?

Airport SecurityOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. member is referring to the charge rather than a tax, but I will check into this. However it is my understanding that if a person goes from point A to point B and takes three different stages along the way, the charge is only paid once. I will check into it.

Public Service CommissionOral Question Period

March 15th, 2002 / 11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the percentage of persons with disabilities has gone down in 19 of the 40 federal departments, and only four of these departments meet the benchmark of 6.5% of the workforce.

In spite of these disturbing facts, the Public Service Commission has decided to shut down its Enabling Resource Centre as of March 31.

How can the President of the Treasury Board justify such a decision, when the Employment Equity Act is being reviewed?