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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

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. There is a report in the Globe and Mail today that the government does have a report on the real costs of ratifying Kyoto, as opposed to the costs alleged by the oil industry, et cetera.

I wonder if the Minister of the Environment could tell us when this report will be available so that people who do support the accord could have the benefit of sharing it with our constituents, et cetera.

Will he, while he is on his feet, also clear up the confusion that seems to exist now among the positions of the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Prime Minister? There seem to be three different messages coming from the government as to whether--

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, on the first question, there are a number of international studies that are available publicly and have been over the years. These have been put together in a listing. Just as soon as it is translated, I will make it available next week to the hon. member and other interested hon. members.

With respect to the second part of his question, there is no contradiction. The government's position is clear on this. We intend to have full consultation with the provinces, with interested Canadians and with industry prior to any decision on ratification and of course to have a plan that would make sure there is--

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, but that sounds to me like a backing down on the part of the government, because now he is talking about prior to any decision on ratification. It seems to me that I remember spokespersons for the government saying they were going to ratify the accord by June or by the end of this year. Now we are talking about studies having to be done prior to ratification.

I ask the minister, is the government going to ratify the Kyoto accord and provide the information, the Canadian studies that would enable those of us on this side of the House who want to help the government ratify the accord? When is it going to ratify the accord and make the commitment to do so?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we appreciate the hon. member's offer of help and we will certainly be taking advantage of it. It is our intention to ratify. We wish to ratify. However the decision on ratification will depend upon consultation with the provinces, territories, industry and general public. That is one requirement. The second is to have a plan in place that prevents any unfair or uneven burden on the regions of the country.

That is our intention and the decision will be taken after the consultations in question and after the development of such a plan.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the productivity gap with the U.S. continues to widen. The Deputy Prime Minister said in the past that high taxes help productivity, so we know he is not an economist.

With his government's record of reducing the Canadian dollar by 20% against the U.S. dollar and 15% against the British pound sterling, why is he so optimistic that the Canadian dollar will reach 80 cents U.S.?

What is his government doing to get it there? Does he think he can do a better job than the finance minister at implementing policies to strengthen the Canadian dollar?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the government's record of accomplishment and achievement in the economic area and of achievement that is reflected in the fundamentals of our economy speaks for itself.

Certainly the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister and the Governor of the Bank of Canada have all indicated their support for a stronger dollar as we move forward, and the fundamentals are there to accomplish it.

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, one of those fundamentals is a Canadian dollar that has lost 20% of its value under the government's stewardship. The government does not have a weak dollar policy. It is a weak government creating a weak Canadian dollar.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that Canadian firms cannot compete while the finance minister said Canadian firms can compete. Does the government not realize that public spats between Liberal leadership rivals and ministers over Canadian competitiveness only serve to drive the Liberal loonie lower?

The EconomyOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, what the public recalls is that when the member's party was in government interest rates were so high that indeed the Canadian dollar was higher. Jobs were lost. People were out of work and unemployment was over 11%.

That is the history of government by their party. I think most Canadians prefer the record we have established of management of the economy.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, all week long we asked the government to repay for overcharging unemployed workers through subsection 19(3) of the EI act. The minister all week long said that these unfortunate employees are basically fraud artists and scammers.

Would the Deputy Prime Minister today at least admit countless millions of dollars have been stolen from part time, casual and laid off employees and at least commit to the House that he will have all those files investigated?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is imputing us statements that we never ever made.

The minister was very clear. We were always referring to people who worked while collecting benefits and did not report their income, as required by law.

Throughout this week, we also made it very clear that we are only requiring the payment of additional charges when frauds have been proven.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is categorically not the case. These people are not all fraud artists. Next week we will start tabling with the government case after case of this very instance.

Let me give the Deputy Prime Minister some quotes from the minister's own department: “We create overpayments that are unfair and very high. My staff are on the verge of revolt over this issue. Several offices have refused to follow the national policy”. Are all of the opposition and all the employees wrong?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again, the minister said this week that, with very few exceptions, people who made mistakes while acting in good faith are not required to pay back an amount greater than the unreported income.

Also, administrative penalties are not imposed on claimants who made a mistake while acting in good faith when they reported their income.

Games of La FrancophonieOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the IVth Games of La Francophonie, held in Ottawa-Hull, raised a number of questions regarding the remuneration received by the general manager at the time, Rhéal Leroux. In fact, in addition to his general manager's salary, his company made up to a 15% commission on sponsorships that he himself sought.

Today we learned that those auditing the financial statements of the Games' international committee were denied access to all of the books and supporting documentation necessary to make a proper assessment of compliance for the period.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell us—

Games of La FrancophonieOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. secretary of state.

Games of La FrancophonieOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Simcoe North Ontario

Liberal

Paul Devillers LiberalSecretary of State (Amateur Sport) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Canadian Heritage and the Government of Canada ensure at all times that the Games of La Francophonie are held in a way that is accountable.

The member raises a question that appeared in today's newspapers. We intend to follow up, to investigate whether the games were indeed held pursuant to Canadian Heritage's regulations.

Games of La FrancophonieOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government must be aware that this type of situation can only tarnish Canada's reputation abroad.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister make a formal commitment to ensure that all of the documents are made available to the auditors, so that we can get to the bottom of these games' finances during the audit this May?

Games of La FrancophonieOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Simcoe North Ontario

Liberal

Paul Devillers LiberalSecretary of State (Amateur Sport) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, we are in the process of investigating, and we are confident that we will be able to answer all of these questions.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday President Bush mused about a softwood deal by March 21. The Prime Minister said they were working on an agreement in principle.

All parties in the House supported a Canadian Alliance motion yesterday which calls for free market access for Canadian lumber and a dispute resolution mechanism capable of overriding U.S. domestic trade measures.

Will the minister assure Canadians that any agreement in principle will be consistent with yesterday's motion?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let me wish all Canadians a happy St. Patrick's Day on Sunday. The government had absolutely no problem in endorsing the motion yesterday. We congratulate the member for it. We are pleased to finally have him on side with what has been the policy and the efforts of the government for the past two years.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, neither the minister nor the parliamentary secretary answered my question. The House of Commons spoke with one voice yesterday and our negotiators have their mandate.

There are provinces and industry stakeholders that want to ensure the U.S. department of commerce will announce its final tariff determinations on March 21. This forces the American hand. We will at least know the size of duty they want to impose in May while still keeping our WTO and NAFTA dispute resolution options open.

Will the minister assure Canadians that any agreement in principle will contain a dispute resolution mechanism that is equivalent or better than what we have at the WTO?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister again had an opportunity to raise this important trade dispute with the president of the United States as he has been doing consistently for the last year.

The minister and the Prime Minister have been clear. No deal will be acceptable to Canadians long term that does not guarantee us unfettered, open access to the American market in softwood lumber.

TaxationOral Question Period

March 15th, 2002 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Finance indicated that he was open to the possibility of placing the important issue of the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa, Quebec and the provinces on the agenda for the next meeting of finance ministers.

Will the government assure us that it will openly and honestly engage in discussions on this topic in order to come up with a solution to this problem, which is seriously jeopardizing the health and education sectors?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as the minister said yesterday, the government is always open to talking with the minister's counterparts about matters of interest to them.

As for the fiscal imbalance, it is not just that these projections over 20 years are hypothetical; it is worse than that. Projections over two years are difficult, those over five are almost impossible, and those over 20 are ridiculous.