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House of Commons Hansard #170 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government has given the resources to the Canadian forces on recruitment. The auditor general went in last fall to do the audit before the recruitment year. Since then we have recruited a considerable number of people and have bettered the target in many different occupations. We still have more to do in terms of engineers, doctors and various other trades. We are working on those areas.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The people of Somalia are most anxious for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa. What is our government doing to support the peace process in Somalia and how can the large Somali diaspora in Canada contribute to this dialogue?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there are obviously tremendous problems in Somalia but we can take some comfort in the fact that there have been positive results in Eritrea and Ethiopia next door. We would like to replicate that. We are working with the Somalis on this.

We have been providing substantial humanitarian aid to enable a better environment to deal with the drought and to deal with the humanitarian crisis and we urge our Somalian-Canadian citizens of whom many are represented here in the House to do their work, the diaspora, and to tell their colleagues in Somalia to work for a peaceful solution to this.

We can do this if we work together, and I thank the member because I know that he has many constituents who want to be helpful in this area of the world.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Back to the Minister of Finance and the auditor general's report, Mr. Speaker. The government has transferred some $7.1 billion to foundations with no parliamentary scrutiny, no accountability and they bypass parliament. In other words, it is a benevolent dictatorship that has gone too far.

Would the Minister of Finance agree to allow the auditor general to audit each of these individual foundations and would he make it mandatory that the foundations be subject to parliamentary scrutiny?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said in response to an earlier question, if any parliamentary committee wants to ask the heads or the representatives of one of these foundations to appear in front of it, it can do so. Every one of those foundations produces an annual report. Then I said that the Canadian Foundation for Innovation in the last five years alone had appeared 11 times in front of various parliamentary committees.

The answer to the hon. member's question is; it is happening. He should go to committee occasionally.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, another glaring example of Health Canada's failure to protect Canadians has come to light. For years Health Canada has failed to warn Canadians of dangerous levels of lead in certain imported raisins or to stop product sales. It chose, consciously chose, not to warn Canadian parents that they could be feeding their children a devastating neuro-toxin instead of a nourishing substitute for candy.

When will the Health Minister stop defending the indefensible with calls of fearmongering and get to work cleaning up a department that is itself feared by many Canadians?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr Speaker, yet again the hon. member does not have the facts right. A risk assessment was undertaken by the Department of Health in relation to raisins beginning in 1992. The conclusion of that risk assessment was that there was no unreasonable risk to health. That is why no consumer alert was issued.

Let me reassure the hon. member, as of 1995, a very strict level for lead in raisins has been established and there have been no raisins imported into this country since November 1995 that exceeded that established level.

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has only one surveillance vessel to cover the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap. No wonder so many abuses are taking place.

In light of the fact that $100 million is being wasted on Challengers we do not need, has the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans requested some of that money for new surveillance vessels that are really needed?

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the member makes light of what I think is a very serious matter. Surveillance of our 200 mile limit is very important to the government. We do not do it with ministerial aircraft. We do it with the military Aurora. We do it with contracted aircraft with other companies. We do it with our surveillance vessel as well as with observers on all the vessels. That is what we do within NAFO. We work on a diplomatic international solution to an international problem.

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister as well as I know all of this has been a complete and total flop. When the Minister for International Trade dropped the ball on the softwood lumber file, the Prime Minister stepped in.

Will the Prime Minister now step into this very important issue and exert his power to convince international countries to live by the rules or else declare custodial management over the total continental shelf?

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is not a flop. It had been at one time. When we took over government in the early nineties it was not governed at all, not regulated. In 1995 we took serious action.

We would have thought it would have been resolved because the member, who has been a member from Atlantic Canada and whose party leader was Minister of Foreign Affairs, had ample chances to solve all the international problems on the nose and the tail and he failed to do so. Now we are taking charge.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, mismanagement continues to flourish at Health Canada. Yesterday the auditor general found that contracting rules were ignored for $25 million spent on a new website. Expensive high tech equipment now sits unused in a warehouse. The money would have been much better spent on MRIs or frontline nurses.

What is the minister doing to discipline those responsible for this debacle?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the auditor general identified contracting problems around the Canada Health Network. Let me reassure the hon. member that, working with the auditor general, those problems have been dealt with. We are now managing the CHN in-house. Much of the equipment that was identified is now being used.

Let me reassure the hon. member that this website receives five million hits a month, which speaks to the desire on the part of Canadians to have access to credible information about their health.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, management problems at Health Canada are nothing new. There is the Virginia Fontaine. There is the purchase of CIPRO. There is drug safety. Today we learn that Health Canada has failed to take action on raisins covered in lead, putting the lives of children at risk.

Could the minister assure Canadians that Health Canada is not the danger to their health?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

In fact, Mr. Speaker, as I have encouraged other members in the House, I think it is irresponsible to irrationally raise the fears of Canadians in relation to their safety and health.

Let me reassure the hon. member, as it relates to raisins, we took action. As it relates to the Canadian Health Network, we took action.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, by unilaterally imposing its constitution after the 1982 power grab, the federal government gave itself the first political tool needed to impose its will on Quebec.

Is the government not in the process of giving itself a second tool, fiscal imbalance, which it needed to impose, yet again, its economic and social vision on Quebec?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member knows very well that according to the conference board projections used by the Séguin commission, there is no fiscal imbalance. The projections demonstrate quite clearly that there will not be an exorbitant surplus in the next five years. If we look at the basic assumptions for the next 15 years, they still support the position of the Government of Canada.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 1982, the Canadian federalist approach has not changed. Political decisions are made in Ottawa and the provinces merely carry them out like slaves.

Will the Prime Minister admit that by maintaining this fiscal imbalance, the federal government has giving itself the economic power that it lacked, and that with this power, it will be able to limit as it pleases Quebec's ability to act?

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, spending on Government of Canada programs is around 12% of the GDP. This is the lowest level since 1948. Canada is one of the most decentralized federations in the world, and it is even more decentralized than in 1982.

Quebecers will remember, particularly today, when we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the charter, the shameful behaviour of the Bloc Quebecois in parliament. The way the member insulted the Minister of Justice is not worthy of Quebecers.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the auditor general reported that Health Canada accepted a $300,000 bid to supply telecommunications training. The contract, which was signed on March 31, 1998, stipulated that the training must be completed the very same day. Despite the fact that Health Canada could never explain how this training could be accomplished in one day, public works paid the bill.

How can the minister of public works justify this outrageous abuse of taxpayers' money?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there has been no so-called outrageous abuse of taxpayers' money.

The department of public works followed very closely the rules in this regard both in relation to contracting and the processing of the payments and the final payments made in regard to these invoices.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general sees it a little differently. She says this Health Canada program “does not address the requirement to properly control and manage government assets”.

Again I ask the minister of public works, does he have any proof that this March madness training was ever delivered?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not going to try here to make allegations that are incorrect. In regard to the contract in question, policies have been followed very closely. My department has followed the approved policy using the advanced contract award notices. In fact, in addition, and perhaps this is the most important, there has been no overpayment in this regard.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

April 17th, 2002 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, given that United States senator Frank Murkowski has just added an amendment to the energy bill that would allow drilling in ANWAR, given that the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada have fought against this for years, given that the Ministers of the Environment and Foreign Affairs have fought to protect the Gwich'in people of northern Canada, and given that the Porcupine caribou herd is threatened, could the Minister of the Environment guarantee to us that Canada will keep up this fight until the vote in the U.S. senate tomorrow?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Certainly, Mr. Speaker, and I should add that the Government of Canada expects that tomorrow we will have a clear rejection by the United States senate of the proposal to drill on the 1002 lands of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The protection of the Porcupine River caribou herd is critical to the culture of the Gwich'in people and drilling in the calving grounds of this herd would pose risks to that herd and would be a serious mistake. I should add that this position had been made to the government of the United States and to individual legislatures of the United States by members of the government, the member for Yukon and many others at every possible occasion.