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House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue has lost the confidential personal information of tens of thousands of Canadians. Her remedy for this mess is to mail a letter to the victims of the crime urging them to take immediate action to ensure this personal information is not used without their approval. Well, thanks for nothing.

The problem is not in the way Canadians handle the information, the problem is the way that the minister fails to handle the information when she gets her hands on it.

Why is the minister simply incapable of securing information that has been sent confidentially by Canadians?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I have said very clearly, one computer that was used as a server was stolen by thieves. It did not contain information from personal or business income tax returns, but information that included social insurance numbers.

I want to say to the member opposite that it is false to say that 120,000 people have had their identities stolen. A social insurance number is only one piece of information. Our priority is to notify those people so that they can take appropriate action to protect themselves by verifying--

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fraser Valley.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, maybe the 100,000 that she lost will not be noticed with the five million that have been misplaced by the HRDC minister.

She is consistent if nothing else. The first time information was mailed to the wrong address it was the printer's fault. The second time it happened it was the stapler's fault. That was a bad stapler. Last night she blamed a long time employee for her latest fiasco.

Why is it always somebody else's fault? Why does she not admit that she just cannot handle her department and that she cannot secure the confidential personal information of Canadians?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well that of the 110 million pieces of mail I do not personally stuff the envelopes.

We have 50,000 dedicated employees who are human. Sometimes human error occurs. The server was left out but it should have been put away. That long time good employee feels terrible, as I do.

Our priority is to notify those people so that they can take appropriate action to ensure that no one has access to their information and uses it inappropriately. The member should support that.

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we would like to know why the President of the Treasury Board did nothing in the Radwanski case. Closer examination has shown that George Radwanski obtained special permission directly from the Prime Minister's Office to keep two principal residences, at great expense, although this practice is usually limited to one year.

Can the Prime Minister deny that, since the authorizations came directly from Eddie Goldenberg, his chief of staff, they carried a powerful signal that Mr. Radwanski could bend the rules with impunity?

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the practice of providing housing to someone who obtains a senior public service position in the government and who lives in a city other than Ottawa has been applied in the past. The hon. member may claim today that this is a precedent, but it is not.

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must get this clear. Eddie Goldenberg was able to tell the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, who was getting involved in the Montreal Grand Prix, “You—shut up”. If he was able to say that, he is probably able to say to the President of the Treasury Board, “You—do not get involved; this is none of your business”.

And can the President of the Treasury Board'failure to take action not be explained by the fact that Mr. Radwanski already had a defender, one very close to the Prime Minister?

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, these accusations are totally baseless. I clearly explained to the hon. member, in answer to his first question, that this is not a precedent. In fact, in the past, senior public officials with a residence outside Ottawa were treated similarly. It is not a precedent. Claiming that it is one is completely wrong.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue has dismissed the theft of 120,000 confidential tax files as trivial, referring to them as old files on an old database.

Those files were stolen on September 4, but we have learned that it was not until September 19 when CCRA employees in Ottawa were pulled off their regular duties in order to deal with this problem.

Did the minister not think that personal security of Canadians was worthy of immediate action?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member is completely wrong in the premise of his question. When the break-in occurred, the police were there within 15 minutes.

We take this extremely seriously. Because the databases were contained in that server, which was a computer used as a server, what we had to do, and which was very labour intensive, was rebuild those databases and match that information against current information, of which we have millions of pieces. Our people worked very hard and I can tell the member that we immediately contacted not only the police but the RCMP to assist us.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, we will congratulate the law enforcement officers, but this minister is obviously out to lunch with what is happening in her own department. Yesterday she said that it is up to Canadians to protect themselves from this type of identity theft.

She has no excuse for taking 15 days to task the appropriate people to do the job. How does she expect Canadians to protect themselves when the government is casually leaving its personal information lying about the office? Why does she not try a new approach and start taking responsibility for her department?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I call on the member opposite to be responsible. He has suggested that 120,000 identities have been stolen. That is false.

We take very seriously the theft of a computer which included personal information. We have done everything we can. We have contacted the police and we are checking our security systems, but the most important thing we can do and are doing is notifying those people, giving them accurate information and telling them what they can do and should do to ensure that their information is not used improperly.

Biochem PharmaOral Question Period

October 1st, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, today representatives of the Fonds de solidarité and emeritus research scientists who are committed to helping Biochem Pharma get back on its feet are proposing a solution to the Minister of Industry to allow Shire to transfer to the new company the intellectual property rights for drugs under development, which are a long way from being ready to be put on the market.

Will the Minister of Industry make every effort to get Shire to transfer the intellectual property rights for certain products, this being all that is standing in the way of the laboratory becoming operational again? Under the legislation, he has the right to do so. Will he?

Biochem PharmaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalSecretary of State (Rural Development) (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry will ensure that all obligations that have been made to the federal government are fulfilled.

Biochem PharmaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, all that is missing are the intellectual property rights for certain products, then they can go ahead and save high quality jobs—some 100 of them.

Can the Minister of Industry assure us that he will not give up until he has obtained from Shire a commitment that will help save 100 high level research jobs?

Biochem PharmaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalSecretary of State (Rural Development) (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the Minister of Industry is working to ensure that all the obligations are fulfilled. As the hon. member knows, there are strict confidentiality provisions under the Investment Canada Act and those have to be adhered to as well.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we reminded the Prime Minister of a Canadian Hamas fundraising group that his security officials warned him about almost three years ago.

As he will recall, the warning said, “...fundraising in support of violent foreign struggles takes place in Canada...Front groups operating in Canada include the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services (Hamas Front)”.

Thirty-six months later, the Prime Minister has done nothing to seize this group's assets. Now that he has had another 24 hours to reflect, could he tell us what actions he has taken to seize this group's assets and to shut them down?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the Government of Canada is taking very decisive steps to address the global threat posed by terrorism, by terrorists around the world. We take every piece of information seriously.

The fact of the matter is that the listing process is a very thorough and strenuous process. In the listing process we take into consideration criminal and security intelligence information. I believe that on that basis we are certainly doing our job to protect the security of Canadians.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, this has nothing to do with the Solicitor General. This item landed securely and firmly on the desk of the Prime Minister. It is bad enough that he will not crack down on the terrorists' fundraisers; it appears that the government even allows them some fundraising assistance.

According to the association of Palestinian Canadians, the Hamas group's parent organization is the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy, which, we have just learned, is a Canadian organization that has tax deductible status. In other words, the Hamas front group can use its parent body to raise these funds and get a tax receipt.

This is an issue for the Prime Minister. Why will he not shut--

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of National Revenue.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite is talking about an organization that has a charitable status number in this country and has it inappropriately, I would like that information because we can take immediate action. I can tell him that we are very careful to ensure that anyone who has a charitable number in Canada is a legitimate charity. If anyone has information that this is not the case and gives it to us, we can take immediate action.

DevcoOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, through the process of winding down the coal operations in Cape Breton, Devco, the crown corporation in charge, has identified a surplus in the miners' pensions, but the board of directors has determined that the surplus belongs to the corporation.

The member for Bras d'Or—Cape Breton and I know only too well the impact of the closing of these mines. The former employees see the most recent board decision as unfair and unjust.

My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Will the minister intervene in this case so the corporation's former employees are assured a fair and equitable settlement on this issue?

DevcoOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to acknowledge the good work done by the member for Sydney—Victoria as well as the member for Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, because both of them have spent a fair amount of time on this issue in relaying the concerns of their constituents to me directly.

I want to inform both those members that, first of all, all benefits to pensioners, as defined in both of their plans, will be fully met by Devco, but Devco, in regard to the surplus, has made application to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to determine the entitlement of that surplus. As the matter is before the courts, I think I cannot--

DevcoOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester.