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House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was artists.

Topics

TaxationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, in this House, the Liberal members, beginning with the Prime Minister, rejoiced at the difficult financial choices facing the Government of Quebec.

The fact that the provinces are headed for a combined deficit of nearly $10 billion while the federal government will be running a surplus in the billions is a glaring illustration of the fiscal imbalance masterfully orchestrated by the former finance minister.

What exactly did the Liberal members from Quebec applaud last Tuesday? The cuts imposed on Quebec for health, education and social services, or the pillaging of the EI account?

Was this maybe the Liberal members' way of showing disagreement with the choice made by the National Assembly to support young families in Quebec by implementing a progressive family policy that is the envy of all, or are they perhaps opposed to the tuition freeze?

The Liberal members' applause ill conceals their desire to diminish Quebec, and that is a disgrace.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, now that Maher Arar is back in Canada, out of harm's way, we must act to clear away any cloud hanging over his and his family's heads.

I was encouraged by this week's news that the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is considering holding an inquiry in the public interest. I encourage the commission to do this.

We must find out whether American claims are true that information provided by the RCMP played a role in Maher Arar's detention and deportation and whether RCMP sources played any part in his continued incarceration in Damascus at the same time that the foreign affairs minister and the Prime Minister were making every effort to have him returned to Canada.

His family's terrible ordeal with not be over until these and all uncertainties surrounding the last year are fully and publicly resolved.

National Co-op WeekStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, next week Canadians will observe National Co-op Week, and Credit Union Day will be celebrated on Thursday, October 16.

We have in Canada about 10,000 co-operatives, which employ more than 150,000 people and engage thousands of volunteers.

Co-operatives are major economic contributors to our community. They capture wealth locally, returning dividends to members, and they provide good jobs paying good salaries.

Co-operatives play a role well beyond the strictly economic. They develop leaders for civil society and they invest in a wide array of worthy community projects.

Our modern co-ops owe a lot to the Antigonish Movement led by Father Moses Coady, who encouraged people to come together in study groups to empower one another.

I would also like to applaud the work of the local credit unions in my community, the Heritage and the Atlantic Credit Unions. I wish to congratulate the work of co-operatives and credit unions in my home province and throughout Canada.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see that the government's response to a report from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on the provincial nominee program agrees with a vast majority of the recommendations made by the committee.

The committee's report was positive about the program in general and identified it as an important tool in encouraging the settlement of immigrants across the country.

We on this side of the House are committed to ensuring that all Canadians in every region benefit from immigration, both today and in the years ahead.

The government therefore shares the committee's enthusiasm for the expansion of the provincial nominee program across the country, according to the availability of existing resources and the ability of other levels of government to participate in this wonderful project.

Beacon HeightsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate Beacon Heights Elementary School in Edmonton, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The school is particularly noted for its excellent literacy program, while serving a varied student population of 150 in 8 classes from kindergarten to grade 6. The principal and staff at Beacon Heights School believe that children should be given the opportunity to achieve their ability levels and to develop a strong positive sense of self-worth and that these opportunities be provided to each student every day. These are admirable goals of an admirable school.

I congratulate the school on 50 years of academic excellence, 50 years of community learning, and 50 years of educating Edmonton youth. May the Beacon Heights Elementary School principal, Judy Welch, the teachers and staff, the students and the many parent volunteers continue their years of success.

World Day Against the Death PenaltyStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the day that has been declared by civil rights activists as World Day Against the Death Penalty, a day to mark a worldwide campaign for a moratorium on executions.

Canada has observed a de facto moratorium on the death penalty since the early 1960s. With the removal of the death penalty from the Criminal Code in 1976 and from the National Defence Act in 1988, Canada became a de facto abolitionist state.

The Government of Canada encourages the abolition of the death penalty internationally and supports all efforts to ensure respect for safeguards in its application. Canada calls upon countries that have not abolished the death penalty to do so or to at least consider a moratorium on its use.

Canada further urges those governments maintaining the death penalty to ensure that any death sentences are carried out in accordance with international law, in particular by not imposing the death penalty for crimes committed by persons under the age of 18, and to respect the right to consular assistance for foreign nationals.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, our troops in Afghanistan are in need of armoured vehicles. A soldier on the ground had this to say, “The vehicles we patrol in, they're junk. They have no blast protection. The second of October is a prime example.”

Why were our troops sent to Afghanistan without proper equipment?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have said repeatedly, including in a speech on September 12, that the government would spare neither effort nor money to make sure that the army had everything the army required.

I have set up a line of communication with General Leslie so that he will tell me if that is not the case. I spoke to him a half an hour ago. He assured me that the army had at every time received what it needed and what it had requested.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has deprived our troops of the equipment they need. The battalion commander in Afghanistan has requested more armoured vehicles. High risk patrols have been halted.

When will our troops get the armoured vehicles they need in order to do their job?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the general in command of our troops in Afghanistan said to me a half an hour ago that they have always received exactly what they have requested.

At the same time, circumstances are evolving. Our military, as well as the military of other allied nations, including Germany, U.K. and others, are in the process of reviewing the situation, reviewing their needs. When they have completed that review, they will inform me. At that point we will respond, as we always have responded, as quickly as possible.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, there are also questions as to how the new equipment will even get to our troops. Canada's Hercules fleet is in critical condition. Two-thirds of our Hercs are grounded.

The government cannot Fedex armoured vehicles to Afghanistan. How does the minister plan to get new equipment to our troops and how long will it take?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all of the equipment and the people for this very major Afghanistan mission were sent efficiently and received at the appropriate time. Should more equipment be required, it will be delivered as fast as possible.

As I have said in the House before, the increase in the serviceability and the usability of our Hercules fleet is a top priority for me. I have directed the department to find means to improve it. We have already as a consequence increased the usability of our Hercs by 50%, which is a significant achievement. We are working further on those issues.

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the House voted in favour of the Canadian Alliance motion that called on the government to “initiate immediate discussions with the provinces and territories to provide municipalities with a portion of the federal gas tax”.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister reminded the House that the finance ministers would be meeting today, Friday. They met. They started at eight o'clock this morning.

I want to know and taxpayers want to know. Taxpayers are sick of the Liberal government's gas tax rip-off. They are sick of it and they want to know if the gas tax agenda will be on the finance ministers' agenda.

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I am sure the meeting will be a very worthwhile one. It is very important for ministers of finance at the federal and provincial levels to consult and to always improve on federal-provincial relations as they relate to a number of issues, including tax issues.

Of course equalization is on the agenda. There is also other business on the agenda. One of the issues may be the one cited by the hon. member.

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is the government that preaches to Canadians about a democratic deficit.

The House voted 202 in favour and 31 against giving gas tax dollars to the provinces.

If the government wants to kill the democratic deficit, the minister and the government can commit today to having gas taxes on that agenda. For every dollar in gas taxes that British Columbia sends to Ottawa, it gets 3¢ back. For every $2 that British Columbia collects in gas taxes provincially, it spends $3 on roads. The gas tax rip-off by the federal government is appalling.

I want the government to understand that the motion called for immediate gas tax dollars to go to municipalities. What is it about the word “immediate” that the government does not understand?

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, there is a lot the government understands. One of the things it does understand is that a reduction of $100 billion in taxes was the largest tax reduction in the history of this country. That is what we understand.

We also understand what job creation is all about. We also understand that by reducing the debt, reducing taxes, making strategic investments in innovation and productivity enhancement measures, economic growth occurs. That is what we understand. More important, that is what Canadians understand.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, extending transitional benefits is clearly an insufficient response to the needs of the seasonal workers who, to use the expression of Alain Lagacé of Action-Chômage Kamouraska, remain on life support. The government has known this for a long time and it still refuses to act. What is the government waiting for to lower employment insurance eligibility requirements for seasonal workers, as was recommended in the unanimous report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, a report which it has had in its hands for over two years?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that is a very strange way to say thank you.

The Government of Canada has just announced that it is going to extend for one year the benefits that help certain regions of our country. The hon. member has perhaps spoken about this herself in the past, and today, instead of recognizing the positive gesture toward the workers, this is all she has to say.

Talk about a contradiction.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I invite the Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to travel across Quebec to hear what the ordinary people have to say.

Even Dany Harvey of Action-Chômage Charlevoix says that the wound is still open, even with these transitional measures. Michel Savard of the Table des groupes populaires de la Côte-Nord adds that the government's strategy is purely electoral.

Instead of being satisfied with measures that will melt away with the next election, what is the government waiting for to completely overhaul employment insurance and truly help the unemployed workers of the Lower St. Lawrence, Gaspé, Charlevoix and the North Shore?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. member has made a poor choice of words when she says that we should know what the people of Quebec want, especially considering her political party's poll results.

The government has extended the benefits by one year. That is the first thing. Secondly, yesterday the Prime Minister announced the creation of a task force to look into the problem of seasonal workers and try to find a long-term solution. That is what she is asking for—a long-term solution—and that is why the Prime Minister has established this task force.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development is announcing the creation of yet another committee that will consider the effects of EI policies on seasonal workers. I want to remind the minister that the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities tabled a unanimous report containing 17 recommendations, not one of which the minister retained.

Rather than create yet another partisan committee, if the minister really wants to help seasonal workers, why does she not simply implement the 17 recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities? The solutions are there; the government needs to act.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I just explained that the government has just extended the program by one year, as the workers expected and that, in the meantime, the Prime Minister has appointed the task force to find longer term solutions for seasonal workers.

That answer is extremely clear: we are moving forward. We have just announced additional benefits. The hon. member, on behalf of her constituents and other stakeholders, should be pleased.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no lack of reports and studies on the EI program; in fact, there are too many. First the standing committee, and now the Canadian Labour Congress and Statistics Canada are criticizing all the EI program failures.

Instead of wasting time with another committee, the minister has everything she needs to implement the necessary reforms. What will it take for the government to act?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is not about wasting time. On the contrary, we have improved benefits, as the minister announced yesterday. There is now a task force and, furthermore, this morning's news about unemployment is once again extremely encouraging. There are 10,000 more Canadians working this month. The government is continuing to look out for all Canadian workers.

HealthOral Question Period

October 10th, 2003 / 11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the provincial finance ministers are meeting in Ottawa today.

At least two of the provinces will be forced to run budget deficits unless the government honours a commitment to provide an additional $2 billion for health care. The federal finance minister has suggested that money could be freed up if the political will exists. He has to answer his own question.

The real question is, will any monetary commitment made by the outgoing Prime Minister be honoured by the incoming prime minister? This is provincial purgatory. Does the commitment exist or not?