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House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was municipalities.

Topics

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on a day when Canadians are still dying in the service of their country, it might be a good day to fully honour the memory of those who volunteered to do likewise many years ago and restore the veterans independence program to all the widows who deserve it and who were wrongfully cut off.

Now the Minister of Veterans Affairs says that he has the heart but he does not have the money. Yesterday the Prime Minister said to his caucus that he was going to find the money.

I wonder if the Minister of Veterans Affairs can get up today and say, “This debate is over, all of us here agree that those widows should get the money to which they are entitled”.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the member of what I have said over the last few days: that we were confronted with six urgent veterans' needs as well. The veterans independence program was one of them. We allocated half of what we have for the VIP, as we announced, and the other half of the total budget that we had at that time for the other five urgent needs of veterans, for their children to get benefits when their parent is killed in the line of duty, to extend in-house benefits for the other veterans and former prisoners of war.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

That is the problem, Mr. Speaker, with asking questions of this government. It cannot make any decisions because it has to check it out with the provisional government and clearly the provisional government has not made that decision yet.

So I say to the Minister of Finance with respect to the $2 billion that was promised to the provinces for health care, can he tell us, as a representative of this government, whether this government intends to honour that promise and have that $2 billion flowing toward the health care of Canadians?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have said repeatedly in the House that we will fully honour the promise. The promise is exactly as it was written in the health accord: that if in January the government has apparently a budgetary surplus in excess of the normal contingency, up to $2 billion will be made available to the provinces for their additional health care costs. It is pretty clear. It is now October. It is still not January. The determination has not yet been made. We will fulfill our obligations to the letter of the agreement.

JusticeOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance demand for a retroactive national sex offender registry has repeatedly met with fierce opposition from the Solicitor General. The Solicitor General argued that making it retroactive would be “constitutionally impossible”. In fact, on May 15 in the House, he said, “We do not intend to make our legislation retroactive for very good reasons”.

To the Solicitor General, why the flip-flop?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I still have very grave concerns about the Canadian Alliance proposal on the sex offender registry on full retroactivity. That concern still exists, but when we met with the federal-provincial-territorial ministers in Charlevoix, Quebec, yesterday and the day before, we were able to come to an agreement with them on a number of fronts. We are willing to look at partial retroactivity, with provincial agreement.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Solicitor General's provincial counterparts took a look at the national sex offender registry as proposed by this government, they had grave concerns.

The Solicitor General announced yesterday that he is now prepared to tinker with the registry to include some sex offenders. If he really wants to protect society from the worst kind of criminals, why does he refuse to place all high risk offenders on the national sex offender registry?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, when we tabled the legislation in May, we tabled it on the basis of a consensus that we had with the provinces and territories at that time. That consensus has somewhat changed as a result of the meeting over the last couple of days.

We are still moving forward with the sex offender registry as tabled. I indicated to the provinces that we would take a look, try to take a look at exploring the possibility of an amendment to bring in those individuals who are currently within the correctional system. We will do that and we will move forward.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the meeting of finance ministers only a few days away, the Quebec minister has again demonstrated the great harm being done to government finances in Quebec, and has pointed out that this situation could deteriorate still further if the federal government does not pay out all the money for health services that it promised.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that there is fiscal imbalance in Canada, that this situation needs to be corrected, and that the solution does not lie in such formulas as “Well, if there is a big enough surplus, I will hand over a bit of money, but if not, you will just have to fend for yourselves”?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 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, the Government of Canada ensures that we continue to have a surplus, while the other G-7 countries are struggling with huge deficits.

We have been able to do this because we have never followed the Bloc Quebecois' advice and have made every effort to manage public funds in a very prudent manner. This is the best way to help the provinces' treasuries, because it keeps interest rates low and maintains confidence in the economy.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, with behaviour such as this denial of the existence of a fiscal imbalance, the minister and the federal government are maintaining a good image while putting all the pressure on the Government of Quebec and of the provinces. These have no choice; they have to deliver services, whether or not there is any money.

Does the minister share the opinion of Yves Séguin, that the federal government is taking the provinces for fools?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 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, in the years to come, transfer payments to the provinces will go up about 6% annually, while federal revenues are expected to rise about 2% if all goes well. We are, therefore, doing everything we can to help the provinces as much as possible.

Moreover, why is it that the Minister of Finance wants to meet with his counterparts? To ensure that Canada remains the only economy in the industrialized world that has the great pleasure of having a surplus it can argue about.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Revenue did not deny allegations that she waited 15 days before acting on the theft of 120,000 tax files.

Now new allegations have been brought forward that this was not the first time this tax office in Laval has been broken into. In fact, we have been informed that this may have happened on a number of occasions. Will the minister confirm this information?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I said yesterday that the member opposite was wrong when he suggested that action was not taken immediately. The facts are that as soon as the motion detector went off the police were notified in 30 seconds and within 15 minutes they were on the site. I was notified of this the next day and by that time we already had, on site, IT specialists and reconstruction experts working on that.

I can tell the member that while we have had break-ins across the country and at Laval, this is the first time that a server which had information out of the Laval office--

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton--Strathcona.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, obviously the problem is much bigger than we knew about and this minister herself has not taken care of the buffet of problems in her own department.

I know that the minister obviously has no idea about what happened when it came to the break-ins at that particular department. According to the Public Accounts of Canada , there were 27 occurrences of laptop theft within CCRA during the 2001-02 fiscal year, more than in any other department.

If the minister is so concerned about protecting the information of Canadians, why did she wait until this latest theft to institute new security measures?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, first I want to say to the member that all of the losses due to theft are reported in public accounts, not only by CCRA, but by every department of government. Not only are government offices vulnerable to break-ins, but so are businesses and homes. Unfortunately, it is a reality.

Every time there is a break-in, security on that site is examined. The national review that I have called for is looking at each site, site by site, as well as our policies and procedures.

I want to say to the member opposite that he is wrong when he suggests that we are not doing our job. We are. We are concerned about the loss of--

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

BioChem PharmaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Jean Bédard, researcher emeritus with BioChem Pharma, declared that if the minister lets this core group of researchers scatter, it will be extremely difficult to reassemble it from scratch later on.

Is the Minister of Industry able to assure us that, in his negotiations with Shire, he will not accept any settlement unless he has a guarantee that the intellectual property on certain patented medicines that Shire now owns will go to the firm that relaunches BioChem Pharma?

BioChem PharmaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns expressed by the hon. member about the future of our researchers here in Canada. This is a very important issue for me and I will do my best to ensure not only that the patents and the researchers remain here in Canada, but also that Shire honours its commitments.

BioChem PharmaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the money is available and there is a highly qualified workforce. The only thing missing is the intellectual property rights.

Can the minister guarantee that there is no question of ending negotiations with Shire before obtaining these rights from the company?

BioChem PharmaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that we will do everything possible to protect intellectual property and to retain the jobs and opportunities here in Canada.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Canadian Alliance Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, the allocation of halibut between commercial and sport fishing fleets on the west coast has been in dispute for a number of years.

In an effort to resolve the dispute, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans appointed an independent arbitrator to meet with fishermen on both sides of the issue and recommend a solution. The transparent arm's length process was completed a year ago.

Fishermen are here in Ottawa today anxious to know when the minister will implement the arbitrator's findings. The minister has had the arbitrator's recommendations for a year. When will he implement them?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok Québec

Liberal

Georges Farrah LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I also had the opportunity to meet the representatives of the Pacific Halibut Management Association. We know that the minister must make a decision shortly.

As the hon. member indicated, a very transparent process was put in place last year. In the coming weeks or days, the minister will be in a position to make known his decision on this conflict.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Canadian Alliance Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary was a participant in a fisheries committee fact-finding trip to the east coast recently.

In community after community fishermen complained about the failure of the department to make fishery allocations in a fair and transparent manner.

Would the parliamentary secretary not agree that the Kelleher arbitration on Pacific halibut was an open and fair process and would he urge the minister to implement those recommendations as soon as possible?