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House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

Topics

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last May, Canada and the United States signed an agreement to analyze the current and future needs of the St. Lawrence Seaway, thereby opening the door to widening the seaway, approved in principle by the Minister of Transport and in accordance with the wishes of the U.S. military.

Can the Minister of the Environment tell us if he also gave his approval, thereby ensuring Canada's involvement, no matter what the environmental cost?

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, this started in January 2001 when the United States army corps of engineers was authorized by the United States congress to initiate a reconnaissance phase of a possible five year study to review the feasibility et cetera.

In July the corps of engineers recommended further research. We are very far from any firm plans to expand the seaway.

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, tthe fact remains that the government has signed an agreement. It signs first and evaluates second. However, the study on the future needs of the seaway is just the starting point. In a memo dated February 13, the U.S. Department of Defence hoped to ensure Canada's cooperation in conducting a study on widening the St. Lawrence.

Can the Minister of the Environment tell us if Canada is taking part in a study specifically on the widening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, as the U.S. military wants? Has he let military considerations take precedence over the environment?

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I already answered this question, yesterday, in the House of Commons. As I said, we are studying this in cooperation with the U.S. military. These are simply studies to determine if widening the seaway is in the interests not only of Canada, but also the United States.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

October 21st, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister tried to justify the purchase of Challenger jets for the cabinet by saying, “We wanted to have Canadian planes”.

So what did he do? He tendered a contract without any competitive bidding. The rules say there should be competitive bidding.

My question is for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. Is this a major purchase?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, obviously, this is a significant contract compared to, for example, the contract for purchasing military helicopters.

This is a relatively minor contract in respect of the jets. The two are not in the same order of magnitude when we compare the value. The best information I have is that the rules were appropriately followed.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, so to the minister of public works $100 million is just a tiny issue. Here is the issue.

The minister, who was not there at the time, says it was not his problem; however, his assistant deputy minister, a Queen's counsel lawyer, said this deal would be very difficult to justify in court.

My question is to the minister. Is this the sort of deal that he today approves of, yes or no?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is a master at twisting but not very good at the facts.

The facts of the matter are that a decision has been made with respect to the procurement of certain aircraft. Based on all of the information that has been presented to me, the appropriate steps were followed.

For the record, there was a warning extended that there could be legal proceedings. In fact, there were none.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, given the growing opposition to genetically modified wheat by farmers and given the Canadian Wheat Board's intention to prevent the release of Monsanto's genetically modified wheat variety because it poses an economic and environmental risk, can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food inform the House as to whether he will reject Monsanto's application?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows and the House knows that the first concerns we all have, whether it be products of biotechnology or whatever, are that of science and safety. Both must be reviewed by the Ministry of Health or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

We also know there are other concerns in areas such as roundup ready wheat. We are discussing the implementation of another step in the process with the industry, the provinces and everyone in order to recognize the concerns that are out there before any product is commercialized, even if it did pass all of the safety tests. That step needs to be put in place and we are working toward doing that.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister defended a one day contract to purchase new Challengers by saying that ministers should fly in airplanes made by Canadian workers.

Can this minister explain why the government bought used submarines from Great Britain when Canadian shipyards sit idle and he wants our military to float its used submarines?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I regret that we did not have anybody making submarines at the time

However, I will defend everyday the need of Canadian ministers to fly in Canadian made airplanes, made by Canadian workers at Canadian facilities, using parts that are made in Canadian plants, just the same as I defend using money to help the conversion of the Saint John shipyard, which is something she was wanting to take credit for that very thing being done.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We have to be able to hear the supplementary question from the hon. member for Saint John. She has the floor, but with all the enthusiasm for her next question I cannot hear it.

The hon. member for Saint John has the floor.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, I have worked to keep the shipyard going; however, no Liberals have helped us one little bit.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, yes, indeed, you know and I know that the old Challengers were made in Canada. When the government bought the Challengers, it put aside the rules governing procurements on the basis that it was buying Canadian made equipment.

Will that policy extend for the purchase of the Sea Kings? Will the government choose--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, a procurement process is underway in pursuit of the replacement helicopter. It is our objective to get a vehicle that satisfies the military requirements, that can be achieved at a good value from the taxpayers' point of view, and that, in fact, can be on hand as rapidly as possible.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a bit of a Kyoto update. This federal government is paying $15 million to burn eucalyptus trees in Brazil. At the same time, the Ontario Liberals are backing off their election commitment to convert coal-fired plants in Ontario to natural gas.

When will the government show some leadership by investing in the conservation and conversion of these coal-fired plants to natural gas in Ontario, rather than burn eucalyptus trees in Brazil?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the coal-fired plants in Ontario, we are looking forward to working with the new government of Ontario which has committed 2007 as the year when coal-fired plants will be phased out.

We think it is a very progressive step. It is in line with our agreement with the United States that I signed with my American counterpart a year ago and we are looking forward to speedy progress in this program.

Status of WomenOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, one would think that 74 years after being declared persons, women would be enjoying full equality. Not so.

The recent United Nations report shows Canada is way behind in the elimination of discrimination. We are even losing ground under this government. Today, advisory councils on the status of women gather in Ottawa calling for a plan to pursue equality issues.

I ask the government, what happened to the government that once had the courage to create a Royal Commission on the Status of Women that did make a difference? What mechanism does the government offer today's women? Where is its equality agenda?

Status of WomenOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to women's equality.

When we made a presentation to the United Nations committee earlier this year, it acknowledged the progress that Canada was making in this area, but it said that much more needed to be done.

We are conscious of what that “much more” is, and we are working very steadily on an agenda for gender equality. We are working with our provincial partners and with organizations so that we can proceed on progress for women.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, this whole Bombardier Challenger jet deal has blown up. Everyone over there is running for cover. Even the new Liberal leader is trying to avoid responsibility.

When he was finance minister, did the new Liberal leader sign the cheque for the Challenger jets?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know who he thinks is running for cover.

We have built, in Canada, one of the largest aviation industries in the world. I do not care where the Prime Minister, the Minister of Industry or the Deputy Prime Minister fly, but they should be in a Canadian-made plane, the best in the world for its price and we are proud of it.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is all fine, but Canada already had four perfectly good Canadian-built Challenger jets and we did not need any more.

This whole deal stinks. A $100 million deal is untendered and cleaning out the bank account at the end of the fiscal year.

Why did the former finance minister, the new Liberal leader, approve this deal?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

I get it, Mr. Speaker, old ones are okay but new ones are not.