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House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was leader.

Topics

TradeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, as it stands now, the text of the free trade area of the Americas agreement incorporates investor-state rules, similar to NAFTA's chapter 11.

To ensure that private sector abuse at the expense of the public interest and in defiance of Parliament is avoided, can the Minister for International Trade assure the House that the chapter 11 experience is not repeated in the final text of the free trade area of the Americas agreement?

TradeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his important and quite timely question.

Canada does not advocate the replication of a chapter 11 in the free trade area of the Americas agreement.

We do, however, believe that investors need clear rules on the treatment and protection of investment in a free trade environment; however, these rules must not enable investors to circumvent domestic laws, or things such as labour standards, environmental protection or consumer protection.

I would like to assure the member, and this House, that our experience with NAFTA's chapter 11 would be fully taken into account in the negotiations.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

The family of Maher Arar has asked for a public inquiry. The announcement from the RCMP complaints commission begins with a premise that much of its inquiry will remain secret. Canadians have no confidence in this.

Why is the government hiding facts from the many foreign born Canadians who are rapidly feeling like second class citizens? Why is the government not ordering a public inquiry under part I of the Inquiries Act?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and a number of other times, I have certainly indicated to the House and to the public that the commission for public complaints against the RCMP is available to those who want to avail themselves of that process. In this case, Mr. Arar may want to avail himself of that process.

This morning the chair of the CPC announced that she would look into the matter and lay it out for potential allegations that she would also look into. I am pleased at that and we will let the process take its course.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal government once again showed contempt for our Canadian veterans and their surviving spouses when it had its members vote to stop the debate on the unanimous report from the veterans committee.

The chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations, Mr. Chadderton, has stated that the Minister of Veterans Affairs has lost all credibility on this issue.

The Minister of Finance is crowing about his surplus, but he owes a debt to all those widows. The Prime Minister knows it and members opposite know it. When will the government end this discrimination and pay the VIP to all--

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I gratefully acknowledge, on behalf of the government, the motion moved by the member for Nipissing and unanimously adopted by the committee. It has been tabled in the House. Certainly, we will continue to do more for our veterans.

In addition, I am pleased with the Royal Canadian Legion and Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada press release which says:

At that meeting it was made clear by Veterans Affairs Minister Rey Pagtakhan, and fully understood by all in attendance,--

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Burnaby--Douglas.

International AidOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

The minister knows that the government has promised to urgently table a bill that would allow the export of affordable generic drugs from Canada to deal with the desperate plight of sub-Saharan Africans fighting diseases such as HIV-AIDS, TB, malaria and cancer.

I want to ask the minister, when will he table this urgently needed bill, and will he respect the WTO agreement that it not list diseases for which generic drugs can be used? Will he put public health of the poor ahead of corporate profits for multinational pharmaceutical companies?

International AidOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, Canada is pleased with the historic, multilateral WTO solution to the agreement on trade related aspects on intellectual property rights.

We are pleased that this country is taking a leadership role on this file. There are expectations all around the world to see how Canada will progress on the file.

We will ensure that Canadian industry can contribute to the fight against HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa. We will work with the industry and with all the partners involved to do that.

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today at the industry committee we were warned of an auto assembly trade deficit within a few years. The Minister of Industry sees no urgency to this matter.

He claims a low dollar, health care and CAPC are enough. Well, our dollar has risen, our health care is in crisis, and CAPC will not even come to the minister's own committee.

Now that he has returned from his fishing vacation, will he deal with this urgent matter? We do not want any more auto plant stories that are about the one that got away.

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in June 2002 I created the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council with the CEOs of the big five, labour unions, provincial ministers, parts dealers, and everybody involved in the industry in order to work together to develop an effective auto policy for Canada, to attract investment, and to build on what we have.

Last year, Canada was third in the world in the amount of money invested in the auto sector. We are going in the right direction, but we must do more.

I assure the member and the House that the auto sector is a priority for me. I will continue to work away to broaden and deepen investments in Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, more government corruption. The answer of the Minister of the Environment's to my colleague about the Mackenzie Valley pipeline sounds like just more internal cover-up.

Will this minister immediately ask the RCMP to investigate this very important issue?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I said a few moments ago, the issue is being investigated by Treasury Board. That is the appropriate channel for handing an issue of this type.

Anyone can suggest a different way of doing it, but that is the standard procedure. If I deviated from that procedure, I am quite sure the opposition would complain.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are dependent on that gas from the Mackenzie Valley pipeline. The very price of it across this country is dependent upon that pipeline going ahead.

The Territorial Lands Act strictly prohibits government officers, employees or persons acting for those persons from acquiring territorial land unless they have special permission from cabinet. Either this government official had cabinet approval, or was clairvoyant or broke the law. Which is it?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the issue is being looked at by Treasury Board in the appropriate way, in accordance with the regulations and in accordance with the law. That is the appropriate way of handling an issue like this.

With respect to the second aspect of the hon. member's question, as I said earlier, this will not delay the Mackenzie application. There is at this time no application. We are looking into creating a cooperative environment review to have a future application considered at some future time.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

October 23rd, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has nothing to be proud of with respect to the $7 billion surplus, when we know that more than $3 billion of it comes directly from the EI fund. In other words, 48% of the surplus that the government is bragging about comes from cuts that the unemployed suffer daily.

Honestly, does it make any sense to have the unemployed pay off half of the debt?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, since this government took office in 1993, we have reduced EI premiums ten times and we have already announced in this year's budget another reduction for next year.

I will also say that we, myself and the Minister of Human Resources Development, have formed a committee to develop a new system for determining EI rates, which, at most, will be as high as the cost of the program.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot deny that $3 billion of the $7 billion surplus comes out of the pockets of the unemployed who are not receiving benefits.

Does the minister realize that while he is paying down Canada's debt, he is forcing families to take on personal debt to survive when they become unemployed? Does he realize that, yes or no?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am very respectful of the member's passionate pleas for the unemployed, but frankly, the unemployed do not pay EI premiums, they receive benefits. The surplus did not come from the unemployed. It may have come from employees and employers, but not the unemployed.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are reports today that a deal with the U.S. on softwood lumber could be reached within weeks. The last softwood lumber agreement with the United States included quotas and other market restrictions to Canadian softwood lumber.

Could the trade minister tell us today whether the rumour is true and whether he has given up on free trade in softwood lumber?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Alliance for asking me my first softwood lumber question in a few months. Indeed, the negotiators for Canada and the United States have met recently. They have--

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. minister has to be able to have his answer heard and everyone wants to hear it. It is the first one in months and the hon. minister will want to be heard.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Liberal Papineau—Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the negotiators of Canada and of the United States met recently and compared notes to see the progress of the file since the July proposal, the best effort they had put on the table.

We are looking to the WTO and NAFTA decisions that have come our way to strengthen our hand. We will take into consideration, when continuing this dialogue with the United States, our progress before the courts.