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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, when the smell of fresh asphalt is in the air, it must be election time in Canada.

For 10 years the phantom Prime Minister imposed tax after tax on gasoline. Then he had the audacity to add GST on top of that. Of the $5 billion he hoarded every year, less than 2.5% leaked into road construction between elections.

Is the present finance minister prepared to reverse this rip-off today, or is he just the new front man in these pre-election games?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it seems that the Alliance is obsessed with Liberal leadership, and with good reason because we will be changing leaders, and we will go to victory in next year's election.

However, I want to talk about more current leadership and that is the leadership that Dalton McGuinty gave last night in ending eight years of darkness for the people of Ontario. That is what he should know about.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that within the year Mr. McGuinty will have his own feuds with the finance minister over there too.

The Liberal concerns for infrastructure peak in the months preceding an election and then conveniently fade away. It proves the point made by H.L. Mencken, who the finance minister loves to quote, when he said, “and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods”. Nothing could be truer. Roads and bridges take years to build and need regular upkeep.

Why does the Liberal government always ignore these facts between elections?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, official opposition members want to give us lectures on infrastructure, and its members are clapping that. They are in no position to give any lectures on any subject. They cannot even get their amalgamation with the Tories straight. They cannot even get their own leadership straight.

As a member from Ontario I hope they get together and that Mike Harris becomes their leader so the people of Canada can do to Mike Harris what Dalton McGuinty did to Ernie Eves last night.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the President of the Treasury Board demonstrated how badly she has been overtaken by events in the Radwanski affair. The same incompetence is evident when it comes to official languages.

In point of fact, how was the President of the Treasury Board able to ignore the alarming signs of non-respect for the Official Languages Act in the recent annual reports of the Department of National Defence?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely aware of the importance of official languages. As an anglophone Montrealer myself, I know the importance of speaking both languages and being able to teach in both languages, for instance at the l'Université du Québec à Montréal.

You can be absolutely assured that I am completely and formally committed to substantially improving the linguistic performance of members of the Canadian Forces.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will preface my question to the President of the Treasury Board with this quote, “National Defence, like the 182 other institutions subject to the Official Languages Act, must report to the Treasury Board Secretariat each year.” I was not the one who wrote that; it was Diane Allard, Special Assistant to the President of the Treasury Board for official languages.

In the latest report, it is clear: at National Defence, they do not respect the law. How does the President of the Treasury Board intend to go about doing her job and enforcing the law? I address my question to her.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have just said that I am extremely serious about the importance of official languages, particularly in my own department.

Specifically, I have made a commitment to do certain things, including incorporating language skills into performance evaluations for senior military staff, increasing the number of bilingual positions staffed with qualified incumbents by 15% over the next three years, and much more, but I am out of time.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, veterans' widows and indeed the general public are aware that the government is now giving some consideration to making changes in the veterans independence program.

If these changes are made and if they are presented to Parliament, the government can rest assured that this House and the Canadian Alliance will give swift approval.

Can the acting Prime Minister advise the House when we can expect to be made aware of these changes that will treat all war widows equally?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Liberal

Ivan Grose LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as we have said in this House before, we did what we could within our budget. This department stays within its budget.

Is the member opposite suggesting that possibly because we could not look after all the widows we should look after none?

If, as, and when this question comes before the House, we will address it at that time.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, a ray of hope has been given to these veterans' widows and the public in general through the media.

Can the government confirm today that the necessary changes are forthcoming in an expedient manner, allowing war widows to have their share of their deserving benefits prior to November 11 of this year?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Liberal

Ivan Grose LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the member opposite that it is a priority item with this department. It was a priority item. That is why we addressed it as well as we could. It will continue to be a priority item with this department.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

I have heard that Mexico has reopened its border to Canadian beef products.

Will the minister bring us up to date on this? When will shipments start and are there similar opportunities in other countries?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Peterborough for his involvement and engagement on this and other issues for his agriculture constituency.

Yes, we are very pleased that the country of Mexico has opened its borders to boneless beef. This will now allow certificates to be granted and shipments started to Mexico. It is our second largest trading country. That will add to what we have already shipped to the United States, this month's certificates, 35 million pounds. We are looking forward in the near future to making similar announcements for countries such as the Philippines, Russia and others.

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, in connection with the current review, all the members agree that developing countries must have access to cheaper versions of patented drugs to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. However, standard procedures must be followed, with indepth consideration of this proposal by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Given the Minister of Industry's history with generic drug companies, what type of legislative agenda will he propose to the House? Will he use this opportunity to help his friends at generic drug companies or will he implement real measures to help the poor and the sick?

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is well aware that the parliamentary leaders of each party in the House discussed this issue a few days ago. They indicated their general support for such measures, subject of course to the text of the bill he will introduce, in an attempt to assist developing countries, while fully respecting the positions of all the stakeholders.

Musée LaurierOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question has to do with a matter of great concern to me. In a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, among others, the Director of the Musée Laurier in Victoriaville, in my riding, stressed that although Sir Wilfrid Laurier's personal residence has been recognized as a national historic site, it does not receive federal funding, which causes many people to question its importance.

On the eve of the museum's 75th anniversary, can the minister ensure that, finally and officially, the museum's request for approval under Parks Canada's national historic sites of Canada cost-sharing program will be granted and that it will get the necessary funds?

Musée LaurierOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Laval East Québec

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the interest of the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska in honouring the memory of the great Sir Wilfrid Laurier is praiseworthy. Let him rest assured that the Department of Canadian Heritage has already invested over $16,000 since 1996 in this historic site. We are certainly very open to the possibility of celebrating its 75th anniversary, and await the Musée Laurier's proposals.

Interest RatesOral Question Period

October 3rd, 2003 / 11:40 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

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

As he knows, the prime interest rate now is at 4.5%. Yet the interest rates on most credit cards in the country are over 18%, in other words, about four times the prime rate.

What I want to know from the acting Prime Minister is what will the government do to bring down the exceptionally high rates on credit cards and help people who are locked into them?

Interest RatesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the government has done quite a good job in educating Canadians about the fact that there are over 500 products in the credit card business which means that the best way to protect the consumer is to create a competitive environment. That competitive environment exists here in Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Petro-Canada has announced that it will be shutting down the refinery in Oakville by 2004, importing 45,000 barrels of oil per day from Europe and elsewhere to supply its gas stations in Ontario, possibly via Canada Steamship Lines. Let us hope it does not dump it into the ocean again.

The reason for the shutdown is the government's decision to promote cleaner gas use in Canada by January 2005. The company has decided it will not invest in clean technology.

The government remains a 20% investor in Petro-Canada. How does the government expect other Canadian companies to follow new environmental guidelines and keep investment, jobs and maintain secure energy supplies with this example? What is the minister responsible for crown corporations doing about this?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Alan Tonks LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the thrust of the question really is aimed at understanding better the government's rational plan with respect to climate change and the restructuring of our economy in a sustainable way.

As the member will know, in the last budget we spent $1.7 billion on new technology, $2 billion was announced in the last budget, $1 billion investing through initiatives that are looking at alternative fuels. All of this is to take our dependence off those resources that are not renewable. In fact, I am sure that is a step in the direction the member would--

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week the government incredibly tried to retroactively cut the danger pay of our armed forces personnel who are working hard in the war against terrorism in the Middle East. This week the government announced that it is going to increase the rents on their private married quarters up to $100 a home, which completely neutralizes the 2.5% pay increase they received. This is absolutely disgraceful.

Will the Minister of National Defence do the right thing and stop this shameful money grab against our armed forces and freeze the rents on their private married quarters?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in the interest of stopping misinformation with regard to the preamble, there was absolutely never any clawback. Let us get that point straight first.

Second, on the members question, the Canadian Forces, my department and myself are devoted to the provision of affordable housing to all members of the Canadian Forces. At the same time it is government policy that we not subsidize those who occupy government owned houses. The Canadian Forces have 70% of their people in privately owned houses and 30% in government owned houses. It would be inappropriate that one group be subsidized at the expense--