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House of Commons Hansard #147 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister brags about six balanced budgets. Let me say they were balanced because of free trade and GST, two good Tory initiatives, and his own horrendous program of social cuts.

The Minister of Agriculture said in September, “We are pleased that APF programs are now available to industry”. Regrettably almost two months later, not a single cent has flowed. When will the Minister of Agriculture start delivering the beef?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Portneuf Québec

Liberal

Claude Duplain LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but I did not hear the question.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat the hon. member's question for him.

In Newfoundland the agricultural industry employs more than 4,000 people and is valued at more than $500 million annually to our provincial economy.

Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province in all of Canada to sign on to the agricultural policy framework agreement in May of this year. As the member for St. John's West was about to say, it is now five months after the agreement was signed and still not a single penny has flowed to the agricultural industry in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

How can the Minister of Agriculture justify that prolonged delay with the APF agreement?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Portneuf Québec

Liberal

Claude Duplain LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the agricultural policy framework agreements have been signed. I cannot answer the question, because I do not know exactly why these funds have not been delivered. Still, the framework agreement with Newfoundland has been signed and the funds should be there any minute now, if not sooner.

TransportOral Question Period

October 30th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague from Winnipeg—Transcona has stated, the NDP is concerned about the government's commitment to follow through on VIA Rail funding.

The next Liberal leader's family has interests in the bus industry which is actively lobbying against VIA. There is a conflict and there is a way to lock in funding. The Prime Minister can give VIA 10% of the surplus right now before the new leader scraps it. Will he do that? Will he get the funds to VIA now?

TransportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Proulx LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to providing a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation system for Canadians. This investment demonstrates the government's commitment to the continued rehabilitation of Canada's passenger rail services.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development has just learned that self-employed workers would be prepared to pay into EI in order to receive benefits. This, according to her, is something new.

The minister must have forgotten about my report, published in 1999, on the human side of employment insurance. It mentioned this, as did my Bill C-406, which she voted against.

Is the Minister of Human Resources Development prepared to make a commitment to self-employed workers, and to do what is necessary to make them eligible for employment insurance now?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question gives me yet another chance to congratulate the members of the Prime Minister's task force for the work they did in speaking with over 1,000 women entrepreneurs.

In that report they did make reference to the importance of parental benefits. We indeed will follow up on their report and see which way is best associated to deal with self-employed workers in this regard.

Elk IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, for years now the Canadian elk industry has been fighting issues concerning closed borders all by itself.

Its producers have been denied access to the U.S. and Korean markets without so much as a whimper of protest from the Liberal government. The Liberals have done absolutely nothing to address the elk producers' losses during this trade dispute.

Why does the government continue to deny elk producers a stand-alone chronic wasting disease compensation package?

Elk IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the member's question could not be more timely. This morning I raised the issue of chronic wasting disease with the minister of trade of Korea who happens to be in Ottawa today.

We have agreed to work on it. Our experts will sit down and based on technical evaluations that we will make, we will work very hard at finding a resolution to the issue. This took place this morning here in Ottawa with the Korean minister.

Elk IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, that is three years late. Just in the nick of time the minister has finally gotten engaged on the file. Where is the cash? That is the next question. All these years of denial by the government have hurt our elk producers.

Could the minister explain why the CFIA confiscated $100,000 worth of elk velvet from one producer and raided the home of another with a SWAT team?

The government has not even worked toward opening the borders until today, finally. It has refused to compensate the elk industry directly. What is it going to take to get those guys over there, those sleepwalkers, to actually pay attention to this escalating crisis?

Elk IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, these guys over here have been doing that work for three years. We have been working on this difficult issue. The opposition knows very well how complex an issue it is and how hard my colleagues and I have been working on it. We have raised it with the ministers at every opportunity we have had over the last three years. We will continue to do so, independently of what those guys think.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, 5,000 agricultural producers demonstrated in Quebec City to show how fed up they are with falling beef prices. Quebec's minister of agriculture, Françoise Gauthier, spoke about a federal program that would soon be announced, and expressed serious doubts on whether the program could be adapted to the dramatic situation in Quebec.

Farmers have had enough waiting and they want to know. Will the minister announce, today, a program to help owners of cull stock?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Portneuf Québec

Liberal

Claude Duplain LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the minister certainly cannot announce anything today because he is not here. What I can say is that the minister and all the hon. members are well aware of the issue. The minister is busy working on a new program that could be announced shortly.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, is either the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food or his parliamentary secretary able to reassure dairy producers in Quebec in the following way: can he give them a guarantee that his program will be flexible enough and that it will compensate them for the heavy losses they have sustained following the dramatic fall in prices for cull cows in Quebec?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Portneuf Québec

Liberal

Claude Duplain LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we cannot reveal anything about the program until it is complete. However, since there are many cull cows in Quebec, that province will receive its share for cull cows under this program.

Elk IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Republic of Korea closed the border to Canadian elk velvet in December 2000. It was due to concerns about chronic wasting disease, even though those concerns were not based on scientific fact.

Losing access to the largest market Canadians had has hurt Canadian elk farmers and their families. Canadians want to know when the Korean border will be open to Canadian cervid products again.

Elk IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as I just said in my earlier answer, this very morning I had the opportunity to discuss the issue with the Korean trade minister.

We both agreed that our technical experts will be sitting again on the basis of the solid progress we have been making on the issue. The Koreans will make their decision based on the technical information that is now available. That gives us confidence that we will resolve the issue for our producers very shortly.

Elk IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister talks about what he is doing, but it has been a pretty slow process. It has been three years and my understanding is that it is the first discussion he has had on the issue.

The Canadian cervid industry has specifically requested that the minister launch a trade challenge at the World Trade Organization on its behalf. I want the minister to stand up today and tell us, when will he respond by launching that WTO challenge?

Elk IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I was in Saskatchewan a few weeks ago. I have had the opportunity to meet with the representatives of the industry. We have been working very closely with them. I do believe that by promoting their interests and working on the technical aspect of this complex question, we are doing the best possible thing to promote this issue and resolve it with our Korean allies and friends.

Research and DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development.

Statistics Canada recently reported that one in five doctoral graduates leaves the country to work abroad. What is the Government of Canada doing to address this issue of brain drain?

Research and DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, to address this issue the Government of Canada has taken a number of initiatives. It has increased funding to the research granting councils. There is $225 million for the indirect costs of research at universities. There is $1.8 billion for the Canada Foundation for Innovation. There are 2,000 masters graduate scholarships and 2,000 more for Ph.D. students. There are 2,000 research chairs at universities, 1,000 created today.

It is the nature of the scholarship that Canadian scholars do pursue further post-doctoral studies abroad, just as foreign students do further post-doctoral studies here in Canada.

Disaster AssistanceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C. faced devastating fires this summer. In my riding a mill is gone, people are out of work and now they are losing hope.

I received personal guarantees of support from the government. So far the government has come up with a mere fraction of the total cost of this disaster. Meanwhile, people wait. They wait for jobs, they wait for answers and they wait for help.

What exactly will the government do to help rebuild the North Thompson Valley?

Disaster AssistanceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I was in Kelowna the night when so many British Columbians lost their homes. I was also in Kamloops on that same visit. I do understand the devastation.

That is why I insisted that our officials respond very rapidly. That is why I was able to go to British Columbia last weekend with a $100 million cheque as an advance payment. The British Columbia premier said to me that his officials had told him that never before had they seen such a fast reaction from the federal government.

Disaster AssistanceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, by the time the fires were ripping through the Kootenays, the Prime Minister decided to drop into Kelowna for a photo op, never to be seen again.

Those funds that the minister is talking about may be in British Columbia at this point, but his office has been unable to answer our questions. What will qualify? When will the funds flow? When will he get on with helping our constituents?