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House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was heritage.

Topics

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that we are working closely with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and all the other agencies to make sure we send a clear message that security is a priority for us.

Regarding the specific question, I will get back to the hon. member with the answer.

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader stated that George Radwanski was not the only one who benefited from an extension of his accommodation allowance so as to maintain two principal residences longer than one year.

Could the government House leader to tell us the names of the other individuals who benefited from the same treatment as George Radwanski? We want the list.

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as this concerns personal information, the hon. members certainly do not expect us to provide in the House the names of those individuals with a particular salary or allowance, any more than the spending budgets of members are made public in detail in the House.

I indicated that a certain number of senior officials had received similar allowances and even, in some cases, for much longer. In short, I want to tell the hon. member that the individual in question was entitled to a third year and that, at the same time—

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Châteauguay.

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting but incomplete answer. We need the names only. Names are in the public domain.

The government House leader keeps saying that there is nothing unusual about the allowance George Radwanski received. However, his colleague from the Treasury Board said on the weekend that tighter controls were needed.

Are we to conclude that, if the government House leader refuses to answer, it is because he wants to hide something or is even trying to protect someone?

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:35 p.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 can let his imagination run wild this afternoon in the House. However, his imagination bears no connection to reality. I clearly stated that this case had not set a precedent. This allowance had been granted, for similar or even longer periods, to other individuals. This benefit was extended for a third year, and the individual was informed that this was the last year. This did not set a precedent.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, nearly two months ago I wrote to the Solicitor General asking for an immediate response regarding the proposed closure of the RCMP forensic labs. To date, the Solicitor General has failed to respond to those questions.

I ask him again today, will the Solicitor General stand today and confirm that the RCMP forensic labs in Edmonton, Regina and Halifax are scheduled for closure?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP is always looking at ways to improve the system, to have quicker turnaround on DNA testing. We are in fact doing that through the forensic labs.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General refuses to answer the question.

There is a massive backlog within the RCMP forensic labs. Police are being hampered in their investigations. Court proceedings are being stalled. Justice is not being served. Why? Because the Liberal government has failed to properly resource these crucial police services.

Again I ask the Solicitor General, how can he possibly justify the cutbacks or the closure of these forensic units?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is not unusual for the member opposite to have his facts wrong.

The facts are that in 1999-2000, DNA turnaround time was greater than 365 days and currently, DNA turnaround time is 55 days. I would say that is a substantial improvement and we are looking to improve it more.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. We have learned recently that Canada has offered to assume overall command of the next rotation of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. We have also learned that NATO agrees a Canadian commander would be the ideal choice given the size of Canada's commitment.

Could the Minister of National Defence tell us today if a specific flag officer has been identified for that important mission?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for that excellent question. I am very pleased to announce today the appointment of Lieutenant-General Rick Hillier as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, beginning early next year.

General Hillier, who is a very able and experienced officer, will command the entire NATO force, which includes nearly 6,000 international troops from 31 countries. This is a very good moment for Canada and a very good moment for the Canadian Forces.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence on February 27 said, “In a democracy, the army does not decide where to deploy the army. The government, the elected government, makes that decision, and I think that if things go wrong then that responsibility will come back to the government and I accept that responsibility”.

Whose responsibility was it that Canadian soldiers were using jeeps that the minister knew were dangerous?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member understands that quote. It is politics 101 that in a democracy it is the government that decides where to deploy the army and not the other way around.

That having been said, the government receives military advice from the army, and this government has not acted, at least not while I have been defence minister, without appropriate and positive military advice from the Canadian Forces.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear about this, then. Is the minister saying that it was his officials who said, “Send our troops out in dangerous jeeps”? Is he blaming the officials?

He talks about hearts and minds. This is about life and death. Why did the minister, when he was warned that these jeeps were dangerous, not send better vehicles? Why did he put Canadian lives at risk?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, the military in Afghanistan has a menu of choice and they use that menu depending on the risk and the situation, whether it is patrols by foot, patrols by jeep or patrols by armoured vehicles. As I have said before, they do not need opposition members from thousands of miles away to play soldiers and give unsolicited military advice to our commanders on the field.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week political observers are witnessing a rare and wondrous thing: the genesis of a boondoggle. These catastrophic events occur when a minister ignores all public opinion and ignores all the leading experts and plows ahead anyway with a bad idea: in this case, the $5 billion biometric national ID card.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration cannot seem to explain why this state interference into our privacy rights is warranted, so will he simply today tell us that he will scrap this disastrous idea before it blows into a full-blown boondoggle that would make the gun registry seem like a good deal?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what he is talking about but I know one thing and that is that we will have a debate in this country. I believe that when we look at public opinion we should take a look at the polls because the polls are pretty clear. If I were following the polls, he would be disappointed.

That debate is so important because internationally every country on this planet is having that debate right now. The International Civil Aviation Organization is working on international standards. There is the relationship between Canada and the United States, at the transport level and at every level, regarding the use of biometrics, so we believe that even before taking any decision we should talk about it.

AgricultureOral Question Period

October 6th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, this year's initial prices for wheat, durum and barley have been set by cabinet and are well below last year's. In fact, they are well below the prices that were recommended by the Canadian Wheat Board directors.

Farmers are already suffering from the mad cow fallout, including an inadequate and inequitable recovery program. Why does the government add insult to injury by offering initial prices on board grains that are well below farmers' production costs?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the initial payment at August 1 of every year is set in relation to the level of world prices at the time. As the crop year unfolds and as the marketing season progresses, if the market conditions improve then it is possible for the Canadian Wheat Board to recommend increases, which the government ultimately responds to.

Recommendations have been made by the Canadian Wheat Board and they will be given very careful attention, bearing in mind the needs of farmers and the fiscal responsibility of the government.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Regina RCMP forensic lab is in my riding. Prior cuts and closures in the lab have reportedly resulted in 110 Regina families being relocated to Ottawa at a cost of $8 million.

The Liberal minister from Regina has not been able to stop it.

I ask the Solicitor General, how many more families will be forced out of Regina and how much more money will it cost his crime fighting budget?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think--

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The question was asked of the Solicitor General, who has risen to respond, but there is so much noise we cannot hear his response. I know that sometimes other conversations are helpful and useful to hon. members, but during question period it is helpful to listen to the person recognized by the Chair. The Solicitor General is that person at the moment.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I did answer this question previously. As I indicated, the RCMP is always looking to improve the situation relative to the forensic labs, but this does give me a little more time to lay a few more facts on the table.

There are really 683 cases in the entire country presently being worked on. Of those 683 cases, approximately 615 are in the analytical process. That is far short of the numbers being talked about by the opposition party. We are having better turnaround times.