This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Montreal I had a very interesting and productive meeting with my colleagues, Ambassador Zoellick of the United States and Secretary Canales of Mexico.

We agreed on a number of practical steps to enhance trade and investment in North America that will increase the transparency and efficiency of NAFTA's chapter 11, establish a North American steel trade committee that will promote more openness and integration in the North American steel market and reduce exports related transaction costs in the NAFTA region. It is a work in progress, and we will continue.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Did Secretary of State Colin Powell tell the Minister of Foreign Affairs that Canadian sources gave the United States information that led to the deportation to Syria of Mr. Arar? While he is at it, would he tell us whether Mr. Powell said that Canadian source was the RCMP?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I had a conversation with Secretary Powell and I raised this matter. I protested strongly to the United States that when Canadians are in the United States they should be treated as Canadians and returned to Canada. In the course of that discussion, he said to me that advice from his officials was that this was appropriate in terms of international law by the United States and it was covered by arrangements. That was his advice to me. This is what he was told by his officials.

Secretary Powell and I always have the frankness of accords. He knows very strongly that Canada is of the position that when Canadians are in the United States they should be treated as Canadians and returned to this country, and the Solicitor General and I work on that premise.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that was not the question. The question was, did Colin Powell indicate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a discussion with him, that information that came from Canadian sources resulted in Mr. Arar's incarceration for a year in Syria?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in my conversation with Secretary Powell, he said that the American authorities had acted within their jurisdiction to take the steps they did based on information which they had received which justified the steps that they took. That is the information which he told me. That is what he gave me and of course that is what he was operating under.

Secretary Powell was perfectly frank with me. He operates on the basis of advice from officials like every other secretary of state in the world.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, after nine years of creating potholes on the road to Damascus, the new Liberal leader says he now wants to pave it. As finance minister, he hiked the gas tax but did not give a penny to cities. Last September he opposed 10 year targets, but now he says he does not. My leader, Jack Layton, has been clear on the stance of supporting cities.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We have been through this once already. The hon. member for Windsor West has the floor. We will want to hear his question.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

They may be a fans of the Who. I am a fan of the Guess Who.

My question is for the sitting finance minister. Is the position of the Liberal government that sharing the gas tax means Canada does not need a permanent infrastructure program? Is that the real agenda?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

You know, Mr. Speaker, if this Layton fellow ever shows up in here, he has already missed the one byelection in his province in which he could have offered himself, perhaps we will need biometrics to identify him at the door when he gets here.

I would suggest the hon. member look at the record of the government that established the first infrastructure program in 1993, and year after year have renewed it in order to contribute to the building of strategic and municipal infrastructure across this country. That will continue.

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not even placed a phone call to Nova Scotians 10 days after hurricane Juan ripped through our province. He cannot be unaware that many desperate citizens have been forced to exhaust their limited resources to replace food lost in the power outage and to repair homes exposed to the elements.

I ask the Prime Minister this. Will the federal government provide immediate financial assistance to Nova Scotians on CPP disability or other vulnerable pensioners to ensure they are able to purchase the basic necessities of daily life?

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am supposed to meet with the Premier of Nova Scotia tomorrow morning. She cannot say I do not pay attention to Nova Scotia. That day the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans rushed to Nova Scotia. They were the first to arrive. We had more than 1,000 soldiers doing their job.

The work of the federal government was well done. Of course, as I was departing for the west at that time, I could not be there. We have a big country. When we are in Vancouver it is difficult to have breakfast there and then lunch in Halifax.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the environment commissioner's report says that the government is moving too slow on evaluating older pesticides causing health and environmental problems. It says that the process for evaluating new pesticides is flawed and deadlines are not being met to get these products on the market.

The commissioner identified 406 pesticides which must be evaluated. In 15 years only 6 have been evaluated. What is taking so long? What is the problem?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated yesterday, we have re-evaluated some 61 active ingredients. Of these, some have been phased out by their manufacturer. Others have been withdrawn from the market or are currently in the process of being phased out.

I want to reassure all Canadians that we take the regulation of pesticides very seriously. In fact the commissioner acknowledges that progress has been made.

Do we need to make additional progress? Yes. We now have new legislation. Regulations will promulgated in the spring of 2004, and with additional resources we will do an even better job in protecting health.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner says that only 6 out of 406 have been evaluated, so denying the problem does not mean there just is not one.

The government has been warned four times that its pesticide evaluation process is broken. It has done nothing. I quote the commissioner who says, “For an issue that touches health, this is unacceptable...Canadians have a right to expect better answers”.

When will the government speed up the evaluation process of these pesticides?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are fully aware of the challenges, both around re-evaluation of existing pesticides and the evaluation of new pesticides to be introduced into the market.

My colleague the Minister of Agriculture and I are putting additional resources into the evaluation and re-evaluation of pesticides. We have new legislation. The new legislation will be in full force and effect in the spring of 2004.

I can reassure Canadians that we take our obligations in relation to their health and safety very seriously.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

It is becoming increasingly clear from the replies he has given in the Arar case that the Solicitor General does not take this House seriously. What we are asking of the Solicitor General is not whether the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took part in the decision by the Americans to deport M. Arar to Syria. The real question is very simple: did the RCMP send information on Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, to the American authorities—yes or no?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I reject entirely the premise of the hon. member. We take this issue very seriously and we always have.

As a matter of law and practice, and the hon. member should know this, the RCMP does not discuss operational matters in public, nor should a Solicitor General and I do not intend to do that.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are playing a very odd game. The government is using the RCMP for obscure purposes and the RCMP is agreeing to play along. Neither the government nor the future prime minister want to answer our questions. That is an example of the democratic deficit.

I ask the Solicitor General once again if information concerning Maher Arar was sent to the Americans by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me expand a little further on the reason why neither I nor the RCMP talk about operational matters. We do it to protect the privacy of individuals involved and to protect the integrity of investigations that are ongoing. That is why it is necessary to do it. The fact of the matter is that in this country we operate on the principle of innocence.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development had some very harsh words for the health minister in her latest report. The commissioner's report says that Health Canada is not properly managing pesticides and cannot determine what the health risks of certain pesticides are.

The sole purpose of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency is to manage pesticides and determine what in fact their health risks are.

The minister will tell us, “Well, maybe next year, 2004, I will have some more resources or some new regulations”. This government has been in power for 10 years. Why is it not doing its job now?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I have made plain, we are doing our job. In response to earlier Auditor General's reports, we have acted. We have new legislation, modern legislation. The regulations will be in full force and effect under that legislation in the spring of 2004.

However let me reassure all Canadians that those pesticides which are presently on the market are rigorously assessed in relation to health risk and environmental risk and there should be no misunderstanding about that important point.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough. This minister always wants to tell us, “in a timely fashion, maybe next year, we'll get to it later”.

Health Canada continues to renew temporary registrations for pesticides without knowing what the risks are. Sixty per cent of pesticides are rushed into the market without proper testing. How can this possibly be good for Canadians?

HealthOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member discusses temporary registration. All registration decisions, whether temporary or full, are based on rigorous scientific evaluation of the health and environmental risks posed by pesticides.

Let me reassure everyone that at no time is a temporary registration granted without a clear indication that the risks are acceptable.

International AidOral Question Period

October 8th, 2003 / 3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, China has recently announced that it would send three astronauts into space. If this country can spend that kind of money, it definitely does not need our aid money.

I have called before and I am calling again. Will this government stop its aid flow immediately to China and redirect it to needy areas such as Africa?