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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

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is, which policy does the government intend to follow? That advocated by the leader of the NDP or the member for LaSalle—Émard who has made it contingent on provincial participation which is the way that the Liberals always avoid having anything they promise really happen.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should read the motion.

We talk about a discussion with provincial governments and the municipalities before coming to a conclusion. Some provincial governments have already expressed the opinion that we should not proceed. However, we will discuss that with them. We will try to convince them and find a solution.

We are not doctrinaire like the NDP. It is always doctrinaire and always in a corner.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we invite the Prime Minister into the corner. We might have a few elbows for him.

My question has to do with what I referred to earlier allegorically, and that of course is the ID card.

The minister of immigration persists in this idea, in spite of the fact that all parties seem now to be against it.

Would the Prime Minister tell us if he will tell the minister of immigration to stop this dumb idea or have a scan done on him to see why it is that he cannot hear anything?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thought it was supposed to be a supplementary to the first question. That means that the member was happy with the answer I gave him.

In regard to his question, there is a discussion taking place. Eventually, there will be a conclusion. The minister of immigration is discussing a possibility that some people think is good and others think is not good. We have not reached a decision.

I guess that the leader of the NDP or the second leader of the NDP is not in agreement with the minister of immigration.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, over the summer CSL subsidiary Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. was given a $4.9 million grant from Technology Partnerships Canada.

The new Liberal leader appears to have benefited directly from the TPC grant, so much so that the ethics counsellor was consulted before the grant was made.

Given that there is a common clause in most government contracts that no member of Parliament should benefit from grants and contributions, can the Minister of Industry advise the House whether the CS&E contract contains such a clause?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that the entire business enterprise of the former finance minister was in a blind trust.

It was operated entirely at arm's length from the minister during the time he was in cabinet. He respected all of the ethical guidelines and more. That is typical of his conduct throughout the past 10 years.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is a serious matter. It is serious enough that the Minister of Industry needs to address it in a better manner than he did.

We already know that political pressure was applied from at least one member of Parliament to approve the grant.

I am sure this must only be a coincidence, but on June 7 the Minister of Industry endorsed the new Liberal leader and 12 days later the Minister of Industry gave the Liberal leader's company a $4.9 million grant.

Will the Minister of Industry stand up today and table the TPC contract with CS&E so that we can all see it?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member has sunk to a new low, a low which day by day does discredit to himself and his party.

This investment was made after due diligence by officials acting in good faith by investing in Canadian research and development to advance innovation, create and maintain jobs, and attract investment in the country.

We believe in investing in the future of our economy and not playing these little political games.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, if it truly wants to help the provinces, the federal government should change the equalization formula, as demanded by the coalition of provinces. Incidentally, all these provinces, even those with Liberal governments, agree that the current situation is unacceptable.

Why is the government interfering in provincial jurisdictions instead of listening to the provinces, which are unanimously calling for changes to the equalization program?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the equalization program is one of our government's most costly at more than $10 billion a year. It is not hard to reach a consensus among the provinces on asking the federal government for an increase in funding. It is simple, and I fully understand that they would prefer us to levy taxes so that they can spend the revenues.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the real problem is that the federal government has the same tax fields as the provinces, but not the same responsibilities.

Not only has this government never stopped encroaching, but can it deny that things will be worse with the future prime minister, who is already talking about negotiating not between two levels, but three?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is always the same thing with the Bloc Quebecois. Recently, their great guru, Jacques Parizeau, said that the Canadian federation was the most decentralized in the world, but they are still going on about centralization. They have no evidence that it exists, but they continue to scare Quebeckers with the risks that centralization would entail. They are unable to provide any evidence to that effect.

Canada remains one of the most decentralized federations, owing to the fact that Quebeckers and other Canadians have created a great federation with, among other things, an equalization program that provides the Government of Quebec with $5 billion a year.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, Lansdowne Technologies is a subsidiary of Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering which in turn is a subsidiary of the new Liberal leader's shipping empire.

According to its website, one of Lansdowne's specialities is government procurement, fancy that. In fact, Public Works Canada has transacted over $12 million in business with Lansdowne. Is that not nice?

Can the Prime Minister explain why a CSL subsidiary receiving over $12 million in government business was not included in the new Liberal leader's blind trust declaration? Why the omission?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have always said and I repeat that when the former finance minister, the member for LaSalle--Émard, became minister, he met with the then registrar general who became the ethics counsellor and put his assets in a blind trust like all of us had to do.

This arrangement was made between himself and this government official. Every time there was a problem the ethics counsellor was consulted. I have not been informed of any conflict of interest except for the opposition's habit of throwing dirt all the time.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am saying that the Prime Minister should be aware of this fact. This is a $12 million omission from the blind trust declaration. Will the Prime Minister take this issue seriously?

Lansdowne is engaged in government procurement. It is engaged in arranging contracts with government.

My question again to the Prime Minister is: why is Lansdowne not included in the blind trust declaration of the former finance minister? Why that $12 million omission?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, every time the opposition had problems like that it communicated with the ethics counsellor. Why does it not do that?

It just wants to raise it in the House of Commons in order to throw dirt as it likes to do. However, the people of Canada do not buy it.

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the Business Development Bank of Canada is making the news again, as we learn that the management of the bank has spent close to $1 million on two galas and one day of training. We will recall that the current head of this institution, Michel Vennat, is the same person that the Prime Minister appointed to cover up the Grand-Mère scandal.

Will the Minister of Industry intervene with the bank and take drastic measures to put an end to this squandering of public funds?

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the BDC is a Crown corporation operating at arm's length from the government. It is operating in a business environment, and managers report to the board of directors. I expect that BDC officials will report to the board on the issue raised by the hon. member.

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the minister tell us why the bank suddenly becomes an independent organization when it comes to preventing the squandering of public funds, but the Prime Minister felt free to press and intervene directly with the bank's president at the time to squelch the Auberge Grand-Mère issue?

Is that not a double standard?

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Yes, Mr. Speaker, this is clearly an independent agency of the government, a Crown corporation. It has its own powers, and managers report to the board of directors. The member will have to ask the president and the board of directors for details.

HealthOral Question Period

October 8th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Dr. Naylor said that the handling of SARS was a national embarrassment. That was what we said last spring.

In his report it states:

--Health Canada personnel...largely invisible [that is on page 31]...deficiencies in data acquisition and sharing [that is on page 201]...significant gaps and inconsistencies with respect to information on SARS [that is on page 202].

Will the minister finally apologize for her government's inadequacy in dealing with SARS?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am very amused, if not impressed, by the selective reading by the hon. member for Yellowhead of Dr. Naylor's report.

Let me focus on what Dr. Naylor said. He said that all levels of government need to work together to renew our public health infrastructure. I have made a commitment to Canadians on behalf of the government that that is exactly what we will do.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, 44 deaths is not light reading. I would like to quote from page 205 that says:

In 2002, Health Canada informed airport authorities that it would be transferring airport quarantine responsibilitiesto Canada Customs.

These Customs staff were never trained for the job. This comes right out of his report. Why were those Customs staff never trained to do the job?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we had quarantine officers on the ground in airports such as Vancouver and Toronto. There is no question that we are working closely with the CCRA to ensure that people receive the training that is required. We have already indicated that we will increase the number of quarantine officers we have, not only at airports but at ports.

Again, I think Dr. Naylor and his committee have made very sensible and responsible recommendations on which we as a government will be acting.

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, January 1, 2004, represents an important milestone in the trade and economic relationship between Canada, the United States and Mexico. This date marks the 10th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, making North America the largest free trade area, with about one-third of the world's GDP.

Could the Minister for International Trade advise the House of what is being done to ensure that the North American region remains the most dynamic in the world?