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House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the revenue minister is trying to claim that her department is proactive and that no money goes out if there is a suspicion of fraud. In British Columbia bags of GST money were walking out of the credit union. Terrorism could be involved.

Is the minister telling Canadians that $22 million went to British Columbia before there was any suspicion whatsoever of fraud?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the case that he is referring to came to our attention and action began in 1997. That case is presently before the courts and I would urge him not to prejudge, but let the courts do their job.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, her own department has said the money is gone and will never be recovered. It does not matter who is guilty. The money is gone.

The government has already admitted organized crime is defrauding Canadians of millions through the GST fraud. Now we learn that international terrorists might have discovered that there is free money in Canada when the Liberals are in charge.

Will the Prime Minister instruct the Solicitor General to order an investigation into how much has been lost to GST fraud by international organized crime and by international terrorists?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, my agency works very closely with the police, the RCMP and others. We bring every suspicion to court and charges are laid. If the member opposite has any information about any fraud I urge him to give it to the agency. We will investigate it and involve the RCMP. We are always pleased with our prosecution rate of success.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, true to form, the Minister of Industry is trying to evade the question by placing responsibility for the hike in gas prices on the Government of Quebec. However, the federal government is the one responsible for the Competition Act.

Does the minister understand that when oil and gas companies control gasoline from the wellhead to the pump and when they agree to deliberately create a shortage on the market, that is a sign that there is collusion and that competition has been eliminated. What will it take to get the minister to act?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the provinces have the constitutional power to regulate retail gasoline prices.

On the federal level, there is the Competition Bureau, but the problems described by the hon. member relate to retail gasoline prices. That is why I am saying that it is the provinces' responsibility.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, in anticipation of a war in Iraq, the oil and gas companies have deliberately decreased their inventory to create shortages and inflate refining costs.

Can the minister not compel the federal Competition Bureau to intervene on the grounds of anti-competitive acts in this sector?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, from time to time, the Competition Bureau has closely examined what is really happening in the oil and gas industry. But the fact is that we have not discovered any problems in this regard.

If the hon. member wants retail prices to be regulated, I suggest that he speak to the provincial government.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, Gary Webster was dumped last week as the CEO of the Canadian firearms registry.

As a reward for his mismanagement of the $1 billion firearms registry he received a soft landing and has been made a special adviser to Morris Rosenberg, the deputy minister of justice. Incredibly, Morris Rosenberg and 49 of his 52 executives received a performance bonus for wasting $1 billion on the registry.

My question to the Minister of Justice is, why are bureaucrats who have proven their incompetence rewarded with plum postings?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the whole group of people who have been working on the question of gun control, there are many people in the group who have been working hard and who have given our Canadian population their time and experience.

Members on the other side of the House do not believe in public safety. On this side of the House we believe in gun control. We believe in public safety and we will proceed with gun control because it is in the best interests of Canadians as a whole.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member for Leeds--Grenville said that the gun registry is no more complex than the income tax system. Coincidentally, Bill Baker, the new CEO of the firearms registry comes from the tax department where he was responsible for compliance. That is code for squeezing taxpayers till they squeak.

Now he will be setting his sights on duck hunters and farmers, and forcing them to sign up with the $1 billion firearms registry. We have hired a tax collector to run the firearms registry. Can duck hunters and farmers now expect to be squeezed till they squeak?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, members opposite should be open minded with Canadians and tell them the truth. The truth is that they do not believe in public safety. They do not support gun control at all, whether licensing or registration. What hon. members opposite do not like is that the government is heading in the right direction.

The Auditor General tabled her report, we accepted her recommendations, and we will fix the problems. Last week we received two reports. We said that we wanted to proceed with a good action plan, and this is exactly what the government will do.

Film IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the $5 billion Canadian film industry is facing a crisis. In B.C. last fall, where the industry accounts for almost $2 billion in revenue and over 25,000 jobs, union jobs dropped by 50%. The loss of tax deferral provisions has sent the film industry to Australia and Ireland where there are generous tax credits.

What is the Minister of Finance doing to ensure that Canada's job intensive film industry remains globally competitive?

Film IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the government understands the importance of the film and television industry for the Canadian economy, particularly in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

We are aware of the recent developments. That is the reason why the Minister of Finance has met with representatives of the film and television industry. The government continues to consult with industry representatives to ensure that support levels for the film industry address the changing market conditions.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

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

People from across Canada gathered this weekend in Ottawa for the people's summit on health care and they strongly supported a public, non-profit health care system.

Why is the Prime Minister, in his accord, turning over billions of dollars to the privatizing premiers like Klein, Campbell, Eves and Lord with no strings attached so they can spend it on corporate, for profit delivery of health care services? Why on earth did the Prime Minister push Don Mazankowski, king of the privatizers, to chair his new Canada health council?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the first time that we have had a program that has been initiated by the federal government where money is directly allocated for certain priorities in the health care system.

It has been agreed to by the premiers. They have all recognized, in the document that was discussed, that the five conditions of medicare cannot be changed and will remain with the public health system in the 10 provinces and three territories of our land.

Canadian International Development AgencyOral Question Period

February 10th, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week CIDA recognized Gildan Activewear with an international award for its excellence in social and ethical responsibility. Gildan is the same Montreal T-shirt company that began firing employees in Honduras last November for trying to bargain collectively. As a result of Gildan's union busting activities, the Quebec solidarity fund is rethinking its multimillion dollar investment in this outfit.

Will the minister responsible for CIDA rescind this award immediately and inform the House how this company ever was nominated in the first place?

Canadian International Development AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Essex Ontario

Liberal

Susan Whelan LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, in collaboration with CIDA, have been supporting the awards of excellence in Canadian private sector activities and developments since its inception in 1990.

Gildan Activewear won the award for the management of its plant in Honduras. Gildan Activewear has responded that these third party allegations are groundless, and according to Gildan the employees were let go because of seasonal variation in demand.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue has denied the claim that fraudulent use of the GST export tax credit has cost Canadians $1 billion, as the economists state. If she disagrees with that amount could she tell the House how much, in her view, GST fraud has cost Canadians above and beyond the cases that have come to court?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, once again we hear the number $1 billion, for which there is no evidence whatsoever. I say to the member opposite and to others that if they have any evidence of a number of that magnitude to bring it forward.

I would like to know where they get it from because there is no evidence to suggest that anything beyond the $25.4 million that the courts have identified over the last six years, and the cases that we have presently before the courts which have yet to be determined because they are before the courts, is the actual figure.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, recent news reports reveal the deeply troubling link between GST fraud and terrorist groups. The founder and chair of the board of the Khalsa Credit Union, where fraudulent GST credit cheques were cashed, is now in prison, a suspect in the 1985 Air India bombing.

Could the minister tell the House how many other cases are being investigated by her department which suggest that terrorist groups may be using GST fraud to fund their networks?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the member and any other interested member to attend the court and hear the evidence before they jump to conclusions. Let the courts do the work.

However there are some interesting and important statistics. We collect almost $30 billion in GST. Last year the work of the 5,000 auditors and 1,000 investigators resulted in an additional $850 million in GST revenue. We are always on the lookout for fraud, but members must admit, they are doing a good job.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, seven bureaucrats will be under RCMP investigation for the Liberal sponsorship fiasco. Presumably they could be held responsible for those crooked contracts, but this would mean that the Liberals now reject the concept of ministerial responsibility. We know these public servants did not benefit from the slush fund like the Liberal Party did.

If the minister really wants to get to the bottom of the mess, he has to look a little higher up the ladder. Instead of blaming bureaucrats, will the government now recall Alfonso Gagliano to explain what really went on?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. This specific review relates to the administration of the sponsorship program. There are other measures being taken, including a review by the Auditor General of over 700 files, as well as reviews ongoing by the RCMP on a broader scope.

I am confident that we will all get to the bottom of this at the completion of the reviews.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, everybody remembers that 10 years ago the Liberals' campaign red book promised ministerial accountability and transparency in government. Apparently the Prime Minister vowed at that time he would hold his ministers responsible when things like this went wrong, but I guess he did not mean wrong for taxpayers.

The sponsorship program was set up to reward the Liberal supporters with taxpayer money. That is how it worked. Gagliano claimed he did what he was told, just a good little soldier. We have to believe anybody under him was following the same marching orders.

Will the minister now admit that he will never get answers to what went wrong until he asks the guy who was giving the orders?