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 #59 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Oak Ridges Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as we know, fuel taxes go into general revenue. If there are concerns about the price of gasoline, that is a provincial responsibility. In 1975 the Bill Davis government, instead of raising it 5¢ a gallon immediately, put in a 90 day cap. Therefore, constitutionally, this lies with the provinces. If the member is concerned, she should phone her premier.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is strange that the GST is federal.

Canadian families are paying more taxes than ever before. Home heating and transportation costs are hitting record levels. Gas and fuel taxes are too high for Canadian families.

When will the government reduce fuel taxes so Canadians can run their businesses and keep their families warm?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Oak Ridges Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government needs no lectures from the other side on tax reduction. The government has continued to reduce both personal taxes, corporate taxes, and again I would point out the large portion of provincial sales taxes. If members want to see a freeze in the price they need to talk to their premiers.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, we have seen an intolerable increase in the price of gas and heating oil.

We know that the provinces are responsible for retail prices and the federal government is responsible for competition. The public expects each to do their job.

Will the Minister of Industry assume his responsibilities, like his Liberal colleague who joins us in denouncing the odour of collusion in the oil industry, and will he conduct an investigation instead of just grandstanding in the House?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Competition Bureau monitors the activities of the companies in this matter continuously.

I cannot agree to the Bloc's proposal to interfere in an exclusively provincial jurisdiction. The Constitution of Canada makes it clear that only the provinces can regulate the retail price of gas.

I cannot agree to the Bloc's proposal. The provinces must be allowed to exercise their powers.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, if the minister were on top of this issue, he would know that it is not at the retail stage, but at the refinery level that competition is breaking down.

All the profits are made by a small group of oil companies that agree on the same profit margin at the same time.

Will the minister admit that the ball is in his court?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Competition Bureau closely reviewed all these circumstances in the past. We continue to monitor the situation.

Nonetheless, regulating retail gas prices comes under provincial jurisdiction. I refuse to centralize all the powers in Ottawa. That would be unacceptable. The provinces have their own role in the federation. This is a provincial responsibility.

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, heightened security and the soon to be imposed 24 hour notification requirement threaten to shatter businesses and industry and in particular our auto industry.

Yesterday, the Government of Ontario warned that U.S. based parent firms will start moving their existing Ontario auto plants to the United States and stop building new plants here in Canada unless goods continue to flow freely across the border.

Has the government received an exemption from this 24 hour notice? Yes or no.

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows there have been a number of proposals and discussions that have not yet been determined finally.

What has been determined is that the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada stood together and said they were not going to allow terrorists to win by shutting down our economies. It is the their goal and ours to work together to have the smartest border possible so that the economies of both of our countries can continue to prosper.

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I must conclude from that non-answer that it is a no.

The government might as well post a closed for business sign on the 49th parallel. In Ontario alone up to one million jobs depend on cross-border trade. The U.S. government has made it clear that pre-notification is coming. The government must convince our major trading partner that Canada is not a security risk.

What is the government doing to ensure that a system of pre-notification will be up and running before security threats shut down our border, harm our industries, and our jobs here in Canada?

TradeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

I will tell you what I am not going to do, Mr. Speaker. I am not going to take any lectures from the member opposite.

In fact, since September 11, 2001, we all know that the world has changed and we have been working very hard on this side of the House to ensure that the border is a priority, and that it functions in a smart and effective way. There are some people who are busy reading the clips trying to send out information that we are not doing that.

However, together with our American partners we are determined, even through this difficult time and while there may be some temporary delays, to keep that border functioning as best as it can.

Journée internationale de la FrancophonieOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 20, Canada will celebrate the Journée internationale de la Francophonie.

Can the Secretary of State responsible for the Francophonie tell us what special plans he has in store for us on this special day?

Journée internationale de la FrancophonieOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa) (Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, Canada will be hosting His Excellency Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and former Secretary General of the United Nations, who is coming to help us celebrate the Journée internationale de la Francophonie on March 20.

I invite all the hon. members to join us in celebrating this special day. I would add that Canada will be honouring one of the most eminent diplomats of our times and celebrating its sustained efforts to promote Canadian principles and values: the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights.

Air IndiaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, Inderjit Singh Reyat pleaded guilty this week to his role in the 1985 Air India bombing, Canada's worst mass murder. It is an insult to the families of the 329 victims that he killed that he was sentenced to just five years.

Now we learn he is due to be transferred to the minimum security Ferndale Institution in my riding, also known as “Club Fed”. Not only will he be doing soft time for this heinous crime, but he will be eligible for parole in 10 months.

How can the Minister of Justice possibly defend a system that could see this mass murderer back on the streets by next year?

Air IndiaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there are two points that the member is absolutely incorrect on.

He talks about a “Club Fed”; there is no such thing as a “Club Fed” in the system. I know members opposite like to believe in fairy stories, but that is in fact true.

The fact of the matter is that eligibility for parole does not mean release on parole. It is a date at which the Parole Board has a statutory requirement to hear the case. The decision will be made by the Parole Board.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we do not believe in fairy tales or the Easter bunny.

Earlier in question period the Minister of Justice was up bragging about his unfinished, error prone, and billion dollar gun registry. How could he justify quietly funneling millions of dollars more into this system when his own colleagues say it is a contempt of this House?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this issue is before the Speaker for a ruling. We contend on our side of the House that nothing has been breached.

The hon. member now is contesting that something has been breached. That discussion took place yesterday. We will wait for the Speaker's ruling which we will respect. I only hope that he and his colleagues will as well.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue has just stated in the House that she could not confirm or deny whether a tax rebate plan of up to $60 million to save the Ottawa Senators hockey team was in the works.

Is the minister telling us that her government could hand $60 million over to the Senators without anyone being the wiser? Is that what she is doing behind our backs while hiding behind the confidentiality of tax matters?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has a very long record of integrity and confidentiality provisions when it comes to taxpayer information. Any information on rulings that have been requested by any taxpayer are confidential. I cannot even tell the House whether a ruling has been requested by any taxpayer.

What I can tell the member opposite, as I have previously said and I will say it again because it is extremely important, there is no political inference. As minister I do not interfere in these decisions. They are professional decisions and they apply the law.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct a question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. When can Canadians expect his department, when handling passports, to return to the 45 day guarantee?

We have had people inquiring about their passports being delayed 60 days. When can he expect to have his department back to normal in order to guarantee Canadians a 45 day return?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I tried to answer the question yesterday. I appreciate the member's concern and the concern of Canadians about the service we are trying to give them through the passport office.

As I told the House yesterday, increased security measures together with an unforeseen volume have given us problems. I have addressed this by bringing in more people to get the backlog worked out. I sent all members a statement from the department as to how we can get the backlog down. I expect and hope it will be down to at least a month within the next month, but it is very hard to deal with an issue that is overwhelming by its complexity and nature.

I apologize to members. We are working--

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurentides.

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the labour disputes at Cargill, Vidéotron and Radio-Nord are reducing hundreds of families to poverty, the federal government continues to support the use of scabs. But there is worse still. The Minister of Labour claims that employees do not want antiscab provisions included in the Canada Labour Code, which is totally false.

How can the Minister of Labour make such comments when, in a brief tabled on November 20, 1995, during the review of part I of the Canada Labour Code, the FTQ used four full pages to demonstrate that it is absolutely necessary to have antiscab provisions?

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in the case of Cargill and Vidéotron, I am pleased to say that the two sides are now negotiating.

As for the issue of replacement workers, when part I of the Canada Labour Code was drafted, workers wanted one thing, while employers wanted another. Therefore, a compromise was reached. That compromise satisfies both sides, but it remains a compromise.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

February 13th, 2003 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in what could only be described as a political death wish, British Columbia's Liberal premier is raising gas taxes by 3.5¢. While the NDP is putting forward meaningful proposals to bring stability to fuel costs, the Alliance-Liberal cabal is assisting Canadians by raising taxes.

Canadians instinctively know they are being gouged by high fuel prices and the Minister of Industry said it is not within the federal jurisdiction. Under the Competition Act, a complaint to the tribunal should be referred to an energy commission with special expertise.

Would he agree that it should be--