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House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the Alliance Party and its members actually understand that it was Liberal ministers who took this country from a $42 billion deficit into a surplus position and started to pay down the debt.

I wonder whether the hon. member understands that we have had six consecutive years of surplus while those Conservative governments and other countries have had continuously increasing debt and deficit. Does he understand that?

Canadian Television FundOral Question Period

February 20th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his budget the Minister of Finance announced the renewal of the Canadian television fund for two years, but for an annual sum of $75 million, while the minimum needed is $100 million.

How can the Minister of Justice, who is also the minister responsible for Quebec, say, according to The Gazette , that the Montreal economy will get a boost when the Canadian television fund was cut by 25%?

Canadian Television FundOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Laval East Québec

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian television fund was implemented in 1996 under an initiative by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Government of Canada is not the only contributor to this fund. The cable television and satellite broadcasting industries also contribute to it.

We are confident that the commitment by the Minister of Finance to renew the funding for two years will allow the fund to stay afloat, which is very good.

Canadian Television FundOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Claire Samson, president and CEO of the Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec said that she was extremely disappointed by the 25% cut. This represents a loss of roughly 200 hours of programming for Quebec and a few hundred direct and indirect jobs.

We are talking about 200 fewer hours of production. Is that a new way of stimulating Quebec's economy and production in Quebec and Canada?

Canadian Television FundOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Laval East Québec

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, I think that the Minister of Finance's commitment to give $75 million to the Fund over two years will guarantee a secure future and a bright future for Canadian programming production.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's political forces have expressed their opposition to the federal budget. The PQ's minister of finance, the leader of the ADQ and even the finance critic of Quebec's Liberal Party all expressed their total disapproval of the federal government's interference in provincial jurisdiction.

Why does the minister not trust the provinces to administer programs for health, families, social housing and education?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 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, two things. First, we have full confidence in our ability to establish cooperation with the provinces. That is what we have done in recent years in all of the areas the member mentioned.

Second, if he wants to know what Quebeckers think of the federal budget, he will find out during the next election.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the minister respected the provinces, he would give them the trust they deserve.

The Liberals' funding promises are packaged in a way that could be taken back in the next budget, or after the next election.

Why does the minister refuse to allocate funds in the form of additional tax points, which is the only way to guarantee stable and long-term funding for social programs?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 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, the hon. member's proposal would take away some $350 million from Pauline Marois, who is the minister of finance for Quebec.

Tax points are taken into account when calculating transfers to the provinces. This helps the have-not provinces. That is why tax points exist and the provinces must take this into consideration.

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Minister of Transport will forgive us our relentless desire to see an agreement finally reached on the completion of highway 30. Many rumours have been going around in the past few hours.

My question is very simple. Could the Minister of Transport confirm that the negotiations are progressing, and that an agreement on the completion of highway 30 can be expected very shortly? Is there finally reason to be optimistic about the completion of highway 30?

Highway InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I understand my hon. colleague's interest in the highway 30 issue. As I have explained on several occasions, this is a priority for the Government of Canada. We have offered $150 million so that the work can start sooner.

We are also working together with the infrastructure office and with the Province of Quebec to find a solution. I think one will soon be found.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, $753 million was spent over three years, supposedly to help the homeless. It could have helped build 30,000 homes for homeless people but it built none. Shelter space is no more than when the program began. The homeless count is up nationally by 40%. Transit stations were open for emergency shelter and a man died this winter in Red Deer.

This colossal failure to help the homeless is a shameful risk of human lives. Will the finance minister call for a review of the homeless funding wastage before committing more money?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the next day after the budget I received a call from the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities saying how happy he was that we had renewed the funding to homelessness. He represents every mayor and councillor in 61 communities. Community organizations in 61 communities have let me know how happy they were.

On Monday I opened Ron Kolbus House in Ottawa where there are 22 apartment units. We are helping the homeless and we will continue to help the homeless.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Well, the mayors are happy, Mr. Speaker, but are the homeless people happy?

Only a Liberal would applaud waste and three years of spending with no real improvements. Only Liberals would applaud the failure of one of its own ministers.

If the money did not create homes, more shelter space, and lower the homeless numbers, where did the $753 million go?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, how dare the hon. member talk about waste when he talks about homeless people.

I have two pages of funding that went to community based organizations in the hon. member's riding. It went to the Aboriginal Partners and Youth Society in the form of apartments, and the Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation in the form of transitional boarding houses. I have two pages.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois asked for a lower federal excise tax rate for microbreweries, to help them compete with large Canadian breweries and with foreign microbreweries. This measure was also recommended in the prebudget report of the Standing Committee on Finance.

The Minister of Finance chose to ignore the committee's unanimous recommendations. Could he tell us why?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I accepted two thirds of the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Finance, whether in whole or in part. I think that it is not so bad for the parliamentary committee.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, when a person moves between jobs the employer and employee begin paying a new set of payroll deductions. This results in overpayments to the Canada pension plan and employment insurance. Employees get their overpayments back at tax time but employers do not. This taxation by stealth costs businesses $750 million each year.

Why did the finance minister's budget fail to stop this unfair tax grab? Employees get their overpayments back, why do employers not?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I reviewed this issue with a number of representatives of small business who, by the way, have been expressing, quite clearly, their satisfaction with the budget of Tuesday where a number of measures were put forward that met their requests.

On this one, it is, at this point in time, rather difficult to contemplate what kind of system could repay employers without divulging information that is private with respect to the activities of their employees.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, an amount of $57 billion is needed to repair sewers, treat waste water, or develop public transit in our cities.

How can the Minister of Finance be taken seriously when he claims to want to improve the quality of life of Canadians if he only allocates $100 million, for one year, when $57 billion is needed?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am taking note of the hon. member's request that the federal government get involved in the jurisdictions of the other levels of government.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has promised for months to present an action plan on how he will fix the gun registry.

Are the people writing the action plan the same ones who ran up the registry's billion dollar debt? And, when will the minister table his action plan?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member had been following the file he would know exactly what we have been doing since the tabling of the Auditor General's report before Christmas.

We asked KPMG to table a report. As well, we asked Raymond Hession to table another report. At the present time we are looking at 16 recommendations in Mr. Hession's report.

The system is actually working. We have to improve the system to be more precise on the management side. We want to fix the problem. We will have a good gun control program in Canada for the safety of all Canadians.

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Canadian Alliance Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has repeatedly demonstrated to Canadians that it has become arrogant, self-serving and dictatorial. Now it is at it again.

We are witnessing the public spectacle of the government ramming agricultural policy down the throats of producers. The minister insists that his new agricultural policy framework must take effect on April 1 even though producer organizations across the country vigorously and unanimously oppose his arbitrary deadline.

If farm policy is for farmers, why is he ramming it through without their consent?