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

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is still no accountability in the latest health accord and public funds continue to pay for the privatization of health care. Indeed, on page 37 of this year's income tax guide, expenses can now be claimed for staying in a licensed private hospital.

Will the acting prime minister explain why, instead of dedicating all of the $1.5 billion on diagnostic equipment like CAT scans and MRIs, federal taxpayers will almost certainly end up buying more icemakers, floor scrubbers, delivery trucks, sewing machines and lawnmowers for certain provinces?

HealthOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in the last agreement with the provinces, it was agreed that we would have rules of accountability that would be much stronger than in the past. We are very confident that at the end of the day the great announcement that we have equipment will be good for all Canadians.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Solicitor General confirmed that the RCMP had conducted an investigation which related to the treason charges against the leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe. These charges could result in the death penalty. The Solicitor General also confirmed that the information had been given to the Department of Foreign Affairs, but he did not confirm that this crucial information had been sent to Zimbabwe.

Will the Solicitor General commit to send this information to the defence counsel in Zimbabwe like he would if this trial was in Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know, and I checked with the department this morning, that these materials were given to our department some time this month. On February 20 they were forwarded to our high commission in Zimbabwe for transfer to the defence counsel for the accused. We have provided to the accused all information which we can possibly do under Canadian law. We have forwarded it to them.

We certainly sympathize with the prosecution. We do not agree with that prosecution and will do everything we can to help the defence of the leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe.

Drugs and PharmaceuticalsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, recent news reports reveal that the tax evasion office of Revenue Quebec is preparing to launch an investigation into an alleged discount scheme involving generic drug companies and the province's pharmacists. Those same reports reveal that such practices, which may well be keeping drug prices unnecessarily high, might be going on across Canada.

Will the Minister of National Revenue tell the House whether her department is aware of the issue and is she contemplating following Quebec's lead and launching her own investigation?

Drugs and PharmaceuticalsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, while I cannot comment on individual cases, I can tell the member that we work very closely with the provinces and that whenever evidence is brought forward of non-compliance or inappropriate activity, action is taken.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue has said that the total of GST fraud which had been identified was $60 million. Let us see if that is correct. She said that $25 million had been lost to previous cases and about $75 million was currently before the courts. That seems to equal $100 million. Clearly she does not know what the real amount is or she is afraid to tell Canadians how much has been stolen.

When will the minister end her creative accounting practices and give an accurate report to Parliament and Canadians?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the member opposite that everything that I have said in the House has been completely accurate. I look forward to appearing at committee toward the end of March so that I can explain more fully, in a way that perhaps he will understand, the situation which has existed since the Conservative Party brought in the GST.

We have received in revenues over $500 billion. As I told him, confirmed by the courts to this point in time there have been $60 million attributed to fraud.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have been down this path before. For years, ministers of the government withheld the true cost of the firearms registry from Parliament.

The Minister of National Revenue seems to agree that what Canadians do not know cannot harm the Liberals. Before the minister appears before the public accounts committee, will she reveal the true cost of the GST fraud to Parliament?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, let me be really clear. I said to the members opposite that it is fraud when the courts say it is fraud. That is the number that I provided for the House. I went all the way back to 1991. I say to them, prove some evidence, bring forward some evidence to suggest it is a billion dollar number. There is nothing to suggest that is correct.

There has been $550 billion collected and to this point in time the courts have determined that the total GST fraud in Canada, which I agree is a lot of money, is $60 million.

Oil and Gas PricesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, every time we raise the issue of the cost of heating oil, the Minister of Industry tells us that he cannot intervene because he needs to respect provincial areas of jurisdiction.

Can he explain to us how this situation is any different than in October 2000, when the government did intervene, announcing that it was sending out cheques to everybody? Is the difference that oil cost 10¢ less a litre at that time, or did an impending election have something to do with it?

Oil and Gas PricesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the tax cut that Canadians received was a $100 billion worth, the largest tax cut in Canadian history. It has brought about tax relief to the average family of approximately 27%.

It might not be good news for the opposition but it is certainly good news for the people of Canada.

Oil and Gas PricesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of making ironic comments, I think the minister needs to face up to his responsibilities and demand an investigation by the Competition Bureau. Otherwise we will be forced to conclude that the minister is thumbing his nose at the public. Will the minister tell us which it is?

Oil and Gas PricesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, 18 months ago, the Competition Bureau carried out a thorough investigation. It concluded that there is no collusion between the oil and gas companies. In the weeks to come, the Standing Committee on Industry will be looking into this as well. In the meantime, if the hon. member wants to see retail price control, that is up to the provinces.

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, with war looming, the smallpox threat has never been greater and that is why the United States is aggressively proceeding with its vaccination programs.

Reports have it that our government has not yet ordered or made a deal for the 10 million new doses. I have a very simple question. When will the deal be signed and when will the first order be filled?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, my department is responsible for the purchase of the vaccine. The government will indeed be procuring 10 million doses of smallpox vaccine from a Canadian supplier for use in the case of an emergency. The contract will also contain the necessary options to procure more if that is necessary, and the negotiations are indeed underway.

Human RightsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable that the government waffles and dodges as it has been doing since last October. The opportunity was there in October for Canada to speak out on behalf of oppressed people in Iran.

Nothing was said to, or about, the regime that buries women up to their necks and stones them to death. We are approaching another deadline this March when the Human Rights Commission will meet again in Geneva.

What message on behalf of outraged Canadians does the government intend to take to Geneva next month to halt the atrocities against Iranian people?

Human RightsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member's description of these events as being horrible and unacceptable in a civilized country's behaviour. We brought this to the attention of the Iranian government. We will continue to raise these matters at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, as we have done in the past.

I assure the House and the hon. member that when we meet with our Iranian counterparts, if we have any discussions with them, we raise our human rights concerns with them. These are actively pursued by our government. We believe strongly in pursuing them internationally and bilaterally with Iran.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

February 28th, 2003 / 11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. The commissioner of the environment recently released a report stating that there are literally thousands of contaminated federally owned sites across the country.

Could the minister tell us when we will see some action on this file? Has his department had a chance to review it and what can he tell us today?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the commissioner issued a report on contaminated sites. Therefore, in partial response, the budget has included $175 million over two years, which is an indication of our determination to deal with the issue. That is in addition to the $100 million that is spent annually prior to this money.

I can report to the House that today in Sydney, Nova Scotia the Deputy Prime Minister announced that the federal government would be supporting the cleanup of the Sydney tar ponds with financial support up to the federal share.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada reports that auto theft has been increasing for years. The annual cost to Canadians is at least $600 million.

The police and the courts need help to investigate and prosecute organized auto theft rings. The Criminal Code does not specifically address vehicle identification numbers. This creates a giant loophole for organized crime. Tampering with a vehicle identification number must be made a criminal offence. Police have said so for years.

Is the Minister of Justice even aware of this loophole and when is he going to close it?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows very well, we are in touch with members of the justice departments from across Canada with regard to the Criminal Code.

He knows as well that we are planning to move ahead with reform of the Criminal Code. We will proceed in stages of course. Each and every time that there is something in regard to the Criminal Code, we address those questions around the table at the federal-provincial meetings that we have. Therefore, we will have a look into that.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Canadian Alliance Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, according to the latest spending estimates, the Canadian firearms program will be spending yet another $21.5 million to develop a new computer system. This is in addition to a $35 million contract with CGI Group Inc. for a new off-the-shelf system. The justice department had already paid $400 million to EDS. It modified that some 12,000 times before deciding to ditch it.

Did EDS compete with CGI in a public tendering for this new off-the-shelf system?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I just do not know why they keeping asking questions on that notion of gun control. First, they should listen to the Canadian people. The polls that we have seen lately tell us exactly where they are, and they strongly support the gun control program that we put in place back in 1995.

As well, they should start to look at the statistics. They should listen to what stakeholders have said over the past few days. However, when they have a colleague such as the member for Yorkton—Melville saying that gun control will result in more crime, more injuries and more death of course we cannot support--

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Verchères—Les-Patriotes.