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

Topics

IraqOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we were here in the House the other night when our government made it clear where we have been. We have been clearly in favour of peace from the start, but we have also recognized, like others, that the best way to peace is to make sure that Saddam Hussein is disarmed, and disarmed within the context of the United Nations system that has been put there to ensure the peace of the world, and we continue that. It is a solid policy, it is the best policy, and it is the one that is best assured for peace and for the security of not only the United States but Canada and other countries in the world as well.

IraqOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the consequences of refusing to stand for peace will be catastrophic. If the U.S. goes to war in Iraq, the UN predicts 500,000 Iraqi casualties. Some 500,000 civilians will need emergency treatment and 400,000 citizens will become diseased.

Canadian doctor Eric Hoskins' international study team reminds us that the death rate among Iraqi children is already two and a half times greater than before the 1991 gulf war.

Would the Prime Minister at the very least agree to grant a vote in the House before another war is inflicted on Iraqi children?

IraqOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I explained to hon. members on Friday that we have had debates in every single instance of deployment since 1993. Before that there was no acceptable formula. We have done so.

I am already negotiating with some House leaders about having yet another debate on this very important issue.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture has 60 days to develop a replacement safety net program for an industry that is on life support.

He has bullied and intimidated the provincial ministers into accepting his destructive vision for agriculture, but farmers are not buying what he is selling. They want the minister to hold off and maintain the existing programs for one year.

Why will the minister not do what farmers want him to do?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I find this very interesting coming from an hon. member who has stood in his place for a considerable period of time wanting the government to work with the provinces and the industry to fix the system that is there at the present time and not working as well as it could or as it should.

We have been doing that and working with everyone for 18 months. As a result of a federal-provincial ministers meeting the other day, all of the ministers in the country with the exception of one, and even that exception says its wants to continue to move forward and improve our business risk management support to our producers in Canada, agreed with the communiqué saying that we are going in the right direction and that we need to and will have that completed by April 1, so that farmers know and can plan with what support is there from the government for next year.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is living in a dream world. Believe me, the stakeholders and the farmers are pulling away from the minister and his APF vision. As a matter of fact, one of the planks is going to be crop insurance. Farmers are going to be asked to pay 30% more for less coverage.

Why does the minister think that these programs are going to be accepted by the farmers, who right now are not going to buy into that program because of extra cost and less coverage? Why?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's statement regarding the support for crop insurance is absolutely false. That is not the discussion that is taking place.

What we are saying is that the federal government will give the same level of support to crop insurance, and the provinces will give the same level to crop insurance across this country for basic crop insurance.

If a province wants to build upon that on its own, it can do so, but we will be maintaining in the future the level of support from the federal government to crop insurance that we have in the past, and that has been worked out with the provinces and with the producers for many, many years.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the gun registry is a billion dollar garbage collection system. Two years ago, documents from the minister's own department predicted that it was going to take 8.8 years to register all the firearms accurately.

Last August, documents from the minister's own department showed that three-quarters of the firearms registration certificates had blanks and unknown entries. More than 800,000 had been issued without any serial numbers.

How long is it going to take to go back and correct all these mistakes and how much is that going to cost the Canadian taxpayer?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member is talking about is the question of the quality of the data. We are aware of that and the RCMP as well is aware of that. It has invested in technology and in training as well in order to make sure that we will keep having very good data, which is important for our gun control system.

The member said that the gun control policy is not good. I just would like to say that it is a valid and important tool for our Canadian society, and that again we must bear in mind as well that we are talking about public safety. We can look at what stakeholders have said over the past few weeks. People are asking the government to keep proceeding with the policy, and this is exactly what we are going to do. We will fix the problems that we have seen in the Auditor General's report.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the gun registry simply does not work. It has already cost Canadian taxpayers well in excess of $1 billion, with another eight years to register all firearms and another billion dollars to fix this registry mess. When will the government finally admit that the system is a failure and just scrap it?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there is a question of good faith here. The hon. member should recognize that the policy of gun control is a good and valid policy that works in this country and elsewhere. Gun control exists in other countries in the world.

In terms of licences, about two million people have a licence. In terms of registered firearms, we now have close to six million registered firearms. Of course there are problems with the management. I have already said that we will table the two reports, one from KPMG and the other from Mr. Hession, this afternoon. We will move quickly to make sure we have a good tool for public safety.

Seal HuntOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans just announced that the seal hunt quota will allow for a significant number of seals to be caught, a decision that we have been awaiting for a long time now.

Does the minister plan on distributing this 350,000 annual seal quota fairly across the eastern regions of Canada?

Seal HuntOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to advise members that we will be using a management regime, like last year. We will be flexible, depending on the weather and market conditions, to ensure that everyone in the Atlantic region who wants to participate will be able to benefit from this economic opportunity.

Seal HuntOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, because of its geographic location, it is difficult for the people of the Lower North Shore to access a sufficient share of the quota. Will the minister agree to setting aside 10% for the exclusive use of the Lower North Shore?

Seal HuntOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the member's question involves details, and I am unable to respond in terms of exact percentages. I can assure the member that there will be a fair distribution and we will use flexible management criteria to ensure that everyone benefits from the opportunity.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has been warned on numerous occasions of major GST fraud.

The first warning came from foreign tax specialists at a 1994 conference on the subject, and the Auditor General reiterated this more recently in 1999. We have learned that the government's refusal to heed these warnings is costing the taxpayers $1 billion yearly.

Why has the government ignored all these warnings?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite keeps repeating a number that is clearly false and which has no foundation.

I have given him the facts. Last year the courts determined that $25 million was lost to GST fraud. I am pleased to tell him today that last year we actually recouped $850 million because of the expertise of our auditors who go after those who do not properly pay their GST.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, that clearly is still not attributable to just GST. That is the fraud in general. She has used those figures before.

The government's refusal to heed the warnings has made it complicit in the crimes of those who are bilking Canadians of billions of dollars in GST rebates. In fact, it took the parliamentary secretary on Friday to confirm that the government has known all along that drug dealers, gun dealers and organized crime have been abusing the system.

Why did the minister do nothing to stop this? Do we have to wait for her parliamentary secretary before we get a straight answer again?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we do not currently have any GST cases in court that involve traditional organized crime. We do have a special enforcement unit, comprised of some 175 investigators, assigned specifically to organized criminal activity, all kinds of fraud.

I have been clear in the past but let me say once again that if we identify fraud we do not discriminate, we prosecute. We are doing our job.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow and Wednesday the Prime Minister and the premiers will meet in what could become an historical conference on the future of our health care. Canadians will hear their leaders talk about values and proper access to quality health care. I wish to raise an issue that has received far too little attention.

How does the Minister of Health plan to ensure that the anglophone minority in Quebec and the francophone minority in the other provinces and the territories will receive the same access to quality health care as other Canadians?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important question.

Let me reassure everyone that the Government of Canada is committed to working with our partners in linguistic minority communities to improve access to health care services. We have been consulting with francophone and anglophone communities on measures to address their health care needs. I want to thank everyone who has participated in those consultations.

We have reallocated within our department funding from the primary health care transition fund to improve primary health care services and delivery to minority language communities. Also, I am working very closely with my colleague, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, on an action plan for official languages to fulfill our government's--

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Elk Island.

TaxationOral Question Period

February 3rd, 2003 / 2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1970 about 3.5% of our economy was underground. Now it is 16%. This costs Canadians about $44 billion per year in lost revenue. High income taxes, punitive payroll taxes, EI premiums, CPP premiums, GST, excessive regulations and the high costs of filing all of those reports has driven too many businesses underground.

What steps are being taken to ensure that honest taxpayers will not be stuck with the tab for this?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency takes the concern about the underground economy very seriously, notwithstanding the fact that some of my colleagues joke that Canada is the mining capital of the world and that underground activities are very important to our economy.

We do, however, in all seriousness, have working groups with interested parties that are conducting pilot projects in areas of the economy of particular concern because our goal is to see that everyone pays their fair share of taxes in the country.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that honest, law-abiding citizens are picking up the tab for others who are breaking the law: $44 billion per year, the same amount as we spend on interest on our debt.

I ask again, what specific measures will the minister and the government take to stop this fraud?