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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was life.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey Ontario

Liberal

Murray Calder LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. What the minister is negotiating right now is a long term solution. If in fact there were going to be an export tax it would be a bridging mechanism only.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, rumours are circulating that the government intends to open the door to a new regime that would be applied differently in each province.

Can the government tell us if there is any truth to these rumours?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey Ontario

Liberal

Murray Calder LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the situation is going to be very simply this: Canada, and the minister is down there right now, is negotiating the best position we can get, and quite frankly we are going to make sure that all provinces are treated equally.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the justice minister tabled the 27 page version of the Hession report in Parliament. Then I found out that the media received an additional 65 page report containing all the financial information Mr. Hession used to prepare his report and recommendations.

Why does the justice minister persist in hiding key information and keeping Parliament in the dark? Why?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I must say that the hon. member is keeping himself in the dark.

I said yesterday that obviously he did not go to the briefing session and it shows even more today. We have tabled two reports, two very important reports, in order to prepare our plan of action. The report which was produced at the briefing session and which the media have had access to, and other members of Parliament as well, is a report which has been used as a backgrounder to prepare Mr. Hession's report.

He called the department yesterday and received a copy. I guess he finally has read the press release.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, one of the Auditor General's biggest complaints about the gun registry issue was that Parliament was kept in the dark. After her report was released, the minister promised to be open and transparent.

The 65 page report was released to the media but was not tabled in this House.

How can Canadians trust the minister when he deliberately withholds important information concerning the future costs of this billion dollar boondoggle?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I did not have to table those two reports in the House. I did it because I want to work in a very transparent way. I did it because I want to work with parliamentarians in order to make sure that all together we produce a good plan of action.

If he would have done his homework, he would have been at the briefing session and would have had access to the documents that have been used by the media.

The problem is that they do not believe in gun control and they do not believe in public safety. On this side of the House we believe in gun control and public safety and we will proceed with that program. We will fix it once and for all.

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, a merger of the major Canadian banks will have a direct impact on the public, given the scope of the economic and social issues involved. In the Standing Committee on Finance, many witnesses have called for a careful examination of consumer services in order to ensure that consumers do not bear the brunt of such a merger.

Does the Minister of Finance agree that it would be in the public interest for any planned bank mergers to always be submitted to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny, contrary to the recommendation of the Senate committee last December?

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I raised this matter not only in the Senate committee but also in the House committee, because I want to have their opinions. I will be delighted to examine their report carefully once it is ready.

Second, House committees are always entitled to examine any matter they wish.

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reduction in competition and the fate of the communities and bank staff involved in mergers also need to be addressed.

With a view to transparency, does the minister plan to implement a mechanism for local public consultations when planned mergers would bring about branch closures, before any planned closure occurs?

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the finance committee so recommends, I will certainly consider it. I should also point out that anything to do with competition is a matter that needs to be addressed by the Commissioner of Competition.

Social Insurance NumbersOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, time and time again the government has dropped the ball on securing our social insurance number network and system. HRDC has admitted that a $2.3 million student loan and tax scam involving 68 fraudulent social insurance numbers could potentially be linked to terrorism.

The Auditor General warned us last fall about the existence of five million extra social insurance numbers on cards floating around in Canada. That door is wide open to further abuse.

The department is completely unwieldy and the minister has zero control over it. Why is she jeopardizing our security by allowing identity theft of SIN cards?

Social Insurance NumbersOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member of what the department is doing to secure the integrity of the social insurance number.

First and foremost, since 1998 we have had an integrity improvement program in place. We have more than tripled the number of investigations that are undertaken. In the year 2000, the Auditor General recognized this integrity program and saluted the department for it.

More recently, the Auditor General has asked us to increase the pace of that implementation. We are doing that, and I have made clear in the House three new additional requirements associated with the integrity of social insurance numbers.

Social Insurance NumbersOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have gone from a six point plan down to a new three point plan and it does not seem to be a terrific success. This system has been abused and the minister cannot reassure Canadians, regardless of what she has attempted, that their identity systems are in fact secure.

Even after two years of departmental investigation into the student loan and tax fraud, the minister has done precious little to improve that security. Her department itself admits that there are loopholes in government programs which allow such fraud and identity theft to continue.

When will she stop talking and start plugging these holes?

Social Insurance NumbersOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is just plain wrong. As I said, since 1998 we have been working to increase and improve the integrity of the social insurance system.

I have announced, and it is very clearly understood, the three new regulatory measures that have and will additionally add to the integrity of that system, but one thing is clear, whenever the department receives information about fraudulent use of the social insurance number we investigate. We work with the appropriate authorities and we prosecute those who are proven to be responsible.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, since 1999 Canada has been holding ministerial consultations with Mexico regarding a complaint received in 1998 under the labour side agreement to NAFTA. The complaint, known as CAN 98-1, argued that workers in Mexico were not guaranteed the right of secret ballot votes during union drives.

I would ask the minister to inform the House of the outcome of these discussions.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that following several face to face meetings, my Mexican counterpart and I have concluded our consultations on this issue.

The Mexican government recently submitted a labour reform bill to Congress which will include mandatory secret ballots during union representation elections.

I would like to congratulate the staff of the labour program and our Canadian unions, both of which have worked very hard on this difficult file.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister about a grave threat to Canada's public health care system.

Today we learned that Don Mazankowski, who was the privatization minister under Brian Mulroney and the director of several private insurance companies, may chair the proposed Canada health care council. Does the government not understand that the appointment of Don Mazankowski, who is king of the privatizers, would be another step on the road to the dismantling of Canada's public medicare system?

Why will the government not stand up to the privatizing provinces and join with Lorne Calvert and Gary Doer in saying no to this outrageous appointment?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am stunned that he would raise this, because I know that the former deputy prime minister holds the member in such high regard.

The first ministers are still meeting. We are not at the point of determining today who is on or who is chairing such a council.

FisheriesOral Question Period

February 5th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Last summer British Columbia fishermen in coastal communities lost over $240 million of economic opportunity to capture the millions of fish that came back up the rivers. The reason was that regional DFO managers were not allowed to make decisions that would greatly affect and help these people.

My question to the minister is this. Will he now allow regional DFO managers to make decisions that will benefit west coast commercial fishermen and aboriginal groups?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, last year was one of the most successful seasons we have had on that coast in a long time. It perhaps could have been better. I am concerned with the fact that maybe we were unable to make decisions as fast as we could have. I met with all the groups that the member mentioned. I asked for a post-season review to be conducted. All those groups got together and are putting together recommendations that should be presented to me this year.

That being said, I should also say that the management of those stocks on the west coast is very difficult because there are some low abundant stocks that are mixed with high abundant stocks. Last year there was a great return for the high abundant stocks and, for the first year in many, a low pre-spawn mortality, which is a good harbour for the future.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Media reports published this morning suggest that in the event of a war against Iraq the Canadian government would send our troops to Afghanistan to relieve American soldiers. Only eight months ago we were unable to sustain a deployment of 750 ground troops for more than a single rotation.

Is this actually the government's plan? If so, where does the minister expect to find the manpower resources to replace our American allies?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly true that when the 800 soldiers returned from Afghanistan last summer we held open the possibility that they might return there at some point in the future. Our commitment to the war on terrorism has never been in doubt, so the military, as militaries do, is making contingency plans in terms of various possibilities in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the world. That is normal, but no decision has been made.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, even though the Minister for International Trade for months and months has said he would never adopt an export tax solution to the softwood lumber issue, this morning we received a copy of his own working papers that he is using in Washington. Line 1 states:

When the agreement comes into force Canada will collect an...export tax on softwood lumber exported to the United States.

If the government is finally adopting an export tax solution, why did it wait for thousands of B.C. jobs to be lost? Why did the government send over $1 billion to the United States that could have been kept here for health care? Why is there no recognition of the unique circumstances of the independent lumber remanufacturers?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey Ontario

Liberal

Murray Calder LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, if the member had really read that article he would have found that the minister said first that they were going to work with a long term solution, and if they needed a bridging mechanism like an export tax that is what they would be using.