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

Topics

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the government has an attitude of gratitude for those individuals who contribute to the public policy process of the government. The budget more than doubles, from $600 million in 1996 to $1.3 billion, annually the tax relief for persons with disabilities.

We have a new child disability benefit of $1,600, which will help over 40,000 families with children who are disabled. As well, we have established a technical advisory committee to review tax measures for persons with disabilities. It is clear to me that the government not only listens but also acts.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the situation at American-Canadian border crossings is getting worse with the tightened security measures from the United States. We are seeing traffic tie-ups and delays threatening businesses and putting municipalities in very tenuous situations. We know right now that the Deputy Prime Minister said we are entering a period of some uncertainty. The municipalities are already reacting by putting emergency measure plans in place. What we do know for certain is that they will be incurring more costs.

The government does not have a good record with municipalities, but will it show leadership right now and will the Prime Minister support financially those municipalities that will have to face the cost coverages for these emergency measure plans?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I have some information that I would like to share with the member regarding the situation at the border.

Ambassador Bridge is one of our busiest and very important commercial border crossings. He might want to know, and the members of the House might want to know, that at the Ambassador Bridge there were 15-minute delays yesterday and there was a consistent 120-minute delay all day today. At the Windsor-Detroit tunnel there was a 5-minute delay yesterday evening, 45-minute delays at 8 a.m., and 30-minute delays since then.

We have been working very closely with the Americans to ensure that commerce keeps moving as best it can during this stressful and difficult time.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not reply at all to the member's question.

Not only are border communities facing enormous difficulties, but individual Canadians are facing harassment, racial profiling registration, and now the new visa requirements by the U.S. Even Canadian citizens who cross the border daily to go to work in the U.S. are facing interrogation when they return by Canadian officials no less.

I want to ask the Prime Minister: Why is the Canadian government not standing up for the rights of these Canadians and making it clear that we will not tolerate state sanctioned racial profiling and harassment of Canadian citizens and residents?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of National Revenue pointed out, these are stressful times. The point is that we work in stressful times together with our American colleagues to solve these problems. At every level of government, whether it is the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary Ridge, Secretary Powell and myself, or any other of our counterparts, every minister in the government works with his or her counterpart in the American administration.

We are reducing delays and friction at the border. We have the best relationship with the American government than any other country in the world. We will continue to work on that and we will assure it for the benefit of Canadians.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

March 19th, 2003 / 2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Last February, David Lutz, a Hampton, New Brunswick, lawyer told all his staff to become members of the Liberal Party to protect his firm's lucrative contract with the federal Department of Justice. In a memo to staff, of which I have a copy, Mr. Lutz wrote:

...our number one client here is the Federal Department of Justice. We keep this business as long as John and I maintain high profiles in party activities.

I ask the Prime Minister: Is it his policy for the government to award contracts based on party involvement and not on who can or has the ability to do the job?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, Justice Canada has outside counsel, not only in that part of the country but across the country. We have an established policy. We look at the quality of the services, the expertise of the law firm, and the lawyers involved in the case. We then proceed to give out those mandates.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and today in the House, the Prime Minister made it very clear that changing regimes in different countries is not a policy that is desirable at any time. However, at the same time, media reports state that the Canadian government is spearheading a plan for a regime change of President Aristide in Haiti and even set the deadline of January 1, 2004.

If the government supports regime change in Haiti, how can the Prime Minister say the government does not support regime change?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there was a newspaper report concerning a meeting that took place. Our embassy in Haiti issued a clarification and made it very clear we are not engaged in any way in trying to change the regime in Haiti.

However, we are engaged in what we always have been in Haiti: working for democracy, working for human rights, working for the betterment of the Haitian citizens, and working for a way in which we can restore a semblance of order in the Caribbean for the benefit of Caribbeans and Canadians. We will continue those efforts.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, Assistant Auditor General Hugh McRoberts has taken the extraordinary step of urging DND to base its long delayed maritime helicopter replacement on best value. Apparently he is concerned that political interests will again trump proper procedures here.

Will the Minister of National Defence confirm today that his department will use best value, not just buy the cheapest thing that comes along?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, since I have already answered that question a thousand and one times, perhaps I might clarify to the leader of the NDP that he misquoted me. What I in fact said was that when we are defending the ships of our allies in the region there might not be time to ask the commanders of the ships what their destination was when those ships were under attack and we were coming to their defence.

The answer to the question is that the government has been engaged in speeding up the delivery of the helicopter by moving from a two contract system to a one contract system. Indeed we are doing everything we can to make that delivery as--

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

You are absolutely right, Mr. Speaker. What the heck was that? He is always one step behind, now he confirmed it. The only thing the minister has confirmed here today is that when a Sea King dumps onto the deck of the Iroquois it is called hailing.

After 10 years of claiming it is a Liberal priority, the only movement we have seen on that file is downgrading of the requirements to the point that the 40 year old Sea Kings we have would qualify as a winning tender. Imagine that, Mr. Speaker.

Would the public works minister guarantee that the contract he signs off on will be one based on best value, not on these cheap political requirements?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government is working particularly hard to move this matter forward. The Minister of National Defence took some very important steps at the end of last year with respect to the bundling issue. We are waiting for further steps to be taken this week and next week. We are anxious to move this forward rapidly and to achieve the very best possible result for Canadians.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, more than 400 producers from Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay met in Alma to demand concrete action by the federal government, which has abandoned them. Dairy substance imports, the discontinuation of subsidies and the low increase in milk prices have resulted in dropping incomes for them.

Last summer, at the federal Liberal caucus in Saguenay, the Minister of Agriculture promised to set up a task force on supply management. Seven months later, can the minister share with the House the task force's findings?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, during our caucus in Saguenay last August, the Minister of Agriculture and myself did set up a task force in conjunction with the dairy producers and the departments of Agriculture and International Trade. Working meetings have taken place between our officials and milk producers.

We received the report a few days ago. I have already had a working meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, and we will soon let make our decisions known.

Milk producers know full well that this government has always defended the supply management system and that it will continue to defend the interests of milk producers, who greatly benefit from an excellent system that we have put in—

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister must understand that for half of the milk producers, revenues are not enough to cover production costs.

What is the minister waiting for to take action to allow producers to have a decent standard of living?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, in all the meetings we have had with them, milk producers have told us that what matters most to them is to have a supply management system, a system that this government introduced some 30 years ago.

More than half of the quotas are held by Quebec milk producers, who benefit from the system we have put in place. We will continue to defend and promote it, because it is also in the best interests of consumers.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, another GST fraud revelation gives a new meaning to being on the lam. A former Toronto resident, Charles Lam, has escaped to a life of luxury in Hong Kong after setting up 190 bogus companies to collect hundreds of thousands in GST money.

His ability to move in and out of the country and commit crimes within Canada shows how the government treats security threats and tax fraud. Why has the government failed to adequately stop Charles Lam in his tracks?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the case that the member opposite refers to dates back to between 1992 and 1994. By the way, that was at the time when his friends in the fifth party had actually just brought in the regime, which we have since that time significantly improved, I would say.

I can tell the member opposite that even if a person has left the country we are able to use extradition laws to pursue them, and we continually improve, and try to regain any of the funds that anyone defrauds from the Canadian government.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, 10 years later the government has still not been able to catch this guy or do anything about it. That is just incredible.

The truth is, Charles Lam continues to live the high life on taxpayers' money and the minister's utter failure to stop him and other cases of GST fraud is atrocious. Her unwillingness to do anything about it shows she just does not care. In fact, her appearance later today at the public accounts committee comes only with her kicking and screaming. Will the minister finally commit CCRA to reporting GST fraud in the public accounts as losses and not write-offs?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, members of the House are supposed to be accurate in what they say. The member opposite cannot on one occasion show where I have not said that I would be happy to appear before a committee of the House. I have always been forthcoming in answering questions from the member opposite, and frankly, I think it is unbecoming of him on this day when I am appearing before committee happily to answer his questions for him to ask a question which frankly is insulting.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the former health minister tried to justify hiring Joanne Meyer through a Ferrari restoration company on the basis that she was the best person for the job. That reminded me of the former solicitor general and we all know where he is sitting now.

My question for the former health minister is, since Joanne Meyer had a contract as JM Enterprises, why did she not get that contract directly rather than through this auto restoration company?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. I have been advised that no one is questioning the quality of the work done. As I have said before in response to the hon. member's questions, Health Canada officials are gathering the facts in relation to the contract in question. I look forward to receiving those facts when that work is finished.