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House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sexual.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, in her last budget, the Quebec's finance minister announced a tax credit for public transit users in Quebec. This measure will increase the number of people who use public transit, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and traffic jams, while allowing highway infrastructure to last longer.

Does the Minister of Finance plan on applying similar measures at the federal level?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. I am sure she read our budget and previous budgets very carefully and probably noticed the great investments we made on infrastructure, as well as key investments in environmental programs exceeding $3 billion. That to me shows that the government understands Canadians' priorities.

Arts and CultureOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, this week a coalition of 50,000 TV writers, directors, actors and technicians released a report on the crisis in English language drama.

The relaxing of CRTC Can. con. rules in 1999 for private broadcasters has caused production levels of English Canadian drama to plummet. Private broadcasters are producing and showing less Canadian drama and increasing their expenditures on U.S. programming by 15%.

Will the government toughen up Canadian content policy so we can see our stories on TV, or is it fully committed to an Americanized survivor strategy for Canadian culture?

Arts and CultureOral Question Period

Noon

Laval East Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reassure the House that the Government of Canada is very concerned about Canadian content on television.

However, the CRTC is an independent body that operates according to its own rules, therefore it is not up to us to interfere with its decisions.

HealthOral Question Period

Noon

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, international events have overshadowed some deadly events in Canada. Of course I am speaking of the deadly pneumonia strain SARS. The transmission of this unknown pathogen has many Canadians concerned.

What is the minister doing? Has she met with her provincial counterparts in terms of a strategy? Specifically, what is the department doing to reassure Canadians that everything will be okay?

HealthOral Question Period

Noon

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. At this time, no one really knows what this virus is. Officials suspect that it is, indeed, a virus, called a paramyxovirus, that is related to the viruses that cause measles and the parainfluenza viruses.

What are we doing in Canada at this time? We know that it is not a real threat because the virus has been traced back to Hong Kong. There have only been a few cases in Canada that have come from there.

We must ensure that we closely monitor people arriving from Hong Kong. That is what we are currently doing at the Pearson and Vancouver airports.

Obviously, it is very—

HealthOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

I am sorry to have to interrupt the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, but we must now move on to routine proceedings.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am raising a point of order with respect to an answer given today by the Minister of National Defence and the answers which he gave to me yesterday on the same question.

Yesterday I put the following question to the Minister of National Defence:

Do all Canadian troops on ships in the gulf have gas masks and chemical suits to protect them against potential chemical or biological attacks? Yes or no.

The minister answered that he had already answered the question. Then he went on to say “I do not think it is appropriate for me to deal with such issues in public”, and he offered to meet me privately. That is what he said yesterday.

Today he provided to the House of Commons, in public, the information which he deliberately denied to me yesterday in the House of Commons.

I am raising this for a variety of reasons. First, I am obliged to raise this at the most timely occasion. Second, the issue was obviously one of grave importance. We would not want Canadians in the gulf to be exposed to potential chemical weapons attacks without adequate provision.

My concern is that the minister was trying to hide behind a rule set out in Beauchesne's. I draw your attention to Beauchesne's 6th edition, page 123, citation 416(1) and (2) which says:

(1) A Minister may decline to answer a question without stating the reason...

(2) An answer to a question cannot be insisted upon if the answer be refused by the Minister on the ground of the public interest; nor can the question be replaced on the Notice Paper. The refusal of a Minister to answer on this ground cannot be raised as a matter of privilege.

Clearly what the minister was attempting to do yesterday was claiming that this was a matter that could not be responded to on the ground of the public interest.

Yesterday the public interest in his interpretation said he could not reply. Today the public interest in his interpretation said he could reply. I believe that is a breach of the rules of order of the House. We have a right to count upon the veracity and completeness of the answers of ministers in the House.

I would appreciate your judgment on this, Mr. Speaker.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my response today, one must always be extraordinarily cautious to not release information that could jeopardize the safety and security of our sailors when they are in a difficult situation. Therefore I wanted to make sure there was nothing that would jeopardize their security in this matter.

I checked with the military people to make sure and I was assured that this could be appropriate to release. I gave the right hon. gentleman the courtesy, if I were not able to release it publicly, of telling him privately, given his history.

However, having been informed by the military that it was not jeopardizing the security of our people I was very happy to release what was essentially good news in the House today.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not think there is need for any further interventions on this point. I am sure the right hon. member for Calgary Centre is thrilled to get the information today that he did not get yesterday, even though it was a day late and even though it was not delivered privately. I could tell that in his remarks earlier.

Regardless of that situation, I think he is also aware that answers given one day because of certain circumstances may change on another day. I think the minister's explanation in the circumstances is entirely satisfactory. Therefore in my view there is no point of order here.

We will now proceed to tabling of documents.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Bras D'Or—Cape Breton Nova Scotia

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to seven petitions.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 21st, 2003 / 12:05 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on supplementary estimates (B), 2002-2003.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Madam Speaker, there have been consultations between parties and in order to facilitate and conduct private members' business under the new rules adopted last Monday, my colleagues from Calgary—Nose Hill and Macleod have two bills on notice today. I believe, Madam Speaker, if you were to seek it, you would find unanimous consent for these bills to be introduced today.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is there unanimous consent?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Madam Speaker, as a result of the unavoidable absences of those two members I would seek unanimous consent for me to introduce those bills on their behalf.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is there unanimous consent?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

There is no consent.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Madam Speaker, following consultations that I have had with all of the parties, I rise to seek unanimous consent for the House to adopt the following motion, that in the opinion of this House the government should endorse the formation of an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of prosecuting Saddam Hussein and all other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, including unlawful use of force, crimes committed in contravention of the Geneva convention, and the crime of genocide.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I am sure this is well intentioned, but I had not been made aware of this until shortly before question period. The House leaders have not been consulted about this in the usual manner.

I say to the member that we will refuse consent at this time. If he wants to provide time for House leaders to consult early next week or if it is his wish to put it in his opposition day motion on Tuesday, of course, he has the privilege of doing so. Meanwhile, I cannot agree to this today because there has been no prior consultation among House leaders.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have consulted with the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs on this matter. I am simply--

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Order, please. That is not a point of order.