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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was iraq.

Topics

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, essentially as we all know we have been facing the report of the Auditor General since before Christmas. What we said was that we were proceeding with two reports to look at the management of the program. Those two reports have been tabled. We have seen those recommendations.

Over the past few weeks we have tabled a good plan of action to ensure that in the future we will, together, be able to proceed with that program which is about public safety. We have tabled as well the supplementary estimates (B) for this year and for the next fiscal year as well. People will be supporting the government tomorrow on that.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, Air Canada is in trouble. Could the Minister of Transport inform the House whether the government is considering any scenario where it will buy shares in Air Canada?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the situation facing the aviation industry worldwide is extremely serious. Of course Air Canada is not exempt from that. We have seen what is happening in the United States.

We are continuing to work with the industry. We are monitoring the situation and in particular with respect to Air Canada we are prepared to discuss with it any options that might make the situation better.

National DefenceOral Question Period

March 24th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, our Canadian troops are still flying the 40 year old Sea King helicopters the government should have replaced a full 10 years ago.

Last week a report surfaced quoting a number of serious safety concerns regarding the aging craft. Now we learn there is a shortage of skilled mechanics to maintain these geriatric Sea Kings.

When will the minister address the Liberal government's royal Canadian air farce?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, for once the opposition is right. There is a shortage of mechanics, for two reasons. One, this was part of the $1 billion sustainability gap which was closed in the last budget. More resources will be going into this area.

Second, we have been the victim of our own success. Because the Canadian economy has created more than half a million jobs over the last years, many sectors of the economy are having difficulty attracting skilled labour, and we are one of those sectors trying to attract that skilled labour.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is a nice try. There is a gap there, that is for sure. I think it is his enormous cuts.

First, the Prime Minister threw a wrench in the plans when he cancelled the Sea Kings in 1993. He said that the old ones could keep going with a lot of maintenance, and I do mean a lot of maintenance, like 30 hours for every 1 hour of flight.

Now we do not even have these skilled mechanics required to keep these dinosaurs airborne; it takes four years to train them.

When will mister fix-it here stop tooling around and give our military the resources it is so desperately seeking?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like that second question was written before she received the answer to the first because I have already explained that $1 billion has been put in to eliminate the sustainability gap and that will permit the resources to get more mechanics.

The other thing is the Canadian economy has been so hugely successful that many sectors of the economy, including the military, have trouble attracting skilled labour.

Would the hon. member prefer that instead of creating half a million new jobs, Canada was plunged into recession? Then there might be more mechanics available.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade and the Minister of Agriculture claim to be beyond reproach as champions of the supply management system.

How can they reconcile claiming to be bulwarks of the supply management system and systematically allowing milk products that eat away our milk producers' market share to come into the country?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as you know, during the negotiations at the World Trade Organization, we always stand 100% behind the supply management system.

This is a system in which we believe, a system in which we want to continue working very closely with milk producers.

The Minister of Agriculture and I have set up a working committee with representatives from the industry. We recently received a number of demands from them. We will be answering them soon with respect to the demands to which the hon. member is referring.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the minister realize that by putting an end to his unacceptable tolerance toward the import of milk substitutes, he could ensure that plants like the ones in Chambord and in Saint-Alexandre-de-Kamouraska are properly supplied?

Is that not the kind of action to protect the supply management system producers have the right to expect from the federal government?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we have looked at several of these points. The Minister of Agriculture and I will react officially to a number of demands, such as the one about butter oil. We did so in the past on the cheese stick issue.

What matters is that the market for milk producers be developed. It is important to develop the market for them. I think there is also work to be done in that regard.

At the request of producers, we have already gone to the international court with the butter oil issue. Unfortunately, we lost at the time. We will continue working with them and trying to find solutions, but have already taken action.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport seems to think the problems with the air industry began with the Iraq war. In fact, they began when he became transport minister: air taxes, fuel taxes, no open skies, landing fees, airport improvement fees. The fees, taxes and charges on flying in this country total some $400 million. While the government taxes the air industry into the ground, it subsidizes the rail industry through corporate welfare.

Why are the government and the transport minister surprised that Air Canada and the air industry are having problems when their policy is to tax the air industry and to tax travellers to subsidize alternative forms of travelling, through corporate welfare to rail?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, that is a rather convoluted question. I am not sure whether or not the hon. member is advocating that user fees not be applied to the air industry. Perhaps they want all these costs borne on the treasury, but this is from a party that believes there should be no additions made to the deficit.

As this debate unfolds in the coming weeks I hope the opposition and other parties will be somewhat rational in their criticisms and work with us to find a solution for the benefit of everyone in the airline industry.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, in response to all this the transport minister has created a committee to study possible solutions. Just what we need, another committee.

The three things that this government could do today in order to help right the airline industry's problems are: first, eliminate the Air Canada Public Participation Act which puts Air Canada at a competitive regulatory disadvantage; second, eliminate the taxes and fees that are hammering the airline industry; and third, show some leadership in creating an open skies agreement that air carriers in the United States want to see happen.

Why is it that after six years of being transport minister the minister's only response to do anything is to study, study, study and to show zero leadership?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that the official opposition in 1999 supported the government, as did all opposition parties, with the restructuring of the airline industry and the absorption of Canadian Airlines by Air Canada.

The official opposition in 1999 did not want to see the bankruptcy of Canadian Airlines. Is he now saying that they are prepared for the bankruptcy of Air Canada?

National ParksOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, as a Cape Bretoner, I am extremely proud of the role our national parks have in our communities.

Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage please explain how the announcement today will help Cape Breton?

National ParksOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member and all members of the House for the tremendous job they have done in securing $411 million of new investment in the national parks system.

The single largest investment in national parks in the history of our country, it will pave the way for the long awaited completion of the national parks system and include five marine conservation areas. It will indeed ensure that Parks Canada, the first parks system in the world, will continue to be the best.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week the Treasury Board president could not tell us how much the gun registry has cost so far. The Auditor General said that she was still waiting for the government's report on the total costs.

Before the Prime Minister whips his MPs into tears and forces them to approve another $59 million, should he not tell them how much the gun registry has cost so far?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, they know very well what the numbers are. As a matter of fact, I was at the public accounts committee for a few hours and I would just like to raise the fact that they have not asked the question.

If we look at it over the seven years of operation, it means that in the last fiscal year, we are talking about $688 million. This fiscal year we are talking about $100 million. If we look at supplementary estimates (B) we are talking about $59 million, which is part of the $100 million. For the next fiscal years, they know the numbers. They have seen the budget. We are talking about $113 million. The numbers are clear.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, today the Library of Parliament reported that the costs to enforce the gun registry could be a billion dollars in the next few years. We do not know how much the gun registry has cost so far. We do not know how much it is going to cost in the future to implement.

Why is the Prime Minister forcing his MPs to vote more money for this firearms fiasco? Why?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, all government programs somewhere down the road, if they are permanent programs, will cost a billion dollars. However we are talking about, as I said, the last fiscal year. We are talking about seven years of operation. We are talking about an amount of $688 million.

Now if they are talking about the estimates for this year, we are talking about $100 million. For next year it is $113 million. However are talking about public safety. We are talking about a good program that we will keep supporting as a party and as a government.

Canadian Television FundOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last budget, the Minister of Canadian Heritage let her colleague, the Minister of Finance, cut the Canadian television fund by $25 million. Instead of $100 million, the fund has only $75 million per year for the next two years.

How can the Minister of Canadian Heritage reconcile the goal to promote television production in Canada with the fact that she has not hesitated to cut the necessary funding for the Canadian television fund? This does not make any sense.

Canadian Television FundOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

In fact, Mr. Speaker, the Canadian television fund is a $200 million fund that was created by a partnership between the public and private sectors.

This year, we will have over $200 million because the private sector has increased its contribution, which allows us—instead of investing in the public sector television fund—to invest in the CBC.

Police FundingOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, funding for police services topped the Canadian Police Association's March 25 lobby day agenda.

Municipal and provincial police, together with the RCMP from all across the country have repeatedly been denied substantive budget increases, while the demand for their services has increased substantially, especially since 9/11.

The government thinks nothing of throwing a billion dollars at a failed gun registry and comint back to Parliament and asking for more.

My question is for the Solicitor General. Tomorrow when the Canadian Police Association comes knocking will their demands for increased funding fall on receptive ears? Yes or no.

Police FundingOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I had a good session with the Canadian Police Association this morning in which I spoke to their meeting and talked about all the things that we are doing as a government in terms of improving policing and law enforcement in the country, including the amount of money that we are putting into anti-terrorism, organized crime, child pornography and the list goes on and on.

I think, through the question and answer period, it was a feeling to me that we were doing a reasonably good job of ensuring the safety of Canadians.