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House of Commons Hansard #97 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was airports.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it has become a tradition on this side of the House to preface an answer by saying that I will speak very slowly.

This is a reconnaissance mission, a small group of soldiers who are not armed because the agreement has not been signed, who are extremely well protected by the Germans who are currently deployed there. A small group of NATO soldiers is in precisely the same situation. NATO is not incompetent. The Canadian Forces are not incompetent. Perhaps the Alliance could understand this.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

May 7th, 2003 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in committee the Minister of Industry admitted that the act gives him the power to demand a thorough investigation into oil company profits. That is fortunate, because that is what we are asking for: a thorough investigation. We do not want the minister to tell us about provincial jurisdictions nor about retail prices—that is not what we are talking about here.

What is the minister waiting for in order to use the power vested in him by law to demand an investigation into the huge profits that all the oil companies, without exception, have pocketed at the same time, at the refining stage?

We are talking about refining here, not retail prices.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Competition Bureau is studying the oil company situation very closely. As the commissioner testified before the committee on Monday, they have said that there is not enough information to conclude that there has been anti-competitive behaviour.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, what the minister has failed to mention is that the commissioner of competition recognizes that his powers are very limited. The minister must have heard his evidence in committee on Monday.

Therefore, what is stopping the minister from giving the commissioner of competition the tools he requires in order to shed light on this question once and for all?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, since there has been no anti-competitive behaviour, the federal authorities have no role to play. The next step is to look at retail prices. Retail price regulation is an exclusively provincial jurisdiction. And I do not accept the Bloc Quebecois position that the federal government should step into exclusively provincial territory. That is completely unacceptable.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister yesterday invited me to go to the east coast to meet with the ministers of the five provinces involved in the crab fishery to find a solution.

I would like to tell him that is supposed to be his job. Last month the Ontario minister of health went to Geneva as the federal minister sat here and watched and today we have the New Brunswick premier going to Shippagan as the fisheries minister sits here.

When will federal ministers start taking responsibility for their blunders?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that during the Standing Order 31 statements we heard a nursery rhyme about why we should vote Alliance. Now we have the fable of going to the Atlantic, meeting with the fisheries ministers and coming out with a plan that all will support. We might as well wave a wand, turn the water into wine and we will all enjoy wine-pickled herring.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the carnations in the House are for multiple sclerosis. That response was more like atherosclerosis.

The fisheries minister talks of consultation yet he acts through confrontation. His actions have prompted Newfoundland's fisheries minister to announce that Newfoundland is considering taking Ottawa to court over the cod moratorium and to make more policies at home.

I will again ask the fisheries minister, will he start devolving more responsibility for fisheries to the provinces where they can handle it properly?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the member will recognize that managing the fishery is a federal responsibility. It is our responsibility to manage it in a manner to protect the fishery for the future and to protect those stocks. We take those decisions very seriously. They are not easy decisions. They are very difficult to make. We do not take them lightly. When we take away the livelihood of people for a period of time, it is because it is in the long term interests of the stocks and, by extension, the communities that depend on them.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry has all the authority required to demand a more thorough investigation of the gas and oil companies by the Competition Bureau. On the one hand, we have the companies and their tripled profits for refining, and on the other we have the consumers, who feel they are being taken advantage of and whom the minister refuses to protect.

I am asking the Minister of Industry why he is so lacking in courage that he cannot make use of the powers conferred upon him by the legislation to call for a more thorough investigation. The legislation allows him to do so, but he lacks the courage to use it.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is obviously not up to speed on this. The Competition Bureau has already closely examined the situation. As well, it has recently received the report of the Conference Board of Canada. In all of this information there is nothing to indicate anti-competitive behaviour by the oil companies.

Retail prices are a provincial matter. The provinces are the ones who now need to demand answers.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the competition commissioner himself says that the minister has the power to broaden his mandate in order to clarify the issue, and when he also says that the minister could also mandate an outside body to investigate in order to prove there has been no collusion, why is the minister so lacking in courage as to refuse to assume his responsibilities and protect the public?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner also said there is no justification for such an investigation. They have already looked into this and concluded that there is no anti-competitive behaviour.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the fourth minister of the firearms fiasco maintained his government's track record of keeping Parliament in the dark. It is clear from his feeble responses that even he does not know how much the gun registry has cost so far.

Newspapers reported that shortly after the government gave $380,000 to the Coalition for Gun Control, it went out and hired two paid lobbyists to lobby the government to spend even more on the billion dollar gun registry.

Why is the government using tax dollars to make it look like it has more support for its fiasco than it really does?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Yorkton--Melville has done a lot of research into the gun control issue. I know he has a certain mindset and it is all negative toward trying to make the streets and communities safer.

However it amazes me that with all the research he has done that he would be so much in the dark as to the benefits of this program and to the efficiencies we are trying to bring into the program with the passage of the bill yesterday.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have had to put in over 260 access to information requests to try to piece together this stupid fiasco the government is pushing on us. That is not open and accountable government. That is keeping Canadians in the dark.

I would like the minister to answer the two questions that I posed to him yesterday and that he ducked. How can he justify funding the Coalition for Gun Control to the tune of almost $400,000 and at the same time cut $65,000 from an effective firearms safety training program? How many more types of guns did he promise the coalition he was going to ban?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, what is really interesting about the member for Yorkton--Melville is that he only tells the Canadian public and the House half the story.

The fact of the matter is what access to information should have told the hon. member, and I assume it may have, is that the contract for safety training was for one year. It was worked out with the province of Saskatchewan. Those people did a good job of training individuals on the gun safety program.

AlgeriaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa and the Francophonie. Last week, the secretary of state led a trade mission to Algeria along with representatives of a number of Canadian businesses.

Can the secretary of state advise us of the outcome and results of this visit?

AlgeriaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa) (Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, Algeria is our primary trade partner in Africa and the Middle East. We discussed contracts and partnerships with Canadian businesses.

I also announced the participation of Algiers in the sustainable cities initiative. We talked about NEPAD, the new partnership for Africa's development, and congratulated the Algerians who, in turn, congratulated our Prime Minister and Canada on our role with regard to Africa.

We addressed the Francophonie, and we encouraged Algeria to become a full member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans' inaction with respect to the crab fishery has fuelled the rage in the fishery and heightened anxieties for the plant workers and communities involved. The minister stated that there were still 4,000 tonnes available. Currently, more than 1,800 plant workers have been affected by this crisis.

My question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Rather than using the excuse that he is being detained in Ottawa, when will the minister take his responsibilities seriously, go to Shippagan, and take some action on these 4,000 available tons of crab?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, if the member had held discussions with the midshore fishery industry in his region, he would know that in order to raise the catch any higher than what we announced, it is necessary to have a co-management agreement with a good soft crab protocol in place to keep from jeopardizing the state of these stocks. He would know this, and he would also know that for several months, we have been having these discussions with the industry and we are prepared to discuss the matter further at any time.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, if he does not want to discuss it and would rather stay in Ottawa, why does he not resign, and someone else can be sent to solve the crisis in the fishery?

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. More than 1,800 plant workers have been affected by this crisis and find themselves without work. There is a $44 billion surplus in the EI fund. What plan of action has the minister come up with to help the provinces affected, like New Brunswick and Quebec, to compensate workers for loss of income?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is because the employment insurance fund is in such good shape that the benefits will be there, no only for fishers but for fish plant workers.

I would remind the hon. member that every year the Government of Canada transfers $90 million to the jurisdiction of New Brunswick so that it can deal with issues precisely like this one.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the current troubles in Shippegan and Newfoundland and Labrador show just how desperate fishing communities in eastern Canada have become.

The Minister of Health was absent from the SARS crisis. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is trying to absent himself from the growing crisis in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick. The current unrest is a sign that people feel Ottawa just is not listening.

Again, let ask the minister if he is going to go to the areas affected and listen to the people who want to tell him in no uncertain terms that the east wants in?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the member will recognize that when we announced the crab management plan, it was not for one area, not for one province, but for the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is to promote stability for the long term and to promote maintenance and stability for the midshore, the anchor of that industry. We want that to increase again. It maximizes the employment and economic benefits.

On those terms, I would be happy have discussions with them at any time.