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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parties.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, one month ago, the Coopérative forestière de Laterrière announced that it would be claiming protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act; this threatens the savings of 450 members and the jobs of 600 workers, 450 of whom have already been laid off.

Will the Minister of Industry finally understand that the end of softwood lumber operations for this cooperative could very well mark the end of a formerly successful business, unless the government immediately comes up with a new assistance plan to meet the needs of today's reality?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin LiberalSecretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, what is important for members of the Bloc Quebecois to understand is that we want to help the industry, but we do not want to prolong the problem with the U.S. by helping the industry directly.

We have set up a $110 million fund to encourage economic diversification. We are seeing results: 110 project applications have been received and 19 projects have been accepted worth $1.3 million. As well, more than $5,000 has been invested in this business.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, did the minister just answer that he does not wish to help this business? The time to act is now, because our businesses need help now.

The Prime Minister's political legacy will be unemployment in the regions, an exodus to urban areas and the shutting down of municipalities that depend entirely on the softwood lumber industry.

How long will this government continue to turn a deaf ear to softwood workers and businesses that are crying for help to save their jobs and their businesses?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong when she says we are turning a deaf ear. In fact the hon. member knows the government put up $350 million to help the workers, and to ensure that we look at diversification of trade.

Also, on community adjustment, as the hon. member has heard many times in the House, those programs are working. They are ensuring that we work with communities and local community groups to look at employment opportunities and diversify their economy.

At the same time we have said that we will monitor the situation. If more needs to be done, we will be there to support our industry and our workers.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, Alfonso Gagliano doled out contracts and cash to his friends and relatives and then was the bagman for the Liberal Party.

When questioned about the Prime Minister's directions to him he said, and I quote, “He's the boss. I served the way he wanted me to serve”.

The RCMP did its job 10 years ago when it warned the Prime Minister not to appoint Gagliano to cabinet in the first place. Is the Prime Minister refusing to call a public inquiry into the activities of his hand-picked minister because he knows it will lead directly back to the PMO?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, in respect of the activities of the Department of Public Works and Communication Canada, all the management issues are subject to a government-wide audit now, being conducted by the Auditor General.

The activities of specific public servants are being pursued under the Financial Administration Act. Any possibility of illegality is being clearly examined by the RCMP.

As I have said on every occasion, the government is pursuing the matter and ensuring the proper result is obtained.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have ventilated everything but the truth in this matter.

It is clear to everyone that Gagliano is in the witness protection program in Denmark. Now they are going to serve him cold shoulder on June 17. Not even the Vatican can forgive this guy. It will not accept him as ambassador.

When will the Prime Minister call an independent judicial inquiry with Alfonso Gagliano as the star witness? When will the government do that?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would think the hon. member, indeed all members of the House and the general public, are anxious to get to the bottom of things and have a thorough ventilation of these issues, and would rely upon the two most effective investigative authorities, the Auditor General on one hand, the RCMP on the other.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, the troubling news that SARS may have spread east of Toronto to the dialysis unit at Lakeridge Health in Whitby is of considerable concern to all public health officials and to the residents of Whitby and Durham in particular.

Could the Minister of Health tell the House what measures she and her department are taking to assist Ontario health officials in determining the origin of this potential new SARS cluster?

Are there any additional federal resources available to the Greater Toronto Area, including the region of Durham, to battle and contain this outbreak?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, while local and provincial health authorities are the lead in handling medical cases, we have been working very closely with them in efforts to control and investigate SARS. Health Canada epidemiologists are involved with local officials in the investigation of new cases.

Today I am announcing that Health Canada will invest five million new dollars to support the fight against SARS and other infectious diseases. Two million dollars will strengthen Canada's ability to help provinces and territories better respond to infectious disease through a new national public health and epidemiology network.

Additional funds will support SARS research by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Health Canada's Winnipeg lab to recruit additional staff to work on--

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. John's West.

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday when the Privacy Commissioner appeared before the government operations and estimates committee, questions were asked about his expenses.

When the Privacy Commissioner was appointed, he was given one year to relocate to Ottawa and during that time he was supposed to receive a $1,200 a month housing allowance, plus a travel allowance. For some reason, the Privy Council Office granted him two extensions on the housing allowance, as well as thousands of dollars in other expenses.

Why was the Privacy Commissioner granted these extra allowances and not treated like ordinary Canadians looking for a job with the government, where they either have to move it or lose it?

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking here of a government official. We are talking about an officer of Parliament.

The hon. member will know that the arrangements in that regard are similar to arrangements that have been made in the past for other officers of Parliament, not only government officials but indeed officers of Parliament. As recently as just a few years ago, at least in the last decade, arrangements similar to that have been made for others.

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, in light of a backroom deal that the Privacy Commissioner signed with the Privy Council Office, it has become obvious that this independent officer of the House may not be so independent. Instead of releasing the details of his expenses on the standard expense form to be scrutinized by Parliament, many extra claims were submitted directly to the Privy Council Office because of a secret deal designed to exclude Parliament.

How can the government maintain that the Privacy Commissioner is independent when he goes begging for money from the Prime Minister's own bureaucracy?

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I repeat what I said before. We are not talking here of a government official. We are talking about an officer of Parliament. We are talking about an official, like a librarian of Parliament, an official of this House and the other house. It is the same as if we were talking about the Commissioner of Official Languages, the same as if we were talking about the Chief Electoral Officer and others. It is an officer of Parliament, not a government function. I am sure the hon. member knows it, or at least his critic does.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister now acknowledges that Bush's missile defence will become star wars. With Alice in Wonderland logic he argues that helping the U.S. escalate the arms race will help change Bush's mind in weaponizing space. Even the U.S. air force secretary says no matter what any ally thinks, Bush will proceed with star wars.

When will the government stop pretending that joining star wars is the way to stop Bush from wasting billions of dollars on weaponizing space?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept any of those premises to the extent I follow them. I thought I made it as clear as I could yesterday. I have said hundreds if not thousands of times that the government is firmly opposed to the weaponization of space. I do not know how many times one has to say that before it sinks in with the NDP.

I also said and will repeat that if one is at the table in discussion, one may have a better chance of advancing one's views opposing the weaponization of space than if one is not there.

JusticeOral Question Period

June 10th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

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

Today is a historic day for gay and lesbian couples in Canada, who now for the first time have the legal right to marry in Ontario. In fact, earlier today a number of gay couples were married in Toronto. Four courts have now ruled in favour of equality, including the B.C. and Ontario Courts of Appeal.

Will the government now stop wasting taxpayers' money fighting equality in the courts and accept this ruling without an appeal? Will the legacy of the Prime Minister be one of respect for gay and lesbian people, and of respect for the right of gay and lesbian people to marry?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we received the judgment of the Ontario Court of Appeal this morning. The government will take the time to look at it. We all know that it needs to be enforced immediately, so the government's position will be known quite shortly.

Having said that, I have stated many times that it is an important social issue for Canadians. I have said that I want to have parliamentarians involved. They did proceed with a huge consultation over the past few months and we expect to have their report shortly. More than that, we also need to have a national solution here in Canada.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like the Danes are saying to Mr. Gagliano “Here's your hat, what's your hurry?”

The ethics counsellor is now admitting that he declared Alfonso Gagliano not guilty of wrongdoing without doing a proper investigation. The ethics counsellor kind of forgot to check the books of the companies that Gagliano's son works for to see if Vincenzo received a personal benefit from those companies that received government contracts.

Given the massive hole in the ethics counsellor's investigation, will the Prime Minister recall Alfonso Gagliano so that he can answer questions about his involvement in this mess? Where is the public inquiry?

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, this investigation had been requested by Mr. Gagliano himself.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

Yes, because he wanted to clear up the matter. The ethics counsellor looked into that and reported publicly. The work of the ethics counsellor, it is his work. They say he did not do a good job, but very often the opposition refers cases to him for investigation, so they must have confidence in him if they request him to look into matters.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, obviously Mr. Gagliano set the guidelines for the investigation. What is the matter? Do we not have an extradition treaty with Denmark? Why can we not bring him back?

The ethics counsellor makes Inspector Clouseau look like a genius. We need a serious investigation into this matter and to do that, we need Alfonso Gagliano back in Canada to face the music.

Why is the Prime Minister blocking attempts to return Alfonso Gagliano to Canada?

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, large parts of the activities of the Department of Public Works and Communication Canada in the timeframe that is being referred to here are already under thorough investigation on at least three different levels: under the terms of the Financial Administration Act; by the Auditor General; and where appropriate, by the RCMP.

Whatever the demands the opposition may make today with respect to a public inquiry, regardless of that, the proper investigations are already underway.