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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, we would all just wish that the government would listen. For months now the government has refused to deal with the very real crisis affecting workers, farmers across the country, hospitality and health care workers as a result of SARS and mad cow.

While there seems to be a big rush by the government and its friends in the Alliance to get out of Parliament, there is no indication that there is the same rush to help Canadians who are reeling from crises.

Will the Prime Minister bring forward a real plan, including disaster relief, wave the two week EI period and work share income support program before the government rushes off to recess?

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's assertions are just plain incorrect. In fact, we have been working directly with employers and employees using the employment insurance system, whether it be providing income support, working on work share agreements of which we have well over 100 across Canada in these initiatives or whether it be dealing directly with provinces that have moneys through their labour market development agreements or EI part II funds.

We are working to ensure that those who are affected by these challenges have the benefits of the country.

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, as a member of Parliament, the minister responsible for ACOA, prior to his entry into cabinet, is alleged to have used inappropriate solicitations for events, parties and certain materials.

Will the government now ask the ethics counsellor to look into the minister responsible for ACOA to ensure that this type of solicitation of funds is not happening while a member of the cabinet?

Political Party FinancingOral 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, we have been through this before. The hon. member was not a member of cabinet at the time. He is asking about rules of fundraising in a political party, rules that did not even exist and still do not but will exist when Bill C-24 is in place, and which that member and his friends voted against.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, recently the transport minister reminded the House and all Canadians that the Minister of Canadian Heritage was entirely responsible for the maintenance and improvement of highways located inside of national parks.

For years the Canadian Alliance has been calling for a dangerous stretch of highway in Banff National Park to be widened to avoid further fatal accidents. Nineteen people have died on that stretch of the highway in the past four and a half years.

When can we expect funding to twin this section of the highway so that people will not die?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member obviously understands the complexities of government. I have been in discussions with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Industry, and we certainly hope this matter can be addressed soon.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, the government has it in its power to correct the problem. The province of Alberta has twinned the Trans-Canada Highway from its border with Saskatchewan all the way to the gates of Banff National Park. It wants to twin it within the park but it cannot because twinning the highway in the park is 100% federal jurisdiction. It cannot do it.

Nineteen people have died on this stretch of the highway and the government has done nothing to fix it. Why has the government done nothing and why is it not committing to fix this stretch of highway so that people will not die?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government, whether it is under the SHIP program or the infrastructure program, has done a lot to improve highways across the country, including in his home province of British Columbia.

There are a number of priorities across the country. He has outlined one of them, and I have said that the government will hope to address this in the near future.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, on a visit to Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, made a commitment to the union leaders of that area to speak to the Minister of Human Resources Development about eliminating the two-week EI waiting period for workers who are victims of the softwood lumber crisis.

Given that the Bloc Quebecois has been asking, since the beginning of the softwood lumber crisis, for the elimination of the two-week waiting period as one of the corrections that should be made to employment insurance, will the Minister of Human Resources Development take this request from her future leader seriously, or will she consider it just another opportunistic statement made in order to garner support?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the two week waiting period is like a deductible in an insurance program. It is there for a purpose.

Having said that, we consistently have made changes to the employment insurance system to ensure that it is responsive to today's modern labour force. I can itemize the numerous different changes we have made to improve the program. Our focus is to ensure that the program is there for those Canadians who need it when, through no fault of their own, they find themselves laid off.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for LaSalle—Émard has also stated that victims of the softwood lumber crisis should be treated the same way as workers in Toronto who have suffered in the SARS crisis.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development finally admit that workers who are victims of the softwood lumber crisis should be treated with as much consideration as those who are victims of the fisheries or SARS crises, and finally do something concrete, as the Bloc Quebecois is asking and as the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard has suggested?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat again that the Government of Canada treats Canadians fairly no matter where they live. With respect to the Employment Insurance Act and the labour market, indeed those in the softwood lumber industry are being treated the same as other Canadians.

The hon. member makes reference to the waiving of the two week waiting period. Again, that applies only as a health measure. Canadians wanted us to ensure that we stopped the spread of a communicable disease, SARS. Part of that was to provide a waiving of the two week waiting period for those in quarantine so they would stay at home.

Air IndiaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, court documents show that upon hearing of the bombing of Air India flight 182, CSIS agents knew immediately who the prime suspect was, based on their wire taps. Yet they destroyed the tapes of telephone conversations between the suspects despite specific instructions to retain the tapes for one year, as indicated in the SIRC report.

How much more evidence does the Solicitor General need before he recognizes that CSIS has not been absolved of all wrongdoing? How much longer before the Solicitor General initiates a public inquiry?

Air IndiaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have referred a number of times to the very indepth work that the SIRC report did in 1991-92. Beyond saying that, the hon. member and his party know that it would be absolutely inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing court case.

Air IndiaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP's investigation into the Air India disaster has never been subject to a review. Allegations of incompetence against both our security and intelligence forces are surfacing and increasing.

Again, when will the Solicitor General initiate a full public inquiry to prove the allegations or to dispel those allegations that would only serve to build confidence with Canadians in their security agencies?

Air IndiaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely reject the remarks of the member in terms of saying that either the RCMP or CSIS is incompetent. They are recognized as two of the best agencies around the world in terms of dealing with security and policing.

Beyond that, I do not intend to make any comments that can be implied toward this court case.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

June 12th, 2003 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Bill C-9, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, received royal assent yesterday, June 11, 2003.

Could the Minister of the Environment tell Canadians if the renewed act will provide participants in environmental assessments with a more transparent and predictable process?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, may I thank the members of the committee on the environment and sustainable development and all Canadians who came before them as witnesses for the excellent work that was done in the preparation of this bill.

The bill certainly will allow us to make more informed and timely decisions and it will assist Canada in pursuing the goal of sustainable development. I might add that the government has put somewhat over $10 million a year additional into this legislation over the next five years.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister made recent remarks saying that the Privy Council is looking at consolidating security functions into one department. It is about time. The Liberals have treated the security of Canadians with contempt for far too long.

One department that has been sorely neglected by the Liberals is customs, whose mandate is to protect our borders. Will the Deputy Prime Minister now finally change our customs agents from tax collectors to Canada's front line security?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I find it completely outrageous and unacceptable that the member opposite would insult customs officers, who have done an outstanding job on our border, ensuring that they meet all of their mandate in a professional and dedicated way.

I can also say to the hon. member that machinery changes are the prerogative of the Prime Minister and that I give him my advice, as do other members from time to time, but I can assure him that at no time have customs officers ever been spoken to in the way he has just referred to.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the minister that it was she who called customs agents 3,000 accidents waiting to happen. She is the only one who has ever insulted the customs agents of this country.

Customs agents are responsible for enforcing over 70 statutes, including the Criminal Code, the Controlled Substances Act, the Firearms Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act. The minister refuses to acknowledge that all of these involve potentially violent situations.

The Canadian Alliance has been asking the government to arm these customs agents so they can defend themselves as well as Canadians. Will the minister finally commit to arming our customs agents?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

First, Mr. Speaker, I did not say what the member said that I said, and therefore his credibility I think is suspect on all counts.

Second, Mr. Zaccardelli, an outside private expert, did a job hazard review for the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Everyone has determined that customs officers should not be armed because it is not a requirement of the job they do. They do an outstanding job. They are dedicated professionals and the member opposite should just stand up and say so.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, appeal courts in British Columbia and Ontario, as well as the Superior Court of Quebec, have all ruled that preventing same-sex couples from marrying is unacceptable and discriminatory in a free and democratic society.

In light of the new ruling brought down by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in favour of the right of gays and lesbians to equality, will the Minister of Justice promise not to appeal this decision?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member is referring to an important issue for society. We are well aware, as he just mentioned, that various decisions have been handed down in recent months. It will also be remembered that we have given the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights a mandate to conduct hearings across the country.

Incidentally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, who have done excellent work. I am told that they have met and we expect their report shortly. Once the government has finished studying the whole situation and the rulings, we will make our position public.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, for years the Liberals have known that the Indian only fishery regulations are discriminatory and illegal. Two parliamentary committees have recommended that the racist--