This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was antarctic.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I explained yesterday, there have been many requests for information under the access to information process. We have tried our very best to respond to all of them with a great deal of diligence. The information that was under discussion in the House yesterday has in fact been released publicly in a very fulsome way dating back to last year. One ATIP request got misdirected somehow and ended up in a partial answer to one particular reporter.

I repeat again, all of the information that was requested has in fact been released.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Not only are these requests numerous, they also get lost in the department. And the minister tells us he does not see responses to ATIP requests before they go out. Yet, when it comes to requests from the Bloc Quebecois, on which we are still awaiting responses, the department tells us the minister's office needs to see them first.

Contradictions? Cover up? Mistakes? A lot for just one minister. Who is telling the truth? Who is responsible?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is inviting ministers to read and to rule upon every access to information request, first of all, she is asking us to violate the rules which I will not do, and second, that will simply slow down the process.

The rules for access to information are clearly laid out. When a request comes in, it is responded to by the department. I in no way edit the content.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we are asking the minister to do is simply to exercise his ministerial responsibility. But like his predecessors, he does not seem to get it.

Each time something new crops up in the sponsorship affair, deepening the mystery surrounding this program, the minister promises us that he will investigate and put his officials to work on it, but the results are far from satisfying. It is just a smokescreen.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services can order all the internal investigations he wants and personally investigate the activities of his own department, but will he admit that the only credible kind of investigation would be an independent public inquiry?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I gather that the hon. members have some difficulty with the work of the Auditor General. They must have some difficulty with the work of the RCMP.

Quite frankly, if members are interested in getting to the root of this matter, they would be best advised to rely upon the official and authoritative investigations that are already underway, on the one hand by the Auditor General, and on the other hand by the RCMP.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, everything that happens in this department is kept under wraps, and problems are dealt with in isolation and as they arise. As a result, it is impossible to untangle the political strings and find whoever was behind this affair and could have profited from it. The suspects in this scandal should not be conducting the investigation. We are familiar with the limitations of the RCMP and of the Auditor General.

Will the minister admit, once and for all, that only an independent public inquiry can answer these questions?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again, the opposition obviously denigrates the work of the Auditor General and the RCMP.

If there are issues related to the management of public funds, those are exactly the issues that will be looked at by the Auditor General. She is doing that work now, government wide.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

She does a great job. You do a lousy job.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

I am glad to hear the opposition saying, at least part of the opposition, saying that the Auditor General does a great job. I hope I hear the same congratulations about the work of the RCMP. It does a great job too and, between the two of them, they will resolve these matters.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, for years the name that symbolized Canada's role in the world was Lester Pearson. Today it risks becoming Alfonso Gagliano. That moves Canada from being a leader to being a laughing stock. Time magazine's cover story on foreign policy asks, “Where has Canada gone?”. Now the United States compares our record in fighting the modern slave trade with that of Rwanda and Bangladesh. That is because the government pays more attention to photo opportunities and patronage than it does to foreign policy.

Why will the government not put Canada's interest and reputation first and simply fire Alfonso Gagliano?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has raised this question before, as have others. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has responded by advising that Ambassador Gagliano is the ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of Denmark. He will continue to fulfill that function.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the last formal bilateral meeting between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States was on September 9, 2002. We know President Bush deliberately cancelled his planned visit here, but the problem goes beyond President Bush.

I put a question on the order paper asking which foreign leaders the Prime Minister spoke to by telephone during a critical five week period in the Iraq crisis. The answer was that he made only 13 calls that included any reference to Iraq. The government would not say who he talked to because “that would be injurious to the conduct of Canada's international affairs”.

The Prime Minister is not doing his job. Why do his colleagues not--

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. member, as usual, has uttered nonsense in the chamber.

The fact is that it is not the quantity of calls that the Prime Minister engages in, it is the quality, it is the people to whom he speaks, it is the length of those calls and it is the issues that are discussed.

The Prime Minister was fully engaged in the lead up to the war in Iraq. I think that Canadians certainly appreciated the great work that he did to try to forestall that particular invasion and have a peaceful solution under the auspices of the United Nations.

HealthOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

Yesterday the WHO criticized Canada's handling of SARS and Toronto again faces the possibility of a travel advisory. In particular, the WHO has criticized the lack of cooperation between Ottawa and the provinces. Yet there is still no health council as promised and there is no announcement on the national public health agency.

Would the minister to explain to us, because he prides himself on being the minister from Toronto, why, after almost four months after SARS hit, the Liberals are still asleep on the job?

HealthOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if anyone is asleep it is the hon. member for not knowing the great work that has been done by Health Canada, Human Resources Canada, the Minister of Industry and other departments in assisting with this very difficult problem.

The opposition seems to want to politicize something that is a terrible crisis in the same way that it is doing with mad cow.

We have to work together as Canadians to deal with these problems. The federal government has been working since day one with the Ontario government and giving it every support.

HealthOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have to say, surely enough of the political rhetoric. To date there has not been one penny in disaster relief for the health costs or for the hospitality industry. Not one Toronto Liberal MP can get the government to wake up, and now the city is facing the possibility of another travel advisory. However, instead of doing their jobs, what are they doing? Instead of responding to the crisis, the Liberals and the Alliance are trying to go on vacation early.

Could the minister responsible for Toronto tell his constituents and us in the House why he deserves a vacation more than the people in Toronto deserve--

HealthOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

HealthOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, thank God the hon. member does not represent a constituency in Toronto because all we would get is this kind of negative rhetoric.

The fact is that the members of Parliament from the greater Toronto area have been in the forefront in helping deal with this particular issue. There have been announcements from the Minister of Industry, from the Minister of Human Resources Development, from the Prime Minister and from the Minister of Health. We are all pulling together to deal with this difficult problem.

I would say to the hon. member that perhaps she should take a summer break away from politicizing something that is a crisis, not just for Toronto but for all of Canada.

JusticeOral Question Period

June 13th, 2003 / 11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal chair of the justice committee broke a tie urging the government to allow same sex marriages. This signals that the government is opening the door to changing the definition of marriage by letting the courts make the law.

Will the Minister of Justice assure Canadians that the current definition of marriage will not be changed by unelected judges but will be decided on by Parliament?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights recommended that the Minister of Justice not seek an appeal to the court's ruling on marriage, and the member has indicated that. This is an important issue for Canadians and the recommendations of the committee and the decisions of courts in three provinces are part of that discussion.

The Minister of Justice indicated publicly yesterday that he will take these issues into consideration and discuss the issue with his cabinet colleagues next week.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know where the government is today on that issue. For Parliament to have the final say on the definition of marriage, the government must appeal the lower court rulings allowing same sex marriages so that Parliament makes the final decision on the issue.

In 1999 the House passed a motion defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. The minister assured Canadians that he would take all necessary steps to preserve this definition.

Why does the minister refuse to take even the first step to preserve the definition of marriage by appealing these court rulings?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice is not like the member opposite who just happens to hear one decision and goes according to that right off the bat.

The Minister of Justice carefully analyzes all the issues surrounding the issue. He has made it very clear that he is willing to look at all points of view and give consideration to those various points of view, discuss his views with his cabinet caucus colleagues next week and make a decision.

Softwood Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the week of May 30 was devastating to the softwood lumber industry. During that time, 34 mills and 2,000 workers were affected in some way by the crisis. Clearly, Quebec's regions are the hardest hit by this situation.

Is this devastation not sufficient to convince the Minister of Industry that he must take immediate action to support this industry by offering loan guarantees, so companies can avoid bankruptcy?

Softwood Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey Ontario

Liberal

Murray Calder LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as we have said before to my colleague across the way, we are extremely sensitive to the situation right now within the softwood lumber industry. We have come forward with a $350 million assistance to help them out, $110 million for communities.

The Minister of Industry, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Human Resources and the Minister for International Trade are monitoring this situation very closely.