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House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was employees.

Topics

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, rather than looking for ways to spend surplus funds, should the government not give this money back to drivers who, thanks to its actions, have paid nearly $1 billion over the past five years?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I believe that drivers also receive employment income and they paid lower taxes on that income. They are also employed by corporations that paid less income tax. Cuts of $100 billion are quite substantial.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, the former Liberal finance minister and leadership frontrunner is again trying to steal Canadian Alliance policy. Recently he said that he would dedicate a portion of gas taxes into roads to assist in road building and to help municipalities. However, if the former finance minister really believed in dedicating gas taxes to roads he would have done this in any one of his nine budgets. He did not. He failed to do it and he cannot be trusted on this issue.

Why will the current finance minister not walk his predecessor's talk and stop this gas tax rip-off?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I read very carefully what my predecessor said, and I agree with him. More recently, he has made some suggestion that he might want to vacate a tax field. There were quite a few qualifications around what he said. As I followed very carefully his script over nine years, I think he had it right. I do not think dedicated taxes work all that well in most areas.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, we all know the former Liberal finance minister has a penchant for flip-flops, and I thank the minister for pointing that out.

Eight air carriers have died on this Liberal government's watch and Air Canada just barely avoided filing for bankruptcy this past weekend. Air Canada employees took it on the chin.

What I want to know is whether the Liberal government understands the problems of the air industry and will receive the wake-up call that it has now received? Will the Liberal government admit that its air policies have failed? Will it lower and eliminate taxes on flying to get more people flying and to give Air Canada and the airline industry a hope for the future? Will it do it?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member were fair he would recognize that there are challenges in the air industry in many countries, and that they are not strictly a matter of this tax or that tax. We certainly are continuing to look very carefully at the challenges. I have met personally as Minister of Finance with representatives of the sector to try to understand the nature of the challenges they are facing.

We will of course observe very closely the work out under CCAA of Air Canada to determine the impact of that process on the provision of air services within the country, and take the decisions accordingly.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the course of the weekend, Nobel Prize laureate and world renowned democracy activist, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was re-arrested by the military regime in Burma. Just as troubling are reports that over 70 pro-democracy activists were killed by supporters of the military regime. As well, some 19 of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's colleagues in the National League for Democracy have been detained and the party headquarters closed down across the country.

My question is for the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific. What is Canada's response to this shameful and regrettable situation?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Southeast Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour LiberalSecretary of State (Asia-Pacific)

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are appalled. Aung San Suu Kyi is a world hero. Burma's ruling generals have now taken that country's painfully slow democratization process ten steps backwards.

Canada calls on the Burmese officials to release Aung San Suu Kyi, her colleagues from the NLD and all political prisoners in Burma immediately.

Canada maintains strict measures against Burma. In light of these actions we will now redouble our efforts to restore democracy to Burma.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

Atlantic Canada should not pay duty on softwood lumber, yet the government's most recent proposal to the Americans surrenders that exemption.

Why and how could the government sell Atlantic Canadians down the river?

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, maybe I can inform the member that Atlantic Canada is paying 8.43% dumping duty at this moment. It has been exempted from countervailing duties at 19%. As far as that is concerned, it is an exemption that this government has fought for. We received it from the United States. We intend to remain loyal to it.

Any proposal that went down to the United States last week does not put that exemption in jeopardy. We want to resolve the anti-dumping case of Atlantic Canada as we will resolve the rest of the cases for the rest of the country.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the four Atlantic premiers have signed a letter to the Prime Minister expressing outrage about the federal government's proposed sell out of the Atlantic Canadian softwood lumber industry. In that letter, the premiers say, and I quote:

We therefore expect the Government of Canada to take immediate action to remedy this unfortunate error.

Will the minister retract this ridiculous offer and end his attack on the Atlantic Canadian lumber industry?

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for the good momentum he had over the weekend during the leadership convention. It was a great job.

I can reassure Atlantic Canada and the House that we advocated for this exemption that Atlantic Canada has obtained in the past. We have been working on it for 20 years. We obtained it from the United States. However now we want to free Atlantic Canada from the anti-dumping duties that it has been subjected to for the past year. It is imperative to eliminate all duties, anti-dumping and countervailing, that we have been subjected to by the Americans.

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, a new study shows that the drug testing funded by the pharmaceutical industry is four times more likely to show results favouring the sponsor's product than publicly funded research.

The government has a pattern of getting rid of responsibilities so it can pass the blame on to others. We have seen the disasters that self-regulation and monitoring have caused when it comes to food inspections, water safety and rail inspections. Drug testing needs to be safe, impartial and above reproach.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister explain why his government is letting the biggest profit making industry in Canada regulate its own products at the expense of Canadian patients and taxpayers?

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I really have some difficulty understanding what the hon. member is talking about because we have one of the most rigorous drug approval processes in the world. In fact, I think it is fair to say that this country is noted for the premium that it puts on the protection of Canadians' safety.

I also want to inform the hon. member that as part of our smart regulation initiative we are in the process of reviewing the timeliness of drug approvals. However I want to underscore for everyone that our first priority is always the health and safety of Canadians before any product is allowed on the market.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development has said that she would not do away with the two-week waiting period for the employees of small businesses that have been affected by SARS or mad cow disease.

In addition, the workers at the Horne smelter in northern Quebec cannot access EI either, because according to the Minister of Human Resources Development, production needs to be 85%, and the employer cannot attain that level as a result of the strike.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. Will she stop hiding behind the 85% production rule and give EI to the workers laid off by this employer?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is making reference to a specific case, I would be glad to look into it in detail. Indeed, when it comes to ensuring that there is employment insurance, it is there as an insurance program. It has to be clear that people have been employed and then are laid off.

If he would like to bring the details forward, I would be pleased to look at them.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the health minister said that the SARS screening measures were still being ramped up at the airports. We are now headed into a possible third wave of the SARS outbreak in the Toronto area.

Is the health minister saying today that she is interviewing all outgoing passengers at the Pearson airport?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, what I am saying and have said is that we make a risk assessment on a daily basis as to what measures are required.

We have ramped up our screening measures and we are working with airlines. Some, I will be quite honest, have been more co-operative than others in terms of ensuring that at check-in passengers leaving Pearson airport for international destinations are aware based on information provided to them of the symptoms of SARS. They are being asked to inform themselves of those symptoms and at check-in are being asked whether they have made themselves aware of that information and have answered all the questions in the negative.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, on March 27 the WHO recommended a face to face interview of outgoing passengers. Singapore implemented aggressive screening and quarantine measures and the WHO, this last Saturday, actually deemed it as SARS free. Vietnam, a poor country by most countries' standards, brought about those tough screenings and it was declared SARS free three weeks ago.

Why are the screening procedures left to the discretion of the airlines in Canada when they should be applied across the board?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is up to the discretion of the airlines but we are working very closely with the airlines and the two international airports.

I take very strong exception to the hon. member's question if in fact he is suggesting that the WHO has designated various countries as SARS free because of their screening measures. They have been designated SARS free because in fact SARS has been controlled and contained. Unfortunately, in Toronto, with the designation of a second cluster, that has set back local public health officials' efforts, but--

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Matapédia—Matane.

FisheriesOral Question Period

June 2nd, 2003 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the shrimp industry is vital to several communities in eastern Quebec. To help the fishers in Newfoundland, the government decided to increase by a third the fishing quotas in the Atlantic, which will definitely lower market prices.

How does the government reconcile this quota increase after acknowledging a weak market last year and its willingness to make this fishery more stable by refusing to broaden access to the resource?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the quotas are established based on the state of the resource. We know that the resource is in very good shape and that it could withstand an increase to the level we have set. Last year, we were asked to consider waiting a year. We agreed and we waited.

I cannot refuse to increase quotas when we know that communities depend on them. We will leave it up to entrepreneurs to fish and sell shrimp.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans realize that with the increase in shrimp quotas, he is creating the same situation as with crab and cod? Is that good management?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, we have to recognize that the shrimp fishery is in very good shape. We know we can increase the quotas to the level we increased them to. We know we could go beyond those levels.

We continue to seek scientific advice and we will increase our scientific knowledge through a joint program with the industry. We are going to do this very carefully to ensure sustainability for the future.