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 #123 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was acadian.

Topics

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has failed to respond directly to questions concerning the collapse of the Voyageur pension plan. Access to information documents show that there were concerns that political pressure was being put on OSFI to have the audit amended.

Could the acting prime minister tell us what political pressure the former finance minister was applying?

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister has answered this question rather well in the last few days. The fact is that OSFI, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, is a quasi-independent agency under the auspices of the Minister of Finance. However, all of the dealings for OSFI were assigned by the former minister of finance to the secretary of state for financial institutions and at that time I believe it was the member for Willowdale.

There has been no impropriety in the way this case has been handled.

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that OSFI did not act independently from the former finance minister as it should have. His staff were directly involved in the discussions to close the books on the Voyageur pension plan and to shortchange the employees.

The government has a duty to those pensioners. Will the minister begin a full independent investigation into OSFI and the Voyageur pension plan?

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is true the government has a duty to pensioners and OSFI fulfills that. But the opposition members also have a duty to ask questions in the House that are relevant and that are of the highest integrity. To come here day in and day out and condemn the former minister of finance is totally unacceptable.

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadian citizens are relevant. Here is what one longtime employee said yesterday: “I got shafted good. I don't have enough for 10 years”. That is not fair.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that the ethics counsellor signed off on this. That is not good enough. I ask again, will the Prime Minister call an independent investigation into the handling of the Voyageur pension plan?

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this line of questioning is being repeated on a daily basis. One can only conclude that the members of the Alliance Party are so upset perhaps at the prospect of the former minister of finance taking over the Liberal leadership that they want to attack his integrity. I think Canadians can see through that for what it really is.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the trade minister. For many years the Canadian Cattlemen's Association has repeatedly called on the government to implement the year-round access for American feeder cattle. In fact there was a key resolution at the Canadian cattlemen's convention this summer.

The minister states that he listens and takes the advice of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. Will the government immediately implement year-round access for American feeder cattle?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the government works very closely with the cattlemen, indeed on any export permits that we grant. On imports we have been working with them through the summer. We have brought in far more stringent regulations precisely to help our cattlemen throughout this difficult summer. I intend to continue discussing with them any changes to our policy. We have been in close discussions with them.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government is always saying that disease issues are the reason we will not allow American cattle to come in here. The Canadian cattlemen have stated unequivocally that disease issues are not a threat to the Canadian cattle industry by having these feeder cattle come in. American cattlemen see the year-round access for their feeder cattle as an essential ingredient of a fair, equitable, integrated North American cattle industry.

Why does the minister not realize that fair treatment of our American neighbours will speed up the day that we have a fully open U.S. border for our cattle?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it has been a top priority for our government to maintain that integrated North American economy and industry. We have been working with the Americans very closely. We have made sure that the decisions we were making would not threaten the integrated North American industry that exists.

We are very confident that we will continue the good work of finishing the job of opening the American border. This country is the first BSE affected country to ever see an international border reopened to it and that is because of the United States.

MarriageOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the next Liberal leader made one contradictory statement after another. He refused to take a stand on several issues and deliberately remained evasive. On the definition of marriage, the member for LaSalle—Émard said he was considering various options. He also said he supported the government's position and preferred civil unions. Could he be any more ambiguous?

Will the Minister of Justice confirm that, under the charter, the civil union advocated by his future boss discriminates against same sex spouses?

MarriageOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think that this government's policy is clear and respects the two principles involved. These principles are the right to equality under section 15 of the charter and the protection of religious freedom, which is also a fundamental right.

That having been said, we have decided on this process on the basis of an analysis of section 15. We fundamentally believe that the bill referred to the Supreme Court is the way to go to ensure that all—

MarriageOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Longueuil.

MarriageOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the future Liberal leader says there are other alternatives to same sex marriage besides a civil union, but at the same time he does not offer any details.

Could the Minister of Justice, who consulted the leading experts and has an army of lawyers working for him, tell us whether, in his opinion and contrary to what his future boss said, other options besides civil marriage would respect the right to equality?

MarriageOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we need only look at the position taken by the government, a position respectful of both rights involved.

Reference was made to respect for equality under section 15 of the charter. When we look at the bill referred to the Supreme Court to get an opinion, this is a bill that opens the door to same sex marriage while at the same time ensuring that religious freedom is protected.

We have clearly and unequivocally taken this direction, because it fully respects the principles set out in section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the right to religious freedom.

TaxationOral Question Period

September 19th, 2003 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, a cloud of contradictory statements is gathering around the Liberal Party leadership. While the Prime Minister was saying, in Quebec, that he wants to increase government spending, the future prime minister was saying the opposite, that he wants reduce both debt and expenditures.

The Minister of Finance said he wanted to get the opinion of the future prime minister before taking action. Now that he has the choice between two approaches, increasing expenditures or reducing the debt, can the Minister of Finance, or another representative of the government, tell us which approach will be taken in the next budget?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Oak Ridges Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. member that the Standing Committee on Finance is currently undertaking prebudget consultations. We will submit a report to the Minister of Finance by the end of November.

The process is continuing. We are hearing from Canadians. We will hear from time to time, I am sure, from the opposition and members on this side of the House.

We look forward to the budget being tabled. The Minister of Finance has already announced that sometime this fall there will be a fiscal update.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, they take the prebudget consultations so seriously that the future prime minister has refused to participate.

The finance minister was waiting for instructions from his future boss. He got them yesterday from Montreal, where the member for LaSalle—Émard said in a speech that he wanted to make debt reduction his priority, and at the same time invest in education, health and municipalities—all of which are under provincial jurisdiction.

Does the Minister of Finance think it is realistic to pay down the debt at such a rate without seriously impinging on the financing of social programs?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Oak Ridges Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all I assume that these consultations are very relevant because members of the hon. member's own party are participating.

I also point out that the hon. member's party would suggest that the member for LaSalle—Émard should be part of the consultation process and that somehow the committee should be directed by some other member. I would suggest that if we were to do that, the party opposite would be the first to scream.

At the same time we are working in consultation with the provinces on health care and in other areas. I suggest that the hon. member just participate and be constructive rather than the approach that we have seen--

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

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

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, government officials have confirmed the public works department's fraud investigations unit was involved in probing the circumstances surrounding the Liberals' cruise for contracts policy and the $1.4 billion relocation contract for Royal LePage.

The Solicitor General has admitted the RCMP has been called in to investigate. Will he now table the internal audit which led to the investigation and can he tell us if there are other departments involved in this $1.4 billion scandal?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we are not aware of any RCMP investigation in this file. Issues were raised and the minister and the department have retendered the contract.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this investigation goes beyond what government is willing to admit.

Will the minister confirm that eight other members of the evaluation committee, representatives from the Department of National Defence, Treasury Board and the RCMP, attended various Royal LePage sponsored golf tournaments at no cost to themselves?

Has the RCMP investigation branched out to include other government departments?

Will public works re-evaluate the way contracts are tendered to ensure this practice is discontinued?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated previously, we are not aware of any RCMP investigation into this particular contract. Issues were raised to the minister and he felt it was better to turn around and retender this contract.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the future prime minister outlined an exceptionally conservative economic agenda. In fact it hardly seems necessary to unite the right. Why re-invent the wheel when we are going to have a government led by the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard?

My question actually is for the Minister of Transport, also the minister responsible for Toronto. I wonder if he could explain to us why the member for LaSalle—Émard ignored cities completely in his economic speech yesterday.