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House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Cape Breton SeniorsStatements By Members

September 23rd, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform the House of a new project I announced yesterday to support seniors in Cape Breton. We are funding $284,000 over three years to provide for a project at the Cape Breton Seniors Community Learning Network, which will be implemented by the CAP Society of Cape Breton County.

This project will establish a self-sustaining network of community members who will build links between local, regional, national and global communities of seniors to promote lifelong learning and access to information technologies. To do this, the CAP Society will implement online development, mentoring, outreach and community learning activities.

This demonstrates again our commitment to promoting lifelong learning to all citizens in our country in this new age of technology.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday federal and provincial ministers finally met with Canadian farmers who are in desperate need of financial assistance to cope with the continuing beef ban and the closed border. Our federal agriculture minister shamelessly rejected their appeal.

The beef industry is losing $11 million dollars a day.

We have an agriculture minister who will only give out more funding to suffering farmers if the provinces blindly sign on to his new agricultural policy framework. The minister has no business ransoming needed emergency funds for farmers by hanging the APF over their heads.

It is incomprehensible that we have a Prime Minister who is morally obligated but refuses to meet with the U.S. government to reopen the border. The government has been recklessly shirking its responsibilities on this national crisis since the get-go.

The government needs to stop punishing farmers and abdicating its responsibility. It needs to sit down and work with our partners to the south, develop concrete solutions and get the border open once and for all.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, in a speech to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the former finance minister candidly admitted that once he has his new job, he will wage unrelenting war on the monster of accumulated debt, in the same way Ottawa attacked the deficit in the 1990s.

After touring everywhere in Quebec and Canada promising heaven and earth, now he has taken off his mask. The future Liberal leader confirms that once he has the reins of power in his hands, he will not hesitate to attack the unemployed by transforming employment insurance premiums into employment taxes, and continuing to refuse benefits to six out of ten unemployed people.

In so doing, he is also confirming that he will not hesitate to chop transfer payments to the provinces for health, education and social services, in order to reach his goals.

What he did not say, however, is why he prefers to take advantage of the tax haven in Barbados rather than be a part of the collective effort to reduce the debt by paying his income tax in the country he aspires to lead.

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, 95 students in the Edmonton area received their French immersion high school diplomas.

These students were part of a pilot project established by the Edmonton public school board and the Public Service Commission. Each student earned a high school diploma and acquired a knowledge of French equivalent to that required for bilingual imperative positions in the public service.

Not only does the prodigious success of this project demonstrate the talent of these students and their teachers, but it will also enable the project to continue next year.

I would like to congratulate all the students who earned their high school diplomas in this immersion program. I would ask the House to join me in wishing success to this project in the years to come.

International AidStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, Winstone Zulu, a courageous Zambian living with AIDS, brought his story to Parliament Hill. Each of Winstone's brothers contracted TB. HIV positive and denied access to medications, one after the other his brothers died.

Forty-two million people in the world are living with HIV-AIDS, 70% in sub-Saharan Africa. Twenty million Africans have died from AIDS, leaving 14 million orphans behind.

Winstone Zulu pleaded with Canadians to implement the foreign affairs committee's recommendation for this government to pay its proportional share of the global fund to fight HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria by tripling our contribution.

It is regrettable in the extreme that the Prime Minister failed to use the occasion of this week's UN special session to measure progress in the AIDS battle to announce that Canada will meet its obligations. Nor did the Prime Minister commit to changing our laws to enable life-saving generic drugs to be exported to where they are desperately needed.

I urge this government today to end the delay and save Winstone Zulu's African brothers and sisters.

Huron-Wendat NationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Guy Carignan Liberal Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce in this House that on September 16, the Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation received funding of $1 million from the Department of Canadian Heritage to help develop and build a Huron-Wendat Nation museum.

Through the perseverance and determination of project organizers, Canadians will have access to historical and archeological artifacts of significant ethnological value that are true testaments to the cultural wealth of the Huron-Wendat Nation.

The funds will support the design and construction of the museum, as well as the purchase of specialized conservation, lighting, and sound equipment. In addition to its exhibitions and activities areas, the museum will contain space for storing collections and accommodating researchers.

This museum will allow the Huron-Wendat Nation to properly conserve and showcase its precious physical and spiritual artifacts and documents, within the same region the nation has called home for more than 300 years.

We congratulate the Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation and wish them good luck in this major undertaking.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the American border has been closed to Canadian cattle now for 127 days; 127 days and the government still has no marketing strategy for Canadian beef, still has no plans to resolve the feeder cattle issue with the United States, and still has no planned trip to Washington by the Prime Minister and government leaders.

Why is this government acting so systematically slowly in getting this border open?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member fails to recognize and appreciate the fact that Canada is the only country in the world that has had other non-BSE countries open their borders to our product. That has been because of the efforts of a lot of people: ministers, diplomats, phone calls by the Prime Minister, the industry involvement in all of this, and the recognition by both the Canadian and the United States industries that this is an integrated industry in North America. Therefore they have as well recognized the safety system that we have here in Canada and therefore have begun to open their markets.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, none of that answered my questions about the inaction. It does not explain why there is no marketing strategy for our beef. It does not explain why the feeder cattle problem is not resolved. And it does not explain why there has been no trip to Washington.

But there is one possible explanation and that is that this government wants to wait until it has a new Liberal leader to take credit for resolving the problem, at the cost of more worry and money for Canadian farm families. Is this government deliberately dragging its feet so that the new leader can take credit for the border being opened when it finally happens?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, when the United States has already imported over eight million pounds of beef from Canada, the hon. members are saying it is nothing.

When nothing was happening, they were upset. Now that we are starting to move product, they are upset. Do we have further steps to take? Yes, we do. Are those actions taking place? Yes, they are.

The Secretary of Agriculture in the United States again said this week she is expediting the process to move live cattle under 30 months directly to market in the United States. That is another big step that will be in the near future.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the House will note that the government did not refute my allegation; if this is not about playing partisan politics with the new leader.

For weeks there have been suggestions that there be an all party, non-partisan committee to go to Washington. That includes former prime minister Brian Mulroney. There have been suggestions that Premier Klein be invited to Washington. I know we in this party are prepared to do that. Others in this House are prepared to do that.

If this is not about promoting a new Liberal leader, will this government agree to lead an all party delegation to Washington to resolve this problem?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the approach that this government and this industry, with the provinces, have taken has been very successful in comparison to what has happened in similar situations in the rest of the world.

Some premiers have been to Washington. Some premiers have spoken out on this issue. I leave it to those people over there, as other people have, to judge how successful their actions and their statements were.

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is more on the Voyageur saga. According to access to information documents, on November 12, 1998, OSFI met with the finance minister's political aide, Karl Littler, to discuss a draft memo that reads in part, “Based on the facts presented in the Price Waterhouse report and advice received from legal counsel, OSFI has decided not to proceed with any further action”.

This was weeks before the audit was even completed. How could OSFI have decided not to act on the audit before the audit was completed?

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this is just a repetition of questions that arose last week. The hon. member knows full well that OSFI is an independent organization that regulates pensions within the federal sphere and that all the proper procedures were followed in this particular case.

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we will repeat the question until we get an answer.

Hundreds of the new Liberal leader's former employees at Voyageur bus lines have been stiffed out of their pensions. They have lost up to 30% of their benefits in some cases. The minister's political staff were in the loop getting briefings on the status of that pension plan. OSFI reached a decision on the Voyageur pension plan before the audit was even completed. How is that possible?

Why does the minister not admit that this audit was always intended to be nothing more than a cover-up for their political boss?

Voyageur Colonial Pension FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a repetitious question deserves a repetitious answer. The fact is OSFI conducted itself in this case, as it always does, with utmost probity.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in a preview of his speech to the United Nations, the Prime Minister sent a message to the United States when he said, “No one country, no matter how powerful, has either the wisdom or the ability to defeat terrorism on its own”. Unfortunately, that is not what his successor thinks.

Will the government admit that the man who has the ear of the Bush administration is the new Liberal leader, who believes that, “Multilateralism is a means, not an end” and mentioned arrangements outside the United Nations.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am a minister in the current government. If the hon. member wishes to ask the next prime minister a question, he can wait until his swearing in. The current Prime Minister, however, gave a good speech yesterday on matters relating to international security, and, in my opinion, he has the support of all Canadians.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, he does not have the support of the future leader of the Liberal Party.

The Prime Minister can talk all he wants about the benefits of multilateralism, his successor has already adopted the Bush administration's views on Iraq. Last May, the new Liberal leader stated, “The lack of consensus within the UN must not condemn us to inaction”.

In light of such a statement, does the government realize that, with the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard as prime minister, Canada would have gone to war in Iraq without UN approval?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister spoke for the government and, in my opinion, for all Canadians. We opposed the war against Iraq, we support the reconstruction of Iraq and we support the UN resolutions.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Americans are no longer even bothering to hide their impatience to start dealing with the future prime minister, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard. His positions on the conflict in Iraq or increased military spending are far closer to the U.S. positions than Canada's current positions.

Is the government going to admit that, under the direction of the new prime minister, Canadian foreign policy is going to have to change and move far closer to the American positions on these matters, and that the speech to the UN this evening by the currrent Prime Minister is nothing more than an expression of a policy that is about to disappear?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I speak for the current government. Our policies are clear and I believe that the majority of Canadians support our policies on the war in Iraq.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

With the exception of the new leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Speaker, who does not support the government's policy.

Despite the lack of clarity and precision we have been accustomed to so far from the new leader of the Liberal Party on important issues, do his foreign policy statements not indicate that, under his leadership, the government will be far closer to the United States than to the United Nations?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will need to await the arrival of the new prime minister if he wants to ask questions of a new prime minister. Tomorrow, however, the current Prime Minister will be here to answer questions.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture's deadlock with the provinces is holding farmers hostage. His refusal to compensate farm families on the brink of bankruptcy until the remaining provinces sign on to the agriculture policy framework is callous and mean-spirited.

In the meantime, the Canadian agriculture sector is facing its biggest crisis since the Depression.

When can farm families expect the minister to live up to his own government's commitments and start the flow of compensation? It is a liquidity issue. They need the money now.