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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the future prime minister is trying hard to present an image of renewal, but unfortunately for him, what he has to say about federal intervention in municipal affairs is essentially the same as what the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs told municipal representatives in May 2001, and I quote: “It would be a real anomaly not to have direct and intense relations between federal and municipal leaders”.

Can the Prime Minister confirm that his successor's approach is exactly the same as that of the present government, as expressed by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in Banff in 2001?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is rather confusing. They must be talking to each other. He says it is exactly the same thing, so there is no change.

I can say, as the Minister of Finance did yesterday, that on the issue of infrastructure programs, we are helping municipalities to develop their infrastructure. That has been going on for generations. Canada's federal government has been involved in subsidized housing for a long time. We are even more involved now, and the municipalities are very happy.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the least one can say is that the Prime Minister is confused. We are talking about a direct fiscal agreement between the federal government and the municipalities. Quebec is excluded from that fiscal agreement.

I am asking the federal government if it is not being disingenuous in stating that, when there are problems in a sector such as municipal affairs, such problems justify the federal government's intervention, even though it has no jurisdiction.

Would the federal government not claim that its exclusive jurisdiction was at stake, if, for example, on the pretext that there were a lot of problems in Canada's military, the provincial governments announced their intention to intervene in order to solve these problems? It is the same thing.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, to me, the situation is very clear. We have longstanding relations with the municipal governments. Very often, these involve tripartite programs, with contributions from the municipal, provincial and federal levels. These programs have been around for a long time. The municipalities do not complain and the provincial governments all participate, including the Government of Quebec. The infrastructure programs are a very good example of cooperation between municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Liberal GovernmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Prime Minister if there was a problem; if he saw a problem with a Liberal lobbyist meeting with the head of the Privy Council Office. In his usual manner, he said no problem whatsoever.

Luckily Mr. Robinson himself saw there was a problem and is now disassociating himself from this high profile client.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. Will he now provide a list, a full list, of the new Liberal leader's transition team who are meeting with PMO officials, departmental officials or his cabinet?

He may be leaving his office. Unfortunately the Liberal government is not.

Liberal GovernmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was one meeting where they discussed exactly that problem, the previous status of Mr. Robinson, his professional activities and how he could deal with the Privy Council. They had a gentleman's discussion and the conclusion was that he could not be a lobbyist and do that job. They did not discuss any matter but that. In the weeks to come, if there is some need of communication, there will be communication, and there will be absolutely no conflict of interest.

Liberal GovernmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, now it appears that there is a problem. Confidential information should not be made available to Liberal lobbyists just because they are part of the Liberal leader's transition team.

The Minister of Finance runs one of the most sensitive departments in the government yet he recently stated:

It would be appropriate to have some level of communication either directly or through his transition team that I know he's been putting in place.

Would the Minister of Finance tell the House if he or his office have been speaking to members of the transition team, particularly lobbyists?

Liberal GovernmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member is ignoring one fact: the member for LaSalle—Émard is a member of Parliament and there will be some community work on the preparation of the budget.

The members of Parliament work with the Minister of Finance. They make suggestions. If the member for LaSalle—Émard wants to make some suggestions we will be happy to hear them. Preparation for the budget has to start right now. As we have done over the last eight years, every member of Parliament with a good idea can give it to us.

Even the Leader of the Opposition was trying to find a new party, so we will have another new Leader of the Opposition in a few months. I never thought I would have a new one before departing.

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we hear yet again about the pandemic of AIDS in Africa. We hear again how literally millions of people are dying tragically because they cannot afford the drugs to keep them alive. Canada is yet again doing nothing to help the flow of affordable drugs.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. Stephen Lewis says that Africa needs just one G-7 country to step forward and help the cheap drugs flow. Will Canada be that country? Will the Prime Minister ensure that?

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Essex Ontario

Liberal

Susan Whelan LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as Stephen Lewis and, hopefully, the hon. member well knows, Canada has already pledged $150 million to the global fund for fighting HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. On top of that, we have contributed $50 million to the Canada fund for Africa for the vaccine initiative for HIV and AIDS.

Canada has stepped forward and Canada will continue to step up to the plate to help fight HIV-AIDS, particularly in Africa.

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate, because Canada has not stepped up to the plate.

I want to switch my question to another topic. The new Liberal leader has raised $1 million more than he can spend. We do not know who gave or what he promised but we are sure the gift will keep on giving for the donors.

If the heritage minister should stop campaigning because she has lost, surely the finance minister should stop fundraising because he has won.

I would like to know, has the Prime Minister--

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, I did not win.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

September 25th, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is new evidence today that the government turns a blind eye to the serious problem of bogus visa schools.

The minister tells immigration officials to issue student visas on acceptance letters from these unsavoury operations. The Liberals allow excellent foreign students to be victimized by these so-called schools. The Liberals leave an unguarded gate that invites criminal exploitation.

Why has the government failed in its duty to protect foreign students and failed to protect Canada?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is the opposite. We are doing what we have to do.

It is like what I am hearing from another provincial party which is putting immigrants in the crime agenda.

We have to be very careful. We need foreign students. We need to do what we have to do. Our officers scrutinize the situation and they are doing a tremendous job. However to label every foreign student as a potential criminal is total nonsense.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, the minister makes every foreign student a potential victim by not shutting down these bogus schools. Bogus schools use helpless students as captive labour. They are fronts for laundering money. They are an open gateway for security threats.

Today we learned that the minister was warned over a year ago of the “unbridled growth” of these operations, of the abuse and of the security risk.

What possible reason could the Liberals give for failing to shut down these bogus visa schools?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, at some point, there needs to be a proper understanding of the distribution of jurisdictions. Some things are provincial and some federal. Our role is to ensure that all cases are properly screened. We are doing that. We are still maintaining a balance between openness and vigilance. Each time questions about foreign students are raised from that side of the floor, they make it sound as if these students were criminals.

We want to increase the number of foreign students we have, and we will.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the special gasoline tax is no longer needed, but has been retained by the federal government nevertheless. That same tax will be used in future by the new prime minister to deal directly with the municipalities.

Is this not the perfect example of fiscal imbalance, allowing the federal government to use the revenue from a tax that is no longer necessary to invade areas that are under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have had this same question a number of times here in the House, but the answer is still the same.

We cut taxes in the 2000 budget. Then, in subsequent budgets, we cut them by $100 billion over five years.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

An hon. member

They voted against it.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

They voted against a tax cut that affected all Canadians.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the future prime minister, realizing there are problems in the municipalities, problems in health and education, says he wants to solve them.

Could the currnt finance minister not help him in his thought process, and help him understand that the problems in the municipalities and the problems in health and education are all attributable to a lack of funds and that the only way to solve them is not to interfere in areas under the jurisdiction of the provinces and of Quebec, but to correct the fiscal imbalance, which results in the money being in Ottawa, while the problems are in the provinces and in Quebec?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the provinces have the same power to levy taxes as the federal government. They have the same power to tax and to set priorities.

We have, with good management, eliminated the deficit. We have paid down the debt and we have cut taxes. When there was a deficit at the federal level, they did not complain about the presence of a fiscal imbalance. Both levels of government have the same ability to obtain revenues.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, an internal defence report indicates that two-thirds of Canada's fleet of Hercules aircraft have been grounded due to maintenance problems. These planes are essential to our military operations yet the government does not have a plan to replace these 40 year old planes. Instead, we see the minister implement a stop-gap measure to buy used airplanes.

Why is the government dumpster diving to keep our Hercules in the air?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government takes the safety of our people extremely seriously and we will not put them at undue risk. We have not and we will not allow our personnel to fly in unsafe aircraft.

The Hercules are in fact considered one of the most reliable and versatile transport planes in the world. They are the workhorse of the Canadian air transport fleet and the Canadian Forces are examining options to enhance the availability of Hercules transport.