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House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was representation.

Topics

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed it should look into the shortcomings, because there are certainly some, no doubt about it.

How can the President of the Treasury Board deny that, by refusing to do her job and to monitor government spending in compliance with the administrative procedures that are supposed to be in effect, she has lacked courage, been remiss in her most essential duties, and become an accomplice to the mismanagement, to put it mildly, of Mr. Radwanski?

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we know the hon. member for Châteauguay likes to exaggerate. Could we stick to the facts? All of the points raised today were discovered by parliamentarians as the result of an investigation carried out by parliamentarians, who then asked the Auditor General to act.

In her evaluation, the Auditor General makes some highly specific recommendations to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which reports to Parliament, to the Public Service Commission which reports to Parliament, and as well to the Treasury Board Secretariat—

Former Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Libyan embassy in Ottawa is providing backdoor travel visas to help terrorist fundraisers transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to violent groups abroad. It does not stop there and this is where the Prime Minister comes in.

According to senior Canadian intelligence officials a Hamas front group, the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services, is raising dollars in Canada right under the Prime Minister's nose. The Prime Minister has been aware of this group's activities.

Why has he refused to give the order to shut it down?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, a legislative process has been put in place to deal with the global threat posed by terrorism.

The Criminal Code at this time contains 31 entities and the assessment process for other possible listings continues and is ongoing.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to quote from a Canadian Alliance access to information request. It states:

--fundraising in support of violent foreign struggles takes place in Canada... Front groups operating in Canada include the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services (Hamas Front)--

This came from a secret intelligence memorandum to the Prime Minister, not to the Solicitor General, over 36 months ago. He still has not ordered this group's assets frozen or its activities stopped.

Why does he ignore his security advisor and allow terrorist groups like this to operate with impunity? He is not protecting Canadians. Who is he protecting?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, one thing is clear, the member is absolutely wrong when he says that our law enforcement agencies are not protecting Canadians. Canadians share and believe in our national law enforcement agencies.

There is a clear process for listing entities. We will follow the process and we are following the process. When we have security and criminal intelligence that follows the process that allows us to list, we will.

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, high tides and hurricane Juan have combined to create tremendous destruction to property in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Much of this damage has been to wharves and fishing harbours that are the key pieces of infrastructure to the economy of many coastal communities.

What is the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans doing to ensure the safety and accessibility to wharves affected by hurricane Juan?

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his pertinent question.

First, I would like to express my condolences to the families of the individuals killed during this terrible storm. I would like to thank all Canadians who have been working together on cleaning up, restoring power, and bringing life back to normal.

DFO staff are currently assessing the damage to wharves and fishing harbours caused by hurricane Juan. My department is committed to keeping harbours critical to the fishing industry open for business, in good repair and accessible. Priority is being given to urgent cleanups required to ensure public safety.

The Minister of National Defence, the member for Halifax West, and myself will be travelling to Nova Scotia tomorrow to meet with officials.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

September 30th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the theft of 120,000 identities from Revenue Canada computers undermines the credibility of Canadian identity documents.

Has the Government of Canada provided the United States security and immigration officials with the 120,000 Canadian identities stolen from Revenue Canada in the event that these names are used to gain illegal access to the United States?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that there was a theft of computer equipment from our Laval office. The computers did not contain any personal or business income tax information.

They were old databases, primarily from the construction industry and from EI CPP decisions regarding employment.

We have taken immediate action to review all of our processes and to ensure that the 120,000 people affected receive information on how they can protect themselves.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question was, did the minister contact the United States security and immigration officials in the event that these identities are used to gain illegal access to the United States?

If this happened on September 4, why did we wait a month to notify the victims?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I confirmed, we did have a break-in. Computers were stolen containing information in old databases that had to be rebuilt. They did not contain factual income tax or business information on individuals.

I can tell members that we acted immediately. The police were on the scene within 15 minutes of the break-in. The fact that the computers were stolen was the result of human error. A server was left out.

The long serving employee of the CCRA feels terrible, as I do. We are notifying people. We want to ensure we get to the right people.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the health minister received a wake-up call about women's health, which again is directly linked to women's income.

Eight out of ten single mothers are low income wage earners, more than six times the rate of partnered mothers. They are five times more likely to succumb to diseases such as anorexia, and more than four times as likely to suffer violence. These factors are health risks.

Before debt reduction becomes the government's economic priority, will the health minister make the case that alleviating poverty for single mothers is important too?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it very clear that we understand that dealing with the challenge of poverty is very important. Dealing with that challenge is important in terms of ensuring people good health and access to education.

I take very seriously the comments made by the hon. member in relation to health challenges, especially health challenges for single mothers in our society.

I remind the member that the provinces and territories are the primary deliverers of health care in this country. We work very closely with the provinces and territories to ensure that everybody understands the prerequisites for healthy living.

I look forward to working with her and others.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the latest report by the Canadian Labour Congress showed that only 33% of women and 44% of men contributing to the employment insurance program are entitled to benefits.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will he recommend that his government colleagues vote tomorrow in favour of Bill C-406, to rectify the errors made in the last reform of the unemployment insurance program, in 1996?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I know that the hon. member is an experienced member of this House. He is no doubt aware that there is a free vote on private members' motions, at least for Liberal members. Perhaps this is not the case for his party.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we notice a pattern for the Minister of National Revenue. Last December she lost hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent GST claims. In May personal information was stolen from her department and offered for sale to organized crime. Last week confidential tax information was mailed to the wrong address. Then today we have learned that Revenue Canada has suffered what insiders are calling the biggest loss of personal information in Canadian history, when the confidential files of about 120,000 more people went missing.

Why is it that this minister in particular has such a terrible record of mismanaging Canadians confidential files?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, let us forget the rhetoric and talk about an issue that is important to Canadians, and that is there was a theft. We had a break-in in the Laval office. Six computers were stolen. One of those, which was being used as a server, contained some old databases, particularly as it related to the construction industry and to some EI decisions.

We all feel very badly about that. The police are on the scene. The RCMP are investigating. We have taken every action to notify those people so they can protect themselves and we have given them the information they need on how to do that.

That is what Canadians expect and that is what we are doing.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, at least the Minister of National Revenue is consistent. Each time there is a disaster in her department, she orders an immediate review. Each time, after the problem is publicized and after personal information of Canadians oozes out of her control, she hits the panic button and promises to investigate and review the matter.

Her latest effort promises a sweeping review of security but only after critically sensitive, confidential information has got out into the public and 120,000 people now have to wonder what happened to their social insurance numbers, names and confidential information.

She is very concerned about bad publicity but not much about good management. Why is it that she seems to be incapable of managing the information entrusted to her?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, let me give the member opposite the facts.

The fact is that one of those computers was being used as a server. It should have been locked up for the night. All our laptop computers are encrypted. They are state of the art, world class. We have never had that encryption seal broken.

In this case, an employee, a long time good employee of the agency, did not put the server back into the secure room as should have been done. That is CCRA policy. He feels very badly, as we do, and we have taken appropriate action.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only are there more than five million surplus social insurance cards in circulation, not only are copies of income tax returns sent by mistake to other people, but now 120,000 names, addresses and other information, including SINs, have been stolen from Canada Customs and Revenue Agency computers.

Does the Minister of National Revenue not realize that if she does not take steps to prevent fraud artists from getting their hands on basic data, Canada could easily become the fraud capital of the world?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately break-ins do happen and equipment does get stolen on occasion. In this particular instance, the police were there within 15 minutes of the break-in.

The six computers that we stolen did contain some information, a regional database on decisions relating to employer-employee status. We have taken action to ensure that over almost 600 of our offices check and review their security systems.

We are notifying those 120,000 people even though no information on tax and personal business information was included.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of National Revenue explain why she waited one month before warning Canadians and Quebeckers that their names, addresses and other information had been stolen, and that they might have been victims of fraud?

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, that is a very important question. The information in the one computer, which was being used as a server and which was stolen, contained old databases. They had to be rebuilt. We did it both electronically and manually. It was extremely labour intensive.

However we wanted to ensure that we were contacting the right people. We have done that. We are ensuring the people have the information they need so they can protect themselves. We are also conducting and I have ordered a thorough security review not only of our policies and of our sites but also to ensure that all our employees are up to date on our procedures.