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House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Revenue Agency has threatened both Roman Catholic and evangelical churches with legal sanctions. Their mortal sin was freely and publicly expressing their positions on key moral issues. I find the government's actions outrageous. Our Constitution guarantees every citizen freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

I ask the minister, why is the government attacking our most cherished freedoms?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the question.

I would note that rules are in place to ensure that the money Canadians donate to charities is spent on charitable purposes. Charities are free to advocate points of view. There is nothing in the law to inhibit that unless the charity directly advocates for a political party. That is the rule of the land.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bishop Henry and other church leaders have been highly critical of the Prime Minister's position on certain matters of conscience. Now the Prime Minister, through his tax collectors, is threatening to remove tax free status from Roman Catholic and evangelical organizations.

Why is the Prime Minister permitting government agencies to attack and threaten freedom of religion in Canada?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no truth in that statement. In general terms Canadians want to be sure that the money they donate to charities goes to the proper place. Churches and other registered charities are entirely free to put forward their opinion on many issues. The only thing they cannot do as a registered charity is advocate for a political party or a political candidate in an election. That is the law of the land.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, last spring the Treasury Board announced that henceforth the appointment process for heads of crown corporations would be cleaned up and objective rules would be followed. But old habits are hard to break. The next month, everything new was forgotten. The minister of revenue parachuted his friend, Gordon Feeney, into a position at the head of Canada Post.

Does the Prime Minister believe that all these political appointments will just slip through like so much mail?

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to report to the House that not only did the board of Canada Post judge Mr. Feeney to be competent, not only did the government make that judgment, but the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar in the meeting of the parliamentary committee with Mr. Feeney said, “My questions will not pertain to your qualifications,which are exemplary”.

The Bloc member, not to be outdone, said to Mr. Feeney:

“I do not want to question your qualifications, either.”

I am glad to note the opposition is with the government.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Charlie Penson Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the appointment of the revenue minister's friend as chair of Canada Post is exactly the type of cronyism that the rules were supposed to prevent. Now that it is clear the rules have been watered down, it is obvious this was nothing more than a pre-election ploy designed to trick Canadians into thinking the Liberal government would clean up its act.

Will the Prime Minister instruct the President of the Treasury Board to enforce the original rules and apologize to Canadians for his deception to Canadians?

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it would appear the hon. member asked his question without taking account of the answer to the previous question. I would remind him that his own colleague, a member of the same party on the parliamentary committee said, “My questions will not pertain to your qualifications, which are exemplary”.

Exemplary is quite a strong word and it goes to show that Mr. Feeney is well positioned to lead the board of this major corporation, to improve governance and to find an exemplary new CEO.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Following discussions a couple of days ago, Premier Hamm of my province said he was optimistic in regard to equalization talks and the possibility of reaching a deal with the federal government. Today the minister of energy in Nova Scotia was reported as saying that talks were positive and that he was satisfied with the progress made to date.

Could the minister give us an update on the status of discussions specifically with Nova Scotia on offshore revenues and equalization?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the remarks of Premier Hamm and Minister Clarke. They fairly reflect the rapport between Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada. We have been addressing serious issues in a serious way and trying to find real solutions that work.

We have also had the very helpful engagement of our national caucus. All of us want to get on with this and find the answers that will achieve the results in terms of future economic growth and development in Nova Scotia, which the province aspires to and that Canada supports.

IndustryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the mayor of Timmins, Ontario joined the growing chorus of concern over the sale of base metal operations to Minmetals. He has written an open letter to the Prime Minister underlining the fact that there are communities completely dependent on these resources.

Instead of sitting back and waiting for this deal to be inked, will this government respond to the mayor's request, invite the base metal communities to come forward and bring their concerns in setting up a full review of this deal?

IndustryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in the event there is an application under the Investment Canada Act, there will be a full and complete review of any proposed deal.

HousingOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, zonolite is an asbestos laden vermiculite that the government promoted for use in its Canadian home insulation program. Now hundreds of thousands of Canadian homeowners are sitting on a ticking time bomb in terms of the health of their families. On some Indian reserves it is too late and at least four deaths have been tied directly to zonolite.

The government helped pay for the removal of urea formaldehyde foam insulation in the 1980s because it was irritating. This is deadly.

Will the minister responsible for housing and CMHC commit to establishing a program similar to the UFFI program to help homeowners pay for the high cost of removing this hazardous material from their homes?

HousingOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, it is an issue of concern to the Government of Canada because the well-being of all Canadians is important.

I want to indicate that there is information available for Canadians to find out whether they have the zonolite to which the member referred. We have links to Health Canada as well as to other information sources. We want to ensure that we look at the situation as seriously as we possible can. We would be happy to report to the member and to the House when the information is available.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

October 29th, 2004 / 11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the province of Saskatchewan has been losing equalization payments in excess of $1.08 for every dollar of oil sold under the current equalization formula. The Prime Minister has promised that Newfoundland and Labrador will keep 100% of its offshore oil revenue, and maybe it is and maybe it is not.

Will the Minister of Finance, on the record in the House, promise not only to pay back to Saskatchewan all the excess clawed back under the equalization formula, but also ensure that the province of Saskatchewan will keep 100% of its oil revenues?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, I am very pleased to report to the hon. gentleman that because of the elimination of the clawback in fiscal 2004-05, which will provide a benefit to Saskatchewan of some $590 million, anything that was owed from a previous time has already been returned, as the province of Saskatchewan has acknowledged.

Indeed, Saskatchewan is on the cusp of becoming a have province within Confederation, and we are very proud of that in Saskatchewan.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the ruminant livestock industry is in trouble and it continues to suffer due to BSE border closures. Over 100,000 ruminant producers need help now.

It is unbelievable that the government does not hesitate to insult our U.S. neighbours, but it lacks the backbone to negotiate with the U.S. government. The government has no plans to convince the Americans that the border has to be reopened to live animals right now and not later.

Will the government take a firm stand with the American government and proceed with legal action against the United States under NAFTA or WTO?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, it would probably come as a bit of a surprise to the U.S. ambassador whom I met yesterday that Canada is not advocating on a continual basis for the border to be opened. I think the point was made very clear to him.

In addition to that, as announced on September 10, the government felt it was absolutely essential that we develop made in Canada solutions so our producers could take into their own hands the types of business decisions that they needed to take.

All aspects of that program that were announced on September 10 are now in operation. We are working with the industry to ensure they can achieve profitability.

Textile and Clothing IndustryOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The Canadian apparel industry faces challenges due to globalization. The fourth report of the Standing Committee on Finance in the 37th Parliament made three unanimous recommendations. One was to extend the remission orders related to the apparel sector that would expire on December 31 of this year.

Without these in place, jobs will be lost including in my riding of Leeds--Grenville. When will the finance minister extend these remissions orders?

Textile and Clothing IndustryOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to report that members of Parliament, including most particularly members on this side of the House, have been very aggressive in advancing their point of view.

The recommendations of the committee are under active consideration. I am pleased to say that in the company of our members of Parliament I was able to meet with a number of representatives yesterday about the textile and apparel industry. We want to achieve a result that works for it, and it is very much on the government's agenda right now.

Textile and Clothing IndustryOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also met with those very gentlemen yesterday and that is not the attitude they shared with me.

This House has 150 days to respond to an all party recommendation. The industry has only 60 days until extinction.

We need assurance from the minister that he will take direct and immediate action to implement this number one recommendation and ensure that not only Cambridge jobs, but jobs all across Canada will not be lost because of bureaucracy and paper shuffling.

Textile and Clothing IndustryOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the hon. gentleman's representation. I will add it to the list that I have received directly from the industry and from members of Parliament.

I am pleased to report that members of the government caucus raised this with me two months ago.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, various police associations in Quebec have also expressed concern about the RCMP's decision to close nine regional offices in Quebec and demand that an impact study be conducted before the decision becomes final.

Does the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness intend to do as requested by the police associations, and suspend temporarily the RCMP's decision while impact studies are conducted?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I want to say that this is a purely operational decision of the RCMP, following a comprehensive review of its services in Quebec. This review entailed extensive internal consultations with its employees and external consultations with its law enforcement partners, including the Quebec provincial police.

This same review was done in the province of Ontario just a few years ago. It was implemented, it is working and it is making a safer Ontario--

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.