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House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

John Reynolds Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister's conduct during the election was clearly unethical. The minister claims she has referred the mess to the ethics commissioner.

The ethics commissioner's office has stated that it does not know what to investigate because it has not received any information. Why is the minister adding to her woes by misleading the House?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the member that all the information was forwarded on to the ethics commissioner.

I find it really interesting when we hear the opposition members. They hollered for so many years that they had to have an ethics commissioner. Now that we have one, they are trying to prejudge, in a lot of the their own comments, as to what the outcome is going to be.

Wait for the ethics commissioner's report, and I will be glad to share it all with them.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

John Reynolds Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister and the Prime Minister for days have told the House that the ethics commissioner was investigating this matter. Let me quote Micheline Rondeau-Parent from the ethics commissioner's office. She said:

--the Ethics Commissioner doesn't know what he is supposed to be investigating yet because he hasn't received any information from [the minister's department]....So he will have to look at whatever she presents to him, OK. At this stage she hasn't done that...I'm not even sure it is an investigation per se, but he will provide advice [when we receive information].

Why would the ethics commissioner's office tell us that yesterday, if the minister said that he already was investigating over the last three days? He is not investigating--

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, I contacted the ethics commissioner myself, personally, and asked him to give me some advice. He has the full file, and we will wait for his assurance when it comes back. I will share it with the hon. member.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

John Reynolds Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, it would be nice to know when he got the file because yesterday he said that he did not have it.

The immigration minister's conduct during the election was clearly unethical. She has misled the House over the days telling us a different story. Will she step aside while the ethics commissioner reviews this file?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the work that I am doing as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. I exercise my responsibility under humanitarian and compassionate grounds all the time in response to many, including the hon. member who asked me the question and who asked me a couple of days ago to intervene on a file for him.

I will continue to do my job based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds because that is the way we do things on this side of the House.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government likes to play politics in provincial jurisdictions and neglect its own responsibilities. The Minister of Transport himself has made this clear. Today he is the one endangering the main rail access to the port of Montreal by encouraging construction of a hospital next to the tracks.

Is the minister attempting to change the decision already announced by the Quebec health department—yes or no?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. member may be familiar with the French language but he knows absolutely nothing about what is happening in Quebec. I invite him to look at the files.

The Outremont yard issue has been around for 20 years or so, and many scenarios have been proposed: residential development, university development, or a hospital, perhaps the CHUM. We do not know what the end use of this land will be.

One thing is certain; the hon. member is completely ignorant about the situation in Montreal. He should get the facts straight before asking questions.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec has definitely removed the Bellechasse site from consideration for the new hospital because of its poor location, contaminated soil and the movement of dangerous goods nearby.

How does the minister explain that he is ready to spend $25 million to locate it 500 metres away, along the same tracks, in his riding?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the file is not as far along as the hon. member claims. Discussions are going on.

He should know that former premier Daniel Johnson and his own former leader, Mr. Mulroney, have been given the mandate to examine some sites. Now they have been asked to look at the Outremont site, all under provincial prerogatives.

We have nothing to do with the site selection, and the hon. member ought to read the newspapers, not just the headlines. This issue has been around for years. The health minister will announce a decision when the time is right, and if I can encourage the establishment—

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Rivière-du-Nord.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, during his budget statement, minister Séguin reaffirmed that the federal government's treatment of Quebec was unfair. Mr. Séguin used the example of Saskatchewan, which has benefited from a special agreement whereby it does not have to repay the equalization overpayment, while Quebec was offered a 10-year period to pay back $2.4 billion.

How does the government explain offering Saskatchewan a write-off and Quebec only an installment plan?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there has never been a fiscal imbalance. There never can be a fiscal imbalance. There is still not a fiscal imbalance. Every sub-national government has exactly the same access to exactly the same revenues as the federal government does. In fact, they have more access in some instances. It is completely an intellectual conceit to say anything other than the federation is completely balanced fiscally.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the government realize that the special agreement writing off Saskatchewan's repayment of $580 million would amount, in the case of Quebec, given its population, to a write-off of $4.4 billion in equalization payments?

How does the minister explain this double standard?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, hon. members might well be interested in knowing how much is transferred from the Government of Canada to the Government of Quebec. This year on CHT, CST, HRT and equalization, $13.66 billion was transferred to the Government of Quebec; for infrastructure funding, a further $515 million; and for the strategic highway infrastructure program, another $138 million. The total allocated funding for infrastructure--

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Portneuf--Jacques-Cartier.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Guy Côté Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, rather than seriously address the fiscal imbalance, when it has the means to do so, the government has instead decided to increase the injustices by increasing the number of special agreements with certain provinces to the detriment of Quebec.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his offer to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to exclude oil and gas revenues from the equalization calculation is the same as giving oil producing provinces a bonus at the expense of others, Quebec in particular, which has to include hydroelectricity in its equalization calculation?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the equalization arrangements between the federal government and the various provinces are very complex. There are 33 indices as to what constitutes fiscal capacity. From time to time, there are differences among provinces. Differences among provinces, however, are not inequities.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Guy Côté Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is offering $2 billion over eight years to these two oil and gas producing provinces. In the case of Quebec, it would be $25 billion gift.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that this offer not only penalizes Quebec, which has chosen to develop clean energy, but also intensifies the fiscal imbalance rather than alleviating it?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know, if he is speaking on behalf of Quebec, that the Premier of Quebec agrees with our special arrangements with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Consequently, the hon. member is speaking without having any idea of the view of Quebec's Premier.

Office of the Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

November 19th, 2004 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, vengeance is mine saith the President of the Treasury Board. The Auditor General has been performing an invaluable service for Canadians, fighting back on constant Liberal corruption. For her efforts, her office has been subjected to the pettiest form of revenge and intimidation, the withholding of funding. Canadians want her to do her job, but she needs resources to do it.

Will the President of the Treasury Board stop punishing people who tell the truth and restore full funding to her office today?

Office of the Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I reject the entire premise of the hon. member. If we look at the article that reported on this today, the Auditor General herself said that she did not believe this was retaliatory. This is a conversation that we have had with the House for a long time.

When I was chairman of the committee on government operations, I put down a report on July 16 and again in November to the House which said that the mechanism for funding parliamentary officers needed to be reviewed. The Auditor--

Office of the Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Burnaby--New Westminster.

Office of the Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is intimidation, pure and simple. In this corner of the House we are not going to stand for it.

That is terrible. The President of the Treasury Board is taking his revenge by attempting to silence the only public servant that can effectively protect taxpayers' money against more sponsorship scandals. The Auditor General is asking for independent funding.

Will the President of the Treasury Board stop these acts of vengeance against the Auditor General and establish today this independent funding?