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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was columbia.

Topics

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has an awful record of being scandal ridden. In the unity fund, there were $725 million unaccounted for. In the sponsorship scandal, there were $250 million unaccounted for. Now the millennium bureau has $150 million for which the accounting is absent, deliberately hidden by Gagliano and his Liberal gang.

Does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe that, as finance minister, he knew nothing at all about this hidden Liberal slush fund?

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, Treasury Board conducted audits of the workings of the millennium partnership program. These audits noted in the reports that there was a very detailed and clear explanation of how its budget was spent and why. The millennium program was operated properly and helped Canadians from coast to coast celebrate the new millennium.

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the millennium fund operated much like the sponsorship fund. The Prime Minister claims that he knew nothing as the finance minister about existing slush funds that had no transparency or accountability to taxpayers: $725 million in the unity fund, $250 million in the sponsorship scandal, and now another $150 million in the millennium bureau. There is a disturbing pattern of hiding information and misleading Canadians.

Is the Prime Minister keeping Canadians in the dark on purpose or is he admitting his incompetence and inability to manage taxpayers' money?

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the millennium program was actually operated by an independent bureau under the leadership of the Right Hon. Herb Gray. There were audits conducted and those audits found that the money was directed appropriately. The Government of Canada was proud to play a positive role in helping Canadians and Canadian community based organizations celebrate the new millennium from coast to coast to coast.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, a story recently appeared in The Vancouver Sun claiming that Canada's recidivism rate was nearly four times higher than the official figure issued by Correctional Service Canada. The story exposed the fact that if the number of convicted criminals who returned to a federal or provincial jail within two years of leaving federal custody was taken into account, the rate actually increases to 37%. It is clear to me that these statistics have been manipulated in order to make it appear that our prison system is reforming hardened criminals.

Will the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness admit that the statistics are flawed and it is time for a serious review?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I too reject the premise of this question. Our statistics are straightforward and report recidivism rates of those who leave federal institutions within a certain period of time.

We should be working more closely with our provincial colleagues and collecting statistics in relation to those who are released from provincial institutions as well as federal institutions. If the hon. member is suggesting that this would provide a more complete picture to Canadians about recidivism, I would of course agree with him.

Governor GeneralOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Werner Schmidt Conservative Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Canadians agree with the opposition. The government must practice proper spending control, including the Governor General. The $417,000 reduction to the Governor General's budget is not unreasonable. Only an office with the heart of Scrooge would cut a children's program.

Why would the Governor General threaten to cut children's programs at Rideau Hall on the eve of the Christmas season? Why not exercise fiscal responsibility instead of spite?

Governor GeneralOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is passing strange that the member would raise that question with me when it was he and his party who cut the Governor General's budget. I stood up in the House and tried to warn them of the problems of making such a large cut in the last quarter of the year.

We have cut 10% with three months to go, some $400,000. When she cannot lay off staff, the Governor General has a great deal of difficulty maintaining programs. I warned them of that. Despite that fact, they went ahead with the cut. I hope the Governor General can find ways to accommodate this. Frankly, that is what happens when the House makes irresponsible decisions.

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the level of international aid accorded by the federal government is being criticized. In a recent report, OXFAM denounced the lack of effort by Canada, which spends the equivalent of 0.26% of its GDP on aid, while the UN target is 0.7%, or nearly three times what Canada is currently spending.

After missing the mark for over 30 years, how can the Prime Minister continue to maintain that Canada is a leader in international aid?

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Paddy Torsney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member very much for her question. She knows that the government has considerably increased the ODA budget.

We also want to improve the situation year after year. I hope that the Minister of Finance is listening, because I think there is a great need in the world.

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is going on trip after trip abroad to improve his international aid image in the press. But since the Liberals took office, Canada has been doing very poorly in that respect.

If the Prime Minister wants to be credible, why does he not turn his words into actions and substantially increase international aid, raising this level to 0.7%, as requested by the United Nations?

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Paddy Torsney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has increased its ODA budget and is committed to doing that in each of the next years. Beyond that, we have also better coordinated the aid, received better ownership on a local basis, and made sure that Canada's aid is the most effective possible.

There is a great need in the world. Canada and Canadians play a role from coast to coast to coast in helping others in less fortunate positions. We will continue to be a leader in helping to coordinate that aid dollar.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, a headline in Saturday's Ottawa Citizen stated, “Canadian firms fall further in productivity” despite being busier than ever. The Ottawa based Centre for the Study of Living Standards estimates that Canadian businesses were only 73% as productive compared to their U.S. peers over this past year.

Why is the government refusing to provide broad based tax relief to correct the productivity gap between Canada and the U.S.?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government has cut taxes in every budget since 1996. Tax reductions so far amount to more than $100 billion. We are interested in finding further and better ways to reduce the tax burden on Canadians. We are also interested in delivering on our platform for child care, cities, the environment, aboriginals as well as health care and equalization.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, reports in the National Post today on the tragic Snowbirds accident indicate that it took an air force rescue team 47 minutes to reach the crash site by truck. Three military helicopters used to be on standby for emergency rescue duties at CFB Moose Jaw, but were discontinued as cost saving measures by the Liberal government in the mid-1990s. In the words of Lieutenant Colonel Laurie Hawn, “That decision was pure dollars. They had to save a few bucks and it should not have happened”.

Why is the Liberal government placing the lives of Canadian airmen at risk just to save a few bucks?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first, I think the members of the House would join me in expressing condolences to Mrs. Selby and to the family of Captain Selby on his tragic death while serving his country, which he did with the Snowbirds. He was very proud of serving in that role.

We wish Captain Mallett a speedy recovery from his injuries.

I reject the allegation that is suggested in the question that the helicopters were not in the area because of financial reasons. We have helicopters on bases where they are necessary, for example, Bagotville, Cold Lake and others.

We do not have them there because there is a road matrix that the air force deems is correct and available to get us--

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brampton—Springdale.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, through his recent travels our current Prime Minister has reaffirmed Canada's commitment to the global human rights agenda.

December 10, 2004 marked the 56th anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of the most important documents ever written.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. Can you please tell us what this House is doing--

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member of course will want to address her question to the Chair, even though it is to the minister.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, will the minister please tell this House what the government is doing to reaffirm its principles for this very important document?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been the source of inspiration for the international bill of human rights and also for our own human rights agenda, which includes: first, the promotion and protection of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; second, the protection of security and human rights, no contradiction between the protection of security and human rights; third, the protection of the most vulnerable among us, women, children, aboriginals, minorities; fourth, the combating of hate speech and hate crimes; and, finally, the building of an international justice system for the 21st century.

FinanceOral Question Period

December 13th, 2004 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Darrel Stinson Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been over a year since the devastating fires in British Columbia and still many landowners are caught in a log salvage, higher income, no tax deferment situation.

Will the Minister of Finance help B.C. landowners by allowing income tax on this emergency profit to be deferred and paid over 10 years, yes or no?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the issue of how best to deal with a whole range of issues flowing from the natural disasters in British Columbia last year, particularly the forest fires, are under examination.

Obviously the Government of Canada wants to treat all of those as generously as it can within its jurisdiction.

Sable IslandOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the only human presence on Sable Island is at the research station and they carry out important studies.

A federal working group has recommended that the federal government maintain the station but last week the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans was non-committal.

The trust that is running the station cannot function much longer without a positive decision from the minister. The people working at the station deserve an answer before Christmas. When can we expect an answer and an announcement from the minister?

Sable IslandOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, this is a very important issue for our minister, our government and our Prime Minister. He is presently working with our Minister of the Environment and with the Province of Nova Scotia, and a decision will be made shortly.