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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

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is the Prime Minister's intention to deliver on exactly what he promised.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that might be his intention but he is clearly incapable of making a decision. He knows how to make a promise. He just does not know how to keep a promise.

It has been six months since he went down to Atlantic Canada, got on bended knee and made this promise. Ever since they have been good, for goodness' sake.

Will the Prime Minister now assure Atlantic Canadians that he will keep this promise and they will finally get what he promised them last June?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's commitment to Atlantic Canada is in fact to increase the level of federal support, unlike the commitment by the Leader of the Opposition that would have benefited one province and harmed three others.

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the lack of diligence by the government has, in the words of the Auditor General, created a serious threat to security at our airports.

Let us look at the facts. As early as last March the Auditor General warned that airport employees could have ties to organized crime. Then airport shields and badges went missing. Now 73 cases of suspicious clearances given to airport workers are deemed serious enough to be forwarded to the RCMP.

Why has the minister allowed this dangerous combination of security breaches to occur?

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member ought to see this in a positive light, since the Auditor General was speaking of some 4,000 or 5,000 potential cases.

Now that 123,000 files have been rechecked, however, the reality is that there are 73 cases. These are not people with criminal records but people with possible ties.

The RCMP is looking into this information and they will advise us if there is any problem. The passes of these people will then be immediately withdrawn. There is not, therefore, any security problem at this time.

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister's officials themselves indicated the focus of their investigation would be centred on the possibility of airport workers having ties to organized crime.

With the RCMP now investigating 73 cases, could the minister tell us what parameters the department used when it decided to call in the RCMP? Could he also tell us in what positions the workers involved in these security breaches were working, where they were employed and are they now off the job site?

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, concerning these 73 cases out of 120,000, yes we are talking of possible ties. Not one tie has yet been demonstrated however, Not one of these people has a criminal record that would imperil this country. The RCMP is therefore looking into these 73 cases at this time.

If anything comes up that casts doubt on national security, the RCMP will advise us accordingly, and we will immediately recall the pass of the employee concerned.

HousingOral Question Period

December 13th, 2004 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been in his position for a year now and has precious little to show for it. While the media unanimously criticize his inaction and hesitation, the Prime Minister has the nerve to talk about momentum, when he has done nothing but avoid the issues.

In terms of social housing, for example, how can the Prime Minister have the nerve to talk about momentum when, despite his campaign promises, he refuses to commit to investing more in the next budget?

HousingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the leader of the Bloc that the Prime Minister and I have met with numerous organizations in Quebec, including FRAPRU. The government is committed to social and affordable housing. That is why we have initiated $1 billion worth of initiatives for affordable housing.

I am happy to say that Quebec and British Columbia are doing some remarkable things. We will continue to work with the Government of Quebec to deliver more social and affordable housing to the people of Quebec.

HousingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know they have met with organizations including FRAPRU. In fact, FRAPRU had a lot to say against them on the weekend. That was quite the answer from the minister.

In 1990, 1.3 million families were living in inadequate housing. In the words of the current Prime Minister, we need to “find room”. Those are his very words. Today, according the CMHC, 1.7 million families need adequate housing. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister does not see the need or urgency to act.

Since the numbers speak for themselves and cannot be denied, could we not obtain a commitment right now that the next budget will actually reflect the promises made during the campaign?

HousingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate the question. As he will realize, housing is a provincial jurisdiction, and we want to work with our partners. In the election platform, the Prime Minister committed an additional $1.5 billion. We agree that 1.7 million Canadians are looking for housing solutions. It is this government that is committed to ensuring that we can find some.

Is there still a need in Quebec? Yes. We will be working on it.

HousingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the harsh report on the housing situation in 1990, the Prime Minister and the current Minister of Housing criticized the Mulroney government, and I quote:

Since taking office, the Mulroney government has drastically cut housing budgets and programs, transferred its responsibilities to the provinces without the requisite financial resources, and ignored the crying needs of hundreds of thousands of Canadian households.

After such harsh criticism, how does he explain that all he ever did for housing up to 2001 was to withdraw even more than the Mulroney government ever did?

HousingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, since 1999, the government has committed $1.15 billion with regard to finding solutions for the homeless and most vulnerable in our society. We continue to invest $2 billion each and every year for social housing to look after 636,000 households. We are investing $1 billion on affordable housing, and we will continue to do more. The Prime Minister has committed $1.5 billion more for social housing.

HousingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that the government refuses to act effectively for social housing. If it wants to stop the number of families with serious housing problems from growing further, it has to boost its funding considerably.

Does the government realize that a significant decrease in the number of families with housing problems requires a commitment of 1% of its spending to social and affordable housing, or nearly $2 billion a year, and nothing less?

HousingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, I hope I can count on the member's support as well as the support of all members of the House as we move forward with new creative ideas. Over and above the $1.5 billion, we are looking at new creative ideas of how to engage communities, not for profit organizations and co-ops to help us build on the One Percent Solution. We believe, if everyone comes together, big labour, big business, three levels of government and the not for profit sector, that we can build the houses that the country needs.

IndustryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to housing, when was the last time someone took refuge in a commitment? That is all we can say.

The cozy relationship between lobbyists and the Prime Minister's Office has to stop. Pumping millions into the Prime Minister's campaign will not get people off the hook. Yet the Prime Minister has lifted not a finger to clean things up, letting his friends continue to sell access to a government that they themselves helped to build. The lobbyist watchdog is still not independent. He can be fired by cabinet.

When will the Prime Minister create an independent lobbyist--

IndustryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Industry.

IndustryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the registrar of lobbyists has complete independence from my office. He does not seek advice on any issue that comes before him. Therefore, he conducts his investigations with complete independence, and he will continue to do that.

The bill will be strengthened with regulations that will be gazetted in the next few weeks, and will be implemented early in 2005.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will believe it when we see it.

Let us talk about the independent Ethics Commissioner on the immigration minister's file. He has contracted out the investigation to a well known Liberal legal firm that employs a former Liberal cabinet minister. It is the same law firm that the Prime Minister used for his own corporate interests. How convenient: a Liberal law firm investigating a Liberal cabinet minister. Does the Prime Minister not think Canadians have had enough of Liberals investigating themselves?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I hope the hon. member is not calling into question either the integrity or the credentials of Mr. Shapiro, the independent Ethics Commissioner. We have an independent Ethics Commissioner. He is an officer of this Parliament. That is what everyone in this place sought over a significant period of time, especially members of the opposition. They now have an independent officer of Parliament. It is most unfortunate if the hon. member is calling into question his integrity and ability.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister gave special treatment to campaign workers and received campaign cash from others whom she helped into the country, with ministerial permits. Her actions have hurt the reputation of our country and our immigration system.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Before he goes on his next vacation, will he do the right thing and fire the minister of immigration?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, again what we hear are unsubstantiated allegations. Unfortunately, members on the other side do not seem to care what they say and do in relation to the reputations of people, and that is most unfortunate.

Let me say, as we have said before, the Ethics Commissioner is an independent officer of Parliament. He has taken up this matter, and I know that we all await his report.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious to most Canadians that the minister of immigration has to go. In fact, it seems there are only three people who think otherwise: the Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration herself.

The list is long. She has had people campaigning for her on the public dime. Her assistant visited strip clubs to do business. She gave preferential treatment to campaign workers. She defended the stripper program, after saying these strippers were victims of abuse. This is an embarrassment.

When will the Prime Minister, hopefully before his next vacation, do the right thing and fire the minister of immigration?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the only embarrassment is the opposition members and the unsubstantiated accusations they make on the floor of the House under the cover of parliamentary immunity.

The Ethics Commissioner is seized of this matter. I know we all look forward to his report. He is an independent officer of this House. Why do we not just let him do his work?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister has proven she is not competent to hold office. She let a campaign worker jump the queue ahead of 700,000 other applicants. She accepted a $5,000 illegal donation from a member of her riding executive who also obtained eight special ministerial permits. Her office used thug tactics to dissuade MPs from further questioning any of these matters, by threatening to withhold special ministerial permits for real cases.

When will the Prime Minister do the right thing and fire the minister?