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House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cards.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me respond to the hon. member very clearly. Immigration is extremely important in this country, and at no time did I do anything that was unethical or immoral. There was a clerical error made by my campaign staff--

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

We will have order. If this persists, I will stand here until it ends and we will lose question after question and answer after answer. The minister has the floor.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will resume the conversation. As I was saying, there was a clerical error made by a volunteer. A receipt has been issued and the cheque has been returned.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, every week I meet newcomers in difficulty, people who need our help, who are expecting help from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Yet, she is delaying meeting them.

Does the minister not consider that she has failed in her duties by putting her own interests, her campaign staff and the financing of her election coffers before the needs of these people? This is a very poor choice of priorities, which shows that she is out of place as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, that is not the fact at all. Our office, in spite of the challenges we have been facing in the last several weeks, has continued to function very well. We continue to review all requests for humanitarian and compassionate grounds on the merits of every single case that we are looking at, including the ones that the hon. member has brought to my attention.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we learned that the Prime Minister is going to go off to China to lobby the Chinese on the environment. My question is for the Prime Minister.

What gives the Prime Minister the right to lobby anybody on the environment? The OECD rated Canada in last place. There was a red book filled with promises on the environment that were broken. There are people headed to emergency rooms after smog days; they cannot breathe in Canada. Where does the Prime Minister derive any right to go to China and lecture anyone?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this happens to be the country that has set aside an unprecedented amount of money to invest in environmental technologies. This happens to be the country that has essentially said that development and leading the world in environmental technologies is one of our principal objectives. This happens to be the country that, working with our municipalities, has put in place an unprecedented series of municipal funds, green funds, that are working very well.

I would suggest to the hon. member that he ought to take a look at what the municipalities in this country are doing. He might learn something.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is fascinating. Even former Liberal environment ministers are embarrassed by the government's performance. Let us face it.

I want to get this straight. The Prime Minister is going to lecture the Chinese about the environment but, at the same time, he is going to allow the Chinese government to buy Canada's oil. What does he think they are going to do with it? They are going to burn it at unprecedented rates.

Does accelerating climate--

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I cannot hear the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth. There is no need for this noise and interruption. The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth has the floor and we will hear his question.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, why is the Prime Minister going to become a cheerleader for the sell-off of our oil so that the Chinese government can burn it and produce more pollution?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when one talks about the investment in environmental technologies, one is talking about renewable energies such as wind power, toward which this country is putting a very large amount of money. We are talking about the development of fuel cells, in which this country is one of the leaders. We are talking about the research into clean coal energy, in which this country is a leader.

However I am delighted for that great perceptive insight into the use of oil by the leader of the NDP.

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, a recent U.S. homeland security bulletin states that terrorist groups have utilized police or military uniforms to mask their identities and achieve closer access to their targets without arousing suspicion.

Unlike our American neighbours, the Minister of Transport is treating the loss of over 1,100 CATSA uniform items as insignificant. He stated, “We're talking about maybe a dog eating a shoe or something like that. We have no report of any security breach”.

When will the minister take his head out of the sand, treat this matter seriously and call for an RCMP investigation?

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the hon. member that I took my responsibility because the day after I saw the report, the next morning, I called in the president of CATSA. We had a report by yesterday that was made public. Now we are sure that all the items are going to be accounted for. There was never any security breach under that program.

I must say to the hon. member that there was no security problem and no robbery reported and, thus, the RCMP does not need to get involved.

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister heard about this on the CBC. This is no time for complacency on the part of the minister.

He says that the CATSA badges were not stolen but rather that they fell off the security uniforms because of insufficient Velcro. We are talking about 1,100 security items.

When will the government provide us with a comprehensive record of every lost item, whether it is a badge, a patch or a uniform? Has the department taken the step of cancelling access to those individuals who lost those items? Where are they, Mr. Minister?

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Central Nova knows that he is not to address other members. He is to address the Chair. He has had plenty of experience in this and this is a reprimand.

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is exaggerating when he says 1,100 security items. There are 689 tags with just first names on them. We are talking about pants, belts and shoes. Each uniform comprises 20 separate items. Someone lost a full uniform in a residential fire, so should we dismiss him for that?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the sponsorship scandal broke, the Prime Minister promised to be “totally transparent”, but yesterday the Minister of Public Works hedged a little. He said:

It is entirely appropriate for the government to take from those documents only those items or phrases that pertain specifically to the sponsorship issue and make those available to the Gomery commission.

Selective truth telling does not quite meet the test of transparency.

Why will the Liberals not be fully honest with the Gomery inquiry, table all the documents and just allow him to do his work?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the government is being totally transparent and open with the Gomery commission. We have provided cabinet documents back to 1994 that pertain to the sponsorship program.

Beyond that, as I said yesterday, there will be some documents that discuss a range of public policy items and it is only appropriate and consistent with the commitment by the government to comply and to provide the information to Justice Gomery on the sponsorship program, not to provide cabinet documents beyond that.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, for a brief moment we thought the Prime Minister was being sincere when he promised more openness and integrity in the quest for truth in the sponsorship scandal.

But cover-ups and secrecy have been standard since the new Minister of Public Works and Government Services took control of the information. The Liberals are both judge and judged.

When will the minister and comply, in good faith, with the requests of the Gomery Commission?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, providing cabinet confidence documents is an extraordinary step and is completely consistent with the openness and transparency of the government. It is one of the reasons that the Information Commissioner has lauded the Prime Minister and congratulated the government for its openness, transparency and accountability.

We are proud to cooperate with the Gomery commission and not to play politics like the opposition is doing. We are proud to let Justice Gomery do his work and provide all the information to Justice Gomery that is relevant to the sponsorship program. I wish the opposition would be as respectful of the work that Justice Gomery is doing.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, while announcing, yesterday, a slight decrease in employment insurance premiums, the government refused to make substantial improvements to EI to help people who lose their jobs.

Given the Prime Minister's repeated promises with regard to employment insurance, should the first act of this government not have been a proposal to substantially improve premiums, in order to help women, young people and seasonal workers who have been excluded from the plan by the Liberal government since 1993?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I was expecting the hon. member to extend his congratulations because we reduced premiums, and that was what all Canadians wanted.

However, with regard to changes to EI, we must respect the fact that a House committee will table a report in a few days. We are waiting for the report.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not respect the work of the House, since he already cut premiums. The cut in premiums represents only one dollar per month, so it is a drop in the ocean.

Instead of working to destroy EI, will the minister not finally recognize that, if the $300 million this cut is costing had instead been used to improve eligibility for benefits, it would have enabled thousands of additional families to benefit, thereby reducing the poverty in which they live?