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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was beef.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just declared that he has fought against tax havens throughout the world.

Can the Prime Minister tell us why he has tightened up the rules against tax havens everywhere in the world except Barbados? Could it be because that is where his own company had its headquarters?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the short answer to the hon. gentleman's question is no.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us be serious here. The Prime Minister's defence is to say “I have fought against all tax havens” and this is true, with the exception of Barbados. In 1995, he moved the headquarters of his company to Barbados.

Is there a connection between the fact that the Prime Minister has tried to eliminate all tax havens, with the exception of the one that enabled him to pocket $100 million?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, emphatically the answer to the hon. gentleman's allegation is no.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister was working on saving hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes for himself and seven of his friends, he was taking away billions of dollars from thousands of unemployed people.

How does the Prime Minister explain his eagerness, as Minister of Finance, to save millions of dollars in taxes for himself and seven of his friends, when at the same time he was eagerly taking away billions of dollars from Canada's unemployed?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, with other colleagues in the cabinet, the Prime Minister was indeed the author of one of the most superb programs for the assistance of children and poor families, the national child tax credit. It is growing to the value of $10 billion a year for the assistance of poor people in this country.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 6, 2003, during his leadership campaign, the Prime Minister promised the “sans chemise” movement that employment insurance would be reformed. Today, the “sans chemise” feel betrayed.

How does the Prime Minister explain the fact that it is so easy to change legislation to help him and his friends, but it is so difficult to honour his promise to the unemployed and that many elections later, Liberal promises still have not been kept?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, my department is currently examining and reviewing all the employment insurance boundaries.

This process takes place every five years. The Prime Minister has shown particular interest in this matter and an accelerated process was implemented to find a way to address the problems the hon. member opposite is talking about.

LobbyistsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, apparently there are other problems with the ship of state over there. The Prime Minister has developed a two tier ethical system, one for public office holders and another for his closest advisers.

A senior member of the Prime Minister's transition team, Mr. John Duffy, has left his job advising the Prime Minister and has now gone to work immediately to lobby the very government that he helped to set up.

We all know that public office holders and paid staff must wait one year before they can join a lobbying firm, but there is no waiting period for political staff.

Why does the Prime Minister hold his transition team to a lower ethical standard than a regular public servant?

LobbyistsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the person in question followed the advice of the ethics counsellor to the letter. During the transition, this person deregistered and did exactly what the ethics counsellor advised him to do.

This is quite different from a public office holder. It is a private sector person who came to help the government, the transition team, and it is normal that this person could go back to his ordinary occupation.

LobbyistsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Well, Mr. Speaker, excuse us if we are not overly impressed with the ethics counsellor's rulings on these things.

Another lobbyist by the name of Cyrus Reporter joined the Prime Minister's transition team to help him hire staff for the offices of cabinet ministers. Once Mr. Reporter had hired all the folks for the backrooms, once the Rolodex was bulging with new phone numbers and the computers were full of insider information, he went back to work for the lobbying firms as well. He is going to be helping to lobby the very government that he helped to set up.

This would be unacceptable for public servants. It is unacceptable for public office holders. But why is it okay for transition members from the Prime Minister's own team to lobby the government that they helped to set up?

LobbyistsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Why, Mr. Speaker? Because these people that come from the private sector are following the legislation. If the member does not know, we have in legislation a rule of law in this country and these people are to follow the restrictions under the legislation.

According to the Lobbying Disclosure Act, they could go back to their private practice after having offered their help to the government. This is normal. So, if that party wants to make a change to the legislation, it should come forward with some proposals.

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

February 4th, 2004 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Monday in the Speech from the Throne the Prime Minister told other countries that what they need is to hear more about Canada. Yet, the ambassadors of those nations who live right here in Ottawa, for the first time in recent memory, were not even invited to the Speech from the Throne. Instead, they got a fax telling them to log on to the Internet.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister, is this part of his strategy to renew Canada's place in the world, or is this just another administrative oversight on the long list by this new replacement Prime Minister?

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is a diplomatic gallery in this House. There is a diplomatic way in which diplomats can come to this House and are always received well here.

The hon. member has obviously decided to make an issue of something which none of the diplomats in question have chosen to raise with me. I can only assume that he is raising it for his political purposes, not because it is a problem with the diplomatic corps.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, world leaders from Australia, Asia, United States, Great Britain and many countries in Europe today have dispatched their most senior ministers and officials to the Executive Level Strategic Conference on Police Response to Terrorist Incidents in Bali.

Our Prime Minister did not even send a parliamentary secretary. Attach that to the announcement that our 2,000 courageous troops in Afghanistan will soon be brought home from the war on terrorism.

I ask the Prime Minister, what message do these two actions send to terrorist regimes around the world?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the actions of our troops in Afghanistan speak for themselves and speak for the Canadian people, and speak of the pride of this country and what we are doing about terrorism.

I do not have to take lessons from that party about what we have been doing at every international conference. Since this Prime Minister has been present, he has already raised this with President Bush. He has established his record as being firmly against terrorism. We are active on all international levels against terrorism, both militarily and diplomatically.

International TradeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Trade.

Given the statement by the President of the Canadian Wheat Board, according to whom Monsanto's Roundup Ready wheat will have a devastating economic impact on grain producers in western Canada, particularly in terms of “lost access to premium markets”, and given the importance of the European market for non-genetically modified Canadian wheat, can the Minister of International Trade indicate what he intends to do to prevent any potential loss of access to European markets?

International TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to thank the hon. member for asking the first intelligent question of the day.

I am very aware of the concerns of farmers. This matter is before Health Canada and our approvals are based on science.

Last week in Europe I stressed that EU treatment of Canadian products must be based on science, not on politics. Since then, Commissioner Lamy has returned to me and said that the commission has approved GM sweet maize BT.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today, thousands of students are marching across Canada and they are not hailing the throne speech. They are hopping mad that the guy who helped tuition rise five times the rate of inflation when he was finance minister wants them now to carry even more debt load and graduate into poverty.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister, does he really expect students to believe that increasing their loan limits will help them when it is abundantly clear that debt is a problem because of exorbitant tuition fees caused by the government and the loss of $4 billion in transfer payments?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by addressing the allegation and accusation by the member opposite. Of course, tuition fees have increased. I do not want to suggest that it is somebody else's responsibility. I am sure she is well aware of the jurisdictional divide. We have transferred additional billions of dollars in order to address that.

Most importantly, in the Speech from the Throne, we have given an indication of the comprehensive fashion in which we will address accessibility by all Canadians to institutions of higher learning and we have done it in a variety of fashions.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House that students do not think much of those promises. If only students counted as much as the Prime Minister's corporate friends. It is yes to corporate tax cuts, but no to tuition cuts.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister, does he have the guts to stand up and answer for his values? Will he please tell the students of this country why his corporate friends received a tax cut while students get more debt? Why is that?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure we should disparage students this easily and in such a facile fashion. The fact of the matter is that over 75% of all students have an easy time of repaying their debts. For those that do not, we have put in an interest relief package that totals some $77 million and accommodates some 128,000 students across the country.

We have extended the repayment period for up to 15 years beyond graduation so that they have an ability to pay. What we have done is included as well--

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of National Defence needs to hire soldiers, he does not hesitate to go to Atlantic Canada and hire soldiers and send them to Afghanistan to risk their lives and safety everyday.

However, when they are going to hire someone for a safe job in Ottawa like this one on the Internet today, only applications from certain postal codes in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including the minister's own riding, will get considered. No applications from Atlantic Canada will be considered.

Why does the minister think it is all right to send Atlantic Canadians to Afghanistan to risk their lives but they are not good enough to work in Ottawa?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I assume the member is referring to the regional hiring policies in the public service, which have been discussed at some length.

They are applied to lower levels in the public service because of the huge number of applications we get. It is enormously expensive to process this and it was an attempt to bring some balance to the process. It is a reasonable accommodation.