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House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was municipalities.

Topics

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the government was faced with a situation of veterans' widows being cut off within one year of the death of their husbands. After much labour and with the full support of the veterans' groups and with the support of the House, we succeeded in extending this care for life. There are, as a consequence, more than 10,000 additional beneficiaries at a cost to the government of $238 million over five years.

There is no doubt that this move represented a very substantial improvement over the legislation introduced by the member's party back in 1990.

Statistics CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for Statistics Canada. Currently information from Statistics Canada on Cambridge is lumped under the confusing heading of Kitchener Census Metropolitan Area.

Could the Minister of Industry tell us what changes can be made to better reflect the presence of Cambridge?

Statistics CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 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, I thank my hon. colleague from for Cambridge for that question. I do understand his frustration when the City of Cambridge is not mentioned in the census metropolitan area when the information is released.

I have to say that the convention is based on the fact that the name is based on the largest municipality or the central municipality. Nevertheless, I will ask Statistics Canada to make some effort when it releases information to include references to all municipalities included in the CMA.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has already broken his promise that he made on national television only last night.

He said one of the most important democratic reforms is to give MPs more power to represent their constituents, but now he announces there will not be a free vote on the gun registry. The Prime Minister's words and his actions just do not line up.

An Ipsos-Reid poll this week tells us that only 43% of Canadians support the gun registry. Will the Prime Minister allow a free vote on the firearms fiasco or will he not?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I thought that the plan of action was very clear. Votes concerning the throne speech, basic policy and budget matters are traditionally confidence votes. Therefore, it will be a whipped vote, as usual.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

The fact is he broke his promise in less than 24 hours.

The Liberals' 1993 red book made no mention of a universal firearms registry. When the man who wrote the red book became finance minister, he wrote most of the cheques for this billion dollar boondoggle.

The Prime Minister made national news once again about how all of his programs are going to pass seven tests. The gun registry fails all seven of the Prime Minister's expenditure review tests. It fails all seven and again he says one thing but he does another. Why is he just reviewing this firearms fiasco instead of scrapping it?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Mississauga East Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri LiberalAssociate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Civil Preparedness)

Mr. Speaker, the government's review of the gun registry is about building a better gun system. With this registry, gun advocates will ensure that they have a sustainable system and owners of guns can expect a system that listens to their legitimate concerns.

Oil IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the refineries contribute to the rising price of gasoline by decreasing their production, creating an artificial shortage. One trucking association, l'Association du camionnage du Québec, had this to say:

that someone will have to absorb these additional costs, and it may well be our customers, while the oil industry gets off lightly.

Truck drivers are carrying the whole load and the consumer may once again be held hostage by the oil industry.

What will it take for the Minister of Industry to create a petroleum monitoring agency, as recommended in the report of the Standing Committee on Industry? That is the watchdog we need.

Oil IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 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, I am aware of the frustration that consumers and, of course, the trucking association feel regarding the fluctuating price of gasoline.

It is very clear that the Competition Bureau has already examined this issue. It can do so again, if it believes there is illegal behaviour in today's market, which is far from private. And meanwhile, I think the hon. member knows that the provinces, including Quebec, could certainly look into what could be done from their side.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, given that Canadian farmers' groups, including the National Farmers Union and the Canadian Wheat Board, oppose the release of Monsanto's genetically modified wheat variety because of a potential loss of premium markets, does the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food intend to turn down Monsanto's application?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his interest in Canadian farmers and farm families. As the hon. member should know, the Government of Canada has a science based regulatory system which assures Canadian consumers and world markets that in fact the food they eat is not only some of the highest quality but some of the safest food in the world.

An environmental assessment is a key component of this. The hon. member can be assured that nothing will go on the market until it is first studied in terms of its environmental impact, its impact on animal feed and also its impact on--

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Champlain.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Social Development boasted about seniors' improved quality of life and attributed this progress to the efforts of the former finance minister and current Prime Minister.

It would be interesting if the Prime Minister, the former finance minister, explained to seniors why he granted retroactivity to his own company in Barbados, when he is denying them retroactive GIS payments they are entitled to?

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Verdun—Saint-Henri—Saint-Paul—Pointe Saint-Charles Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we need to rewind a bit. In 2002, a wide-scale awareness campaign was conducted to assist seniors and tell them about the income supplement.

Today, 1.4 million seniors receive the guaranteed income supplement, for a total of $5 billion. Obviously, we are trying to reach as many seniors as possible, to ensure they receive what they are entitled to.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Dr. Lyle Oberg, Minister of Learning of Alberta, and the Honourable Mark Norris, Minister of Economic Development of Alberta.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the persons appearing on the poster in honour of this year's Black History Month as well as the artist who created the poster: Zanana Akande, Dwight Drummond, and Ian Jones.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

February 5th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, we want to ask the government House leader what he has planned for the rest of today, tomorrow and early next week.

I would also like to ask him if he has reconsidered my request of January 23 to dispense with our break during the month of March so we could continue the business of the House. That request, as you know, Mr. Speaker, was supported by the House leaders of the other parties.

Furthermore, I would ask him if he plans to have a further debate on BSE, because last night I believe the debate was exceptionally good, but so many members who wanted to speak of course could not get on the record because of the timeframe. I wonder if he plans to continue with perhaps a special debate, maybe during regular sitting hours when the issue can get the prominence it deserves.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that, this afternoon, we will resume debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

Tomorrow, we will begin consideration of the motion in my name on the process to reinstate the bills from the last session. Given that this is a procedural motion, I hope it can be dealt with quickly.

If that is the case, we will consider a motion for referral to committee before the second reading of the bill introduced this morning to amend the Radiocommunication Act.

If the debate on the reinstatement motion is not concluded tomorrow, the House will resume consideration of this motion until it is concluded. We will then return to the debate on the Address.

This work will take us to the middle of next week by which time the government will have introduced bills that the House will want to consider quickly, given their urgency.

I am glad my colleague made reference to last night's take note debate. We can look into the possibilities, if we need to have another debate on this issue or perhaps continue the take note debate.

With respect to break week, I already asked my colleague in no uncertain terms to consider sitting later into the evenings, if necessary, to be sure to accomplish everything that needs to get done. Depending on one's view, he pleasantly or unpleasantly declined.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in question period I asked a question of the President of the Treasury Board about an issue with respect to my riding. I was trying to do my job to correct an inequality situation. Today, just before question period, the President of the Treasury Board called me to try to explain his convoluted answer that he gave me yesterday. In the middle of the conversation, he slammed the phone down and hung up on me because I did not agree with his answer.

This is not helping me do my job. I wish the Speaker would instruct the President of the Treasury Board to not be rude and disrespectful to members and to call me and have a discussion about this issue, which is an equality issue with respect to all of Atlantic Canada. It certainly does not follow in the Prime Minister's new concept of democratic reform. I think an apology is due, and a phone call to restart this conversation. We will finish it and I will have my say, with not just him having his say.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I appreciate the hon. member's enthusiasm for having discussions with ministers about subjects of concern to his constituents. We all enjoy that opportunity. All of us do not get through to the President of the Treasury Board every time we try, I am sure, but we do often make that effort.

While I am sure the hon. member has a grievance, he must know that the Speaker does not control the actions of members outside the House. He could not have made the call from in here because that would have been contrary to the rules and so I am stuck.

The hon. member I am sure will have a chat with the President of the Treasury Board at his convenience and patch up relations to the extent necessary to enable him to discharge his duties as a member of Parliament for his constituency. I know that the President of the Treasury Board will be enthusiastic at the prospect of more discussions with the hon. member for Cumberland--Colchester.

The House resumed consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session, and of the amendment.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

When the House broke for question period, I believe the hon. member for Vancouver Island North had completed his remarks. It is now time for questions and comments on the speech given by the hon. member.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague who actually got into a subject and an issue that is very important. It has gone on for a decade or more. I am referring to the Virginia Fontaine Addictions Foundation and the corruption that has happened due to the misuse of dollars. I believe there are three different ministers who have been responsible for that file during the time period.

There are audits going back to that time period. There is obvious concern in the minister's office of what was actually happening. Then it went into a forensic audit where a number of charges have been laid.

Would my colleague comment on how far he believes the corruption has gone? I know he has looked at some of the documents. Could the member tell us how high the corruption has gone? Does he know who would be responsible and what ministers does he believe should be responsible for what was going on, if it got to that degree and if the knowledge went that high?