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House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was food.

Topics

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that the objective of his most recent review of the firearms registry is to remove the irritants. Let me point out the obvious. There are no irritants for criminals in the Firearms Act. Toronto police chief Julian Fantino said that the gun registry has been of no help in his war against crimes in his city.

Why will the Prime Minister not allow his backbench MPs to reduce the estimates for such a useless program?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:35 a.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, the question is very clear. When we are talking about the bottom line in the budget estimates, this is a matter of confidence in the government. The question that has been asked is purely hypothetical concerning what details might be in the budget estimates. I refuse to answer a hypothetical question on a vote. That road goes nowhere.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, what is not hypothetical is what the government is doing to democracy. It is deep-sixing it, burying it, and that is not acceptable.

While the former finance minister was writing cheques for the billion dollar gun registry, the former justice minister, now the Minister of Public Safety, was cashing them as fast as she could.

The Auditor General said that the biggest problem she saw and observed was that Parliament was being kept in the dark with regard to the gun registry. Instead of the usual practice of keeping Parliament in the dark, let me now ask, how much will it cost to fully implement--

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Mississauga East Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the members opposite panic about losing their ammunition once the review comes to the forefront. Our goal is to deliver a gun registry that is reasonable, that all members of the House will want to support and I am confident that the member opposite will be among the first to applaud the results.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the billion dollar gun registry boondoggle costs are completely out of control. All MPs are getting this message.

Why not give members of Parliament a free vote on this issue so that they could freely express the wishes of the people to stop pumping their money into this bottomless sinkhole?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:40 a.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, it is quite fascinating to hear that from a party that refused the offer I made it two days ago to deal with the reform that we are implementing with an agreement to have a free vote among themselves. They refused that and they dare to ask questions about free votes.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is the primary job of Parliament to manage the expenditures of government. Why is the Prime Minister talking democratic deficit when he is totally undemocratic in ordering his MPs to vote on command on this important issue?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

11:40 a.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, let me repeat for the nth time--and I hope that my English is good enough for my colleague to understand it--that matters such as budgets, the Speech from the Throne and the bottom line of estimates are matters of confidence and there is no debate about that. Matters pertaining to each element of the estimates is a purely theoretical question at this time. It is totally ludicrous to even say how we are going to vote on something which does not even exist at this point.

Departmental EstimatesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, on the estimates, it has always been my impression from my years in the House that estimates go to committee and are subject to review by all parties in the committee. I do not think there is any great change that the member of the House has mentioned with this.

Could the government House leader further clarify for all members how estimates are dealt with, how they go to committee, how they are subjected to review and come to the House for approval?

Departmental EstimatesOral Question Period

11:40 a.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, when estimates go to committee, they are examined by parliamentarians from all political parties. They look at the estimates and they come back with whatever they decide to come back with from these estimates. Then we have to make a decision as to the final result.

My only point, and I am glad to have the chance again to say it, is simply once we come to the bottom line of the final estimates, this is a matter of confidence. We cannot prevent government from governing. This is a responsibility that it has by the virtue of the Constitution.

HealthOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we now know that trans fatty acids are really bad for us and are especially bad for our children. Yet, instead of banning trans fats as other countries have, the Liberal government says it is okay to put this poison in our food as long as it is properly labelled and even then only three years from now. Even then, unbelievably, baby food is exempt.

Will our new Minister of Health stand up for public health and take concrete steps now to eliminate this toxic garbage from our food? Will he act like a Minister of Health instead of a minister of managing illness?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this is indeed a very important file on which we are working hard. It is a big problem, the trans fats issue. The new nutrition labelling regulations will indeed require the declaration of trans fats contents on the labels of most prepackaged food by December 12, 2005. We expect that it will act as a strong incentive to the food industry to reduce or eliminate trans fats from food. The industry is already moving in that direction. We expect the mandatory labelling of trans fats will assist consumers in making healthy food choices.

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt among food scientists as to the hazards of trans fats. They call it the biggest food processing disaster in history. It rivals tobacco as the most serious public health issue in the country. A timid and feckless labelling program will not protect Canadians. It is crazy to put poison in our food and then warn Canadians not to eat it.

Why will the government not listen to Canadians and ban trans fats? Could it be that it is afraid of a NAFTA challenge under chapter 11? Has NAFTA so compromised our sovereignty that we cannot even protect our own citizens from a known and proven health hazard like trans fats?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that Health Canada makes a great deal of effort to educate the public better in terms of eating better food. We have a great job to do, and the Minister of State for Public Health spends a lot of her time and energy doing a good job at making sure that Canadians remain healthy. That is the best contribution we can make through the health care system, if Canadians eat better. This is what we are doing with this mandatory labelling, so that Canadians make the best possible choices in terms of the trans fats. We will help Canadians that way.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, we heard this week in a debate in this very House that the cattle industry is suffering its worst crisis ever.

We all agree farmers and ranchers need cash and they need it now. Rather than waste money on gun registries and sponsorship programs, can the Minister of Agriculture not find a way to get cash into producers' pockets now?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as we are talking here in this hon. House today, the Minister of Agriculture is out in Calgary meeting with the farmers.

In 2003, $5 billion flowed through the agriculture industry and the farming industry in Canada. As we are talking here today, the minister is out there ensuring that money will be flowing to the farmers as soon as they make the request and all the farmers who will be impacted will receive sufficient moneys.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, all of that rhetoric does not help the producers and the farmers right now.

It is obvious that the infusion of a new minister does not equate to an infusion of cash into the producers' pockets. The fact is that there has been no money flowing to the agriculture producers. We cannot wait for two years to get a flawed program kicked in so producers can get cash. When we need it is now, immediately now, tomorrow. Will the minister admit to an immediate cash infusion into the agricultural industry?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member calls $5 billion in 2003 and $4 billion now as rhetoric, then I do not understand the question he is asking.

Money is flowing through. As we are talking now, the Minister of Agriculture is in Calgary today. The money will go directly to the farmers now, not next year.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

February 6th, 2004 / 11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, rural Canadians made it clear in the rural dialogue that they want the federal government to show leadership and prove that it has a vision for rural Canada.

Well, it turns out that it has closed or downgraded weather stations. That is a great start. It brags about openness, but the Minister of the Environment did not even do a rural impact study. Why not?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, rural Canadians, just like Canadians elsewhere, need the best possible weather services and the most accurate forecasting possible. That is why we use new technologies, why we have made certain we have a system that, within our budgetary constraints, gives Canadians exactly that and gives rural Canadians that as well.

Farmers and fishermen depend on weather forecasting. The hon. member does not seem to understand how important it is for them to get accurate forecasts, which we are trying to give them.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that the people who know it and understand it really understand it, but it is quite obvious that the minister and his department do not. Rural Canadians are very concerned that the federal government has not been listening to them.

The Prime Minister said that he is a new government. Will the not so new Minister of the Environment release the hidden analysis to the communities that have been affected by the downgrading or elimination of the weather forecasting services in this country?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member simply does not understand that to get the best weather forecasting for rural Canadians, for people who are out there in their boats as fishermen during bad weather, they need that for their lives. Similarly for farmers for their income, they need proper forecasting.

We are giving them that with satellite, with radar and all the new technology we can possibly assemble. That means more effective weather forecasting for rural Canadians. This is not simply keeping people spread out according to the technology of two, three or four decades ago.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, on September 12, 2002, during his leadership campaign, the Prime Minister came to Rivière-du-Loup promising to completely upgrade Canada's deadliest highway, highway 185, but in vain. Jean Chrétien's government did not deliver the goods. Today, we need a solid commitment.

Since the safety of those who use this highway, which has taken more than 100 victims over the past 10 years, deserves non-partisan treatment, will the Minister of State for Infrastructure assure us that the Prime Minister will keep his promise before election time?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, as a New Brunswicker, I am very aware of the importance of route 185 to the national highway system. In fact, my friend from Madawaska—Restigouche brought a delegation before me just this week on that subject.

I am very pleased that the Government of Canada right now has committed $53 million to this stretch of highway under the national highway system through the strategic highway infrastructure program. I am sure that we are prepared to do much more.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, 12,000 petitioners and students are calling on the federal government to commit to paying 50% of the cost of upgrading this deadly highway.

Will the Prime Minister keep his word? Will his government finally respond to this repeated request?