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House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was bills.

Topics

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I think something was lost in the translation because my question was on whether it should be a free vote or not.

The Firearms Act has already cost taxpayers $1 billion. Taxpayers want to know when it will become $2 billion. A succession of ministers in charge of this have kept Parliament in the dark since December 2002.

Why will the Minister of Public Safety not stop this cover-up today? Just tell us, how much is the gun registry going to fully cost to implement and how much will it cost to maintain? It is a simple question. How about an answer?

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, in spite of all the conspiracy theories and the paranoia that comes from him, there is no cover-up here. In fact, on this side of the House we have been absolutely clear year after year in terms of what the firearms program cost.

We should not lose sight of the fact that Canadians are committed to gun control. Canadians are committed to a function of safety in relation to firearms.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government taking responsibility for gun control is like Senate reform; it is a good idea, but it is just not going to happen with those guys.

Alberta has had two elections to prepare for a slate of Senate candidates. Premier Hamm of Nova Scotia has indicated that he is also committed to Senate reform. The Prime Minister could easily commit to appoint senators chosen by the people rather than patronage.

Will the Prime Minister commit to the appointment of elected senators? Plain and simple, will he commit?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, that party was against the Charlottetown accord. That party has fought any kind of review that has been embarked upon where we have tried to talk about the Constitution. It has fought everything we have tried to do in terms of constitutional changes.

My view is that we can do a great job when those people get real at one stage or the other.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, that sounded like no to me, but there is a golden opportunity here. With 14 new Senate vacancies within the next 12 months, the Prime Minister has a historic opportunity to allow for elected senators.

The province can elect, the Prime Minister can appoint; it is just that easy. Or is the Prime Minister only interested in deepening the democratic deficit?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we have been committed to meaningful Senate reform for years.

However, the people on the other side make Senate reform sound easy and in fact, Senate reform is not easy. If we are going to get this right, we not only need to look at how we have senators chosen, we need to look at the powers those senators would exercise and how long they would serve. There are a host of issues. Whether it is an equal Senate, province by province, territory by territory, or a region, there are a host of important questions that we--

The SenateOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saint-Jean.

Missile Defence ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United States military wants to develop space-based interceptors for the missile defence program as soon as possible and is asking for funds to do this in 2005, with implementation scheduled for 2012. This program could result in the very thing we feared, the weaponization of space.

If this decision by the American military is not the weaponization of space, can the government tell us exactly what it is?

Missile Defence ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is much speculation with regard to the missile defence shield.

This government has begun discussions with our American colleagues, with whom we share responsibility for the security of North America, to see if we will share with them responsibility for our defence against missiles.

We will continue these talks. We will protect our interests, and we have no intention of participating in the weaponization of space, no matter what.

Missile Defence ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, his colleague, the Minister of National Defence sent a letter to his American counterpart telling him that he would take part in the missile defence program and that he would even be prepared to pay the costs.

Now that the Americans have decided to move forward with this plan, can the minister tell us how much money the government intends to spend on this venture? How much will it cost taxpayers?

Missile Defence ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the current plan announced by the Americans is totally land-based.

It is a land-based plan. It has nothing to do with space. It is only the opposition that has space on the brain and is constantly trying to invent this whole scenario concerning the weaponization of space.

The members of the House need to let us discuss the defence of North America with our American colleagues, with whom we share the responsibility for security, and thereby let us act in the best interests of Canadians with regard to space.

Public Service of CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I saw with my own two eyes the Prime Minister on TV say that our biggest failure is not resolving western alienation. Some would argue.

However, I have 20 copies of Government of Canada jobs and every one of them is only available to people in Ontario and Quebec. Every one of them sends a message to the people out west that we do not want their ideas or their contributions and we certainly do not want them working in Ottawa.

Why does the Prime Minister say that his approach to resolving western alienation is a failure and he does everything he can to make sure it continues?

Public Service of CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind this House that public service hiring is the responsibility of the Public Service Commission, which is a fully independent agency.

That having been said, with the implementation of Bill C-25, the Public Service Modernization Act, we have allocated funds to allow the Public Service Commission to set up pilot projects to investigate the regionalization of hiring.

Nonetheless, it is a fully independent agency and the government is not involved in this issue.

Public Service of CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government seems to think the Public Service Commission runs the country, but really the government is supposed to run it. It is supposed to call the shots and make the rules.

Some of these jobs in Ottawa are available to citizens of other countries. All they need is a work permit and a postal code and they can apply for these 20 jobs in Ottawa, but people who live in Winnipeg, Manitoba cannot apply even if they are Canadian citizens.

What does the government say to the people in Winnipeg, that it will accept an application for a job in Ottawa from a citizen of another country, but every application from Winnipeg, from Canadian citizens, goes right in the garbage?

Public Service of CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I will ask him again, as I did last week. If he will share with me the postings, I will take them to the commission and have a look at them. Perhaps we can find a solution as we did last week to the four he raised.

Insurance IndustryOral Question Period

February 9th, 2004 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Financial Institutions. A year ago, I first asked for a national inquiry into the insurance industry. This weekend the CBC devoted a program to the problems of this industry.

I ask now that the government work with the provinces to regulate the percentage of premiums that insurance companies can invest in highly speculative stocks. Will the minister agree to look into this matter?

Insurance IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, insurance companies are indeed expected to follow prudent investment policies in order to protect the interests of the policy holders.

Last year we asked the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to examine the portfolios and report. The report showed that on average 80% of the investments of these companies were in bonds, either issued by governments or guaranteed by governments. Only 10% were in equities.

That having been said, I would be happy to have any advice from the hon. gentleman as to how we might further improve the situation.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, recently the USDA banned the feeding of blood and blood meal to ruminants, yet this government is dragging its feet on doing the same thing. Canada needs to implement regulations in lockstep with our American counterparts. Why has the government not yet implemented regulations that would ban the feeding of blood and blood meal to ruminants?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member said, first and foremost what is important is that the Government of Canada, in co-ordination with both Mexico and the United States, bring in regulations that are North American-based.

I had the opportunity of meeting with my American and Mexican counterparts. We got an agreement to work toward that, and next week will be the first set of meetings where we will sit down and work toward co-ordinating a North American approach to BSE.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week the international panel came out with their findings and recommendations for the U.S. cattle industry. One of those recommendations is to ban the feeding of animal protein to ruminants.

I would like to ask the agriculture minister this. How have the USDA and Secretary Veneman responded to this proposal about blood products?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member said, the international peer review panel reported in the United States last week, and it had reported to us. It has not tell us the same things as it has told the Americans because there are different situations depending upon the country.

As I told the hon. member, first and foremost what is important is that Canada and the United States co-ordinate these measures. That is why next week officials will be sitting down with our American counterparts to do exactly that.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Fournier Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, a crisis is quickly brewing in Baie-Trinité in the riding of Manicouagan. Some 72 seasonal workers soon will have no income because of an unfair and inadequate employment insurance system. The new employment insurance criteria do not suit Baie-Trinité, on the North Shore, since there is no alternative for seasonal workers.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development try to understand this and help my fellow citizens by providing some flexibility in the system, which has a $45 billion surplus?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (Social Economy)

Mr. Speaker, the department and the ministry are committed to EI being responsive to the needs of all Canadians. I want to assure the hon. member that the programs are made to respond to that type of need. We are looking at a number of solutions to these problems. We will continue to work to improve our EI system.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Western Economic Diversification. As our population ages, the government needs to focus more on the needs of the elderly and the families that support them.

On Friday in Winnipeg the federal government helped launch the Canadian Virtual Hospice, a unique project to assist families dealing with issues surrounding palliative care.

Could the minister update the House on this project please?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan LiberalMinister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, the website, www.virtualhospice.ca, for this project offers Canadians high quality and well-organized information about palliative care, a truly laudable initiative for those coping with death and dying. It has been funded in my department under the innovation and community investment program.

This project supports community participation in the new knowledge based economy while serving a public good.