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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

AgricultureRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today on this important issue. For our part, we in this party believe in criticism of the government on programs when criticism is due and praise when it is warranted.

Notwithstanding that there are a lot of questions about the program that has been unveiled today, on balance it is praiseworthy and a step in the right direction for farmers who have been beleaguered in this country for far too many years.

What is significant about this program, as I understand it, is that it is not a 60:40 program. Let me explain what I mean by that. For the past 10 years, the Chrétien government had insisted that because there was a joint jurisdiction in agriculture between the provinces and the territories as well as the federal government, all of the programming had to be paid 40% by the provinces and territories and 60% by the government.

This was even when the issue was strictly on trade related items. As we know, provincial governments do not sit at the table when they are negotiating trade deals. We always thought it was a canard. It was an unsustainable argument. What is particularly encouraging, as I understand today's announcement, is that it will not be requiring the provincial governments to pony up 40% of the money that will flow to the farmers, particularly those in the cattle industry.

When we think of provinces like Saskatchewan, which has 40% of the arable land in this country, or the neighbouring Province of Manitoba, both of them have a large cattle herd and a small tax base. Both of them have indicated that if it were required, if 40% of the money were required from provincial governments, that they would not be in a position to pay their farmers or enter the program.

This is definitely a step in the right direction and welcome news for an industry that has been devastated since the border closed as a result of the single case of BSE that was discovered in Alberta on May 20, 2003.

On the 60:40 program, I hope that this is a signal that the government has backed away because previous governments had never taken this idea of joint jurisdiction and therefore 60:40 funding seriously. It was only when the previous government of Mr. Chrétien brought in those programs and insisted on it for more than a decade. We certainly hope it is a signal of improvements to come.

My colleague from Winnipeg North Centre said it is clear that farmers no longer pray simply for rain; they also pray for elections. To that extent I agree with the member from the Conservative Party who was noting the same point. With the federal election in the offing, all of a sudden the government is doing something for farmers whom they largely ignored, not just for the past couple of years as the statement said, but indeed for a long time before that.

The chair of the Treasury Board noted in his comments that the government wanted the border re-opened to live cattle exports as quickly as possible. I agree with that, but would qualify it by saying in the very short term. I think it is totally unsustainable that we should be shipping live cattle to packing plants in the United States instead of doing the slaughtering, and producing the boneless and boxed meat here in Canada and providing decent jobs for Canadians in the meat packing industry. It is akin to shipping raw logs to Japan or elsewhere in the world and buying back finished lumber. It is a crazy system.

The Canadian cattle industry is far too integrated with its American counterpart. We need to have some spaces in our togetherness. We need to do things a little bit differently.

We ought to be looking at eliminating bovine growth hormone and eliminating all animal feed to all animals, not just to ruminants in order that we can ship products to other countries that now do not take our products.

However, that is a debate for another day. Overall, this caucus is pleased with the announcement of today and particularly the fact that the provinces would not have to pony up that money. We hope that is a sign of future things to come.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-494, an act to amend the Criminal Code (child pornography, child prostitution and child corruption).

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague from Saint-Jean for his support of this bill to amend the Criminal Code to provide for a minimum punishment of imprisonment for offences relating to child pornography, to child prostitution or to child corruption. Our children are, of course, our most precious asset. They are also extremely vulnerable.

What I want with this bill is for the legislators in this House to send a very clear message to the judiciary indicating that they must be extremely severe in sentencing those who prey on children.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Sarnia—Lambton Ontario

Liberal

Roger Gallaway LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 7, 14, 15, 16, 23, 24, 26, 34, 35, 41 and 44.

Question No. 7Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

With respect to Auditor General Sheila Fraser's statement in her letter of November 6, 2003: “Earlier this year I advised the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts that our Office will consider a value-for-money audit on the firearms program when the program has been operating at a steady state, which Justice Canada has indicated could take three or four years.” ( a ) how long will it take and how much will it cost to fully implement the firearms program; ( b ) how much will it cost to maintain the program every year after it is fully implemented; ( c ) how much will the direct and indirect costs be for all government departments and agencies; ( d ) how much will all transfers to the provinces and municipalities cost; ( e ) how much will the contracts with private companies cost; ( f ) how much will all grants and contributions cost; ( g ) what are the “major additional costs” identified by the Auditor General; namely compliance costs and enforcement costs, up to this date and what will they be in the future; and ( h ) what have been and will be the costs to the economy?

Question No. 7Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

With almost 2 million Canadians licensed to own firearms and almost 7 million firearms registered, the bulk of the initial program set-up has been accomplished. As reported in the Department of Justice's 2002-03 performance report, total federal government program costs to March 31, 2003, were $814 million. Approved Canada Firearms Centre funding for the current fiscal year which will end March 31, 2004, is $116 million. Costs of other government departments will be accumulated and reported as part of the CAFC's 2003-04 performance report.

The Government is committed to delivering the firearms program so that it can continue to meet its important public safety objectives in the most cost-effective manner.

Question No. 14Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

William V. Baker, Commissioner of Firearms, testified before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on October 23, 2003 that the gun registry provides “a tool for police to trace firearms”, that “it does help police solve crimes and we do have incidents of this by being able to trace the origin of the firearm recovered from a crime scene”, and that police are “…using that information to help them, but it can help enforce a court order.”; since the government has been registering firearms since 1934: ( a ) what is the total number of attempted firearms traces; ( b ) what is the total number of successful firearms traces; ( c ) what is the total number of crimes that were solved as a result of these successful traces; ( d ) what is the total number of court orders enforced using the information from the gun registry; and ( e ) what is the total number of registered and unregistered firearms seized as a result of the enforcement of these court orders?

Question No. 14Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

The national firearms tracing program was initiated in 1974, in cooperation with the U.S. alcohol, tobacco and firearms, ATF, tracing center. The primary goal of the program is to contribute to keeping Canadians safe and secure by providing necessary information to law enforcement authorities on firearms seized in the course of criminal investigations. Assistance is also provided to and by the U.S. ATF tracing center.

In implementing the program, the national firearms tracing unit was established. The unit currently consists of three RCMP regular members and remains an integral part of Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, CISC.

The national firearms tracing unit assists investigators in identifying owners of firearms and provides further information to police agencies regarding unregistered firearms such as: point of origin, name of retailer, name of purchaser.

In regard to a) in 2003, the national firearms tracing unit received 8,726 firearms tracing requests: 7,001 from Canadian law enforcement agencies; 1,471 from the U.S.; and 254 from international agencies. In 2004, up to February 13, the national firearms tracing unit received 1,717 tracing requests: 1,600 from Canadian law enforcement agencies; 99 from the U.S., and 18 from international agencies.

In regard to b) according to the national firearms tracing unit, there were 4,908 successful firearms traces made from January1, 2003 to December 31, 2003. Successful is defined as law enforcement authorities being provided with information on the firearm’s history to assist in their investigations. Firearms without serial number, caliber or make cannot be traced.

In regard to c), d) and e) the national firearms tracing unit provides an operational service to law enforcement authorities, domestic and international. Follow-up information as to the use of a firearm trace result is not required by the unit; therefore CISC has no statistics for these questions. There is no agency in Canada, not even Statistics Canada, that can provide this type of information. The information would need to be collected by reviewing all files from all law enforcement agencies in the country who request a trace, which would be extremely labour intensive.

Question No. 15Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

On February 16, 1995, Justice Minister Allan Rock stated in the House of Commons (Hansard, page 9708), “Registration will assist us to deal with the scourge of domestic violence.” For each year since 1995: ( a ) what is the total number of domestic homicides; ( b ) what is the total number of domestic homicides committed with firearms, by type of firearm and whether the firearm was registered or not; ( c ) how many of the suspected murderers were licensed to own firearms; and ( d ) in each case in which the homicide was committed with a registered firearm, why did the gun registry fail to prevent the murder?

Question No. 15Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

The Canadian firearms program is an important element of the federal government's overall public safety efforts. The deadline for the licensing of individuals passed on December 31, 2000, and the deadline for the registration of firearms passed on December 31, 2002. The program is now beginning to enter the full implementation ongoing operations phase. Nonetheless, since 1998 more than 12,000 firearms licences have been refused or revoked in view of public safety concerns and to respond to the potential for violence or injury.

The government is committed to delivering the firearms program so that it can continue to meet its important public safety objectives in the most cost effective manner.

Question No. 16Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

—Given that the government has required the mandatory registration of handguns since 1934, how does it justify its past, current and planned spending on a long-gun registry when Statistics Canada’s Annual Homicide Reports for 2000 (Table 6, page 9) and 2002 (Table 8, page 16) show that the use of handguns in firearm homicides has been steadily increasing from 26.9% in 1974 to 63.6% in 2002, and that, conversely, firearm homicides with rifles and shotguns, which only started to be registered on December 1, 1998, dropped steadily from 65.8% to 24.8% over the same 28-year period?

Question No. 16Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

The Canadian firearms program is one of the key contributors to the government's goal of enhancing public safety and security for Canadians.

On February 21, 2003, the Minister of Justice, together with the Solicitor General of Canada, announced an action plan to improve management, enhance service delivery, and increase transparency and accountability. The program's action plan is being implemented successfully by the firearms centre. There have been important improvements in program efficiency and management over the past year. We are building on these improvements.

The government remains committed to delivering this important public safety program in the most cost effective manner possible.

Question No. 23Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Do Canada and the United States have a fishing treaty and, if so, what are the relevant details?

Question No. 23Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Canada has a long history of fishing treaties with the United States, dating back to Empire Treaties that were negotiated on Canada's behalf by Great Britain. These include agreements such as the 1912 agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States respecting the North Atlantic fisheries, which prescribed the method of promulgating fisheries regulations and the delimitation of certain bays on Canada's east coast.

Aside from historic treaties, Canada currently has seven bilateral fishing treaties with the United States, which are as follows:

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America on Pacific hake/whiting: This recently negotiated agreement was signed by Canada and the United States on November 21, 2003 , in Seattle, Washington, but is not yet in force. It prescribes the formation of scientific and management committees for the purpose of determining the total allowable catch of Pacific hake/whiting and the respective harvest quotas for Canada and the United States.

Agreement between the Government of Canada and Government of the United States of America on fisheries enforcement: This treaty was signed on September 26, 1990, in Ottawa, Canada and entered into force on December 16, 1991. It aims to improve the enforcement of fisheries laws and regulations within both countries' respective internal waters, territorial seas and 200-mile zone.

Treaty between the Government of Canada and Government of the United States of America concerning Pacific salmon: The Pacific salmon treaty was signed in Ottawa, Canada, on January 28, 1985, and came into force on March 18, 1985. The treaty obliges Canada and the United States to conduct fisheries so as to provide for optimum production and equitable of salmon stocks and establishes the Pacific salmon commission, a body that directs the joint managment of transboundary pacific salmon stocks and works for the protection and management of pacific salmon runs. The treaty also includes four annexes, creating fishery panel committees and fishery regimes to regulate fisheries activities in the regions specified by the treaty, and a memorandum of understanding which provides for each country to receive benefits equivalent to the production of salmon originating in its waters. Also, an agreement respecting Yukon River salmon was reached in 2002 and incorporated as chapter 8 of the Pacific salmon agreement.

Treaty between the Government of Canada and Government of the United States of America on Pacific coast albacore tuna vessels and port privileges: This Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. on May 26, 1981, and came into force on July 29, 1981. It was amended in 1997. The treaty allows each party to engage in fishing for albacore tuna in waters under the jurisdiction of the other party that are seaward of the territorial seas, and to land, transship or sell their catches in specific ports of the other party. An amendment to this treaty was recently negotiated, but is not yet in force, which provides for annual consultation between the parties on albacore tuna stocks and limitations on the amount of fishing by each party's vessels in the waters of the other party.

Convention on Great Lakes fisheries between Canada and the United States of America: This convention was signed on September 10, 1954 in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. and entered into force on October 11, 1955. The convention addresses the decline in productivity of some of the Great Lakes fisheries and seeks to prevent further serious damage to some of these fisheries caused by the parasitic sea lamprey. The convention provides for the establishment of the Great Lakes fishery commission to co-ordinate and implement effective research, conservation and management programs.

Convention between Canada and the United States of America for the preservation of the halibut fishery of the northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea: This treaty was signed on March 2, 1953, in Ottawa, Canada, and entered into force on October 28, 1953. The treaty continued the international Pacific halibut commission (the origin of which was the 1923 convention for the preservation of the halibut fisheries of the northern Pacific Ocean), a body that conducts stock assessments of, and performs biological research on, Pacific halibut.

Exchange of notes (March 4 and April 30, 1948) between Canada and the United States of America regarding sanitary practices in the shellfish industries and related matters: This agreement was made by an exchange of notes on March 4, 1948, and April 30, 1948, and came into force on April 30, 1948. It aims to improve sanitary practices in the shellfish industries of Canada and the United States and to facilitate the exchange of information with reference to endorsement of shellfish certifications.

Question No. 24Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

What would be the penalty to the government for cancellation of its contract with Lockheed Martin for the conducting of the Canadian census of 2006 by Statistics Canada?

Question No. 24Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

The current contract does not contain a provision for a penalty per se for cancellation. However, there are two possible scenarios for cancelling the current contract with Lockheed Martin Canada: 1) Terminating the contract for convenience; and 2) Exercising the contract's Exit Plan--Off Ramp. The main intent of the Exit Plan is to provide for a transition, logically after the Census Test in 2004, in the event that Canada decides not to proceed with contracting with Lockheed Martin Canada for the subsequent systems development, hardware procurement, printing and follow-on operations contract. The costs resulting from this scenario would be dependent upon how Canada wanted to move forward. The options are: for Statistics Canada to operate the system developed by the contractor, expected in March 2006, or to totally abandon the developed system.

PWGSC has been advised by Statistics Canada that if the contract were to be cancelled now, it would not be possible for Statistics Canada to deliver a full comprehensive census. Statistics Canada might only be able to collect basic demographic information and only provide population estimates required for the fiscal transfer program. The agency could not provide the information needed by a number of statutes and regulations (Canada pension plan, official languages, multiculturalism, employment equity regulations, etc.) that require a comprehensive census. Statistics Canada is exploring the possibility of re-scoping the contract with Lockheed Martin Canada following the census test. The proposed re-scoping of the contract would permit a comprehensive census to be delivered as well as ensuring that Statistics Canada alone would process the completed questionnaires.

Should Canada terminate the current contract for convenience, the contractor would be entitled to be paid the cost for all completed and partially completed work and capital expenditures, as well as all cost of the termination of the contract including the cancellation of obligations incurred by the contractor. The actual cost would be dependent upon when the contract was terminated and could be as much as the cost to complete the contract. The cost to terminate the current contract could reach $12-15 million.

Question No. 26Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

With respect to HRDC's payment of grants and subsidies, in the 75 ridings in Quebec, for fiscal years 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and 2003-2004, can the government provide the following information: ( a ) the name of the recipient organization; ( b ) the date; ( c ) the amount; ( d ) the name of the program; and ( e ) the federal riding of the recipient organization?

Question No. 26Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

The data concerning the grants and contributions payments for all of the constituencies, as of fiscal year 1997-98, is available on-line, at the following addresses: 1997-98/1998-99/1999-2000: http://www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/dept/reports/2_lmya.shtml; 2000-01: http://www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/dept/reports/pay-paie/00-01/note_00-01.shtml; 2001-02: http://www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/dept/reports/pay-paie/01-02/note_01-02.shtml; 2002-03: http://www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/dept/reports/pay-paie/02-03/note_02-03.shtml

Data related to fiscal year 2003-04 will be available after the tabling of the Public Accounts of Canada in November 2004.

Question No. 34Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

With regard to Parks Canada's attempts to close the Jasper and Banff airstrips, what is the total accumulated cost to the Crown of the court proceedings in this matter?

Question No. 34Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

The cost to the Crown for court proceedings related to Parks Canada’s attempts to close the Jasper and Banff airstrips is $26,725.07.

Question No. 35Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

With regard to natural health products: ( a ) on what legal grounds are federal government officials prohibiting the importation of natural health products from the United States; and ( b ) can the government prohibit the importation of foods or natural health products from the United States or Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and, if so, what are the relevant provisions of NAFTA?

Question No. 35Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

As of January 1, 2004, the natural health products regulations came into force and apply to all natural health products, NHPs. The regulations set out the requirements for the importation of NHPs. Sections A.01.040 to A.01.044 of the food and drug regulations that govern importation are incorporated in the regulations.

In accordance with section 100 of the natural health products regulations, the importation of natural health products, NHPs, that are in violation of the regulations or the Food and Drugs Act are prohibited. These products cannot be sold or imported in Canada.

According to section A.01.044 of the food and drugs regulations, a natural health product that is in violation may be imported if relabelling or modifying of the natural health product would be in conformity with the regulations or the Food and Drugs Act to allow for lawful sale in Canada. Importers using this provision must: a) notify the Health Products Food Branch Inspectorate, HPFBI, of the proposed importation; and b) relabel or modify the natural health product as necessary for lawful sale in Canada within three months after the importation or period of time specified by Health Canada.

Also, according to Health Canada’s importation of human use drugs for personal use enforcement directive, individuals may seek drugs for personal use up to three months.

The Natural Health Products Directorate has consulted with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, DFAIT, and the World Trade Organization, WTO, on technical barriers to trade with NAFTA. In addressing foreign trade issues, domestic and imported NHPs are treated equally to ensure a level playing field under the regulations with respect to product license, site license and good manufacturing practices, GMPs, requirements.

Provisions in international agreements on importation of unauthorized products are consistent with the respective requirements under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT, and NAFTA.

Question No. 41Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

For the fiscal year 2002-2003, what is the detailed breakdown of the government funds allocated to the Indian Taxation Advisory Board?

Question No. 41Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

For fiscal year 2002-03 the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, DIAND, based on approved budgets and work plans, has provided funding to the Indian taxation advisory board, ITAB, as outlined in the attached chart:

The annual audit of ITAB’s financial statements, dated May 23, 2003, confirms that expenditures were in accordance with amounts given above.

Question No. 44Routine Proceedings

March 22nd, 2004 / 3:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

With regard to the Minister of Finance's statement in the House of Commons of Wednesday, February 4, 2004, will the government allow Nova Scotia woodlot owners to defer their income tax at 10 percent per year over the next ten years on the short-term salvage profit resulting from Hurricane Juan?

Question No. 44Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

The Government of Canada is continuing to assess whether it would be appropriate to target assistance specifically to woodlot owners through the tax system or other mechanisms.

As well, the Government of Canada has already begun to assist individuals and businesses affected by hurricane Juan. On October 20, 2003, the Government of Canada announced that it would provide financial assistance under the disaster financial assistance arrangements, DFAA, to the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Under the DFAA, the Government of Canada cost-shares with provinces eligible expenses incurred to repair the damage from a disaster. Provinces choose how to direct assistance to disaster victims through their programs and the Government of Canada makes payments to the provinces for a portion of the expense of those programs. On March 4, 2004, the hon. Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, on behalf of the hon. Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced $8 million in payments to the Province of Nova Scotia under the DFAA. These payments include $4 million for the flooding which affected much of mainland Nova Scotia in spring of 2003 and $4 million for the effects of hurricane Juan in September 2003.