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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

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, it is good to see everybody excited about this great money that is going to farm families today. I would like to thank the member for Winnipeg South Centre for bringing in that concern today: $1 billion, with two-thirds going to the beef industry. That, along with the other programs, is going to put the farms in pretty good shape. This is a good day for agriculture and a good day for the rural community.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister still will not come clean on star wars.

Fact: the former assistant U.S. defense secretary calls missile defence “Star Wars II”. Fact: the U.S. Missile Defense Agency is budgeting for 304 interceptors in space. Fact: both George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld have called, on the record, for the weaponization of space.

How can the government deny all of this evidence and continue to pretend that missile defence is not about weaponizing space?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that what passes for facts with the NDP does not necessarily pass for facts with the rest of Canada. It is also important to keep in mind, as has been said by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, by the Prime Minister and by me, that the government is opposed to the weaponization of space.

It probably has not been lost on the hon. member as well that there does happen to be an election occurring this year in the United States. Some of what we heard, I think, is a result of some of the partisan politicking going on in the U.S.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, from the sponsorship scandals to star wars, the Liberals refuse to come clean with Canadians. The NDP's star wars facts have been proven right. It will cost more than $1 trillion. Weaponization of space is the plan. It is already triggering a new arms race.

This time last year, Canada called up George Bush and said no to the war in Iraq. Why does the defence minister not call him up again and say no, Canada will not participate in the star wars talks, the talks are off?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will go back to the point mentioned probably about a month ago in terms of that $1 trillion figure that the NDP was using. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is spending money at a rate of about $9 billion per year. Simple arithmetic dictates that at that level of expenditure it would take over a century to spend $1 trillion. I think the facts speak for themselves.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Privy Council minister. The government finally admits it was wrong for 10 years and whistleblowing legislation is coming because it has been caught and shamed into action, but will the consequences for wrongdoing be powerful enough to change Liberal bad habits? Will the government give up internal controls and have its new system report to Parliament instead of a minister?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if I recall it right, that member of Parliament voted against the whistleblowing bill in committee, but that is another issue. I would say this. Let us all keep our powder dry. After question period I will table the bill and then we will expand upon it.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I recall that it was the opposition that tabled the first bill.

Joanna Gualtieri was a whistleblower in the Department of Foreign Affairs. Is the government now going to apologize for its abuse of this faithful public servant? Will whistleblowers like her be able to go to the courts if the proposed system fails them?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I am very proud to be with this government because our Prime Minister, a man of vision, put forward an action plan and today we will deliver. We walked the talk. The member should be applauding what the government is doing right now. We will deposit this after question period. Not only will we be able to address whistleblowing but because we feel that members of Parliament should all be part of that process, they will pretty pleased about what I will announce today.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, speaking of typos, the President of the Treasury Board stood in the House one day and waved a list of sponsorship grants around as proof that they are open and transparent, but the problem is that when we called the people who got the grants, they did not get the same amount of money that is listed in this book. It is full of typos.

I would like to know when we can expect the government to table a corrected version of every single grant, with every single detail, and what Liberal got the commission.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as the finance minister has mentioned, we are in the middle of a series of processes unparalleled, I think, in the modern history of this country in terms of getting to the bottom of the circumstances around the sponsorship grants.

If any members opposite have any evidence that money that was said to be paid was not paid, then they should bring it forward through one of the processes and, particularly if they are alleging criminal activity, to the RCMP's attention. That is where these processes should be carried forward, not through wild accusations in the House.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, as for wild accusations, I have proof and I would like to table it. I would like the minister to look at it. The minister should pick up his own chart. It says for the Downtown Truro Partnership, $5,000, and here is a cheque stub for $3,625. Where did the money go? Why did he keep this money from Truro?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the process which the hon. member opposite was deriding earlier is the very reason why we have this in place: so this sort of information can be brought forward. Let us see then what went to commissions, what went to promotional activities, and what was misappropriated, if possible. That will go to the police. We look forward to the hon. member bringing the information forward so that we can get to the bottom of these issues together.

AgricultureOral Question Period

March 22nd, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just announced $680 million for cattle farmers, but this assistance excludes cull cows, which is a problem mainly in Quebec.

How can the government announce such substantial assistance without any help for Quebec farmers faced with the cull problem?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. The cull cow program is in process and taking place now. We are getting all the inventory of all the animals across this country and we are going to start rolling out the cheques. I also would like to tell the hon. member that this $1 billion program we announced today will also have money in it for dairy farmers.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary just talked about a $1 billion program, but on television the sum announced was $680 million. It would be nice to get the facts straight.

Quebec's farmers have already denounced the help that is currently available, since they can only get compensation for two-thirds of the animals they slaughter.

How does the government explain to farmers that it did not deign to improve assistance for cull, when these farmers are in an extremely difficult situation? Is this government trying to say that Quebec farmers do not count?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, Quebec farmers do count. They produce the most dairy products in this country. We are going to be there to help them with the cull cow program. We are going to be there for them. This $680 million is for beef producers only. There is $1 billion altogether but it is for other farmers besides dairy and beef.

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week a whopping 278 charges were laid in the case of an Immigration and Refugee Board judge who put entry to Canada up for sale as part of an organized crime bribery scheme. The judge was a Liberal patronage appointee with close ties to a Liberal cabinet minister.

Just one day before charges were laid, the Liberals announced cosmetic changes to the IRB appointment process, yet this IRB corruption was well known for more than a year. Was last week's announcement not just a cynical Liberal attempt at damage control?

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. Clearly since 1989 when the IRB was set up, it has been used by both Conservatives and Liberals as a point for patronage. That ended on March 16. I announced a variety of changes to the system. The system will be merit based. I look forward to any suggestions the member has as to how we can even strengthen that process.

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I can assure Canadians that the next Conservative government is going to clean up this patronage mess.

Last week's announcement was little more than the Liberals' 1995 system recycled. The minister and people appointed by the minister will still run the show. Parliament is still sidelined, except to review the minister's choice for head of the IRB, something the government can do anyway. The government has just reappointed eight IRB judges under the old rules.

If the new changes are really so good, why were they not brought in before Liberal patronage crimes came home to roost?

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, for the information of the hon. member, we started using what they call an enhanced skills set process some time ago and I have been looking forward to making this announcement for at least the last two months.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning, Mr. Doudou Diène, the United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, reported on his visits over the past two years to Canada, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

My question is for Canada's minister of multiculturalism. How is this government addressing the issues on Canada that were raised by the special rapporteur?

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine LiberalMinister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, Canada welcomes the report of the special rapporteur and we will give special consideration to its recommendations and its conclusions.

Many of the issues that the special rapporteur raised are not unknown to us and are no surprise to us, because we know that we have work to do in Canadian society through the multiculturalism program, which is designed to address those issues. Combatting racism remains a priority of the government and of all Canadians. Therefore, my top priority is an action plan against racism.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, just like Jean Chrétien, the present temporary Prime Minister is failing to provide adequate funding to sustain our military. In December 2003 at DND headquarters, he said, and I quote, “If you send troops abroad you should send them with the best equipment”.

Yet Canada's army, navy and air force are facing a funding shortfall of up to half a billion dollars just to meet basic day to day requirements. How much money can our hard-pressed, overextended military expect in tomorrow's budget?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the budget, so I cannot answer the hon. member's question, but I can say to him very clearly that the throne speech indicated we would provide the training and equipment necessary for the Canadian Forces.

We are also in the process of doing an international policy review which covers defence and which will provide us with a strategic plan to move forward. I am looking forward to the results of that strategic plan because I think it is going to be vital for our investment plan for the forces in the future. Having said that, I will say as well it is important to keep in mind that we are proceeding on a number of important projects.