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House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tariffs.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. It is impossible to hear the answer from the hon. government House leader.

The hon. member for Edmonton Southwest asked a question. He is going to ask a supplementary. How can he ask it if he cannot hear the answer? I cannot hear it either. We want to hear the answer.

The hon. government House leader has the floor. We will hear the answer.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if I put myself in the place of those who are watching us here in this House, I would say that the childish behaviour opposite does not honour the House of Commons.

This is the first time I have heard someone in opposition ask the Prime Minister to overturn a decision made by a standing committee, which is master of its own destiny. It makes absolutely no sense to want to go against the rules of the House and ask the Prime Minister to go further than what the committee itself—

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, a mature government would get to the bottom of the fact that $100 million of taxpayers' money was wasted and laundered. That is what a mature government would do, not cover it up.

The motion itself says that based on the evidence presented by former minister Gagliano and reference to briefings, all pertinent documents be tabled and made available to the committee for examination in these deliberations. This is a serious motion intended to get to the bottom of this mess. What is the government trying to hide by defeating this motion?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, five motions were adopted by the committee this morning, four of them I gather from the copy of the motions that I have received, pertain to documents which will be provided.

It seems those members do not believe in the committee process, however, we do. If the committee asked for pertinent documents to this matter, as in the past, the government will provide the information.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's reactions by the Canadian government to the helicopter attack which took the life of Sheik Yassin were contradictory, depending on whether they came from the Prime Minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Prime Minister merely referred to Israel's right to defend itself, while his minister spoke out against Israel's attack on international law.

What exactly is the official position of the Government of Canada on this assassination?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction whatsoever. What I said yesterday was that Israel was entitled to defend itself, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs also said. I added that murder was certainly not the best way to achieve peace.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, is not the duty of the Prime Minister and his government to be clear, very clear, as he is likes to put it, and to follow the lead of the European Union in denouncing “this extrajudiciary killing” which “undermines the concept of the rule of law, which is a key element in the fight against terrorism”? This assassination cannot help but worsen the atmosphere of violence and move the world further away from any resolution of this conflict. The Prime Minister has to be very clear.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just made himself very clear. There is no contradiction whatsoever in what we each said. We both said the same thing, condemning the killing on the one hand, while on the other hand saying that Israel has the right to defend itself. What is more, we feel that such acts do not contribute to peace.

Canada is always seeking to further peace. That is what we all want for that region. We therefore call upon all parties to stay calm and to focus again on a peace plan for both parties.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when it announced in western Canada its aid package for beef producers, the government indicated that this program did not include cull cattle.

How can the government explain that the assistance given to beef producers does not extend to dairy producers, who are also directly affected by the mad cow crisis, since the federal government is providing compensation for only two-thirds of their slaughtered animals?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should be aware that in fact last fall we brought in a cull cow program of some $200 million which will help the cull cows across this country.

As the hon. member said, the Prime Minister and I made an announcement. We believe that $1 billion toward the farming sector in this country shows the commitment by the Government of Canada to this industry. It indicates to all Canadians that we feel this is an industry of high importance to this country.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not understand that the compensation package he is talking about covers at most 16% of the herd. In Quebec, 25% of the herd is affected. He does not want to recognize the distinct nature of Quebec in this matter. That is what I am asking him.

Should his $1 billion package not have included cull cattle as well, taking Quebec into account, and the fact that 25% of its herd has to be renewed each year?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should be aware that in fact farm groups in Quebec are very supportive of this issue. They believe, as we do, that governments at all levels should be able to support their farmers as best they can, given these difficult times.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just cannot get anything right. He finally brings in new legislation that he can honestly call his own, but he gets it all wrong. Canadians do not want an integrity commissioner who sits comfortably in the lap of a Liberal cabinet minister.

Will the Prime Minister live up to his democratic deficit promise and let Parliament select, appoint and supervise Canada's first integrity commissioner?

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as the member is aware, first of all, the future integrity commissioner will be appointed by both houses, by the Senate and by the House of Commons. With the mandate and all the specificity and all the tools that he has to work with, I think that we walk the talk. Also, we are addressing the democratic deficit regarding the parliamentary process and not only for the framework law, but also for the code of conduct, the standing committees will be in charge. We will look at every opportunity, and I am flexible to look at every opportunity.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, many prominent Canadians with knowledge or an understanding of the importance of an integrity commissioner say the legislation is flawed.

Whistleblower legislation should cover all aides to cabinet ministers, the Department of National Defence, the RCMP and all other federal agencies.

Will the Prime Minister replace this flawed legislation now and give Parliament the responsibility of seeking out, appointing and supervising an integrity commissioner who will have a real and uncompromised independence in this House?

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with my colleague.

First, with regard to all the employees of the House of Commons, for example, there is some specific legislation attached to it. We are covering all public sector employees.

With regard to National Defence, the RCMP and CSIS, they will be obliged to have their own code and that is within the law.

We are covering all the angles. We feel that it is a good law, good legislation and a great step in the right direction.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, whistleblower legislation must be seen to be trustworthy and workable by the faithful public servant who may need it.

In the bill tabled yesterday, the government still wants to politically control the independent oversight role of Parliament.

Why is the government insisting on undermining employee confidence in this new office by injecting a ministerial filter for reporting wrongdoing?

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with my colleague. The bill does not filter at all. The fact that the commissioner will be appointed by both Houses, the Senate and the House of Commons, I think shows that the position is pretty independent.

Howard Wilson was a counsellor who was appointed. Now we are talking about legislation. It is not the same thing.

After a lot of consultation, we truly believe that not only have we made a step in the right direction but that this is exactly the spirit of the working group on whistleblowers and that we addressed all the issues they were looking for.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board admitted that he was wrong about being against whistleblowing in view of the Radwanski scandal, but the problem is that we need comprehensive stand alone legislation that creates a real system with officers and a proper budget, and with credible authority across Canada that is separate from politics.

The Treasury Board is the employer of the public service. Why is the President of Treasury Board not ensuring that employees get everything they need to keep the system honest? Will he provide that?

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think the member should read the bill. Not only would we cover all the angles but we would provide all the tools in the budget for the future commissioner to do his job. With all the tools he will have, he will be able to not only go through every department but he will have everything he needs to seek all the information and then to make recommendations.

After that, when we look at the correct situation and it is not proceeding in departments, we are even able to deposit a special report to Parliament. Therefore it is pretty independent. I think the way we have planned it is pretty accurate.

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

March 23rd, 2004 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Liberal Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, for some time now, the Bloc Quebecois has been telling everyone that the Government of Canada is in favour of expanding the St. Lawrence Seaway, when the entire industry says this is simply not true.

I would like to ask the Minister of Transport the following question. Does the Government of Canada support the expansion of the seaway and will this have a major impact on the St. Lawrence River?

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member's question gives me an opportunity to clarify a number of concerns.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the St. Lawrence Seaway is a vital part of our economy and we will continue to ensure its viability.

The study is looking at the ongoing maintenance and long term capital requirements to sustain the existing seaway infrastructure. The study is not looking at expanding the seaway.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the right hon. Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister often speaks of a democratic deficit, so I want to know what his position is on one of the institutions that is blatantly undemocratic.

The Senate is undemocratic, unaccountable and costs $60 million a year. There will be 14 vacancies in that place by the end of this year.

Will the Prime Minister commit to starting a process of consultation with the provinces with a view of abolishing this unelected, unaccountable, undemocratic, highly priced debating society?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House and Canadians have often talked about modernizing the Senate and the changes that are required. I think that is very much our position.

We also believe that members of the Senate do very good work. The fact is that as a legislative body, it is a body that studies specific measures. It has in fact advanced files substantially, and I am sure will continue to do that very thing.