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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

Border CrossingsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Bi-National Planning Group studying a new border crossing at the Windsor-Essex county area announced that it will drag its feet for another three years at the expense of our economy and the health of our citizens.

The incompetence, political interference and mismanagement of the border file by the Liberals has earned it the unflattering comparisons to the gun registry by local citizens.

The citizens of Windsor do not need more band-aid proposals. They need strong leadership.

Will the Prime Minister shorten the timelines or is it his intention to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars for band-aid projects with Liberal connections? Will he support the community's request for a bypass?

Border CrossingsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that we are working very constructively and very closely with other levels of government. We are working with the City of Windsor, the surrounding municipalities and the provincial government.

In fact, I am pleased to inform the member, in case he has forgotten, that just two weeks ago we had a very positive announcement around some short term measures that will improve both the safety and flow of traffic between Windsor and Detroit.

Instead of perhaps criticizing the hard work being done by members on this side of the House and other orders of government, the hon. member might like to work with us.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister gave one position in terms of Israel's position on the death of the terrorist leader of Hamas. Then his foreign affairs minister stood up and gave a contradictory position. Clearly these are his own words. He said that this was contrary to international legal obligations on behalf of the State of Israel.

Is the Prime Minister deliberately playing a cynical game of good cop, bad cop with the foreign affairs minister for political reasons, or is he simply incapable of responding clearly to a serious issue?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and myself said exactly the same thing, and that is that Israel has the right and the responsibility to defend itself.

At the same time, in terms of this particular act, we do not believe that this is the road to peace. Under those circumstances, clearly the act should be judged exactly as the Minister of Foreign Affairs did yesterday.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

So it is the Minister of Foreign Affairs who sets the policy in contradiction to the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker.

On all of these issues the Liberals are all over the global map. In 1994 the Liberals turned a deaf ear to the people of Rwanda and did not send in troops. In 1999, without Security Council approval, we approved of the bombing in Kosovo. Then with Security Council approval, we sent brave troops into Afghanistan. Then without Security Council approval, we put military secretly in Iraq.

The government is incapable of responding to these serious issues. When will the Prime Minister get a grip on serious security issues related to putting Canadians in harm's way?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at the time of the invasion of Iraq the government was not in favour of that invasion and the opposition was.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, beef producers sit here with the border closed. The government ad hoc programs will not solve the problem. They need the border opened.

The Prime Minister has said that the ambassador to the U.S. is the most important position but has yet to fill it, even though the current ambassador's position expired last October.

Rather than hold the spot in Washington open for some Liberal Party crony or relative, why does the Prime Minister not appoint a professional diplomat to Washington now to get to work on opening the border?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I hope the hon. member, by her question, did not mean to tarnish the reputation of an exceedingly effective diplomat who is presently serving this country in Washington. We have an exemplary public service. We have an exemplary diplomatic corps. We have a first class representative in Washington.

We have an opportunity to change diplomats when the proper rotation comes up. The Prime Minister, who is in constant consultation, has ensured that we have the highest quality of representation everywhere in the world, but particularly in Washington.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, leaving the most important diplomatic post in limbo jeopardizes the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Canadians.

The Prime Minister is afraid to be photographed with the U.S. president because of Liberal Party election optics. When will he at least name a diplomat who is not afraid to be seen representing Canadian trade interests in Washington?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, the member casts aspersions on one of the leading members of our diplomatic corps. He is in the post because he is that competent. He is a professional diplomat.

What I will take exception to is the reference to President Bush. I had a very good meeting with President Bush when I was in Monterrey and I look forward to meeting with the president again. We are going to work on files that are important to Canadians: BSE, softwood lumber and how we can keep the border open to the free flow of commerce. We are going to deal with the problems within this continent and outside of this continent. The hon. member ought to get her act together.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

March 23rd, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has just announced an aid package to offset the devastating effects of the mad cow crisis. However, the softwood lumber crisis has been going on for two years and workers, as well as companies, are still waiting for a real aid package to support them in this continuing trade war.

What is the government waiting for to implement a real aid package for the softwood lumber industry and its workers, who have also been going through a very severe crisis for the past two years?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite knows full well that there are programs in my sector that the hon. members and others can use.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

If the member stops yapping she will understand that my department works well and closely with all those employers who shut down their enterprises and give all neighbours an opportunity to access the program to which they have a right. We work together with employers and with employees to ensure that all-

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Verchères--Les-Patriotes.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber crisis does not only affect the industry; it is also a direct attack that threatens the survival of many regions. In Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean alone, for instance, 2,948 jobs have been lost, which is the equivalent of 30,000 jobs in a region like Montreal.

Does such a bleak picture not demand energetic action by the government and the announcement of phase two of the aid package for softwood lumber?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for this very important question, because many jobs are involved.

This is a key industry for Canada. That is why we have concentrated our efforts in two areas, namely the WTO and NAFTA. In addition, the negotiations are our priority and we will continue with them.

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, fishing vessel insurance has skyrocketed and is threatening the viability of many enterprises.

When the federal government dismantled the fishing vessel insurance plan, it assured fish harvesters that the insurance market would be competitive. That is not the case.

Will the Minister of Fisheries reverse this decision and re-establish a new fishing vessel insurance program immediately?

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to discuss this matter with him after question period perhaps. It is a new matter that we have not discussed before and I look forward to having a chat with him later.

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, that means he knows nothing about it. Let me ask him something else.

Last week the minister announced some extra funding for air and water surveillance. What this means is that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be able to issue more citations to vessels raping our stocks.

In the last 10 years, 300 citations have been issued. Will the minister give us one concrete example of where a sufficient penalty was imposed to keep these rogue vessels from raping our stocks on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap?

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for noting the fact that last week the government committed to $51 million of additional new funds for aerial surveillance and $17.5 million for additional sea patrols. This will provide effective surveillance of the nose and tail of the Grand Banks, throughout our fisheries, and we will take whatever options are required.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

He will recall that the government's program review, which took place in the mid-1990s, meant significant job cuts. Approximately 55,000 public service jobs were either cut or transferred to agencies. Recently the government announced that there would now be an expenditure review. This risks undermining the morale of the public service if not clarified.

Will this expenditure review be another unwanted job cutting exercise in the public service?

Public ServiceOral 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 thank the member for what I believe is his fourth question on this topic since we took office, which is four more than the opposition.

Expenditure review is about one thing. It is about modernizing public management by going through every single line of expenditure, every program and every management system with the express goal of supporting the best public service in the world.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, a Canadian Wheat Board director recently admitted that organic grain producers could be exempted from the Canadian Wheat Board. The Wheat Board does not even market organic grains, but instead the Wheat Board makes a quick buck off organic grain producers because they are required to buy back their own grain from the board at inflated prices before they can even sell it to their buyers. This is an unnecessary restriction that applies only to western Canada.

When will the Liberal government correct this huge problem and give organic producers on the prairies the same choice as eastern farmers have?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral 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 had the pleasure of being out across the prairies during the last break talking to farmers. I can tell the member that the farmer owned Wheat Board--10 of the 15 directors are directly elected by farmers--have control of the management of the board. They are doing an exceptionally good job, and they will make the decision on this issue in consultation with their brethren.