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House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elections.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. It concerns the biosafety protocol.

In view of the fact that Canada signed the biosafety protocol in the year 2001 but has not yet ratified it, could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food please tell us when Canada will finally ratify the biosafety protocol?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is aware that 45 countries have now ratified the biosafety protocol. It takes 50 countries, in fact, to implement it.

The Government of Canada is presently consulting with stakeholders which is very important. The hon. member knows there were concerns by stakeholders. We are drawing up an action plan based on those consultations.

I can assure the hon. member that we are on the path toward ratification; however, first and foremost, we want to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in that process.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General spoke in committee about the purchase of the two Challenger jets in 2002 and said that the government could not demonstrate that it exercised due diligence in awarding this contract or that it achieved best value.

The Prime Minister, who speaks at great length about fiscal responsibility, was the finance minister at the time the decision was made to spend $100 million for jets that neither National Defence nor Transport Canada needed.

Could the Prime Minister explain why these jets were purchased instead of other much more needed military equipment by our armed forces?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has indicated in the past, not all of the cabinet processes were followed in connection with the purchase of the Challenger jets.

Having said that however, there was a need, and there is a need, to upgrade the Challenger fleet. The addition of these two jets is certainly an important addition to the capability of the Canadian forces.

We also, in defence, did not suffer as a result of the purchase of these particular aircraft, in the sense that the money was provided by the Department of Finance.

As I indicated before, there have been, and there will continue to be, more investments made in the Canadian Forces.

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister's budget is a recipe for privatization. There are no Liberal targets to create home care or cut pollution, but there is an artificial target for the debt to GDP ratio.

Assuming the Liberals' rosy predictions are correct, they want to spend $30 billion to meet this target in 10 years. Balancing the books, which the NDP supports, would meet this target in 11 years.

Why does the Liberal government want to spend at least $30 billion to meet an artificial target one year earlier?

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government has set as a target that in the next 10 years the debt to GDP ratio will be 25%. That has gone from somewhere in the order of 68% to what is now 42%.

By the payment of absolute moneys off in the order of $52 billion, we actually save somewhere in the order of $3 billion, which in this particular year was extremely important. It enabled us to fund the $2 billion to health care and the further $1 billion to mad cow.

The fiscal prudence in this particular instance worked very well indeed.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday a majority of the House of Commons voted in favour of my motion that called on the government to take immediate action to extend custodial management over the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap.

What instructions has the Prime Minister given to officials in the Departments of Fisheries and Oceans, Foreign Affairs, and International Trade as a result of this action taken by the House?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hillsborough P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to congratulate the hon. member for having his motion passed in the House on Wednesday.

Since the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans was appointed on December 12, there were a lot of things done on this issue. This is a top priority with him.

This country has ratified the United Nations Law of the Sea. The European Union has ratified the convention on straddling fish stocks. The minister has put $51 million more into air surveillance. He has put $17 million more into sea surveillance. Most recently, there has been a meeting between the Prime Minister and the president of the European Union where this was a top item on the agenda.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, after all of that there has not been one fish saved or one boat reprimanded.

Is the Prime Minister still of the view that the House of Commons is where the public will must be heard, articulated and exercised as he stated in his Osgoode Hall speech on democratic reform last October?

If so, in view of Wednesday's vote, when will the government introduce legislation to implement the will of the House of Commons?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Hillsborough P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly sure if the hon. member has been following the things that have been done on this issue over the last three months. I will repeat them.

There has been $51 million more allocated to additional air surveillance. There has been $17 million more allocated to additional sea surveillance. There has recently been a high level meeting between our Prime Minister and the president of the European Union where this was a top item on the agenda. There were good discussions and these discussions will be followed up.

TransportationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White Canadian Alliance North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian boating community is just beginning to find out that the government has created a huge problem for them as they prepare their boats for the new season.

Thanks to an exclusive contract awarded to Nautical Data International by the Liberals, users of Navionics and C-Map navigation equipment no longer have access to digital maps. This is a critical safety issue.

Why did the government grant a monopoly to NDI, and what will the minister do about it to get rid of this nasty sweetheart deal and make digital maps available to users of that equipment?

TransportationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Hillsborough P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for the question. This arrangement has been in place since 1993.

Generally, it has worked well, but recently, and the hon. member is quite correct, certain problems have developed. The minister and the department are aware of them and they are trying to resolve them as soon as possible.

TransportationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White Canadian Alliance North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the owner of NDI has a Liberal donation record as long as my arm, so no surprises there.

The minister has already admitted he has known about the problem for a long time and has still done nothing. Spring is here. The boaters are getting their boats out of the sheds and back into the water, and still nothing has been done on this critical safety issue.

When will the minister end this outrageous NDI royalties sweetheart deal and put maps back into the hands of the boaters?

TransportationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Hillsborough P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as I stated previously, this arrangement has been going on for 11 years now. It has worked well, but the minister and the department are aware of the problems that the hon. member has brought up. They are presently dealing with the problems. We expect the problems to be resolved in the very near future.

TradeOral Question Period

March 26th, 2004 / 11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, manufacturers in the already very vulnerable textile and clothing sectors now find themselves in an extremely precarious situation, partly because they have to face unfair competition and also because in January 2005, all quotas on these imports will be lifted.

Does the Minister for International Trade realize that the some $26 million in customs duties that will be paid back over a three-year period are just a drop in the bucket compared to the $300 million in tariff duties that the clothing industry will pay on its textile imports?

TradeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalMinister of State (Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we presented a bill to extend customs tariffs for an additional 10 years. At the same time that we introduced this legislation, our colleague, the Minister of Industry, submitted a proposal to invest $60 million over the next three years, in both the clothing and textile sectors, to help our industry.

TradeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the government not think that, instead of adopting measures that apply across the board to all textiles, it would be wiser to simply lift customs duties on textiles that are not manufactured here and to take strict measures to protect our textile and clothing industry?

TradeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalMinister of State (Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as regards the amount of $60 million over a three-year period to which I just referred, about half of that money should go to the clothing sector. One of the purposes of that amount of $30 million or so is indeed to see if we could not lower tariffs for fabrics that are not produced here.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of ACOA continues to encourage the president of ACOA to promote a Liberal policy paper called “The Rising Tide: Continuing Commitment to Atlantic Canada” with scarce mention and no funding in the budget. This policy paper, in the words of the minister, “will remain part of the Liberal platform in the next election”.

Will the minister now reign in the president of ACOA who is, by the way, a senior public servant, or is it politics as usual at the agency in a pre-election warm-up?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, those of us who were responsible for both “Catching the Wave” and “The Rising Tide” are very proud of the work we have done on behalf of Atlantic Canadians.

Rather than this being a political document, the fact of the matter is that we have consulted with APEC, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, and university presidents. It has been endorsed by mayors in small and large communities throughout the region. We are very proud of this document. It is good for Atlantic Canada.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government may be proud of it, but there is no money in the budget to fund it.

The interesting thing is that the president of ACOA is still promoting it. She is a public servant and totally in contradiction of the ethics act, the code, if I may. This is how the government put itself in trouble on the ad scam issue with public servants refusing to say no or unwilling to say no to their political masters.

Does the minister want to see politicization of ACOA until finally the government is defeated at the polls?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish in Atlantic Canada in terms of getting the agenda for the economic revitalization of our region on the national stage. Any time any public servant talks about Atlantic Canada, we are proud of that too.

HealthOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Public Health.

It is common knowledge that provinces and territories across Canada have varying levels of coverage for immunizations. In my own Province of Ontario, many parents cannot have their children vaccinated because they cannot afford the fees.

Now that federal funding has been allocated to assist the provinces and territories with immunization programs, when will the government provide these funds so that Canadian children will have equal access to vaccinations?

HealthOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question on this federal-provincial-territorial success story in our national immunization strategy.

The $300 million of funding announced in this week's budget exemplifies the government's commitment to the shared goal of equitable access to the newer vaccines for all Canadians no matter where they live. Given this priority, the funds will be accounted for in this fiscal year and we will ensure that the money will be available to the provinces and territories as soon as the legislation is passed.

I know I can count on the support of all in the House to ensure its timely passage, and I know we find unacceptable as Canadians that any family physician, pediatrician or nurse practitioner in the country should have--

HealthOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Perth—Middlesex.