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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

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Progressive Conservative Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the strongest possible terms I want to express my disappointment in the new BSE package offered in the budget. It appears as though dairy producers have been either forgotten or abandoned. The guaranteed figure of $56 per dairy heifer is absolutely unsatisfactory. Tomorrow I will be meeting in my riding with area stakeholders concerning agriculture.

How would the government suggest I go about explaining to dairy farmers in Perth—Middlesex that they are being ignored?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, that is just simply not the case. In the fall we brought in a $200 million cull cow program that certainly helped the dairy sector. In fact 10% of the dollars that will go out, will go into the dairy sector, close to $100 million. The member can tell his dairy producers that the Government of Canada is fully committed, and we are fully committed behind supply management.

He might want to try to argue that point with his dairy producers.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Progressive Conservative Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us not give our farmers false hope. We all want to see the border open as soon as possible. Domestic aid programs, while needed at this time, do nothing to address the real issue, opening the U.S. border to Canadian livestock.

Last week we saw the Prime Minister totally interested in a campaign style photo op. Why is he not more interested in meeting one on one with the American president? At least then he would get his photo op in the rose garden.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I would think that would be more appropriate for the hon. member's leader. What my leader is doing is sitting down and working with the industry.

I was in Washington yesterday. I met with Secretary Veneman. We are working through, very well, the process with regard to opening up the border. Once their legal process is done on April 7, we believe very strongly that there is absolutely no reason why that border should not open.

The Prime Minister has said that directly to the President, and he will continue to work through the Prime Minister's Office.

Social HousingOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, during a recent visit to Quebec, the Prime Minister raised expectations and high hopes with respect to social housing. Lobby groups such as FRAPRU have expressed their great disappointment at having to wait for election promises in order to find out what the government's true intentions are for social housing.

How does the Prime Minister explain that there is not one cent in his budget for the development of social housing?

Social HousingOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, in the last three years we have announced and are actively putting in play a billion dollars for affordable housing. As the hon. member would know, a significant portion of that is in the province of Quebec which has responded very quickly, and I am happy to say it is among the leaders in the country. However, we still have more money to get in play with other provinces. We are in the act of doing that now.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and Status of Women.

Over the past few years racial profiling has emerged as one of the primary issues facing African, Asian, Arabian and Muslim Canadians and the aboriginal communities, in cities across the country.

How does the Government of Canada address this concern surrounding racial profiling?

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada considers the selective treatment of individuals solely on the basis of ethnic or racial characteristics as unacceptable. The Department of Multiculturalism has been engaged in progressive work on the issue of profiling.

Just last week I spoke to about 100 leaders at a consensus conference on racial profiling in Toronto. I will have the chance this weekend in the Atlantic region, in Fredericton, to speak with the Atlantic Region Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies to discuss this important matter.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, it has come to our attention that Edith Gendron, a federal public servant in the official languages support programs branch, is being blackmailed and threatened with losing her job, simply because she is an active sovereignist.

Will the government assure Ms. Gendron and this entire House that no threats will be tolerated and that no one's job will be at stake because of their political convictions?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, a serious question deserves a serious answer.

The rules governing the conduct of federal public servants are found in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. These rules outline situations where there could be real or apparent conflict of interest within the public service.

If there is a conflict of interest between personal interests and those related to public interest, the conflict must be resolved in favour of the public interest.

Ms. Gendron's case is now before the administration and internal management of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Therefore we will let the process take its course.

Pension FundsOral Question Period

Noon

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Devco pensioners, widows and children are being robbed of $27 million in pension funds because the government needs the bucks to make up for $4.4 billion in tax cuts delivered to corporate Canada and the hundreds of millions of dollars squandered in patronage scandals.

Now the government congratulates itself for appointing an arbitrator to rule on this outrageous clawing of funds from 6,750 Cape Bretoners struggling to survive in a tough economy

Where is the fairness here? How does this square with the earlier claim that this is a government committed to Atlantic--

Pension FundsOral Question Period

Noon

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of State.

Pension FundsOral Question Period

Noon

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the question from the member for Halifax, and will refer it to the Minister of Labour for a quick response.

Government ProgramsOral Question Period

Noon

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is now some 470 days since the softwood lumber community adjustment program was announced. Out of the $55 million for B.C. communities, $5 million has already been used to fund an increased level of federal bureaucracy. Very little has actually been paid out to the communities.

I ask again, when will the cheques be written to fund already approved community projects?

Government ProgramsOral Question Period

Noon

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for that important question, certainly in his constituency and throughout British Columbia. So far in British Columbia 83 projects have been approved worth $32 million of the $55 million coming to British Columbia, which has levered another $68 million, totalling $100 million for projects. There is another $20 million of projects to come.

At least the money is now starting to roll. The projects have been approved, and these are permanent economic adjustment projects. They are not quick fixes. The due diligence has been done and the cheques are now rolling.

Government ProgramsThe Royal Assent

Noon

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received which is as follows:

Rideau Hall,

Ottawa

March 26, 2004

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 26th day of March, 2004 at 11:01 a.m.

Yours sincerely,

Barbara Uteck,

Secretary to the Government General

The schedule indicates that royal assent was given to Bill C-6, an act respecting assisted human reproduction and related research; Bill C-13, an act to amend the Criminal Code (capital markets fraud and evidence-gathering); and Bill C-18, an act respecting equalization and authorizing the Minister of Finance to make certain payments related to health.

House of CommonsThe Royal Assent

March 26th, 2004 / 12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I also have the honour to lay upon the table the report on plans and priorities for 2004-05 of the House of Commons administration.

Canada National Parks ActRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberalfor the Minister of the Environment

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-28, an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act.

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

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have two reports to present.

First, I have the honour to present the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. In accordance with its order of reference of Tuesday, February 24, 2004, your committee has considered Vote 25 under Privy Council in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005, and reports the same.

Second, I have the honour to present the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the list of members of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. With the unanimous consent of the House, I intend to move concurrence in the fourteenth report later this day.

Employment Insurance ActRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Lanctôt Liberal Châteauguay, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-504, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code (employee taking care of a disabled person)

Mr. Speaker, this enactment amends the Employment Insurance Act and the CanadaLabour Code to provide that an employee who is absent fromemployment because of an obligation to care for a disabled person is notdisqualified from receiving employment insurance benefits and may notbe dismissed, suspended, laid off, demoted or disciplined.

The enactment also replaces the twelve-week period of absence set outin the Canada Labour Code with an indefinite period. It also allows thepension, health and disability benefits and the seniority of an employeewho is absent from work to care for a disabled person to accumulate.

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

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move: That the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, on behalf of the men, women and seniors in my riding, a petition which reads as follows:

“Whereas poverty is a plague that seriously affects seniors;

Whereas any measure that changes the financial situation of seniors poses a real threat to their physical health and their autonomy;

Whereas most seniors are living below the poverty line;

Your petitioners are asking Parliament to increase the basic amounts of the old age pension, the widow spouse allowance and the guaranteed income supplement, since we feel that the current amounts are clearly inadequate to allow our seniors to maintain an acceptable quality of life.

Your petitioners are also asking that low income individuals not be subjected to a diminution of the supplement already granted when they take money from an RRSP, a RRSF or when they get another temporary cash inflow.

Lastly, they are asking Parliament to take the necessary measures to adequately inform seniors, so that they do not lose the amounts to which they are entitled and to make eligibility rules more flexible by reducing penalties for all those who were not informed of their rights”.

This petition was signed by 2,800 people from municipalities located in the riding of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, namely Brownsburg-Chatham, Lachute, Saint-André d'Argenteuil, Wentworth-Nord,Lakefield, Gore, Harrington, Saint-Placide, Mirabel, Morin-Heights, Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard, Grenville, Boileau, Lac-des-Plages, Lac-Simon, Duhamel, Saint-Eustache, and from municipalities located in—

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, but the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis has the floor.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.

The first petition is from people in my riding stating that there is a loophole in the Income Tax Act which allows businesses in Canada to deduct from business income for tax purposes the fines and penalties imposed on them for breaking laws and regulations intended to protect the public interest, such as environmental laws, consumer protection laws, workplace safety laws, et cetera.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition to present on behalf of the people of my riding.

The petitioners pray that Parliament pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.