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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is very interesting but that is not what Canadians are saying.

One week ago the Liberals tabled another budget that neglects the needs of the Canadian Forces. On Tuesday the Auditor General blew the whistle on just how ill-prepared our country was to defend our own borders. Today we learn the Liberal government has strangled the military to the point where the navy must now consider cancelling the few coastal patrols remaining.

Why has the Minister of Defence failed so miserably to convince the Prime Minister to keep his promise to adequately fund our military?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I was hoping the hon. member would ask this question. Over the course of the last year, if the hon. member would refer to the main estimates, we have seen the defence budget rise from 2003-04 to 2004-05 by over $1 billion. As well, in the most recent budget there was an additional $300 million for our overseas commitments plus $1.3 billion in connection with acquiring a new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft.

The government has done a considerable amount in terms of re-equipping the Canadian forces.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is a $635 million shortfall. That is the gap between what the Liberals allotted the army, navy and air force in last week's budget and what they need just to maintain existing operations.

Has the government learned nothing from 9/11 and Madrid? At a time when we are supposed to be at war with terrorists, why are the Liberals denying our troops adequate bare essentials like ammunition and training?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's assertions are absolutely preposterous. Let me talk about anti-terrorism. We have in Canada one of the best anti-terrorist units in the world in terms of the JTF2. We have an immediate response capability in terms of the DART. We have immediate reaction units, four of them, across the country. In addition to that, we have a nuclear biological response company that is, again, one of the best in the world and one of the most well equipped.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec proposed setting up a comprehensive parental leave system. The federal government refused, and the case was brought before the courts, which decided in favour of Quebec; Ottawa decided to appeal the judgment. The Prime Minister told us he was going to negotiate with Quebec and reach a settlement.

Consequently, can he promise to reach a settlement before the election is called?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have discussed this subject with my Quebec provincial counterpart. We continue to agree on the fact that our representatives should sit down together to discuss problems, seek solutions, and present an action plan to the federal and provincial ministers. We are still agreed. The Quebec minister is pleased with the situation. He sees the federal and provincial—

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, one judgment is still to come. We want to know if the federal government can make the commitment that, regardless of what the upcoming judgment says, any future agreements concerning parental leave will include the right to opt out with full compensation so that, in the future, the federal government cannot take advantage of these to tell Quebec what to do in its own areas of jurisdiction.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am not in the habit of negotiating in the House. I have just said that the Quebec minister remained in agreement with the action plan we have established. Therefore, we will let the two groups of representatives do their work.

I am ready to build, unlike the Bloc who want to tear apart and destroy.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, if a person enters this country by air, that person goes through rigorous screening. If a person comes by road, that person is checked from bumper to bumper. However, if a person owns anything from a washtub to a CSL steamship, that person can enter almost anywhere and nobody knows the person is there unless he or she calls ahead for reservations.

When will the Prime Minister take marine security seriously?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we take security very seriously. In the last budget $605 million allocated. Marine security is part of that security envelope, and Canada will meet the international requirements set for July 1. Why? Because it is important to our trade and it is important to the security and safety of Canadians.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I remind him that the former finance minister eliminated the ports police in 1995. I am surprised he did not tell me they bought submarines to guarantee our security.

The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has expressed grave concerns that marine security, whether it relates to the protection of our resources or our people, is sadly lacking. Why has the Prime Minister neglected to properly fund the Coast Guard so it can do what its name suggests?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, last year the Canadian Coast Guard received a permanent increase for capital budgets of $47 million. Safety and service to mariners of Canadian waters is the mandate of the Canadian Coast Guard, and it will not be compromised.

Pay EquityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. At the CBC, employees working in the same position receive different salaries based on their sex.

Is the CBC subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees pay equity?

Pay EquityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine for her question on this important issue.

As a crown corporation, the CBC must comply with the principles of pay equity as set out in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The CBC is responsible for the management of its operations, including human resources.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

April 1st, 2004 / 2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, over seven months ago, the government cancelled the $1 billion contract with Royal LePage. That relocation contract was one of the biggest contracts ever awarded. Today, despite the fact the government cancelled that contract, its friends over at Royal LePage are still getting paid. Again, it seems to be who one knows in the PMO.

Why is the company still getting paid seven months after the contract was cancelled?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this question has been answered once before. As people know, there has been a review of this, and the public works department will be issuing more information shortly.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps proving that Canadians simply cannot trust him. He said that he cancelled this contract seven months ago because it was not tendered properly, but here we are seven months later and Royal LePage keeps getting paid.

Does the Prime Minister honestly expect Canadians to believe that he has cancelled the contract when the company he gave the contract to is still getting paid?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, a complaint was filed to the CITT. There has been a re-tendering of the process. The public works department is presently evaluating it, and more information will be out shortly.

Quebec City AirportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the employees of the Quebec City airport have been without a collective agreement since November 2000 and have been on strike since February 9, 2003. The union is prepared to go to arbitration on five points that have resulted in the impasse, but the employer agrees to submit only one point to arbitration.

On March 17, the Prime Minister met the employees and promised he would intervene to resolve the problem. Can the Prime Minister tell us what he has done to date and what he intends to do to help resolve this conflict at the Quebec City airport?

Quebec City AirportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour and Minister responsible for Homelessness

Mr. Speaker, we want to resolve this dispute at the Quebec City airport. The mediators are keeping in contact with the parties, and they are prepared to provide them with mediation services.

Emergency PreparednessOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Senate report, “National Emergencies: Canada's Fragile Front Lines”, characterized our most important border crossing, Windsor and Essex county, as being left in an unacceptable position, left to fend for itself in the event of a national emergency or terrorism threat.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister explain what measures are in place or anticipated to help emergency coordinators respond to such threats and how they are to obtain a federal response in the case that one is needed?

Emergency PreparednessOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, my department is implementing programs and initiatives to enhance the preparedness and response capabilities of first responders all across our country.

These capabilities include the development and delivery of a four level CBRN training program; the development and delivery of a national urban search and rescue program; and the provision of ongoing funding to augment the capacity of provinces and first responders under the joint emergency preparedness program.

At the end of the day, what is important is the creation of a seamless emergency preparedness response in this country and--

Emergency PreparednessOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saskatoon—Humboldt.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is April Fool's Day and the Liberals have played another cruel joke on public servants by imposing a stricter bilingualism hiring and promotion scheme, but the biggest April fool is the language commissioner. She is using her bilingualism storm troopers to harass small business owners and is demanding that federal workers speak less English.

The government should fire Ms. Adam and shut down her overzealous mob of language cops. Why are the Liberals refusing to end her bigoted anti-English crusade?