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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor West.

Border CrossingsOral Question Period

April 28th, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is again dragging its feet on the Windsor border negotiations. Both the province and the City of Windsor have already selected their representatives and are waiting, literally, at the table by themselves for the federal representative.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why the delay? We need action, not more obstacles. Why make other levels of government sit in frustration and the citizens sit without any type of solutions for their health at the expense of the Prime Minister being indecisive?

Border CrossingsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Border Transit)

Mr. Speaker, there has been great cooperation between the federal government, the province and the City of Windsor, as well as the County of Essex, since December. There is no question that when we sat on March 11, we tried to move forward on the agenda of ensuring that the needs of Windsor were met, along with the needs of Ontario and Canada.

In fact, we are working as rapidly as we can. We will have people at that table, with the province and the city.

Port SecurityOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government announced that it was re-establishing a national ports police force which it disbanded in 1998. Even though the Department of Transport lists 549 ports, this national system would apply to only three ports and give them first class security.

Why are the Liberals creating second class ports and second class security?

Port SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's announcement goes a long way in terms of meeting our security challenges and our security needs.

The member continues to question the security at ports. I can tell members that marine security is a very big part of the national security program that was announced yesterday. I will be announcing in the next number of days a program and an initiative that will speak directly to marine facilities and ports.

Port SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister thinks that terrorists and criminals cannot read and that they would not know that we only have three ports with first class security. Criminals and terrorists are going to home in on the ports that do not have security. The other ports are going to have ad hoc security, with commissionaires, local police, the RCMP, or some combination. It is not a good system. It is not going to satisfy anybody.

When is the government going to get serious and have a uniform enforcement system for every port in the country?

Port SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, July 1 is the date on which we are going to be meeting the international ship and port facility security code. It is an international code. In fact, what we have done is gone a step further. We have put in place a North American code which is in fact higher and more stringent than the international code.

As I said, in the coming days and weeks, we will put forward a program which will speak specifically to ports and port facilities to ensure that our ports can compete. In no way will we have a situation where our ports are seeing trade diverted to ports in the United States. We will meet that international standard, but we will do so on July 1.

Port SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the federal port police were axed by the government in 1998. Now it wants to bring them back but only in Vancouver, Halifax and Montreal.

On the west coast we have other deep sea ports, including Prince Rupert, Port Alberni and Nanaimo-Duke Point. There are dozens of other harbours that could be vulnerable.

When will the government commit to protecting all of our harbours and give our ports the resources they need to protect Canadian security?

Port SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned to the hon. member prior to this question, marine facility security is an important component of the national security policy that was announced yesterday. We will provide further details in the days to come on how my department will in fact move forward in the areas of port facilities.

We need to ensure, and we will ensure, that our ports are secure so that we can receive the kind of trade that we need to receive and do receive for trans-shipment into the United States.

This is a North American solution to security and it is one that will continue to improve over the years. Marine facility security is important and we will meet that requirement on July 1.

Port SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, years of neglect and yet here the government comes again at the last minute saying that it will provide the details some day.

Port security will be linked with the Coast Guard's Marine Communication and Traffic Services, but the government has been cutting Coast Guard services since 1995.

When the fisheries committee toured MCTS facilities, we found chronic underfunding, understaffing, rust out, failed transmitters, cancelled training programs and dedicated officers under great stress. Hundreds of kilometres of Canadian coastline are not even monitored by radar.

Does the government expect to reverse 10 years of systematic abuse and neglect with last minute pre-election announcements?

Port SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question but he ought to perhaps know that in fact last year the Coast Guard received a permanent increase of $47 million.

Safety and service to mariners in Canadian waters is the mandate of the Coast Guard and that mandate will not be compromised.

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, Deutsche Bank, which has come to the rescue of Air Canada, stated yesterday that the company should be subject to the same business conditions as its competitors. We know the airline is legally obligated to maintain its headquarters in Montreal.

Can the federal government guarantee that it will not amend legislation applicable to Air Canada and that this condition will continue to apply should a financial agreement be signed between Deutsche Bank and Air Canada?

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, certainly the Government of Canada is aware of the agreement in principle between Deutsche Bank and Air Canada. We are encouraged by this private sector development.

I think we should also be very clear, in response to the hon. member's question, that we continue to expect Air Canada to meet all of its obligations under the Air Canada Public Participation Act and any other applicable legislation.

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question I am asking the minister was whether the headquarters will remain in Montreal. That is my question and I am waiting for an answer. This legal obligation is set out in the legislation.

Can the minister confirm that Air Canada's headquarters will remain in Montreal?

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, obviously, from the supplementary question, it is very clear that the hon. member does not know what is in the act. It is clearly in the act that the headquarters would be in Montreal.

I have just finished saying that I would expect Air Canada to respect the Air Canada Public Participation Act. The requirements are in the act and I am saying in the House that Air Canada will respect that act.

Student LoansOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week Statistics Canada released figures that show that the average Canadian student debt has nearly doubled in the past decade under the government. Figures show that today's graduates owe $20,000.

Now we hear from Judy Dyck, president of the Canadian Association of Financial Administrators, that the student loan system has deteriorated badly under the government, that it is a bureaucratic maze and that it is ruining credit ratings.

Will the Prime Minister admit that in reality all he has done on this file is increase our students' capacity to go deeper into debt?

Student LoansOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, try as he might, the hon. member is looking for a way to put a bad twist on a very positive issue.

The Government of Canada has already moved in the direction of making accessibility to university much more immediate for everyone. It has made it easier to get loans and made it easier to pay them off. It has reduced the rate of interest so that they are easier to pay off in the end.

In fact, we find that some 75% to 80% of all students have no difficulty paying off the loan. The reason for that is that they consider the loan an investment.

Student LoansOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad the government did not consider making an investment in post-secondary education.

The fact is that the minister fails to understand that too many Canadian graduates cannot afford a car for 10 years after they graduate. They cannot save for a home. They cannot afford any extras at all. If they live in a rural or isolated community, the barriers to education are that much higher and the debt is that much bigger.

The fact is that all the government has done is raise loan limits.

I would ask the minister to admit that all the government has done is make a big debt hole that much bigger.

Student LoansOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is just flatly wrong. The Government of Canada has created the Canada education savings grant, the Canada student bond and first year grants for tuition.

We have also improved the Canada student loans program and relieved the debt provisions at the end of the program. In this budget alone we have made an investment of $400 million a year every year, going forward forever, and we will continue to increase that investment.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. At this time of year everybody is concerned about filing their income tax returns.

Currently, on the death of an RRSP annuitant all capital gains are recognized to the date of death. Any gains from death to distribution are gains of the beneficiaries. However there is no provision to deduct capital losses.

Why is the government only interested in taxing capital gains but does not allow capital losses?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the hon. member's considerable interest and expertise in this field.

The current RRSP rules may indeed not always deal appropriately with situations in which losses arise within an RRSP. I have asked my department to consider possible changes to improve the rules in this regard. I take his question as a further representation on this point.

International AidOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have noted that CIDA's aid policy has proven to be ineffective. The Liberal government has been giving out our tax dollars to over 100 countries.

An Environics Research Group report entitled, “Canadian Attitudes Toward Development Assistance”, states that eight in ten Canadians agree that much of the aid given to poor countries never gets to the people who need it the most.

When will the government bring an end to political interference in CIDA to ensure effective aid delivery?

International AidOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I am at a loss in determining what the hon. member is asking with regard to political influence in the aid development programs of Canada.

We have an excellent reputation. Just recently we were moved to the position of six out of eighteen by an international body assessing our aid development effectiveness.

I would be more than pleased to share that study with him and perhaps it will assist him to better understand.

International AidOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, CIDA is a bureaucratically laden and secretive agency.

The report also revealed that a majority of Canadians do not consider themselves informed about Canada's aid programs for poor countries. This is disgraceful.

Could the minister explain to Canadians why CIDA is not communicating how it spends taxpayer dollars on its aid program?

International AidOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I am still working through his question but I think I can help in sharing the outcome of the polls that have been taken.

In every poll that has been taken, 80% of Canadians have responded that they highly approve of Canada giving aid to the world's poor and helping us reach development goals. I might add that similar polls ask that we be sure that we are achieving aid effectiveness. We developed an excellent policy just a year ago.

My colleague can be assured that we are reaching the goals set out within that policy.