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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge Ontario

Liberal

Dan McTeague LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am familiar with this situation. The member for Brome—Missisquoi is constantly working on this matter. It is essential to remember that this situation needs to be dealt with in stages.

There are two levels of government in Vermont. We will take action when the time is right—at a particular time, when everything is in place—and we will evaluate the situation with regard to pure, clean water.

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems that the member has answered the wrong question. I am talking about the expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway, since three of the five options in the study conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers propose dredging the St. Lawrence Seaway, with all the serious environmental problems this will cause.

How can the Prime Minister explain his decision not to address this issue with President Bush, unless he has already made up his mind but does not want Quebec to know before the election?

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have responded to the hon. member previously in the House. The joint study that is going on with respect to Canada and the United States will in fact assess the ongoing maintenance needs required to sustain the seaway infrastructure. I emphasize that the study will not consider major infrastructure modifications, such as the expansion of the seaway.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the important issues to be addressed by the Canadian Prime Minister in his meetings with President Bush is the softwood lumber dispute, on which the NAFTA ruling has just been released. The U.S. has three weeks to lift the countervailing duties and antidumping tariffs it imposed on Quebec and Canadian lumber.

Does the Prime Minister intend to demand that President Bush cease his delaying tactics so that we may immediately resume total free trade in this area?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Liberal

John Harvard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the hon. member has asked this question because it is a good day in the softwood lumber dispute.

The NAFTA panel, on the alleged threat of injury to the U.S. softwood lumber industry, released its decision today. It is good news for Canada and it is a total victory for Canada.

We said all along that the U.S. was wrong. Our industry does not threaten injury to the U.S. industry. We have said all along that we have free trade in softwood. The decision today supports our position. We hope the U.S. respects the decision.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, outside of this self-congratulation, can the government assure us that the Prime Minister will not be tempted by electoral concerns to negotiate a cut-rate agreement with the United States and will demand full reimbursement of all sums wrongly collected from Quebec and Canadian softwood lumber producers?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Liberal

John Harvard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my first response, we hope the United States will respect this decision. This is an important decision. In fact it is an important decision to both countries.

Yes, the Prime Minister is in Washington today. The Minister of International Trade is in Washington today. On the agenda is softwood lumber. I assure the member that they will continue with their best work in the interest and support of free trade in softwood lumber.

National SecurityOral Question Period

April 29th, 2004 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are serious problems with the government's plan to spend $10 million to add a facial recognition biometric to Canadian passports.

Bruce Schneier, one of the world's foremost security experts states, “A system like this is clearly not worth it. It costs too much, is much too intrusive, and provides minimal security in return”.

Why are the Liberals throwing millions of dollars into a system that expert opinion says is not worth it?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies Québec

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Emergency Preparedness)

Mr. Speaker, I must point out that the government has announced this policy because it is in keeping with the most recently set standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization. We are therefore basing our decision on major studies that have been carried out on the international level. If we are moving toward biometrics, this is because it is what we find to be the most advanced and the most effective on the international level.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, actually the organization did not say that Canadians should do this. It just said that if we are going to do it, facial recognition is the least intrusive. But it does not work.

Canadian expert Dr. Ann Cavoukian says that, “$10 million is not enough for a biometric system of any sort, particularly facial biometrics. You will get nothing for that money and certainly couldn't implement such a system for that amount”.

The Liberals have a sadly tarnished track record of lowballing cost projections. Is this just the start of another Liberal boondoggle?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies Québec

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Emergency Preparedness)

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the hon. member of the opposition to take time to read “Securing an Open Society: Canada's National Security Policy” in its entirety. This is a series of measures, an integrated overall action plan, one measure among many. It is a plan that will evolve over time. It reflects the best of what is available as far as international standards are concerned at this time.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have heard Liberal promises before. At one point the government promised that the gun registry would only cost $85 million. Today the cost has spiraled to more than $1.4 billion, perhaps as much as $2 billion.

Now we learn that the government is promising facial biometric information on passports for a bargain, a mere $10 million. This involved a much more complicated technology than a simple gun registry database.

Why are the Liberals deliberately misleading Canadians on this $10 million database?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Mississauga East Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri LiberalAssociate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Civil Preparedness)

Mr. Speaker, the government recognizes the challenges associated with the gun registry. As I mentioned at the outset, we are analyzing the challenges that the gun registry poses. I can assure the hon. member that once our recommendations are finalized, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

With respect to the passport issue, my hon. colleague has--

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for South Shore.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is no upside to an invasion of privacy to Canadian citizens. Liberals want us to believe that Canada's new national security policy will cost $700 million. Again, the federal gun registry cost twice as much and has delivered nothing. For the price of the gun registry, we could already have two national security policies.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister believe that all of Canada's security problems can be solved for half the cost of the gun registry, or was the gun registry money simply wasted?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, once again the hon. gentleman is way off base. The Deputy Prime Minister, in releasing the security policy earlier this week, indicated that the government was taking a number of steps forward in advancing the safety and security of Canadians. We have provided the funding for that in the order of $700 million.

I am very pleased to note that most of the experts in this field, apart from those who would like to be experts in the opposition, have said that indeed this policy is directly on track.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. In February 2003, the Standing Committee on Official Languages asked the government to order the CRTC to require cable companies to broadcast audio and video signals of the parliamentary debates in both official languages. In August 2003, the Government of Canada accepted this recommendation.

When will the Government of Canada require cable companies to provide CPAC, the parliamentary channel, in both official languages?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his sustained interest in linguistic duality, which is also an important issue for the Government of Canada.

When I appeared before the Standing Committee on Official Languages, I promised to follow up on the recommendation regarding the availability of CPAC. I can assure the chair of the committee that the administrative process has begun and that the government will issue the order as soon as possible.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, after the horrors at Hollinger and the nightmare at Nortel, it is clear that the Liberal idea of voluntary compliance to ethical guidelines will not protect the pension investments of Canadians or the integrity of our equity marketplace.

Why does the government consistently refuse to address glaring weaknesses in our Canadian security regulations? Where is Canada's Sarbanes-Oxley act? Why are the Liberals so reluctant to put meaningful controls in place so that we can trust the financial statements where our pension plans are invested?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, obviously this matter is one of serious concern to Canadians. I will not comment on the difficulties or travails of one particular company. However, I would note that over the course of the last couple of years, among the Government of Canada, the provinces, the securities commissions and the stock exchanges, a broad variety of initiatives have in fact been put in place in terms of better accounting, better auditing practices, overall governance and surveillance practices and greater transparency.

The Government of Canada, with all of its partners, is indeed moving forward on this file in the interests of Canadians.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, after seeing the health minister explode the Liberals' favourite wedge issue yesterday, it becomes clearer and clearer that the Liberals and the Conservatives are one and the same when it comes to privatized health care, despite how the minister tries to wiggle out of his position.

However, there is salvation for the Liberals if they want it. They could choose and decide to change the Canada Health Act to prohibit public money financing for private, for profit health services like hospitals, as was suggested by the NDP in 2000. If they are so different from the Conservatives, will the government pass such a change before the election is called?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, the government believes in all five principles of the Canada Health Act. They have served Canadians well. It is extraordinarily important that we move on all the recommendations of the Roy Romanow commission. We are looking at all these things in order to ensure Canadians publicly administered, publicly funded, publicly delivered health care. We believe in this and we will make sure it happens.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, Taiwan is one of the most vibrant democracies to emerge from the 20th century and it has a very strong record on human rights, and yet most Canadians would be surprised to learn that the Prime Minister and the Liberals banned elected officials from Taiwan from coming into Canada.

When will the Prime Minister move into the 21st century and abandon this insulting policy of slamming the door in the faces of our Taiwanese friends?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge Ontario

Liberal

Dan McTeague LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is very capable of delivering on hyperbole but this government has no intention of insulting anyone. It is clear to us that there are some very controversial issues to deal with and we will deal with them as a dignified and respected nation. However it is clear that the hon. member has more interest in trying to make headlines than in dealing with the facts.

We will govern accordingly.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, just as one example, Ms. Annette Lu, the duly elected vice-president of Taiwan, a Harvard graduate, a renowned speaker on human rights and gender equity, has been refused permission. She is not allowed. The Prime Minister said that she could not come into our country.

I will ask the question again. When will the government and the Prime Minister abandon this outdated foreign policy issue and allow our Taiwanese friends to come into Canada? The Prime Minister finally worked up his courage and got behind a bunch of other nations and allowed the Dalai Lama into Canada. Why will he not allow people like Ms. Annette Lu, the vice-president of Taiwan, into Canada?