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House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nation.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

In fact, Mr. Speaker, we are moving forward on this issue. As the hon. member said, the Prime Minister had a direct talk with the President. We were very pleased with the response of the President of the United States, who said very clearly that he wants these borders open and he wants them open now. He also said very clearly that he wants his decision, or the decision of his government, to be based on science, and that is exactly what we want.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the facts are that due to a lack of direction from this Prime Minister, the beef industry is struggling to deal with wildly changing markets, and also, Canadians working to stay viable are competing for Canadian feeder cattle, not only against other Canadians but also against U.S. producers who are flush with cash. They are in Canada buying our cattle.

Now this government is pitting one sector of the industry against another at a critical time in the process. How does this government expect the latest strategy of confrontation with the packing industry to help get the border open?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the hon. member is talking about. In fact, it is colleagues on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food who have asked the industry for some information, on which they are meeting this afternoon. This is not the position of the Government of Canada. This is the position of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. The hon. member may want to put that question to them.

The Government of Canada has worked very closely with all aspects of the industry, including the cattlemen, including the packers, and including the provinces, to make sure we have a unified voice on that. That voice is telling--

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Oak Ridges.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 17, the military junta in Burma will hold talks concerning the establishment of a new constitution in which some members of the National League for Democracy, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, most likely will participate. Since annulling her election in 1990, the military has abused human rights, political detentions have occurred, and torture has been rampant.

Since Canada maintains diplomatic relations with Burma, could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us in terms of engagement what useful messages we are sending to indicate our support for the process that must lead to fair and transparent elections?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Oak Ridges for his interest in this extremely important issue. We totally agree with the member for Oak Ridges that this new convention, to be effective, must be transparent and inclusive. All parties have to be able to participate and delegates have to be free to participate in political discussion.

We use our representation in Burma, together with our international presence in the Human Rights Commission, in the United Nations General Assembly and in meetings like the ASEAN Regional Forum, to put pressure on Burma and to bring democracy to Burma. We are confident this time that we are moving in the right direction. We will help, with our international partners, to keep this pressure on the Burmese government to do that.

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today we learned the Liberals wasted $50,000 trying to name the throne speech, but ended up not choosing a name. That is $50,000 more than was put into health care base funding. Of course they could not come up with a name: it was a say-nothing Liberal throne speech with as much as substance as we have come to expect from the Prime Minister.

After wasting millions of dollars on their friends in the sponsorship scandal, how can the finance minister justify wasting thousands of dollars on trying to find a name for a say-nothing Liberal throne speech?

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I just cannot believe it. We have $665 million on the public health front, the biggest and strongest investment ever made on the public health front, $2 billion further to the $34.8 billion, in new dollars, on top of what we are already investing on health, and the opposition dares to say that these are not serious dollars in favour of our public health care system?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the defence minister. This government is leading this country down a very dangerous path with its ongoing discussions with the United States on national missile defence.

Regardless of that, the three territorial leaders of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut wish to represent their constituents and ask to be at the table of any talks with the United States with regard to national missile defence. Will the government now announce today that the three territorial leaders will have the opportunity to represent their constituents in any talks regarding national missile defence?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is important to keep in mind that we are still in the process of discussions with the United States at this point. We are interested in the views of the territorial and aboriginal leaders in that respect. However, I think it is also important to keep in mind that we are continuing with these discussions, which we have indicated we hope to conclude by the end of this year.

Having said that, let me say that I am always pleased to go up north and talk to our territorial and aboriginal leaders about defence issues. In the meantime, I am prepared to have our--

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for St. John's West.

FisheriesOral Question Period

May 10th, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, during the past 10 years, 300 citations have been issued to foreign vessels that have been in violation of the NAFO regulations on the Grand Banks. These vessels had to be dealt with by the offending country, and over 90% were not dealt with at all. What made the citations issued by DFO last week so different from the others and what special results have we seen from the offending countries?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear this afternoon that in fact the Portuguese government has hauled the ship, the Brites , back to port in light of the clear evidence in St. John's. Canada is prepared to provide physical evidence of illegal fishing to the EU and we expect Portugal to throw the book at these bad actors.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we have vessels out there fishing that have had two, three and four citations issued against them, and no action has been taken by the offending countries. A net retrieved from the bottom from one of the boats, apparently cut loose, showed it had 64% illegal species. Can the minister guarantee that action will be taken against the captain, and the boat, and the owners?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the government's efforts to stop illegal fishing on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks have resulted in nine boardings in the last week. More important, this pressure from our Coast Guard and navy has driven the foreign fleet into deep water where they cannot fish moratoria species. Officials informed me today that last week where there were 14 Portuguese vessels out there, this week there are only five.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have news for the minister. I think it will take more than warnings to stop this overfishing.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs has now had another weekend to find a way to support our veterans who wish to participate in the fast approaching 60th anniversary D-Day pilgrimage to Normandy, France, and I stress Normandy, not Norway. With only 27 days remaining until the actual anniversary date of June 6, what other “options”, as the parliamentary secretary stated on Friday, has the minister come up with for assisting our D-Day vets who wish to go to France? When can they expect to learn the details?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have prepared options for consideration by cabinet as quickly as possible. In the meantime, let me just say that this government has shown its respect and admiration for veterans not only by words but by actions. Within three months of assuming office, we committed funds to those subjected to chemical testing. Within five months of assuming office, with the enthusiastic support of veterans associations, we committed to the most fundamental reform of veterans programs since the second world war.

I challenge the opposition to find me a case in the last generation where a government has done so much for veterans in so little time.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is from the minister who does not know Vichy from Vimy. Sixty years ago the Government of Canada had no problem sending these men to France to fight for our country, yet today it continues to dither on whether or not to provide financial assistance for their return.

How can veterans expect to make their necessary plans for returning to France when they do not even know how much assistance the federal government is going to be providing or when? With H-hour fast approaching, when can these vets expect an answer? What is the minister waiting for? For time to run out?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government has the most profound respect and admiration for all of Canada's veterans. That is why, as I said in my earlier answer, we have demonstrated that profound respect and admiration not only by words but by actions unprecedented by governments of the last generation.

In terms of the specific issue, I will have an answer in a matter of days, as soon as possible.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Industry recommended the establishment of a petroleum monitoring agency. Even the oil companies bought the idea and said they would be prepared to live with such a monitoring agency.

In light of soaring gasoline prices, and considering that the committee, consumers and oil companies all want it, why is the government refusing to create a petroleum monitoring agency?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I said last week, three boards are already set up in Canada: in Newfoundland, P.E.I., and Quebec. As we speak today, the Competition Bureau is investigating and checking to see if there is any price fixing in the petroleum industry across the country. It has received complaints from consumers. Every time it receives a complaint, it does the protocol and checks.

I have agreed to talk to gas consumer agencies in each of the provinces, and I am having further meetings and discussions with the industry. There is no need to go any further than that.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the same thing. Even though we know an election will soon be called, why does the government not take advantage of our offer to cooperate and create a petroleum monitoring agency? We could go through all the stages in this House in less than 24 hours and the agency would be created. What is the government's problem with this? When—

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Industry.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, what is the Bloc's problem, that it is so worried about an election?

This government is governing as it should for the public good. The Competition Bureau has decided to conduct a close examination of the entire gas and oil market. We will let the Competition Bureau do its job and then we will see whether in fact the gasoline prices are a result of collusion in the marketplace, or reflect the international situation.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week the government hinted at the possibility of loosening the qualifying rules for employment insurance. Last week Liberal MPs insulted Canadians who struggle in seasonal jobs by calling their EI concerns an irritant.

The HRDC committee recommended changes to modify EI over three years ago, and the government has ignored them. In a show of last minute compassion, the government is now miraculously ready to open the purse strings.

Why would seasonal workers believe a cynical pre-election ploy to try to buy their votes?