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House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was services.

Topics

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

May 11th, 2004 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the price of gasoline has been going through the roof across the country. This morning the price of gas in Victoria was 95.9¢ a litre.

The Minister of the Environment is on public record, indicating that he believes motorists are not being charged enough for their gasoline. Could the minister tell his constituents in Victoria how much more they should expect to pay?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, all members opposite and all members in the House know and understand quite well what is happening to the world price of oil. Internationally and globally, the price per barrel of oil has escalated to almost $40 a barrel. That is being reflected at the pumps. There is nothing that he or I can do to stop the world price of oil. Consumer demand is growing worldwide.

We are concerned about it. We are checking into it to see if everything is being done according to the Competition Act. If there is anything wrong done, it will be corrected.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised the minister did not want to answer my question. A study that the Minister of the Environment commissioned speculated that the price of gasoline would have to double to change Canadian driving habits to meet the targets within Kyoto. This would produce increased revenue to the Canadian governments by over $33 billion a year.

Is it not a fact that his government's position is that we need higher gas prices to meet his Kyoto targets?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, every member of the House and every minister in the government is quite concerned about the price of oil, reflected at the pumps by gasoline, home heating fuel, all of it. We are very concerned about it. It is an international problem. The Competition Bureau is checking into it and if there is anything reflected in that investigation, it will be dealt with by the Competition Bureau.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I can get the environment minister to answer a question here. Almost half the cost of a litre of gasoline is taxation. Half that taxation comes to Ottawa. Virtually none of it goes back to municipalities at all.

What I want to know from the Minister of the Environment, the minister for Victoria, is this. Does he not believe that perhaps giving some of those gas tax dollars back to the city of Victoria might help it clean up the over 80 million litres a day of raw sewage pumping into the environment minister's own riding?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, indeed, sharing the fuel tax with municipalities will help them with a whole variety of local priorities and that is why this government invented that idea on the recommendation of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the cost of fuel goes up, it is not just consumers and drivers who are hit. It is also the air industry that is hit. Fourteen per cent of Air Canada's overall net costs is the cost of fuel and this government is doing nothing whatsoever about it. We have heard nothing from the Minister of Finance and nothing from the Minister of Transport at all.

Over 30,000 jobs are at stake with Air Canada and this government is completely silent. It is silent on excise fuel taxes and it is doing nothing about eliminating the air tax and nothing at all about landing fees.

Why does the government not have anything at all to say about helping the air industry by lowering fuel taxes so that more people will fly and the air industry will be safe and ready to go for the future?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in fact the air industry is safe. I do not understand why that member continues to portray that kind of message.

In fact, what is happening is that we have more competition in the air sector today than at any time before. We have Jetsgo, we have CanJet, we have WestJet, and we have Air Canada, which is going through a restructuring period, always a difficult time. I would refer the hon. member to the comments made by Judge Farley just recently, which called on all individuals involved in the Air Canada restructuring deal to get around the table, strike the deal and ensure that Air Canada comes out a strong and united company.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac, the provincial government is making significant changes to the way rural health care will be delivered. Can the minister assure my constituents that health care services in the rural communities will continue to meet the standards of availability and accessibility as guaranteed by Canada's Health Act and can he tell us whether this important issue of rural health care will be addressed at this summer's meetings with Canada's premiers?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is committed to working with the provinces and territories to identify ways we can best serve rural areas. Provinces have the primary responsibility for the organization and delivery of health care services to their residents. The Government of Canada confirmed its commitment to improving access to quality health care for all Canadians by increasing its support by $34.8 billion over five years.

In October 2003, Health Canada and the CIHR--

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Churchill.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Given that the Liberal strategy is to yet again try to pretend there is a big difference between its health care policy and the Conservatives' health care policy, I am sure the health minister can answer a very simple question. However, I predict he will not answer a very simple question, because the real difference is between what Liberals say and what they do, but let us see.

Does the health minister condemn the growth of private, for profit delivery of health care that we have seen since the Liberals took office in 1993, yes or no?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. If the opposition member has a difficulty seeing the difference between us and them, I will tell her that between the tax cutters, who pretend that while cutting taxes substantially they would be able to build a new health care system, and the mega-spenders, who live in the 1970s and want to have the health care of the 1970s, we Liberals have a way to build a plan which we will build with the provinces. It is a plan that Canadians will be able to trust because it will be between the tax cutters and the mega-spenders. It is a balanced approach.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, if I were a Liberal MP being told by the Earnscliffe boys to pretend there is a big difference between the Liberal health policy and the Conservative health policy, I would be a bit nervous with a Liberal health minister who has no opinion on the growth of private, for profit delivery over the last 10 years.

Let us try another simple question. In the 1997 red book, the Liberals promised a pharmacare plan, but seven years later we are still waiting. Can the health minister explain why the Liberals chose to spend $100 billion on tax cuts instead of keeping their promise to help Canadians with prescription drug coverage?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have been working on catastrophic drugs; it is in the health accord of 2003. This is a government that will continue to work with the provinces. We are working on the home care front. We want to do a better job on primary care with the provinces. We will be looking into doing more on the pharmacare side, as we already have done in the health accord of 2003.

Our health system is a work in progress. We believe it needs to be improved year after year to reflect the values and interests of Canadians and the evolution of our society.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the public safety minister's firearms office said it has no knowledge and no records of a mystery $150,000 firearms communications contract that is the subject of fraud charges against Chuck Guité and Jean Brault. The minister even said that this contract had nothing to do with the operation of the gun registry.

This does not pass the smell test. How is it possible that the minister who was responsible for the gun registry for so many years knows nothing about these mystery contracts?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I can be absolutely frank. I have no knowledge of the two contracts that were referred to yesterday in relation to charges laid by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

As I think the hon. member knows, charges have been laid. This matter is now before the courts. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the specific case other than to say I have no knowledge of the two contracts referred to in the charges.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it gets even worse. We have documents from the minister's own department which show that Groupaction was getting government firearms contracts after the Auditor General blew the whistle on the first $330,000 bogus contract.

For years, the minister has repeatedly said she was fully accountable and responsible for the firearms program. Why does she not finally accept some responsibility instead of claiming ignorance every time a new scandal in the gun registry is exposed?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, in May 2002 the Auditor General and the Government of Canada referred Groupaction files to the RCMP for investigation. In June of that year, public works stopped all contracting with any agency that had files referred to the RCMP. In August 2002, if the members opposite are at all interested in listening to the answer, we stopped all contracting with any company whose files had been sent to the RCMP, including Groupaction.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, a trip by the Governor General and 59 of her closest friends, $53 million; the ad scam, a national disgrace the Prime Minister is about to bury, $250 million; HRDC mismanagement, $1 billion; and a misguided and useless gun registry, over $1 billion. Sending Canadian D-Day veterans to the 60th anniversary of D-Day should be priceless, but it is obviously not to the government.

Sixty veterans out of a possible 18,000: How can the minister possibly justify this lack of consideration for our veterans?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the respect of the government for our veterans is deep and profound. In fact, when I think of those Canadians almost 60 years ago jumping out of ships onto a flaming beach or out of airplanes into enemy territory, the scale of the sacrifice, the degree of the risk they were called upon to take on behalf of their country is almost incomprehensible for people of my generation.

That is why this government in a short five months has done more for veterans than any government in a generation, and that is why we are working on the D-Day expedition right now.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

That is right, Mr. Speaker. They were all sent there to fight for their country, but they are not all getting the opportunity to go back there and be thankful for the fact that they did not die on those beaches.

It is all very well and good, but another day has gone by and now there are only 24 days left before the start of D-Day celebrations in Normandy. The minister, only after coming under severe pressure, has indicated that he is going to send more than the 60 he originally planned to send.

With the days quickly passing by and this government able to toss out billions of dollars in pre-election promises, why can the minister not simply tell us how many more veterans are going to D-Day celebrations? They were sent there to fight for this country 60 years ago. They have the right to go back and--

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, a few facts might be in order. It was over a year ago that our D-Day advisory committee, which is comprised of veterans organizations and D-Day veterans, recommended to the government that the appropriate size of the official delegation of veterans be 60. That is in line with past Canadian history. It is in accordance with the traditions of other countries. The Americans, with a much bigger size, have a contingent of 100, and the British have 80.

Yet the government is listening. The government realizes the public wants more, and the government is going to act very soon.

IraqOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, to everyone's surprise, the Prime Minister made a statement in Montreal to the effect that Saddam Hussein does have weapons of mass destruction and that they are now within the reach of terrorists.

Given that neither Hans Blix, President Bush, Tony Blair or the UN were able to provide any evidence of the existence of such weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has the Prime Minister, who seems to know, taken steps to share what he knows with other world leaders?