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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gst.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

May 12th, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gilbert Barrette Liberal Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, following the recommendations of the Liberal task force, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development announced new measures for seasonal workers.

Can the minister confirm to this House that the five-week extension of employment insurance will take place under existing conditions?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is quite simple and straightforward; the answer is yes, provided people are in an economic zone with an unemployment rate of 10% or greater.

Electoral BoundariesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Federal Court made a ruling in which it reversed the decision of the Electoral Boundaries Commission for New Brunswick to transfer certain municipalities from the riding of Acadie—Bathurst to that of Miramichi. The Minister of Justice now has 12 months to recognize the decision of the court.

Can the minister make a commitment today to introduce a bill immediately—before the imminent election call—to implement the Federal Court ruling and ensure justice is done to the people of Acadie—Bathurst, who were overlooked by the commission?

Electoral BoundariesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I understand my colleague's question. The decision on the Raîche case was indeed made public yesterday. It is a good 40 pages long and merits close study.

Nevertheless, this decision raises questions that go far beyond simply establishing the electoral map for two electoral districts. It questions the very independence of the commission, which was established under the laws of our Parliament specifically to be separate from political interference. The hon. member's request for a bill would compromise the commission's independence. We must consider all this before we decide what to do.

Electoral ReformOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the right hon. Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister often speaks about a democratic deficit in this country. Yet, he has bypassed nominating conventions and appointed several of his own Liberal candidates.

I want to ask the Prime Minister, would he agree to amend the Canada Elections Act to make it mandatory that where there is a riding association, to be a candidate in a federal campaign a man or a woman must be nominated by his or her riding association? Would the Prime Minister agree to that? It is democratic. It is a step in the right direction. Most of us do it. Would he do it as well?

Electoral ReformOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in terms of those who will be running for the Liberal Party in the next election, overwhelmingly the vast majority have won in nomination battles and nomination fights.

It is true that the leader of the Liberal Party does have the right to nominate certain candidates and in a very small minority of cases he has done so.

I would like to point out to the hon. member the presence in Liberal ranks of Chris Axworthy, Ujjal Dosanjh, Dave Haggard, and a number of NDPers who have seen the light, who understand that in fact--

Electoral ReformOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fraser Valley.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the Fraser Valley the Canadian Food Inspection Agency rolled its equipment on to a local duck farm and killed 40,000 birds.

It killed them even though the flocks appeared healthy as all tests to date indicated they did not have the type of virus that is harmful to other poultry or to humans. It killed them in spite of the fact that if it had waited for 24 hours it would have had conclusive blood tests either way.

After three months of avian flu concerns in the valley, why does the CFIA not have a scientific, rules based protocol in place to deal with the specialty bird growers in the Fraser Valley?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does exactly that.

First, how we have worked in this situation is how we have worked in agriculture. We bring in the producers, the processors, and the provincial government. We work very closely with them to ensure that the actions we take are first and foremost in conformity with the best science that we know.

Second, we want to respect the farmers and their farming practices.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wish that were true. The minister will remember the last time the agency dealt with specialty birds. It killed thousands of pigeons and squab in the valley. Then a week later it came back and told the farmers that it was a mistake, that it should not have killed them, and that it was not a problem in the Fraser Valley at all.

The other problem is on the compensation front. The minister sent out cheques to many of the farmers in the valley. That is appreciated even though it does not cover all the costs. The problem now is that farmers have letters saying that the agency wants that money clawed back.

Will the minister assure us that the money will not be clawed back and that farmers will receive full compensation for the full costs of the value of their flocks in the Fraser Valley?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the Government of Canada is working very closely with the municipalities, the province, the producers and the processors to ensure that the approach we take is an approach that respects the right to farm and, in fact, respects the best science that we know.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working very hard. The CFIA has Canadians from all across Canada working for it who have come to the member's part of the country to help eradicate this disease. Our goal is to first and foremost eradicate this disease.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, fishermen in Atlantic Canada did not get “mucho bono” from previous fisheries ministers. Now they are looking at the present minister and saying, “not you too”, as they see fuel prices rise. They see insurance going sky high and they know they will be prosecuted for catching a single codfish even though foreigners can take home boatloads and nobody cares.

Will the minister finally admit that the NAFO is just not working and that it is time for Canada to manage its own destiny?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, perhaps my hon. colleague would like to hear what his own leader said about this very issue not long ago in Moncton, New Brunswick. He said:

I will endeavour to substantially reform the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization so that Canada's fish stocks would be better protected, and I would reserve the right to take unilateral action to protect them if these international arrangements fail

Clearly, his emphasis is on the NAFO.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. That is the process we thought might work for years. We have seen recently that it will not work.

I challenge the member to answer whether or not he will put in his red book that we will take custodial management over the nose and tail of the Grand Banks, because we will.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, because of our actions over the past 10 days, the foreign vessels on the Grand Banks have moved to deeper waters where they are not directing their efforts toward fishing species like cod that are under moratorium, or they have been called back to their home ports. That is being effective.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister wants members of Parliament to play a larger role, but he has brushed aside the proposal by the Standing Committee on Industry to create a petroleum monitoring agency, saying that it would be pointless. He prefers to have the Competition Bureau do another study. And that, even though the oil companies say they are in favour of the creation of the monitoring agency.

Will the Prime Minister recognize that giving an active role to MPs and listening to what they recommend in committee are also ways to reduce the democratic deficit?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I said to all hon. members in this House last Friday that I will talk to the pricing commissioners in Newfoundland and Labrador, in P.E.I. and in Quebec. I will also talk to the industry stakeholders out in western Canada. The Competition Bureau is doing an investigation because of complaints from consumers, based on no facts, just based on complaints from consumers.

When all of that is done, I will report back to the House on my discussions with each one of those organizations.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the moment, the government is standing idly by, watching the dizzying rise in the price of gasoline. The Competition Bureau, we know, is completely ineffective. Neither Parliament nor the government have the necessary tools to bring order to this sector.

While the members of the Standing Committee on Industry propose a mechanism for understanding what is going on in the petroleum sector, how can the Prime Minister claim that a petroleum monitoring agency is a useless concept?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, what is it the hon. member does not understand about economics? It is supply and demand. When there is a greater demand, up goes the price. If he needs a course on it, I will give him a full explanation after question period.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, two Saskatchewan law students responded to our Monday question about government jobs for students being restricted to residents with certain postal codes around Ottawa.

These students both applied to work in Ottawa under the federal student work experience program which claims fair and equal access. They were told in writing that “we try to place students from the capital region first”.

Why are students in Saskatchewan denied the same job opportunities as those in the national capital region?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, this issue was raised with me by the Minister of Finance some months ago. The president of the Public Service Commission has been informed. She is quite concerned about it. She has spoken to the staff person who responded to these students and is undertaking to contact them herself directly.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, we also spoke to the president of the Public Service Commission who could not fix this discrimination by postal code because the President of the Treasury Board refuses to release the funds to implement the plan.

The president of the Public Service Commission has a strategy and a plan; however, the Liberals seem determined to keep Canadians from working in their own capital.

Will the President of the Treasury Board now support the Public Service Commission's request and release funds to fix this inequality or will the Liberals continue to perpetuate this?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as is not uncommon, the hon. member is mixing two completely different issues. In fact, the president of the Public Service Commission came before the committee and indicated that it had indeed been given money to develop the prototype, that Treasury Board required certain conditions be met, and that it was working toward that.

She said that it was an estimate but at this point she had to add a big caveat because she thought that more detailed work was necessary in terms of how the prototype was going to be moved forward before returning and asking for more money.

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, since 2000, Canada has been affected by the introduction of three devastating imported forest pests, the emerald ash borer in southwestern Ontario, the Asian longhorned beetle in Ontario and the brown spruce longhorn beetle in Halifax.

As part of its aggressive control and eradication campaign, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has ordered many trees destroyed.

Will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food compensate tree owners for their losses?

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Essex, and the hon. members for Vaughan—King—Aurora, Etobicoke North, Chatham—Kent Essex and Lambton—Kent—Middlesex for all the support they have given me on this issue.

I would like to inform them and the House that the Government of Canada will be announcing today a $6.5 million compensation package to compensate farmers and families across Canada who have been impacted by the fact that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has had to cut down trees within their communities.