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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

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, we will not take lessons from this Liberal government, which runs ads saying that Canadians should not vote for people because of their faith. We will not take any lectures from this government on that.

The Liberals like to posture as environmentalists, but the fact is that the Liberal agenda on environmentalism is full of hogwash. The Liberals are ripping off Canadians, ripping off travellers, ripping off cities and ripping off provinces. Why will this government not admit that its real agenda on gasoline is to raise prices so fewer people can drive, so it can meet its Kyoto targets? It should just admit the facts--

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the preamble of the hon. member's question is as vile as it possibly could be. Let me say very plainly that faith or religion has no room in politics; the fact is that this government would never allow that. For the hon. member to raise that kind of an issue in this room is the ultimate in prejudice and bigotry and he ought to be ashamed of himself--

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. If hon. members could carry on some of their arguments on various points in the lobby, we might get on with question period in here. Members are going to be cheated out of their questions if we do not move forward more quickly. Then they will be deprived of the answers and we cannot have that. The hon. member for Medicine Hat, I know, will want to settle things down with his next question.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the environment minister must really be in his happy place these days. A 20¢ a litre jump in gas prices will bring in at least $600 million in new GST revenues every year. Besides that, low income Canadians in many cases will be forced right off the roads.

It is a Liberal dream come true, especially for the environment minister, but really it is a nightmare for Canadians. When will the Liberals admit that $1 a litre gas is really exactly what they want as part of their environmental vision for Canada?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a number of assertions, most of which are false, with respect to the connection between gasoline prices and the environment. May I point out to the hon. members opposite that the break-even price is about 40¢ per litre? Everything after that is profit for the oil companies headquartered in Calgary, and they are the people who are paying off the bills of the two leadership candidates sitting facing us. That is where the money goes. It has nothing to do with the environment.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, of course the environment minister is quick to point out how much money oil companies make, but he does not point out how heavily this government taxes them, and the government takes all that money, does it not?

A dollar a litre is just a step on the way to $1.40 a litre. We have the paper right here, if the environment minister wants to look at it, on his plan to raise the prices to $1.40 a litre. The environment minister has argued that if we do not raise gas taxes, we will have to raise income taxes. He has argued that we will have to cut hospitals. When he is going to stop the charade that--

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is time to set the record straight about the members opposite on gasoline prices. Let us look at when Bill C-23 and Bill C-249 came before the committee. Those members opposed the bills to amend the Competition Act and to look into the increase of gas prices each and every time they came before the committee, every time. Why? Because they know that the federal taxes have not increased on gasoline prices. The prices were put up by the oil companies and by the international world price of oil, their friends in Calgary.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

May 12th, 2004 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the member for Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-de-la-Madeleine—Pabok said he had not had everything. This member who signed the 17 unanimous recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and sits on the Liberal committee that looked at the perverse effects of the employment insurance program admitted that there was some quarrelling over the issue within cabinet.

Are we to understand from the member's remarks that the Liberals are quarrelling on the backs of the unemployed? Is that what we are to understand?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

What we should understand, Mr. Speaker, is that measures have been implemented that should remedy the problems identified by the Liberal task force, which has indicated that a number of measures were necessary to provide Canadians who find themselves without work with opportunities for brighter futures. We have taken action, and we have done so quickly. Is the hon. member opposite suggesting I not implement these measures?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, to settle their quarrelling, the Liberals took last minute measures, which have been widely criticized. This is the same kind of smoke and mirrors trick as in 2000. The government introduces transitional measures, saying that it will see later. With this government, later means never.

Does the minister understand that his first duty is to help people and that he can settle the quarrelling later?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our duty is to implement measures dealing with the problems we are seeing in the employment insurance system and to resolve these problems. We have done so. We are giving hope to our fellow citizens who find themselves without work. Through these measures, we are trying to give them the future we would like for all other Canadians. What I see are measures providing $280 million to the regions. That is good news.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has made commitments to the Sans-Chemise to solve the problem of seasonal work. But, far from being the answer to their hopes, the measures announced today are causing anger. They have been described variously as “insulting and clearly inadequate” and “thumbing their noses at workers”. The Sans-Chemise commented “They are just making fun of us”.

Can the Prime Minister tell us frankly whether these are the kind of reactions he expected to this empty shell? Is it not a negative move?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what is negative is the criticism just delivered by the member opposite. It does not, of course, take into account the $280 million to resolve the problems noted in employment insurance and to give people some hope. This is a duty—something unfamiliar to the Bloc, of course.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us be perfectly clear. People do not live in the regions on a temporary basis. That is where they want to live permanently. At the present time, the regions are being depopulated, and this phenomenon is certainly not going to be remedied with these half measures. It is not a privilege to live in the regions, it is a right.

Does the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development understand that the people in the regions are calling for more than transitional or temporary solutions? They are calling for a complete, and permanent, reform of the employment insurance system.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated on several occasions, I am waiting for the final report by the Liberal task force. I must emphasize that again. It has made some very positive recommendations, and I have acted immediately. I have also said that we are aware of the situation with the seasonal industries. A concrete solution must involve provincial authorities, the industries and the regional agencies.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal horror movie “Ad Scam” cost taxpayers a quarter of a billion dollars. The Prime Minister admits this over budget turkey had to have a political director, but Liberal censorship left the witness list on the cutting room floor.

The Prime Minister as former finance minister kept writing cheques to cover out of control production costs. Is his leading role not the real reason the committee inquiry was cut?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General recently said to the public accounts committee that she had never said that $100 million, let alone $250 million, had been stolen or misplaced. She said that there were inadequate contracts and paperwork for the transactions, and that all of the various processes that are in train will look into these matters.

For three months, for 40 witnesses, the public accounts committee, sometimes being stalled by the opposition, has been hearing witnesses. The time has come for an interim report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General said that $250 million was mismanaged and that was not a compliment. There was waste, mismanagement and corruption. That pretty much sums up the sponsorship program.

Canadians want to know, who gave the orders and where did the money really end up? Why did the Liberals shut down the committee before the truth could come out?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, nobody has shut down the committee. I am sure that the research staff on the public accounts committee could provide a definition for the word interim to the hon. member.

After hearing from former ministers of public works, from deputy ministers, and from political staff, the time has come to give some reporting to the Canadian public of what the committee has heard and what it makes of it to date.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, that reporting has been in the media every day, but yesterday's motion to shut down hearing other witnesses and to move into secret hearings, combined with the Prime Minister's apparent intention to shut down Parliament next week means that Canadians will lose their only window into the truth on the Liberal sponsorship scandal.

The Prime Minister promised that he would get to the bottom of this before going to the polls. I want to know, why is he breaking that promise? Why is he breaking his word?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and other members of the public accounts committee have had every opportunity to report to the Canadian public on what they have heard and how they have considered the evidence so far.

In the meantime, we have criminal investigations and we have had criminal charges. Those criminal proceedings are going forward. A special counsel has been appointed for the recovery of finances. That person is working hard and there should be lawsuits soon. We have every process in mind, including the public inquiry beginning in the fall. The Canadian public will have a full view of what has happened here.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is no chance the Canadian public will even have a partial view before this Prime Minister tries to call an election because he does not want Canadians to know the truth.

The issue is, why did the Prime Minister make a promise in February that he would leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the Liberal sponsorship corruption before going to the polls? Why are his Liberal hacks now shutting down the committee, moving it into secret, and allowing no more witnesses with 90 more to be heard, with the public inquiry not to start for months? Why did he break his word? Why did he break his promise? Why did he not tell the truth to Canadians?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I note that the chair of the public accounts committee has just entered the chamber. He said a couple of months ago that he would like to have a preliminary report soon based on the committee's work. That was in February.

Here we are three months later, 40 witnesses later, including former ministers and deputy ministers, and including political staff. Let us have a report for the public to find out what the public accounts committee has found.