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House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was witnesses.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, there is a decent compensation package for farmers. Since the crisis came to our attention, we have had the ability to sit down with farmers, farm groups, processors and the province to work together on this issue, frankly in a non-partisan way. We have sat down with the producers to ensure that the compensation package reflects the reality of the crises they are facing.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the talks have broken off with the farmers in the Fraser Valley and the government does not seem to be interested in restarting them. In fact when they first sat down with government officials, the farmers were told, for example, that a laying hen was worth between $20 and $30 and that was the sort of money they could expect once the compensation order was paid. Now they have been offered only a fraction of that, but what can they do? Their barns are empty. They cannot restock with more birds. They are prohibited from doing business, and they cannot get compensation from the government.

The farmers and the industry are doing their part to try to pull this together. Is it not time that the government came up with a comprehensive and comprehensible compensation plan?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I wish the hon. member would not stand in the House and say that talks with the farmers have broken off. That is absolutely not true. In fact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is constantly in contact with the farmers and different farm groups, along with the province, to work on this issue.

Clearly there was a way in which the first payments to farmers was put. It was done by a group that did our BSE compensation. We found some flaws in its work. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with the farm groups to work through the true costs of compensation.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Canadian Alliance Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, avian flu is not the only disaster. BSE's first birthday is here. Ranchers have been waiting for clear access to the United States markets. On April 19 the United States Department of Agriculture expanded our beef trade with the United States. On April 26, U.S. producer groups moved to restrict Canadian beef. The USDA went along with them and have cut back Canadian beef imports.

There was no science-based reason for this decision. There was no response from the Liberal government. Why has the government failed to defend producers in the latest U.S. trade action?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. The Government of Canada has worked very closely with producers, the provinces and all groups toward getting that border open. The Prime Minister has taken it to the highest level. He sat down with President Bush. Both have come to the conclusion that this is a North American situation, and one that needs to have cooperation and us working hard together.

The President of the United States responded by saying that he wants those borders open, and we believe that they should open now.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Canadian Alliance Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has failed farmers. When one lonely, renegade U.S. producer group headed to court to block Canadian beef imports, what was the government's response? Nothing. There was no legal intervention, no outcry, nothing.

Instead of defending our producers, the Prime Minister cowered out of sight, hoping that the U.S. government would protect the interests of our producers. That did not happen and Canadian producers are once again under the gun.

Why did the government put the fate of Canadian producers in the hands of the U.S. government?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, simply, it was a U.S. decision. It was not a decision made by a Canadian court. We have worked very closely and hard with the producers and their associations that are working to get this border open.

I would ask the hon. member to ask the Canadian Cattlemen's Association or any of the other groups whether they feel the Government of Canada has been 100% behind them. They will tell him that this has been the case and that they are very proud of the work done by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, and others have in fact to work toward getting the border open.

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that Canadian troops based in Afghanistan are turning over their prisoners to U.S. authorities. In light of the dreadful abuse suffered by Iraqi prisoners at the hands of the Americans in a Baghdad jail, there is cause for serious concern.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs give us the assurance that the prisoners captured by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and turned over to U.S. authorities have not suffered the same treatment as those in Baghdad?

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Forces take our obligations under international covenants, especially the Geneva convention, very seriously. In fact we do a significant amount of pre-deployment training in that regard and we have legal counsel as well in theatre to ensure that the rules of engagement and all of our responsibilities and obligations are fulfilled.

I can say without hesitation as well that there have been absolutely no instances, no reports of any abuses of prisoners that have gone through Canadian hands.

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, some of the prisoners turned over by the Canadians to the U.S. authorities may have ended up in Guantanamo. The fact is that detention conditions there are awful and violate the Geneva Convention.

Could the minister also give us the assurance that those prisoners who are transferred to U.S. authorities are being treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention? What guarantees can he get?

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this question is now nearly a year old. We know very well that the Red Cross and other authorities have looked into what is going on in Guantanamo. Assurances have been given by the U.S. authorities that prisoners are being treated in accordance with international standards.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, there have been some major developments in the agriculture trade negotiations which are breathing some new life into the Doha round. The European Union has signalled it is willing to eliminate its export agricultural subsidies. The U.S. has responded by showing flexibility in its export programs.

I would like to ask the minister, what is the Liberal government doing to get the Doha round back on track?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, presently the Minister of International Trade is over in Paris meeting with his counterparts to talk about the importance of the Canadian position. There are a number of issues within this trade round that are of concern to Canadian farmers, for instance, supply management. There is no question that the government is 100% behind Canadian supply managed farmers. I wonder whether or not the hon. member can actually say his party is.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Trade might be in Paris but he is not meeting with the EU, the U.S., Brazil, India and Australia that are meeting to try to get the Doha round back on track. Canadian inflexibility at the negotiating table has meant we have not been invited to these talks.

When is the Liberal government going to show the leadership required so that Canada is no longer excluded and left on the sidelines in the important negotiations on Doha?

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance spoke with them this morning.

The Government of Canada plays a very important role in these talks. We can join together countries in the G-8 with some of the developing countries. We can join them together and work with them in terms of putting forward a position which I think is very important to Canadian farmers and farm families.

I can assure the hon. member and all Canadians that the Government of Canada takes these talks very seriously. The Prime Minister has indicated that he wants to make sure that we put forward a very strong Canadian position on this issue.

Quebec City BridgeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Liberal Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec City bridge is part of Canada's national heritage. Under a tripartite agreement, the Canadian government, the Quebec government and Canadian National have committed to a major reconstruction project.

In 1997, they signed an agreement to rebuild the bridge. Now that there has been a significant cost over-run, I would like to hear the Minister of Transport tell this House what initiative he has taken to ensure that the parties to the agreement honour this commitment, given the cost over-run, particularly since Quebec City is celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2008.

Quebec City BridgeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in 1997 a $60 million contribution agreement was signed by CN, Transport Canada and Quebec's ministry of transportation. It included major restorations and the painting of a steel structure.

As the hon. member has said, CN is anticipating a funding shortfall and there will be delays in completing the project on time. CN has not approached Transport Canada for additional funding. Should a request for funding be received, the department would evaluate that request and determine at that time how to respond.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the Supreme Court ruled it would not hear the appeal of John Schneeberger enabling him to stay in Canada.

Now that Schneeberger has lost all of his appeals, can the immigration minister advise Canadians and Schneeberger's victims when he will be deported from Canada?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, I cannot discuss any particular case. I do want to reassure the hon. member that there are provisions under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to remove permanent residents who have committed acts of serious criminality. The border service agency takes its responsibility seriously under the act and will do that which is required to protect the safety of Canadians.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is not the answer most Canadians right across the country want.

I have been doing talk shows all day and Canadians right across the country want that guy out of here now. I would like and answer. When is he going to be on a plane out of this country? It is not before the courts; do not hide behind that.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

In fact, Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I cannot speak to any particular case in relation to a specific removal or potential removal of any individual. However, as I have said, it is absolutely clear under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that we have the power to remove permanent residents who have committed serious acts of criminality.

I can reassure the hon. member that the Canadian border service agency takes its responsibilities very seriously.

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Montreal there are 10 community economic development corporations, known as CEDCs, each of which plays a coordinating role in its community. These corporations are important actors in industrial, economic, community and social development. CEDCs are thus a part of the Quebec model, which favours local development. Since the Canada-CEDC agreement expired March 2003, federal funding has been renewed three months at a time.

What is the minister waiting for before financing the CEDCs of Montreal on a permanent basis, as the stakeholders of Montreal are calling for?

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 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, the CEDCs of Montreal are, of course, important partners in local economic development, particularly in Montreal's disadvantaged neighbourhoods. They have submitted their proposals to us. At present, they are engaged in negotiations with the officials in Economic Development Canada in order to reach an agreement. I hope that will happen soon.

AgricultureOral Question Period

May 13th, 2004 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is currently reviewing comments it received on a proposed rule that could allow live honeybee imports into Canada from the United States.

Could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food assure the House and all bee producers in Canada that foreign bee diseases and pests, along with Africanized bees, commonly known as killer bees, will not be permitted to enter Canada under this proposed rule?

AgricultureOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, in fact I can give the hon. member the assurance that it will not be happening.

Based on a risk assessment, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has indicated that it is willing to have queen bees imported from the United States. The hon. member should know that there are differences of opinion between provinces on this issue. The hon. member may be aware that the provinces, if they wish, may be able to ban these bees coming into the country.

There was a review process put out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. That date ended two days ago and it will be making a decision shortly.