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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, there have been a series of proposals put forward by members of both sides of the House on how to address some of the anomalies in the employment insurance system.

There have been a series of worthwhile measures that have been put forward. I have indicated that I would take them into serious consideration as we review the EI Act.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the measure has been recommended by two all-party House of Commons standing committees plus the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the CFIB, the Hotel Association of Canada, the Canadian Tourism Commission, and the Retail Council of Canada.

This is not new. This is since 2001-02. The benefits are many and the unfairness to low income earners is obvious.

Why does the government continue to use low income earners and students for a tax grab?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we could have an intelligent discussion about the merits of the system, but we certainly cannot have it if we are going to play games with the way that people are contributing to a system.

May I remind the member that through the measures in the employment insurance system we have witnessed a situation, a set of circumstances, that has seen the unemployment rate drop down to 7.3%. Last month, for example, we saw an increase of an additional 50,000 brand new jobs created. We have the highest participation rate in the OECD countries and our unemployment rate has gone down.

AfghanistanOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in referring to the Red Cross, said that prisoners held in Guantanamo were being treated properly. Today we have a scathing new ICRC report on the conditions of their detention in Guantanamo.

How could the minister be so confident about the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo, when the ICRC report confirms the exact opposite?

AfghanistanOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the reports of the Red Cross are always conveyed directly to the government responsible. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has repeated what has been said before in the House. We are satisfied that the Americans are treating all prisoners there in compliance with the Geneva conventions. We have conveyed our views in the past. We have received assurances, which we accept, that those conventions are being applied in a transparent manner.

AfghanistanOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not all. The situation is also being denounced by Human Rights Watch, which is calling for an investigation into the abuse committed against prisoners and the massacre of Afghan civilians by coalition forces, and particularly Canada's JTF2 Special Operations Forces unit.

How can the minister keep on making reassuring statements when organizations such as the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch are denouncing the plight of the prisoners and of the civilian population of Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, we take very seriously the comments that are conveyed internationally by both the Red Cross and by Human Rights Watch. At the same time, we are working very closely with our American allies in Afghanistan.

We are cognizant of the situation there. We have a meeting going on in Washington now among the G-8 foreign affairs ministers who are discussing abuses that occurred in Iraq and are conveying their concerns of the appalling nature. At the same time, we commend the most senior levels of the American administration for taking exactly the course of action they should in ensuring that justice will be brought to those who are responsible.

International AidOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's Taiwan and Tibet policy is driven by China. The Sri Lankan policy is driven by the interest to please the terrorist Tamil tiger group. Their HIV-AIDS initiative is driven by Bono. Obviously, the Liberal government's agenda is driven by outsiders.

Where is the made in Canada policy the Prime Minister talks about?

International AidOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for that question. Last week when he asked me one, I was confused. Today, I am perfectly clear.

Let me assure the House and the member that our response with $100 million to the 3 by 5 initiative at the World Health Organization was made in Canada and our response to double our commitment to the global fund for next year is made in Canada by the Prime Minister and the government. We have sent ripples throughout the world from my phone calls today to Britain and Geneva. They are getting the message we are leading.

International AidOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, it was funny that the announcement was made just before the election. On the eve of the election, we now see a Liberal spending orgy. However, these are old recycled policies. Even the Bono 2 road show is a recycled policy. Spend, spend and spend.

Where is the prudent financial management to which the Prime Minister claims to adhere?

International AidOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the hon. member that this is no a re-announcement and this is no recycling whatsoever.

In the budget CIDA was given an 8% increase in its overall budget and a commitment was made by the government, dedicated to international development, to continue that increase. There was no re-announcement. This is a clear leadership initiative on the part of the Canadian government with all new money.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Infrastructure. While I would like to commend the minister for working in partnership with the province of Ontario and the city of Toronto to provide $1 billion for the Toronto Transit Commission, my question is regarding the government's commitment to public transit throughout the greater Toronto area, Ontario and Canada.

Could the hon. minister please tell my constituents in York region, who are anxiously awaiting the construction of phase one of the York region transit plan, to others who are awaiting the GO Transit expansion and to those communities across Canada that support public transit--

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of State for Infrastructure.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, first, let me take this opportunity to thank the member for Thornhill for her service to country, both here and in Queen's Park.

Our government is proud of our commitment to funding infrastructure projects that support sustainable communities. That is why we are pleased to support transit projects. Last week, with our partners, we signed agreements for transit improvements worth over $1 billion for Go Transit, as well as another $150 million for rapid transit in the York region, and that work can begin right now.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, listen to the words of the Prime Minister in March:

No longer will the key to Ottawa be who do you know. We are going to condemn to history the practice and the politics of cronyism.

Good words, but let us look at the deeds. The Prime Minister appoints the member for Brampton Centre, special advisor on the Middle East, the member for Vancouver--Kingsway, special advisor on trade and the member for Charleswood St. James--Assiniboia, lieutenant governor of Manitoba.

Perhaps he had his fingers crossed behind his back when he made this promise. Could I ask the government--

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Speaker

We will have to continue with an answer. The hon. Minister of Finance.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it was not entirely clear what the question was going to be, so let me go back to the earlier point by the member who asked the former question about recycled things, things that were borrowed from outside of Canada, and so forth.

I would note that the proposal from his leader on the front page of the Globe and Mail this morning was drawn directly from the website of the United States of America.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, forget Burger King, the Prime Minister's office is the new home of the whopper in Canada. Listen to the Prime Minister's words,“The best proof of what I am going to do in the future is what I have done in the past”. I hope Canadians look at that record.

What has he done? He shut down the sponsorship inquiry, invoked closure after six days, brainless photo ops, attack ads, parachuted candidates, patronage appointments, pork barrel politics, no issues, lots of fluff and lots of hype.

Maybe Burger King is not worried. Where is the beef with the government?

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there is an old saying in politics that “when you cannot attack the policy, you attack the person”. The response to that was delivered in La Presse two days ago by André Pratte who said that the chaotic public accounts committee inquiry had not shown any credible indications that the political level was implicated. He went on to say that reputation tarnishing was a political tactic, but it was an immoral one.

TaxationOral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the Quebec government is not in a position to make its contribution to the infrastructure program, because it does not have enough money. This is more tangible proof of the tax imbalance.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to admit that he has too much money, while Quebec and the provinces have glaring needs? What is he waiting for to finally acknowledge and settle the issue of tax imbalance?

TaxationOral Question Period

Noon

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, we have had great success on both housing and infrastructure projects in the province of Quebec. In fact we have had more success in housing particularly in Quebec than any other part of the country. The province of Quebec has the money to participate in our programs and we are pleased to share in those investments.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. It has to do with the ineffectiveness of the justice department in enforcing legislation aimed at protecting migratory birds.

Despite clear evidence of a 116 kilometre-long oil slick found near the Teacam Sea ship, could the Minister of Justice explain why the department did not prosecute, given that the ship's engineer was not able to account for 15,000 litres of used oil captured by satellite imagery and Coast Guard surveillance?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

Noon

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Teacam Sea event which occurred in November 2002 was dealt with last year. The problem of course was using new technology, that is radar satellite technology, and the general reluctance of the courts to accept new technology without corroboration.

What we are doing now, however, is using the increased surveillance that is coming with the new security measures to improve surveillance, not just for fishing, but also for oil spills at sea on the east and the west coasts. In addition, we have before the House Bill C-34 which will change some of the penalties.

Equalization PaymentsOral Question Period

May 14th, 2004 / noon

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. The minister is constitutionally bound to provide proper equalization payments to the provinces. Saskatchewan has a low PDI and a low GDP and still receives the least in equalization transfers per capita.

In spite of the $120 million pay back, he still owes for excessive clawbacks on oil and gas revenues and other crown lease clawbacks, sometimes as high as two for one on the dollar.

When will he stop robbing us of our resources and failing to adequately fund health care and other services and when can I--

Equalization PaymentsOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.