This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to answer that question. As the member knows, when we came into power there was a significant deficit. The government has removed that deficit. This is once again another surplus budget. We are one of the only countries in the G-7 that has such a budget.

If the member would like this type of accountability, then he should be voting for the $3 billion in cuts that are in the budget. He should be voting for the $100 billion tax cut, the largest in Canadian history. If he is interested in fiscal prudence, he would be voting for those items.

We will continue to use the contingency reserve, which is one of things that has allowed us to remain in surplus. It has also allowed us to pay down the national debt, which the Conservative Party largely contributed to increasing. It could not get rid of the deficit.

If the member wants fiscal management, he should also be voting for $1 billion a year that we are taking from the 2003 budget through the planned extensive review of all our programs. We also have a new accountability put into place, with the reintroduction of the comptroller general. We are looking at the Financial Administration Act. We are looking at crown corporations.

If the member likes accountability, I would be delighted to hear the platform of the other side. I would like to hear some of their ideas, over and above our list. I can see they are itching to get up and ask me more questions.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Canadian Alliance Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, that last comment really does deserve a question.

I would like to ask the hon. member, how in the world can he suggest that we should be supporting this particular orientation of the Liberal government when in fact the Auditor General said that in certain programs, like the ad scam for instance, every rule in the book was broken?

One of the concepts that the Auditor General uses to evaluate management is the concept of probity. She defines probity as the adherence to the highest principles and ideals. One of the principles and ideals that ought to followed is to follow the rules.

The Auditor General has seven rules to be followed and I will not go through all of them. Another one is effectiveness. That is, the extent to which the outcome of an activity matched the objective or the intended effects of that activity.

On the one hand we have the government breaking the rules, and on the other hand the government wants effectiveness to ensure that the purposes of a particular program are met.

I want to ask the hon. member, is it a measure of effectiveness when Rolls Royce in the 2000 contract said that it would contribute to some 200 jobs and it actually produced only 100 jobs? In fact, is that an effective program?

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I definitely agree with the member. If a company suggests it will produce 200 jobs and it only produces 100 jobs, that is not good and that is not effective.

However, it is amazing that the Conservatives want to run on a platform of reducing these particular programs that we have, that lead Canada into the new century, into the high tech century.

There are countries in Europe, for instance, that fund Airbus. All the other nations of the world have export development financing and high tech financing. They support research and development in their countries. The Conservatives are going to put us back into the 19th century. Canada will be the only country that is a hewer of wood and drawer of water and will have none of the modern economy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that someone from the other side stands up and talks about all the things that are in the budget, and that we are going to promise this and promise that.

The government, at our insistence, established a committee of the House of Commons to study drugs. The committee cost about $500,000 over 18 months. We made 41 recommendations, none of which were acdepted. A national drug strategy does not even exist in this country. This was the first time since 1972 that we did it.

Today, ecstasy, crack, crystal meth, and heroin are all scourges on our society, with young people in particular. Not one red cent is in the budget about that.

About eight years ago an individual came into our country and recently I found out that the person has been on welfare since he has come into the country. He now owns three houses. How does a person own three houses when he is on welfare?

The reason is that crime and drugs are spreading rampantly throughout our country, and not one red cent is in this budget about drugs. Would the member stand up and justify that one for a change?

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the member for that issue. Basically, I support him. It was a very good question and a very good comment.

In my region of the country, we definitely have substance abuse. I will certainly support any initiatives from the member in that particular area. I hope he does not leave the impression with Canadians that we do not already have huge expenditures in that area. The budget outlines those new expenditures. We do have large expenditures in that area.

I will certainly support the member for any increase as he comes up with new plans. As members know, we are starting a public health agency. In fact, I will be involved in the consultation. I am helping to set this up for the day after tomorrow. These consultations are going across the country. If Canadians bring this issue up to the minister of state, we will continue to put money into that area.

We have set out on a social basis and an economic basis to improve the lives of Canadians. As their lives improve, they will not be falling back on a dependency on substances and there will be a great improvement in that respect.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is just rhetoric. What does he mean, he is going to go out and study it? We spent 18 months going across the country, through Europe and the United States, and the member has the gall to stand up in the House and say we are going to study it now and to submit suggestions. We had suggestions. We had 41 recommendations on how to deal with the drug problem in the country.

You should not look around for someone to help you. Get an answer. The problem--

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Order, please. Please address your comments through the Chair. The hon. member for Yukon has 30 seconds to respond.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I did not say we were going to study it again. What I said was that when we are doing the consultations across the country, we will get more support for financing in this area.

A dozen people on a committee is not 30 million Canadians. By getting this extra support across the country, as Canadians support what the member is saying and what I agree with, that will give us more impetus to increase even more the money we are putting into reducing substance abuse.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I speak today to Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 23, 2004.

As I said, the purpose of the bill is to implement provisions that quite often have created a true imbalance and perpetuated the fiscal imbalance in the provinces, including Quebec.

Furthermore, this budget implementation bill does not repair the social deficit created by the federal government, through the current Prime Minister, who was the finance minister at the time.

This budget is far from resolving the environmental imbalance as well. That is the least we could expect, given the considerable challenges and commitments the federal government must meet to implement the Kyoto protocol.

The biggest deficit is the fiscal imbalance. We are entitled to expect from a so-called new government that wants to establish partnerships and a better relationship with the provinces that it would first recognize the fiscal imbalance between the federal government and the provinces. This new government refuses not only to recognize the Quebec nation, but also this fiscal deficit that Quebeckers are suffering from the most.

It was all well and good for the government to announce in its March 23 budget $2 billion in funding for health, which corresponds to $472 million for Quebec, but in fact, this is not new money. This announcement had already been made by the previous government, the Chrétien government. This additional funding had already been included in the 2003-04 budget.

In the weeks to come I invite the public to stay tuned. Several months ago the government announced a $2 billion investment for health and repeated this announcement on March 23.

We also know that the government, which announced highway 175 a few months or years ago, is getting ready to make this announcement again in a few weeks as an election promise.

We can probably expect to again hear from the member for Beauharnois—Salaberry that there will be investments in highway 30. Hon. members will recall that, when he was running for election, the present member for Beauharnois—Salaberry made a commitment to the public for work on highway 30.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Before the next election.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Before the next election. I am sure that, within a few weeks, he will be making another promise to the people in his riding regarding work on highway 30, as the Liberals are also planning to do in connection with highway 175 in Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, to save the bacon of their members there. It will be just like the last time, when the same Liberal members and candidates needed the help of the federal government to get them out of trouble.

It is very likely that what was announced in the last budget relating to health will also turn up in campaign promises in coming weeks.

In addition to serving up the same old story as far as reinvestment in health is concerned, this federal budget reopens the door to total federal interference in areas of jurisdiction that belong to the provinces. While the needs are in Quebec and the money is in Ottawa, we have learned that Health Canada will be taking $404 million to establish an agency responsible for the management of infectious diseases.

We also learn that, in 2004-05 and 2005-06, $165 million will be included in the budget for a public health agency, when Quebec already has its own such institute. The government has nothing to teach us about how services should be delivered. The federal government is creating a public health agency when Quebec already has the Institut national de santé publique.

I should point out that Quebec, and the Liberal Government of Quebec, also feel that this interference is unacceptable. Philippe Couillard, Quebec's health minister, said the following on March 19:

It is not right for an organization that is somewhat of a minority shareholder at 16% to assume the right to oversee and audit health care systems in Canada when it does not make a firm financial commitment.

He made this statement a few weeks ago, on March 19, just before the federal budget was brought in. It is as if the Government of Quebec were giving the federal government a solemn pledge that it will never accept federal interference in its jurisdiction.

The Romanow report was clear. The government often takes its inspiration from this report. Just last week, in a written statement—which is unusual for him—the current health minister referred to the Romanow report. What does this report say about funding? It says that the federal government must be expected to fund at least 25% of health care costs in Canada.

A few weeks ago, the federal government's share stood at 16%. The federal budget has reduced the federal share of health care costs to 4.5%. This is a flagrant injustice from a government that says, and will be saying in the coming weeks, that health is its priority.

This is the first fiscal imbalance I think should be pointed out in the current budget. In the few minutes I will have after oral question period, I will discuss the other two imbalances that are found in the March 23 budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I wish to inform the hon. member that he has 11 minutes remaining in which to finish his speech after oral question period.

The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

Spirit of the Community AwardStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Jagoda Pike on being named this year's CH--Safe Communities “Spirit of the Community” award winner.

The Safe Communities Foundation is a national non-profit organization that strives to make Canada the safest country in the world in which to live, work, learn and play. The Hamilton Safe Communities Coalition works with the community in order to develop and implement health and safety programs.

Among her many contributions, Jagoda was chair and president of the Bid Corporation that worked hard to bring the 2010 Commonwealth Games to Hamilton. She is also the current publisher of the Hamilton Spectator newspaper.

I am proud to acknowledge and congratulate the CH--Safe Communities “Spirit of the Community Award” winner, Jagoda Pike.

FisheriesStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, over the past decade, 319 citations were issued to foreign fishing vessels acting in violation of NAFO's rules outside the 200 mile limit on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish cap. Only 21 of these violators were ever fined.

How are we going to protect our fisheries or prevent the total extinction of the northern cod under such a lax enforcement system? NAFO has proven to be a toothless tiger.

For the sake of Atlantic Canadians and to preserve a world food resource, Canada should act and declare custodial management outside 200 before it is too late. The House of Commons fisheries committee, including all Liberal members, unanimously agreed. The Conservative Party agreed. Why does the government not agree?

Multiple SclerosisStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and at times disabling disease of the central nervous system. MS can occur at any age, but it is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, when people are finishing school, building careers, and establishing their families. It has no known cause or cure. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world.

May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. I am honoured to help kick off the 28th annual MS carnation campaign this year. Tomorrow volunteers from the MS Society and I will be pinning carnations on MPs to help raise awareness for the campaign. It is something we have done for about four years now. This weekend, volunteers in over 280 communities across Canada will be selling carnations to help raise money to find a cure for MS. Last year we raised over $1.4 million.

I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians to join me in supporting the MS Society to help make a difference for individuals and for families living with this disease. I ask everyone in the House to wear a carnation tomorrow and to make a donation. Let us help find a cure.

Persons with DisabilitiesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has worked hard to break down the barriers Canadians with disabilities face on a daily basis.

Since 1996, tax relief for Canadians with disabilities and the persons who care for them has more than doubled, from $600 million annually to approximately $1.2 billion. Budget 2004 provides even greater tax relief for those who incur disability support expenses, such as sign language interpreters or talking textbooks. It also includes tax relief for caregivers who incur medical expenses and disability related expenses.

Canadians with disabilities want to be equal participants in the social and economic life of this country. The Liberal government is committed to helping them break down the barriers to mobility, employment and independence.

DemocracyStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, democracy is defined in part as a government that is periodically elected and thus controlled by the people who live under it and the ideals and principles of such a government, such as the rule of the majority. How does that square with the current Prime Minister?

He is the man who voted in favour of preserving the traditional definition of marriage before being elected leader, then reversed his position after being elected. When asked about a referendum to let the people decide, he said there was no doubt that Canadians would vote to uphold the traditional definition of marriage and he could not allow the majority to override the wishes of the minority.

He is also the man who claimed he wanted democratic reform in the House but refused to allow a free vote on the useless, money consuming firearms registry. In fact there has not been a free vote on any legislation since he became PM.

This lack of democracy even reaches the Senate where the PM's Liberal lackeys used closure to force through Bill C-250 which stifles freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.

About the only chance for democracy is for the Canadian public to replace the Prime Minister with a leader who will follow the real concepts of a true democracy.

European UnionStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 1, 2004, was a historic day for Europe. Ten new member countries and 75 million new citizens were welcomed into the European Union family. This is the most significant expansion so far, both in its size and in its diversity.

Yesterday I was honoured to attend the joint celebration in Ottawa organized by the heads of mission of the enlarged European Union marking the Enlargement and Europe Day.

The 10 new member states from central and eastern Europe, together with Malta and Cyprus, are now legitimate members whose peoples are united in their diversity and share the very same values we share here in Canada, of lasting peace, democracy, stability and prosperity.

Having worked on the Cyprus issue for as many years as I have been in the House, in pursuit of a just and peaceful resolution, I, along with constituents, family and friends of Greek Cypriot origin and Turkish Cypriot origin remain optimistic that Cyprus' accession to the EU will soon be followed by the island's reunification.

I invite all colleagues to join me as we welcome and congratulate the union's 10 new member states.

Father Anselme ChiassonStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the funeral service for Father Anselme Chiasson, who died on April 25 at the age of 93, was held in Montreal yesterday.

Born in Chéticamp, Nova Scotia, he undertook classical studies in Ottawa and theological studies in Montreal. He joined the Capuchins in 1931 and was ordained before going on to found a Capuchin convent in Moncton, as well as the Société historique acadienne and the Éditions des Aboiteaux publishing house where some 15 of his works were published.

The recipient of many prestigious awards, he was associated with the founding of the Université de Moncton and, in particular, the Centre d'études acadiennes, which, under his influence, became a leading authority for Acadian history, culture and genealogy.

I had the pleasure of meeting Father Chiasson twice. It was a huge honour for me, because that man will remain in our memory as a great Acadian patriot. His legacy is colossal, an inestimable contribution to the development of a national identity, for which the Acadian people all over the world will eternally be in his debt.

HousingStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the cost of housing has a dramatic impact on most families, but particularly on low income households, those often headed by women.

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of housing and provides $1.9 billion annually to support 640,000 Canadian households living in existing social housing units. We are also investing $1 billion for the affordable housing initiative, more than $500 million for housing renovation programs, and $320 million more in the existing affordable housing agreement with the provinces and territories.

The estimated $7 billion in GST relief to municipalities will benefit them over the next 10 years to help them provide better housing for their residents.

Adequate affordable housing can be an effective tool in reducing poverty, especially child poverty. The Liberal government will continue working with community partners and other levels of government to meet this need.

RefugeesStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak once again about the three Palestinians who have taken sanctuary in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce church in Montreal.

These three individuals, all in their 60s, have for almost 55 years lived in refugee camps, the last of which we know is under the control of internationally recognized terrorist groups. If we were to refuse them permanent status, we would be condemning them to a lifetime of risk and danger.

Thousands of Quebeckers have signed a petition on their behalf and many parliamentarians have indicated their support.

I ask the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to personally review the details of their applications for permanent residence on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. I hope she will use the authority which is granted to her by law to render the only decision which I believe is warranted. Yes, I hope she will authorize soon the ministerial permits which will allow these three Palestinians to remain safe and sound in Canada.

Marijuana Grow OpsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, drugs are a serious problem in British Columbia and marijuana grow ops are causing much damage to houses.

I wonder why people like Phu Son, who has been on welfare since entering Canada, now owns three houses in my riding and who financed these mortgages.

Is it really a significant coincidence that Maple Trust of Toronto often approves mortgages to many of the grow op houses in the lower mainland? Is it a coincidence that the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is aware of the many marijuana grow ops financed by Maple Trust and has yet to take action?

Is it a coincidence that many of the people qualifying for mortgages with Maple Trust are in low paying jobs and identified as “salal picker” or just plain “worker”? How many banks would support a mortgage based on those jobs?

Is it a coincidence that the mortgage business and the marijuana business are thriving in British Columbia?

Genie AwardsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, May 1, I had the honour of attending the 24th Annual Genie Awards celebrating outstanding achievement in Canadian cinema. The show was produced by CHUM Television. For the first time in Canadian awards television history, the awards were broadcast interactively on Bell Expressvu online.

Canadian director Denys Arcand's film Les Invasions barbares was this year's major winner, receiving a Genie in five different categories.

The Genie awards are brought to us by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, a national non-profit professional association designed to promote, recognize and celebrate exceptional achievements in the Canadian film and television industries. Created in 1979 and today unifying over 4,000 industry professionals across Canada, the academy has proven to be a vital and integral force representing all areas of film and television.

I would ask all my colleagues in the House of Commons to join me in congratulating all the nominees and recipients of this year's Genie Awards.

Tulsequah Chief MineStatements by Members

May 4th, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in northern British Columbia in the Taku watershed lies the beautiful Taku River which is being contaminated by the Tulsequah Chief Mine.

In 1995 the Department of the Environment insisted that the British Columbia government negotiate with Redfern Resources to clean up the site immediately within one year. It is now 2004 and there still has been no action. The law is being broken and wild salmon and a viable commercial fishery are being put at risk by ongoing toxic contamination from the site. It should have been cleaned up years ago.

The contamination of this transboundary river could put Canada in violation of agreements we made under the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the International Boundary Waters Treaty.

Environment Canada is not enforcing Canadian law. At this time we would like to thank David MacKinnon of the Transboundary Watershed Alliance, and the Tlingit people of the Taku for bringing this issue to the attention of members of Parliament.

Clean up the site once and for all.

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the Liberals once again showed that the public cannot trust their promises. They refused to adopt a motion put forward by the Bloc Quebecois to implement the 17 recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in order to rid the system of its many injustices.

In so doing, the federal Liberals have shown that they are only trying to buy time so that they can again campaign with false promises of reforming employment insurance, promises they will not keep, like the promises made by the former finance minister, the current Prime Minister, during the 2000 federal election.

The Bloc Quebecois and the labour unions are calling for justice for workers who are victims of the employment insurance program, especially seasonal workers. With the election looming, Quebeckers and Canadians will be deeply suspicious of candidates whose party is so opportunistic and disdainful of the public.