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House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Leader of the Opposition for raising the question of accountability. He complained a little yesterday that some of his remarks were taken out of context. Perhaps he could clarify this remark:

You've got to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.

Perhaps the leader would like to clarify that remark.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the big kahuna opposite is going to get a chance to answer questions soon enough when he is on this side of--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough has the floor to ask another question. We will all want to be able to hear him.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, here is another important quote. This one comes from Quebec lieutenant Jean Lapierre. He says there is something wrong with the Liberal Party of Canada. He said:

It's like we took over a house, all the rooms looked nice and okay, and then we opened the fridge...Inside, we found a big stinking fish. It smells up the house.

We all know the fish rots from the head, and this Prime Minister is stinking up this House with his interference in the ad scandal. Why is the Prime Minister interfering in the ad scandal? Why does he not want the truth to be uncovered?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, one more time, I would remind the opposition that this Prime Minister has nothing to fear from the truth. This Prime Minister is the Prime Minister who launched the most comprehensive review of this issue ever done by a government. It is unprecedented openness.

However, on the other side is a group that wishes to lead the country that seems to believe it does not matter whether Canada ends up as one national government or not. Would he like to clarify that remark?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the price of gasoline is exploding. People cannot take it anymore and the Prime Minister is still doing nothing to rein in the oil companies, which are raking in excessive profits.

Instead of taking the side of the oil companies, as he usually does, will the Prime Minister finally act in the public interest and create the petroleum monitoring agency called for by the Standing Committee on Industry?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should be aware that we, on this side of the House, are very concerned about exactly the same subject.

The hon. member must also know that the Competition Bureau will, as it has in the past, look into the situation, and if anything can be done, it will do it.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, “as it has in the past”? But it has done exactly nothing in the past. The rise in the price of gasoline is due in large part to the disproportionate profit margins of the oil companies at the refining stage. We are talking about profit margins of 17.5¢ a litre, while the oil companies would be already doing well with 6¢ a litre. Refineries are a federal responsibility, and the Prime Minister refuses to intervene.

When will the Prime Minister stop thinking like a shareholder, concerned with profits, and impose some discipline on the oil companies by creating the petroleum monitoring agency?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the hon. member, the leader of the Bloc, exactly what has been happening in Newfoundland and Labrador for the last 10 years. We pay 89¢ a litre. That is the cheapest gas one can buy in Newfoundland and Labrador. There has been a pricing commissioner in Newfoundland and Labrador for the last five years. It has made absolutely no difference.

The Prime Minister is exactly right. If there is a problem, the Competition Bureau will deal with it. There is no way an individual can go out there and control the price of gasoline across the country.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, according to the Association québécoise des indépendants du pétrole, the market is too concentrated, there are too few players in the industry and these players are maintaining their stocks very low, thus creating an artificial shortage. Consumers cannot take it anymore and the government is not doing anything, when it could launch an inquiry on competition in the oil industry.

Why is the government not doing anything when it could?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member is not knowledgeable about the free world and business and the free enterprise system. When the price of oil goes up to $35 U.S. a barrel, as it is today, naturally the price will increase accordingly.

Does the hon. member expect every time the price goes up or goes down that we will tell the oil companies exactly what to do? If there is a problem with the pricing of oil, if there is any unfair pricing going on, the hon. member should write and complain to the Competition Bureau.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I do know what happens to consumers' money. I should point out that the responsibility of conducting one of the government's inquiries on competition was given to the Conference Board, which includes major oil companies.

Why not ask for a bona fide inquiry on the lack of competition in the oil industry? The minister has the authority to do so. He must order such an inquiry.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:25 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, let us be very clear. I do not think that anyone in Canada likes the current skyrocketing oil prices, and this includes consumers and business people of all kinds.

To be sure, we are very concerned about the situation. Parliamentarians themselves looked into this issue in May 2003. We all concluded that there is no collusion in the market right now.

Having said this, the Competition Bureau is always there to monitor the activities—

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

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

The Prime Minister will know that people all around the world are horrified by the pictures that have been coming out of Iraq in the last few days. President Bush has rightly gone on Arab television today to explain his position and how abhorrent he finds these acts by his fellow Americans.

Has the Prime Minister made any official statement in this regard? Did he convey to President Bush before his statement this morning the concern that obviously Canadians have about these human rights violations and the fact that they do so very little to contribute to the cause of freedom?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the acting leader of the NDP does well to raise this issue. This is an issue which has horrified civilized people around the world. It is absolutely ghastly and is totally unacceptable.

I was delighted to see the statement by the President of the United States and his abhorrence of what happened. There is no doubt that in the fight against terrorism we have to remember that our values are why we are fighting terrorism and that this kind of thing just must not happen and that full investigations must take place.

VIA RailOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I did include in my question an inquiry as to whether the Prime Minister had conveyed his concerns to President Bush prior to this morning. Perhaps the Prime Minister would like to respond to that.

Further to other questions that we have raised in the House this week about the inclination of the Liberals toward privatizing things, we notice that the Minister of Transport recently made a speech in which he talked about the commercialization of passenger rail in this country.

I want to ask the Minister of Transport, will he tell the House whether the government has any plans to privatize VIA Rail, or will he do the right thing and get up and say that the government has no intention of privatizing VIA Rail?

VIA RailOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have no intention of privatizing VIA Rail.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

May 5th, 2004 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the former finance minister created over $9 billion worth of foundations which he deliberately excluded from parliamentary oversight.

One of his largest foundations, the millennium scholarship fund, just gained the reappointment of Arthur May to its board for another five years. His reappointment was made without any referral to Parliament and in direct contradiction to the Prime Minister's promise to eliminate the democratic deficit.

Why is the Prime Minister so afraid to give Parliament its say in these appointments?

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as you know, these foundations have been tremendous successes for the Government of Canada, including the millennium scholarship foundation.

The statements are audited. They are supervised by boards of exemplary Canadians. As I have said in the past, Parliament has the supervisory jurisdiction. If Parliament wishes to call into question the concern raised by the hon. member, it may do so.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess much of the success is for the friends of the Liberals.

In the past five months ambassadors, crown corporation heads, IRB judges, the ethics commissioner and now the heads of these foundations have all escaped scrutiny.

The Prime Minister has thrown out the window his promise to give Parliament a role in these appointments by unilaterally appointing hand-picked people and placing them in charge of billions of dollars.

Why is it so hard for the Prime Minister to keep his promise and subject these appointments to parliamentary oversight?

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

2:30 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, it is remarkable that the Tory members would ask us to honour what we have committed to doing when they have refused to endorse the plan we have tabled. On the action plan we are referring specifically to a role for Parliament in the prior review of appointments. They have refused to adhere to this plan. Now they claim they want to have the plan respected.

The process is going on with committees to establish a process by which this review will take place. The lists of positions to be filled are being provided to committees. Committees will have the opportunity to do the job as scheduled in the action plan that they still refuse to adhere to.

Canada Health InfowayOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true.

Two years ago we asked a simple Order Paper question about one of the $9 billion off the books foundations, Canada Health Infoway. We asked, how much money does the president make? The government basically told us that it was none of our business, that it was an internal matter.

Why is the government refusing to let taxpayers see how their tax dollars are being spent at Canada Health Infoway? Why is it hiding this information?

Canada Health InfowayOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that Canada Health Infoway is an outstanding institution from the Government of Canada. It has been making the right investments across the country in all of the provinces, helping to modernize our health care system and adapt it to the reality of the 21st century using the appropriate information technology that exists. This is the role of Canada Health Infoway.