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 #49 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been watching the committee and they know that is a clear misrepresentation of the facts.

Even though there are plenty of stones unturned, at least 90 unheard witnesses, the Liberals are using their controlling numbers to force through some kind of report for the purposes of a June election.

What does that say about a Prime Minister who breaks his word and cuts off 90 witnesses who could get to the truth about ad scam?

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General said today that she was pleased with the work that the government has put into place: the inquiry, the RCMP, and the forensics.

In fact, she even said very clearly that we need to understand what the responsibilities of a minister are and what the responsibilities of a deputy minister are, and get to the root of the cause. That is exactly what the opposition is trying not to do.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, here is a motion that I put forward yesterday at the public accounts committee:

That the Committee request copies of any notes taken by the Clerk of the Privy Council during meetings with the Prime Minister pertaining to items raised in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 of the November 2003 Report of the Auditor General of Canada--

Every single Liberal member voted against the motion, including three privy councillors.

What is the government trying to hide? What is in those notes that is too damaging to be released? Why is the government trying to keep the truth from us? Why does the government not want Canadians to know the whole truth?

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I find that surprising from the member opposite who also tried to not have the Auditor General appear and not to have key witnesses appear.

In fact, Dr. Franks said today that the public accounts committee now faces the question of what ought to be the ministerial and deputy ministerial responsibilities and accountabilities of the government to Parliament. That is exactly what we need to be doing on the public accounts committee, not the politicking that those members are trying to put forward in that committee.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, do we want a cover-up because we want to hear from 90 more witnesses before drawing conclusions?

I have a question directly for the Prime Minister. Why did his committee members vote against a motion to release notes taken by the clerk of the Privy Council of meetings held with him and his predecessor regarding the sponsorship scandal?

Will he, if he does not agree with his committee members, agree to release those notes so Canadians can know what he and his predecessor knew about the scandal and just what they did about it? Will he release those notes?

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government and the Prime Minister have allowed the cabinet documents to be released. In fact, we have three and half feet of documents to read. The opposition is not even going through the documents. It is not trying to get down to the root cause.

Various media and people have said that it is time to have the research synopsis of these last number of months and let us get down to the root cause. Let us not delay and delay, and have the politicking that the opposition tries to do all the time.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister had promised that the committee looking into the sponsorship scandal would get to the bottom of that scandal. Now he has changed his mind.

Can the Prime Minister, who made a solemn promise that the committee would get to the bottom of it, explain in all sincerity why the government is now trying to prevent the committee from hearing all the witnesses it needs to hear? If he wants to get to the bottom of things, why is he now changing his mind?

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, in case my earlier comments were not heard, let me repeat again. The government members have been putting forward the key witnesses to come to the committee and come back to the committee after we have heard various testimony.

The opposition tried to stop the Auditor General this morning. It tried to delay people who are experts in the field of political science.

In fact, today, after hearing Dr. Franks, the opposition was all pleased that we had brought this witness forward who it tried to block.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, they need to face the truth. The government does not want to hear any more witnesses because the Bloc list included Warren Kinsella, a Liberal and an adversary of the Prime Minister, and Jean Chrétien, the former prime minister. We especially wanted to hear from him. That is why they no longer want to hear witnesses.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is very important that the public accounts committee hears key witnesses to get to the root cause.

We have been having these key witnesses come forward despite the fact that the opposition members have tried to stop them. Let me repeat again, we want the Auditor General and Mr. Quail, the deputy minister, to come back.

That is exactly the responsibility of the committee. It is not to politicize everything but to get to the root cause and find what is best for taxpayers and Canadians.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the problem with the hike in gasoline prices is not the price at the pump, the problem is the refineries. When the profit margin is 6¢, the oil companies make huge profits. Imagine the profits when the margin climbs as high as 17.5¢ a litre. That is three times as much.

Does the Prime Minister not think there is a serious problem when the refineries' profit margins increase threefold from one day to the next, as is currently the case?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I am fully aware of and understand even more today the impact that the increase in oil is having on Canadians. In fact, the price went up per barrel again today. I am very concerned because the average consumer will pay more, not only for gasoline but, more important, for the heating in their homes.

The hon. members opposite can rest assured that if we find out anything whatsoever from the Competition Bureau, we will take immediate action. I also intend to speak to the provincial organizations in Quebec, P.E.I., and Newfoundland and Labrador to find out exactly what information, if any, they have.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the market is heading toward $1 a litre for gas, which will have a major negative impact on the entire economy. What is the Prime Minister doing about it? Nothing.

Does the Prime Minister realize that by refusing to take action, he is condoning the $1 litre of gas that we shall soon be facing?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not correct in saying that we as a government refuse to act. I just stated very clearly how concerned we are as a government for Canadians because of the increase in the price per barrel of oil, over which we have no control.

I have already committed to talk to my colleagues in the provinces. If any concerns come forth from the Competition Bureau through their offices, we will do everything possible.

We are not satisfied to allow this to go on. We must find out first if there are any concerns by the individuals who have the information.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the agriculture minister were in Washington last week for the latest photo op. We heard great promises, but have seen zero action.

The USDA has now joined with a few producers in the U.S. to further restrict the flow of Canadian beef. All we get from the government is one step forward and two steps back.

What action has the Prime Minister taken to counter this latest move by the U.S. to stop our beef from flowing?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for bringing forth the question about the beef issue.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food are very much in favour of working hard to open up the border. They had good meetings last week in Washington. The President of the United States reassured us that he wanted the border open. Secretary Veneman wants to use the science based information.

We are very positive that the border will be open.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the only science that the government understands is the science of BS. We need some proof on BSE and some action on that.

This concession by the USDA has thrown the cattle industry into further turmoil. Cattle are getting harder and harder to market. The market is dysfunctional. The border has been closed for 350 agonizing days. It has been a month since the USDA comment period closed, yet we see no action.

Nothing has been coming forth from the government. The government is losing this battle on the border front and it is losing the cattle industry in this country. The only answer is an open border. Why is that border not open?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, the only BS in this House is across the floor.

The government has given $1 billion to Canadian farmers to help them fight this. Not only that, we had high level meetings with the U.S. to open the borders. That is the way it is.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the crisis among our beef farmers will not begin to be over until the farm incomes return to normal. Some U.S. stock growers do not want our border re-opened.

Why has the Liberal government not protected Canadian beef producers from this latest action by the U.S. department of agriculture to halt expanded beef product exports?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, the Montana judge's ruling was very disappointing to us. However, we were reassured last week by higher levels in the U.S. government, the President and Secretary Veneman, that they will open up the borders for us in the near future.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, our producers have been waiting 350 days for the border to re-open. How long will it be before Renfrew county beef producers and all Canadian beef producers can move their beef across the border?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows we cannot have a definite date when the border will be open. All we can do is keep working on opening up the border and keep bringing financial help to the farming families in this country that are in need.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

The negative effects of trans fats in food are well known, including the devastating potential effect on children. Canada is now making labelling for trans fats mandatory, except for baby food.

Could the Minister of Health explain to this grandpa why warning labels are so important for the rest of us, but not for my grandchildren?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, when the new regulations on nutritional labelling were announced in January 2003, they were hailed by stakeholders as the ideal international standard. We are very proud of this achievement, but there is always room for improvement.

I want to thank the Standing Committee on Health for its good work and for indicating that we should consider making additions to these regulations. This is why I asked my department to look at the issues relating to mandatory labelling for trans fats present in baby food.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

May 6th, 2004 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, major oil companies are once again protecting their profits by drastically increasing gasoline prices. With this increase, these companies are holding Canadians hostage, but the government does not do anything to reduce this volatility. We all know that the Prime Minister wants to protect his big corporate friends.

However, when will the government protect Canadians from this abuse, and when will it take action to monitor gasoline prices? Will it do so immediately?