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House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was oil.

Topics

Sri LankaStatements By Members

May 7th, 2004 / 11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Sri Lanka has just successfully completed elections that saw democracy and a hopeful peace returning to the island.

We note that the Norwegian peace proposal has hit a roadblock.

The Conservative Party calls on all sides to work harder to achieve peace and end the decade-long war that has claimed 65,000 lives since 1983.

While we acknowledge the Tamil minority's grievances, we do not support the tactics of the LTTE. As a matter of fact, Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the LTTE, should be declared a war criminal and brought in front of the international court. He has the blood of innocent people on his hands. We cannot let him escape justice.

CompetitivenessStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 4, the Institute for Management Development ranked Canada third in the world in terms of competitiveness for this year. Canada has moved up three places since 2003, when we were ranked sixth.

Our government's good management has something to do with it. Our budgetary prudence, debt reduction and our support for our researchers and research infrastructure have contributed to this success.

I am happy to say that the efforts we have made over the past few years have borne fruit. At the end of the day, all Canadians will benefit from this.

National Forest WeekStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, this week various government and non-government organizations are sponsoring activities across the country to promote and support the 2004 National Forest Week.

The slogan for this year's week, “Canada's Forests--A Fine Balance”, sums it up. It is a reminder of the vulnerability of our forests and their inhabitants. We must ensure the continuing health and sustainability of our forests.

For generations, Canada's forests have contributed immensely to the quality of life in our communities and they will continue to be a major source of employment and recreational activity for thousands of Canadians.

In B.C., especially in areas such as my riding of Skeena, forestry is an integral part of the overall economy. Challenges such as the softwood lumber dispute and the devastating mountain pine beetle epidemic continue to face the industry, but these challenges are being met head-on through innovation, investment and research.

Canada's forests are a sustainable resource that we must use wisely and with respect. Our future lies with our resources, and our forests and the forest industry deserve continuing support and recognition.

VacancyStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty to inform the House that a vacancy has occurred in the representation, namely, Mr. John Harvard, member for the electoral district of Charleswood St. James--Assinboia, by resignation, effective May 6, 2004.

Pursuant to section 25(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, I have addressed my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a member to fill this vacancy.

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, no one knows where this Prime Minister stands on health care. He has been running away, has failed to implement a five year health accord that was signed with the provinces, and now he is talking only about a 10 year health plan that nobody has seen and nobody has agreed to.

Will the Prime Minister tell us before an election what, if anything, is actually in his hidden, secret health care plan?

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing secret about it. We are working with the provinces at this time. We are building a plan, of course in cooperation with them, and we want to build on the health accord of 2003.

We believe we have to go beyond the health accord of 2003 in order to make sure that we can have a sustainable health care system in our country. Our government is ready to partner up with the provinces with predictable financing as well, as we have already talked about. There is nothing secret about all of that.

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about where the Prime Minister is actually going. Not only has he allowed the expansion of private health care and chequebook medicine in Canada, we find out today that he actually uses it.

We have a health minister who says he supports private delivery one day and denies it the next. We have a Prime Minister who denounces the practice of chequebook medicine and it turns out that he is actually practising it himself, queue-jumping at private clinics.

I have a simple question: How is the government ever going to explain its hypocrisy on health care?

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me set the record quite straight here. The Medisys Clinic is available to anyone with a medical need. The Prime Minister goes there because he has had the very same doctor for 20 years.

I can tell members one thing. He has never paid for an MRI. He has used his health card every time to pay for the medical services he was receiving there and for all of his treatment.

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, according to reports today, the Prime Minister--

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We have to be able to hear the Leader of the Opposition's question. The Minister of Health will not be able to answer if he cannot hear the question. We must have a bit of order in the House. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian Alliance Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to reports today, this is all paid for by a private executive insurance arrangement. The hypocrisy of those guys is absolutely breathtaking; they want to run a smear campaign against me on health care. Is the truth of the matter not this? The difference between us and them on health care is that when Paul Martin pays for health care it is with a chequebook, and when I--

HealthOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The Leader of the Opposition is fully conversant, I am sure, with the rules of the House. He knows he cannot refer to hon. members by name. He must use their constituency title or their title as minister or whatever it may be. He would not want to breach that rule. It would be in flagrant violation of our practice in this House. He should be setting an example for all hon. members in this regard. I am sure he will not want to make that mistake again.

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think it is very important that we clarify the record. In fact, the Prime Minister does not use and does not have any executive health plan. In fact, he uses his health card to obtain his medical treatment, like everyone else.

I also want to clarify the record in relation to the clinic to which the leader of the official opposition is referring. This is a clinic in the city of Montreal that is publicly accessible to anyone who needs medical treatment, and in fact, it is so listed here in--

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

I am sure the hon. Deputy Prime Minister is trying to be helpful, but she knows she cannot use props in the House and she would not want to set a bad example in that regard.

The hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill has the floor.

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Yes, right, Mr. Speaker, that clinic is available to anyone who has the money, who has the cash.

The Prime Minister's bluster on health care has been exposed as nothing more than cynical electioneering. The man who pompously railed against chequebook health care conveniently failed last week to disclose his own cozy arrangement for elite health services purchased privately.

Why should Canadians trust this man on health care when he did not even tell them the truth about his own fast-track health care?

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, again let me clarify that the Prime Minister has no executive health plan. When he goes to his doctor, his family physician to whom he has gone for over 20 years, he uses his health card to obtain those medical services, like all of us.

If we want to talk about hypocrisy in relation to our health care system, let me refer to a statement by the leader of the official opposition, made in August 1997, where he said, “The best health care system means having a system where you have as many tiers as possible...”.

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it really bothers a Liberal when someone is honest about what they think about health care so that they have to misquote the Leader of the Opposition in spite of the fact that he is trying to be honest and open about the fact he agrees with the five year plan on health care. This party supports the private--

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Maybe I should rephrase. This party supports the public health care system and does not support the Prime Minister taking out his cheque book and buying health care. Does this country not--

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

HealthOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I have not heard a more outrageous assertion or allegation made in the House. As I have said, the Prime Minister obtains his health care like all the rest of us. He uses his health card. He does not have an executive health plan. In fact, in the clinic he goes to, the family doctor he has gone to for over 20 years practises medicine in a clinic that is publicly accessible in the city of Montreal to anyone who needs health care.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, after Yves Séguin, the National Assembly has unanimously passed a motion calling on Ottawa to transfer the GST in order to allow Quebec to properly fund its health care system. However, true to form, instead of acting, the Prime Minister is buying time before the election to the detriment of patients.

Since Ottawa has abundant financial resources to meet these needs, what is the Prime Minister waiting for to tell Quebec to keep the GST and fund its health care system properly right now?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the provinces have made a number of suggestions about the future funding of health care. As they know and as this House knows, there is a process under way now examining the sustainability of health care for the future. The Prime Minister and the premiers will meet in the summer to answer that question about sustainability and how we ensure that Canadians have access to the care they need when they need it through our publicly funded system.

The Government of Canada has made it very clear that when that plan for sustainability is achieved, the Government of Canada will be a full participant in its financial obligations.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, in March the Quebec National Assembly called upon the federal government to acknowledge the fiscal imbalance and do something about it, but the Prime Minister is still refusing to admit that the problem exists. Yesterday, the National Assembly returned to the charge, this time calling upon the Prime Minister to transfer the GST to Quebec so that it can properly fund its health services.

Having blithely slashed transfer payments and created the fiscal imbalance, how many more times will the Prime Minister say no to the consensus in Quebec in favour of health services?