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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was barbados.

Topics

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the setting of mileage rates for public servants is done as a negotiated process with the national joint council, and I have instructed my officials to write to the joint council and ask it to reconsider the rate.

When it comes to politicians, that decision is made by the Board of Internal Economy, and in a minority House it is accountable to all of us, so if the member has a concern he can deal with it.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have a concern, like most Canadians do, that this government has a double standard: one for politicians and bureaucrats and one for everyone else. It wants politicians and bureaucrats to profit from the higher price of gas and everyone else to pay for it with higher taxes.

We are prepared to cancel the increase for MPs. Will the Liberals do the same for the entire government sector and put Canadian taxpayers first?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, as the President of the Treasury Board has said, the matter for public servants has been referred back to the joint council.

As far as the Board of Internal Economy is concerned, as a member of it and as the spokesman for it, this matter will be brought to the board. It has not been because the board tied itself automatically to the joint council decisions back in 1984, I believe, but this matter will be considered because we will bring it forward at the next Board of Internal Economy meeting.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the increase in the price of crude oil, the sharp rise in profit margins for refining instigated at the same time by oil companies has been largely responsible for the current oil crisis that the government has to counter through support measures.

How can the government allow the oil companies, which are largely responsible for this crisis, not to pay the consequences and, moreover, to continue to benefit from $250 million a year in tax relief, as a gift of largesse from the government?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that a major component of our announcement today was action being taken by the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Industry to strengthen transparency and competitiveness in the marketplace.

We want to make sure that the information on price fluctuations, the reasons behind those fluctuations, their size, their rate of increase and their rate of decrease, all of that, is laid bare for all Canadians to see. Then the appropriate consequences can follow.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has put a plan in place and is making all taxpayers pay for it, but not the ones primarily responsible, namely the oil companies. As if that were not enough, he is giving them a gift of $250 million a year.

How can the ones primarily responsible for the current crisis not have to pay a single cent of the $2.5 billion in measures announced by the government, while all taxpayers, who are already penalized by this crisis caused by the oil companies, are once again footing the bill?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid the hon. gentleman does not understand the tax system. He seems to imply that energy companies in this country, wherever they may be located in Canada, do not pay taxes. In fact, they do. The last statistics I saw indicated that to federal, provincial and municipal governments they contributed something in the order of $16 billion per year.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber dispute is dragging on and the people of Chibougamau, Roberval and everywhere else in Quebec are waiting for the government to take action. A fifth decision by a NAFTA panel has confirmed to the United States, in no uncertain terms, that Canadian lumber is not subsidized.

Today the Prime Minister is in New York. If he wants to be taken seriously when he talks about softwood lumber, should he not send a clear signal to the Americans that he intends to support the companies by giving them loan guarantees so that they will be prepared to continue to fight this?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister takes the softwood lumber situation very seriously. Furthermore, he has always said that NAFTA terms must be respected. The hon. member must realize that we have already implemented a program to help the industries.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, people in the softwood lumber industry want a government with a backbone, not a spineless government.

It is the Prime Minister's duty to inform Americans during his visit that he will support the companies, that he will give them loan guarantees, and that we will fight this to the very end. That is the only way we will get any respect.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that tonight in his speech before the Economic Club of New York the Prime Minister is going to make some very strong statements in relation to the softwood lumber situation.

The Prime Minister has been a forceful defender of softwood lumber producers in this country. I can assure the House that no one in the United States of America, starting with the President of the United States of America, has ever been in any doubt as to where this Prime Minister and this government stand, which is firmly behind NAFTA and our softwood lumber producers.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, recent reports indicate that the Department of National Defence is seeking sole source approval for the purchase of 15 to 20 C-130J transport aircraft at the same time that the U.S. air force is ending its C-130J program.

According to internal U.S. reports, military testers have reported serious deficiencies suffered by the C-130J, problems that could cause severe injury, major loss of equipment or reduction in operational readiness.

Is the minister aware of the technical problems that have plagued this aircraft? Is he still willing to sole source without considering a fair and open competition?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I answered my hon. critic the other day, no decision has yet been made in terms of sole sourcing or otherwise acquiring answers for our transport fleet. It is very clear that we have to deal with the transport fleet. All hon. members know that. They would agree with me on that. It is an important part. The government is determined to do that and do that quickly.

We will do that, but we will make sure that it is done in a way which guarantees the security of the fleet and where we are delivering on what the forces need. We will take the forces' advice and their experience as to what they need for the job we are asking them to do.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, with just a little over four months to go before Canadian troops return to combat, Chinooks have suddenly become a priority. Air staff have just announced a plan to nix the competitive bidding process and are going to sole source the procurement of Chinook helicopters.

The government is buying an aircraft that took its first flight in 1961, while the army abandoned the technology 15 years ago, yet other more modern and effective options exist.

Why is the Liberal government planning to waste hundreds of millions of tax dollars without considering the possibility of open and fair competition?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, why is the opposition assuming we are going to do something which we have not announced we are going to do? For heaven's sake, like all sinners, of which there are many in the House, I do not mind confessing my sins, but I ask members to give me a chance to sin first before I am forced to confess. That is all I ask.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2003 the Liberals forced the army to retire its self-propelled armour-protected artillery guns. Now in 2005 the minister is trying to sole source similar but unarmoured guns for our troops in Afghanistan. This is just another example of poor planning. The Liberals failed to properly arm our troops prior to committing them to a combat mission.

Why is the government acquiring guns that have no armour protection? Why is it avoiding fair and open competition?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is a part of the hon. member's question that is right and there is a part that is wrong. I totally do not accept the fact that our troops are going to Afghanistan improperly prepared. They are perfectly prepared, as the Chief of the Defence Staff has said.

Will we need new equipment as the situation evolves? Of course we will. Will this government take aggressive action to make sure the troops have the equipment they need and which they tell us they need before we put them in danger? Yes, we will. I ask members to stay with us. This is an evolving situation.

The one thing I can promise members of the House and the Canadian public is that our troops will have the equipment they need and the equipment they want as they go into dangerous missions abroad.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard enough nonsense to fertilize a field.

The minister has publicly acknowledged that JTF2 special forces soldiers are operating against the Taliban. They are excellent soldiers and that is why I was pleased to learn they will be acquiring armour protected, medium load trucks that offer increased security in Afghanistan.

However JTF2 is only a small faction of our forces. The bulk of our regular force troops are not being provided with these armour protected trucks even though they face the same threats.

Will the minister explain why there is a double standard when it comes to protecting the lives of our soldiers?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is important for members of the House to understand that there are two missions going to Afghanistan. Presently we have the PRT which was established in the Kandahar province and which requires a certain amount of equipment and a certain approach to what its job is. We will be sending 1,000 troops and a command group there in February of next year. Those troops will have a different mission and require different equipment. Our JTF2, which is highly specialized, requires different equipment as well. I think the hon. member knows that.

All I can do is come back to what I said before. Our troops will have the equipment that is necessary to do the mission they are asked to do. They will not be sent to do anything that would take them into harm's way without the proper equipment to make sure they can do their job.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

October 6th, 2005 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Border crossing statistics show that the American tourist crossings in Ontario have declined by 35% since January 2001. Plans to institute a passport system for Americans have led the Canadian Tourism Commission to predict a further 12% drop.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister please tell the House what the government is planning to do about the western hemisphere tourist initiative?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member quite rightly identifies the western hemisphere initiative as one of growing concern, not only to us in this country but obviously to more U.S. politicians, including Senator Hillary Clinton, Governor Pataki of New York and a growing list.

Due to the very fine work of our Canadian posts across the U.S., we are working with our American counterparts. I am working with my colleague, Mr. Chertoff, to ensure that we are able to work together in partnership to reach a resolution in relation to legitimate security concerns and that any resolution does not constitute a barrier to the facilitation of the movement of low risk goods--

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor West.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know the western hemisphere initiative is something that has been out there for over a year but the government has been silent on the file.

Why has the Minister of Foreign Affairs not been more specifically active in this case? It has a profound impact on Canadian tourism, business and border communities. What is the official position of the government? Why is the Prime Minister not speaking about this and standing up for Canadians as opposed to letting American politicians do our work?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it all wrong. From the moment the western hemisphere initiative was announced, this government engaged our American counterparts at the highest levels. I have discussed with my colleague, Michael Chertoff, the possible impacts of this initiative, not only on Canadians and trade in this country but on our American counterparts.

Our officials are engaged with American officials. Our ambassador is engaged with the U.S. administration. Our posts across the U.S. are engaged with U.S. and Canadian business and if all these people stop—

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!