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House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Public Service of CanadaOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for Democratic Renewal.

The head of the Public Service Commission revealed yesterday that 35 former Liberal staffers have received preferred, non-competitive access to well paying public sector jobs.

This continuation of cronyism undermines competitiveness and objectivity in the public service. It is not allowed in Britain. It should not be allowed in Canada. What is the minister doing to put an end to this undemocratic practice?

Public Service of CanadaOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the first thing I would say is that this policy has existed since 1967 with royal assent of the Public Service Employment Act. Section 39 of the Public Service Employment Act provides certain persons working in ministers' offices with a limited entitlement to be appointed without competition to positions in the public service for which they are qualified.

This is a practice which has existed since 1967 and applies to a very limited number of people, who must be qualified.

AgricultureOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, for too long the Liberal government has been ignoring Canadian grain producers.

Bill C-40, which became law on May 19 of this year, legislated an independent and comprehensive review of the Canada Grain Act to be completed within one year of the bill's passing.

Would the Minister of Agriculture please inform the House what action, if any, he has taken to conduct this desperately needed review of the Canada Grain Act?

AgricultureOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development)

Mr. Speaker, the fact is it was the governing party that suggested there be a review of the Canadian Grain Commission when we were doing Bill C-40. The ministers and others have been in discussion with the industry to see what is the best way to proceed and that will happen in due course.

We are doing our job, as we committed ourselves to do when we discussed Bill C-40.

AgricultureOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a long-winded way of saying the government has done nothing on the amendment I put forward.

Just to prove how much the Liberals do not care about Canada's grain industry, first Estey and Kroeger were ignored, then a 2002 industry review panel was ignored, and now the Liberal government is actually ignoring its own legislation.

The Canadian grain industry needs results, not empty rhetoric and not more reports gathering dust. With the government's dismal track record, what assurances will the minister give us that he will take concrete action to overhaul and reform the Canadian Grain Commission?

AgricultureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development)

Mr. Speaker, the agriculture critic is off the mark, as she so often is in the House.

The fact of the matter is this government has been proactive in terms of dealing with the agricultural community.

Yes, we know there is a farm crisis out there, but payments from the federal and provincial governments have never been higher in Canadian history.

There was the $1 billion farm improvement fund in March. When farmers asked that changes be made to CAIS, we made three changes in cooperation with the provincial governments. The government is standing by the farm industry and we will continue to do so.

AgricultureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Due to weather conditions, harvest and fall operations on the prairies will extend into late October and November.

Farmers require own use permits in order to purchase Clearout 41, a glyphosate product available to them at a considerable savings. The PMRA has placed a deadline of September 30 for the issuance of such permits.

At a time of rising gas prices, escalating costs and low commodity prices, why would the minister take away the opportunity for farmers to purchase products at cheaper prices?

Will the minister ensure that the September 30 deadline is extended at least until the end of October?

AgricultureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development)

Mr. Speaker, we have been made well aware of the issue that the member has raised. It is an important issue also as it relates to Ivomec, I believe, coming in for the cattle industry for treatments.

The various ministries that are involved in the matter are looking into it and we will try to deal with that problem.

AirportsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Toronto city council, our own transportation committee and a huge cross-section of stakeholders, including the International Air Transport Association, the Air Transport Association of Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, all support rent cuts at Pearson airport, but the transport minister's latest airport rent reductions hurt Toronto.

Today, Pearson pays 66% of all airport rents in Canada with just 33% of the passengers.

How many seats in the GTA will the Liberals have to lose before the transport minister offers Pearson a fair deal?

AirportsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me just answer the question of how many seats that will cost us: absolutely none.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in New York City, the Prime Minister unveiled the arsenal he intends to use against the American threat to our softwood lumber industry. The Prime Minister needs to realize that threatening tones alone are not enough.

When will the government get it: loud voices alone will not make the Americans back down, and if it wants to gain some credibility it will have to back up its fine words with some loan guarantees in order to provide the industry with some tools to defend itself?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is true that words alone cannot settle disputes. This is why we have initiated legal proceedings to recover the deposits. We will be undertaking retaliatory measures. We have also stepped up pressure on the United States. As for other measures to help this industry, some are already in place and the Minister of International Trade is currently examining other possibilities.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, forestry and textile workers are not the only ones affected. Within days, several dozen former employees of the Port-Alfred plant in La Baie, in the Saguenay, will be left with no income, having exhausted all available resources.

What is the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development waiting for to implement a new older worker income support program to help workers reeling from the effects of closures in a number of different sectors of the economy?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, we are always concerned when there are mass layoffs. We are very sensitive to that. The department does have a program when there are layoffs that are coming forward. We work together with employers to make sure workers can get temporary income support as soon as possible. We look at programs to retrain those workers.

We are in the process of developing a strategy for older workers and are working very closely with the province of Quebec. We are meeting every three weeks to develop that strategy quickly.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, the number of murders by firearms in Canada increased by 13% in the past two years. The Liberal government's gun registry has cost billions of dollars but has done nothing to lower the rate of violent crimes. The security of Canadians is threatened, and this government is not concerned.

When will the government implement measures to allow Canadians to move around worry free in their communities?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite fails to understand that the gun registry in Canada is working very efficiently and very effectively.

In fact, law enforcement is making about 3,000 inquiries per day to the gun registry. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police supports it. The Canadian Professional Police Association supports it. It is helping with respect to affidavits for criminal prosecutions. The licensing system has precluded somewhere in the vicinity of 15,000 Canadians getting firearms who otherwise would have firearms but are not eligible because of various factors.

Correctional Service of CanadaOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, it has been well over three years now and the Treasury Board has not settled a contract between the Correctional Service of Canada and its corrections officers.

The labour minister has been bragging about his success in settling the short-lived CBC dispute. He said in the London Free Press that he brought the two groups together, read them the riot act and told them to think of the public interest.

Will the labour minister do the same for corrections officers who have been without a contract for three long years and are not allowed to strike?

Correctional Service of CanadaOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I regret that I do not have the specific information on this matter, but I will consult with my colleague, the President of the Treasury Board, and he will get back to the hon. member on this matter.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the acting Minister of Natural Resources. The price of a barrel of oil has hit record highs this year. This has created significant concerns for the people in my riding of Welland as well as many other Canadians.

Given the recent spike in gasoline prices, can the minister explain to the House what the government is doing to ensure that Canadians have access to the most up to date information regarding the price of gas at the pumps?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that information is power and information is ammunition. This new office, thanks in part to my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will provide the best and most transparent information on why these prices have changed.

This will then be powerful ammunition for a beefed-up Competition Bureau, powerful ammunition for the media to expose price gouging, and powerful ammunition for provinces, which have the power to regulate.

FisheriesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, after years of unsuccessfully waiting for federal help, the Nova Scotia Salmon Association and the Atlantic Salmon Federation have a liming project under way on the West River. These non-profit, volunteer-driven organizations were forced to raise $270,000 on their own without any funds from the federal government.

Sweden and Norway have working liming programs, but in Canada the government is content to leave Atlantic salmon on the species at risk list. The Liberal government has a responsibility to support liming in order to mitigate the effects of acid rain. Why is it not?

FisheriesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate groups that are involved in salmon stewardship across this country. In fact, there are thousands and thousands of Canadians who do work to support our rivers and streams and who support the safety and the development of salmon across this country. Without them, we could not do our work at all. The fact is that we rely on those volunteers, who do a great deal.

In this year's budget we have $30 million for the Atlantic salmon endowment fund, which will help salmon in that region.

FisheriesOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, there has been another sockeye season and another disaster for B.C. fishermen. I am seeing a pattern here.

Last season the minister presided over some of the lowest spawning numbers on record. This season, despite more than seven million returning sockeye, DFO prevented commercial and sports fishermen from getting their fair share even though there was an opportunity for them to do so. In fact, commercial fishermen were not allowed to fish at all.

Will the minister admit that he mismanaged yet another sockeye season? Will he inform the House of how he plans to compensate those who have been economically devastated by his decisions?

FisheriesOral Questions

Noon

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague should know that ocean temperatures resulted in a lower than expected abundance of sockeye salmon this year and a record late return. I think he ought to know that. That is why, of course, commercial fisheries were closed this year, unfortunately, to meet conservation goals. That is our top priority.

I am sympathetic to the plight of the commercial sector. It is important and we need to cooperate on sustaining salmon populations for the future of this sector.

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

October 7th, 2005 / noon

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, on August 18, in Baie-Comeau, the Premier of Quebec stated that the expansion plans of the Société du port ferroviaire de Baie-Comeau—Hauterive were directly conditional on a decision by the federal government, which has yet to confirm its involvement in this project.

Will the minister responsible for economic development commit to meet with his counterpart in Quebec in order to resolve this impasse and allow this project, which is important to the region, to proceed?