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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Treasury BoardOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know very well that job transfers in the past have had more to do with benefits for the Liberals than for the people of Canada. That is why we have a taxation centre in Shawinigan and Veterans Affairs was moved to Charlottetown.

Will the minister guarantee that there will be discussions with the workers in Ottawa who are currently holding the jobs before their relocation and that a cost benefit study will be done before a decision is reached?

Treasury BoardOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, one of the great joys of this job is that I have had an opportunity to meet with public servants all across the country, particularly the federal councils that are active in every province and region of the country. They do marvellous work and are working very hard on behalf of Canadians.

Should workers in Ottawa wish to join workers in the provinces, I certainly will be very supportive of that. Should there be job relocations that will impact on people, as I said before, we will do everything possible to guarantee fairness in that process.

The member ought not speculate on decisions that have not yet taken place.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

February 11th, 2005 / 11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister continues to mismanage the residential school file. In fact, the program is another Liberal disaster. More than $125 million have been invested and barely 50 cases have been resolved through her dispute resolution system. The AFN says that the system is biased and abusive. Her officials admit that it is deeply flawed. Aboriginal people say that it is re-victimizing the victims.

Why does the Deputy Prime Minister continue to violate the dignity of aboriginal Canadians with this insulting waste of time and money?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have reviewed the recommendations of the Assembly of First Nations. We are now working jointly with the AFN to determine the best methods to address mutual concerns. We are also looking at the costing of the proposals of the Assembly of First Nations to establish if there are savings as stated.

My department may be able to implement certain items shortly but many of the recommendations require the review and approval of other colleagues in cabinet. It is business as usual while we review the AFN's recommendations. We do not want to delay the resolution of claims of physical and sexual abuse. That is the position of our government.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about business as usual.

It turns out that the Deputy Prime Minister is now tendering $5 million worth of contracts for the services of private investigators. As it turns out, the investigators will be investigating the abusers, not the abused. More puzzling is the question of how the $5 million investigators will be interviewing the abusers when most of them are dead and gone.

Could anyone in the government explain this perverse waste of money?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this is a complex and very sensitive issue. Claims include claimants, alleged abusers and witnesses. We are creating a process that will be fair to all parties.

I am sure the member opposite would want to ensure that on behalf of all Canadians we are performing the appropriate due diligence to ensure that these claims are valid and that there is a balance of interest when addressing these abuse claims. We need to provide the accountability that Canadians deserve.

Locating persons of interest assists the government to validate abuse claims and protects the rights of individuals by informing them that they have been identified by a claimant in the ADR.

International TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was appalled to hear the international trade minister say that the Liberal government does not care if Canadian jobs are lost to foreign labour markets.

Apparently the minister does not have an issue with thousands of auto parts jobs being lost, thousands of tool, mould and dye jobs, all high paying Canadian jobs lost to foreign labour markets.

Sure the Liberal government does not care. It stopped working for Canadians a long time ago.

When did the minister become the minister for foreign, not Canadian, job security?

International TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talked about auto parts and investing abroad. As I travel the world, I am proud to take credit for the incredible accomplishments of many of the Canadian-based multinationals that have set up plants in other countries and are globally competitive. One of those is Magna, which has six plants in China and is a real jewel among the Canadian-based multinationals.

International TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister should stay home for a while and examine what is going on here.

The minister for foreign job security goes on to say that he will not cry, that he will not even shed a tear for lost Canadian jobs. The problem with the Liberals is that they fail to recognize that we cannot compete with markets that do not pay their workers fair wages.

My riding of Cambridge, indeed all of Canada, wants to know if the minister actually believes that Canadians should be paid poverty levels, that Canadian standards should be lowered for us to remain globally competitive.

International TradeOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, whether the member wants to hide his head in the sand or not, the harsh reality is that if Canada is not globally competitive then we will be losing jobs. Everything we are doing is about making sure Canadians remain globally competitive and are plugged into the best value chains globally. That is the way we are going to keep the best jobs here in Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, just days away from the coming into force of the Kyoto protocol, the Minister of the Environment indicated that the Canadian government would seriously consider purchasing polluting rights in exchange for clean development projects abroad, to achieve its objective on greenhouse gas reduction.

Instead of sending taxpayers' money abroad to buy rights to pollute, does the Minister of the Environment not think that it would be more appropriate to invest here in Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the source, and to impose on major polluters the burden that they should bear?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the bulk of our initiatives must be implemented here in Canada. However, the Kyoto protocol includes provisions that allow countries to exchange emission permits. If this process is well thought out, it will help the environment. It will also help the Canadian economy, because we will be able to export our technologies, our know-how regarding environmental services, and thus conquer new markets.

This emission market is there to stay, to expand. Therefore, it is in the best interests of Canadians to learn quickly the recipe for success.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are confronted to a real political windsock. We know for a fact that the Quebec official responsible for negotiating a bilateral agreement is in Ottawa today.

Instead of discussing the system to exchange pollution rights, will the minister tell his officials to sit down with Quebec government officials and negotiate a bilateral agreement that is based on the conditions—

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member talks about a windsock, I suppose he is referring to the Government of Canada's policy to strengthen the wind power industry across the country and make Canada a leader in this sector. I suppose this is what he means, because I cannot imagine for one second that he wanted to insult one of his colleagues, definitely not.

GasolineOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the price of gas regularly goes up for no reason, the federal government is doing nothing to help the consumers affected most by the repeated crises. People from remote areas are being penalized by the minister's inaction. Yet, there is something the government could do.

What is not setting up a petroleum monitoring agency, as unanimously recommended by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in 2003?

GasolineOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, every member of the House is concerned about the cost of gasoline in this country. There is no question about that. However we must realize who has the authority to control gasoline prices in this country. It primarily is the provinces.

I find it odd that people from the Bloc would be talking about infringing upon provincial legislation in order to change the direction.

Let me assure all members that the Competition Bureau is always looking at this issue and we on this side of the House are ready to strengthen the Competition Bureau's input.

GasolineOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the minister that, in addition to setting up an agency to monitor competition in the oil industry, it could beef up the Competition Act, specifically to enable the competition commissioner to call witnesses and ensure their confidentiality. He was on the committee that unanimously recommended this. What is he waiting for?

GasolineOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I understand that within Quebec alone there is an additional 4¢ on gasoline, which causes all people in Quebec on the provincial level more hardship than they normally have had.

However we must make sure that in Canada the Competition Bureau can work on this issue and make certain that things go forward. I would reiterate again that the Competition Bureau looks at those costs and does a stellar job of making sure they are fair.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, a broad consensus is emerging in calling for a telecommunications policy review. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Bell Canada, Motorola, Mitel and the Montreal Economic Institute have all called for the government to review their telecommunications framework.

What is the delay? Why is the Minister of Industry dragging his heels with regard to a review of telecommunications policy in Canada?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

In Industry Canada, Mr. Speaker, there are always changing essential issues that come up. The government, as well as the CRTC, is looking at emerging issues that are happening in industry and we are revising policy on a regular basis to make sure we have appropriate legislation there.

It is not clear what has been suggested at this point in time by industry representatives, but we will be working on that issue and moving forward as information is available.

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, what the industry has been calling for is less regulatory burden on the industry. This is what even members of the Liberal Party called for over two years ago, but the government has failed to act on it.

The fact is that the CRTC and the regulatory framework governing this industry are cumbersome, slow and outdated. Foreign ownership restrictions need to be relaxed. The government has failed to appoint a vice-chair for the telecommunications industry. The VoIP decision has been delayed.

The fact is, one of our best industries is left to dither while this government is dithering over a decision. When is this government finally going to relax the burden on the telecommunications industry in Canada?

TelecommunicationsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have to reiterate the fact to the members across the way that we are always looking at ways in which we can modify and improve telecommunications in this country. There are extremely difficult issues to deal with in the telecommunications industry, but this side of the House is always looking at ways to improve communications to the public, which is the important issue in this case.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a report this week, Bob Rae has exposed this government's use of Canada student loans to make money rather than assist students with education. The government charges students prime plus 2.5% interest. That is 6.75% right now. Yet the government pays less than 2% on Canada savings bonds.

Is it any wonder that people are finding themselves buried by student debt at a time when they are trying to build families and a brighter future? Why does the government use Canada student loans as a profit-making centre? Will the minister commit today to lowering student loan interest to prime plus 1%?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, we followed with interest the tabling of Mr. Rae's report to the Government of Ontario. From what I understand, the Government of Ontario is currently reviewing the various recommendations. I can assure this House that we improve our student loan and bursary system every year and will continue to do so.