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 #56 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was foreign.

Topics

Crown Liability and Proceedings ActRoutine Proceedings

February 14th, 2005 / 3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-332, an act to amend the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act (no claim by inmate).

Mr. Speaker, I am please to reintroduce this bill to amend the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act to ensure that inmates serving penitentiary sentences will be unable to sue the federal government or its employees under any federal legislation for matters arising as a result of or during their penitentiary sentences.

If adopted, the legislation will put an end to frivolous lawsuits against the federal government and abuse of the Canadian legal system at the hands of inmates.

I urge all members to support the bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of petitions to present this afternoon. The first is on behalf of citizens of Leduc and Westlock, Alberta. It is an issue that I have raised many times previously in the House of Commons.

These citizens from Alberta wish to draw the attention of the House of Commons to the fact that the Canadian Forces Housing Agency does provide a resource for our military families by providing on-base housing. They also wish to draw attention to the fact that soldiers living in accommodation provided by the Canadian Forces House Agency have seen dramatic increases to their rent and in many cases this housing is substandard to acceptable living conditions.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to immediately suspend any future rent increases for accommodation provided by the Canadian Forces Housing Agency until such time as the Government of Canada makes substantive improvements to the living conditions of housing provided for our military families.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is on behalf of constituents from the city of Dawson Creek and the town of Pouce Coupé in my riding of Prince George--Peace River.

The petitioners wish to call to the attention of Parliament that marriage is the best foundation for families in the raising of children, and that the House had passed a motion in June 1999 that called for marriage to continue to be recognized as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Middlesex—Kent—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I wish to present a petition on behalf of the constituents living in the town of Wallaceburg in the riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

The petitioners pray that Parliament define marriage in federal law as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to table a petition presented by the people of Saint-Jean, who are opposed to the American missile defence shield.

These people claim that this plan is not consistent with their traditional values of diplomacy and resolution by mediation and so forth. They want their taxes to be invested in much more useful and important things than the American missile defence shield.

It is, therefore, a pleasure for me to table this petition today.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions. The first petition deals with a DNA data bank. The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation to create a DNA missing persons database and unidentified human remains database which would link with the existing national DND data bank and assist in determining the fate of missing persons.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on the issue of marriage. The petitioners call upon Parliament to immediately hold a renewed debate on the definition of marriage reaffirming, as it did in 1999, that marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others and that Parliament take all necessary steps within its jurisdiction to preserve this definition of marriage.

This came from my riding.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have another petition which deals with the issue of marriage. The petitioners call upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including invoking section 33 of the charter, that is the notwithstanding clause if necessary, to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today from several hundred people in the city of Airdrie and the towns of Sundre, Olds, Didsbury and Carstairs. The petitioners call upon the government to maintain the definition of marriage as being the lifelong union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, as decided in 1999.

I am pleased to present that with the already thousands of signatures I have from my riding.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I too would like to table a petition today from people of Lethbridge and southern Alberta. The petitioners call upon the government to use all possible legislation and administrative measures, including the notwithstanding clause if necessary, to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Earlier during the presentation of parliamentary reports the report which I was to present today was not yet in the House. It has since arrived. I wonder whether I could have the unanimous consent of the House to present the report now.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to present his report?

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in both official languages the second report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food entitled, “Status Report: Financial Analysis Relative to Meat Packing Companies in the Context of the BSE Crisis of 2003 Phase I”. I should also comment that we have moved now to the second phase of this study, and we have asked for a forensic audit to be done on those packers at another level.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-24, an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts (fiscal equalization payments to the provinces and funding to the territories), be read the third time and passed.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to take part in the debate today, dealing with equalization. As we know, equalization has been a long term program of our federal, provincial and territorial governments. It is enshrined in our Constitution. Last year it was up for debate. With the arrangements that were made between the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, federal officials and their provincial and territorial counterparts, today Bill C-24 arrives in the House at report stand and third reading stage.

We have had a number of meetings with provincial and territorial ministers. With those, our federal government is doing its best to work out programs in the interest of all Canadians. We have concluded a health care accord, and soon we will receive a bill in the House that will deal with health care arrangements.

The equalization arrangements are being debating today, after coming back from the Standing Committee on Finance. All parties involved in the meetings of the finance committee have given great support to the program and to Bill C-24.

We also have been negotiating with the provinces, dealing with child care and communities programs. I can assure the House that our federal officials, our ministers and Prime Minister work diligently and faithfully to try to conclude arrangements for the betterment of all Canadians.

I am a bit concerned, though, when I hear some people refer in the House and across the country to have and have not provinces. Really, there are no have not provinces. However, certain provinces within our federation have more capital, better assets and better programs and have the fiscal capacity to deal with their issues better than others. In terms of this arrangement and as of this date two provinces do not receive equalization payments while eight provinces and territories receive some response from these arrangements.

The fiscal imbalance to which some people refer is not due to the people living in those provinces, but more to the economy of this great nation of ours. Many areas of Canada buy products that are manufactured in certain provinces. They look to other provinces for their oil reserves. They look to the natural resources of all provinces and within that context, they attempt to make amicable arrangements by which the wealth of a nation can be shared.

It is important that our provinces and territories have room to negotiate and, above all, room to plan their activities over the next period of time. The bill gives an opportunity for provinces to plan their future activities and programs.

There is a guaranteed growth track within the bill and within its arrangements. The approach includes five key elements: a new minimum funding floor of $10 billion for equalization and a $1.9 billion for TFF for the year 2004-05; complete protection for provinces and territories against overall and individual declines in payments in that year; a level of $10.9 billion for equalization and $2 billion in TFF in 2005-06; a growth rate guaranteed at 3.5% until 2009; and an independent panel to advise on the allocation among provinces and territories.

Over the next 10 years and subject to review in 2009-10, the new framework will provide $33 billion more in equalization and TFF payments to provinces and territories. This is compared with the annual entitlements for both equalization and TFF, according to the estimates in the February 2004 budget and according to the official October report, of $12.5 billion in 2009-10, an increase of 42% over the next five years.

Again, starting in 2005 the Government of Canada will establish a legislated financial framework for equalization and TFF with fixed overall payment levels that provide predictable and growing funding. In 2005-06 funding levels will be set at $10.9 billion for equalization and $2 billion for TFF, the highest levels ever reached by these programs. Both amounts will grow at a rate of 3.5%.

In addition the Government of Canada will also launch a review by an independent panel of experts on how the legislated equalization and TFF levels should be allocated among provinces and territories in the next year. Provinces and territories have been invited to appoint two members to the panel.

This review, among other things, will evaluate current practices for measuring fiscal disparities among provinces and territories. It will examine alternative approaches, such as those based on aggregate macroeconomic indicators, for example, the GDP, disposable income, or expenditure needs. It will review the evolution of fiscal disparities among provinces and the cost of providing services in the territories, to help governments and citizens evaluate the overall level of support for equalization and TFF. It will advise whether the Government of Canada should establish a permanent independent body to advise it on the allocation of equalization and TFF within the framework of legislated levels.

The Government of Canada, meanwhile, will remain fully concerned about accountability and responsibility for all decisions and will continue to consult extensively with provinces and territories.

The mandate of the panel is an advisory one and the federal government will make decisions based on advice received from the panel and the provincial and territorial governments. This expert panel will report back by the end of 2005 in time to provide advice on equalization and TFF for 2006-07.

Above all there is a guarantee of a complete floor protection. The framework will provide a floor protection to every province and territory to ensure that entitlements for 2004-05 are no lower than the levels forecast in the 2004 budget.

The effect of these various programs that we are arranging, in fact the programs in terms of health care and equalization, will provide a cumulative increase of $74 billion over 10 years compared to the annual levels estimated in the February 2004 budget.

Finally, I would like to allude to my own province of New Brunswick, which is very happy with the arrangements. The premier has expressed his approval and the fact that he is able to continue to provide new programs for people in New Brunswick.

According to the data that we have before us, the province of New Brunswick will receive $1.181 million on a total of $9 billion in equalization in this fiscal year. It is about $1,572 per person. For New Brunswick it will mean about $152 million in additional payments and with it, New Brunswick over the next 10 years will receive more than $800 million in additional health transfers.

I am very happy with the bill. I hope it will proceed at high speed through the House and that we as Canadians, and especially as New Brunswickers, will receive the benefits of the new equalization program as we approach the next taxation year.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Is the House ready for the question?

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.