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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

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. parliamentary secretary just proved that he really is living on a different planet. We have vigorously objected to piecemeal deals, because such deals destroy the very objectives of equalization.

Instead of launching into piecemeal deals with the provinces, as he just did with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, would the Minister of Finance have not been better advised to take advantage of his upcoming budget to announce a comprehensive reform of the equalization system?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, presently before us is Bill C-24. Included in the bill is the creation of an expert panel to advise the government on the anomalies the current system presently produces. There is no system in the world that is perfect. Certainly the government and all governments can take advice from that panel as to what would be the appropriate weighting and recognition of revenue sources.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I hope the Minister of Health is aware of the fact that we have a serious problem in our food chain with chemicals associated with flame retardants. It is accumulating in breast milk. We have a problem that is much greater than what exists in Europe where these substances have been banned.

Could the Minister of Health tell us today that Health Canada will finally act to reduce and even ban these substances in the Canadian environment?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member has alluded to a serious problem. Health Canada is looking into the issue. I will be happy to inform the House once the deliberations of the department are over.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, at some point the government has to break this culture of inaction. It is looking into things. It is studying things.

These substances have been banned in Europe, yet we have a government that will not ban flame retardants. It will not bring in mandatory emissions standards. It will not do anything; it just wants to study everything to death.

You know what is happening. You know this stuff is destructive. Why not get on your feet today and say you will do something and ban them?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not know who the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona is calling “you”. I am on my feet, but he knows this is not something that falls within the jurisdiction of the Speaker. I hope he was intending his remarks for the Minister of Health and if so, I wish he were addressing the Chair when he delivered them. As an experienced parliamentarian he knows better.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this is obviously a serious issue on which there is a significant divergence of scientific opinion. We will obviously take a look at this issue and then inform the House.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Mills Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, Kyoto comes into force on Wednesday. Despite signing Kyoto in 1997, ratifying it in 2002, and wasting $3.7 billion in the process, the government still has no action plan. During the government's eight years of dithering, CO

2

emissions have skyrocketed.

Why will the minister not release the plan for buying hot air credits before Wednesday?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we appreciate the member's new-found interest in Kyoto.

The member talked about hot air. The minister has made it very clear we will not buy hot air from Russia, and we will not buy hot air from that party either.

The bottom line is that the minister will release a very robust plan. I suggest that the member bide his time, because after the budget, he will see how we are building on the work we have already done on Kyoto to save our economy, the environment and health.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Mills Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government certainly knows how to spend a robust amount of money.

The Chamber of Commerce represents 170,000 businesses across Canada. Today it released a last-ditch warning concerning job losses and economic uncertainty due to Kyoto. It warns of a competitive disadvantage that could be catastrophic.

How can the minister assure Canadians that our ability to compete will not be hampered by this unannounced plan?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the minister has made it very clear that economic competitiveness and the environment are not mutually exclusive. He has indicated very strongly that we can have a strong economy building on jobs in a green economy.

Chicken Little is alive and well and sitting across the way. He would suggest that somehow the sky is falling. The sky is not falling. An opportunity is at hand and we would hope that party along with others will work with us in improving our environment.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's Kyoto plan reads like the prospectus of a mutual fund: past performance is no guarantee of future success.

Some $3.7 billion have been wasted. We are 30% behind our Kyoto target. Kyoto comes into force in only two days, and still the government has no plan for the auto sector with reachable goals that preserve jobs in Canada.

Why does the Prime Minister dither and not deliver on a real Kyoto plan for our auto industry?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, first, nothing could be further from the truth. I am not sure if that party can spell the word Kyoto but the reality is that we are prepared to have a strong economy and that means in the auto sector as well.

Negotiations have been going on and, obviously, are still going on but I would say that they are very productive.

We know, particularly on this side of the House, how important the automobile industry is and how important the environment is to Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know how to spell the Kyoto plan: j-o-b-s g-o-n-e. The truth is that the only Liberal idea on the table is a bad idea: a California fuel efficiency regulation that will devastate Canada's auto sector. The automotive capital of Canada, Windsor, Ontario, sits at 9.9% unemployment following auto and parts job losses.

Why does the Liberal government favour a made in California idea for a made in Japan treaty that will only make unemployment in Canada higher?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this is the government that is working with the auto sector. Clearly, we believe it is very important to our economy. That member would rather see failure than opportunity. We believe it is important for Canadians. We are working very cooperatively with the auto sector.

I would suggest that members on this side, particularly my colleagues from ridings where the auto sector exists, have done a lot more to advance this file than anyone on that side.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 14 on Radio-Canada, in response to a question by Bernard Derome about child care, the Prime Minister confirmed that Quebec would not be subject to conditions regarding child care. Mr. Derome asked, “Can you guarantee that Quebec will receive its cheque with no strings attached” and the Prime Minister replied, “Absolutely”.

I am now asking the Minister of Social Development to tell clearly us, yes or no, will he fully respect the Prime Minister's commitment to Quebeckers on child care?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have said to the House before, the work that has been done by the Government of Quebec in the area of early learning and child care acts as an inspiration to the rest of the country.

Clearly, the work that has been done is respected, will be respected and actions that are taken ahead of everybody else are certainly actions that are not going to be penalized in the future.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister also said, during this interview, and I quote, “So, does this mean, since the other provinces have a little work to do, that Quebec will be penalized? Not at all—we want to reward those provinces that have made progress”. That was his answer.

If the Minister of Social Development intends to respect the Prime Minister's commitments, why does he not immediately and unconditionally transfer funds to Quebec for child care? What is he waiting for?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, and it was in direct response to the question that followed. The actions that have been taken by the Government of Quebec, ahead of everybody else, are certainly actions that will not be penalized with anything that this government does in the future.

Wal-MartOral Question Period

February 14th, 2005 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health negotiated an agreement with Wal-Mart to display anti-smoking pamphlets in all its stores.

Given the recent events in Jonquière in Saguenay, does the federal government not think it would be sending a far better message if it pulled its displays from Wal-Mart and negotiated just with other chain stores to distribute its anti-smoking programs?

Wal-MartOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the issues around jobs for the people of Canada, including those of Quebec, is very important.

We in Health Canada believed that Wal-Mart was an appropriate business to deal with in terms of reaching thousands of people and in terms of an educational program that dealt with anti-smoking issues. However it is important to recognize that Health Canada is not an advertising agency for any business whatsoever.

Wal-MartOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada's January 17 news release is quite flattering toward Wal-Mart and invites people to consult Wal-Mart pharmacists for information on Health Canada's anti-smoking campaign.

Is the Minister of Health still proud of his association with Wal-Mart after what happened in Jonquière? Has the federal government become one of the associates of Wal-Mart, which thumbs its nose at Quebec labour law?

Wal-MartOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I said, that was cooperation in the context of a very good educational program but that does not mean we condone everything Wal-Mart does. We absolutely do not.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has a very bad habit of wasting money on Liberal friendly ad schemes, rusted out submarines and the money sucking firearms registry, just to name a few, all part of a massive 40% hike in government spending since 1997.

However, while the Liberals go hog-wild with tax dollars, the average worker has seen their take home pay frozen at 1989 levels.

Will the minister commit in his budget to slashing wasteful spending so that workers can keep more of the income they work so hard to earn?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the minister is preparing a budget that will be delivered here next week. At that time the concerns of the hon. member will be addressed.

I want to remind the hon. member that in the past five years we have entered into a $100 billion tax cut. I know the hon. member has difficulty believing that, but I suggest he go to his socks and underwear drawer and check out his income tax returns for the last five years.