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House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as I have always said, we have already provided the industry, the communities, and the softwood lumber workers with support of more than $350 . We are also in the process of discussing these matters with the industry and the other stakeholders. Decisions will be forthcoming.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, there has been very little in it for the industry. The funding in question has gone to the communities, not to the companies affected by the crisis.

Why does the minister not ask the industry to choose between a true aid package that would enable it to hold on until the legal proceedings are over, and a cut-rate negotiated settlement such as he is proposing?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I have heard the question as to why the ministers do not give the industry a chance to take part in the discussions to resolve the softwood lumber crisis? They have had a number of opportunities to participate with us and the others. As for funding to assist the industry with its costs, that is another point, currently under discussion.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday in the House the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food told us that the president would use his first veto to open the border. However, back in the real world, livestock producers devastated by the ongoing BSE crisis need emergency funding now.

The CAIS program has not worked. The loan loss reserve has not contributed to increase slaughter capacity and Canadian livestock producers hang in the balance while the government continues to fumble relations with the United States.

When will the minister stop offering our farmers false hope and start delivering?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, this is a perfect example of the hon. member on the other side using rhetoric. Nobody in the House said that the American president would open the border by casting a veto. What was said was that he would take the action that took place in congress and that he was prepared to veto that.

The member is quite prepared to make rhetorical statements in the House and not prepared to do anything in the best interest of producers, because that is what we do on this side of the House.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Grey—Bruce—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, reports now indicate that the U.S. border may stay closed to Canadian beef for 18 months or more. It is time to act. The CAIS program does not work. The loan loss reserve program is a farce. It is non-existent and has not contributed one iota to increase slaughter capacity.

It is past time that the government used money from the budget contingency fund to open new packing facilities now.

Will the minister commit to making the funds available for slaughter facilities and will he do it today?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in answer to a previous question, the federal government, yesterday, made a new investment of $50 million to assist the industry.

In addition to that, specifically on slaughter capacity, we reached a low of 65,000 animals per week. We are now at 83,000 animals per week and that will probably be around 88,000 by the mid part of the year.

We need to continue to assist as a federal government. We will take a look at all the different ways we can do that, particularly in slaughter capacity, and we will make the changes that are necessary to make our programming the most effective that it can possibly be.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

But nothing for agriculture producers, Mr. Speaker.

It is no secret that Canadian farmers have been struggling financially with the border closure and years of adverse growing conditions for grains. The 2005 crop year is already in question for many farmers because they cannot afford to put seed in the ground. The farm improvement loans program provided farmers with an option to bank and credit union loans with special interest rates and terms.

With that knowledge, why then is the Liberal government quietly scrapping this desperately needed program in the midst of the worst agriculture crisis since the Great Depression?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, once again, a question that has no basis in reality. Nothing done for producers? There were record payments in 2003. Canadian producers received $4.9 billion. We have an income stabilization program. We have production insurance. We have spring advances to assist with the planting. We have fall advances which are used to help market products.

As we have said and demonstrated yesterday, we will continue to make investments in this important Canadian industry.

Labrador RidingOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, they used to picture the minister milking the cows and now they picture him milking the farmers.

Labrador has been without an MP for some time. The concerns of the region are numerous: natural resources, fisheries, transportation and aboriginal affairs issues, and a long term plan for 5 Wing Goose Bay. These issues are too important and too pressing for Labrador not to have a member of Parliament.

Would the Prime Minister inform the House when he plans to call the byelection?

Labrador RidingOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, obviously this is an issue of importance to the Prime Minister and an issue with which we are seized. It is the Prime Minister's prerogative to determine the date. We do understand the importance of ensuring that the constituents of that riding have representation in a timely fashion.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, for the past year our finance minister has served as a member of Tony Blair's commission for Africa.

Last year I had the opportunity of travelling to four African nations with the minister to speak with the African people to find out just what it was that they needed on the ground.

Today the commission released its report. Could the minister tell the House how this report will set the stage for the African people to finally take charge of their futures? How will it help set the stage for entrepreneurship and growth?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I was very honoured to serve on the commission for Africa. It is a United Kingdom initiative that builds upon what Canada began at the Kananaskis summit in 2002.

The report is both useful and challenging and covers a broad range of subjects. Canada is responding in many ways. We are leading the world in debt relief proposals. We are increasing Canadian support in the battle against AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and polio. We are doubling our support for Africa over the next three years.

All of those things were in the budget on February 23.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

More than 100,000 students in Quebec are now on strike. This is a symptom of the Liberals' failure in education, all over Canada.

In the budget there was not a cent to reduce tuition fees; nothing to reduce student debt, except in the case of death. It is clear the Liberal Party has not kept its word.

Why are the young people of Canada now joining in the chorus of “Promises made, students betrayed?”

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am truly surprised to hear that question from that particular member.

No federal government in history has put more into post-secondary education than this particular one. In this budget alone, $300 million, including the Canada learning bond for low income students; new grants for disabled students in every year of education; the new grant for low income students in first year courses; and a number of other measures.

HousingOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is not a student association in Canada, au Québec ou dans les autres provinces, that would agree with that ridiculous statement. Thousands of Canadian students are going into debt every year.

My supplementary question is for the Minister of Labour and Housing. Not only did the government break its commitment to students, but it broke its commitment to thousands of Canadians who are looking for affordable housing.

Why did the government promise $1.5 billion new money for affordable housing and not deliver a penny in the budget?

HousingOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, since 1999, the government has invested $1 billion for the homeless and for people who could potentially become homeless. Since 2001, we have committed another $1 billion toward affordable housing.

We have been working diligently with all of the provinces and have, so far, signed with Quebec, B.C., Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. We continue to work with all the provinces on a cost share basis because $700 million are still available in the pipeline for the provinces to house those people who are looking for affordable housing.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

March 11th, 2005 / 11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continue to abuse the immigration system to secure political favours. Rather than reducing waiting times, cleaning the system of abuse, corruption and fraud, they are trading ministerial permits for political and electoral support.

Last year the immigration minister gave out over 12,000 ministerial permits.

When will the minister restore transparency, lift the veil of secrecy and tell Canadians how many ministerial permits are issued for every riding and how many at the request of Liberal MPs?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the House should automatically reject any accusation and allegation of corruption unless it can be substantiated.

Every year the minister puts a report on the table for Parliament to consider showing where all of these permits came from. That member should know better. It is there for her reading.

As for what we do with respect to these permits, I have already asked the committee to help the Government of Canada determine how some of these things will be applied.

However, let me tell the member that everything is done above board, and the matter to which she refers, all of those--

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Newton--North Delta.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Gurmant Grewal Conservative Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, Liberal MPs continue to use the immigration system for political and electoral gain. Even Liberal wannabe MPs are allowed to manipulate the system. Their defeated candidate in Newton--North Delta claims to have been issued at least 11 minister's permits. The immigration minister even credits him with recent tinkering of immigration policy.

Why are the minister's Liberal friends given access to his office and foreign missions for influence peddling and to manipulate immigration and visitor's visa cases?

When will the Liberals stop trading immigration for electoral gains and politicizing the immigration system?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I guess if the member had a shred of decency he would feel embarrassed about those kinds of accusations.

The RCMP has already investigated everything and found no substance at all to those kinds of allegations. The member hurts democracy, hurts himself and hurts the community when he repeats false allegations, allegations that have already been dealt with in the justice system.

Please, Mr. Speaker, introduce an element of sanity and decency and tell them to look in the mirror and represent their constituents, because they are not doing it this way.

ForestryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry promised that his government would respond to B.C.'s request for pine beetle help within a few short weeks.

Now the Minister of Natural Resources says, “Uh, uh, ain't so”. The Liberals want to study the issue a little longer.

The pine beetle issue does not need any more studying. It needs cash.

Why was the Minister of Industry's promise broken and who speaks for the government on the pine beetle issue: the Minister of Industry, who should know the issue, or the Minister of Natural Resources who clearly does not?

ForestryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that we had an entire evening of an emergency debate to explain to the opposition what we are doing on the mountain pine beetle.

We already have a six year $40 million program on the pine beetle initiative. We have researchers in the west. We have been dealing with this since 1913 and we cover all the federal lands and properties related to the pine beetle.

ForestryOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, of that $40 million, only $5 million got to the ground and most of it went to Liberal friends, such as the candidate who ran against me who received a couple of million dollars.

Three years ago the now Prime Minister, at a Liberal fundraiser in Prince George, said that he would treat the pine beetle epidemic as a national problem and that it was the responsibility of the national government to stand behind the people, the communities and the industries that have been affected. He went on to say, get this, “We won't be strong unless we're strong together”.

Why does the Prime Minister continue to show such utter contempt for the--