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House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was development.

Topics

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, a thorough examination of RCMP resources in Quebec has revealed a need to restructure and redeploy RCMP personnel in order to more effectively fulfill the RCMP's mandate as the federal law enforcement agency in that province. Resource allocation is an operational matter, and the commissioner needs to be able to deploy his available resources so as to fulfil the RCMP's mandate as effectively as possible.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of the softwood lumber dispute, the Americans have collected $4 billion in countervailing duties from the lumber industry. The courts have ruled that these duties violated WTO and NAFTA provisions.

Does the Prime Minister, who is currently in Texas, intend to bring to the fore, in his discussions with President Bush, the return with interest of the $4 billion which was unfairly exacted from the softwood lumber industry in Canada and Quebec and which the American industry wants to keep for itself?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Of course, Mr. Speaker.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the industry is justifiably concerned that the government might be attempting to buy peace with the Americans and be prepared to settle for a bargain deal.

As Canada is on the verge of winning across the board before the trade panels, could the Minister of International Trade clearly set out the bottom line conditions that have to be met for Canada to enter into an agreement with the Americans?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I will never settle for anything that is not in the best interests of all Canadians.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

March 23rd, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are watching closely how this government is handling confessions of cronyism and corruption in the sponsorship program. They see the government now talking tough about going after ad agencies for improper billing. That is something that it allowed and encouraged, but the government becomes evasive when it comes to going after ill-gotten gains from its own Liberal Party.

Why is the government so eager to go after ad firms that did some of the dirty work instead of its own Liberal Party that got some of the dirty money?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again I will bring to the hon. member's attention today's National Post editorial, which says that in terms of any inappropriate funds, retrieving these funds from the Liberal Party “may not require a separate lawsuit, as the opposition called for this week, if the party willingly returns however much money it obtained inappropriately”.

The fact is that the party has voluntarily said that it will return any funds that were inappropriately gained once we have all the facts and Justice Gomery has presented his report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Justice Gomery now has a growing list of confessions about money kicked back to the Liberal Party. Just days before the 2000 election, thousands flowed to the Liberal Party from one agency alone. The political minister for Quebec over there pledged that the Liberal Party would never campaign with tainted money, but that is exactly what it did.

Now, facing public outrage, the government's weak response is that the party will pay the money back if Gomery tells it to. Why would Canadians trust an IOU from a morally bankrupt Liberal Party?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would also draw her attention to the National Post editorial today which stated:

It is to [the Prime Minister's] credit not only that he called the sponsorship inquiry, but that he has stuck with it....We trust that, once its work is finished, he will show the same integrity in acting upon its findings.

That is a promise made. That will be a promise kept by a Prime Minister who keeps his promises to Canadians.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, in its handling of the sponsorship racket, the Liberal government is applying a double standard: it rushes to lay criminal charges to retrieve the sponsorship money, but, curiously, exonerates the Liberal Party.

Has it got a licence to print money? Is the Minister of Transport going to tell us that the Liberal Party is vaccinated against prosecution or will he simply agree to clean out the Liberal stables?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we do not need to prosecute the Liberal Party because the party has been clear. If, in fact, it has received funds from agencies or individuals who are found guilty, it will voluntarily reimburse the taxpayers.

I assume that perhaps the hon. members opposite have been cut off from the National Post . Perhaps the National Post has cut off their subscriptions for lack of payment, because usually they read the National Post and they quote from the National Post editorials. Today we have a National Post editorial that gives the Prime Minister fair credit for his courage in appointing Justice Gomery and supporting Justice Gomery's work.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the new Liberal slogan should be money taken, money kept.

This government has double standards in the sponsorship scandal. Government members say to let Justice Gomery do his work and then they turn around and launch lawsuits. They launch lawsuits to recover stolen money, but not against the Liberal Party, which apparently has been granted some kind of special immunity despite receiving illegal contributions. This government is serving only its own interests by shielding the Liberal Party from lawsuits.

Can the minister tell us who, other than the Liberal Party, qualifies for special immunity from sponsorship lawsuits? Why does it continue to put its own interests ahead of the interests of Canadian taxpayers?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I guess it has been a while since the hon. member, who once was a lawyer, actually practised law, but the fact is that while the party has pursued civil action against these firms and individuals to retrieve funds on behalf of the Canadian taxpayer, there is no verdict. As such, it would be inappropriate for the party to act without having some sort of verdict, or at least the result of Justice Gomery's work, to give us the facts so that we can act on the facts.

The hon. member is citing allegations. No responsible government acts based on allegations. We act based on the facts.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, while it is clear that the opposition continues to be firmly and completely opposed to the Kyoto protocol, the government continues to work with Canadian stakeholders from all sectors to achieve meaningful greenhouse gas reductions.

In this regard, could the Minister of Natural Resources please confirm that the Government of Canada has reached a voluntary agreement with the auto industry on reducing vehicle greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Avalon Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce today that we have indeed reached a voluntary agreement with the Canadian auto sector in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This voluntary agreement is good for the auto industry and it is good for Canadians.

I want to thank my colleagues, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Industry, for working with us in accomplishing this agreement. I also want to thank the chair of the auto caucus of Ontario for the role the caucus played in this.

This is a deal that we are proud of, based on 14 previous agreements, good for Canadians and good for the auto industry.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada reports that visible minorities will be the majority of the population in Canada's largest cities by 2017. Much of this growth will come from immigration.

We need immigrants for our labour force and population growth, but Canada must not have frustrated, disillusioned and increasingly angry new residents who are not able to work in their professions. We do not need an immigration system that gives points for education and training that cannot be backed up by a job.

Where is the comprehensive plan to put new immigrants to work using their skills and training?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the government has already launched a multi-faceted plan. Members on both sides of the House will recall that there is already $68 million in place for foreign credentials recognition, an effort to coordinate 14 different departments, 13 different provincial and territorial governments and 450 universities and institutions of higher learning, professional bodies and licensing bodies.

In addition to that, there is a $75 million lump sum that was put in the health accord specifically directed to human health resource development, specifically for family physicians over the course of the next five years. I think that is a pretty good start.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is no comprehensive plan. There is no plan for Kyoto, no plan for child care, no plan to stop credit card medicine and no plan to recognize international credentials.

Canada cannot maintain its reputation as a first choice for immigrants if we continue to fail them. Newcomers are now considering abandoning Canada. This is an urgent daily crisis, dashing the hopes of thousands. Where is the plan? Where are the results?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thought the specifics of that program were pretty good, but there is another one and that is the fact that the Government of Canada has created some three million jobs over the course of the last 10 years, 250,000 last year alone. Those are great draw factors that are great equalizers for everyone. They attract people. They bring people here.

We have reduced our deficit to zero. We have reduced unemployment to 7.1% nationally. These are draws that give people an opportunity to reach out and succeed and that is what makes for good immigration--

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton--Strathcona.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the sponsorship racket is still going on, stronger than ever. We have learned that some officials of the aquatic games were recently still receiving their 15% on advertising and sponsorships.

Can the Minister of State for Sport assure the House that no government contributions to the Montreal aquatic games have resulted in commissions for Serge Savard, Yvon Desrochers or any other Liberal organizer?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again we have a member commenting on testimony, on allegations, and not on facts, which is really curious behaviour given that his own leader is saying that the testimony is flawed and in fact some witnesses are lying in their testimony.

If in fact his leader is right, that some of the testimony is flawed, then his leader ought to tell the hon. member that it is not a good idea to comment on what could be flawed testimony. In fact, a good idea would be to wait for Justice Gomery to complete his analysis and submit his report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs swears that she did not know that Liberal organizers had been compromised in the sponsorship of the Corona theatre. The same Liberals were recently negotiating VIA Rail and Canada Post sponsorships and advertising for the aquatic games.

Can the Minister of National Revenue assure the House that there has never been any question of payoff for Serge Savard, Yvon Desrochers or any other Liberal organizer from these contributions?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again I will draw the member's attention to today's National Post editorial which says:

It is to [the Prime Minister's] credit not only that he called the sponsorship inquiry, but that he has stuck with it...We trust that, once its work is finished, he will show the same integrity in acting upon its findings.

We will be keeping that promise because our Prime Minister keeps his promises to Canadians. That is why he had the courage to do the right thing in establishing the Gomery commission to do its work. We should support Justice Gomery and cooperate fully because we are not afraid of the truth on this side of the House.

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it has been almost a full year since Canada Post asked the Liberal pork-master general, André Ouellet, to produce receipts for $2 million of lavish expense claims without result. The government's total lack of effort on this file gives a strong indication that it has cut a damage control deal with its patronage pal. This is clearly a cover-up. It has nothing to do with accountability. It has everything to do with Liberals helping Liberals.

Since the government will not get the receipts, can it tell Canadian taxpayers when they will get their $2 million back?