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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, in light of the concerns being expressed about the condition of rural post offices and the future of such entities, I am pleased to present a petition from the residents of Cappahayden in the great province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The petitioners call upon the government to ensure that the rural post office in Cappahayden is kept open to serve the resident users.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have nine petitions all on the same subject and which were circulated among churches in my constituency, for example, the Church of The Annunciation in Enterprise, the Evangel Temple in Napanee, and other churches in Smiths Falls, Carleton Place and Lanark Highlands.

In each petition the petitioners pray that Parliament retain the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. The petitioners point out that marriage is the best foundation for raising families and children. They point out that this is the point of view of most Canadians.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 99, 105 and 106.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 99Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

What differences are there between the policies for the imposition of entry fees on golfers wishing to golf at the course in Elk Island National Park and the course in Fundy National Park, and why do any differences in policies exist?

Question No. 99Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in both cases, park entry and green fees are charged. In Elk Island National Park of Canada, the minister sets the entry fees, which are collected at the entry gate. However, the golf course is operated independently by a lessee, who sets the green fees and collects them at the pro shop. In Fundy National Park of Canada, Parks Canada operates the golf course. Consequently, the minister sets both the entry and the green fees, which are packaged together and collected at the pro shop on behalf of the Crown.

Question No. 105Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

With regard to the study of the relationship between cod and seals being done by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans DFO: ( a ) when did this study begin; ( b ) how is this study being undertaken; ( c ) how many DFO personnel are involved in the study; ( d ) is any portion of the study been outsourced; ( e ) what is the cost of the study to the department broken down by fiscal year for the length of time the study has been underway and for the projected time it will take to complete; and ( f ) what DFO policies or recommendations have been cancelled, altered or implemented because of this research?

Question No. 105Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the Atlantic seal research program was announced by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on April 24, 2003. The objective of this program was to expand current research activities to assess the impact of seals on fish stocks. A research program to address this objective was designed in the spring of 2003 and the research activities began in the summer of 2003.

In response to (b), scientists from the Quebec, Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador regions designed a research program containing three major components: (1) seal distribution and diet; (2) seal populations assessment; and (3) development of seal management tools. The field portion of the program is now nearly completed.

In response to (c), seven scientists, two biologists and five technicians from the Quebec, Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador regions have been involved in this project. In addition, about 30 invited scientists and students were involved in this study.

In response to (d), partnerships were developed to address various components of the study. The three large surveys, harp, hooded and grey seal populations, used logistical support from Canadian Coast Guard. Scientists from other research organizations in Norway, Denmark, and the United Kingdom cooperated in various components of the study. Some of the work was done in partnership with Memorial, Laval and Dalhousie universities. Some work was conducted by fishermen and sealers. A contract was also developed with ARGOS to obtain the information from the satellite transmitters that were used in the seal distribution study.

In response to (e), the Atlantic seal research program had a budget of $6 million. The project was initially planned for two years, fiscal years 2003-04 and 2004-05. However, it was extended for an additional year to allow the completion of the analyses of the data obtained and to produce a thorough report of the program's major findings. For fiscal year 2003-04, the budget was $3,125M, for fiscal year 2004-05, the budget was $2,548M , and for fiscal year 2005-06, the budget is $327.5K. The project will be completed at the end of fiscal year 2005-06.

In response to (f), the results of the Atlantic seal research program will be used to provide advice for seal management and for ecosystem based management, especially as it relates to the management of groundfish in the Atlantic. It is too early to evaluate which policies or practices have changed, but the programs are relevant to a number of DFO strategies or recommendations to come in the future, such as cod recovery, the seal hunt, et cetera

Question No. 106Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

With regard to the oil spill on November 21, 2004 off the Terra Nova platform and Canadian Coast Guard, CCG, involvement in any response: ( a ) how many CCG personnel were involved; ( b ) over what period of time were any CCG personnel involved; ( c ) how much CCG equipment, if any, was dedicated to the response and for what amount of time; ( d ) was there any reporting internal or external to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that resulted from any CCG involvement in responding to this spill; ( e ) if CCG ships were part of the response, what responsibilities were forgone in order to respond to the spill?

Question No. 106Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, under the CCG environmental response, ER, response management system, RMS, there were three dedicated personnel involved in on-water containment and recovery operations, two dedicated shore based personnel in support of on-water operations and one individual to conduct fixed wing aerial surveillance patrols in an effort to estimate the volume of oil and its trajectory. In total, six CCG ER personnel were involved with the response to this incident. One additional person was tasked in an administrative capacity for two days, pursuant to cost recovery standard operating procedures.

CCG ER personnel were involved for a total of eight days. Pursuant to cost recovery standard operating procedures, one additional person was tasked in an administrative capacity for two days, post incident, to compile and submit the claim for ER's involvement in the operation.

One piece of dedicated pollution countermeasures equipment was deployed to the operating area for eight days.

As per standard operating procedures, incident, situation and status reports were generated and distributed internally as a result of CCG's involvement in this incident. Status reports were also distributed externally to Environment Canada, Transport Canada, the Department of National Defence and the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund.

While no CCG ships were involved in any capacity in the response to this incident, there were three dedicated on-water CCG personnel who provided assistance to the response operation from two different industry owned vessels.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

April 15th, 2005 / 12:20 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 97, 113 and 114 could be made orders for returns, the returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 97Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Williams Conservative Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

With regard to performance pay for public servants in the Executive (EX) category and the Deputy Minister (DM) category in fiscal year 2003-2004: ( a ) for each department, agency or Crown corporation, how many employees received performance pay, broken down by EX category (e.g. EX-1, EX-2, etc.); ( b ) for each department, agency or Crown corporation, how many employees are there in each EX category; ( c ) for each department, agency or Crown corporation, how many employees received performance pay, broken down by DM category (i.e. DM-1, DM-2, etc.); ( d ) for each department, agency or Crown corporation, how many employees are there in each DM category; and ( e ) for each department, agency or Crown corporation, what was the total amount paid out in performance pay?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 113Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

What discussions have taken place between government officials regarding the proposal to “twin“ the Ambassador Bridge with: ( a ) the Ambassador Bridge Company; ( b ) the Canadian Transit Company; and ( c ) any other level of Canadian or American government?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 114Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

With regard to a new international crossing in the Windsor-Detroit corridor: ( a ) what discussions have taken place regarding public versus private ownership; and ( b ) what timelines have been set for decision-making for the new crossing?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 114Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul MacKlin Liberal Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

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

Question No. 114Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Question No. 114Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005, be read a second time and referred to a committee.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the speech given by the minister, and I want to thank him for being honest and plain-spoken. I do not know whether he realized that, at the start of his speech, he said in French, “promesses faites, promesses retenues”. I just want to remind him that when a promise is “retenue”, it means it is not kept.

That is exactly what the unemployed got with regard to EI: “promesses faites, promesses retenues”. That is exactly what happened, too, with regard to sharing the wealth. The riding I represent has many expectations about many things, in different areas. The motto here too is “promesses faites, promesses retenues”.

With regard to government transparency, the unfortunate conclusion is also “promesses faites, promesses retenues”. I repeat, in French, “retenir” means to forget and not to implement.

With regard to the fiscal imbalance, too, Quebec and the provinces are being strangled, “promesses faites, promesses retenues”.

I want to thank the minister for his honesty and give him the opportunity to tell us more about the reasons why many of the promises made by this Liberal government were retained and therefore not kept.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, what I meant to say, and what is in fact the case, is that the government has done exactly what it said it would do.

It was totally clear in this budget; during the election campaign, the government had promised various initiatives for the new deal for cities and communities, the environment, child care, defence and health. In the budget speech, we saw that, without fail, the government did exactly what it had promised to do.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, on February 1 I rose in the House to speak to hon. members about the policies and priorities that I believe should have been reflected in this budget. My comments today may reflect the disappointment that I feel in the lack of acknowledgement of what I felt were very obvious and valid suggestions. Much like the first few months of the government, there has been so little action on the real issues that affect Canadians.

The Liberal minority government across the floor is sinking deeper into crisis with nothing to fall back on. There is no defence review. There is no international policy statement. There are no solutions to something that is very important in my riding, and that is the issue of BSE. We are nearing the 24 month stage of this crisis. We have seen no results.

Canadians have rightly lost faith in their elected representatives. At a time when real leadership should shine like a beacon in the fog, so many ministers are making announcements with no real plans, giving speeches with no real substance, and spending money with no real strategic vision.

In February I directly addressed the issues in the international cooperation portfolio. In February the world was just coming out from underneath the shock of the tsunami aftermath in southeast Asia. In the cool light of hindsight, there were so many lessons to be learned from Canada's response to this disaster. The government did not have a coordinated plan to react. It did not have a grasp on the seriousness of the devastation.

On the eve of unveiling the international policy review, there is an opportunity to decide who we are and what we do in the world. I believe we have been on the eve of this policy review for several months now.

What is clear is that we will not be able to meet the expectations of the world or of Canadians under this budget. Do not be fooled by the well-intentioned words of the Minister of International Cooperation. The department is not growing under the minister or under the Prime Minister. In fact, Canada's official development assistance spending has systematically been gutted under the Liberal government.

There are some damning facts from the OECD. It monitors the world's commitments to development assistance. A peer review of Canada looked back on a decade of Liberal rule, and the OECD pointed out that the ratio of its official development assistance, ODA, to gross national income has been halved. Rather than going up, it has been halved, down to .22% of gross national income in 2001 from .45% in the early 1990s. I might mention that it was the former Conservative government that got it up to the .45% level.

Canada ranks 19th out of 22 development assistance committee members in terms of ODA. Those are not stellar records. This is all based in terms of official development assistance as recorded against gross national income.

Put very simply, the government has reduced our foreign aid budgets by half since it has come to power. This is not good enough. In fact, it is unacceptable. The 8% annual increases that it has suggested are just not good enough. This will not even return Canada to our former levels of generosity in the next decade.

Finally, I want to bring to the attention of the House to the shocking news released by CIDA itself only a few weeks ago. Despite the damning rebuke of falling aid levels by the OECD and commitments to raise spending levels by the Liberal government, CIDA's most recent statistical report stated that Canada's ODA spending for 2003-04 amounted to some $2.7 billion, which represented only .23% of gross national income.

We have not moved anywhere in three years. We have fallen behind in the 11 years of Liberal government and we have fallen off the radar screen in the world.

Clearly international aid suffers under Liberals, but it has flourished under Conservatives, so rather than try to help the government find its way out of this mess, I want to address the budget bill as it stands before us.

As my colleagues have said, the Liberals should have brought at least three separate bills forward instead of trying to bully members of Parliament into passing a mish-mash of legislation all in one bill. By dividing the bill into three parts, the House would have had the opportunity to consider Kyoto measures on their own merit, the provisions to implement the Atlantic accord, and traditional budget bill measures with appropriate seriousness.

This bill just shows how arrogant the Liberal Party has become after a decade in government. It is time the Prime Minister stopped governing like he has a majority and starts governing in the best interests of Canadians.

The Liberals knew that the majority of the House would not approve their Kyoto measures if they were presented in stand-alone legislation, which is why they attached them to Bill C-43. This move has, at the very least, delayed legitimate budget measures from implementation and may have even put their implementation at risk.

The Liberals have also shown their true national unity colours in the bill. The Liberals have become toxic on this topic. They are extending their ability to alienate Canadians on our eastern shores by linking the Atlantic accord provision, that most members in the House of Commons support, with the bill to pass Kyoto. Essentially, they are holding the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia hostage with their devious ways. The Atlantic accord provisions in Bill C-43 could have been passed in one day if the Liberals had placed it in stand-alone legislation.

The Conservative Party does not play games with the well-being of Canadians. It is high time the Liberals stopped playing politics and followed the lead of the Conservative Party by acting in the best interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

In the last election, the Conservative Party committed to $58 billion in new spending and tax reductions over five years. Instead of following the leadership shown by the Conservatives, the Liberals have lined the pockets of their friends with taxpayers' money, hidden massive surpluses, and failed to address the real problems facing Canadians.

Many of the steps taken by the Liberals in the budget, as reflected in the budget, do not go far enough or occur fast enough to have a substantial impact on the well-being of Canadians. The personal tax relief measures in the bill are insufficient and are back end loaded. They amount to a reduction of no more than $16 next year. We will not have trouble spending that tax reduction. It is all of $192 when fully implemented by 2009.

The inadequate productivity enhancing measures in budget 2005 illustrate that the government is not taking warning signs that Canada's high priority programs could be put in jeopardy if comprehensive steps are not taken to grow the economy before the demographic crunch.

Some of the measures in this bill are not reflective of how they were presented in the budget document. The Liberals have once again been caught behind their false numbers. The budget document was not telling Canadians the truth about how much surplus money is available in funds for priorities.

Last week, Parliament's four experts on budgetary estimates reported to the finance committee that on average their surplus projections, parliamentary numbers, showed a surplus of $6.1 billion. That is already double what the Liberals claimed in budget 2005. This is the same pattern we saw last year with the 2004 budget, where it started out at $1.9 billion and in fact, the reciprocal was $9.1 billion when all of the smoke cleared.

The Conservative Party will work in committee to strengthen the bill, so that it is more reflective of what hardworking Canadians want and deserve.

The Conservative Party will continue to hold the Liberals to account when spending is unfocused and wasteful. Over a decade of Liberal waste, mismanagement and scandal has shown that billions of dollars sent to Ottawa would have been much better managed if they were left in Canadians' pockets.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Guy Côté Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-43 and the budget provide a series of measures that are absolutely not in tune with Quebeckers' priorities. Let me just quickly remind the House that the government's management of the EI plan has been a disaster. Bill C-43 does not in any way respond to the concerns of Quebeckers.

With the Kyoto protocol, once again the polluter-paid principle is being applied instead of the polluter-pay principle, at the expense of all Quebeckers and indeed all Canadians.

Budgetary forecasting by this government has been abysmal. A Conservative member mentioned that within a few weeks time, they went from a $1.9 to a $9.1 billion surplus forecast. It is outrageous.

The Liberal government very often accuses the Conservatives of having a hidden agenda. How can they have a hidden agenda when the Prime Minister talks about it every day in the House?

Bill C-43 does not in any way meet the needs of Canadians and Quebeckers. Could the Conservative member tell us more about the impact of this bill on his constituents?