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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

JusticeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, anyone familiar with justice in Canada, including violent crime victims, must have been shocked yesterday to hear the justice minister say that mandatory minimum sentences did not deter crime. I understand Liberal nervousness about crimes with mandatory jail sentences. I was asking about crimes with knives, not cash envelopes and chequebooks.

Could the minister explain his outrageous view, which is an insult to crime victims, police and law-abiding Canadians who demand protection?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member really should do a little research. If he did the research, he would find that mandatory minimum penalties do not generally work.

If we look at the experience in the United States, we will see that it now is removing so many of its mandatory minimum sentences simply because the courts and the lawyers in the system have found ways around them and they really have not become effective as deterrents.

JusticeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister's academic banter may sound enlightened in the we know best taxpayer subsidized limousine lecture hall, but it rings hollow to people victimized by knife crimes and the police who fight crime on our streets each and every day.

Could the minister explain yesterday's answer in light of existing mandatory minimum sentences for firearm homicide, drunk driving and other crimes? Is he perhaps looking at a Liberal knife registry?

JusticeOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member looks at the record, he will find that we have more mandatory minimum sentences relating to gun use and gun crime than any other area within our law. That is already in place. We have to work with many tools within our arsenal in order to deal with crime. Mandatory minimums are there, but we also need to put resources with our police. We need to ensure the police have all the tools necessary to meet the needs of our communities.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, to justify Quebec's treatment in the Kyoto implementation plan, the Minister of the Environment said that there was no target for hydro electricity because it does not produce greenhouse gases. What a thing for a minister from Quebec to say.

Is the Minister of the Environment's reductio ad absurdum reasoning not proof that with his plan, Quebec is a victim of its own success since its past efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are being completely ignored?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is not a victim. Quebec is a partner in terms of the plan. It is because of the good work in Quebec and in the other provinces and the partnership fund. It is in our work with Quebec, Ontario and the other provinces that we will be able to advance this plan. Fortunately, the Minister of the Environment has more confidence in the people of Quebec than the hon. member.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister said in committee that he plans to sign bilateral agreements with each province. Does the minister intend to change his approach and can he commit to signing an agreement with Quebec, giving it full authority to implement the plan on its own territory?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in this federation we all work collaboratively together. The minister is working with his counterpart in Quebec, I know very effectively. In fact, the minister in Quebec has more faith in what is going on than the Bloc, but I would expect that. What I do not expect is that the party across the way, which is supposedly concerned about climate change, continues to shoot hot air rather than talk about the real facts on this subject.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, individuals who apply for employment insurance benefits have now been informed that from now on they will have to apply online. No more report cards will be sent out and, in the words of one office manager, “These will be paperless offices”.

Could the minister inform us how individuals who have no access to or knowledge of the appropriate technology will be able to apply for employment insurance benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, we worked on the transformation of services to give citizens the choice as to which channel that they wanted to use to be in contact with the Government of Canada. It could be by phone, by the web, in person or by mail. All the services are designed right now to answer those choices.

MarriageOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy, NB

Mr. Speaker, despite a Supreme Court of Canada decision that clearly said otherwise, the Liberal government continues to falsely claim that it can change the definition of marriage and also protect freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Now Bishop Henry of Calgary is facing complaints before a human rights commission for speaking out on marriage.

The government and the Prime Minister have been a total failure at protecting Canadian freedoms. Will the Prime Minister simply admit that he will not and cannot protect Canadian freedoms?

MarriageOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have spoken about this matter in the House on numerous occasions and clearly the charter is very important to each and every one of us. Within the context of federal law and federal jurisdiction, we are protecting everyone who would be affected in that regard.

Within the provincial structure, we recently held provincial-federal meetings where Ontario was one of the provinces that had conducted many of these marriages. It has not had any problems whatsoever.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Trade involving Canada's dairy policy.

Canadian milk producers want better controls at the border on imports of dairy ingredients. However, for the last number of weeks now the Canadian International Trade Tribunal has been making certain changes that will dramatically affect the industry.

Will the minister now initiate, under article 28 of GATT, measures that could stop the erosion of our supply management system?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the hon. member for the very strong stand he has taken on behalf of our agricultural producers and in particular our milk producers.

Let me assure the House that the Minister of Agriculture and I will work as hard as we possibly can, leaving no stone unturned, to protect supply management and our milk producers. The number one thing that we have to get through is the WTO negotiations where we have worked to date, along with the supply management, to protect those industries.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue.

The President of the Treasury Board stated that there was no policy to close rural post offices. That is small comfort to my constituents when, in an audit by Deloitte & Touche, it was found that Canada Post failed to comply with its policies in 355 of 599 cases that were reviewed.

The workers' union president said that the corporation was more interested in paring down post offices than building them up.

In a year of record profits, will the minister state on the record in the House for the constituents of Souris--Moose Mountain that there will be no closure of rural post offices in 2005?

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am acutely aware that the post office is the most important face of the federal government in much of rural Canada. That is why the government has for many years had a policy of not closing post offices in rural Canada.

I do not know how many times I have to say this. The only time when there may be temporary closures is if there is a small building with conditions that are not subject to the health rules and nobody willing to run the post office. Other than that, the post offices stay open.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, without a doubt that minister is the Forrest Gump of the postal service. Stupid is as stupid does.

Despite his denouncement--

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member is smart enough to know that we do not use that word in the House, and twice at that. The hon. member for Portage—Lisgar will want to withdraw that after question period but he can continue now.

Canada PostOral Question Period

Noon

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, despite the fact the minister denies it, post offices are closing across Canada. Canada Post has closed three post offices in Manitoba alone in the last four months and ten have been closed in Saskatchewan in the last two years. While that is happening, the minister makes excuses and denies it in the House. No more denials.

When did the government decide to end the moratorium on post office closures and when will it be restored?

Canada PostOral Question Period

Noon

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know the difference between urban and rural. Urban means cities. Rural means countrysides and small places. The moratorium applies to rural, countrysides and small places. No moratorium assessed the conditions and in fact the number of urban post offices has increased.

Rural: country; urban: city. Please get that clear.

National DefenceOral Question Period

April 15th, 2005 / noon

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bagotville military base is the only air force base operating in French in North America. This promotes the recruiting and training of francophones who contemplate a career in the air force.

Despite the reassuring words of the Minister of National Defence regarding the base's future, there are still concerns and these are shared by several former members of the military.

Can the minister confirm that the Bagotville base will remain operational and that the government has no intention of reducing the activity level at that location?

National DefenceOral Question Period

Noon

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am going to repeat what I have said time and again in this House. We have absolutely no intention of reducing any operational activities at the Bagotville base.

Of course, there are always reorganizations taking place within our air and armed forces. We are currently discussing a very important policy to reorganize our air force and our Canadian forces, so that they can deal with threats. This is extremely important for Canada. We will do that, but there is no question of closing the Bagotville base.

TransportationOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

David Anderson Liberal Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the port of Prince Rupert has the advantage of much shorter sea routes to Asian destinations than all the other west coast ports in both Canada and the United States.

I wonder if the Minister of Transport could explain to the House what plans the government may have to improve the capacity of the port of Prince Rupert.

TransportationOral Question Period

Noon

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to tell the House that at this moment the Minister of Industry is in Prince Rupert announcing the contribution of $30 million from the Government of Canada to ensure we have a great container port in Prince Rupert opening the gateway to the Pacific. I want to pay tribute to the members of the B.C. caucus and also to the Deputy Prime Minister for their efforts in making this happen.

This is a great day for Prince Rupert, a great day for B.C. and a great day for Canada.

AgricultureOral Question Period

Noon

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is about time the government did something for B.C. It has been 13 years.

There is mounting evidence and concern that the United States has been hiding its cases of mad cow while keeping its border closed to Canadian beef. These concerns have been raised by the U.S. department of agriculture inspectors themselves.

Since we are importing American beef into our country and its safety is in question, will the minister close our borders to American beef, launch an investigation and stand up for Canada and the safety of Canadian food?