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House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ndp.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not enough. Greater efforts must be made to find new markets for Canadian cattle and livestock.

So far, the Liberal government has only announced the resumption of live cattle trade with Cuba, a country that bought an underwhelming $151,000 worth of live cattle from us over the last 10 years.

When will the minister stop making hollow announcements and start getting real results in exporting Canadian livestock?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, for whatever reason, the hon. member has forgotten our re-establishment of access into the Hong Kong market and our ability now through a protocol that we signed in China for our genetic material. We are making good progress in terms of the Japanese market. We are making good progress in terms of the Taiwanese market.

May I suggest to the hon. member that she concentrate on helping Canadian producers rather than trying to score cheap political points here on the floor of the House.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice's predecessors wasted no time filing a complaint when judges made discriminatory remarks against women and Jews. Today, the sovereignists are being targeted, and the minister is still refusing to file a complaint.

Is the minister saying that he would have done nothing and remained silent before discriminatory remarks against women and Jews at the time, which would explain his own discrimination against sovereignists today?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, no consideration is given to political or ideological affiliation in the appointment of judges.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, only 60% of those contributing to the Liberal Party since 2000 have been appointed.

The Minister of Justice built his international career and his reputation on defending victims of discrimination.

If he wants to keep this reputation, why does he not agree that he himself must call for the resignation of Michel Robert today on the basis of his discriminatory remarks against sovereignists?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, a complaint is currently before the Canadian Judicial Council. We will let the matter take its course.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Agriculture bragged about the millions paid out to producers.

A couple in my riding, Dan and Wanda Meyer from Didsbury, Alberta, both have to work off the farm in order to pay utilities and put food on the table for their three children. They were excited when they saw a brown envelope with a cheque for the direct payment portion of farm income payment. When they opened the envelope the cheque was in the whopping amount of $106.40, far short of the few thousand that they were expecting.

Given the large amount of cash in brown envelopes changing Liberal hands in Montreal restaurants, how can the minister sleep at night knowing that near destitute farmers are receiving this pittance?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I go back to the point that I made before to the hon. critic, and that is the importance of not trying to politicize this to score points on the floor of the House of Commons.

The reality is that we have had a number of programs, particularly in terms of BSE over $2 billion. At the year end we had another program valued at over $1 billion. Already 70% of that money has flowed. Hundreds of thousands of producers are benefiting from that.

As a government we will continue with the strong commitment to Canadian producers that we have demonstrated in the past. We will continue to do that in the future.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder what the minister would have to say to the families of the four most recent suicides in Saskatchewan.

Wendy and Doug Newton are from my riding. They are a hardworking couple from Crossfield who have been forced to work off the farm as well to keep it alive. They were excited when their cheque arrived on April 26. However, it was in the amount of $304. They, too, were expecting thousands.

Can the minister please explain how $304 will save the Newton farm?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we could trot out all the particular examples the hon. member wants, but again, what he is trying to do is to set the stage on something that is not a reality.

The fact is that through our CAIS program we have already provided $1.6 billion to Canadian producers. Through the farm income program we are providing close to $1 billion to Canadian producers.

The hon. member is correct, and all members in the House who understand agriculture know the serious concerns that our producers have. We are taking serious steps to assist them. We are not trying to score cheap political points.

TransportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the B.C. Assessment Appeal Board ruled that a company leasing federal waterfront property in North Vancouver will no longer be assessed at market price, reducing by 50% the annual municipal taxes paid by this industry, forcing repayment of $2.6 million in taxes previously collected.

The city and district of North Vancouver could lose several million dollars more in taxes, loss of certainty for future tax revenues, putting municipal programs and services at risk and putting pressures on residential and business taxpayers.

We need both a healthy competitive port and financially sustainable municipalities. Will the Minister of Transport commit to discussing this matter with his provincial counterpart?

TransportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

TransportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I share the concern of the member for North Vancouver. I am going to raise the issue with my counterpart, the minister of transport in British Columbia, as soon as the election is over tonight. I am sure I will be able to talk with Minister Falcon tomorrow and in the months ahead.

TaxationOral Question Period

May 17th, 2005 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, four years ago, former JDS employees received tax bills from Revenue Canada for hundreds of thousands of dollars for some make believe income. They have never seen one penny of it.

During the last election the Prime Minister, who was fully aware of the problem, told JDS employees that he would fix it. What has he done since then? Nothing. Why should the people of Canada believe the Prime Minister's future promises when he will not even keep his past ones?

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, without accepting the premise of the hon. member's question, I nevertheless thank him and also my colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca for their assistance on this difficult file.

As I have assured the House before, I am in constant touch on this issue and receive regular information. I can assure the members of the House that the agency is dealing with this on a case by case basis, in a way that is as flexible and humane as is permitted under the law.

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister does not like the premise, let me give him some of the facts that he should be getting on a daily basis.

The minister has forced numerous families into bankruptcy since the last election. Some families are being threatened by Revenue Canada with the loss of their homes and family savings. I contact these families on a regular basis. They are being shattered by the government.

The Prime Minister looked them straight in the eye and made a promise to them. They are now in tears. How can anyone believe anything the Prime Minister says?

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, again I cannot accept the premise and the law does not permit me to deal with the individual cases to which the hon. member makes reference. I can assure him that my agency is pursuing an administrative solution to this matter with the greatest degree of flexibility and fairness that the law permits.

Canada PostOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning, more than a 100 Canada Post employees expressed their grave concerns about the possible loss of close to 200 jobs at the rue Saint-Paul postal station in Quebec City. If the mail is rerouted to Montreal, 200 jobs in the Quebec City area are at risk.

Can the minister responsible for Canada Post give us any reassurance as to that agency's intentions, and can he commit to maintaining these 200 mail-sorting jobs in Quebec City?

Canada PostOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post must monitor, and react to, demographic changes as well as changes in demand trends throughout the country. I can assure the hon. member that no jobs will be lost. This is, however, a reaction to a country-wide change in demand trends.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for Official Languages.

Given the threat of an upcoming election, one which Canadians certainly do not want, and given also the fact that Canadians living in minority communities want Bill S-3 to pass in order to enhance their protection, is the minister prepared to do whatever it takes, in cooperation with the committee, to pass Bill S-3 on official languages this very week?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Bill S-3 would make part VII of the Official Languages Act justiciable. The government is in favour of this objective, with some amendments in order to better delineate the scope of the bill.

The question is quite simple. I am being asked whether the government is prepared to speed up consideration of this bill. The government would welcome the unanimous support of the opposition parties to proceed more quickly with consideration and passage of this bill.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Dr. Saleh Abdullah Bin Hemeid, President of the Shura Council of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

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 the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to address Bill C-43, the budget implementation bill. It is a little confusing this year when dealing with the budget. We do not know if we are talking about the Liberal budget that was presented in the House a while ago, or if we are addressing the NDP budget that came in some time after that or the billion dollars a day the Prime Minister has been promising since then. Someone once said, “a million here and a million there” and pretty soon we are talking about real money.

It seems unbelievable that the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister could bring a budget to the House that would give direction to the country, that would give an economic plan to progress the country to the next five to ten years, then within a month throw it out the window, broker deals with other parties in the House and go around and promise another $22 billion. What is the economic plan of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to lead Canada?

We have seen some nervousness in the markets, our dollar and other issues that directly affect Canada as far as investment is concerned. People are not sure of the direction the government. That nervousness is reflected in the lack of confidence that investors have in Canada.

We need investment in industry. We need investment in the issues that Canadians need on a day to day basis. We need investment in research and development. We talk a great deal about putting money into research. Some good dollars do go in to it and some good research is done. In my riding of Lethbridge, at the university and the college, at the Lethbridge Research Station, animal disease research centre, great research is being done. However, the investment in development afterward to bring the research and those ideas to reality is not there.

Corporations, citizens, businesses, average mom and pop operations are being overtaxed and they are unable to put that money back into the development of the country. If this is allowed to happen, it spurs on more business and economic activity. The Liberal Party in all of its time in government in the last 12 years has missed the fact that the engine which drives the economy is not the government. It is businesses, small and large, that create the kind of economic development, create jobs and stability for families.

We support a couple of issues which we have pushed the government on recently and in the last number of years, particularly the Kyoto protocol. When I was first elected in 1997, I was deputy environment critic on the environment committee. One of the first questions I asked in the House had to do with the government's plan on Kyoto, when it went to sign the protocol. We are still asking.

Billions of dollars have been spent. Targets have not been reached. The targets that are there are not reachable. The smog in cities is as bad or worse than it was. There are no better water systems in the country. We are still asking the question, what is the plan? While the Kyoto protocol is not something that we will support, we will create a made in Canada solution to these issues and we will put real resources toward it. It will be a real plan to clean up the air, the water and the land. I tell the schools in my riding that I am not very proud of the record that my generation has when it comes to the environment.

It will be up to the younger generation to clean up the mess that we have helped make. However, we have to lay the groundwork now to enable them to do that. The Kyoto protocol will not do that. It will further drive our country down in its productivity and its ability to compete with other countries. Let us have a made in Canada solution and that is something we propose.

The government brought forward a $16 a year per taxpayer tax relief plan. It is hard to imagine that it could even come up with a figure that would adjust someone's take home pay by that much. It is absolutely ludicrous. We need substantive tax relief for low and middle income families.

We need a day care plan that does not give money to bureaucrats and organizations. We need a plan that puts money into the pockets of the parents so they can decide how to take care of their children. If we did that, it would be a substantive tax relief to families so they would have some choices. We do not have to look very far. We only have to look within our own families. They struggle to make ends meet at the end of every month and in many cases are unable to do it.

We talk about record credit card debt at outlandish interest rates. Many families are getting into these issues and these kinds of problem.

It is no different in my riding of Lethbridge. We have a very vibrant community. The city of Lethbridge has 75,000 people. It has a university and a college. It has a strong economic base of mom and pop operations. It has an industrial park. We have the surrounding area which is agriculture, intensive livestock, irrigation. A lot of dollars get turned over in the riding in a month or in a day. We need that type of activity in the country on a more general basis to foster economic growth.

However, the basic industry that drives the rest is agriculture. We asked questions of the agriculture minister a few minutes ago. We asked him what he would do if our border was closed to not only live cattle. R-CALF, the protectionist group in the United States, has now asked the court in Billings, Montana, the court which did not allow the border to be opened to live cattle when it was supposed to be, to expand that injunction to include boxed beef. If that happens, the price of cattle in this country will just take a nosedive like we have never seen before.

The minister sits here day after day talking about the wonderful things he has done to improve capacity. The loan loss reserve program that the government has implemented is not working. Bankers have told us that as far as they are concerned it does not exist, that it is a hindrance not a help. We need some major work done on increasing our slaughter capacity and finding other markets than traditional markets for our beef.

The judge in Billings has three options to make. He can throw out the injunction and open the border, or he can uphold the present injunction and close the border to live cattle or can expand it. We have asked the minister what his plan is if it is expanded. We have received fluff answers. We have not had any concrete answers from him. That needs to be addressed in a very serious manner.

I am getting calls from others in the agriculture community, from the grain farmers. My colleague from Wild Rose mentioned a case that has been brought to his attention. I have similar cases where people have been expecting substantive help through the CAIS program. When they actually get it, it is $140 which is not even enough to buy one tonne of fertilizer to help pay the fuel bill.

Since it was implemented, we have been after the government to do something about that program, to make it work for producers. We pushed for the government to waive the cash deposits and it did that. However, the program cannot be triggered for those who need it, and something has to be done about that.

The NDP stands in the House and pretends that it is supporting farmers. When we saw the special side deal between the Prime Minister the NDP, there was nothing in it for farmers. There was nothing in it for seniors. Why was that not addressed? The Liberals missed it in the original budget and they did not address it in the NDP budget. The Prime Minister has been crossing the country spending a billion dollars a day on average since then and he has not addressed those issues either.

We know that these are not priorities for the government. We know we will see a continuation of overtaxation and overspending. The priorities of Canadians are not being met, and we need to bring this back to reality.

Then there is the gas tax money for municipalities. It is amazing how the Liberal government has spun this. It was this party that brought motions to this House to put some of the gas tax back into infrastructure. We pushed that issue. We pushed it time and time again. Now we find that the Liberals are threatening municipalities that if the budget does not pass they are not going to get that money. We have made the recommendation that they will get that money.

We cannot continue to bring forward budgets like this with shotgun programs that do not direct and project the economic growth of the country for five or ten years down the road.