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House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the labour minister was as surprised as we were to hear his colleague at human resources say that Canada has the lowest unemployment in the G-7. In fact, she is dead wrong. We are number four and the 1.2 million Canadians who are unemployed will verify that. Even more shocking is the fact that the unemployment statistics for aboriginal Canadians living off reserve are two and a half times higher.

There are applications for foreign workers to come in for the Vancouver Olympics. There is unemployment in certain sectors.

What is the government doing to match the atrociously high unemployment--

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can never be complacent about employment and unemployment, but I am pleased to say that the statistics released on Friday were very encouraging. The fact of the matter is since we balanced the books in the country, Canada's economy has generated 2.7 million new net jobs for Canadians. We have the best employment creation record in the western world.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Question Period

June 13th, 2005 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, 1.2 million Canadians are unemployed because of the government. One area where the government could improve the situation is in our shipbuilding industry.

The Prime Minister's own sons have Canada Steamship Lines which should be renamed China steamship lines. Two more ships are being built offshore because of the inaction of the government.

My question is quite simple. How many more jobs do we have to lose in the shipbuilding industry before the government and the minister finally get it?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his interest in the shipbuilding industry.

I have been meeting with the shipbuilding and industrial marine advisory committee. We are working on a strategy for the shipbuilding industry. Like any other sector in Canada or anywhere else in the world, the industry is going through tough competitive times. It needs to transform. The government has no fewer than 14 policy initiatives of benefit to the Canadian shipbuilding industry.

MarriageOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has dismissed the warnings of the Conservative Party of Canada that Canadian churches could lose their charitable tax status if they support traditional marriage. He has stated that these concerns are without foundation. Now media outlets report that activists are in fact advocating that course of action.

Why has the minister refused to legislatively protect the right of religious organizations to express their views on traditional marriage?

MarriageOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that if one looks at the charities legislation, registered charities are free to engage in public debate and conduct public awareness campaigns. They can speak out on any issue, including controversial issues.

The Income Tax Act though provides some limits on how registered charities can spend their resources. Those resources must be collected for a particular charitable purpose to be acceptable. Activities paid for by resources of a registered charity must be linked to the charity's purpose and must remain an incidental to its charitable program.

MarriageOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, those are interesting comments coming from a government that threatened a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.

Public officials, including teachers and marriage commissioners, are being fired from their jobs as a direct result of the changes being made in the definition of marriage. Now activists are threatening to have the charitable tax status of Canada's churches revoked and the minister has done absolutely nothing to protect those religious organizations.

The minister has refused to address those concerns. He has in fact ensured that some minorities are protected while others are not. Why is that?

MarriageOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member should examine the committee hearings relating to this matter when Bishop Henry appeared before the committee. He said that he received a phone call from the income tax department but never received any follow-up. I think the member is blowing smoke.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have allowed the air force to run down over the last 10 years. It is underfunded and short staffed, with an ever decreasing fleet of aircraft. It has now reached the point where it cannot maintain its base infrastructure.

CFB Goose Bay is a classic example. The Liberals made a shallow election promise to Goose Bay it cannot keep. The government now clings to the faint hope that NATO will return to conduct low level air training. All it can offer is flying exercises.

Will the minister admit it is only a matter of time before the government closes CFB Goose Bay for good?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will admit absolutely nothing of the sort. The Prime Minister has made it clear, we have all made it clear, that we are working with Goose Bay. Goose Bay is a very valuable asset for the military and for this country.

The hon. member went to Goose Bay and made outrageously extravagant promises in an attempt to get votes. They were so unrealistic and nobody believed them because they did not vote for it. We are actually working with the community of Goose Bay and our military to ensure that it is a viable and operable base for the good of the country, for the good of Goose Bay and, by the way, for the good of our NATO allies as well.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, promises made, promises soon to be abandoned.

The Liberals continue to dither on air transport which is one of the most vital capabilities of the forces. The government's long drawn out response to the tsunami crisis made all Canadians aware that our fleet of tactical air transport is seriously overcommitted and in increasing states of disrepair. This capability is the key to moving troops throughout Canada and the world, yet no concrete steps have been taken by the government to replace the fleet.

When will the minister take action to solve this problem?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. members knows, and all hon. members of the House who follow this issue closely know, there is an important discussion at this time on the relationship between a strategic lift and a tactical lift. I totally agree with the hon. member. We are focused on replacing the Herc fleet. We are focused on ensuring that we have the fleet of aircraft in place that will enable our troops to do the job we ask them to do.

At this time they are perfectly capable of doing that job. However, as we saw in the last budget, we are committed to ensuring that our troops have the equipment that will make them the best forces in the world to do that job in the future.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health does not preclude imposing fines on Quebec and the provinces following the Supreme Court ruling that opens the door to private sector health care. This is inconsistent with what the Minister of Transport said last Friday in this House, when he accused the Bloc of “trying to come up with scarecrows to frighten people”.

Can the Minister of Health allay the real fears arising out of the Supreme Court's recent ruling and promise not to punish Quebec?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House that, on the basis of this decision, Quebec need not worry with respect to any cuts in the transfer payments.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Health realize that the best way to alleviate fears on this matter is to make a clear promise that he has no intention whatsoever of imposing fines that would result in reduced health transfers to Quebec?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we just increased transfers for health care over the next 10 years by an additional $41 billion last year. I can assure the House that on the basis of this decision, Quebec or any other province need not fear any reduction in the transfer payments.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of National Defence acknowledged that deadly toxic agent orange was used some 40 years ago at CFB Gagetown. Military records show that the most dangerous ingredient of the herbicide agent orange was sprayed on unsuspecting Canadian Forces personnel at CFB Gagetown 10 years earlier.

The government is rapidly losing credibility on the issue. Why did the minister choose not to inform the House last week that the Canadian military had been spraying this deadly toxic chemical for an additional 10 years? Why the secrecy?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I sought to explain to the hon. member in the House last week, these are events that occurred over 45 years ago. We are making strenuous efforts to obtain the appropriate records, work with those who were exposed, and work with anyone in the community who knew anything about this.

We have already given compensation through veterans affairs to various members who were exposed. We will work with all those who were exposed to these chemicals to ensure that they are made whole as much possible.

However, hon. members must recognize that what occurred 45 years ago presents a real challenge in terms of getting records and being able to find--

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Oxford.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is evidence that an even more toxic chemical, agent purple, was also being sprayed on unsuspecting personnel at CFB Gagetown. Dr. Richard van der Jagt, a leukemia specialist at the Ottawa General Hospital, says that agent purple contains three times the cancer causing material found in agent orange.

When will the minister stop dancing around the issue, take action, and announce his plan to help our Canadian Forces veterans and civilians who were harmed by these deadly toxic chemicals?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have announced a plan. We have told the hon. member and everyone else in the Canadian Forces that if they were exposed to these chemicals, they were to come forward. We will work with them. We will work with veterans affairs. We will ensure that all people who were exposed to these chemicals and can show that there is a relationship between their disease and what was engaged in in the past will be compensated by veterans affairs in accordance with Canadian law and practices.

We will do that, but I ask the hon. member to recognize that now he wants to go back not just 45 years but 55 years to determine what took place. We are doing our best. Let us not confuse people with accusations. Let us work with them to get an answer.

International AidOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, there were reports from London over the weekend about a breakthrough regarding debt relief for the world's poorest nations. Going into the G-8 finance ministers meeting, there were a number of proposals on the table including the Canadian proposal.

Can the Minister of Finance tell the House the result of those discussions on this critical issue and what it means for the world's poorest countries?

International AidOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, a historic agreement among G-8 countries was indeed reached over the weekend providing at least $55 billion in debt relief to the poorest countries on earth.

It met Canada's pre-conditions which were: additionality, bringing new resources into poverty reduction; equity; and extending the benefits beyond the most indebted countries to include others that are just plain poor. The integrity of international financial institutions was assured and incentives were provided for good governance.

Canada has been a champion of debt relief. The Prime Minister put it on the world's agenda and we have prevailed.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister knows, a Liberal colleague of his offered strong support to notorious schoolgirl killer Karla Homolka by attending her recent court hearing in Quebec. That member actually stated that he did not consider her to be dangerous. In fact, the way the Prime Minister's caucus colleague spoke of Homolka, one would think that she was some kind of martyr who was unjustly punished by a totalitarian regime, namely Canada.

Does the Prime Minister condone his caucus member's comments and behaviour?