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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Magog RegionStatements by Members

June 16th, 2005 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Magog region has been experiencing a serious employment crisis for the past year. After the textile crisis, the recent job losses at SaarGummi and now the closure of Olymel have added to the bad news for workers.

I wish all my fellow citizens affected by these closures to know we have not yet said our last word on this. An industrial revitalization committee has been set up to seek solutions. All of us are working very hard to keep jobs in the Magog region and to see new ones created.

I must also thank a number of my colleagues who have supported us in this. Moreover, tomorrow the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec will be in Magog to make an important announcement, and we will be meeting community stakeholders to discuss the economic situation in the region. All levels of government must work in close cooperation on this.

Solidarity is needed now more than ever.

Wind EnergyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week the leader of the NDP urged the federal government not to invest in refurbishing New Brunswick's Point Lepreau nuclear power plant. The federal government is prepared to invest $200 million in this initiative, the total cost of which will be $1.4 billion.

The NDP is opposed to this investment, and feels that the focus ought to be on green energy instead, such as wind power, which better reflects the objectives of the Kyoto protocol.

Northeastern New Brunswick has a lot to offer, and would be an idea location for the development of wind energy. In fact, promoters in the Lamèque region have begun a project to develop a wind farm.

Another wind energy development project is being considered in the Clifton region.

This industry might create several hundred jobs in Acadie—Bathurst, as well as the Bay of Fundy area.

The NDP is environmentally sensitive and well aware of how vulnerable the environment is. This is why we are calling upon the federal government to apply the Kyoto protocol and to invest in green projects which will create sustainable employment.

Kingsclear ReformatoryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Conservative Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, over 30 years ago, one of Canada's most horrific examples of mass pedophilia took place at Kingsclear Reformatory in New Brunswick. Hundreds of boys were systematically abused by over a dozen pedophiles inside and outside the walls of this insidious institution.

Finally, after years of protestations, the RCMP complaints division is mounting an extensive investigation, the largest in the force's history, larger even than the famous APEC inquiry.

However this past week the New Brunswick government reportedly refused to turn over important information on the Kingsclear case, once again dashing the hopes for justice.

I encourage all to embrace and wholeheartedly assist the investigation. A full and transparent investigation, leaving no bulging carpet unturned, no trail not followed, no lead not investigated, will finally bring blessed closure for the victims, the RCMP and the good people of New Brunswick.

Debt ForgivenessStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday in London, the ministers of finance of the G-8 countries reached a historic agreement. This agreement forgives the national debt of 18 developing countries, most of which are in Africa, and proposes to do the same in the near future for 20 other nations, under certain conditions.

The Bloc Québécois welcomes this first step, but, aware of the growing disparity between rich countries and poor countries, again calls on the government to increase its humanitarian aid to developing countries, with no further delay, in order to reach 0.7% of GDP by 2015.

If this government is as outraged by poverty, child poverty in particular, as it claims to be, then maybe it should prove it and put an end to Canada's dubious distinction of being one of the least generous of the world's richest countries.

Conservative Party Youth CaucusStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Conservative Edmonton—Spruce Grove, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce that today the Conservative Party of Canada officially launched the young Conservative caucus, a group of 20 Conservative MPs aged 40 and under.

Our party is young and energetic, led by the youngest leader in the House. We have the youngest caucus in the House of Commons today and one of the youngest in recent history, with over 20% of our members aged 40 and under.

We have almost as many young members sitting in the House of Commons today as all the other three parties combined. We have the three youngest parliamentarians.

Our party has been extremely successful in bringing young MPs to the House of Commons. We want to build on that success by encouraging young Canadians to be involved in politics.

This caucus will provide a forum for our party to communicate with young Canadians facing a heavy tax burden, mortgage payments, student debt, child care challenges and environmental concerns.

The young Conservative caucus is a diverse and influential group that will help shape the policy and priorities of the Conservative Party of Canada and our country for years to come.

Devils Lake Water DiversionStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, today's news that Canada has won an agreement to delay diverting water away from Devils Lake while negotiations are ongoing is very significant.

I would like to thank the Prime Minister for consistently raising this issue with President Bush.

Hopefully, this delay finally signals North Dakota's acknowledgement of the serious environmental and political ramifications of such a project.

To divert these waters into Manitoba's rivers and lakes risks setting a precedent that would compromise the integrity of our longstanding boundary agreements with the United States.

I want to encourage all the hon. members of this House to join me and my Liberal colleagues, and a growing number of voices on both sides of the border, in calling on North Dakota to respect the Boundary Waters Treaty and to agree to a joint reference to the International Joint Commission.

We want to preserve water quality in the rivers and lakes of Manitoba while maintaining good relations with the United States for future generations.

LogilysStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the entire staff of the firm of Logilys in Victoriaville, which was recently recognized for the quality of the French in its ProDoc software at the Gala de la Francofête.

It was cited in the category of information technology, application and software for small and medium organizations.

Logilys, whose president is Pierre Brochu, is an example of the importance of developing regional economic diversification. It is a computer company with acknowledged expertise in consultation, analysis and the development of specialty applications.

It serves manufacturers, engineering consulting firms, companies providing rental services for facilities, halls and sports fields, and charitable organizations.

The Bloc congratulates the entire Logilys team on its work and its concern for the quality of the French language in an ever changing field.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for some time there has been growing evidence of a large spy network being operated in Canada by the Chinese government. Today the former head of the CSIS Asia desk confirmed reports from defectors that close to a thousand Chinese government agent spies had infiltrated Canada.

The Prime Minister has been evading answering this. I want to ask him very directly. Did the Prime Minister explicitly raise this violation of our sovereignty when he met with leading Chinese government officials in Beijing earlier this year?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I dealt extensively with Canada's interests. I dealt extensively with Canada's sovereignty and the need to respect state sovereignty between countries.

It is also well known that Canada maintains a vigorous counter-intelligence program to safeguard Canada's security. It is also very clear, and Canadians can rest assured, that we maintain a very strong law enforcement and security system that will enable them to be assured of their own protection and security.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, judging from that answer, the Prime Minister did not explicitly raise this issue. Not only does a foreign spy network undermine our security, it is in this case damaging our economic interests.

Today the former head of the CSIS Asia desk has said that the Chinese government is engaged in industrial espionage that costs our economy $1 billion a month.

Would the Prime Minister tell us whether he or anyone in his government has ever issued a formal protest of any kind for this type of activity in Canada by the Chinese government?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we always take all these allegations very seriously. Clearly, we enjoy a very constructive dialogue with China. We work with the Chinese. We expect from them respect for our sovereignty. When they are here, they are meant to respect our Canadian laws.

When things are brought to our attention, we refer them to the appropriate authorities in our country.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, those are non-answers to a serious question of security and national sovereignty. We should be getting answers and they should be coming from the leader of the country.

It is a matter of public record that a foreign government is spying on the activities of Canadian citizens and engaging in industrial espionage. Would the Prime Minister tell us whether his government plans to do anything at all about this in the future?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear, as I was yesterday. CSIS and the RCMP are engaged in an ongoing basis in ensuring that the collective security and economic interests of our country are protected.

I have said before that I will not discuss operational detail. I can reassure the hon. member that CSIS and the RCMP do everything that is necessary and required, based on the circumstances of any given situation, to protect the collective security of Canadians.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is appalling that the Prime Minister will not get up and answer a question about this file.

Yesterday the Senate committee issued a scathing report about the Liberal government's inaction on securing key border crossings. Among the problems, border crossings remain vulnerable because of the lack of pre-clearance or reverse inspections. It will be six years after the signing of the smart borders declaration before a pilot project on pre-clearances will begin, let alone be completed.

The report says:

At that pace today’s children will have grey hair before reverse inspection is the norm across the country.

When will the government introduce an implementation plan for pre-clearances at the border crossings as--

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, this government is very serious about security, which is why we have been working so closely with our American neighbours to ensure that we identify low risk goods and low risk people so they can cross the border in an unimpeded fashion.

The hon. member talks about getting serious about security. We have spent $9.5 billion since September 11, 2001. Another $433 million has been committed in the last budget to ensure the CBSA has the resources to do the job at our borders.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the all party Senate committee, including Liberal senators, said that the government was not serious about security. In fact, they say that security is failing.

Over 1,600 vehicles ran the border last year. RCMP detachments are being closed. In most cases police officers cannot respond in a timely manner to border calls because they are either not there or they are not close enough.

Our border officials have bullet proof vests, but they do not have sidearms to stop dangerous travellers. The Senate committee said they should.

When is the safety of our border officials going to come first? Why have firearms and the appropriate training not been made available to our front line security officers in our country?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, first, let us go back to the whole question of running the border. I wonder if the hon. member knows how many border crossings there are every year between Canada and the United States. There are 71 million and all but a handful are legal crossings where either the American customs people or our customs people are interacting with those individuals.

In relation to the question of firearms, this is an issue of long-standing debate. I certainly understand the demands of the union in question. We have done numerous job hazard analyses and all those analyses have indicated that--

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier--Sainte--Marie.

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the program for older worker adjustment was eliminated in 1997, no permanent measure has been put in place since. However, on June 14, a Bloc Québécois motion calling for the creation of an income support program for older workers passed unanimously in the House. The Prime Minister has another chance to help older workers.

Will he finally walk the talk and create an income support program for these workers?

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, we were very happy to agree with the need to have a strategy in place for an older worker program. We recognize we must help older workers, not only to upgrade their skills to stay in the workforce, but we must work together to monitor the pilot programs that are in place. We will take those evaluations into consideration when making our strategy.

We do recognize the need to have an older worker strategy in place and I am doing so.

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister may be happy, but I would like older workers to be happy too.

Instead of talking vaguely about the need for a strategy, can she say what real action will be taken? Will the government proceed and create a permanent income support program for older workers, not pilot projects, for those unable to upgrade their skills and stay in the workforce? That is what workers want. They are not all millionaires.

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, we invested $50 million five years ago in pilot programs. We have extended those programs for a year because we do take this seriously. We understand the need to invest and create programs so older workers can develop their skills to stay in the workforce.

We used to have programs that enabled workers to retire. These programs are there to enable those workers who wish to continue to work to do so. We are studying them. We will take the evaluations into consideration and ensure we adopt, adapt and make the right program for older workers.

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is important is that the existing measures to help older workers have been seriously lacking since this government cut the former assistance program, POWA. The needs of some categories of workers are urgent.

How can the government refuse to re-establish a benefits program that would allow workers aged 57 or 58, for example, who have worked their entire lives for a company that is closing, to get by from the time they are laid off until they get their pension? In my opinion, this is a matter of social justice.

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, let me say again that we understand the need to help older workers, not only to stay in the workforce, but to ensure that we evaluate these pilot programs properly. We have extended the pilot programs. We take them seriously. We will take the outcomes of those pilot programs into consideration when we develop our strategy in tandem with the provinces.