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House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was salmon.

Topics

Supporting Communities Partnership InitiativeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Richmond B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan LiberalMinister of State (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, the SCPI program is very important. It does a very good job in helping seniors. The government has renewed it. We are extending it. We are going to do a good job in making sure that all seniors in this country are being looked after.

Supporting Communities Partnership InitiativeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that if he does not renew the SCPI—not later, not in six months or a year—in view of the administrative delays involved in analyzing projects, many shelters and drop-in centres, soup kitchens and hostels run the risk of having to close their doors by March 31, 2006?

Will he stop putting this off and act now?

Supporting Communities Partnership InitiativeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Richmond B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan LiberalMinister of State (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand why the hon. member does not want to take yes for an answer. I just said that the SCPI program would be renewed. The government is going to ensure that the homeless and seniors are looked after.

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, the agriculture minister seems bound bent on ensuring that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency remains unaccountable. As it stands, Bill C-27 permits the CFIA to seize or destroy property without accountability for its actions or compensation for those who have been unfairly treated. The CFIA itself defined accountability as training its inspectors in the new rules and regulations.

Why does the minister refuse to legislate that the CFIA be held responsible for its actions?

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, accountability and good public management are issues that the government is very much seized of. That particular minister has a very strong voice on it. I know he is looking at these issues as we look at the broader question of how we hold public sector institutions to account.

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is asking us to approve legislation that protects the CFIA but not producers or processors. Nothing is stopping the government from amending Bill C-27 to ensure that the CFIA does not abuse its powers.

As it stands, agrifood processors can have their inventories seized and operations shut down by the CFIA for two years, be found innocent and then have no recourse for their losses. Can the minister explain why he believes this is just and fair?

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the minister who is deeply engaged in these issues would say the same thing that I said to committee yesterday on a different bill. We do a great disservice to the citizens of Canada when we try to legislate by responding to question period questions. It is not about winning a point. It is about building legislation that is in the best interests of this country.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, a week ago I received a letter from a young farmer in my riding. On the verge of bankruptcy, he was told he did not qualify for government assistance for spring seeding. When he tried to get some interim funding under CAIS, he was told that he was ineligible as he had not farmed for long enough and that he should wait and apply next year.

Why does the government make it impossible for young farmers to keep their farms?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, any time a person gets into the kind of trouble that was described by the member it is a tragedy. It is difficult. Farming is very risky. A great deal of problems can occur. It could be the weather or people's ability to get their crops to market. However, I will say that the minister has done more than anybody in recent history to ensure that the business risk system is as flexible and as progressive as it possibly can be.

Rather than trying to respond to a specific case, the member should concentrate on supporting the minister in putting in place the best business risk management program that a country can have.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government will have to toot its own horn pretty loudly to drown out the cries of young farmers.

If the government is so confident that CAIS works, why did the agriculture committee ask the Auditor General to audit farm aid spending through CAIS and why did the Liberal MPs try to block the review?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to comment on issues that happen within committee. The member can ask that in committee of the other members who are dealing with these issues.

I rather suspect it is exactly the same as what is going on in a number of committees where the official opposition, unlike the other two opposition parties, are not the least bit interested in engaging in making good legislation. The official opposition is simply interested in winning a political point, which unfortunately may work in this forum, but does not create good legislation.

NatoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, former chief of defence staff General Ray Henault was formally installed as chairman of NATO's military committee on Thursday. What does this mean for NATO and what does this mean for Canada?

NatoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the hard work he does on the defence committee.

I think all members of the House would take pleasure in knowing of the appointment of our former chief of defence staff as the highest ranking military officer in NATO, our most important military alliance. This will give a chance for Canada's perspective to be brought forward at the highest councils of NATO as it goes forward with its transformation in the hands of a highly professional, dedicated officer who was a great chief of the defence staff here.

I know he will contribute greatly to this important alliance. It is most important to bring a Canadian perspective there at this time. We are grateful he is there. We wish him well in this important task.

Democratic ReformOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for electoral reform.

Twenty-five years ago, two distinguished Canadians, John Robarts and Jean-Luc Pepin, recommended that a system of proportional representation be added to the House of Commons. They said the need was urgent on a national unity basis. Regrettably, since then nothing has been done. We still have elected, unrepresentative, regionally divisive caucuses.

Will the minister assure the House that he will accept the report that was tabled yesterday that includes citizens engagement and almost certainly will result at last in a system of proportional representation in the House of Commons?

Democratic ReformOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank the hon. member and the others on the committee who did a very good report which was tabled in the House yesterday. Although the committee did not ask for a government response, it is the intention of the government to respond fully to this report in the usual timeframe.

I want to say that it is going to be treated very seriously, but one should be careful not to prejudge the work that the committee itself has recommended we do in engaging with the citizens and having a special parliamentary committee. The government will respond fully and seriously to this report without prejudging its work.

Democratic ReformOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's answer and I take him at his word.

The minister knows full well that if the citizens engagement group and the parliamentary committee are to get under way early in September, preparatory work will have to be done starting as early as in the next few weeks, especially for the citizens engagement process.

Will he assure the House that this work will be undertaken in the next few weeks so that the committees can start their work early in the fall?

Democratic ReformOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, the government will do what has to be done in order to address this report in a serious and respectful manner, in the way that the committee itself did its work. In the spirit of that report, the answer is yes.

AgricultureOral Question Period

June 17th, 2005 / 11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey Conservative North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I received a package of information on the Nappan Experimental Farm through access to information the day before yesterday. On the same page where it states that the Nappan Experimental Farm is going to be closed, the second part of the story is given, that a second farm in Nova Scotia is going to be closed.

Every Nova Scotian should listen to these words. The document states that the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre at Kentville will be phased out; the food quality safety program will be moved to Prince Edward Island; the horticulture research program will be moved to Quebec; and the plant breeding programs will be phased out.

At a time when farmers need all the help they can, why are these experimental farms being closed?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, exactly the same process is going on in my province.

The minister in this particular case has made a commitment that there will be no diminishment of the research capacity in the province. What there is is a sincere attempt by a group of stakeholders to reorganize the research infrastructure to get the best possible value out of it. That is what is going on. It is an attempt to improve things, not make them worse. Unfortunately, the opposition never takes enough time to try to understand that.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey Conservative North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, this paper is labelled as secret for some reason, but this is scary. The Minister of Public Works represents the riding where the Kentville research centre is located and it is now depending on the public works minister, whose main purpose in life is to divest of government facilities. The centres have to depend on him to defend them.

The President of the Treasury Board says it is a great thing to do. Agriculture in Nova Scotia cannot afford this and the government has to change it. We want the government to stop the closures in Nappan and Kentville, and to do it now.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, there are simply none so blind as those who will not see. The reality is that the minister has made some commitments. He has committed that research capacity in the province will be maintained. He has provincial stakeholders involved in it. They are looking at this. They are working to get to the best possible solution they can on behalf of farmers.

That is what the minister is committed to. That is what he has always been committed to. That is what the government and the Prime Minister are committed to.

FinanceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Charlie Penson Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, in his 2004 budget, the Minister of Finance set the surplus at $1.9 billion, only to admit a few months after the last election that it was really $9.1 billion. This was a continuation of the previous finance minister's sorry record of consistently lowballing the surplus.

The minister finally decided to buy some time by appointing Tim O'Neill to do a comprehensive, independent review of the government's economic and fiscal forecasting. The press release announcing the appointment stated that the review was to be completed by early 2005. I would remind the minister that it is June 17, 2005. Where is the report?

FinanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Dr. O'Neill has worked very hard on his assignment. I would expect that he will be able to put his report in the public domain, and then it would be referred to the finance committee of the House of Commons, perhaps as early as next week.

FinanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Charlie Penson Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister and his Minister of Finance were caught lowballing the surplus again last fall, they were sufficiently embarrassed and concerned about their lack of credibility that they appointed Tim O'Neill to study the situation.

Meanwhile, the finance committee has also considered the merits of having an independent fiscal forecasting office and is ready to report back to Parliament. The problem is that we still have not heard from Mr. O'Neill. The minister has the report, we understand, but will not release it. Is that because it is telling him something he does not want to hear?

FinanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the report is being translated and it will be available very shortly for members of Parliament. I made the commitment that it would go to the finance committee, and whatever Dr. O'Neill has to say about the forecasting requests of the finance committee will be very shortly in the public domain.

In the meantime, we continue to have the best fiscal record in all of the G-7 countries.