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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

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite what the parliamentary secretary says, the way things are at the moment there is nothing to prevent the fund from being plundered by the government.

Does the parliamentary secretary therefore intend to support the bill to create an independent fund, thereby assuring workers that in the future their contributions will be properly protected against any government interference?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I think the member knows that successive auditors general have said that these funds belong in the general revenue fund. This is the government's position and it is the Auditor General's position.

By the way, I think, Mr. Speaker, with regard to your rulings on the royal recommendation, it is your position as well.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary ought to check his sources, because what he has just said is incorrect.

On June 14, members were unanimous in expressing their support for a motion on an older worker income support program. That motion was not about the pilot projects the minister boasts about endlessly, but about the creation of a permanent program to help older workers when they lose their jobs.

Does the minister intend to respect the wishes of the members of this House and create an income support program for older workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that some older workers are having problems when they are laid off. We do understand that. We know also that people are working longer and are retiring later.

The government has had a number of projects. I would mention in particular the investment of $50 million in the older workers pilot projects initiative which concludes this year.

I am pleased to advise all members in the House that this initiative was recently extended to 2006 and enriched by $5 million.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the pilot projects do not meet the needs of older workers, who cannot be retrained and are the victims of massive lay-offs.

Can the government understand that what is needed is a permanent program to provide income support for older workers between the time they lose their jobs and the time they start receiving their pensions?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the EI program is designed to help all workers, whatever their age. We are continually adjusting it to changes in the labour force, be it changes in the demography of the labour force or in the gender balance of the labour force.

I would point out that many older workers are assisted through our existing employment programs. In fact, 160,000 workers aged 45 or over were assisted by those programs this year.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, last February, the Prime Minister said that Canada would not participate in ballistic missile defence.

Apparently, U.S. defence contractor, Raytheon, did not get the message and, as we now know, is scouting Goose Bay as the site for the “eyes” of the U.S. missile defence shield.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister stand in her place today and tell Raytheon that Canada is not interested in its proposals? Will she reaffirm the government's commitment that there will be no star wars in Canada and no participation, or will this be yet another broken Liberal promise?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, myself and everyone in this House have been very clear on this. Canada is not participating in ballistic missile defence and we have no intention whatsoever of participating in ballistic missile defence.

If a private company wishes to go around and scout out, as the hon. member said, or try to sell something, there is nothing we can do to stop that. It is a free country.

However we have not been approached by the United States government. There have been no discussions of any kind about this on an official level. This is a purely speculative matter by the hon. member. I can assure her that she should not worry about it because we are not entering into ballistic missile defence.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister said that it was just a matter of speculation.

Why wait for George Bush or Raytheon to come forward with an official suggestion? Why not tell them right here and now that it is a no go in Canada? Why do the Liberals not send that message, or are they simply waiting for the prospectus to come forward from the self-titled industry leader in the battlespace integration?

Let us send a clear message. We should say no and make that clear. Never mind any speculations, just say no now.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not have the liberty of the hon. member who is capable of saying no to something when she does not know what is being proposed.

I do not know what Raytheon is proposing. I do not know the technicalities of what it is suggesting. It is a free country and if it wants to go around talking about it, that is fine.

If it is participation in ballistic missile defence, the answer is a very clear no, but at least let us get an official request of some kind to which we can respond before we say no.

It is no to ballistic defence, no, no, no, but not no to something that is purely speculative that we do not know anything about.

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water BoardOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of State for Northern Development defended the appointment of the chairman of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. The government continues to be vague.

When the Minister of Indian Affairs was in Yellowknife on March 15, he told a CBC recorded public meeting that he was not familiar with this individual but that “his name came forward”.

This is an important board and it has significant responsibility in respect of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline. The minister has an obligation to set the public's concerns to rest and reassure Canadians of the integrity of the appointment process.

Why did the government ignore the legislation and the wishes of the existing board and appoint this individual?

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water BoardOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Western Arctic Northwest Territories

Liberal

Ethel Blondin-Andrew LiberalMinister of State (Northern Development)

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Burlingame has a proven track record of professionalism throughout his tenure as chair of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. The Auditor General's report states that this board has taken the initiative. The work of Mr. Burlingame has proven that the board has set standards for all boards to follow.

I am confident that Mr. Burlingame is ensuring that the board is operating in its usual professional capacity and that all business is being addressed in a timely and expeditious manner.

I believe and I have been assured that there are no--

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water BoardOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Centre-North.

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water BoardOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us speak about what is happening at the board. The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board has been in complete disarray since this appointment, and we know now, today, that the premier of the Northwest Territories has in fact raised this issue with the minister.

On January 21 of this year, the government's own public appointment process shortlisted three respected candidates, a lawyer, an aboriginal chief and the interim chair of the existing board.

The Minister of Indian Affairs took no issue with those recommendations but unilaterally appointed a friend and associate of the junior minister. Why did the government ignore its own legislative process?

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water BoardOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Western Arctic Northwest Territories

Liberal

Ethel Blondin-Andrew LiberalMinister of State (Northern Development)

Mr. Speaker, the board has had no delays in determining the applications that have come forward, absolutely none. It is business as usual.

The latest information we had yesterday is that the board has made a decision to move toward coordinating and synchronizing all the information, by-laws and procedures to come up with an integrated resource management strategy which would meet the challenge of the Mackenzie Valley gas project.

Further to that, the chair of the board has the technical knowledge, the expertise, the experience and all of the qualifications--

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water BoardOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Selkirk--Interlake.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, news reports confirm today what I stated yesterday. The only reason the governor of North Dakota is delaying the opening of the Devils Lake diversion is wet weather and the high level of the Red River. When things dry up, he fully intends to open up the diversion.

The three amigos, the environment minister, the foreign affairs minister and the Treasury Board president, stated that an agreement for delay had been reached. It is just like the Liberals to take credit for the weather.

Who is telling the truth, the ministers or the Governor of North Dakota?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, since the member repeated the same question, I will repeat the same answer.

It is that we have received assurances that as long as the intense negotiations we are having with the Americans are going on, the outlet will not be opened.

If the governor said it is because of the weather, that is fine with us, as long as we have time to find a good solution for the Red River, the Sheyenne River, Lake Winnipeg and the quality of the environment and good water quality.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, that just plain is not true. Manitoba has been working on this issue for eight years. Three years ago the U.S. requested an IJC referral. The government refused. Yesterday in the House the government took full credit for something it did not do.

The governor of North Dakota said that the only reason the diversion would not be opened July 1 is the weather, not because the Prime Minister called.

When will the government quit misleading Canadians and embarrassing us with its Liberal spin and actually find a solution to this problem?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the first way to find a good solution is not to buy the bad arguments that are being made. The member is not helping the cause when she says those things.

It is not true that the Government of Canada rejected the IJC referral three years ago. It is not what happened, not at all. The member has bad information. We never rejected an IJC referral. She is accepting a spin that is not helping the cause of Canada. She has wrong information. She is not helping the cause at all.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

June 17th, 2005 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, during final arguments, Jean Chrétien's lawyer asked Justice Gomery to formally exonerate the former PM in his report and told journalists that he had been assured by the government that a new challenge of Justice Gomery's bias could be filed.

Is that not proof that the exchange of letters between the government's lawyer and Jean Chrétien's lawyer gave the former PM enough assurance to continue to hold his threat over Justice Gomery's head?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there was no secret agreement. As the leader of the Bloc Québécois said himself, it was merely a legal statement of the facts.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jean Chrétien's lawyer told the press on Monday that this guarantee had reassured him about what to do next.

Does the Prime Minister realize that this guarantee gives Jean Chrétien's lawyer exactly what he needs to maintain pressure on Justice Gomery, just as the latter is about to start drafting his report?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, ultimately, in terms of principles, we have supported the Gomery inquiry in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Supporting Communities Partnership InitiativeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, in view of the Minister of Labour and Housing's failure to renew the SCPI immediately, shelters, community kitchens, drop-in centres, soup kitchens and homelessness prevention services will all be closing their doors.

I call on the Minister of Labour and Housing to not buy time on the backs of the homeless, to avoid budget and electoral blackmail and to answer the following question: will he or will he not revive and improve the SCPI now?