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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was religious.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me go over the number of people who do not get turned down. Last year we had 1.1 million, seven digits for those who can count, positive decisions for visitors' visas, temporary work visas, student visas and permanent residencies.

I think the hon. member is trying to create a trend out of one or maybe two decisions that she wants to call into question. If she is serious about it, perhaps she and her colleagues would get to work on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and address the questions on citizenship as asked.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Many community organizations are continuing to raise concerns about the minister's call for proposals process. They indicate that it disregards the quality of services already in place and creates instability for community service agencies, as well as putting them at considerable disadvantage.

Could the minister indicate what actions her ministry is planning to take to address these concerns?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Davenport for his fine work on this issue on behalf of his constituents.

The standing committee did excellent work and I am pleased that its recommendations moved toward a more open and transparent process and toward dialogue with our partners.

The minister is studying the recommendations carefully and remains committed to dialogue with the not for profit sector to discuss proposed changes to the calls for proposals process. The consultations are consistent with the recommended procedures outlined in the volunteer sector initiative.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have seen over the past decade lower standards of living and a lower quality of life for most Canadians. Most jobs created are now part time or temporary and the average Canadian worker has lost 60¢ an hour in real terms.

While we have seen no progress on softwood lumber and BSE, now we find out that this government is prepared to make even greater concessions to the Bush administration through its backroom deep integration talks. Canadians did not vote for that.

Will this government commit to stop making concessions in secret and ensure that Parliament can openly debate the issue, so Canadians can judge what these talks will cost them?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have been working with the United States for some time to ensure we have the best possible border between Canada and the United States and the best possible North American regulation systems respecting our identities and our own different ways of doing things. However we also want to ensure they are compatible and are easily making our continent more and more prosperous.

There are challenges out there. There are challenges in Asia and in South America. It is imperative that North America remain the most competitive continent on the planet.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

June 27th, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the future of North America task force report released May 17 advocated an even deeper integration with the U.S. and Mexico than feared.

Now in lockstep, the North American security and prosperity partnership has convened to deliver, even if it involves forfeiting Canadian sovereignty over labour standards, bulk water, energy, security and even defence.

Will the Prime Minister assure us today that deeper integration will not proceed on any of these fronts without exhaustive consultations with Canadians broadly and without a say by parliamentarians, their elected officials?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about deeper integration here. We are talking about working with our neighbours, the United States and Mexico.

This partnership is about a follow up to the three leaders' meeting a few months ago. I am very pleased with the progress we are making in this partnership with the Mexicans and the Americans to not only ensure we respect the workers of our respective countries but to ensure we have a competitive economy in which we continue to create good and great jobs for our people.

Nuclear ReactorsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, MDS Nordion signed a contract with our atomic agency to build two reactors. The initial cost was $140 million, and delivery was to be in 1999. Here we are in 2005, and still no reactors. A delay like this hurts our reputation as a world leader in nuclear medicine. In addition, under the contract, the government is responsible for half the cost overrun.

Can the minister tell us how much it is and when the project will be completed?

Nuclear ReactorsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we do not have the exact costs but Canada is a leader in this area and we will continue to be a leader in this area.

Nuclear ReactorsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, that answer is not good enough. That is no excuse to escape parliamentary oversight.

Furthermore, these delays are forcing MDS Nordion to import bomb grade uranium material into Canada, which the New York Times last week criticized as a security threat.

Reports indicate that this project is $200 million to $350 million over budget. This House deserves to know how much of a hit the public purse will take. The NDP deserves to know how much of a hit its budget will take. Canadians deserve to know how big the security threat is.

Will the parliamentary secretary tell this House how much this will cost us, $100 million, $200 million or $300 million? How much is it?

Nuclear ReactorsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the exact cost has not been finalized but we will keep safety as our priority. Canada is a leading commercial aspect in this industry.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, no one in this country should be exempt from the Criminal Code. Canadians believe everyone is equal before and under the law.

Bill S-39, however, exempts military personnel who are convicted of sex offences from being placed on the national sex offender registry.

Will the justice minister commit to the House today that he will not support a two tier justice system and, consequently, will not be supporting Bill S-39.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we support a system of equality before the law, a single tier justice system.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it was this party on this side of the House that pushed the government to bring in the national sex offender registry. The Liberal government dragged its feet for years and years. In fact, the Liberal government's dragging of its feet forced the provinces in some cases to establish their own sex offender registry.

Temporary measure or not, will the Minister of Justice vote against exemptions for military members from being placed in the national sex offender registries?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the hon. member that the military's justice system is covered by the National Defence Act, not the Criminal Code, and there is a reason for that. There is a specific national justice system that governs the military. I can assure the hon. member that the military will be covered by the sex offender registry in the same way as civilians but they will be covered in a way that is consistent with the way in which the military can do its job.

The member knows that. The bill is clear about that. There will be no exemption. It is not two tier. It is about creating a system that works for the military as well as civilians.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the council of environment ministers of the European Union decided to maintain the right of member states to ban certain types of genetically modified corn and rapeseed in order to protect public health and the environment, a right that is currently in dispute before the WTO.

Given Europe's decision to protect public health and the environment, will Canada consider today withdrawing its complaint before the WTO?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, here in Canada we have a very clear way in which we handle GM products. It is very intense. We deal with a scrutiny in terms of any product that would come to market. Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety of Canadian consumers. That is what we do.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada, like the United States and Argentina, is contesting these bans at the WTO on the basis of freedom of trade, and contends that the product must be proven unsafe before it is banned, while Europe contends that the product must be proven safe before it is authorized.

How can the Canadian government continue its proceedings at the WTO in the name of free trade and ignore the legitimate concerns of consumers over the potential dangers of genetic modification?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, Canada's position is not in terms of free trade. It is in terms of protecting Canadian consumers. Before we provide a licence to any product for distribution in this country, we make absolutely certain that we undertake the necessary investigations to ensure it is safe for Canadian consumers. That is what we do in terms of our licensing process. That is what we have done in the past and that is what we will continue to do in the future.

VietnamOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, not every Canadian has been made aware of the visit of the Prime Minister of Vietnam to Canada this week, nor are they familiar with the lack of democracy and violations of human rights taking place.

The disrespect for democracy and human rights is so evident that even when the Vietnamese prime minister was holding discussions with the President of the United States last week, 10 Buddhist monks were arrested in Hanoi for exercising democracy.

It is imperative that the Prime Minister of Vietnam be questioned about his government's human rights violations. Will the Prime Minister emphasize this issue with the Vietnamese government's appalling treatment of its own citizens?

VietnamOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs raised the issue this morning in his discussions with the Vietnamese officials and I intend to raise it this afternoon in my meeting with the Prime Minister of Vietnam.

VietnamOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Vietnam is not getting any better. Freedom of expression and freedom of religion are subject to the will of the government. Activists are being arrested for no reason and tortured and detained in unacceptable conditions.

The Prime Minister of Vietnam is in Canada today on an official visit.

Will our Prime Minister address the issue of human rights with his Vietnamese counterpart or will he remain silent about it as he did in China?

VietnamOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just said yes in English. His response was quite clear to me. I can confirm that this morning I had the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, and we raised these extremely important issues of freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

I know that the Prime Minister will have the opportunity to raise these issues with his counterpart, the Prime Minister of Vietnam, this afternoon during our other meetings with this country, with which we have a good bilateral relationship. We work with this country in ASEAN and APEC. It is important that we remain committed to them.

Status of WomenOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women has tabled four reports dealing with a number of key issues from the funding mechanism of programs available to women's organizations across the country to gender based analysis and the public policy agenda to long-standing, unresolved pay equity issues.

Could the minister outline what actions have been taken in response to the committee's recommendations?

Status of WomenOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I was honoured to attend the 49th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York where I reaffirmed Canada's strong commitment on the Beijing declaration and platform action of gender equality.

The government announced the creation of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women to seek better accountability and also to seek better results on gender equality.

Based on those reports, I will have the pleasure in the fall to present a renewed action report on the gender equality strategy to seek better accountability of the government, its ministry and also its policies.