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House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cmhc.

Topics

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, personal insults and spurious allegations do not advance either the substance of the issue on the table or the reputation of the House.

The fact is the government, at all levels from the Prime Minister through all the ministers, has made it very clear that in this whole affair whatever needs to be investigated will be investigated through the Auditor General, or through the police, or the Gomery process or independent processes and on the basis of those facts, properly determine the proper consequences which will be followed without exception.

ForestryOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the brown spruce longhorn beetle continues to cause hardship for woodlot owners and residents of the Halifax area. They have been unable to move downed trees from hurricane Juan outside a quarantine zone established by the CFIA in 2000. The situation is now made much more dangerous by the onset of another fire season.

In a letter dated June 2, the Minister of Natural Resources indicates that “CFIA is poised to take a more aggressive approach this coming field season”.

Could the Minister of Agriculture give us some detail on the plan and provide some help to these people who have been so dramatically affected by circumstances beyond their control?

ForestryOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the longhorn beetle is a very destructive pest that puts in danger forests in the areas that it infests. The CFIA has been working hard over the years with many others to try to control this.

The hurricane has exacerbated this problem. We need to find new and creative solutions. The hon. member has been working very hard with my officials and officials from other departments to come up with those solutions. We intend to redouble our efforts in the days ahead to find suitable solutions for the woodlot owners and at the same time to protect the long term viability of the forestry industry.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has promised the people of the Harbour Breton area that federal assistance will be made available to them to help offset the devastation caused by the closure of their plant. This fish plant produced up to 30 million pounds of product a year in the value of $20 million.

If the Prime Minister can do a $4.6 billion deal with the NDP over supper, why is the minister reneging on his promise to the people of Harbour Breton?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, our government is sensitive to the situation in Harbour Breton, resulting from a decision of the FPI. ACOA is working with the community as is my department to assist in its adjustment. ACOA has been active in Harbour Breton over the past several years, committing over $3 million toward the diversification of the local economy.

HealthOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Lakeshore General Hospital in Ashern, Manitoba normally operates with six doctors to service over 10,000 rural residents, including five first nations communities. Over the past few years doctors have left and the last two doctors have finally retired. Now there are no emergency or clinical services available and patients have to travel over four hours to Winnipeg for care.

Under the government, health care in rural Canada has gone from hallway medicine to highway medicine.

Why has the health minister not used the fabled foreign accreditation program or developed a long term strategy to address the terrible doctor shortages in rural Canada?

HealthOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has invested tremendously in the health human resources plan with the help of the Canadian Medical Association. We are also exploring many different ways of primary care.

In Beechy, Saskatchewan, where there were once three physicians, two have left. Now one doctor and three nurse practitioners equally look after those 4,000 patients.

We need to look forward to a new way of delivering health care, using telemedicine and everything else. With our partners in nursing and medicine and by working hard--

HealthOral Question Period

Noon

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

Furniture IndustryOral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the employees of Shermag, in Victoriaville, asked the government to get involved. This furniture manufacturing plant will shut down in July, resulting in the loss of 175 jobs. Yet, the only answer we got this week from the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec was that his department does not target this type of business. As for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, she did not have anything to say.

When will the government take action by setting up, for example, a permanent program for older workers? When?

Furniture IndustryOral Question Period

Noon

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we have always had programs for workers who reach a certain age and who, unfortunately, find themselves between jobs. We have already set up programs in the last budget, and we are doing it again in this budget.

HealthOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Public Health.

The United States Congress is still threatening to allow the bulk re-importation of pharmaceutical products from Canada back into the U.S., thereby threatening the medicine supply for Canadians.

I am asking the government again, when and how will it ensure that Canadians continue to have a safe supply of pharmaceutical products?

HealthOral Question Period

Noon

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, first and foremost we want to ensure that Canadians have access to safe and affordable drugs. We want to find ways to reduce the potential threats to supply and cost originating with online pharmacies. The Minister of Health is the first one who can take action to protect the safety and health of Canadians.

I can assure the hon. member that Health Canada is currently looking at ways to achieve this objective soon.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, my point of order is pursuant to a matter that the member for Nepean—Carleton raised in question period for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

In the preamble of the question, and I believe it is against our rules, the member discredited the reputation of a member of the other place, made allegations of wrongdoing and attributed incorrect statements to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

That member has demonstrated a disturbing pattern of making allegations which ultimately have been proven to be false. He knows better. I believe the question should have been ruled out of order. I would ask the Speaker to please look at the evidence from the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates of yesterday afternoon which will show that the member is fully aware that the statements he made in this place today are totally false.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should take issue not with me but with his public works minister who conceded all the accusations that I raised in the House of Commons. Yesterday in a committee of this Parliament, government operations committee hearings, his minister admitted that the senator had contravened section 14 of the Parliament of Canada Act.

I have the transcripts of that meeting and I would be happy to table them with you, Mr. Speaker. In fact, I merely repeated what the minister said about this situation. Furthermore, three letters from the Department of Public Works have confirmed that the senator is in contravention.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of cooperation and in trying to be helpful, I would refer to the Speaker that not so long ago in a session in the House, the Speaker ruled a question from the member for Nepean—Carleton on the same topic out of order. The Speaker may wish to refer to that ruling and when it was done in order to not allow such questions in the House.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, that case bears no relevance to the question put today, which deals with testimony before a committee of the House by the senator yesterday. It is therefore within the purview of the House and by the minister with respect to the senator. Therefore, it is perfectly legitimately to raise that in the House as it is a matter of record in a committee of the House.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I thank all member for their contributions on this point of order. Just to let members know, on the very first question from the member for Nepean—Carleton, I felt that was in order. It was a quote from committee and it was followed through on properly.

I do have some very grave concerns about the second question, which I think was the concern of the member for Mississauga South. I believe I will have to review the blues and get back to the House on that. It is not proper of course to impugn motives or to question the integrity of people either in this place or in the Senate. Therefore, I will review the blues specifically on the second question and report back to the House if necessary.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, again in the spirit of trying to encourage greater civility and carefulness in the use of language, I would perhaps invite the member for Carleton—Mississippi Mills to be careful in terms of accusing members of the cabinet of misleading the House, which was a statement contained in his question.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you are well aware as we are that it is quite permissible to use the term “misleading”, but you cannot impugn that it was deliberate. That is what was in our questions.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I thank both members for their interventions on that point, but I do not intend to follow up on it further. I do want to hear a question of privilege from the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

June 3rd, 2005 / 12:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Reynolds Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, as members of this House know, some time ago there was a report tabled by unanimous consent in the House from the Ethics Commissioner regarding the former immigration minister. It was done by unanimous consent and it supposedly cleared the minister at that time of any wrongdoing.

Yesterday in committee, Mr. Shapiro was questioned quite roundly by members of all parties. He said at that meeting that he had not given anyone, except the former immigration minister, a copy of the actual report.

Mr. Rob Walsh, a parliamentary clerk and legal counsel, told the committee that allowing the former minister to see the full report ahead of the Prime Minister, the complainant and the public breached Shapiro's mandate.

The fact is that we found out at that committee meeting that the report that was tabled was an altered report and had names taken out of it. I think that's unheard of and I would hope that when we get the final report we can be guaranteed that it is unaltered. This is not a job for the government but maybe a committee and that is why I bring it up as a question of privilege. Somehow or other we have to get the message through to the Ethics Commissioner that this House does not want altered reports.

If we had seen the original report, the minister would not have been cleared as everybody said because it was her chief of staff who knew what was going on with the stripper, and she is responsible for the chief of staff.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to review this and see if there is a question of privilege. If there is, I would be happy to move the proper motion. We need guidance to ensure that the Ethics Commissioner, who reports to this House, lives up to his mandate and ensures we get all the information that is required on a very serious issue.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Ethics Commissioner is an independent officer of Parliament chosen by all parties in this House. It is up to the Ethics Commissioner to interpret and abide by the statutory mandate as it is set out in the Parliament of Canada Act. The act is clear that, before releasing a report into allegations made against the member, the Ethics Commissioner is obliged to give that member an opportunity to present his or her views. How the Ethics Commissioner fulfills this legal obligation is at his discretion.

The Ethics Commissioner appeared before the committee yesterday and took the valid concerns expressed by the members of that committee under advisement. I do not believe this is a matter of privilege because the Ethics Commissioner has already indicated that he will take the advice--

PrivilegeOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. I thank both members for their intervention. I believe what we have is a debate on how the Ethics Commissioner is going to do his business or has done his business.

I expect normally that the committee, upon hearing witnesses and whatever testimony, will follow through and table a report in the House on this matter. It is difficult for the Chair to know of course what went on in committee, but more importantly, normally there would be a committee report if the committee felt it was necessary. I invite the committee to complete its work, and then afterwards, if it feels it is necessary, to table a report in the House. The House would then be seized with it if that is necessary at that time.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that you will be as pleased as I am to know that I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 98 petitions.