This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was defence.

Topics

Emergency PreparednessOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, surprisingly the Minister of National Defence has said that our level of emergency preparedness in unparalleled. A serious problem has existed for years, but the Liberal government refuses to fix it. Provincially licensed medical staff cannot practise interprovincially in a declared emergency.

Why is the government not willing to cut the red tape to save lives before a disaster?

Emergency PreparednessOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased to report that in April of this year the public health network for this country was established. The work is ongoing in memorandums of understanding in terms of professional nurses and doctors. This is very quickly in response to David Naylor's report, as well as the other hugely important issue around sharing of information. I think the member should be well assured that Dr. David Butler-Jones, Dr. Perry Kendall and the fabulous new network are doing terrific work with their subcommittees.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in June the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence reported on the lack of security at the Canadian border. Specifically, it noted the deliberate alteration of an original independent report by the government to delete a reference to the need for an armed presence at border crossings.

Why was the report altered and what action has been taken against those responsible?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I would have to take this question regarding the specific reference to an alteration of a report of which I am personally not familiar under advisement on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister.

However, I can assure the hon. member that the matter of arming public officers at the border has been much discussed. The police are clearly of the view that the defence and the proper safety of them and the safety of other citizens is best assured by only armed police officers at our border posts. We have examined this. We have invested enormous amounts of money in securing our border, making it one of the best and safest borders in the world. I can assure the House that we will continue to do so.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, it has been seven months since I exposed the government's dishonest position on the sponsorship of parents into Canada. The Liberal government said that sponsoring parents was a high priority, but a top level immigration official admitted that it was a zero priority with the government.

People are led to believe that they will be allowed to bring their parents to Canada, but the government has not and will not make this happen. Why is the government so dishonest and uncaring when it comes to reuniting families?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. In April of this year we took several measures. Among them, the most immediate one, was to ensure that parents and grandparents could be reunited with their families by applying for and receiving a multiple entry visa that would have carriage for five years, provided that they meet the condition that all tourists who are going to be here for six months or more must have and that is a medical and to have medical insurance. That was the very first of several measures.

Chief Electoral OfficerOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Yesterday, the Chief Electoral Officer made comments to the media on the confidentiality of the voters list, in connection with his report on the 38th general election.

In light of the Chief Electoral Officer's comments regarding the confidentiality of the register of electors, could the minister please comment?

Chief Electoral OfficerOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, the recommendation that the member is talking about is one of 48 or 58 recommendations which will be looked at by the appropriate committee of the House. The government will comment on that in due course. As far as the national register of electors is concerned, let us be clear. Its use and non-use is set by law. It is up to Parliament to set law. There is no one above the law including and particularly agents of Parliament.

HealthOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, recent prescription drug fiascos have Canadians questioning the transparency and accountability of Health Canada and its minister. Now we have another example.

Since 2003, MPs have been asking for the results of an important 1996 study, one that examined thousands of Canadian women with silicon breast implants to see what the health implications were. Where are the results from the study that taxpayers funded and when will Canadians know if these implants are a danger to Canadian women?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her excellent testimony at the committee.

The establishment of the expert advisory panel and the hearings to ask Canadians their experience with these is a hallmark in terms of a new way of doing things. The minister awaits the results of this two phase process and will report as quickly as the decision is taken.

PovertyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the poor in our country want long term solutions, not just a one-time fuel rebate just before an election.

The National Anti-Poverty Organization wants actions, not words. It wants a special heating subsidy that boosts the value of the GST credit lost through de-indexing, getting on with the low income energy efficiency retrofit program and a federal minimum wage set at $10.

When will the government act on this and start caring for the poor every day, not just talking about it on election day?

PovertyOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, indeed the concern of the government with respect to low income Canadians needs to be an ongoing concern. That is why we have pursued policies to dramatically increase employment within the country, having the best rate of improvement in job creation within the G-7. That is why we have worked year after year improving the child tax benefit. That is why in the last budget we moved to raise the basic minimum amount that will go up over a number of years to $10,000 and take 860,000 of the lowest income Canadians off the tax rolls.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Grey—Bruce—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, on July 4 I wrote a letter to the Minister of National Defence informing him that a former employee of the Meaford tank range, in a sworn affidavit, reported that agent orange had been buried there in the late 1960s.

In his reply, just a mere two and a half months later, the minister stated that he had no record of agent orange being buried at Meaford. Of course there are no records. The employee who made the allegations made it very clear that the burial was to be hush-hush.

Will the minister conduct a complete and thorough investigation into these allegations and will he do it now, yes or no?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his letter. As I said to him in my response, our investigation internally did not indicate any records showing any such event. I am now looking at ways in which we could work with the individual who made the comments in question to see whether we could get any further information.

I assure the hon. member that I have this matter still under hand and I will continue the investigation. I do not want anything to go possibly where we could not find out the existence of any substance that is difficult for us to deal with on our bases. I will continue all efforts and work with the hon. member and the person to whom he spoke to find that out.

Energy PricesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I met with Ellie Chaves, plant manager of Alcoa Wheel Products in Collingwood. Due to skyrocketing energy costs, Alcoa can no longer compete with emerging markets like China, India and Brazil and the plant is scheduled to close.

Terry Geddes, the mayor of Collingwood, Ron Best, president of Local CAW 1995, 430 Alcoa employees and I are fighting to keep the plant open.

When will the government come up with a national strategy and stand up for my constituents to ensure Canadian companies can compete with these emerging markets?

Energy PricesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, through the summer I had the opportunity to meet with business organizations across the country on the emerging issues that will affect the Canadian economy of the future.

Two issues in particular have emerged. One is the competition from the new international giants like China and India. The other is the major demographic change that is taking place within this country as baby boomers age and retire.

I can assure the hon. member and all members of the House that the government will be very aggressive in pursuing an agenda for growth and prosperity for all Canadians, including her constituents.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House the Minister for Indian Affairs and Northern Development said in response to scathing criticism of the government's incompetence in providing clean safe drinking water to aboriginal Canadians, “we are acting on it now”, yet over two years ago the Deputy Prime Minister stated that this was a top priority of the government.

All we have today is inadequate testing, no regulations, no performance measures and zero accountability to Parliament. It has been 12 years. I ask the Deputy Prime Minister this. How many more years do aboriginal Canadians have to drink contaminated water while that polluted government takes no action?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the contrary. As I said yesterday, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Health and I all recognize and accept the report of the commissioner. In fact, actions have been taken.

The first nations water management program only began at the end of her report and we have had great success so far. We recognize it is not enough. More needs to be done, particularly in the area of regulation, and that will happen.

Status of WomenOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, last May the government announced it was finally ready to tackle violence against aboriginal women, promising new funding that would help them live free from fear and violence. Yet last week it was revealed no funds have been put to use and will not be until October, at the earliest.

Over the summer six more aboriginal women disappeared. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations issued a warning of the potential risk of abduction. The problem is real; the Liberal reaction is not.

When will the government treat this with the urgency it deserves?

Status of WomenOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased with the government's announcement on the $5 million to the Native Women's Association of Canada. Before the funds are granted, since it is new money, it has to be reviewed by Treasury Board and a contribution agreement has to be signed by both parties. We now know that it will be at Treasury Board on October 17. This also adds to the funds in our other programs that we give to combat violence against aboriginal women. They will have their funds after October 17.

FinanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are still waiting for the government to introduce measures, such as the creation of a petroleum monitoring agency, a significant increase in the investigative powers of the Competition Bureau, and aid for the most vulnerable members of our society affected by the increase in heating costs. All these measures are in the action plan presented by the Bloc.

Can the Minister of Finance give us the assurance that the program for the most vulnerable will be funded in part by a tax on the profits of oil and gas companies equal to at least $500 million, thereby recouping the $250 million in tax cuts they have been granted over the past few years?

FinanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that opposition party has never seen a tax increase that it did not like. We believe it is possible to respond to the needs of Canadians, helping those at the lowest income levels, providing greater measures for energy efficiency and conservation, more transparency and competitiveness in the marketplace and to do that on a sound basis with fiscal responsibility in mind without increasing the tax burden on Canadians.

FinanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Coalition to protect fuel consumers organized a protest in Saguenay. This coalition is demanding the immediate adoption of measures to stop subjecting fuel consumers to the spiralling costs of retail gas prices.

Does the minister intend to develop a plan that would, among other things, extend the $3.75 daily tax credit, up to 10% of total earnings, to the residents of regions such as mine? Very remote regions already benefit from this tax credit.

FinanceOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our objective in developing any policy, including policies with respect to the cost of energy, would be designed and intended to help all Canadians everywhere in a fair and equitable manner, everyone included.

AgricultureOral Question Period

September 30th, 2005 / 11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, farmers in my constituency were preparing to harvest one of their very best crops until flooding completely drowned out any such hope. This is yet another shock to farmers who over the past four years have experienced two devastating droughts, a devastating frost and BSE.

CAIS provides no relief after 12 years. Why does the government not have a program that provides real assistance to farmers when such disasters occur?