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House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debate.

Topics

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, certainly when I become Prime Minister I will restore the Canadian Wheat Board and it will only be changed through a fair vote, not a trick vote.

Will the Prime Minister respect the law, end his political interference and let farmers decide the future of the Wheat Board?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition says to not politically interfere. He has a political press conference with the president of the Wheat Board. We want the Wheat Board to get on with selling grain.

This party has long listened to western Canadian farmers. That is why it was elected by western Canadian farmers in almost every riding. I would urge the leader of the Liberal Party to get out west and actually meet some Canadian farmers.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will be very interested in campaigning and facing the Prime Minister next time about the future of the Canadian Wheat Board.

He wants to know why the president of the Wheat Board came to see me. It was because the Prime Minister is asking him to choose between breaking the law or being fired by the government.

Does the Prime Minister think this is a correct approach for him to take with an institution that is controlled by the farmers?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I got involved in this issue some years ago when the previous government, of which the hon. member was a member, jailed western Canadian farmers for selling their own wheat. It imposed a regime only on western Canada and would not impose it on anyone else. That was wrong. That is why we are moving to a marketing choice and that is why, unlike the other party, the Conservatives are prepared to consult and listen to western Canadian farmers.

MarriageOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the motion on marriage tabled by the government presages a serious breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Will the Prime Minister admit that if his motion is adopted, individuals will not be treated equally and there will be those who had rights before the Conservative government was elected and those who will no longer have rights afterwards?

MarriageOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, today we will debate this issue and tomorrow there will be a vote.

After the Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention, the leader of that party declared that it was a question of fundamental rights. Now, he has decided that it is really a case of individual conscience.

We are of that opinion as well and I congratulate the Leader of the official opposition for having accepted our position on this issue.

MarriageOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rights and freedoms of a minority should not be subject to an arbitrary decision by anyone.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that this House must make decisions irregardless of religious convictions and with respect for civil rights and freedoms, and that it is a dangerous precedent to submit the rights of some to the religion of others?

MarriageOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the question has been very carefully crafted. This was an election promise by the Prime Minister. He is carrying out that promise today. We will have the opportunity to hear from all members from all sides. I know that this is an issue that divides all parties. We hope to have a resolution of this matter in an orderly fashion.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minority Conservative government received yet another reminder of how unpopular it is with Canada's aboriginal people. The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development had his remarks to hundreds of aboriginal protesters shouted down with calls of shame over his government's handling of the Indian affairs portfolio.

How many more times does the minister need to be called shameful before his government acknowledges that it has no plan to alleviate aboriginal poverty whatsoever?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, a fundamental difference between the new Conservative government and the former Liberal government is that Conservatives do not hide behind phony press releases and empty promises.

I will meet with aboriginal leaders at any time in their communities. I will meet with them on the steps of the legislative building. I will meet with them at forums such as the AFN. I do not shirk from that responsibility. We do not always agree, but they respect that they are dealing with a government that does what it says and says what it does.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in the presence of a very enthusiastic group of British Columbia students, all parties in this House came together to support Bill C-34, the first nations jurisdiction over education in British Columbia act, truly a historic event.

Could the Minister of Indian Affairs please inform the House of the key elements in this bill and how it is important for aboriginal generations to come?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, it was with considerable pride yesterday, accompanied by the students from the Chalo School of Fort Nelson, the Bella Bella Community School and also the first nations education steering committee, that Bill C-34, the first nations jurisdiction over education in British Columbia act, unanimously cleared this House and was fast-tracked to the Senate.

This legislation would allow British Columbia first nations to assume full control over education on reserve at both the elementary and secondary school levels. It would give the means to deliver high-quality, meaningful education with provincial comparability. I believe passionately in this because bright, young, and articulate aboriginal children--

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Surrey North.

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, under the Liberal government in British Columbia, we have seen a huge increase in the number of private health clinics looking to open and profit from our health care system. The False Creek Urgent Care Centre wants to charge extra for medically necessary services and is currently in secret negotiations with the Campbell government.

It is the federal government that is charged with protecting patients by upholding the Canada Health Act. What steps has the minister taken to ensure the Canada Health Act is not violated in British Columbia?

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, the government supports the principles that are found in the Canada Health Act. Upon this issue being made public and made aware of the issue, we were in contact with the B.C. government. We were aware of the B.C. government's own concerns. The B.C. government acted, with our support, to review this particular clinic, and I might say that I think it acted in the right way.

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, that clinic is now saying it needs more money from the government. It is the job of the Prime Minister to protect ordinary Canadians from getting charged extra fees for medical service. That is what medicare is all about. It is about ensuring that everyone, regardless of their economic status, has access to the best medical care, not just those with money.

The previous Liberal government refused to protect patients. As a result, privatization and P3s have grown across Canada. What will the Prime Minister do to ensure these private clinics in B.C.--

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Health.

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as we have noted, this clinic has in fact engaged with the B.C. government. The B.C. government is, in the first instance, able to respond to its own legislation. It has to remain consistent with the Canada Health Act. If the hon. member feels so strongly about it, why does she not tell the leader of her party not to visit private clinics the first time he needs some help?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, many aboriginal leaders will be very surprised with the minister's previous answer. The protesters yesterday said that it was a shame for cutting aboriginal languages, for not signing the declaration on indigenous people, and for not honouring Kelowna. National Chief Phil Fontaine said, “Our people are frustrated and angry. We feel betrayed and we simply can't be silent about this betrayal”.

When will the Minister of Indian Affairs acknowledge his government's efforts are abysmal and begin to rebuild trust with aboriginal Canadians by reinstating the Kelowna accord?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I will stand with pride and conviction in this House at any time and defend the policies of the government relative to aboriginal Canadians. As for my hon. friend, perhaps she might consider to buy a dog and call it “empty promise”.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1993 the Liberal Party campaigned on the elimination of the GST, all 7% of it. It has become the infamous red book promise because it never kept it. The new Leader of the Opposition has stated that he is actually against reducing the GST.

Could the Minister of Finance please share with this House why reducing the GST is so good for all Canadians?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, finally a terrific question about the GST and I thank the member for St. Catharines.

Unlike the old Liberal government, we promised to reduce the GST and we did. On July 1 the GST went down from 7% to 6%. It is a tax reduction for all Canadians, including the one-third of Canadians who do not pay income tax, and it provides substantial tax relief for shoppers.

The head of the Retail Council of Canada says this is a very powerful tool for increasing the incomes of Canadians and great for the shopping season this December in Canada. Unlike the Liberals, who for over 13 years provided just--

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

More, more!

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

More is going to have to wait for tomorrow.