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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

AgricultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government was hesitant in the past to defend supply management in the negotiations with the WTO. Yesterday Pascal Lamy, the director-general of the organization, warned Canada that it will have to make further efforts if it wants the negotiations to succeed.

We know that the Europeans and the Americans are challenging supply management. The government says it is for supply management and the House has spoken unanimously in its favour.

Will the Minister repeat to Mr. Lamy that there is no question of dropping supply management and that there will be no compromise?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I met with the director-general, Mr. Lamy, last Sunday. I said that we were committed to defending the agricultural interests of Canada, including supply management systems. I also clearly said that Canada is committed to remaining at the table until the end of the negotiations so as to obtain the best results for our agricultural sector as a whole.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, foreign countries already have access to 5% of our market under supply management. For certain products, such as hatching eggs, that access increases to close to 20%, even though those same countries, on average, are opening only 2.5% of their protected markets.

Instead of calling supply management into question by trying to weaken it, can the minister require the Europeans and Americans to open their markets and make the same effort as Canada has made since 1996?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we supported the supply management system during and after the election campaign, as we support it today. Interestingly enough, Mr. Lamy sees no problems with maintaining the Canadian supply management system within the WTO framework. There is no problem: we support the supply management system. That was the case yesterday, it is the case now and it will be the case tomorrow.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has just unveiled its new pilot project—replacing former pilot project number 6—which covers 21 administrative regions and eliminates three. The three regions eliminated have an unemployment rate of less than eight per cent, the others have a higher rate.

Will the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development explain why the greater Montreal area, with an unemployment rate of 9.4%, is not eligible for these assistance measures?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as we explained in the House, the original pilot project included 24 regions where seasonal workers had a tough time finding work in the off season because there was already high unemployment in those areas.

Our extension of this project has been modified to make it more efficient and more effective, but to be effective and as a pilot project that we can analyze, we need to maintain certain standards including the areas where this work is done. That is why Montreal was excluded and why other ones where the employment rate has dropped down to below 6% were excluded as well.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's response just does not cut it because the unemployed in Montreal and the many seasonal workers in the area also have rights.

How can this government justify the fact that five of the regions included in the pilot project have an unemployment rate in the neighbourhood of eight per cent while the greater Montreal area, with a rate above nine per cent, is not covered by this program? What explanation is there for this injustice?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as I explained once or twice in the House before, a pilot project is a test. It is done with a sampling of the total population to see if it is worth applying across the country. That is why we are going with the sample that we started with and that is why we are going to continue with it. We were pleased to extend this program to areas where there is high unemployment and where seasonal workers are having a tough time finding new jobs. I look forward to seeing the results.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, allegations have arisen that the member for Calgary West falsified travel expenses and illegally used taxpayer money to repay questionable loans he received from a former staffer.

The moral bar was never very high for that member who once called Nelson Mandela a terrorist and worked as a paid--

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. I warn the hon. member to be judicious in his choice of language in repeating allegations in the preamble to the question. I do not know where the question is going because I am not sure we have hit on the administrative responsibility of the government yet, but I would caution the hon. member from making statements about hon. members' personal finances. He might want to be more careful and proceed directly to his question.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been allegations of both fraud and corruption and the question is very simple. When will the Prime Minister call in the RCMP to deal with these questions? Would the Prime Minister tell the House if these are common fundraising practices within the Conservative Party and its predecessors?

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have grave reservations about the propriety of that question. It sounded to me as though it has something to do with the hon. member's dealings with the House of Commons. Why this would be the administrative responsibility of the government is beyond me. I may have missed it.

However, if the hon. member has a supplementary question that is in order, I will hear it.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, reports today also stated that staff for the Calgary West MP were drawing salaries for working on a campaign for the Prime Minister.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I think we will move on. I do not believe the dealings of hon. members with the House of Commons have anything to do with the administrative responsibility of the government. If the hon. member wants to ask a question directly without the preambles I will hear it but I have grave reservations of where this is going from what I am hearing.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to know if the Prime Minister finds it acceptable to use staff members who work on campaigns and what staff members were involved in the campaigns. Furthermore, when will he and the Conservative Party pay back for the abuses that have occurred?

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

If the hon. government House leader wishes to respond to this in some way without going into the specific hon. member's question, he can respond.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, it was that hon. member who raised this and I am very disappointed that he would raise it in this manner. He knows this is improper. This is the case of a terminated employee who was issued a writ of summons and started a court case. It is before the courts and it should be left there. I am very disappointed, as are, I am sure, other members of the House, that he would raise this in this manner. It is shameful.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that they are now saying we should not talk about this outside the courts. When we were in power, this same party wanted to ask questions and demanded that our ministers step down.

The President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance did not see anything wrong with using money they both earned as members of provincial parliament or money from their employees to campaign for the Conservative party last year.

Will the Prime Minister ensure that the RCMP investigates the serious allegations surrounding the hon. member for Calgary West?

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please.

I have already explained that questions on an hon. member's expenses having to do with House administration are not the responsibility of the government in this House. This is quite clear, as I already said. In my opinion, the question is out of order.

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that this Conservative government, which claims to champion responsibility and accountability, refuses to say what it will do with an hon. member of its own caucus who is under serious allegations of misusing public funds. I would like my question to be answered, please.

Member for Calgary WestOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the matter is before the courts. The hon. member should know, or surely there are some people in her party who would let her know, that an issue like this is a matter for the Board of Internal Economy. They know all about this. Why would they do this during question period? It is unfair to the process, unfair to the member and unfair to everyone in the House. She should know better.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, the community of Kashechewan has been evacuated three times in the last 15 months due to flooding, sewage backup or water quality issues. The Liberal government made promises and did not follow through.

The Minister of Indian Affairs has said that he is committed to rebuilding Kashechewan. Could the minister please explain to the House his plan for this community?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 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 am pleased to advise the House today that we are taking action on this issue. I will be appointing the former Ontario cabinet minister, Mr. Alan Pope, today as a federal special representative. Mr. Pope will be in Kashechewan tomorrow, will consult through the summer and will report back in the fall.

The previous government refused to acknowledge the mere existence of the problem and deal with it. This government is committed to act. We are committed to working together with the first nation and with the provincial government to examine this matter and to report back.