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House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to four petitions.

While I am on my feet, I would like to draw to the attention of the House the significance of today. Today is, of course, as we all know, one day closer to the Saskatchewan Roughriders winning the Grey Cup.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the delegation of the Canadian branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, concerning their participation in the meeting of the Bureau of the APF and the 23rd regular session of the APF in Libreville, Gabon, from July 2 to 6, 2007.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member has jumped ahead a little, since we have not yet announced the presentation of reports by interparliamentary delegations. However, I am sure that the members will not have a problem with the presentation at this time. It is now done.

Canada Elections ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-29, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (accountability with respect to loans).

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to special order made previously, I would like to inform the House that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-54 was at the time of prorogation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Elections ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-54 was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 39th Parliament.

Accordingly, pursuant to order made on Thursday, October 25, 2007, the bill is deemed read the second time, referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and reported with amendments.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale B.C.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports from the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concerning the CPA UK Branch Parliamentary seminar held in London and Bristol, England, as well as Brussels, Belgium, from June 10 to 22, 2007, and the 32nd regional conference of the Caribbean, the Americas and the Atlantic region held in Grand Cayman Islands from June 24 to 30, 2007.

CN Locomotive RoundhousePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, as you know, the people of Saskatchewan are very proud of all things, like the very best football team in Canada, but I also want to talk about something that is really bothering the citizens of the Biggar area, and that is the possible destruction of the railway roundhouse. We would like Heritage Canada to declare it an official heritage site.

I am honoured to present this petition on behalf of the people of Biggar and area.

Passport CanadaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the spring, I tabled a petition on behalf of the residents and taxpayers of Abitibi—Témiscamingue, Abitibi—Baie-James and northern Quebec in response to the minister's answer, which the citizens felt was unacceptable. The minister sees Passport Canada as a private company and not as a company that must provide equitable service to all Canadians.

I would like to table another petition from these citizens, calling on the minister to reconsider his position on having a passport office in northern Quebec.

TaxationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, divorced fathers help support and nurture their children. They have part-time custody, pay child support, and are not permitted to claim a child on their income tax returns.

I have 25 signatures on a petition from my riding who would like Parliament to amend the Income Tax Act to allow a divorced father who has part-time custody of his child and pays child support to his former spouse to be able to claim a child as a dependant on his income tax return.

TaxationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Could we revert to first reading of Senate public bills? Is that agreed?

TaxationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada-United States Tax Convention Act, 1984Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

moved that Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Canada-United States Tax Convention Act, 1984 be read the first time.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

November 22nd, 2007 / 10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Question Nos. 23, 24, 41, 45, 56, 79 and 84.

Question No. 23Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Independent

Bill Casey Independent Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

With respect to the Nappan Experimental Farm, located in the community of Nappan, Nova Scotia: (a) what are the near-term plans of the government for the downsizing or relocation of employees from this location to other research centres in Canada; (b) what are the plans of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AFFC) for the near-term, and long-term improvement of expanding or improving the infrastructure at the Nappan Experimental Farm; and (c) is the government considering closing or reducing the scope of the Nappan Experimental Farm and, if so, what are the details and plans of AFFC for community consultations?

Question No. 23Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s, AAFC, Nappan Research Farm is in full operation with both animal and crop research underway. In June 2007, AAFC organized consultations through a workshop on priorities for organic agricultural research in the Atlantic region that was held at Nappan with representatives from the provincial governments of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and organic producers from across the region. The consensus among participants was that an organic research strategy is needed, and Nappan could play an important role, as a certified organic farm, in this strategy that will seek to expand organic research in Atlantic Canada.

a) As part of that strategy, Nappan could become a hub for organic research undertaken by scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and collaborating organizations or institutions. There are currently two professional staff located at Nappan, a soil scientist and a part-time livestock biologist. The soil scientist will re-locate to AAFC’s research centre in Kentville, Nova Scotia in April of 2008 placing him within a group of professionals in complementary disciplines, thus facilitating research for the benefit of agricultural producers. The part-time livestock biologist will also likely relocate to the Nova Scotia agricultural college in Truro sometime in 2008. These relocations make good business sense in building critical masses of scientists that focus on specific research questions. In the meantime, a human resources plan will be developed to meet new proposed scientific directions for Nappan.

b) A full complement of technical and support staff remain in place at Nappan; a competitive process to staff a new herdsman position is now underway. The near term plans are thus to ensure the technical capacity at Nappan and support the concept of the farm as a facility to undertake integrated crop/livestock organic research. Meanwhile discussions are underway with the Atlantic provinces in the context of growing forward, the federal government’s new agricultural policy initiative to define programs, roles and responsibilities to support agricultural innovation. These discussions will include resources such as Nappan.

AAFC has approved a number of health and safety projects that range from the repair of electrical distribution system to the replacement of feed mangers as identified by a Canadian Council on Animal Care report conducted in fiscal year 05/06. AAFC is also acting on a number of other issues as a result of a building condition report, and over the past three years the Department has spent approximately $300K in infrastructure costs for the continued safe operation of the farm.

c) The AAFC’s science and innovation strategy seeks to build science and innovation capacity to create new growth opportunities for Canadian agriculture, and other sectors of the economy. AAFC is implementing the strategy, and exploring options and opportunities with provincial governments, universities, private sector and communities to position AAFC science activities and resources with a critical mass.

With respect to the Atlantic region, a university/industry/AAFC /provincial consultation took place on June 12, 2007 to discuss priorities for organic agriculture in the Atlantic region, including Nappan. Following these consultations, the Nappan experimental farm has been identified as a potential key research site for conducting an enhanced program with partners such as the Nova Scotia agricultural college in Truro, Nova Scotia, in organic research for livestock and crops for which there are new markets and increased consumer demand. Plans centred on AAFC’s science and innovation strategy including the engagement of Nappan as an organic experimental farm are being developed. In these plans, Nappan could become a facility resourced with technical personnel and a farm crew supporting on-site experiments. The existing research infrastructure at the Nappan experimental farm could be well suited to this unique role.

Question No. 24Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

With regard to tobacco farmers: (a) is the government working on a tobacco exit strategy for tobacco farmers in Ontario and, if so, what policy options are being considered; (b) when will the government provide a buyout package to tobacco farmers with a concrete timeline for the implementation and distribution of a package; and (c) what additional plans does the government have to support tobacco farmers in Ontario who have been affected by the decline of the tobacco industry in recent years?

Question No. 24Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the response is as follows:

a) The government understands the serious circumstances that Ontario’s tobacco growers are forced to deal with. It is in light of these circumstances that our government continues to examine policy options to facilitate transition within the Ontario tobacco sector.

As we continue to evaluate and identify possible solutions for the sector, it will be paramount to ensure that any possible solutions take into account the broader needs of the entire agricultural sector.

b) It should be understood that the means to facilitate transition within the tobacco sector have not yet been determined. However, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is committed to continued examination of transition options for the sector.

As policy options are tabled and evaluated, it will be essential to develop solutions in collaboration with federal partners, industry and the Government of Ontario.

c) Previously, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada assisted the repositioning of the tobacco industry through the tobacco adjustment assistance program. This program allocated $67M to facilitate the exit of 279 flue-cured tobacco growers.

Currently Ontario tobacco producers have access to the same programming as other commodity groups through our business risk management programs such as: the Canadian agricultural income stabilization program, production insurance, spring credit advance program and the advance payments program. In addition, Ontario’s tobacco farmers may also take advantage of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada renewal programming that offers farm business planning, debt mediation and advisory services.

The future growing forward agricultural policy framework will continue to help producers seize opportunities and respond to market demands in a manner that promotes innovation and profitability. Any programming available through growing forward will be available to the entire sector, including tobacco growers.

Question No. 41Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

With respect to the impact, costs, benefits, consultations and studies on climate change as they relate to environmental legislation before Parliament: (a) what studies have been commissioned with respect to the economic costs of implementing Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act (Canada's Clean Air Act), as amended by the Legislative Committee on Bill C-30, including the list of titles, authors, dates of publication and brief synopsis of each; (b) how would meeting the targets set out in the amended version of Bill C-30 help mitigate the costs of climate change to the Canadian economy; (c) what would the economic benefits to the Canadian economy be if the measures outlined in the amended version of Bill C-30 were implemented; (d) were external consultations on the costs of Bill C-288, An Act to ensure Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, undertaken with organizations or individuals other than for the report released by the Minister of the Environment entitled “The Cost of Bill C-288 to Canadian Families and Business” and for the environmental regulatory plan entitled “Turning the Corner”, and (i) if so, what organizations or individuals were consulted and why were they not included in the report on Bill C-288, (ii) if not, why did the government not seek the input of other stakeholders, in particular leading Canadian environmental organizations; and (e) applying the same economic methodologies used for both of the documents mentioned in (d), what would be the approximate health savings of the amended version of Bill C-30?

Question No. 41Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Environment Canada did not commission nor undertake analysis assessing the economic costs of implementing Bill C-30, as amended by the Legislative Committee on Bill C-30. However, C-30 as amended did incorporate an obligation by Canada to fully meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Kyoto protocol, which the Government has examined in the context of its review of the former C-288, now the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. In that analysis, it was concluded that full compliance with Canada’s Kyoto targets, after years of inaction, would result in more than 275,000 jobs lost and a reduction in personal disposal income of about $4,000 for a Canadian family of four in 2009. Energy prices would go up considerably: more than double for natural gas, 50% for electricity, and gasoline, which is today about one dollar a litre would, on average, cost $1.60 a litre over the 2008-2009 period.

This would plunge the country into a deep recession in 2008. Canada's GDP would decline by over 6.5 percent from expected levels in 2008. GDP in 2008 would fall to 4.2 percent below that of 2007. By comparison, the deepest recession since World War II was in 1981-82, when the GDP fell by 4.9 percent. In actual dollars, the predicted recession would result in a decline in national economic activity in 2008 in the range of $51 billion below 2007 levels.

These results were supported by the leading Canadian experts in the field of macroeconomic modeling and macroeconomic analysis of Canada’s GHG mitigation options. These individuals were identified in the report entitled: The cost of Bill C-288 to Canadian families and business, released on April 19, 2007.

Environment Canada also assessed the potential economic impacts of introducing regulatory limits on industrial emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, as described in the regulatory framework for air emissions, as published by the Government of Canada on April 26, 2007. Its conclusions were that, by adopting an approach that respects Canada’s national circumstances and provides business and citizens with the time to adjust to a carbon-constrained world, the regulatory framework will achieve significant reductions in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions with minimal impact on energy prices, personal income and employment, and the economy overall.

In assessing the economic impact of both the former C-288 and the government’s industrial regulatory package, Environment Canada used its in-house economic modeling framework--E3MC.

Question No. 45Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

With respect to the government's funding to the provinces and territories to support the launch of a $300 million national program for the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine announced in the budget tabled in March 2007: (a) how much of this funding has been distributed to the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada to be further distributed to provide the vaccine to First Nations women and girls living on reserve; (b) what steps has the government taken to promote the vaccine to rural, northern and urban First Nations women and girls, living both on and off reserve; (c) what steps are being taken to ensure better screening, prevention and treatment of HPV for First Nations women and girls, particularly in rural and northern communities; and (d) how much funding has been provided to implement an HPV awareness campaign, including the augmentation of information, distribution of materials, and other related research for the Aboriginal population?

Question No. 45Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.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 response is as follows:

a) Federal budget 2007 included a $300 million contribution to provinces and territories to support the introduction of publicly-funded HPV vaccination programs over the next three years. The funding will be allocated on a per capita basis, including Inuit and First Nations. The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, FNIHB, has ensured that the wording of the trust fund agreement and HPV operating principles reflect the inclusion of First Nations and Inuits as provincial or territorial residents.

b) FNIHB is collaborating with the Assembly of First Nations, AFN, to increase the cultural relevancy of HPV vaccination program implementation and related educational materials, aimed at both the public and health professionals. The AFN has been engaged to provide feedback on the anticipated impact of the introduction of HPV programs on First Nations, and is working with First Nations communities to understand the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of First Nations with respect to the HPV vaccine.

c) Statistics reported in the First Nations longitudinal regional health survey 2002/03, the Manitoba cervical cancer screening program 2002 statistical report and the Northern Saskatchewan health indicators report 2004 suggest that pap uptake by First Nations women mirrors that of the general population, including in rural and isolated regional health authority areas. Statistics gathering and review continues, and will inform FNIHB/Public Health Agency of Canada consultations on HPV surveillance research, as well as, information sharing within FNIHB and with the national aboriginal organizations.

d) The FNIHB is working with the Assembly of First Nations to better understand the unique educational and cultural needs of First Nations with respect to HPV vaccine awareness. Once this work is complete, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch will be able to assess the resource requirements to meet the identified need in the on-reserve population.

Question No. 56Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

How much federal funding, from all sources, has the government spent on research, development and promotion of Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTS) since 1993?

Question No. 56Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, Genetic use restriction technology, GURT, means a technology-imposed restriction on the use of genetic material. Although GURT has been referred to as “terminator technology”, it must be noted that terminator technology should not be equated with all types of GURT. There are many GURTs that allow the production of viable seeds and therefore would not be considered to be terminator technology.

There are basically two kinds of GURT:

1. Trait-GURTs, T-GURTs, regulate the expression of a specific transgenic trait in plants while enabling plants to remain fertile and set viable seeds.

2. Varietal-GURTs, V-GURTs, impede transgene* movement, either by rendering the plant unable to develop properly, or to produce functional pollen or seed, or by preventing the transmission of the transgene, such that the occurrence or frequency of the transgene is significantly reduced in the subsequent generation.

From 1993 to present, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, AAFC, has not conducted research, development and promotion on T-GURTs or V-GURTs, thus funding is nil.

The only related research that has been conducted at AAFC is described as non-GURT. The research conducted at AAFC does not prevent the re-seeding of transgenic material; it only prevents the mixing of transgenes with unwanted varieties or with wild plants. The main purpose of this research was to discover ways to prevent gene flow, which is the escape of the transgene, to other plants that do not carry the same transgene. This technology is at the proof of concept stage and re-seeding material equipped with this technology is not restricted and thus produces viable seeds. The AAFC research and development funding from 1993 to the present for this work is $2 million and no resources were spent on its promotion.

* A transgene is a gene, the fundamental unit of heredity, that is taken from the genome, the total set of an organism’s genes, of one organism and introduced by artificial techniques into the genome of another organism.

Question No. 79Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

What funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government through its various departments and agencies issued in the constituencies of Saint John, Fundy Royal, New Brunswick Southwest, and Tobique—Mactaquac, respectively, for the period of January 24, 2006 to September 30, 2007 inclusive, and in each case where applicable: (a) the program under which the payment was made; (b) the names of the recipients; (c) the monetary value of the payment made; and (d) the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?

Question No. 79Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, Government information on funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees issued by departments and agencies is based on parliamentary authorities for departmental or agency programs and activities. This information is listed by department and government organization in the public accounts and disclosed on the web sites of government organizations. However, government organizations do not compile or analyze expenditure information by electoral district. Consequently, at present, it would not be possible to provide the information in the form requested.

Over the course of the 39th Parliament, a number of Government organizations have undertaken efforts to identify federal expenditures by postal codes which could then be summarized by electoral districts using a tool developed by Statistics Canada. While there is some promise in this approach, there remains a significant potential for error since many postal codes straddle two or more electoral districts. Moreover, the Government would have significant concerns about the quality of the financial data derived by this approach because there is no way to track the geographic area in which federal funding is actually spent. For example, federal funding could be provided to the head office of a firm situated in one electoral district, while the funding was actually spent by a subsidiary located in another electoral district. This may also be the case for payments to individuals, organizations or foundations. For these reasons, and the fact that fewer than half of Government organizations have acquired the Statistics Canada tool, it is not possible to produce an accurate and comprehensive answer to this question at the present time.

That said, Statistics Canada has initiated a process to enhance the accuracy of the tool that provides the link between postal codes and electoral districts. The process will allow departments which use the tool to better approximate by electoral district data gathered on a postal code basis. The improved tool is expected to be available at the end of January 2008, and training for Government organizations on the use of this tool is planned for February--March 2008.