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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Canada Post CorporationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition signed by more than 120 persons who add their voices to the 5,000 others who asked that the post office of Noranda, in Rouyn-Noranda, remains open. That post office is essential for the older citizens of that area of the city.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from people in the lower mainland of British Columbia, from New Westminster, Coquitlam and Port Moody, who say that child care is a benefit to all children, that it enhances health and school readiness and that it reduces family poverty.

The petitioners say that the $1,200 the government has designed is poorly designed and discriminates against single parent families.

They call upon the government to provide multi-year funding to ensure that publicly operated child care programs are sustainable and that it protect child care by enshrining it in legislation with a national child care act.

Rights of the unbornPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I recently met at my Levis office with Jocelyne Gagnon, Émilienne Morrissette, Berthe Fradette and Chantal Bélanger, from Bellechasse, who asked me to table their petition in the House.

According to the parliamentary tradition, I table that petition signed by more than 500 persons who ask the government to give a social status to the unborn child.

ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table a petition on behalf of the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Civil Liberties Union. Both organizations have clearly demonstrated the limits of granting the permanent residency to all persons from countries under moratorium, such as Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

The petitioners say that it is totally inhuman to keep people in legal limbo for years, considering the results obtained when humanitarian criteria are applied.

Visitor VisasPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by several hundred citizens of the London and southwestern Ontario region. They wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Republic of Poland successfully joined the European Union as of May 1, 2004, that Canada and Poland are both active members of NATO promoting peace and security globally, and that Poland is using biometric passport technology, which is a secure passport identification system.

The signators request that the Government of Canada lift the visitor visa requirements for Poland to increase family visitation, tourism, cultural exchanges and trade missions. The newly elected head executive board of the Canadian Polish Congress, representing 800,000 Canadians of Polish heritage, strongly recommend the lifting of such visa requirements for Poland so that Canadian citizens will no longer require visitors visas to visit Poland.

Summer Career Placement ProgramPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Orders of this House, I am pleased to table this afternoon a petition signed by more than 600 inhabitants of Verchères—Les Patriotes and the surrounding area who ask for the maintenance and even for the improvement of the summer career placement program.

I can say right now that I will be tabling a second petition on the same subject in the next few days.

Visitor VisasPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition pertaining to visa requirements for the Republic of Poland. This petition is signed by a significant number of people from my constituency of Winnipeg North where there is a very vibrant Polish community that has been playing a very important part in our community's cultural and economic life.

The petitioners point out to Parliament that there is a double standard. Canadians do not need a visa to go to Poland, yet Polish people need a visa to come to Canada. They think this is unjust and unfair for good relations and trading patterns. They call upon Parliament to lift the visa requirements for the Republic of Poland.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

April 16th, 2007 / 3:20 p.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: Nos. 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178 and 182.

Question No. 173Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

What projects, grants, contributions and any other funding support has Human Resources and Social Development Canada funded for the riding of Trinity-Spadina since January 1, 2006?

Question No. 173Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

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 over 5,000 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 to better approximate by electoral district data gathered on a postal code basis. The improved tool should be available in the fall of 2007. In the interim, the Privy Council Office will also launch an interdepartmental process to determine whether this tool can be extended to all government organizations as well as the means to ensure that it is used in a consistent manner across the whole of government.

Question No. 174Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

With regard to new Canadians who arrived from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the last five years: (a) what is the number of recent arrivals who are natives or citizens of the DPRK; (b) what is the number of people who are natives or citizens of the DPRK and have been granted refugee status; (c) what is the number of people who are natives or citizens of the DPRK that were not granted refugee status; and (d) what is the number of people currently being processed through the refugee system?

Question No. 174Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada is concerned, with regard to foreign nationals who arrived from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK, over the last five years:

a) We have interpreted “recent arrivals” to mean persons who were granted permanent residence by applying from outside of Canada. This would include permanent residents in all of the immigration categories. We have also interpreted “natives or citizens of the DPRK” to mean persons who were born in the DPRK. Our systems do not enable us to reliably disaggregate natives from citizens. The 127 persons who were born in the DPRK were granted permanent residence in Canada in the last five years;

b) two persons born in the DPRK were determined in Canada to be convention refugees or persons in need of protection;

c) two persons born in the DPRK were determined in Canada to be neither convention refugees nor persons in need or protection; and

d) as of December 31, 2006, 26 persons born in the DPRK were awaiting a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board with respect to their claims for refugee protection.

Question No. 175Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

With regard to the 1992 decision of the government to seize fishermen's assets to pay for loans offered under the Fisheries Improvement Loans Act, will the government take action on the following requests from the Fishermen's Redress Committee to: (a) appoint a representative of the Prime Minister to enter negotiations with the Fishermen's Redress Committee; (b) compensate the fishermen in their loss; and (c) offer an apology for the many years of suffering they have endured?

Question No. 175Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the government is not considering at this time any actions related to past loan guarantees and debt recovery that occurred under FILA. The government did not seize the assets of fishers to pay for loans that were guaranteed under FILA. Through FILA, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans provided loan guarantees so that fishers could receive loans at favorable rates from lending institutions. In the unfortunate case of defaulted loans, the lending institution followed through with a collection process, and in some cases assets were seized. DFO was not involved in those decisions; indeed, the Department paid the difference on any remaining amounts, relieving fishers of any further obligations to the lenders. After the government paid a claim to a lender for a loss incurred on a FILA guarantee, the debtor (the fisher) was still expected to repay the government for the loss paid on his or her behalf.

However, collection action by the government was only implemented when the financial circumstances of the debtor (fisher) improved to where a repayment plan was possible. For those who were unable to pay in the foreseeable future, borrowers were asked to submit documentary evidence such as a statement of affairs, employment record, health conditions, etc. The debt was then written-off, pursuant to Treasury Board guidelines, if it was deemed uncollectible (e.g. the debtor was bankrupt) or otherwise did not merit further action. No claims paid under FILA are outstanding and no collection action is being pursued. The government has written-off $13.5 million in paid claims, almost 85% of all defaulted FILA debts covered by DFO. With respect to programs established under FILA, government actions were consistent with FILA and Treasury Board guidelines. The government’s position is that it would be inappropriate to provide compensation and/or an apology for the actions of private financial institutions.

Question No. 176Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

What funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued in the constituency of Ottawa Centre since February 6, 2006, that are available in an electronic capacity, including the 2006-2007 Budget and up to today, and, in each case where applicable: (a) the department or agency responsible; (b) the program under which the payment was made; (c) the names of the recipients, if they were groups or organizations; (d) the monetary value of the payment made; and (e) the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?

Question No. 176Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.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 over 5,000 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 to better approximate by electoral district data gathered on a postal code basis. The improved tool should be available in the fall of 2007. In the interim, the Privy Council Office will also launch an interdepartmental process to determine whether this tool can be extended to all government organizations as well as the means to ensure that it is used in a consistent manner across the whole of government.

Question No. 177Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Can the Minister of Transport confirm what criteria are being used in the audit plan for the special examination of the National Capital Commission now being conducted by the Auditor General?

Question No. 177Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with section 138 of the Financial Administration Act, parent crown corporations shall cause a special Eeamination to be carried out at least once every five years. A special examination of the National Capital Commission, NCC, is scheduled for 2007. The Office of the Auditor General, OAG, will be conducting the examination and it is responsible for developing the audit criteria.

The OAG is in the very early stages of the audit process. As part of its standard process, the OAG presents the special examination plan, i.e. audit plan, which normally includes the audit criteria, to the crown corporation's audit committee. In the case of the NCC, the OAG expects to present this plan to the corporation in early spring 2007.

Question No. 178Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

With respect to agriculture programs are there any bilateral initiatives between Canada and Afghanistan such as farmer exchange programs, agriculture student exchanges, reduced tariffs on imports such as pistachios, almonds, apricots as incentive to curb poppy production, technology transfer, or any government agency linkages between Canada and Afghanistan?

Question No. 178Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, Canada’s approach is to help Afghans help themselves and to strengthen the presence of the national government across the country. Support focuses on Afghan national programs that ensure local ownership, accountability and community-based engagement.

The Canadian International Development Agency’s, CIDA, Afghanistan program’s assistance framework has evolved over the years. Its current priorities have been created to support those identified in the Afghan government’s interim national development strategy and have been identified by Afghanistan as key to extending the reach of the government and allowing development and economic growth to combat poverty.

CIDA’s three thematic priorities across the country, including Kandahar Province, are as follows: sustainable rural livelihoods and community-based development, improving democratic development and effective governance, and supporting the role of women and girls in society, including education. Canada’s funding is delivered through trusted and well-managed partner organizations including the World Bank, UN organizations as well as reputable international and Canadian non-governmental organizations, NGOs.

Afghanistan, along with all other least developed countries, LDC, benefits from the 2003 Government of Canada market access initiative, which allows for tariff and quota-free access for virtually all products, excluding certain dairy and poultry products, imported from LDCs. Agricultural products such as pistachios and almonds fall under the market access initiative.

Technology transfer for agriculture occurs directly and indirectly through certain projects of CIDA. CIDA has implemented a community renewal project in northeast Afghanistan through the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s, AKFC, community renewal program, providing alternative livelihood options in the context of concerted anti-narcotics efforts. Most of these efforts have been related to agricultural development, including livestock development centres, animal vaccination, livestock technologies training, rangeland rehabilitation and the establishment of forestry nurseries, horticulture nurseries, trial farms and farmer schools.

Canada has also contributed to the mine action national development budget which has focused on clearing areas affected by land mines and other ordnance freeing up key arable land for agriculture. Additionally, CIDA has been involved in a number of quick impact projects that have provided seeds and fertilizers to 70,000 farmers.

Indirectly, other CIDA projects such as the national solidarity program, NSP, have supported technology transfer. The NSP gives rural Afghans a voice in their country’s development through the election of community leaders to community development councils, CDCs. The program supports the CDCs to lead their communities through processes to identify, plan, manage, and monitor their own development projects. Under NSP, more than half of the community projects involve productive infrastructure such as irrigation, roads, and village electrification, thereby promoting productivity and stimulating local economies.

Question No. 182Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

What Human Resources and Social Development Canada funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued in the constituency of London—Fanshawe since February 6, 2006, including the 2006-2007 Budget and up to today, and, in each case where applicable: (a) the department or agency responsible; (b) the program under which the payment was made; (c) the names of the recipients, if they were groups or organizations; (d) the monetary value of the payment made; and (e) the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?

Question No. 182Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

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 over 5,000 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 to better approximate by electoral district data gathered on a postal code basis. The improved tool should be available in the fall of 2007. In the interim, the Privy Council Office will also launch an interdepartmental process to determine whether this tool can be extended to all government organizations as well as the means to ensure that it is used in a consistent manner across the whole of government.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.