November 28, 1997

NDP

Pat Martin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, this government owns 50,000 buildings, many of which are outdated, expensive to operate and waste energy. Yet today, unbelievably, the government postponed an energy retrofit program that would create thousands of jobs, save a fortune in operating costs and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

On the eve of Kyoto can the Minister of the Environment please explain why in the world she would postpone an idea as good as job creation through energy conservation.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Buildings
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph E. Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the idea is by no means postponed.

The federal buildings initiative is an ongoing effort of the government to encourage greater energy conservation in the construction and the operation of federal government buildings.

Over the last number of years we made considerable progress in achieving energy savings from a cost point of view and also improvements in the greenhouse gas performance. That program is ongoing and it will continue to be ongoing with announcements one after the other.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Buildings
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PC

Norman E. Doyle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Norman Doyle (St. John's East, PC)

Mr. Speaker, the Geneva convention relating to the status of refugees in Canada, to which Canada is a signatory, states that contracting states shall in particular make every effort to reduce as far as possible all the charges and costs associated with the assimilation and naturalisation of refugees.

My question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. How does the minister square our international obligations under the Geneva convention with a head tax of $970 per adult refugee?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
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LIB

Maria Minna

Liberal

Ms. Maria Minna (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the hon. member that the loan program for immigrants and refugees is a mechanism to assist those in need of financial assistance to cover the costs of certain fees associated with entering Canada.

Second, 95% of beneficiaries are refugees in need of assistance. This program has been a major success story. In fact, I am pleased to inform the House that over 92% of the loans have been paid back.

This not only demonstrates this government's commitment to helping immigrants and refugees enter Canada, it also speaks well to the integrity of newcomers to our country.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
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LIB

Stan Dromisky

Liberal

Mr. Stan Dromisky (Thunder Bay—Atikokan, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the minister responsible for the Ministry of Transport.

In the middle of the city of Thunder Bay a railway tanker car containing volatile butane sprung a leak, thus possibly endangering the lives of hundreds of nearby residents.

What has been done and what is now being done to protect the citizens of my riding in this situation?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Thunder Bay
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada's top priority is public safety. Propane gas response specialists were on the scene early to assist the local fire department—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Thunder Bay
Permalink
?

An hon. member

How dare he answer this.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Thunder Bay
Permalink
LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria

I am sorry that the leader of the Conservative Party is not concerned about public safety.

As a preventive measure some 100 households were evacuated. As of today that number has been reduced to safety, and Transport Canada will be seizing the tanker car in question for investigation.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Thunder Bay
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REF

Dale Johnston

Reform

Mr. Dale Johnston (Wetaskiwin, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, when we ask the government what commitments it is going to make on behalf of Canadians in Kyoto we get things like manana, manana, tomorrow. But tomorrow is here.

We would like to know what are the standards to which this minister is going to oblige Canadians. Will she tell us today? Manana is here.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Christine Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Christine Stewart (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, I suggest the Reform Party go home and study this issue, listen to its constituents and come back on Monday. We will let those members know on Monday what our targets and time lines are.

This is a real and serious issue. The hon. member's constituents are concerned about it. The constituents of each and every one of the members want them to take a responsible position on this issue.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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BQ

Hélène Alarie

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Hélène Alarie (Louis-Hébert, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of International Trade.

Last week, the Standing Committee on Agriculture reviewed the issue of the importation of oil, butter and sugar mixtures.

Will the government finally accept the dairy industry's request that oil, butter and sugar mixtures be reclassified under the proper tariff line, as has already been successfully argued in a recent NAFTA panel?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Dairy Industry
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LIB

Sergio Marchi

Liberal

Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister for International Trade, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this is a very important question. We have spoken with industry representatives in Quebec and in Canada. I have had extensive discussions with my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, and other ministers.

We are willing to review this matter and we are working very hard on this. I hope to be able to provide more information in the near future.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Dairy Industry
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NDP

Angela Vautour

New Democratic Party

Ms. Angela Vautour (Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Human Resources Development.

At a time when 57% of the unemployed are not eligible for unemployment insurance, the Liberal government is reducing the deficit on the backs of the unemployed. Because the Liberals do not care what happens to the unemployed in this country, the CSN had to submit a petition to the Federal Court to seek an end to the government's raiding of the employment insurance fund.

Have we really reached the point where it is necessary to go to court so that the unemployed can receive what they are entitled to, that is more generous benefits? Or is the minister willing to promise that in the future, the surplus will benefit only the unemployed?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance Fund
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, we have implemented a major employment insurance reform. We feel that the reserve is absolutely necessary. I believe it is important that there be such a reserve.

Before we came to office, when the Conservative government was in power, the employment insurance fund went from a surplus to a deficit of $6 billion. A reserve is necessary because it reduces the need to increase premiums in a full-blown recession.

We must also see to it that we can provide benefits when they are most needed—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance Fund
Permalink
?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The member for West Nova.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance Fund
Permalink
PC

Mark Muise

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mark Muise (West Nova, PC)

Mr. Speaker, depending on what time of day it is the minister responsible for Canada Post cannot decide whether or not he is going to privatize the corporation. The government has also made it clear that it has no plans to end this postal strike. In fact, the government has no long term business strategy for the future of the crown corporation.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business reports that small and medium size businesses are losing $200 million a day while this government drags its feet about ending the strike.

Does the minister have any idea what he is going to do about Canada Post and if so, when?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada Post
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LIB

Alfonso Gagliano

Liberal

Hon. Alfonso Gagliano (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government since last April has given a mandate to Canada Post to have universal service to all Canadians, to commercialize operations so that it can make profits and investments in the future and also to have price stamps below inflation.

That is what we are doing and we hope the negotiations will be completed as soon as possible so it can go on with its mandate.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada Post
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LIB

Raymonde Folco

Liberal

Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The government is being criticized because potential immigrants are allegedly discouraged from coming to Canada because they cannot afford the landing fees.

Can the parliamentary secretary explain to this House what steps she is taking to help those people who cannot afford the landing fees?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
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LIB

Maria Minna

Liberal

Ms. Maria Minna (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government has a loans program which is very effective. In fact, it helps at least 95% of refugees and people come to this country. We also have a very high payback, 92%. It is a program that works very well for refugees and immigrants coming into this country. It is very effective.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
Permalink
?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Hon. members, this would bring us to the end of Question Period.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
Permalink

November 28, 1997