May 2, 2003

LIB

Bryon Wilfert

Liberal

Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the economy is moving along very strongly. More people are working and the fact that more people are contributing is obviously good. That is very positive.

The fact that we are paying off the national debt, reducing corporate taxes, and reducing personal income taxes is obviously very good news. It is news that these people do not want to hear. We do not hear these negative comments except from the Alliance because only the Alliance cannot take it. The fact is that we are moving along, with 560,000 new jobs created last year. Any other questions?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
Permalink
LIB

Art Eggleton

Liberal

Hon. Art Eggleton (York Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the appointment of the hon. member for Mississauga West to the cabinet. Knowing his support for affordable housing, his job with respect to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will be most beneficial to Canadians.

I want to ask him a question in connection with the SARS disease. There are many people who are having trouble with their mortgage payments because of their loss of income because of this terrible disease. I wonder what Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation could do to assist those people?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Housing
Permalink
LIB

Steve Mahoney

Liberal

Hon. Steve Mahoney (Secretary of State (Selected Crown Corporations), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate the member for the tremendous leadership that he has shown on behalf of the people of the city of Toronto as chair of the GTA caucus.

CMHC has said to its lenders that anyone who has difficulty making their mortgage payments can sit down with their lender and see about working out arrangements that are suitable to help them if there is a crisis. We can defer payments, blend payments, and make changes that will make it possible for people to keep their homes and not run into financial difficulty. CMHC along with the government and the member are showing leadership in this area to say that Toronto is open for business again.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Housing
Permalink
CA

Reed Elley

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, many of my constituents in Nanaimo--Cowichan rely on water transportation. Under the government, Gabriola Island's green wharf, which allows the only public access between Gabriola and Mudge Islands was set for demolition. Last year, the then public works minister announced there would be an indefinite moratorium on the disposal of the green wharf until the access issue has been resolved. Public works officials have now arbitrarily imposed a September 13 deadline.

Will the present minister please confirm that he will stand by his government's previous commitment to an indefinite moratorium--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Works
Permalink
?

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Works
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I will most certainly consult with my predecessor and determine the best way to live up to the spirit of his commitment.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Works
Permalink
CA

Reed Elley

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, another related concern on this issue is that the government has been relying on local government to negotiate compensation issues with the landowner on Gabriola Island when this is really a federal responsibility. This will not be resolved until the federal government accepts its responsibility for this issue.

Will the Minister of Public Works and Government Services commit to having his department handle these negotiations, and respect provincial and municipal jurisdictions?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Works
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, at the moment I am not aware of all the legal nuances that might be involved here, but I can certainly assure the hon. member that I will inquire into it and obviously try to get the very best results that we possible can for his constituents.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Works
Permalink
BQ

Benoît Sauvageau

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Repentigny, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government says it is putting in place measures to foster francophone immigration to minority communities. But if we look at the amounts provided for language training, we notice that only $300,000, or 0.4% of the program's $94 million budget, is allocated to French language training, with a mere $9,000 for the Maritimes, and nothing for Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

Is this deplorable situation not likely to turn prospective immigrants into prospects for assimilation?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
Permalink
LIB

Denis Coderre

Liberal

Hon. Denis Coderre (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

No, Mr. Speaker. I think that we must commend the plan of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. I also think that our government is indeed ensuring that things are put into perspective.

That having been said, I think that the first principle is to ensure francophone immigration. We must make sure this development tool is available across Canada for minority communities as well. There is a steering committee in charge of conducting all assessments, and we will make the appropriate adjustments based on these assessments.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Immigration
Permalink
LIB

Carolyn Bennett

Liberal

Ms. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, preventable disease kills millions of children every year in developing countries. We know that immunization and vitamin A programs can prevent these tragedies.

Could the Minister for International Cooperation inform the House of what Canada is doing to ensure that the children in developing countries are protected?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
Permalink
LIB

Susan Whelan

Liberal

Hon. Susan Whelan (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a recognized leader in immunization and vitamin A programs and we are deeply committed to protecting children's health.

Yesterday I announced an additional $110 million to be devoted to immunizing children against tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B and yellow fever over the next five years. In the past this program has averted 40 million cases of measles and 500,000 deaths. To ensure that the vitamin A program can reach an additional 200 million children, $33.6 million will go to UNICEF. With yesterday's announcement we will be able to continue to see some of the results that we have seen in the past.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
Permalink
CA

Brian Fitzpatrick

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, only the Liberal government would want to tax amateur junior hockey players. Revenue Canada still intends to tax players and teams of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

Could anyone in the government, perhaps the self-proclaimed Saskatchewan boy, please explain why Saskatchewan junior hockey players are being treated differently from junior hockey players in the rest of the country?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
LIB

Colleen Beaumier

Liberal

Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I believe the minister has answered that question several times in the past and she has made it clear that protecting the rights of Canadians to benefit from Canada's social programs was essential for her and the CCRA. In that respect, CCRA has initiated an outreach program via the hockey association regarding the employment status of hockey players and their eligibility for Canada's social safety net to ensure they receive the benefits they are entitled to. In order for the government to continue providing these social programs everyone must continue paying their fair share, as in this case in the past.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, while money is in such terribly short supply, the federal government has decided to leave the cast and crew of the film Les invasions barbares at home and to send four Canadian diplomatic service staff and their spouses to the Cannes Festival.

Will the government admit that, funds being as short as they are, instead of giving preferential treatment to four public servants and their spouses, more consideration ought to have been shown by first of all inviting our film actors, crew and creators to Cannes?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Cannes Festival
Permalink
LIB

Carole-Marie Allard

Liberal

Ms. Carole-Marie Allard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the member across the way raises an interesting point, and I will be pleased to make inquiries of the department and get back to him with an answer.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Cannes Festival
Permalink
NDP

Joe Comartin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Joe Comartin (Windsor—St. Clair, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thought everyone in Canada knew that West Nile Virus was a serious public health problem. Last year Health Canada paid to test dead crows for the virus. Today we hear from CBC radio that in fact the government has cut the funding for this year. Is the report accurate? Why would the minister cut off funding to test for the virus?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
Permalink
LIB

Anne McLellan

Liberal

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we are not cutting off funding to test for the virus. In fact, our lab last year worked 24/7 to test as many samples of blood and tissue as absolutely humanly possible. Learning from that experience with our provincial and territorial colleagues, and at their request, they wanted to expand the testing capacity to provincial laboratories. We agreed that it was appropriate. We have been working with some of the provinces to train their technicians so this testing can be done in provincial laboratories where they so wish.

In fact, funding is not being cut. We are constantly working with the provinces and territories to figure out how best to protect the health of Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
Permalink
PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC)

Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period the Minister of Health asked who said about SARS six weeks ago in Parliament that “we know that it is not a real threat”. If she will check Hansard for March 21, she will see that it was her parliamentary secretary who said that, responding to a question directed to her.

Does her parliamentary secretary speak for the minister, and if he was wrong in the information he gave the House, why did the minister not take the earliest opportunity to set the record straight?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
Permalink
LIB

Anne McLellan

Liberal

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I do not think there is any doubt that the government has always taken the threat of SARS very seriously. That is why as soon as the WHO issued information in relation to this new and emerging disease we activated federal-provincial-territorial mechanisms. We activated our operations centre in Health Canada. We activated our level 4 lab in Winnipeg, working 24 hours a day 7 days a week to try to understand the science of this disease. In fact, we have always taken this disease seriously, which is why the WHO says we are the world leader.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
Permalink

May 2, 2003