May 16, 2003

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, on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of National Defence, I became aware of this issue just earlier today. I am advised that the minister is aware of the circumstances and he is prepared to work toward a constructive solution to this problem.

I hope it can be resolved in a way that is satisfactory to all concerned.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Works
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CA

Gerry Ritz

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, last night on the road to Halifax the member for LaSalle—Émard had an epiphany. He said his government must get new maritime helicopters “as quickly as possible and absolutely the best”. Petty politics will not let this government reorder the EH-101 as still the best value purchase. It will just not go there.

Will the member for LaSalle—Émard, as prime minister, be forced to cancel another helicopter replacement contract? Will he have to go there?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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?

The Deputy Speaker

I regret that question is out of order. It is not directed to the government.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister for International Trade accused Europe of renouncing its own scientific ideals by banning the import of GMOs. Yet a study by the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency and an independent panel of 579 scientists has shown that GMOs might constitute a risk for human health.

Will the minister acknowledge that trade and health can go hand in hand and that we can engage in one while protecting the other?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Genetically Modified Organisms
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, what we want to see happen in asking the European Union to lift its moratorium is for it to enforce its own laws. We want Canadian products to be let in. Europe can take whatever measures it wants, but it must comply with its own legislation. That is the aim of our consultations.

As far as scientific issues are concerned, the UK Royal Society and the French Academy of Sciences have reached conclusions diametrically opposed to what the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie has just stated in this House.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Genetically Modified Organisms
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BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

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

Mr. Speaker, we have to admit that this week's decision to challenge the European moratorium before the WTO sets Canada back 10 years as far as application of the precautionary principle to GMOs is concerned.

Before reaching his decision, might the minister not have been better off, as the Royal Society of Canada has suggested, to carry out independent studies in order to ensure that GMOs represent no danger to health or the environment, before ignoring science as he did yesterday?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Genetically Modified Organisms
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this could not be further from the truth. What we want is for science to be respected. Europe was responsible for bringing humankind into the modern age, some 350 years ago. With the modern age comes belief in progress, and progress is based on science. That is precisely the view of Canada. The French Academy and the UK Royal Society have taken exactly the same approach as the Canadian government.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Genetically Modified Organisms
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CA

Paul Forseth

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Paul Forseth (New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Treasury Board. Bill C-25 concerning public employees has now been completed at committee and will be tabled today. However the new definition of the merit principle has become a concern to the unions and many observers across the country.

What will the government do to ensure that Liberal supporters in the public service are no longer able to hire or promote just their Liberal friends and their favourites? How will the government truly defend the merit principle?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
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LIB

Tony Tirabassi

Liberal

Mr. Tony Tirabassi (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question and I thank him for his contribution at committee regarding Bill C-25.

There merit principle, which is the basis for all appointments in the public service, has never been defined in legislation. As a result, years of case law and precedent have resulted in a cumbersome process driven process that has provided an inability for the public service to recruit and to promote effectively.

Through Bill C-25 deputy head staffing authority will be delegated by the Public Service Commission in accordance with the PSC guidelines. This new approach--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
Permalink
?

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
Permalink
CA

Reed Elley

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade has promised that he would not allow the Americans to further harm the Canadian softwood lumber industry.

We understand that an export tax as high as 33%, a full six points higher than the present punitive duty, is being proposed by the United States. We also hear that it wants two-thirds of the $1.5 billion in duties collected to date to remain in American hands.

It is clear that these proposals will only further harm workers in my riding and across the country. Will the government stand up for Canadians and refuse to cave in to these American demands?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I totally agree with my colleague and I can say that we have absolutely no intention of going in the direction of what the American producers have proposed in the last few days. It is a no go as far as we are concerned. It is absolutely not the sort of solution that we are seeking with the Americans and that will benefit our Canadian softwood lumber producers.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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BQ

Pierre Paquette

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance paid a visit to his counterpart in Quebec, Yves Séguin, who, as members know, is the author of the report on the fiscal imbalance.

The Minister of Finance claims to want to work constructively with the Government of Quebec but, at the same time, and that is odd, he denies the existence of the fiscal imbalance and refers to it as a dogma. A dogma shared by the three parties at the National Assembly and the 10 provinces of Canada ,looks much more like a certainty.

Does the Minister of Finance intend to respond favourably to the Premier of Quebec who emphasized, and he said so again just yesterday, that the fiscal imbalance remains our first priority?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Bryon Wilfert

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance had a very productive and very useful meeting with his Quebec counterpart yesterday. It is nice to see that we can do that with the new government of Quebec.

I would point out that one of the ways the member across the way could help is to pass Bill C-28 so that needed funds to go to health care in Quebec could be passed. That member unfortunately talks on one side but does not act on the other. Let us get on with Bill C-28 to get that money to Quebec and other provinces.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
BQ

Pierre Paquette

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Finance realize that, with his $10.4 billion surplus—the exact amount the Bloc Quebec had forecast—he can afford to help the provinces and Quebec?

Will he finally open discussions on the use that is being made of the taxpayers' money, by providing the Government of Quebec with the tax room necessary to invest in the areas of jurisdiction where the needs are, that is, health, education and social housing?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Bryon Wilfert

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, again the budget implementation bill is before the House today. If the member is really that serious about this issue, he will get behind us and get the bill passed. Very needed moneys are in there for the province of Quebec and other provinces, but this member would rather stall than deal with the issue. Do not talk the line, act it.

Again, the Minister of Finance is prepared to work cooperatively with all ministers of finance in the provinces and territories, and we look forward to future discussions.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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CA

Myron Thompson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime has asked for modest financial support to help it with providing services to victims. It has been turned down by the government. The government continues to favour convicted criminals over their victims.

I would like to ask the Solicitor General why he gives over $1 million per year in funding to criminal focus groups, such as prisoners' art foundation, but does not give a single penny to victims' focus groups.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Department of the Solicitor General gives funding to basically 14 organizations to ensure that both victims and offenders have the organizations to assist them, to improve their lives and, indeed, to put some pressure on myself as Solicitor General and the government in general in terms of ensuring that the justice system and the correctional services system work well. That is what we continue to do. I believe we are doing a good job in terms of funding organizations so that we have input from the community.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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CA

Lynne Yelich

Canadian Alliance

Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the justice committee heard yesterday that the Liberals have spent more than $29 million to advertise their gun registry fiasco. Yet the government could not see fit to renew a $65,000 funding agreement with the Saskatchewan Association for Firearm Education.

Could the Solicitor General please explain why safety falls so far below advertising on his list of priorities?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Firearms Registry
Permalink
LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am amazed at this question in which she asks why safety falls so far below the horizon with the government.

First, on the money to Saskatchewan, that was a three year contract. The contract ended. As the commissioner for firearms answered yesterday at committee, it was explained how there were 500 firearms people in Saskatchewan working on training with communities, and that is going well.

On safety, the purpose of the Firearms Act is to make our communities safer and members opposite--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Firearms Registry
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May 16, 2003