October 31, 2003

LIB

Paul MacKlin

Liberal

Mr. Paul Harold Macklin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, clearly everyone in the House is against child pornography. I do not think there is any question about that. We are all interested in doing the right thing to make sure that child pornography is minimized and hopefully eliminated, but the reality is that we have to use sentencing procedures that make sense and that work. The evidence before committee was that minimum sentencing simply does not work.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Child Pornography
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LIB

Robert Bertrand

Liberal

Mr. Robert Bertrand (Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, last March this House adopted a motion referring the subject matter of Bill C-202 to the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Hon. members will recall that the purpose of the bill was to add a sixth principle to the Canada Health Act, namely the respect of linguistic duality. The report was to be produced by today.

Can the committee chair tell us what progress the committee has made on this?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Official Languages
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LIB

Mauril Bélanger

Liberal

Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

I have the honour to report that the committee did indeed address this matter last spring and finished its work this past week. With leave of the House, I will have the honour to table its report during routine proceedings.

I realize it is inappropriate to discuss its content in reply to a question in the House, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who came before the committee or sent in comments, the experts who shared their knowledge with us, our clerk, and most particularly our researcher. Naturally I also thank the committee members for their serious and constant hard work, which we hope will prove productive.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Official Languages
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CA

Chuck Cadman

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, last week in opposing Bill C-338, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice said that the Liberal government will not take any action against street racing.

Numerous serious injuries and deaths have been caused by these irresponsible drivers. RCMP Constable Jimmy Ng was killed when his patrol car was T-boned by an alleged street racer. Why is the government refusing to make our streets safer for our citizens and the police who patrol them?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Paul MacKlin

Liberal

Mr. Paul Harold Macklin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is taking this matter seriously, as do we in the government. We look upon this as being a very important part of law enforcement, making sure that in fact those who would street race do find appropriate penalties for their crime. We examined it, and I mentioned in my speech that day that in fact it is very clear we already have the appropriate provisions in place within the Criminal Code. All we need to do now is make sure that they are properly exercised by the judges within our communities.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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CA

Chuck Cadman

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the government has also failed to respond to demands to strengthen our impaired driving laws. The minister is well aware of the carnage and the misery caused by drunk drivers.

Last week, RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli was injured in a crash involving a suspected drunk driver. An impaired driver has injured Canada's top cop. Again, what is it going to take for the government to get serious about protecting not only our citizens but our police?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Paul MacKlin

Liberal

Mr. Paul Harold Macklin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I think it is very clear that we have taken active steps to deal with this matter in the Criminal Code. It is clear that we have gone through with chemical tests that are available and that in fact samples can be taken at the roadside, but there are many ways in which we can deal with those who would drive impaired. We think we have a very effective program that works. There will be exceptions, which is unfortunate, but we believe that we have in place something that is very meaningful and works well for the Canadian public.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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BQ

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Jonquière, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I have questioned the Minister of Transport and his parliamentary secretary, and both have confirmed to me that the government is prepared to pay 50% of the cost of building highway 175. The government's intentions with respect to cost overruns are not quite as clear.

Again, as part of its commitment concerning highway 175, does the government also intend to pay 50% of cost overruns? And when will the agreement be signed?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Highway Infrastructure
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LIB

Marcel Proulx

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Proulx (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I explained this to the hon. member yesterday, and I will take the opportunity again today to congratulate my hon. colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, who has done such a fine job on this issue.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Highway Infrastructure
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BQ
LIB

Marcel Proulx

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Proulx

If the hon. member bears with me and listens to the answer, perhaps she will not have to ask the question again.

The agreement was signed over the summer by the Prime Minister and the Premier of Quebec at the time. The agreement states that the costs will be shared 50-50 by the federal and provincial governments. I remind hon. members that the costs are estimated at $525 million—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Highway Infrastructure
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NDP

Wendy Lill

New Democratic Party

Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, this week we learned that another funding crisis has hit the health care system in Nova Scotia. The largest health district, the Capital District Health Authority, has been forced to cancel overtime for nurses in order to save money, yet despite the difficulties the province is having in providing acceptable levels of health care, the Liberal government is threatening to claw back over $80 million in equalization payments.

Will the Minister of Finance guarantee that Nova Scotia will not be forced to cough up these funds instead of paying for vital services like health, education and disaster relief?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Equalization Payments
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LIB

John Manley

Liberal

Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, we are working on the renewal of equalization at the present time. It would be helpful if opposition parties would facilitate the passage of a bill which will ensure that equalization payments can be made through next April. I do expect that we will have renewal in place before then, but this is an insurance policy. Secondly, I would remind the hon. member of the $35 billion that was added to the CHST specifically for health care as a result of the health accord of 2003.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Equalization Payments
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CA

Gurmant Grewal

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, Canada is losing its ability to compete in Asia. The Asia Pacific Foundation in its latest report reveals that our share of the top Asian markets has plummeted by nearly one-third since 1996 and by 13% in the last year alone.

We need to diversify our trade, but the Liberals simply lack the long term vision needed to revitalize our trading relationship in Asia. When will the government abandon its inconsistent, haphazard policies and open Asian markets to Canadian companies?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Trade
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LIB

David Kilgour

Liberal

Hon. David Kilgour (Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the only region of the world where our trade is up is southeast Asia. Therefore we are doing better in southeast Asia.

His point about our market share being down in most Asian markets, unfortunately, is true and all of us in the House and in our country have do more trading with Asia generally.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Trade
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BQ

Diane Bourgeois

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Diane Bourgeois (Terrebonne—Blainville, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, according to the International Labour Office, Canada has the fifth highest incidence of workplace harassment in the world. Moreover, many psychological harassment cases are being reported within the public service itself.

Can the government tell us what steps it intends to take to help victims of psychological harassment in the federal public service?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Harassment
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LIB

Lucienne Robillard

Liberal

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we have a policy to prevent harassment in the public service of Canada. This policy has been reviewed with our union partners. I must say that, in terms of enforcing this policy in the federal public service, there are some difficulties at the moment. We are discovering that there are still cases of harassment.

We are currently holding workshops to build awareness throughout the public service, in conjunction with the unions, in order to ensure that harassment becomes a thing of the past in Canada's public service.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Harassment
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CA

Ken Epp

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, ministers sign the cheques and drive the legislative agenda. They are the ones the lobbyists go after.

The much touted new ethics package of the Prime Minister will not change the way the ethics commissioner deals with ministers who accept freebies. The commissioner will still give confidential advice to the Prime Minister and to the ministers, just as he does now.

Why did the government set lower standards for ministers than for ordinary MPs?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely inaccurate and the hon. member should know it.

He knows that the framework legislation that we put forward, Bill C-34, has two components in it, one for ministers, and that the ministers, in any case, are also subject to the code, generally, as it applies to members of Parliament. In fact, there are supplementary requirements for ministers, not less requirements.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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?

The Deputy Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the hon. Sergio Bitar, Minister of Education of Chile.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Presence in Gallery
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October 31, 2003