November 7, 2003

LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. Yesterday we took an enormously important step on a matter of humanitarian importance. We introduced legislation as the first developed country to implement this international agreement to make drugs available on an affordable basis to the developing world.

We are committed to that. We are the ones behind it. We want to get it through second reading today and in front of committee to ensure that every group, the NGOs and the drug companies, have their chance to speak to the bill. If it can be improved, it will be improved.

Let there be no doubt about our commitment to this humanitarian bill.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
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CA

John Reynolds

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, such outrage.

Led by the Leader of the Opposition and all parties on this side of the House, we have agreed to immediately pass the bill. The minister has not done his homework. The industry wants to have regulations before committee. It wants the bill passed.

Why did the government not do its homework and get the bill here so we could pass it immediately and help the people in Africa who need help now?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, he has the facts wrong. We have done our homework for the last two months. After the August 30th agreement, we prepared the bill. We were careful with the way we prepared it. We believe it is the right way to go. We are very proud of it.

The bill was introduced in the Prime Minister's name, and reflects his commitment to Africa and humanitarian causes. We are anxious to see it become law. We want it at second reading today so it can get to committee and ensure that the bill will do the job.

Let there be no doubt about the government's commitment. The bill is ready. Is the member ready to work with us in committee to ensure that it is ideal?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
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PC

Gerald Keddy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC)

Mr. Speaker, Premiers Hamm and Lord were in Washington last week fighting to protect the interests of Atlantic Canada's softwood lumber industry. The main issue of discussion was the reinstatement of Atlantic Canada's longstanding exemption from countervail.

What has the government done to support Atlantic Canada's interests at the bargaining table in Washington?

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, let me be very clear. It has been the government's point of view that remanufacturers should have always been out of this contestation and the challenge by the Americans.

Atlantic Canada's exemption has lasted for 25 years. We have been promoting the exemption of the Atlantic provinces from any measures. As far as I know, we have been very successful at exempting Atlantic Canada from the 18% duties that are imposed on the rest of the country. The government should be congratulated for that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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PC

Gerald Keddy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC)

Mr. Speaker, I am sure remanufacturers will appreciate the comments, but that was not the question. The question was on Atlantic Canada's exemption.

Last May 21 the government promised that Atlantic Canada's softwood lumber exemption would be protected. The very next day it bargained it away to the Americans. Finally, on October 29, the United States responded to our May proposal and offered 30.5% of market share with the removal of Atlantic Canada's exemption.

What is the minister doing to reinstate Atlantic Canada's longstanding exemption since the early 1980s against countervail?

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 find it very regrettable that the Tories do not care about the remanufacturers, because I can say that remanufacturers are very important and should have been out of the present punitive measures by the United States.

As for the Atlantic Maritimes, what are we doing to reinstate this? There is no need to reinstate the Atlantic exemption because it is a fact: Atlantic provinces have been exempted from the punitive measures of the United States. We do not need to reinstate it. They are out and we want to keep them out.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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BQ

Caroline St-Hilaire

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, with regard to its investigation on Maher Arar, the RCMP conducted several searches in the Ottawa area in January 2002. No one knows what the RCMP seized because the search warrants are classified. The only thing we know is that, during the course of an interrogation, Maher Arar's lease was shoved in his face by U.S. authorities.

Do those two factors alone not justify a public inquiry into the Canadian government's actions in the Arar case?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, first, as the Solicitor General has already stated many times in the House, we cannot comment on the RCMP's activities, particularly when it is a matter of national security.

With regard to the lease, the RCMP complaints commission is currently reviewing the matter. It is now before the commissioner.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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BQ

Caroline St-Hilaire

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the parliamentary secretary has said, the Solicitor General has acknowledged that the intelligence services did exchange information and, at the same time, he exonerated the RCMP. He has made an unfounded conclusion that Maher Arar's lease was stolen by foreign spies.

The facts speak for themselves. The RCMP conducted several searches, and Maher Arar's lease ended up in the hands of U.S. authorities, who deported Mr. Arar without the Canadian consul taking the threat seriously.

Is a public inquiry not fully justified, given Canada's role in this sequence of events?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the entire House knows that there are media reports and then there are facts. The facts are that the Solicitor General does not and cannot comment on RCMP activities involving national security.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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BQ

Francine Lalonde

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. Ambassador Paul Celluci have acknowledged that Canada provided them with intelligence on Canadian citizen Maher Arar.

Do these revelations alone not justify a public inquiry?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.

It gives me an opportunity to again inform the House, as the Solicitor General has done on a number of occasions. The RCMP complaints commission is already involved in an investigation. The commissioner will review the investigation report and determine what further action is to be taken. This complaints commission was created by Parliament itself; it is impartial and independent. So, I would ask that the process be allowed to take its course.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
BQ

Francine Lalonde

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, let us be serious here. The number of disturbing occurrences is increasing. First we had the death of Zahra Kazemi, then Bill Sampson's two and one-half years of torture and imprisonment, and now ten months of torture and imprisonment in the case of Maher Arar. Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs agree that it is now imperative for the government to undertake a thorough review of its policy on protecting the rights of all Canadian citizens when they are out of the country?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Bill Graham

Liberal

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I agree, along with every member here, I am sure, that these are highly disturbing cases. We have a great deal of sympathy for Canadians in trouble in other countries, and have worked very hard on their behalf. There are 3,000 Canadians imprisoned in other countries for a variety of reasons. I can assure you that we are working hard to protect them.

In light of these tragic events, we will be reviewing procedures within our department in order to see how we can improve them. We will continue to act in the best interests of Canadians who are in other countries, whether in prison or not.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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CA

Chuck Strahl

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, here is what Liberals pass off as sound government policy. The airport at Charlevoix, Quebec receives $5.3 million in federal grants while the airport in Red Deer gets only a used snowplow. Charlevoix has 1,500 flights per year and Red Deer has 40,000.

There is another difference. The major user at the Charlevoix airport is none other than the Desmarais family, the family that is related to the current Prime Minister and helped set up the shipping empire for the future prime minister. Is that why there is so much money for Charlevoix, Quebec, but so little money for Red Deer, Alberta?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

Hon. Stephen Owen (Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let us speak about airports in western Canada. I made an announcement last month that the airport in Prince George would receive from the WD fund $1.85 million for an expansion. We are in negotiations now, as the member for Kootenay—Columbia knows, with the airport in Cranbrook to look at expansion opportunities.

The fact is that under the Canada infrastructure program, priority was not given by the City of Red Deer to the airport expansion. It used up the allocated funds for other priorities. If it wants to apply--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fraser Valley.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
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CA

Chuck Strahl

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, let us do the math for the minister. The airport in Charlevoix, Quebec gets $5.3 million in federal grants. The airport in Red Deer gets a used snowplow. That works out to $3,500 for each of the 1,500 flights into Charlevoix and two handfuls of rusty bolts for every flight into Red Deer.

How can the Liberal minister stand in his place and claim he is being fair and impartial when clearly this is another case where the friends of the current and future prime ministers are the ones who get the federal help?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
Permalink
LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

Hon. Stephen Owen (Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, hearing the hon. member repeat his question and his accusation, I will try to do more than just repeat the explanation I gave to him.

It is extremely important when we have infrastructure programs that we look to local municipalities to identify their priorities. This has been done in the City of Red Deer. I am sure that perhaps with the future municipal-rural infrastructure program the City of Red Deer will want to give priority to the expansion of its airport. We as a federal partner with the province and the local governments will want to pay great attention and give emphasis to its priorities.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Transport
Permalink

November 7, 2003