November 7, 2003

NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, unlike the johnny-come-latelies in the Canadian Alliance, from day one the NDP has been pressing for drug legislation that will provide relief to millions in Africa suffering from AIDS. We now have a bill before us that is seriously flawed and in fact is a big giveaway to big pharma.

Could the minister explain why it has taken so long to develop this bill, how these serious flaws were missed and the incompetence that has taken place? How does he explain this to people in the developing countries who are waiting for these drugs to save their lives?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the international community on August 30 agreed that countries could provide for generic manufacture for export to Africa and other places where the need exists.

Yesterday, 68 days after that agreement, we tabled this legislation. That is a result of a deep commitment on the part of the Prime Minister and this government to make sure that we make affordable drugs available in Africa and elsewhere where they are needed.

Groups such as the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network are asking that we go through second reading and get this bill to committee right away so we can look at it carefully. That is what we want to do. If the member has constructive suggestions to make about improving the bill, I hope she will make those points at committee.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
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NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, let us get the commitment right here and now from the government that it will amend this bill and deal with those serious flaws. It could go to committee on Monday. There is nothing preventing the committee from meeting on Monday. The bill can come back to the House after the week.

Let us get the political agenda out of the way. Will the government commit to getting the bill to committee and bringing it back to the House so it can be approved and we can deal with the flaws that it has created in this bill?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree that the bill is flawed. I think the bill reflects exactly the intention we have on a humanitarian basis to make these affordable drugs available where they are needed.

I encourage the member to appear at committee when this bill gets there, to make her points and to take part with all parties in making this the best bill it can be. If there are improvements that can be made, so much the better.

We believe this is the right approach, but if members around the House have suggestions to make at committee, let them do so. Let us get on with this legislation. Let us get on with providing affordable drugs in Africa and elsewhere where they are needed.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Aid
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PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC)

Mr. Speaker, the former pension plan of Marine Atlantic dockyard workers ended on November 30, 1996, with a substantial surplus. The surplus was to be shared among the individuals who contributed to the plan, many of whom would get upwards of $15,000 to $20,000.

On January 2, 2002, I wrote to the Minister of Transport on this matter and his response stated, “Implementation of this agreement will take place in early 2003”.

Now that 2003 is almost over, how can the Minister of Transport justify the long delay and will he inform the House of when Atlantic dockyard workers can expect to receive their pensions?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Marine Atlantic
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LIB

David Collenette

Liberal

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that I will have to check on with Marine Atlantic. It has not come to my attention lately that there is a continuing problem. I accept the fact that the hon. member has some grave concerns about this. I will try to get the answers for him.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Marine Atlantic
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PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC)

Mr. Speaker, let me try the minister responsible for HRDC. Several seniors in my district have notified me, and I am sure it is true for others across the country, that they will not receive their old age security and Canada pension plan cheques next month until December 22.

With Christmas approaching, December is a unique month, especially for people on fixed incomes. Will the minister this year be Santa and not Scrooge and make sure that these senior citizens and others get their cheques on time to prepare for Christmas?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Diane St-Jacques

Liberal

Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the department does its utmost to ensure that cheques get to people. I am sure that, once again this year, we will do our utmost to ensure that they receive them prior to the holiday season.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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BQ

Stéphane Bergeron

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, current and former U.S. intelligence agents maintain that Syria is acting as a subcontractor and doing the dirty work for the U.S. when it comes to torture. The Maher Arar affair is raising troubling questions about Canada's possible complicity in this kind of deal.

In light of these unsettling revelations, does the government not realize that, in the name of fundamental freedoms, it is important to make sure that Canada is in no way associated with the U.S. approach and that only a public inquiry can give us this assurance?

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, the Solicitor General and this government want to assure this House that the intelligence services abide fully by the law.

I urge anyone who believes or has information to the effect that the intelligence services have violated the law to file a complaint with the independent commission which has the power to investigate these services.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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BQ

Stéphane Bergeron

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, after William Sampson, after Maher Arar, we have proof that, as we feared, the government sacrificed freedom for so-called security. Canada put its geopolitical interests and those of its neighbours ahead of the security of its own nationals.

Does that not in itself 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, if the hon. member opposite, from the Bloc Quebecois, has information to the effect that one of this government's agencies violated Canadian law, I encourage and even urge him to file a complaint with the agency that has the power to investigate all intelligence service activities.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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CA

Gurmant Grewal

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, last year the CRTC collected $92 million in broadcast licensing fees, but in return provided only $10 million in services with the rest going into government coffers.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada, fees without services become taxes, and Parliament must approve all taxes. Therefore, this government is illegally taxing Canadian broadcasters to the tune of $82 million a year.

When will the government stop illegally taxing Canada's broadcasters?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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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, the hon. member is alleging that expenses are being incurred by a government agency or authority, with an organization that has a quasi-judiciary function, and that the services provided are either unsatisfactory or non-existent.

I think that if he obtained more information from the Treasury Board, then we could take a closer look at the issue he is bringing to our attention.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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CA

Gurmant Grewal

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, when HRDC blunders and overpays an EI recipient, the government demands repayment. When the government makes a mistake and gives an excessive equalization payment to a province, it later insists on a refund.

When will the Minister of Finance return the millions of dollars he has wrongly stolen from Canada's broadcasters?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Surrey Central knows he cannot suggest that members have stolen money from anyone by taxation and he would not want to persist in such questioning. I know he will not do it the next time.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Sheila Copps

Liberal

Hon. Sheila Copps (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member's question because in fact we had a fulsome discussion of this yesterday at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in response to the report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

Obviously the part V fees are being reviewed. I believe the committee on statutory instruments and regulations is looking at the whole issue of fees more generally.

The member can be assured of the great support of all members in rectifying this situation.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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BQ

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, some 100 Palestinians whose requests for asylum have been turned down will soon be deported to refugee camps in Lebanon.

The fact that Canada does not recognize the validity of the claims made by these people who have lived for many years in refugee camps is an insult to logic.

Since there is no country they can consider their own and since their return to refugee camps may well, it appears, put their lives in danger, can the minister tell the House if he intends to intervene in this matter by immediately suspending the deportation process that has already begun?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Palestinian Refugees
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the minister is fully aware of the situation. Naturally, he will act in a humanitarian fashion. He is always prepared to act according to Canadian legal principles.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Palestinian Refugees
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BQ

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, Ahmad Abdel-Majeed, a Palestinian refugee who was held in Laval for several days, was deported yesterday and is now imprisoned in the United States. It is high time something was done.

It is urgent that this government suspend the many deportation orders and put into place a fair and equitable procedure for the Palestinian refugees. When will something be done?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Palestinian Refugees
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November 7, 2003