February 23, 2004

BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

And yet, Mr. Speaker, in his letter to his American counterpart, he said a very clear yes. We do not understand the minister's hurry to take part in the missile defence system when Canada's defence policy will not be debated until next fall, and Parliament has not yet had a free vote on the merits of this system.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

David Pratt

Liberal

Hon. David Pratt (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the world does not stop. We do not have the opportunity to get off the world in terms of the security issues while we are studying our defence policy. This government is taking action with respect to what we feel is in the best interests of Canadians, action consistent with Canadian interests and values.

Protecting Canadians from a possible ballistic missile attack is one of the things that is under consideration.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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CA

Vic Toews

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government has allowed judges to become the most powerful force in setting social policy in Canada. Whether it is by allowing convicted murders to vote or by changing fundamental institutions like marriage, this government has substituted the supremacy of an elected Parliament with unelected judges.

What steps will this Prime Minister be prepared to take to ensure that Parliament will participate in the future appointment of any Supreme Court of Canada judge?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Irwin Cotler

Liberal

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on the question of the role of judges it is not what the Liberal Party has conferred. It is what the Constitution has conferred.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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CA

Vic Toews

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is the refusal of this government to pursue legitimate efforts to ensure that Parliament remains supreme that has allowed this reversal in roles to take place.

The vacancy of a Supreme Court of Canada judge that has recently been created presents this Prime Minister with the unique opportunity to address the democratic deficit insofar as the appointment of judges is concerned.

Will this Prime Minister assure Canadians that no future Supreme Court of Canada judge will be appointed without a review and the consent of a parliamentary committee?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Irwin Cotler

Liberal

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has made it clear that there will be a role for a parliamentary committee. However, I want to advise the member opposite that we do not speak any longer about parliamentary supremacy. We have moved from being a parliamentary democracy to being a constitutional democracy, and that is the law of the land.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Justice
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LIB

Paddy Torsney

Liberal

Ms. Paddy Torsney (Burlington, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Burlington is located in the region of Halton, and Halton is part of the greater Toronto area.

Imagine my surprise when I received an inquiry from a constituent who wanted to know why he could not apply for a job in downtown Toronto because, according to Treasury Board guidelines, residents of the L7L postal code area were not allowed to apply.

Could the President of Treasury Board tell the House how my constituents, many of whom travel every day to downtown Toronto, can get access to federal government jobs through the website?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
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LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have had similar questions raised by the member for Cumberland—Colchester, the member for Miramichi and a number of members in the House.

It is a policy that has been the practice of the Public Service Commission for 40 years. In 2001 the commission began examining it to see if there were ways it could be modified. It has two test projects underway and it has a proposal for E-recruitment, which I think may solve this.

I would be willing to undertake to arrange a briefing for all members on this so we can clarify these important questions.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
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PC

Gary Schellenberger

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gary Schellenberger (Perth—Middlesex, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, there are reports today in the press that the Minister of Agriculture is delaying additional help to cattle producers until all the provinces agree to the details of his program. The provinces have repeatedly stepped up to the plate without the participation of the federal government.

Will the minister stop fighting with his provincial colleagues and announce, unconditionally, the program today?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Mark Eyking

Liberal

Hon. Mark Eyking (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we have a good relationship with the provincial ministers. Many of the programs that we unfolded over the last eight months were in agreement with the provinces. We will not stop there. We will work on new programs, and we do have a good relationship.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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PC

Gary Schellenberger

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gary Schellenberger (Perth—Middlesex, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the provinces have taken the initiative and left the federal government and that minister behind in helping their farmers cope with the BSE crisis. Almost every province has initiated individual programs, so the minister cannot use the provinces as a reason to hold up his new program that he is planning to announce.

Will the minister stop using the provinces as his excuse and actually do something for our cattle producers rather than just talking about it?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Mark Eyking

Liberal

Hon. Mark Eyking (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, over the last year we have put out $5 billion with the provinces. We are unrolling CAIS as we speak, as well as the cull cow program. Hon. members should look at the figures and check the facts.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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BQ

Ghislain Fournier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Ghislain Fournier (Manicouagan, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, last week, seasonal workers blocked highway 138 on the North Shore because they want the government to act. The fishing season is about to open in a few weeks and there is still no word on the terms.

Will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans tell us when he intends to announce his fisheries management plan for 2004 whether there will be a moratorium and what the quotas will be for groundfish and crustaceans?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
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LIB

Geoff Regan

Liberal

Hon. Geoff Regan (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to speaking with my hon. colleague about this matter. There are many concerns from the region about crustaceans, particularly lobsters. I am aware of these concerns.

There is a four point plan. We have talked to the MFU, the Maritime Fishermen's Union, about this matter. It is a concern in other parts of the country, like Quebec. I look forward to speaking with my colleague.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
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LIB

Jeannot Castonguay

Liberal

Mr. Jeannot Castonguay (Madawaska—Restigouche, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, coming from a French-speaking region of New Brunswick and knowing the importance to my fellow citizens and other francophones in the country of having access to health care professionals in their own language, could the Minister of Health tell us about the announcement he made today to improve access to French language health care services in Canada?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   French Language Health Care Services
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Health, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister responsible for Official Languages, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this morning, my colleague, the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier, who is the government deputy House leader, and I were at the Cité collégiale to announce an investment of $119 million over the next five years to improve access to French language health care services for francophones across the country.

The money will go to initiatives called for by the country's official language communities and developed in close cooperation with them.

Through this program, students will be able to study in French—their own language—and practice in their language, ensuring that health care services are provided in French.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   French Language Health Care Services
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PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

How many crown corporations is the President of the Treasury Board investigating and is the purpose of the investigation to assess the actions taken by the crown corporations at the time of the scandal, or is the investigation simply into the measures that have been put in place since the Auditor General's report?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
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LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. member, who follows these issues and takes them very seriously, asked an excellent question.

The Auditor General mentioned 10 crown agencies as having difficulties at the time of the problems. For four of them, the Auditor General herself in the report says that there are no concerns. For the other ones, the Prime Minister has asked me not to get their response to what went on at the time of the problems, which is for the public inquiry and for the public accounts committee to do, but to simply evaluate whether, since the report came out and they have had the information of the concerns? they have taken the appropriate steps to correct the concerns? Have they taken it seriously? Have they put in place measures to prevent it from happening?

That is the evaluation I am making. That is what I will report to the Prime Minister.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
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BQ

Christiane Gagnon

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on Radio-Canada we heard confirmation of the Auditor General's report on the disastrous condition of the Library and Archives. We learned that certain irreplaceable documents, including the originals of the memoirs of Champlain, the founder of Quebec, are deteriorating beyond repair because of a shortage of funds. What a fiasco in an area of federal jurisdiction.

Instead of spending millions in the sponsorship scandal, how could the government not have managed to find the millions necessary to ensure the conservation of priceless documents even though it is the one responsible for them?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Library and Archives of Canada
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LIB

Hélène Scherrer

Liberal

Hon. Hélène Scherrer (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that the government took the points raised in the Auditor General's report very seriously. Moreover, steps were undertaken some months ago. I also want to point out to my hon. colleague that $15 million had already been earmarked in the last budget, the 2003 budget, for putting in place concrete measures to protect our heritage.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Library and Archives of Canada
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February 23, 2004