April 30, 2004

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 to say that replacing one hard-edged ideological position with another does not get us to a solution. In fact, the premier and I have had a discussion. A very competent mediator has been appointed. The industry is satisfied. The governments are satisfied. We will let the mediator do his work.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Labour
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BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, after his initial hesitation about the UN's role in the Iraq conflict, yesterday found the Prime Minister in Washington proposing little informal get-togethers, no less, for the heads of state to privately come up with solutions to world problems.

Is this proposal by the Prime Minister not just another attempt to minimize and trivialize the United Nation's role in conflict resolution?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Dan McTeague

Liberal

Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Bloc Quebecois is trying to suggest that certain things proposed by the Prime Minister are a bit awkward. In reality, and the Bloc Quebecois as well as the members opposite are well aware of this, there is no situation which would lead to our denying the responsibility and importance of the United Nations.

At the same time, it must be emphasized that there are problems requiring an appropriate and immediate response, and that is what is referred to in this instance.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, perhaps my hon. colleague could answer the following: how exactly is it awkward that the Prime Minister has stated his intention to hold little get-togethers between leaders? Could he explain what he meant by that statement? Awkward how? We certainly find it so.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Dan McTeague

Liberal

Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Really now, Mr. Speaker, that is not what I said.

Let us make it very clear to the hon. members in the Bloc Quebecois, who like to play with words. There is absolutely no misunderstanding as to the intentions of this government with respect to the United Nations.

We are prepared to say right now, and very clearly and without any equivocation, notwithstanding the interpretation of members of the Bloc Quebecois, it is very clear to us that we understand the importance of the United Nations. We also recognize that there are immediate concerns that have to be addressed on matters of security and on matters of trade, which need to be responded to in a way that is adequate. I know the Bloc Quebecois would like to wait several months for these things to be resolved, but I think Canadians and the world need a faster response.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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PC

Rex Barnes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rex Barnes (Gander—Grand Falls, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Gander Beacon , a local newspaper in my riding, states that the Minister of Natural Resources has told the town of Gander officials that 103 Search and Rescue Squadron is not going anywhere. The article continued on to say, “Staff at his St. John's regional minister's office said he was able to make that confirmation through discussion in Ottawa”.

However, the town of Gander has no written guarantee or commitment from the Minister of National Defence. I ask the Minister of National Defence today, will he confirm to the House that 103 Search and Rescue Squadron will remain in Gander?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Search and Rescue
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LIB

David Pratt

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there are no plans whatsoever to change the location of that particular search and rescue squadron.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Search and Rescue
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PC

Rex Barnes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rex Barnes (Gander—Grand Falls, CPC)

That is good, Mr. Speaker. I am glad the minister can be as clear as the other minister from Newfoundland and Labrador.

As early as March 31, 2004, members of the House of Commons stood in the House to vote for changes to the EI program to benefit seasonal workers. The majority of Liberals in the House rejected that proposal.

On Wednesday of this week, the hon. Minister of Natural Resources stated publicly that he is pleased changes are coming to the EI program to benefit seasonal workers.

Over the last three years the government has failed to implement changes for seasonal workers, and we now see, prior to an election, that the government is talking about it again. Why is the government playing games with the lives of seasonal workers?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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LIB

Eleni Bakopanos

Liberal

Hon. Eleni Bakopanos (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (Social Economy), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we are not playing with the lives of seasonal workers. Exactly, we have brought changes to EI over the years, in fact, and we will continue to bring changes, as the hon. Prime Minister said the other day and as the minister has said. We will continue to improve the EI system, especially for seasonal workers, but we are also working with our partners to make sure that we have employment in those regions. This government has a track record on employment.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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LIB

Claude Duplain

Liberal

Mr. Claude Duplain (Portneuf, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, increasingly these days consumers in Canada and around the world are concerned with food quality and food safety.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell us what Canada is doing to help producers meet consumer demands?

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, I would like to thank the member for Portneuf for asking this question. He always works hard on agricultural issues, not only for his riding and his province but also for the country.

In December 2003, $62 million was provided to support systems development for food safety, quality, tracking and traceability. Last month, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced $80 million to help producers implement food safety systems on their farms. This will put producers in a stronger position to meet consumer demands.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CA

Ken Epp

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the conflict of interest code for members of the House of Commons addresses potential breaches of conduct for ordinary members of Parliament, government backbenchers and members in opposition.

However, this is not where the problem is. The problem is with ministers who control billions of dollars. Why has the government done nothing to address potential corruption and untoward behaviour on the part of cabinet ministers?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Jacques Saada

Liberal

Hon. Jacques Saada (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, a new code was introduced on December 12. It was fully respected by all members of the cabinet. The ethics commissioner requested clarification on some of these matters. These clarifications have been provided within the deadlines set. This process is transparent. I really do not know what he is trying to imply.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CA

Ken Epp

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this new code that has been tabled is essentially the same as the old code. The ethics commissioner still provides private and confidential advice to the Prime Minister, just like with Mr. Chrétien. The old code did not prevent millions of dollars from being derailed. Why should we expect that the new code, which is really a new name for the old code, would be any different?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Jacques Saada

Liberal

Hon. Jacques Saada (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing to hear this question when this party had agreed to the code we are tabling in the House before prorogation. Are those members changing their minds? Are they flip-flopping? Or are they maybe playing political games?

We have done what we had to do. We passed Bill C-4 to implement the position of a commissioner of ethics. We have had an appointment of a commissioner of ethics. We have a code of conduct before the House to be debated and finished with. We have done everything we had to do and committed to do to make sure we are transparent before the Canadian public.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Paul Crête

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, three years after the tabling of the unanimous report of the human resources committee proposing a true reform of the employment insurance program, we are still waiting for the Liberal government to take concrete action and do the right thing by the unemployed and seasonal workers.

Will the government finally stop talking and start acting, and will it commit to voting in favour of EI reform before the elections? Will it support the motion I will be introducing shortly to that effect?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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LIB

Eleni Bakopanos

Liberal

Hon. Eleni Bakopanos (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (Social Economy), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of the hon. member's question. In fact, we have responded and made changes to employment insurance in the past three years. We have invested in excess of $500 million in Quebec for that very purpose.

We have made changes relating to the small weeks, enabling people to take part time jobs. The intensity rule has been abolished, the length of the benefit period increased, and the average weekly benefits raised by about 9%. We continue to make changes, as the minister has already said here in the House.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West—Nepean, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, at the Arar inquiry government lawyers are objecting to Mr. Arar being represented by legal counsel when the commission considers what evidence should be in secret.

How can the government justify arguing that it needs to be represented in these hearings but Mr. Arar does not? Will the government withdraw its objections and allow Mr. Arar to be represented on a fair and equal basis with the government?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Maher Arar Inquiry
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LIB

Yvon Charbonneau

Liberal

Hon. Yvon Charbonneau (Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Emergency Preparedness), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Ottawa West—Nepean for her question, which reflects the sensitivity of public opinion in connection with this case and this inquiry, for indeed it is an inquiry and not a trial.

It is not appropriate for a parliamentarian, minister or not, to comment on the arguments used by counsel for either side. I must emphasize to everyone here, as well as to the general public, that we have confidence in Justice O'Connor's ability to carry out the inquiry appropriately. He will be the one to hear representatives of both parties and he will decide on the proper way to hold this inquiry.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Maher Arar Inquiry
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NDP

Wendy Lill

New Democratic Party

Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago the Minister of Canadian Heritage said she would “as quickly as possible, make changes to our copyright law” to end peer to peer file sharing on the Internet. Creators want to know, will the minister table legislation to deal with this loophole before the expected election is announced?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Copyright
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April 30, 2004