May 14, 2004

LIB

Jerry Pickard

Liberal

Hon. Jerry Pickard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Border Transit), Lib.)

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

Mr. Schneeberger was involved in the courts and at that point in time no action was possible. At the present time we are taking every priority to ensure that persons reported for criminality are dealt with expeditiously. In this case we will work as rapidly as possible to ensure justice is properly served.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CA

Bob Mills

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this guy may be in Regina now so I think someone in the House should be interested in that.

Schneeberger has lost all of his appeals. His victims and their families are terrified until this guy is deported. The government has lost track of 36,000 other deportees. Is Schneeberger about to be lost as well?

Can the minister stand in the House and promise that Schneeberger will be under surveillance until he is removed from this country for the sake of those women and children that the Liberals always talk about?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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LIB

Jerry Pickard

Liberal

Hon. Jerry Pickard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Border Transit), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government is very concerned about the safety of all Canadians and due process at the same time.

There is absolutely no question that sensationalizing this case by the member opposite is wrong. We will deal with Schneeberger as quickly as possible. We will ensure every effort is put forward to follow due process.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CA

Jason Kenney

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals shut down the public inquiry into ad scam this week because they said it was “essential to produce an interim report for the public”. But guess what? After two days of useless meetings, they produced sweet nothing: no report, no conclusions, and no recommendations.

Will the Liberals admit what is now painfully evident to everybody, that the reason they shut down the only public inquiry into ad scam is because they did not want the truth to be known about Liberal corruption before going to the polls?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Walt Lastewka

Liberal

Hon. Walt Lastewka (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is a little mixed up. The public inquiry is moving on, the special counsel is doing his work, and the RCMP is doing its work.

The public accounts committee has met for many hours and many days, and had to go through many filibusters by this member and the opposition. It has released evidence along the line of summaries of evidence, updates and the working papers, that have removed the partisan games that that member and his party have been playing.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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CA

Jason Kenney

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, is that not interesting? The public accounts committee is shut down after 11 weeks of hearings, before we have heard from 90 witnesses, and the public inquiry will take two years before it reports. That is long after an election.

In terms of filibustering, my question is this: If the government really wanted to continue the committee's work, as the Deputy Prime Minister said five times this week, why then did it vote against continued hearings, continued evidence, and hearing from more witnesses from Monday through Friday of next week? Why did it vote to get out of Ottawa rather than to get to the bottom of the ad scam?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Walt Lastewka

Liberal

Hon. Walt Lastewka (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government and the Prime Minister immediately put into effect the public inquiry, the special counsel, the RCMP to do its work, and the public accounts committee to get to the root of the problem. This member and many of his colleagues filibustered and wasted a lot of hours in committee, and lost time in committee.

All the evidence will be on the Internet: summaries of evidence, updates and working papers, removing all the partisanship that this member and his party have included in the public accounts committee.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Jeannot Castonguay

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Federal Court of New Brunswick has reversed the decision of the Electoral Boundaries Commission for New Brunswick that transferred certain municipalities from the riding of Acadie—Bathurst to that of Miramichi.

Can the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform tell us if the government will respect this ruling or if it will appeal?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Electoral Boundaries
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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, as I said yesterday, the Liberal government remains very strongly attached to minority rights and is their best defender. Moreover, we have introduced a democratic reform program that will provide a forum for committees and members of Parliament. The members of the Standing Committee on Official Languages themselves, were unanimous on the issue.

I am pleased to announce today that the government has decided not to appeal the Raîche case.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Electoral Boundaries
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NDP

Lorne Nystrom

New Democratic Party

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan is still being penalized by an equalization formula and the recent $120 million payment to the province is welcome, but it is only a fraction of the $300 million that is owed Saskatchewan by the federal government. A fair formula would mean an extra $150 million a year for the province.

My question is for the Minister of Finance, who is from Saskatchewan. Not if, but when, is this injustice going to be corrected on behalf of our province?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Equalization Payments
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to be able to make the correction that has indeed resulted in the ex gratia payment of $120 million thus far.

The Premier of Saskatchewan has indicated that he thinks there are some other anomalies, some other issues that need to be addressed, in the functioning of the existing formula. I have undertaken to pursue an examination of those issues with him and with his officials. That process has started.

Federal and provincial officials have been meeting in the last couple of weeks. I hope that if there are further mistakes that need to be corrected, we can find them quickly and ensure that they are corrected.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Equalization Payments
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, as Acadians and non-Acadians gather this summer to celebrate 400 years of l'Acadie, the magnificent musical adaptation of Antonine Maillet's novel, Pélagie , begins its journey on the Canadian stage. Pélagie , chronicling the epic journey from deportation to the U.S. and back to Acadia, is currently showcasing in Toronto and Ottawa theatres. Tragically, Pélagie will not arrive at its final destination in Nova Scotia next door to historic Grand Pré because the federal government has unbelievably pulled funding at the eleventh hour.

Would the government today reverse that decision so Pélagie can be--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Assistance
Permalink
?

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Labour.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Assistance
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LIB

Claudette Bradshaw

Liberal

Hon. Claudette Bradshaw (Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for Homelessness, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that the celebration of 2004 is very important to all of us. I will take her question under advisement and personally speak to the minister on her behalf.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Assistance
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CA

Scott Reid

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Carleton, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Canadians who do not live near Ottawa are not even allowed to apply for half the jobs posted on the government's employment website, www.jobs.gc.ca.

Most postings exclude the majority of Canadians based upon geography using postal codes as the determining factor.

This produces some very unfair results. For example, people from the urban part of the Town of Greater Napanee can apply for jobs because their postal code begins with K0J, but people from Selby, which is in the rural part of Greater Napanee, are not allowed because their postal code begins with K0K.

What is the rationale for this arbitrary policy?

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, this issue has been discussed at great length with members on all sides of the House and I have repeatedly offered to sit down and go through this with members.

The reality is that the policy has been in place since the late sixties, simply as a cost control measure. People who are looking for advancement in the public service are not covered by this. This is simply for positions of new entries into the public service.

Having said that, the Public Service Commission is working on some new recruitment tools. It has done a lot of work on it and is about to launch a form of e-recruitment that will allow it to take applications from all across the country, but it is always weighing cost--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
Permalink
?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lanark--Carleton.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
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CA

Scott Reid

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Carleton, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this issue was first raised in the House on February 15, 2001. Virtually every private employer in the country has electronic systems for sifting through electronically received resumés in order to look for key words and reduce the supply of excess resumés down to reasonable levels.

If these guys cannot get their act together, how long does it take them? How long does it take them to do something that is simple and universally used in the private sector to simply ensure there is fairness and equity in the one institution in the country that should care the most about fairness and equity?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
Permalink
LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, rather than making these simplistic comparisons with the private sector, the reality is that the government is not the private sector. The government has a responsibility to those people who do apply.

That is exactly why the costs have grown so greatly. That is exactly why the Public Service Commission, in a very responsible way, is attempting to manage the costs so that it can provide a new and improved service to Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Public Service
Permalink
CA

John Duncan

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, many low income earners are paying into employment insurance but will never qualify to receive benefits. The very lowest income earners can ask for a premium refund but one-third fail to do so. Many of these people are students.

Will the minister fix this unfairness by creating an exemption from EI premiums for students and low income earners?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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May 14, 2004