November 17, 2004

NDP

Jack Layton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, we learned today of a very grave situation unfolding on the world stage. Vladimir Putin has announced that there will be the development of new nuclear weapons. This is on top of the hypersonic weapons already being tested by his government.

That is exactly the kind of arms race that George Bush's star wars missile defence will produce, and it is why a top scientist in Scientific American has indicated very clearly that the system is “useless”.

Will the Prime Minister take a position on this issue and tell him that the arms race is unacceptable whether it is for George Bush or Mr. Putin?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government has made it clear from the very beginning that nuclear proliferation is a blight that all countries must work to stop. That is why we have supported the international Atomic Energy Commission and why we have supported inspections, whether they be in Iran or elsewhere in the world.

The world cannot afford a nuclear arms race. That is the Canadian government's position and one we will continue to defend. I will raise it in every international forum, and that will always be the position that this country will defend.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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NDP

Jack Layton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, what is the position on star wars missile defence? I am sure he would have voted for the $87 billion before he then turned around and voted against it.

What we have is a Canadian position that says that we are against an arms race but that we are willing to be part of one; that we favour multilateralism but that we do not mind tearing up multilateral arms treaties by Mr. Bush; and that we think star wars is bad but that we are happy to let Mr. Bush go ahead with it. It is unacceptable.

What we have on the world stage is an incoherent Canadian stance. This is the time for a firm stance and to say no to George Bush.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we are against nuclear proliferation. We are against the weaponization of space. What part of that answer does the leader of the NDP not understand?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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CPC

Diane Ablonczy

Conservative

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister helped a campaign worker jump the queue, someone who came here to work as a stripper on a temporary work visa, then married a Canadian and applied to stay. This supporter had never been ordered to leave, nor was her application turned down. She just did not want to wait in line like everybody else. Her husband said that normal channels were too frustrating so she volunteered to help the minister hoping to get a special deal, which is exactly what she got.

Is it not true that the minister abused her position to show favouritism to a supporter?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Hon. Judy Sgro (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the issue of immigration is one that is fundamentally human and everyone in the country, no matter who he or she is, is entitled to fair and compassionate treatment. I take these issues very seriously.

For the sake of transparency, I want everyone to know that I, no one else, personally contacted the ethics commissioner to demonstrate that my actions were beyond reproach. These findings will be shared very gladly with all members of the House.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
CPC

Diane Ablonczy

Conservative

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is good that the minister understands there is an ethical problem here.

The woman's husband said in the media nothing about humanitarian or compassionate problems. He said--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
?

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
?

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill is only 10 feet away and I cannot hear a word she is saying. We have to have some order in the House during questions and answers. The member for Calgary--Nose Hill now has the floor.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Diane Ablonczy

Conservative

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy

Mr. Speaker, this woman's husband talked freely to the media. There was no humanitarian and compassionate problem here. He said that he and his new wife were hoping that the minister could help with her landed immigrant application, so they volunteered for her re-election campaign.

He said he was desperate because he had been frustrated in his efforts to go through normal channels at the immigration department. The minister claims she is going to clean up the abuse of the system.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Hon. Judy Sgro (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in case my official opposition critic is not aware, the member for Cumberland--Colchester--Musquodoboit Valley came to me in this House yesterday seeking my intervention. This is one of thousands of requests, including several that I have received in the very short time that I have been in the House.

This is one of thousands of requests I have received this year from members on all sides of the House. I can assure the member that I will look at all cases on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and I will continue to do so.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
CPC

Peter MacKay

Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, in the interests of being completely clear about that, the member for Cumberland--Colchester--Musquodoboit Valley was not seeking input on behalf of someone working on his campaign. There is something completely different about that.

The conflict of interest code states clearly:

Public office holders shall not use their position of office to assist private entities or persons where this would result in preferential treatment to any person.

The ethics commissioner has been asked to investigate. Will the minister agree to table that report in the House and will she step down until this investigation is complete?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Hon. Judy Sgro (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, maybe we need to do something with the audio on the other side. I clearly said, and I will repeat it in case he did not hear. For the sake of transparency, I personally contacted the ethics commissioner to demonstrate that my actions were beyond reproach. These findings will be clearly shared with the House.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
CPC

Peter MacKay

Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, let us review this. The ethics commissioner has been asked to investigate. Here is how this allegation of preferential treatment works. The minister has not provided any information yet. This is the democratic deficit at work. Once the opportunity to investigate has been complete, what does the ethics commissioner do? He reports to the minister.

In the interests of transparency and honesty, will the Prime Minister have the minister step aside until the investigation is complete?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Hon. Judy Sgro (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have already answered the question twice.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink
BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

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

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has already criticized the fact that the way billions of dollars in the surplus will be used is not subject to any public debate. Yet there is no shortage of priorities: unemployment, housing, economic development and agriculture. The government's attitude is proof of just how irresponsible it is.

Is the government prepared to admit that its choices for use of the surplus should be debated openly here in this House?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that opportunity happens many times during the year: the debate on the estimates, the debate on the public accounts, the debate on the budget, and the debate in the finance committee of the House of Commons and its prebudget consultations. Indeed, I look forward to the very learned and constructive contributions of all members of Parliament to the shaping of the future surplus.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

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

Mr. Speaker, does the minister realize that, while he is congratulating himself on good administration and they are all busy applauding, agriculture in Canada, in Quebec in particular, is in desperate straits?

What does the Minister of Finance, in his demagoguery, have to say to that? What is his answer to the farmers, who are in such desperate straits and are asking for his help, which he refuses to give?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to answer that question as a former minister of agriculture in this House.

We have put on the books of this country a $5.5 billion safety net system to assist farmers in difficult circumstances. We have, over the course of the last year and a half, put in place $2 billion to be of particular assistance in the case of BSE. We are fighting the fight for farmers at the WTO in order to maintain their trade rights and their marketing rights around the world. Indeed, as further requirements arise in agriculture, they will get a very sympathetic ear from this finance minister and this Prime Minister.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
BQ

Guy Côté

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Guy Côté (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the government has a huge surplus, not only in its budget, but also in its various foundations. It has billions of dollars it could use to help people.

Instead of continuing its bad habit of disguising the surplus, should the government not use it to solve the problems of unemployment, housing, regional development and agriculture, to name but a few?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surplus
Permalink

November 17, 2004