November 17, 2004

LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, indeed we do. I have already mentioned the money that has gone into agriculture, for example.

The honourable gentleman mentioned issues related to the environment. We have in fact invested $2.7 billion to deal with climate change. We have invested another $4 billion to deal with the cleanup of contaminated sites. We have invested in ethanol, wind power and carbon sequestration. We have a very elaborate agenda for dealing with the environment and under the environment minister, it will increase.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surplus
Permalink
BQ

Guy Côté

Bloc Québécois

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

Mr. Speaker, our concern is that the government has applied all of its surplus to the debt, with no debate whatsoever here in Parliament. There are urgent problems that require choices to be made.

Will the government acknowledge that it is unacceptable for the entire surplus to be applied to the debt without debate, thus refusing to put his huge financial resource at the service of the people to whom it belongs, in fact?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surplus
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, through the estimates process, the public accounts process, the budget debate in the House, and the work of the finance committee of the House of Commons, there are huge opportunities to debate the fiscal condition of the country and the priorities in the budget. If the opposition does not take advantage of those opportunities, that is not the government's fault.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surplus
Permalink
CPC

Helena Guergis

Conservative

Ms. Helena Guergis (Simcoe—Grey, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the immigration minister about her employees' expenses during the election and she avoided my question, so I will ask her again.

Three of the minister's staff claimed expenses to be in her riding during the election period. One claimed expenses for a month as her ministerial liaison officer during the election. In fact, from May 21 to June 29, staff members claimed more than $11,000 in travel expenses.

Can the minister assure us that her tax funded staff did not work on her campaign at all?

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, I can assure the hon. member that all ministers are obligated to fill their duties during elections. All of the expenses are within the appropriate guidelines.

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

Helena Guergis

Conservative

Ms. Helena Guergis (Simcoe—Grey, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the minister's director of parliamentary affairs worked in the riding from May 28 to June 28 and charged approximately $1,200 for transportation, over $2,400 for accommodations, and almost $2,300 for meals and incidentals. A total of almost $5,900 was charged to the taxpayers by one staff person.

Can the minister guarantee to the House that her staff did absolutely no political work during the campaign?

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

Judy Sgro

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, ministers are required to continue to do their work as ministers. I can assure all members of the House that everything was done according to the appropriate guidelines.

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

Rahim Jaffer

Conservative

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister seems to think that this country operates under two sets of rules: the rule of law for Canadians and an orgy of corruption for her and her Liberal friends.

According to an ATI, the minister cut short her family vacation when she was appointed to cabinet. Instead of paying the cost herself, she stuck the taxpayer for not only her personal expenses but that of her husband's as well.

Why is the taxpayer on the hook for the minister's travel plans?

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 think the hon. member on the other side of the House should get his facts straight.

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

Rahim Jaffer

Conservative

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, no doubt convinced that she would not be in the cabinet, the future-ex-minister of citizenship and immigration decided to take a vacation outside Canada. She was so torn between her public and her private life that what it took to convince her was the reimbursement of travelling expenses for two, in addition to $10.34 for her passport.

Can the minister tell us if she intends to use her passport a great deal in the weeks to come, to get some rest?

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

Tony Valeri

Liberal

Hon. Tony Valeri (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I fail to understand how this has anything to do with the responsibilities of the minister, as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. I would suggest to the member opposite that the minister is very focused on doing her job as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, will continue to do that job, and will do so in a very effective way.

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

Alan Tonks

Liberal

Mr. Alan Tonks (York South—Weston, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Infrastructure and Communities.

On November 12 the minister met with his provincial and territorial counterparts in Toronto. Would the minister please update this House on the outcome of the meeting and the continuing progress of the new deal for cities and communities?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Infrastructure
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LIB

John Godfrey

Liberal

Hon. John Godfrey (Minister of State (Infrastructure and Communities), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to report that the meeting was a success. The ministers I met with from every province and territory want to get on with the new deal so that money can start to flow from the gas tax after budget 2005.

We shared a tremendous amount of common ground regarding respect for jurisdictions, flexibility, investments, sustainable infrastructure, transparency, accountability, and the need for predictable funding. This is a continuation of the great new deal for cities and communities.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Infrastructure
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis

New Democratic Party

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister.

If he is grumpy that people do not believe him, maybe he should have reconsidered being a Liberal finance minister because people have had enough of Liberals making numbers up as they go along. That is why we in the NDP support an independent parliamentary budget office.

Will he support such an office, yes or no?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Finance
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I fully support every technique to improve the accuracy and the reliability of forecasts and projections. However, I would point out to the hon. member that the particular model that she refers to, while worthy of consideration, has generated a deficit, on an annual basis, in the United States bigger than the entire combined federal debt of the Government of Canada.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Finance
Permalink
NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis

New Democratic Party

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the minister just does not get it. He is the one who has been out $61 billion in the last five years. People are sick and tired of not having numbers they can trust. Just look at the workers at Nortel and the people whose pension plans are invested in Nortel.

The United States has tough corporate accounting laws, not Canada. The U.S. has a common securities commission, not us, even though the Liberals promised it in two throne speeches.

Can he explain why, more than two years after the United States cracked down on corporate accounting crime, the Liberals have done exactly nothing?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Finance
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am just peering down to see if the leader of the NDP has left the chamber because I have just heard that party's finance critic say that we should blindly copycat every policy of the United States of America which will necessarily be good for Canada.

The fact is that we have our own foreign policy, we have our own economic policy, and we are leading the United States on most of the most important economic indicators.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Finance
Permalink
CPC

Nina Grewal

Conservative

Mrs. Nina Grewal (Fleetwood—Port Kells, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has difficulty understanding her job. There are thousands of legitimate refugees fearing for their lives and waiting years for their chance to come to Canada. Family reunification immigrants are waiting 53 months to enter the country, but the minister would rather look after queue jumping Liberal strippers. Her job is to focus on those who legitimately need Canada's help and compassion.

When will the minister set her priorities right, end political favouritism, and start doing her job?

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

Judy Sgro

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the House about an important meeting that we had on Monday with the ministers of immigration for Canada. Let me tell the House a little bit of where we are going in the future when it comes to immigration. We are creating a system that we are going to develop together with the ministers of immigration across Canada. We are going to bring our immigration system into the 21st century. I look forward to participating in that and I hope the hon. member will assist as we move forward to putting immigration clearly into the 21st century.

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

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, due to massive problems in the immigration department, thousands of immigrants are forced to wait years before coming to Canada, and wait even longer before being granted resident status, but apparently problems such as this do not occur if one is a Liberal supporter.

My question is for the immigration minister. Rather than giving political payoffs, why does the minister not simply fix the system and let all Canadians who want to come to Canada to do so in a fair and balanced manner?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
Permalink

November 17, 2004