November 18, 2004

LIB

Andy Mitchell

Liberal

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, clearly the government is not waiting. That is why $366 million has been advanced to producers in Quebec. It is why on September 10 we did announce a program to increase slaughter capacity.

As I have mentioned to the member on a number of occasions, and to others, we are continuing to work specifically on the issue of dairy and on the issue of cull cows and how we need to address that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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BQ

Roger Gaudet

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Roger Gaudet (Montcalm, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, on September 23, the president of the UPA criticized the federal government's centralizing attitude in the mad cow situation. Laurent Pellerin said that the federal government's five aid packages are not geared to the reality in Quebec.

What is the minister waiting for to recognize the urgent need to help the dairy and cattle farmers in Quebec?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Andy Mitchell

Liberal

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, that is not entirely accurate, because there is a portion of the industry in Quebec, the cattle industry, that operates much like it does in the rest of the country. In that respect we provided assistance, and as I said, in the province of Quebec, some $366 million.

In addition to that, though, there are issues that are in Quebec and in other provinces in terms of dairy. This is something that I have indicated we are working very closely on with a number of producer groups, including with the provinces, to deal specifically with that issue.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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BQ

Roger Gaudet

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Roger Gaudet (Montcalm, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, it was Mr. Pellerin who said that. So far the government has delivered five different aid packages to try to alleviate the impact of the crisis. The five packages do not reflect the reality in Quebec.

What is the minister waiting for to announce a package that properly covers all the farmers in Quebec?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Andy Mitchell

Liberal

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that those programs do not ignore Quebec. Our CAIS program for 2003 was $90 million. For 2004 it advances to $102 million. For the cull animal program, it is almost $18 million. Under the transitional industry support program, it is $93 million, and that does not count the money we will be putting into new slaughter capacity.

As I suggested to the hon. member earlier, we are working with the industry on the issue of the dairy industry and the particular challenges it faces in respect of BSE.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

Monte Solberg

Conservative

Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the immigration minister understands how serious this situation is. We have asked some very straightforward questions about whether or not her ministerial staff did political work during the election campaign. She steadfastly refuses to answer straightforward questions, which perhaps speaks volumes.

Will the minister answer the question? Did her staff do political work during the campaign? If she will not answer, will she step aside until the ethics commissioner finishes his investigation?

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, as I said yesterday, I asked the ethics commissioner to review the particulars of the case and report back. I will gladly share that report with the House when it is done.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Monte Solberg

Conservative

Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this is question period. We have a right to ask questions about things that are of vital interest to the Canadian public and the minister has an obligation to answer.

My question once again is, did the minister's ministerial staff do political work during the election campaign? This is a very simple question. Does she not feel any obligation to the Canadian public at all to tell them the honest truth about what happened in that situation?

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, as I indicated before, I conform with all of the Treasury Board guidelines, and I have to tell the House that I take great pride in the job that I do. I think all members on that side of the House know that when they turn around and ask for assistance I have always been able to help them on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

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

Again, Mr. Speaker, my question is for the immigration minister. Again the minister is not answering the question. Very simply, did the minister have a political staffer working on her campaign?

The minister refuses to answer questions and defers behind the ethics commissioner. By her own admission she has asked the ethics commissioner to rule only on whether she interfered with an immigration case, not on whether or not her political staffers worked on her campaign. Will the minister step aside until this question is answered in the House?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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LIB

Tony Valeri

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister has made it very clear that she complied with all of the Treasury Board guidelines, number one, and that is a responsibility of the minister. If the hon. members across the way do not accept that answer, then I suggest that it is a challenge the hon. members along the way will have to deal with themselves, because the hon. minister answered their questions on more than one occasion.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about appropriate guidelines, then, because yesterday in the House the immigration minister stood up and said that all of her chief of staff's expenses were within the appropriate guidelines.

Let us take a look at those expenses. On February 24, while on a trip to Toronto, the chief of staff claimed $92 for a working dinner in Ottawa. On April 1, while on a trip to Washington, he claimed expenses for $245, stating he was in Ottawa.

My question is for the immigration minister. Were these expenses really within the appropriate parliamentary guidelines or merely within the appropriate Liberal guidelines?

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, clearly the member is new here. I can say we have enough controls in our systems that if it is not within the guidelines, and everything is audited, those expenses would never have been paid if they were not within Treasury Board guidelines.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Yesterday was lung disease day. In May 2003, the World Health Organization approved the framework convention on tobacco control. Why has Canada still not ratified that convention and when does it plan to do so?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Ujjal Dosanjh

Liberal

Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh (Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the framework convention on tobacco control is a very important convention that Canada signed on to last year. It is important that we ratify that convention. We are on our way to very quickly ratifying that convention. We believe in strong tobacco control because it damages the lives of Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions I have risen in the House to ask questions about the U.S. patriot act and to warn the government that the FBI has access to Canadians' private information. Every time the President of Treasury Board has risen to answer, his answer has been in complete contradiction to the testimony given by the Privacy Commissioner yesterday.

Would the President of Treasury Board please tell the House why he is in contradiction?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Privacy
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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 want to assure the member that I am not in contradiction with the Privacy Commissioner. In fact, what I have said and what she has said is that the legislation we have in Canada is adequate to meet the needs of controlling information held in Canada. Laws in Canada do not protect information held in another jurisdiction, which is why we are changing the contracting policy to prevent information being held offshore.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Privacy
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, then why has the President of Treasury Board insisted in reference that our current legislation protects our privacy? That is not the case and not what the commissioner is testifying.

If he is not willing to do the job, call a privacy summit and implement legislation that protects Canadians, will he step aside and let somebody else do the job?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Privacy
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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, what I will not do is respond to the analysis of that particular member.

The reality is that the legislation we have is new and it is one of the best in the world. The Privacy Commissioner, who is also one of the best privacy commissioners in the world, will tell him the same thing.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Privacy
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CPC

Jason Kenney

Conservative

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, over the past two years the member for Mississauga--Erindale has repeatedly jeopardized Canada's economic interests by expressing her hatred for American allies, calling them bastards, idiots and psychologically damaged. None of that resulted in her being disciplined or removed from the Liberal caucus.

Yesterday morning a tape was shown of her stomping on an image of the elected head of state of our closest trading partner. That did not result in her being disciplined until she attacked the Prime Minister and now she has been sent out the door.

Why is the message that someone can undermine Canada's economic interests but--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Relations
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November 18, 2004