November 19, 2004

LIB

John McKay

Liberal

Hon. John McKay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, hon. members might well be interested in knowing how much is transferred from the Government of Canada to the Government of Quebec. This year on CHT, CST, HRT and equalization, $13.66 billion was transferred to the Government of Quebec; for infrastructure funding, a further $515 million; and for the strategic highway infrastructure program, another $138 million. The total allocated funding for infrastructure--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Portneuf--Jacques-Cartier.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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BQ

Guy Côté

Bloc Québécois

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

Mr. Speaker, rather than seriously address the fiscal imbalance, when it has the means to do so, the government has instead decided to increase the injustices by increasing the number of special agreements with certain provinces to the detriment of Quebec.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his offer to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to exclude oil and gas revenues from the equalization calculation is the same as giving oil producing provinces a bonus at the expense of others, Quebec in particular, which has to include hydroelectricity in its equalization calculation?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

John McKay

Liberal

Hon. John McKay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the equalization arrangements between the federal government and the various provinces are very complex. There are 33 indices as to what constitutes fiscal capacity. From time to time, there are differences among provinces. Differences among provinces, however, are not inequities.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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BQ

Guy Côté

Bloc Québécois

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

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is offering $2 billion over eight years to these two oil and gas producing provinces. In the case of Quebec, it would be $25 billion gift.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that this offer not only penalizes Quebec, which has chosen to develop clean energy, but also intensifies the fiscal imbalance rather than alleviating it?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Jean Lapierre

Liberal

Hon. Jean Lapierre (Minister of Transport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know, if he is speaking on behalf of Quebec, that the Premier of Quebec agrees with our special arrangements with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Consequently, the hon. member is speaking without having any idea of the view of Quebec's Premier.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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NDP

Peter Julian

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, vengeance is mine saith the President of the Treasury Board. The Auditor General has been performing an invaluable service for Canadians, fighting back on constant Liberal corruption. For her efforts, her office has been subjected to the pettiest form of revenge and intimidation, the withholding of funding. Canadians want her to do her job, but she needs resources to do it.

Will the President of the Treasury Board stop punishing people who tell the truth and restore full funding to her office today?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Office of the Auditor General
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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 reject the entire premise of the hon. member. If we look at the article that reported on this today, the Auditor General herself said that she did not believe this was retaliatory. This is a conversation that we have had with the House for a long time.

When I was chairman of the committee on government operations, I put down a report on July 16 and again in November to the House which said that the mechanism for funding parliamentary officers needed to be reviewed. The Auditor--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Office of the Auditor General
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The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Burnaby--New Westminster.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Office of the Auditor General
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NDP

Peter Julian

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it is intimidation, pure and simple. In this corner of the House we are not going to stand for it.

That is terrible. The President of the Treasury Board is taking his revenge by attempting to silence the only public servant that can effectively protect taxpayers' money against more sponsorship scandals. The Auditor General is asking for independent funding.

Will the President of the Treasury Board stop these acts of vengeance against the Auditor General and establish today this independent funding?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Office of the Auditor General
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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, again I say to the hon. member, the Auditor General never said that. She said, in answer to a question on that, exactly the opposite. The issue that she raises is an important one. It is one I have been raising here. It is one that I met with the Speaker about not too long ago. I raised this with the committee. I raised it with the Senate committee on finance.

The House has to address this, but it is an officer of the House. There has been no reduction in the funding to the auditor's office, and there will not be. In fact, there has been a substantial increase.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Office of the Auditor General
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CPC

Rahim Jaffer

Conservative

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister clearly bent the rules in granting a minister's permit to her stripper friend and campaign worker. This was done on the advice of senior adviser Ihor Wons. At the time, however, Mr. Wons was on leave of absence to work on the minister's election campaign. Three days before the election, the permit was issued as per his memo.

Could the minister explain why the political staffer, on leave from the department, was telling the department what to do?

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 member across the way never ceases to amaze me with his hypocrisy and his sanctimonious attitude when he is asking questions. He is discriminating against people because of a profession of which he does not approve.

Is it not ironic that the member for Edmonton--Strathcona tries to impress the House with his flamboyant vocabulary when talking about breaching the rules? Was he not clearly in breach of the rules when he asked his assistant to impersonate him on a Vancouver radio station? Now he stands up here and attacks me.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

James Rajotte

Conservative

Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, these are serious questions that need serious answers. Another member of the minister's staff, her director of parliamentary affairs, was not on leave from her office, yet was in Toronto working on the minister's campaign at taxpayer expense. Her right-hand man was on leave, but giving orders to the immigration department, while her ministerial staff was working on her campaign for political purposes.

How can the minister justify this? Will the minister finally step aside in light of these ethical complications that she herself has created?

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, if members would check the blues, the minister has indicated on numerous occasions that she complied with all the guidelines. What we have here is continual badgering of the minister. The minister has said that she has complied with the guidelines. She has made it very clear. She has made it very clear that she looked at the immigration case on the basis of humanitarian and compassionate grounds, like she has looked at any other case that might come before her.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Gerald Keddy

Conservative

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in a reply to a question from the member for Edmonton--Strathcona, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration stated, “No matter who these people are, they all are deserving of humanitarian and compassionate consideration”. She should have said, “If you are a Liberal, you move to the front of the line”.

Is immigration based on merit or on returning Liberal favours?

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 was going to bring a book with me, which is thick, full of all the requests I get from all members of the House, lots of them being from the Leader of the Opposition, from the House leader and from the opposition critic. I get requests every day, yesterday included. When I leave this House and go back to the lobby, there is usually somebody from the member's side waiting there.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Gerald Keddy

Conservative

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the question to the minister was about merit, not supposition. To add insult to injury, the Prime Minister's communications director, Scott Reid, knew about supposed improprieties at Citizenship and Immigration. How is it that the Prime Minister supposedly did not?

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, all requests for intervention from all members of the House are looked upon with one reason. What is the merit of the case? Does it fit into the humanitarian and compassionate grounds? Does it fit into the Canadian way? Only on those merits of the case, did I issue a permit for the official opposition critic just before the election last year. Did I ask if this person was working on his campaign? No, I simply asked and responded to a request on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and I issued the permit.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, on February 16, 2005, the Kyoto protocol will come into effect. Action is urgently required. Yesterday, the Government of Quebec expressed outrage at the sectoral approach developed by the federal government, which penalizes Quebec, and it wants the implementation of the Kyoto protocol in Quebec to be carried out by the Government of Quebec.

Could the Minister of the Environment give us the assurance that the territorial approach setting an overall objective for Quebec will guide the bilateral negotiations between Quebec City and Ottawa?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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November 19, 2004