November 19, 2004

LIB

Stéphane Dion

Liberal

Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my relations with Quebec's environment minister are excellent, and they will remain excellent in spite of the Bloc's attempts to drive a wedge between us.

I can assure the House that the negotiations with the Province of Quebec, as with all the other provinces, are progressing well. The negotiations with the major industries for an agreement on greenhouse gas reductions by industrial sector are also progressing very well.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

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

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's environment minister has agreed to change the federal government's position from a sectoral approach to a territorial one and rejects Quebec's being compared with Saskatchewan or Alberta, where greenhouse gas emissions have increased considerably since 1990.

If the Minister of the Environment is serious when he says that Quebec will be rewarded for its efforts, could he give us the assurance that 1990 will be used as the reference year for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and not 2010, as the federal government is now proposing?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Stéphane Dion

Liberal

Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the negotiations to ensure that we have a system in place which is both environmentally and economically efficient for the major industrial emitters are being masterfully conducted by the Minister of Natural Resources, and I want to congratulate him on that.

I can assure the House that Quebec's industries will be front line partners.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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BQ

Maka Kotto

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Maka Kotto (Saint-Lambert, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, even though today is mid-November, according to the odd calendar of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, we still do not know the government's position on the draft convention on cultural diversity that is currently being negotiated at UNESCO.

Will the minister present this position today, in the House? If not, will she tell us how many more days mid-November will last before she does?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Cultural Diversity
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LIB

Sarmite Bulte

Liberal

Hon. Sarmite Bulte (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to answer the question.

As hon. members know, it is this government that has actually taken a lead at the UNESCO convention. In fact, at the UNESCO meeting in Paris in September, Canada was appointed as a rapporteur by 132 countries I believe.

November 15 is the first deadline for putting in proposals for the UNESCO convention and the drafting party will be meeting on December 15, of which Canada is also a member, and the intergovernmental meeting will happen in February.

If the hon. member would like to see the document, may I suggest that he bring that forward at the standing committee.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Cultural Diversity
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BQ

Maka Kotto

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Maka Kotto (Saint-Lambert, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, as regards the two main issues of this convention, could the minister confirm, first, that the government will ensure that the UNESCO convention is not subordinated to the WTO agreements and, second, that it includes a dispute settlement mechanism to avoid having trade tribunals determine what is an acceptable cultural policy?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Cultural Diversity
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LIB

Sarmite Bulte

Liberal

Hon. Sarmite Bulte (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I think the issue the hon. member raises is very important but that is not the only issue. Many other issues need to be discussed.

As I am very interested in this file, may I suggest that at the next meeting of the standing committee we put this forward as the next future business and we look at the document before the House recesses for Christmas.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Cultural Diversity
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CPC

Jeremy Harrison

Conservative

Mr. Jeremy Harrison (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal immigration minister recently allowed an exotic dancer who worked on her election campaign to jump the queue for temporary residence in Canada.

The immigration minister has claimed that she has the ethics commissioner looking into this matter but we have learned today that she has not given him the necessary information to investigate.

Why has the immigration minister been allowed to remain in cabinet while misleading the House and bending the rules for Liberal friends?

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 hon. minister has answered this question already. She indicated that she provided the file to the ethics commissioner. She indicated that she spoke to the ethics commissioner. That is the information that she has provided to the House.

I do not understand why the hon. member does not expect the minister to state exactly what she has done for the benefit of the hon. member who is asking the question.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Jeremy Harrison

Conservative

Mr. Jeremy Harrison (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious issue and we are not getting the answers to our questions.

Yesterday the Prime Minister booted the member for Mississauga—Erindale out of caucus for criticizing his leadership.

While the Prime Minister is peeling back his caucus one member at a time, why will he not bounce his immigration minister to the head of the line for demotion?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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LIB

Jean Lapierre

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is very pleased with the work of the Minister of Immigration. She is extremely dedicated and sensitive to the needs of her clientele. She does not need to take any lessons from these members.

The minister fully answered all the questions put to her and she even submitted her case to the ethics commissioner. She said so herself and we must take her word. The word of the minister means something in this House and we believe her.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Bradley Trost

Conservative

Mr. Bradley Trost (Saskatoon—Humboldt, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Treasury Board minister implied just a few minutes ago, yesterday the Auditor General said that she will not be able to do her job because the government is cutting her budget by 15%.

Why is the Prime Minister undercutting the Auditor General? Is it to punish her for uncovering Liberal waste and corruption?

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, let me simply refer the member to the article, in which this is reported, in which Ms. Fraser says:

Ms. Fraser rejects suggestions that her budget is being squeezed because of her controversial reports.

What she is doing is working with us on the establishment of a new mechanism. Frankly, if members on the other side had taken the recommendations of the committee seriously, we would have solved this matter. I have not had a single member on the other side pay attention to these reports.

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

Brian Fitzpatrick

Conservative

Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, instead of reading newspaper accounts, the minister should be reading the records from the committee yesterday.

During the last election the Conservative Party proposed increasing the Auditor General's budget by $50 million. What is the member's solution to the problem, the Liberal position? It is to reduce the budget by 15%. That is appalling.

What is the Liberal government afraid of? Is it afraid the Auditor General will find more Liberal corruption? Is it afraid that we will find more billion dollar boondoggles, more gun registry scandals and more sponsorship scandals?

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 realize it is an ongoing tactic of the other side to put lies in the mouths of important public figures.

The fact is that I met with the Auditor General this morning. I have met with the Auditor General frequently on this issue. I am one of the Auditor General's champions on this particular issue.

In fact, the government has increased the Auditor General's budget by 35%. In fact, there has not been a nickel cut. In fact, what is needed is an appropriate funding mechanism and if members would get their heads around that, we would fix it.

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

Lloyd St. Amand

Liberal

Mr. Lloyd St. Amand (Brant, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on December 3, 1997, Canada led the world as the first government to sign, and this House ratified, the mine ban treaty, or Ottawa convention.

To date, 152 countries have agreed to ban anti-personnel mines. Sixty-two million stockpiled anti-personnel mines have been destroyed.

Working with national governments, the International Red Cross, UNICEF, Mines Action Canada and other dedicated organizations--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Anti-Personnel Land Mines
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?

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of International Cooperation.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Anti-Personnel Land Mines
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LIB

Aileen Carroll

Liberal

Hon. Aileen Carroll (Minister of International Cooperation, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, next week's Nairobi's summit marks the halfway point between the treaty's entry into force and the deadline for the first countries to clear their minefields.

At the summit, world leaders, international NGOs, youth activists and my own parliamentary secretary will measure progress to keep this issue on the international agenda.

Canada and many members of the House have been actively involved in the action plan for the implementation of the Ottawa treaty because mine action is a precondition for poverty reduction.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Anti-Personnel Land Mines
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NDP

Jean Crowder

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, clearly the President of the Treasury Board has a problem with strong women. On Wednesday, some hon. members heard him refer to a woman MP as a sweetheart. Now he has followed through on his relentless attacks on the Auditor General and cut her budget.

I ask the President of the Treasury Board to stand in his place and restore the funding to the Auditor General, because Canadians trust this strong woman, not his strong-arm tactics.

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, being new to the House, the hon. member may not be aware of the work that was done by the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates in the previous session, prior to my becoming a minister, in which we worked with the Auditor General to solve this very problem.

I am in fact one of her champions. I have huge respect for the Auditor General. I believe she has been bringing forward for some time a very important issue and we are addressing it.

However I would remind members that she is an officer of this House and this House has to get engaged in this question. It is not a question for the government. It is a question for the Auditor General in her--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Office of the Auditor General
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November 19, 2004