November 19, 2004

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The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie.

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

Tony Martin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, low income parents in Ontario announced that they will take the Government of Canada and their province to court because families on social assistance are being deprived of a benefit intended to reduce child poverty. The clawback of the national child benefit supplement robs from the poor under the guise of promised reinvestment in other programs to help the poor.

My question is for the Minister of Social Development. With New Brunswick not clawing back, Manitoba stopping and Ontario reviewing, will the federal government do the right thing and revamp the program in order to put the money in the hands of the people for whom it was intended?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Child Benefit Supplement
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LIB

Tony Ianno

Liberal

Hon. Tony Ianno (Minister of State (Families and Caregivers), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this government cares deeply about solving child poverty. It continues to work with the provinces and other stakeholders to ensure that all children have the quality of life we believe in. We put into the child tax benefit $2.4 billion a year, and it is growing. In the year 2007-08, up to $10 billion total. We continue investing in the homelessness to ensure that children with families that are living in poverty continue to have affordable housing with the $1.6 billion we put in. There are many other measures we continue adding.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Child Benefit Supplement
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CPC

Guy Lauzon

Conservative

Mr. Guy Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-11 will enable the government to cover up scandals like the sponsorship scandal. The minister cleverly claims to be protecting people making complaints, but the Information Commissioner refutes this. Elsewhere in the bill, the statement is made that honest informants will not be protected.

Will the minister admit that the purpose of this bill is not to protect honest public servants, but to support a corrupt government?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Whistleblower Legislation
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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 do wish members would take the time to read the testimony and the reports.

The reality is that this clause was put into the bill as a result of concerns expressed in the debate over the previous bill. It grants to this investigative body exactly the same investigative protections that are enjoyed by the RCMP and other parliamentary officers.

The assertion is akin to saying that if the RCMP holds its files confidential, which it does, then it cannot act on them. It is utter nonsense.

Now, there is a debate here that is a legitimate policy debate, which is why the bill is before the committee at first reading. The committee will have the ability to--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Whistleblower Legislation
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?

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Whistleblower Legislation
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CPC

Guy Lauzon

Conservative

Mr. Guy Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-11 would allow the government to cover up corruption like the sponsorship scam.

The minister says that this would protect the identities of whistleblowers but the information commissioner plainly states that “there is no merit to the government's argument”. In fact other sections of the bill say explicitly that the confidentialities of whistleblowers will not be guaranteed.

Why will the minister not just admit that this bill is all about protecting the corrupt government, not honest public servants?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Whistleblower Legislation
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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, this is an enormously important issue and I think it is absolutely irresponsible for them to continue to come forward when the government tries to protect the employees at their request. The reality is that the protections offered here are exactly the same as the protections that are offered the information gathered by the other parliamentary officers who are not subject to access to information, and by the specific exclusions to investigative bodies. It is no different.

It is the magic of the minority. We will all be responsible for the decisions that come out of this. This is to address exposure, not to conceal it.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Whistleblower Legislation
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CPC

Loyola Hearn

Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's South—Mount Pearl, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, recently, at a United Nations meeting, Canada was one of the sponsors of a resolution recommending action be taken on destructive fishing practices, including bottom trawling. This was done without any consultation with industry and without the minister's officials being aware of the key components.

While such a ban could be tolerated in certain sensitive areas, this one could be interpreted very broadly.

Why would Canada and the minister support a resolution that could have a disastrous effect on several of our fisheries, including the shrimp fishery?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
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LIB

Geoff Regan

Liberal

Hon. Geoff Regan (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

First of all, Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague should know that the resolution is a non-binding resolution, and as a matter of fact, it talks about sensitive areas.

Let me tell him what I said in my address to the UN General Assembly earlier this week when I made our position on bottom trawling very clear. I said that “Canada's position is that no specific gear type is inherently destructive”, depending on how it is used. I said, “From experience we know that all gear types can have negative impacts”. He should know this.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
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CPC

James Bezan

Conservative

Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, at a recent agriculture committee meeting, the parliamentary secretary said about the CAIS program:

I guess...it's a policy problem, but...part of the problem with CAIS is...it really wasn't designed...to deal with a disaster, and we're trying to have it cover a disaster at the moment.

The agriculture minister has ignored MPs and he is ignoring his own parliamentary secretary. The minister is not listening nor is he designing farm programs that respond to disasters like BSE. I ask the minister, what alternatives is he considering to get emergency cash to the farm gate right now?

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 under the CAIS program $400 million has gone to producers. That is what has happened this year.

As I said to the committee, there is a need for things to be done in addition to CAIS. We had an announcement on September 10 of an additional $488 million to assist specifically with the BSE issue, bringing our investments in respect of that particular problem to somewhere over $2 billion. This government cares about Canadian producers and it acts on that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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BQ

Pauline Picard

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, management and unions agree that there is an urgent need for action in the Bombardier case and that the federal government must disclose the conditions for its support. The president of the Conseil du patronat, Mr. Taillon, said that Bombardier was not asking for a blank cheque and that it was up to the government to set its conditions. In the past, Bombardier has always adhered to any conditions imposed.

Does the government intend to accept the arguments from all stakeholders, both union and management, restating the urgent need for the government to put its offer on the table and make its conditions known, so that Bombardier can respond appropriately?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aerospace Industry
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LIB

Jean Lapierre

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like the hon. member to know that the government is in daily contact with the people from Bombardier. I talk to the president of Bombardier every day.

We will act on the details. We will act within deadlines, but we will make sure that we are doing the responsible thing, both for the company and for the employees, as well as for the taxpayers.

We will do this in a reasonable way, under a national aerospace policy, a national policy that has supported the aerospace industry in Quebec and that has ensured that aerospace is still—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aerospace Industry
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The Deputy Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Minister of Transport. The hon. member for Drummond.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aerospace Industry
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BQ

Pauline Picard

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the president of the FTQ, Henri Massé, has confirmed that, in his opinion, Montreal was the only logical place in Canada to build the factory to produce Bombardier's new aircraft.

In view of the unanimity of the stakeholders that action is urgently needed, what is the government waiting for before revealing its conditions and putting its offer on the table right now?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aerospace Industry
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LIB

Jean Lapierre

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I must tell the hon. member that if she were aware of what is in this file, she would know that we are in preliminary discussions; that Bombardier has not yet chosen a location; and that it is waiting for some pieces of the picture. Bombardier is not expecting an immediate offer, so long as the discussions continue.

Therefore, the government and the company are working hand in hand to ensure that Canada is chosen as the site for developing this new aircraft. We are going to—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aerospace Industry
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?

The Deputy Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Minister of Transport. The hon. member for Calgary East.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aerospace Industry
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CPC

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the CIDA minister issued news justifying CIDA aid to communist China. This is a nation that can take care of itself. It has the world's largest foreign reserves.

People in Africa are dying. They need our help.

Why can CIDA not get its priorities straight? Why?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canadian International Development Agency
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LIB

Aileen Carroll

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, CIDA has its priorities straight. We do an enormous amount of development aid with Africa, but at the same time we are very cognizant of the importance of China and our relationship with China.

China is a country in an economic and socio-political transformation that is indeed quite uneven. We have the opportunity to provide China with the expertise that is required to build governance and also to input reforms so that China, which is a world power, continues to be so in the right direction.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canadian International Development Agency
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November 19, 2004