House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The member for Central Nova is very popular but we have to be able to hear what he is saying. He is asking a question. We will hear the hon. member for Central Nova.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Prime Minister has more in common with his predecessor than he cares to admit. He refuses to be accountable. He will not even get up in the House and answer simple questions, hiding behind apologists and ducking the issue.

Why is the Prime Minister continuing in the steps of his mentor and being stoney silent on this important issue? When will he end this Chrétien circus sideshow and let the commission get on with its work?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member talks about having things in common, let us look at what we have in common: the elimination of the deficit and the creation of the national child benefit. Who was the person who said that we would not send troops into Iraq when he was trying to be forced by the Leader of the Opposition as he is involved in that?

Yes, I am very proud of what the last government did and I am very proud that I was part of it.

We will get to the bottom of what happened, which is why we created the Gomery commission.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

February 1st, 2005 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, before the election, the Liberals promised that concluding the final agreement on parental leave would be just a formality. Eight months later, things are at a total standstill. Ottawa, with its surplus of over $10 billion, refuses to close the $275 million gap that separates it from the Government of Quebec.

How does the Prime Minister explain that his government, which has the resources, has nonetheless decided to prevent Quebec families from benefiting from a parental leave program that is more generous than the federal one?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the situation of Quebec families and of all families in Canada. That is why the minister is having ongoing discussions with her counterpart. In fact, that is happening today.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in May of last year, before the election, it was settled. They were talking about a historic agreement; they said everything was going well; everything was done and only the formalities remained. The deadline was February 1: that is today. What was settled in May 2004 is still not settled today. Quebec has been waiting for eight years; in 1997, Ottawa decided to pay for the first year.

Why is it that what was acceptable in 1997 is no longer acceptable today? There is no election coming; that is why. It is another empty promise.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc may get all worked up, but in concrete terms, we are still in intensive negotiations with the Government of Quebec. I spoke to my counterpart last night and again before question period. Discussions are continuing. Together we are working for the well-being of Quebec's families.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the $275 million shortfall for parental leave is what still needs to be settled before the pre-election agreement signed by the federal government and Quebec can be finalized. This is $275 million for young parents.

How can the Liberal government justify still not coming up with the goods eight months later, on the date of the planned agreement, after reaping the advantages of announcing the agreement just days before the election was called?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, we support Quebec's plan to broaden the parental leave program currently available at the federal level. We support it to such an extent that we are prepared to transfer to Quebec the funds usually paid to Quebeckers, and are currently doing so. We are still holding discussions with representatives of Quebec, and both governments wish to reach an agreement.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, yet minister Béchard says the federal negotiating committee seems to lack political will and he is appealing to the federal ministers from Quebec to ensure that this gets settled.

This agreement, which needed almost nothing more added to it, according to the other side, afforded the Liberals a lot of mileage for campaign purposes. Now Quebec parents want the government to deliver the goods.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, Quebec parents are well aware that we are determined to sign an agreement with the Government of Quebec that is totally fair and in keeping with the legislation.

This is why I am personally continuing discussions with my Quebec counterpart, Claude Béchard. Both of us still hope an agreement is possible.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. This month his natural resources minister said that he did not believe that we could meet the Kyoto targets.

If that is the case and the Prime Minister did not even rebuke him and in fact congratulated and supported him, what is going on here? If he cannot put in place a minister who believes in Kyoto why does he not fire the minister and put in place someone who does believe we can meet those international commitments?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I, the government, all members of the government, as well as our caucus, have made it very clear that we will respect our long term commitment to Kyoto and we will do so in a way that allows us to have a strong economy.

We believe that a sound economist and a sound environmentalist will come to the same conclusion, which is that we should not utilize our natural capital. That is the government's view and so we will adhere to our long term commitment.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, those are the classic weasel words in the debates. What we are talking about here is respect and long term commitments. It is very simple: we have targets and we need to meet them.

What we are hearing now are the Liberals suggesting that we buy air from Russia to meet our commitments under the Kyoto plan.

We have 5,000 people a year in Ontario dying due to smog. Why do we not spend money cleaning the air for people right here in Canada instead of buying Russian hot air with Canadian tax dollars?