House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, that minority government, in its attempt to destroy the Canadian Wheat Board, did the unconscionable in a democratic society. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, through an order in council, shattered freedom of speech for farmer elected directors. The order stated in part, “It shall not advocate the retention of its powers”. This directive goes against every principle in a free society for citizens elected to represent their electors.

Will the minister rescind this order now?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I can hardly wait for his next question when he asks to put potatoes under the Canadian Wheat Board.

Here is what the Canadian Wheat Board's own Code of Conduct says:

--directors must remain impartial and retain the perception of impartiality in relation to their duties and responsibilities. Directors must not use corporate facilities, equipment, or resources in support of these activities.

That is what the Wheat Board's own code of conduct says. Our order in council simply reaffirms that.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, this is absolutely nothing but a gag order. This is for the Prime Minister. This gag order is on an independent elected board of directors of a marketing institution.

The list of infractions of that minority government continues to grow, from fake letters, manipulation of the media, stacked government task forces, circumventing Canadian laws and now a gag order violating freedom of speech.

Is this the Prime Minister's definition of ethics and accountability?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in the order in council that prevents individual directors from speaking out. They are perfectly free to speak out on any issue they want. Neither the pro marketing choice nor the monopoly people are prohibited from speaking out. Everyone is welcome to get right at it.

What we will not do is encourage the Wheat Board to spend its time on partisan activities. We want it to get on with the job of selling wheat for farmers, and it is about time it got on with that job.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is obviously one rule for the government and one rule for the board.

The government of Saskatchewan says that destroying the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing system would slash grain incomes in Saskatchewan by at least $300 million a year. The law enacted by Parliament gives western farmers the legal guarantee that before any marketing change, prairie farmers must be given the opportunity to vote on that specific change in a fair and democratic plebiscite.

Will the minister commit himself today to fully respect the farmers' democratic right to vote on this specific issue?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, while that member was the minister of agriculture, farmers went to jail for trying to market their own product, and we do not want to see that happen any more. We think farmers should have the choice to market their grain in a way that best benefits their farms and their individual corporate choices.

There was testimony before the agriculture committee last week that the Canadian Wheat Board actually cost farmers money.

Most important, we want to give marketing choice to farmers. This is something we campaigned on. We like to keep our campaign promises, something that is a foreign concept to the party opposite.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, then let the farmers vote. It is unbelievable that the minority Conservative government would plan to kill the Wheat Board and kill the farmers' right to vote all at the same time. Gone would be the single desk marketing system and producer cars and short line rail systems and the port of Churchill and anyone to stand up to the anti-farmer market power, the grain companies and the railways. So much for transparency and accountability.

Why does the minister fail to respect the farmers' legal right to vote? What is he afraid of?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, he forgot to add to that list getting rid of the Crow rate. Wait a minute, he did that. I forgot that.

In addition, we are involving the farmers in this process. We have appointed a task force to give options to what we campaigned on openly. We look forward to the day when Canadian farmers have the choice on how they market their grain. We look forward to a strong Canadian Wheat Board in a multi-choice world.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government severely cut spending in literacy programs, thus seriously jeopardizing initiatives to reach users, including a number of workers hurt by the softwood lumber crisis.

Why is the government stubbornly cutting funds for literacy programs, which help workers laid off in the softwood lumber, textile and clothing industries? Why go after these people?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that Canadians need to know how to read, write and do their numbers. That is quite simple. That is why we are investing over $80 million in literacy.

We are going to invest it in programs that deliver real results to Canadians. We are not going to invest that money in advocates and lobbyists who do not get any literacy results on the ground.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government also drastically reduced the budget for Status of Women Canada.

What can possibly lead this government to slash by 30% the budgets to promote equality for women, considering that these budgets have already been significantly reduced and are totally inadequate?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the government has not cut any program spending on women, none. We have cut administration because that does not help women on the ground. Our programming is going to continue.

The government is delivering real service for women. Where the previous government talked about protecting women, we are doing it. That is the difference.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

October 16th, 2006 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Treasury Board president improperly inserted himself into a municipal election by withholding $200 million in previously committed funding for Ottawa's light rail project. The minister could have taken action on the file, but instead he waited weeks after the contract was signed to announce, through the media, that the government was withholding funds.

Did the Prime Minister approve of the minister's decision to withhold the funding? Does the Prime Minister believe that all current infrastructure agreements with municipalities should be put on hold until after all municipal elections?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I have been reading a significant amount on this. I can tell the member opposite that we strongly support public transit. It is important for our environment. It is important for our public servants to get to work. It is also very important to reduce congestion.

I read the Ottawa Sun editorial on October 4 entitled, “Feds on right track”. It said:

Too often in the past we have seen governments, at various levels, toss around tax money without taking adequate care that it's well spent.

There was an Ottawa Citizen editorial that said:

--the unprecedented scope of the investment...makes a final, ratifying endorsement entirely appropriate.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, headlines read, “Crimes and lives,” “Shatters families” and “Frightens communities”. With gun, gang and drug crime on the rise, Canadians are demanding action. One of the main platform commitments of the government made during the last election was to get tough on crime and work toward making our communities safer.

Could the justice minister update the House on the status of the new government's crime agenda?