House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

The Economy
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal Party came to power 13 years ago today, Canada was facing economic disaster. The previous Conservative government had racked up nearly $50 billion in debt per year, inflation was out of control, and the unemployment rate had reached record highs.

We got right to work and paid off $63 billion of the debt, which saved us $3 billion a year in interest.

Both the unemployment rate and the inflation rate are now low. In 2005, the Liberal government recorded its eighth budget surplus. Thanks to our excellent economic record, Canada has become a world leader.

Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, over the past few days, the federal Liberals and the leader of the Bloc Québécois—whose members are the eternal opposition in Ottawa—have cast aspersions on the hard work done by the excellent Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and they have pressured him to run for office. The minister has done remarkable work, considering that Justice Gomery found Public Works and Government Services Canada to be at the heart of a complex kickback system that gave friends of federal Liberals all kinds of perks and allowed them to make illegal contributions to the LPC as part of the sponsorship program.

Both the Bloc Québécois and the federal Liberals are bringing new meaning to the word “absurd”.

Why did they not ask the same of Liberal senators who held ministerial positions in cabinet?

Why was it acceptable for Liberal Senator James Bernard Boudreau to be Minister of State for the ACOA in 2000? Liberal Senator Joyce Fairbairn was a minister for 1,639 days. Liberal Senator Jack Austin was in cabinet for 658 days.

When it comes to transparency, accountability and good public governance, the Liberals—

Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

We will now move on to oral questions.

Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding that last intervention, we have today a Conservative Minister of Public Works and Government Services who does not care about our electors. Contrary to any parliamentary precedent, he refuses to run in his own city at the first opportunity. Now, and this takes the cake, he is silencing his officials, our officials. He is muzzling those who run the programs by preventing them from answering any questions from members of this House.

Since Michael Fortier refuses to run for office himself, how can he prevent his officials from answering questions from those who did and who were elected by the Canadian public?

Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Senator Fortier promised to represent the people of Montreal within cabinet for the duration of this Parliament. He is doing good work. He will run in the next election.

As far as the ministers are concerned, they took their responsibilities and answered questions in parliamentary committees.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

October 25th, 2006 / 2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today members of Parliament are trying to get to the bottom of how the cuts for literacy, court challenges, women and minorities will affect Canadians. They are attempting to determine the true rationale for those actions, which Canadians see as a meanspirited attack on their volunteer and meritorious activities. That is the role of members of Parliament. It is the function of democracy.

Conservative ministers are muzzling public servants and showing a deep-seated disrespect for Parliament and for Canadians. Why are members of Parliament not allowed to hear from the public servants they need to hear from in order to do their jobs?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. We strongly believe in accountability. That is why my deputy minister, my assistant deputy minister and I all appeared before the government operations committee last week.

My colleagues have appeared before numerous committees. I believe the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development will be appearing before two committees this week and I understand the Minister of Public Works and Government Services will be appearing before committee, all of this with their officials.

In the previous Parliament, we could not find a Liberal minister who would ever agree to go before a committee. Now in this government we are only too happy to be accountable before committees.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, members of the foreign affairs and defence committees can testify that I was there as regularly as they asked me, as was every other minister in our government.

On the contrary, the Prime Minister has muzzled his ministers, he has muzzled his caucus, the media suffers his wrath, and now he is muzzling public servants. Why, in spite of all his political rhetoric, is the Prime Minister showing such contempt for the democratic process so essential to the integrity of the House? Why such fear of candour?

Will the Prime Minister now order his ministers to allow committees of the House to hear from any public servants they need to hear from so they can do the jobs that at least they were elected to do?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is utterly bizarre that the Leader of the Opposition is complaining that ministers are willing to come to committee and answer questions from members of Parliament.

I think the reason for these kinds of ridiculous questions is that the Leader of the Opposition would like to cover up what his friends over in the Senate are doing. They are trying to change the accountability act to create a separate Senate ethics officer. They want to delay the coming into force of provisions on political donations for a year. They want to increase the amount of money that can be given to political parties. They want to grandfather political staff that should not have been appointed in the first place, contrary to what Gomery recommended. They are being completely unaccountable and irresponsible.

Aerospace Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasingly evident that this Conservative government has no regard for Montreal. Yesterday, neither the Prime Minister nor the parliamentary secretary could give a single example of something that Michael Fortier has done for Montreal. However, I can give you two examples of failures: the lack of an aerospace policy and job losses at Bombardier.

All the work has been done. All the stakeholders agree. When will the minister responsible for Montreal announce our aerospace policy?

Aerospace Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of empathy for the workers who have lost their jobs.

That being said, we have nothing to learn from the Liberals. Four days before the last election was called, they announced a so-called plan to help the aerospace industry, but the plan was nothing but a political ploy to buy votes and to fool Canadians.

Aerospace Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this plan was prepared by an individual who today is one of them.

In the past 10 months, we have seen the government delay hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development investments for the aerospace industry. It even cut $42 million from an assistance program for the industry. The Conservatives are abandoning workers and a sector that is crucial to the economic development of Montreal.

What justification can the minister responsible for Montreal provide for such negligence? When will he finally give a positive response to all these projects currently on his desk?

Aerospace Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the previous Liberal government spent 13 years squandering public funds and filling its own election coffers. For 13 years it did nothing for the Montreal aerospace industry.

The time has now come to take action. This government will ensure that there are $13 billion in economic benefits in Canada for the aerospace industry.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the course of the next three days, the Quebec first nations socio-economic forum will be held in Mashteuiatsh. A few federal ministers have confirmed their attendance, including the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. However, the Canadian government represents one of only two countries that voted against the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples when the human rights commission met in June.

Can the Prime Minister really be comfortable sending his Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to co-chair this forum when his government is about to vote against the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples once again, this time before the United Nations General Assembly?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to send the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to represent the Canadian government, along with his Quebec counterpart and several members of this House.

Our government has some concerns about the declaration mentioned by the Bloc Québécois leader, because several elements of it do not respect the Canadian Constitution. As the Bloc leader knows, this government always respects the Canadian Constitution.