House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was care.

Topics

Federal Accountability Act
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the bill presented today by the President of the Treasury Board will provide the greatest expansion to the Access to Information Act in the history of this Parliament. This bill is broad and includes the independent officers and senior officials of Parliament and of the major crown corporations, including Canada Post, Via Rail, CBC and several other institutions and foundations. It is important. The last time this Parliament voted on access to information, this hon. member opposed our—

Federal Accountability Act
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Federal Accountability Act
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we oppose those propositions for exactly the reason that we are upset today. They are totally and utterly inadequate. The Globe and Mail observed today that this commitment to access to information, which was the core of his promise to clean up government, just is not there.

Earlier today the President of the Treasury Board spoke of earning the trust of Canadians. Does the Prime Minister really believe that this failure to live up to the campaign commitments will earn the trust of Canadians?

Federal Accountability Act
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition started out saying that we had not gone far enough on access to information and now he is saying that we have gone too far on access to information. I wish he would get his story straight.

When the member and the party opposite talk about using lobbyists, I just want to point out a press release I have here dated February 10 when the Leader of the Opposition announced his other House officers, his House leader, the chief opposition whip and caucus roles. This press release said that for further information to contact susan@blueskystrategygroup.com. In other words, even in opposition they are still run out of lobby firms.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives unveiled their defence platform, their defence critic at the time identified two of his clients that could obtain contracts with the armed forces. Today, as Minister of Defence, he has responsibility for files involving companies he once lobbied for.

Why has the Prime Minister not prohibited this sort of practice in the accountability act?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would repeat that the code we have just tabled is more stringent than before. The Minister of National Defence will abide by all the previous rules and all the more stringent rules set by this government.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister knows full well that the appearance of conflict of interest is just as important as conflict of interest itself.

Why not simply acknowledge the situation?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, this party, the minister and all the members of the cabinet intend to obey the law. That is what sets us apart from the Liberals.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last October in a debate in the House, the Conservative Party called for a program of loan guarantees in the softwood lumber industry. One month later, it reiterated its call for such a program during a press conference with the Bloc and the NDP.

During the election campaign, the Conservative Party promised loan guarantees to the softwood lumber industry. Yesterday, the Minister of Industry said he would reveal his intentions regarding loan guarantees in due course.

Will the Prime Minister speak to his Minister of Industry and remind him that in due course means it is here and now that loan guarantees must be given?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are in discussions with the President of the United States in order to resolve the softwood lumber dispute. This would obviously be the ideal solution for the country as a whole and the entire industry.

If there is no solution, the Minister of Industry intends to propose loan guarantees and help to the industry. However, the ideal solution is to resolve the problem.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is saying the same thing as the previous government. He claims we will resolve the dispute with the United States.

I recall that the Prime Minister said, as Leader of the Opposition, that it was not enough and that we had to do whatever was necessary. According to him, nagging the States was not enough, we had to show them we were serious. In his opinion, loan guarantees had to be offered and that would show them that we supported our companies.

I would like to hear the same statement today, now that he is on the other side of the House. He made promises here and promised to honour them. Now he is doing nothing. I call on him to act and honour the promises he made as Leader of the Opposition.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the government is very much aware of the challenges facing workers in the softwood lumber industry. We are currently looking at all the options for a plan that properly supports businesses in the softwood lumber sector.

I would like to say that the members of the Bloc Québécois should recognize that the new Conservative government is on the right road to resolving the softwood lumber dispute and that they will never have the power to resolve this dispute themselves.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the new minister that it is not enough to have power; you also have to have the will.

Forestry companies in a region like mine are crying out for help. The forestry workers are crying out for help. The families are crying out for help. In the meantime, the Minister of Industry is telling us that he will act in due time. I want to know: does acting in due time not mean acting right now, immediately, on behalf of our constituents?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the previous Liberal government allowed the softwood lumber conflict to deteriorate since 2002. The previous government was unable to maintain relations with our neighbours to resolve this matter. MPs from the Liberal Party of Canada, four days before the election was called, pulled a so-called plan out of a hat to help the softwood lumber industry without even securing the money that was needed for this help.

We will act in the interest of the industry and in the interest of all Canadians.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to remind the Minister of Industry once again that it is true that his colleague, the Minister of International Trade, did nothing when he was a Liberal. That said, at least his colleague left $800 million in loan guarantees.

Why will the minister not act now with this $800 million in loan guarantees for the sake of the companies that are crying out for help?