House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Questions

April 5th, 2006 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, as industry minister, the new international trade minister signed a declaration removing himself from the softwood lumber file. This was done in 2004, on the advice of the Ethics Commissioner, to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest arising from the minister's ongoing financial relationship as former CEO of a major Canadian lumber producer.

Will the Minister of International Trade commit himself to returning to the higher ethical standard and step aside immediately from softwood lumber talks?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that not only will that minister and all ministers live by the provisions of the last ethics code, they will live by much tougher provisions in the future with the new ethics code that we will be bringing in, including the elimination of the blind management agreements for which that government was so famous.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I guess the muzzling continues.

I know the Minister of International Trade likes to consider himself above politics while depriving his constituents of democracy, but he should not put his own personal interests above being accountable and protecting the integrity of his own government.

With Canada and the United States set to return to the bargaining table in June, will the minister at least give the Prime Minister his assurance that he will not once again cross the floor and join the American softwood negotiating team?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, I have declared all my financial positions with all my assets. I had developed with the conflict commissioner a recusal that was in effect when I was serving under the previous government. That same recusal has been updated and it applies today.

I shake my head at the hypocrisy of the hon. member. Those hon. members were very happy to have my involvement in softwood lumber and other forest policy business, but now they have changed their minds.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister would like to address the fiscal imbalance. Very well. We all agree that such a problem cannot be solved overnight. However, urgent needs in education require an immediate increase in transfer payments. All stakeholders are calling for a transfer increase to the 1994-95 level of $4.9 billion annually, after allowing for inflation.

Since the Speech from the Throne does not mention the matter, can the government promise that the next budget will include an increase in transfer payments for post-secondary education and social programs?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

The budget will be delivered shortly. We have indicated that there will be a paper on fiscal imbalance and the issues relating to that delivered with the budget. I will ask the hon. member to wait for the budget.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, when they served on the Subcommittee on Fiscal Imbalance, the Conservatives, as opposition, voted in favour of the recommendation to increase transfers for post-secondary education.

Now that they can go ahead with that proposal and make it happen, why do they not mention it at all in the throne speech?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the issues that has to be addressed in terms of the broader discussion with respect to fiscal imbalance. There not only will be a federal paper with the budget, but the O'Brien report is to be delivered to the federal government probably in the month of May. The Council of the Federation has a report. Various provinces have delivered reports, some with their budgets, the provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba among others. I think the big city mayors and chairs also have a report coming in June.

There will be lots of reports and lots of opportunity for discussion.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hour is dark for the thousands of farm producers gathered today before Parliament. In Quebec and Canada, the agricultural sector has suffered losses of $6.1 billion in four years, and the average net annual income per farm is barely $5,600. This is a historical low and further proof that the phenomenon is not a passing one.

What does the minister have to say to the thousands of farmers who have come to ask him for emergency help, asking him to change the way the measures announced in the throne speech are implemented and, specifically, to reveal his schedule?

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:45 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, the hon. member is right. We agree that there is a short term problem for farmers right now and a longer term problem as well. We are taking steps in some ways to address some of those needs immediately. There will be more forthcoming in the days ahead. I urge the hon. member to wait for some of those announcements in the House.

In the longer term I believe the member is also right. We need to have a long term plan for farmers, working with farmers, to ensure that what we do not end up with is an annual pilgrimage to Ottawa to try to get what I think farmers deserve, which is a decent living from the hard work they do.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, farmers are justifiably worried in view of the statement by Canada's representative to the WTO that he did not feel bound by the resolution adopted unanimously by this House, which calls for the retention in its entirety of the supply management system.

With the minister's promise this morning to producers, will the government get the word clearly and firmly to its team of negotiators that they are not to touch supply management? It is not negotiable.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:45 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, we supported the system of supply management at our congress in Montreal last year. We supported the system during the election campaign and we will support the supply management system during negotiations at the WTO.

Child Care
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadian families with children are on waiting lists for early learning and child care. Yesterday the Speech from the Throne made only vague promises of working with the provinces and territories. This is simply not good enough for those families.

Will the minister commit to honouring the early learning and child care agreements that are already in place, or will she acknowledge that she really has nothing to offer these families?

Child Care
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, our program does have two parts. The first part is to provide $1,200 in cash directly to the parents of preschool age children. The second part is to create incentives to create 125,000 new child care spaces across the country.

Child Care
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the waiting list for affordable places in daycare is growing daily, why is the minister stubbornly refusing to consider real solutions, especially in the case of the 165 places that will disappear in his riding?