House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

International Aid
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to say that our government was one of the first to respond to the urgent need of the affected population. Today I am announcing that in addition to the $2 million we have already given, our government will give another $4 million in humanitarian aid and to help rebuild and redevelop the country affected by this disaster.

Health
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government in Nova Scotia seems more committed to building and renovating liquor stores than providing desperately needed nursing home beds.

Nova Scotia Conservatives have cut long term care beds, but had no problem finding money to build and renovate 23 liquor stores. There are too few long term beds. Many seniors are stuck in acute care beds. This makes health care waiting lists longer.

Will the federal Conservative government commit today to long term funding for long term care, so that seniors can have access to the quality care they need and deserve?

Health
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House that in budget 2006 we have been very supportive of the 10 year deal on health care, which includes transfer funding at an unprecedented level for the provinces and territories to meet the health care needs of their patients and constituents.

That includes long term care and home care. If the hon. member feels that strongly about it, perhaps she should run in the provincial election in Nova Scotia.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is not 10 years from now that they need the beds. It is now.

To compound our seniors' health problems, the federal government has now backed away from its commitment to reduce pollution. Thanks to the Prime Minister, the Nova Scotia premier now says that he will not meet his commitments to reduce pollution. That is the Conservative legacy. No help for our seniors for long term care and no clean air for them or their grandchildren to breathe.

Will the Prime Minister finally introduce a detailed plan to clean our air and water so that Nova Scotians, indeed all Canadians, can breathe a little easier?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the House will recognize that these questions from the hon. member for Halifax are little more than her attempt to engage in the provincial election campaign in Nova Scotia. The NDP may need that kind of help, but I am sure the Conservative Party of Nova Scotia is able to stand on its own feet.

Marriage
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that he intends to introduce a motion to revisit the same sex marriage law even though nine jurisdictions and the Supreme Court of Canada have unanimously affirmed its validity, and even though the House has adopted legislation protecting both equality rights and religious freedom.

Since the only way that the law can be changed is to invoke the notwithstanding clause, and since the Prime Minister said he will not invoke the notwithstanding clause, my question is this. Why introduce such a divisive, unconstitutional non-starter while we have so many compelling concerns on the parliamentary and public agenda?

Marriage
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister indicated during the election campaign that there would be a free vote with respect to this matter. There will in fact be a free vote on this matter. The Prime Minister is a man of his word.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, the member for Kings—Hants and Liberal leadership candidate has said, “I believe we need to replace failed regional economic development programs”. Almost 20 years ago a Conservative government created ACOA as a means to increase economic development and employment opportunities in Atlantic Canada.

Can the minister refute the statement that ACOA has been a failed economic development program in Atlantic Canada and tell us how it is meeting its mandate of increasing opportunities and employment for Atlantic Canadians?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his hard work and his question on this issue. I do not think it would surprise anyone that I disagree with the member for Kings--Hants.

ACOA's results speak for themselves: $300 million in world class R and D carried out by Atlantic Canadian companies; exports now creating one out of every three jobs in the region; women in Atlantic Canada have started businesses at three times the rate of men; and the region's unemployment rate continues to fall to the lowest level since 1976.

That is why our Prime Minister recently announced a $10 million agreement with the Atlantic provinces to help our small and medium sized businesses. ACOA delivers results. It is here to stay. It is here to pay.

The government will continue to work with all Canadians and with young people to ensure that Atlantic Canadians can stay home.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

June 6th, 2006 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Right Hon. John Prescott, MP, Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State of the United Kingdom.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Mount Royal is rising on a point of order.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Yorkton—Melville reported to the House on June 1:

We have heard from the Auditor General and senior bureaucrats that the Liberals deliberately hid millions of dollars from Parliament.

The transcript of testimony by the Auditor General and senior officials before the public safety committee contains no such allegation. On the contrary, the witnesses specifically repudiate that allegation.

The hon. member's statement, as it stands, misrepresents the testimony of witnesses and misleads the House. I have discussed the matter with the hon. member and would invite him to clarify for the record this matter before the House.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am quite surprised that the Liberals would draw attention to probably one of the biggest fiascos that has ever been perpetrated on Parliament and the Canadian people. This is what the Auditor General said:

--significant costs incurred by the Canada Firearms Centre in 2003-04 were not reported properly to Parliament--

She also said:

--it also decided not to seek additional funding through Supplementary Estimates in 2003-04.

In light of what the Auditor General said, I am not misleading Parliament. Let me give the House a couple of other quotations from the Auditor General's comments:

What's really inexcusable is that Parliament was in the dark.

She said:

This information was not systematically provided to Parliament.

Again, she went on to say:

--it also decided not to seek additional funding through Supplementary Estimates in 2003-04.

That was a decision by the Liberal government to do that, to not inform Parliament. I will ask the people of Canada to decide whether that is deliberate or not, when we make a conscious decision. She went on to say:

The ability of the House of Commons to cap government spending is fundamental to Parliament's control of the public purse. This means that departments and agencies need to give Parliament good estimates of their spending plans and report their actual spending properly.

She also went on to say:

Senior accounting officials of the Treasury Board Secretariat have told us that a department and its minister are responsible for the accuracy of their financial reporting.

Her entire report goes on to document the problem. I would like to refer the Speaker to a ruling from May 31, 1982 on page 17912 of the Debates. It stated:

Expressions which are unparliamentary when applied to individuals are not always so considered when applied to a whole party.

Another ruling from May 1, 1980 at page 606 of the Debates said a similar thing, but in that case the words were directed at the government instead of an individual member.

I would like to point out that the Auditor General basically said the same things. Her report has been tabled and is before the House and I quoted from it. How can that be unparliamentary?

Further, I would like the Speaker to be aware that the member will be proposing a motion to replace me as chairman of the Standing Committee on Public Safety because of something I said in the House. That is intimidation and a breach of my privileges. Marleau and Montpetit states:

By far, the most important right accorded to Members of the House is the exercise of freedom of speech in parliamentary proceedings. It has been described as: “…a fundamental right without which they would be hampered in the performance of their duties. It permits them to speak in the House without inhibition, to refer to any matter or express any opinion as they see fit, to say what they feel needs to be said in the furtherance of the national interest and the aspirations of their constituents”.

On page 84 of Marleau and Montpetit it states:

Speakers have consistently upheld the right of the House to the services of its Members free from intimidation--

The precedent cited on that same page is from Speaker Lamoureux who went further and suggested that members should be protected from threats or attempts at intimidation.

I believe the Liberal Party is now resorting to intimidation against members for what they say on the floor of the House. That affects our privileges and I think it is quite clear I did not mislead Parliament.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the only issue with respect to my point of order was whether the hon. misrepresented the testimony of the Auditor General. The one word he used, which I stated deliberately misrepresented the testimony of the Auditor General, as can be seen from a reading of the transcript, was when the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville characterized the Auditor General as saying that the Liberals deliberately hid millions of dollars from Parliament.

I put that question personally to the Auditor General. I asked her if she made that statement or if she would make the statement “the Liberals deliberately hid”. Her answer was categorically “no”.

That is what I am asking the hon. member to withdraw. He is misrepresenting the testimony of the Auditor General before the House. I have invited him to withdraw that statement.