House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this subject is too serious and this mission is too important to leave any lingering doubts about its objectives. The Minister of National Defence himself used the word “retribution” to define the objectives of this mission. Canadians do not need any further confusion. They need clarity with respect to this mission.

My question, therefore, is for the Prime Minister. Can he clearly tell us himself if the mission in Afghanistan is a mission for retribution, yes or no?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first, I did not use that word, at least as translated. As I said before, a famous statesman here in the House said, “a proof is the proof, is the proof”, and I am going to give the proof.

The Taliban government was in charge of Afghanistan. It sponsored the al-Qaeda terrorist who launched an attack from Afghanistan, attacked the Twin Towers and killed nearly 3,000 people, among whom were 24 Canadians.

A number of countries, among those Canada, returned to Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban government and replaced it with a democratic government. And that is the proof.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the “minister of vengeance”.

Yesterday, the CBC made public a document obtained through access to information. The document reveals the Canadian Forces' communications strategy for the next five years with regard to the mission in Afghanistan.

The document is dated May 2006. If I am counting correctly, five years takes us to 2011.

Why was there a five-year plan, when the mission is scheduled to end in 2009?

Did the government commit to a longer mission without telling Canadians? When will our soldiers really be coming back home?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is referring to the CF campaign plan, which is based on the Afghan compact and government direction. The government, and the member will find if he actually reads the campaign plan, recognizes that we are committed to the end of February 2009.

I would like to congratulate the member opposite for his recent appointment as critic. I hope he spends many years fulfilling that task.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, he has to come clean with Canadians on the true nature and length of Canada's commitment in Afghanistan.

We have also obtained a briefing book prepared for the minister that suggests Canadian troops will remain in Afghanistan until 2011.

Could the former military lobbyist truthfully tell the families of Canadian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan when Canadian troops will be coming home, or is it another case of “we can't handle the truth”?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first, there was no briefing book for me. This is a military plan, internal for the military. It has directions that we are committed until the end of February 2009, and that is our commitment.

The Environment
Oral Questions

January 29th, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, Natural Resources Canada recently released an internal audit showing serious faults in the operation of a 2003-2005 climate change program. The program was designed to cut greenhouse gases in the transport sector, including anti-idling in commercial truck engines and the promotion of alternative fuels, such as biodiesel.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources elaborate on the findings of this most important audit?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands
B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, yes, this was in fact a $32 million climate change program under the old Liberal government. Once again, it was a scattered approach to climate change, but even worse, a climate change program that did not work. It was fraught with administrative errors. There were numerous problems.

Immediately upon finding out, I instructed my deputy minister to immediately tighten up the financial procedures. The person in charge of this program was immediately relieved of those duties.

Our government is committed to bringing the greatest and the highest standards of accountability, unlike the old Liberal government.

Financial Institutions
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, every day in Canada working families are being gouged by the big banks. Average people everywhere are being forced to pay for access to their own money through outrageous ATM fees.

Considering how hard it is for Canadians to make a living and scrape together what they need to make ends meet and considering the banks' record breaking profits, will the Minister of Finance support NDP changes to the Bank Act and pledge his support to ban ATM fees?

Financial Institutions
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue which the member raised previously in the House. At that time, I said that I would raise the issue with the banks, which I did. I look forward to further response from them.

The government does not regulate the day-to-day transactions of financial institutions with respect to fees and services, but we do believe in competition and choice for consumers. I would be pleased to report to the House and to the member further on the subject.

Financial Institutions
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is it, after 49 days since we raised this question in the House, the minister promised some action.

All the polite questions in the world will not make ATM fees disappear, and it certainly will not put any more money in the hands and pockets of ordinary Canadians. The CEOs of Canada's big banks make more money in a few hours than average working families make in a year.

Why will the minister not just simply legislate a ban on ATM fees?

Financial Institutions
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Quite Frankly, Mr. Speaker, it is not the role of the government to just simply legislate a ban on ATM fees.

I appreciate the question was asked in the House some time ago. The hon. member wrote me about this. I received the letter January 26, which is three days ago, or Friday.

However, we try to act quickly. I will get right on it again and get back to the member as soon as I can.

Passports
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Conservative incompetence has left thousands of Canadians unable to get a Canadian passport in a timely manner. Everyone knew about the American passport deadline, yet nothing was done to prepare.

Of course the Prime Minister does not care. Way back in March, he got his red passport in four days.

Why did the Minister of Foreign Affairs spend January travelling overseas without doing something, anything, to ensure Canadians got the travel documents they needed urgently?

Passports
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as it stands, over 20,000 applications are being received daily. As a result, to deal with this increase in applications, some time ago Passport Canada hired 200 new administrative and clerical staff in the year 2000. Another 300 are being hired and Passport Canada has recalled retired examiners and moved former passport examiners into other areas of the agency.

These people are working 24/7 to deal with the increase in applications. They are doing everything they can. The government is supporting them in that effort and will continue to do so.

Passports
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would say too little, too late. People lining up at 3:40 a.m. at the Edmonton passport office is simply not acceptable.

Joanne Scott was trying to take her family to Disneyland. “It is horrific,” she said of the government's efforts. She does not believe Canada's minority government when it says that everything is going great.

Why was the Conservative government so incompetent that nothing more was done to prepare for a passport crunch that everybody saw coming?