House of Commons Hansard #154 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was icsid.

Topics

Ministerial Expenses
Oral Questions

May 15th, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we hardly expect the Minister of Labour to do his job on a bicycle, but we do expect him to disclose how much he is spending on travel, where he has been travelling to, and who has been going with him on his trips.

I should not have to file an access to information request to learn that one of the minister's charter flights, where the expense was listed as zero, actually cost $41,822.

Why did the minister hide this figure? What is he ashamed of and just what was he doing on this $41,822 flight?

Ministerial Expenses
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, again, members of the opposition are having difficulty assessing the facts here.

The facts are that all the travel expenditures of the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency have been disclosed. All those flights have been disclosed on either his proactive disclosure or on a departmental website. That is done in accordance with all the rules in place

However, the significant thing is what he spent compared with his Liberal predecessors. That amount is a lot less than what his Liberal predecessors spent doing their jobs because we get good value for our money when we have Conservatives in government.

Ministerial Expenses
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians should not have to go on a scavenger hunt to find out what their ministers are spending. Canadians are fed up with this lack of transparency.

For the Conservatives to use the Liberals as the yardstick by which they measure accountability, it would be comical if it were not so sad. It is like choosing between wanton excess and wretched excess.

Will the minister stop hiding behind these lame excuses, stop hiding behind his House leader, and tell us why he does not disclose all of his expenses, so we do not have to use a magnifying glass to figure it out?

Ministerial Expenses
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I hate to talk about wanton excess, but when I think of wanton excess, I think about the NDP leader who claims to love the environment and claims to go everywhere by bicycle. However, when he was on council, in one year alone, he managed 194 gas guzzling limo rides.

I know he said it was because he had to go to the airport a lot, and he had to do this stuff all across the country, but 194 gas guzzling rides in a limo for a guy who loves the environment, I do not know. It sounds to me like wanton excess.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Assembly of First Nations has serious concerns with the limited scope of Bill C-44.

The Ontario chiefs feel the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is like throwing a grenade into collective rights. The Canadian Bar Association said the repeal has the potential to undermine the protection of collective rights.

We have to get it right. Why does the minister feel he knows best when it comes to aboriginal peoples, when they themselves do not agree with the government's position?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals will have to make their decision. They will have to decide if they will go back to their tennis clubs and golf clubs for the summer or if they will get Bill C-44 back to the House, so that first nations citizens will no longer be second class citizens in Canada without the protection of a human rights code.

For 13 years the Liberals did nothing about this. It has been 30 years in this country, which is long enough. That is enough consultation. The government intends to act with or without them.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, who is the golf player?

Aboriginal people and women feel used by the minister. Over and over again we have heard about the lack of consultation on Bill C-44, but the government has yet to apologize to the victims of residential schools.

It is a double standard. The government is willing to consult and wait five years to apologize, yet it will enact new legislation without a shred of consultation.

That father knows best approach simply does not work. Why did the government not consult with first nations before enacting this legislation?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, any time the hon. member stands to debate aboriginal policy, she is not alone.

She always has the Liberal Party's shameful record beside her, whether it is on housing, whether it is on water, whether it is on section 67 of the Human Rights Act, whether it is on poverty, or whether it is on any of the issues that deal with aboriginal communities.

On specific claims under the Liberal government, claims in this country backlogged from 253 to 800 claims. It is a shameful record.

Passport Canada
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, access to passport services, particularly in the regions, has been a problem for a long time.

It has been a very serious problem since January. Now, there is talk of new legislation. It is too little, too late. Passing new legislation takes time and does not guarantee services.

Can the minister tell us why he waited so long before deciding to do something? What will he do to immediately solve this problem? When will we see the text of this legislation?

Passport Canada
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, imagine the audacity of a Liberal standing up and talking about delays after the 13 years the Liberals sat in office on so many issues.

We have hired 500 new employees at Passport Canada. We have cut the times because of a 40% increase to deal with the 20,000 applications that we are receiving a day.

Yes, we will introduce a passport act in the future because for 35 years passports have been administered under an order of the House as opposed to specific legislation.

Passport Canada
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, this new government has known for at least 15 months that it would have a lot of problems at Passport Canada, but that is no excuse. Passport Canada has given me every excuse in the book for not opening more passport offices in the regions of Canada.

Now a new law is being proposed, or at least it was last night when the minister ran up the stairs. I hope this is not just another excuse for not opening new offices. We could work on the new law while Passport Canada opens new offices.

When will the Minister of Foreign Affairs announce the opening of new passport offices?

Passport Canada
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, it is not an excuse. I ran up the stairs because my office is upstairs.

I have already outlined what we have done. We have hired 500 new employees at Passport Canada. We have been able to cut into the backlog of 20,000 applications a day by now producing 40% more. As far as the hard work and dedication of Passport Canada officials, the member opposite should be applauding them. We are dealing with this issue.

This issue came about as a result of a western hemisphere travel initiative which, I point out the obvious, began under the previous government. We are dealing with issues, getting things done. That is our trademark. The previous government's record is appalling.

Arts and Culture
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the assistance program for exhibits and festivals is floundering, and the Canadian Festivals Coalition has informed the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage that at the rate things are going, the department will not have a program to implement until fall.

In the interest of transparency and to avoid another sponsorship scandal, can the minister tell us why she did not consider the eligibility criteria proposed by the coalition, which would have sped up the process and secured financial assistance for the agencies this summer?

Arts and Culture
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated before, the intention for this program was in the budget. We are now at the initial stages of building the criteria and establishing the real needs in the communities. As the process proceed, we will make the guidelines and framework for the program public.

Arts and Culture
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, what apathy.

The minister must move quickly because summer is just around the corner. Could she at least tell us when she will table her schedule? We are running out of time.