House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-22.

Topics

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have that member making false accusations on unfounded speculation. When I appeared before council, I explained that we indicated an intent for a festival program in the budget. I was very proud to share elements of our budget with my local council.

I also explained that we were doing a consultation for many types of festivals, such as midnight madness, and looking for criteria so we could meet the needs of the communities, not only in my riding but across the country.

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, is she consulting with The Brick, Leon's and Zellers as well? Her problem is that she cannot keep her storyline straight.

Last October, for example, she relied on a senior broadcast executive to raise political funds on the eve of a major broadcast review. In that scandal she had to cancel the fundraiser and the Treasury Board president committed that every cheque would be sent back. Now we find out that a whole series of cheques from last October were cashed, and the list reads like a who's who of the broadcast industry.

It is the Pinocchio principle. The more she talks, the worse it gets. Why will she not just come clean with the House and say why she did—

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. government House leader.

Canadian Heritage
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, the member—

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. I know that everyone likes to hear the government House leader, but we now have to be able to hear the answer. We will have a little order so members can hear the answer from the government House leader, who has the floor.

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay has strong views on this. He said:

—even as an opposition critic, a Member of Parliament must keep a distance from stakeholders who could lobby in the prospect that the opposition critic becomes a Cabinet minister.

However, I took a few minutes to look some stuff up. Guess what? The member for Timmins—James Bay took a contribution from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. I cannot believe it.

That double standard does not stop there. There were other donations. The NDP House leader got one and even the NDP leader. There could be more, but I did not have enough time.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

May 3rd, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government falsely claimed it would expand Canada's role in international affairs, but, once again, that is all talk and little action, another broken promise.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has now announced the closure of 23 consulates around the world. How can Canada be expected to take a leadership role on the world stage when the minority Conservative government is busy putting up “closed for business” signs all around the globe?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

As is sadly so often the case, Mr. Speaker, that member's statement is completely false. There is not a scintilla of truth to what she has just said.

Let me give a fact about closures of embassies and missions abroad. Under the previous government there were closures of over 40 embassies.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when we came to office, we had a $42 billion debt to deal with because of the Conservatives.

Our consulates are the front line of Canada's international presence in the world. For those seeking to invest in Canada, consulates are key. For those seeking to travel to Canada, consulates are key. For those looking to immigrate to Canada, consulates are key. When it comes to Canadians who are travelling abroad, consulates are key.

Why is the government pulling Canada off the world stage?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, unlike the member opposite and her previous government, we have been extremely proactive in asserting Canada's case on the world stage. In fact, it was the steady hand at the tiller of the Minister of Finance that enabled the government to run these huge surpluses.

What I can tell members is I am extremely proud of the Department of Foreign Affairs, of the work that is done by our consular officials, our missions abroad. We have extremely dedicated, hard-working public servants at all of our embassies and consulates around the world.

Passports
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has allowed a surge in passport applications. He had one full year to prepare. It has become yet another fiasco. There are lineups at 4 a.m. and people are waiting all day. None of the new employees promised by the minister are actually on the job. Thousands of phone calls a week are being dropped.

How bad does the situation have to get before our passport offices have the resources to do the job?

Passports
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member has been. Clearly, there is a surge in passports because of the western hemisphere travel initiative. We are working with officials in Canada to deal with this surge. In fact, we have hired 500 new officials who are coming on stream.

The member opposite would be the first, I would suggest, to agree with me that we do not want to cut any corners. We do not want to take any shortcuts when it comes to ensuring the integrity of the passports. That is what is happening. These individuals are being trained. They will be on stream. We are getting the situation in hand.

Passports
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the facts are plan and simple. The government had one full year to prepare for this surge in applications. It knew it was coming, but it chose to sit on its hands and let down thousands of Canadians across the country.

When will the government act on this national embarrassment and give Canadians the services they deserve?

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, in addition to the 500 new employees at Passport Canada, we have taken significant steps to deal with this surge.

I fully sympathize with the frustration felt by Canadians. We have a situation where we are getting as many as 18,000 applications a day. We have taken steps, including nighttime shifts, overtime, hiring new employees and having national blitzes on the weekends.

The officials at Passport Canada are working extremely hard to deal with this. We are taking more passports in at Service Canada locations around the country. We are continuing to work extremely hard to find new, efficient ways to deal with the situation at Passport Canada.