House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was infrastructure.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is not the only member of that corrupt government who is abusing the tendering process.

Today we learn from Treasury Board documents that 15% of Conservative contracts came in at just under $25,000. The Prime Minister's own department, the PCO, is guilty of this abuse.

The Conservative government's claim of transparency is a farce. Why is the government so determined to avoid the tendering process?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, the contracts mentioned are routine contracts administered by departmental officials with no input or direction from the minister or political staff. All of the TBS contracting is done within Treasury Board guidelines. There was no deliberate attempt to mislead or to abuse the rules in any way, which I cannot say that the Liberal Party can claim.

The Liberal Party, as we know, recently said that the sky was the limit when it sought illegal contributions from corporations, fully knowing that it was--

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Markham—Unionville.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance said that the Conservatives create surpluses while the Liberals run deficits, which indicates that the minister should spend more time studying the history of the Canadian economy and less time regurgitating the arguments of the Prime Minister's Office.

Before the current government, when was the last time we saw a federal Conservative balanced budget?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative budget of course is balanced and it is one of the economic fundamentals that is so strong.

In addition, after two years of this government, we have the lowest unemployment in 33 years in Canada. After two years of this government, we have $37 billion paid down in debt for Canadians. We have paid down more than $1,500 for every man, woman and child in Canada and that is translated into income tax reductions for all Canadians every time we pay down the public debt.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the last time Conservatives ran a surplus, it was not under Mulroney, Clark or Diefenbaker, or even Bennett or Meighen. It was under Sir Robert Borden, way back in 1912. That is 93 long years of uninterrupted Tory deficits and mismanagement.

Given the minister's sad fiscal history in Ontario, and the fact that he has already drained the federal treasury in good times, will the Conservatives soon return to their 93 year tradition of never ending, ugly, Tory deficits?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite seems to be forgetting recent events. Actually, the most recent Conservative balanced budget was in 2007, and one need only go back to 2006 for the Conservative balanced budget before that one.

I know his question about the next budget is premature speculation, but he can anticipate that it will be a balanced Conservative budget as well.

Manufacturing and Forestry Industries
Oral Questions

February 14th, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities passed a Bloc Québécois motion calling on the government to improve its assistance plan for the manufacturing and forestry sectors. With a surplus of $10.6 billion for this year alone, the government has the means to invest $1.5 billion to help the workers affected by the crisis, as proposed by the Bloc Québécois.

Considering the urgent need to help workers in these sectors, will the Prime Minister finally agree to improve his assistance plan?

Manufacturing and Forestry Industries
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, of course when people are laid off it is always a tragedy for those families and those communities. That is why this government has stepped up to provide support. Not only do they get support in the form of employment insurance, $4.4 billion in Quebec last year, more than any other province, on top of that there is the community development trust. Of course now there is $3 billion in new investments and labour market training. This government has stepped up.

I remind the member that the Bloc voted against most of the measures that we brought in to help people.

Manufacturing and Forestry Industries
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, regarding the assistance programs for older workers, the Conservatives' rhetoric is the same as that of the Liberals. We see nothing but broken promises, nothing to support unemployed workers. Everyone in Quebec is asking for help. Factories are closing, factories like Pétromont and again yesterday, Shermag. Workers aged 55 and older who have little education cannot find another job.

Will the government finally implement a real income support program for older workers, also known as POWA?

Manufacturing and Forestry Industries
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we will not solve the problems of 2008 with programs from the 1980s. The fact is that last year older workers were more successful in finding jobs than any other workers. I absolutely reject what the member is saying.

We have great confidence in older workers, which is why are investing very heavily and ensuring that they have the skills to make the transition into other sectors and other jobs. They are doing that. The member should have more faith in the workers of Quebec.

Omar Khadr
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I asked the parliamentary secretary about repatriating Omar Khadr, a young Canadian being detained at Guantanamo Bay, he replied that the Government of Canada had received confirmation that Mr. Khadr was being treated well. But apparently, Mr. Khadr has been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment during his detention.

If he has indeed been treated so well, how can the Minister of Foreign Affairs explain the fact that while at Guantanamo, Omar Khadr became blind in one eye and partially blind in the other?

Omar Khadr
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey
Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, Omar Khadr has been in U.S. custody since 2002 when the Liberals were in power. He has been charged with killing an American medic and, of course, as we have explained many times, that is a very serious charge.

I can assure the hon. member that we have sought and obtained assurances from the United States that Mr. Khadr is being treated humanely.

Omar Khadr
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Secretary of State that the Conservatives have been in power since 2006.

Omar Khadr is the last citizen of a western nation still being detained at Guantanamo. Moreover, he is being detained with adults, not in a camp for minors, as provided for under international conventions.

Given that he was a child soldier and is a Canadian citizen, what is Canada waiting for to bring him home?

Omar Khadr
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey
Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, I again assure the hon. member that we have obtained assurances from the United States government that Mr. Khadr is being treated humanely. I will even refer to the critic for consular affairs, the member for Pickering—Scarborough East, when he said, in 2005, “The charges against Omar Khadr are very serious. Our take on this, of course, is to ensure that he is being treated humanely”.