House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Canadian Coast Guard
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, first, let me remind the House that when we took over government, the Coast Guard infrastructure was rusting out. Boats that they had were tied up to the wharves with no money for fuel to do surveillance.

The Coast Guard College did not even have an entry class because it did not think that it would exist because of attrition. I inherited a major mess and I inherited it from that member.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the government is following through on the residential schools settlement agreement. We are compensating former students and in just two weeks, the truth and reconciliation commission will be established. However, we still have no date for an apology from the government, the one to which it committed in the throne speech.

I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs to tell the House when that apology will happen?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to move toward our commitment to implement the residential schools agreement. Today, I am pleased to inform the House and, most important, former students that the Prime Minister of Canada will issue a statement of apology on June 11, 2008 in the House of Commons.

This will be a new chapter for Canada that all Canadians can feel proud of. Thousands of former students, including National Chief Phil Fontaine, who also is a former student himself, have been calling for a formal apology for a number of years. Our government shares this view that the apology is a crucial step in the journey toward healing and reconciliation.

Canada Post Corporation
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has finally announced a review of Canada Post's mandate. In the minister's words, the review will “make sure this public institution has the right tools and means to fulfill its mandate in the future”, but at the same time, the minister is continuing to ram through Bill C-14, legislation that will take those very tools and means away.

Can the minister explain why he is undermining not only Canada Post but his own review?

Canada Post Corporation
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-14 was introduced to facilitate the growth of the outbound international mail market in Canada. The government is confident that Canada Post will be able to compete in this area and still meet its universal service obligations. Bill C-14 is still before the House. The legislative process will follow its course during the Canada Post Corporation strategic review.

Canada Post Corporation
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is Bill C-14 is going to result in either higher postage rates or decreased rural mail delivery and neither is acceptable to Canadians.

The minister is also slashing rural mail services as we stand here today without even consulting communities or CUPW. In the words of Ottawa Citizen columnist Randall Denley, “The stupidity of the program is exceeded only by the cost”. That is because the Conservatives are spending $.5 billion to reduce services.

Will the minister immediately impose a moratorium on cancelling rural mail delivery until the workers delivering the mail and the citizens that receive it are properly consulted?

Canada Post Corporation
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, firmly and with determination, the House agreed to maintain and restore rural mail delivery and that is exactly what the government is going to undertake in the coming weeks and months.

Canadian Coast Guard
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians deserve to hear the truth from the fisheries minister. Instead of falsely accusing the past government, he should take responsibility for his own actions.

Why is he moving Coast Guard ship after Coast Guard ship out of our province and why is he downgrading the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney? Will he at least listen to the Conservative premier of Nova Scotia, reverse this partisan and political decision, and send the Cap Percé back to Sydney where it belongs?

Canadian Coast Guard
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's concern, but let me say to him he has absolutely no reason to worry. He can check that out, not with politicians but with the people directly involved, the people who work in the Coast Guard. There was no political involvement here whatsoever.

The Canadian Coast Guard College has over 30 boats that it uses, two similar to the ones that have left and almost the same size. This boat was a spare that was used to do some training. We have many boats. The training is not affected by any stretch of the imagination. That boat is going where it is badly needed, where it can save lives, with no affect at all on the--

Canadian Coast Guard
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

May 15th, 2008 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, much to everyone's surprise, a few days ago the Bloc reversed its position and stated that it will now be voting against Bill C-33, which would impose biofuel content targets of five per cent for gasoline and two per cent for diesel. The Conservative government's strategy, with Bill C-33, is beneficial for the environment, for farmers and for the regions.

I would like the Secretary of State (Agriculture) to explain the government's biofuel strategy. Does he not feel that the Bloc is once again abandoning the farmers and regions of Quebec?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Secretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. We have a balanced approach where everyone wins—the environment, farmers and the regions of Quebec.

With Bill C-33 we will impose biofuel targets of five per cent for gasoline and two per cent for diesel. This is a positive measure that is equal to taking one million cars off the road. When we reach our goal, 95% of Canada's current arable land will continue to be used for food production.

The Bloc has done an about-face and is abandoning the environment, farmers and the regions. Once again, we see that the members from the regions in this party are afraid to stand up.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in dealing with House business, I would like to raise three things with the government House leader.

First, the House would be interested to know the schedule that he intends to follow for the rest of today and tomorrow and also for the first week that the House returns after the May break.

Second, in the course of that time span, the government House leader will need to dedicate two evenings to meetings of the committee of the whole so that we can consider the estimates of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Finance. I wonder if the government House leader could tell us which of those evenings he intends to designate.

Finally, I would note that during question period both the Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs read in detail specific numbers from specific documents which purported to be the government's new defence policy.

That being the case, both the Prime Minister and the parliamentary secretary are obliged to table the documents from which they were quoting.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3 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, in keeping with our theme for this week, which is strengthening democracy and human rights, today we will continue to debate Bill C-47, which is a bill to provide basic rights to on reserve individuals to protect them and their children in the event of a relationship breakdown, which are rights that Canadians off reserve enjoy every day.

We will debate our bill to give effect to the Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement, Bill C-34, and Bill C-21, which would extend the protection of the Canadian Human Rights Act to aboriginals living on reserve.

We will also debate Bill C-29, which is our bill to close the loophole that was used most recently by Liberal leadership candidates to bypass the personal contribution limit provisions of the election financing laws with large personal loans from wealthy, powerful individuals, and Bill C-19, which is our bill to limit the terms of senators to eight years from the current maximum of 45.

Next week will be honouring our monarch week. Members of Parliament will return to their ridings to join constituents in celebrating Queen Victoria, our sovereign with whom Sir John A. Macdonald worked in establishing Confederation, and honouring our contemporary head of state, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The week the House returns will be sound economic management without a carbon tax week. The highlight of the week will be the return of the budget bill to this House on May 28.

This bill proposes a balanced budget, controlled spending, investments in priority areas and lower taxes, all without forcing Canadian families to pay a tax on carbon, gas and heating. Furthermore, the budget implementation bill proposes much needed changes to the immigration system. These measures will help us ensure the competitiveness of our economy. I would like to assure this House that we are determined to see this bill pass before the House rises for the summer.

We will start the week by debating, at third reading, Bill C-33, our biofuels bill to require that by 2010 5% of gasoline and by 2012 2% of diesel and home heating oil will be comprised of renewable fuels, with our hope that there will be no carbon tax on them.

We will debate Bill C-55, our bill to implement the free trade agreement with the states of the European Free Trade Association.

This free trade agreement, the first in six years, reflects our desire to find new markets for Canadian products and services.

We will also debate Bill C-5 dealing with nuclear liability issues for our energy sector; Bill C-7 to modernize our aeronautics sector; Bill C-43 to modernize our customs rules; Bill C-39 to modernize the Canada Grain Act for farmers; Bill C-46 to give farmers more choice in marketing grain; Bill C-14, which allows enterprises choice for communicating with their customers through the mail; and Bill C-32 to modernize our fisheries sector.

The opposition House leader raises the question of two evenings being set aside for committee of the whole. He is quite right. Those two evenings will have to be set aside sometime between now and May 31.

With regard to the notes that were quoted from by the Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, they were their notes and referred of course to announcements that clearly have been made about the need and the imperative of restoring our military's equipment and needs in the way in which the Canadian government is doing so.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

There are a couple of points of order and questions of privilege. I am going to start with the hon. member for Trinity--Spadina, who gave notice of a question of privilege. I will hear from her now.