House of Commons Hansard #88 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservative.

Topics

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when people ask the Prime Minister about harmonizing the GST, he says that he is negotiating in good faith. But that is not true. We know that negotiations between Quebec and Ottawa have reached a stalemate because Ottawa is refusing to compensate Quebec unless it agrees to give the federal government the right to collect the GST and the QST.

Quebec signed an agreement to harmonize the GST in 1992. Does the Prime Minister realize that by adding new conditions to the agreement, he is basically reneging on what the Conservative government signed at the time?

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this government respects the agreement that was signed a long time ago with a previous government. We pay Quebec every year to administer the federal GST. Now Quebec is asking for a completely different agreement, an agreement, I presume, like that with other provinces, and we are negotiating the terms of such an agreement in good faith.

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, what Quebec wants is to be compensated like the Maritimes were to the tune of $1 billion, like Ontario is being compensated to the tune of $4.3 billion, and like British Columbia will be to the tune of $1.6 billion. That is what Quebec wants.

Why is he reneging on the 1992 agreement? Everyone considered that agreement to be a kind of standard. How can he talk about open federalism? How can he say that he respects the Quebec nation when he is prepared to tear up an agreement that everyone looked to as a standard?

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, some provinces have signed contracts with the Government of Canada to harmonize the GST. All of these contracts, except for Quebec's, are the same. The terms of Quebec's contract are completely different. We are working toward a contract that is the same as those with other provinces, and I hope that we will achieve that in our negotiations with the Government of Quebec.

Intergovernmental Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, harmonization of the GST is just another issue on which Quebec is being unfairly penalized by the Conservative government. Let us not forget about the loss of $1 billion in revenue from equalization payments and the loss of $800 million for post-secondary education. Quebec has been deprived of a total of over $8 billion because of the Conservatives’ neglect.

What is the government waiting for, to settle these disputes and finally give Quebec its due?

Intergovernmental Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would remind this House that the fiscal imbalance arose under a Liberal government, when the Bloc’s parent company, the PQ, was in power in Quebec.

Since we came to power, we have resolved the fiscal imbalance and transfers to Quebec have increased substantially.

If the Bloc still wants to minimize that to cause trouble, it can go ahead, but one thing is certain: we will be building a better federation for Quebeckers.

Intergovernmental Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is another example: Ontario is receiving billions of dollars from the federal government for its auto industry while our forestry industry, which is in crisis, is getting crumbs. Ontario is being compensated for harmonizing its sales tax with the GST, but not Quebec.

Does this inequitable treatment of Quebec not explain why Quebeckers have no confidence in this government?

Intergovernmental Relations
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would again point out that the government of Quebec itself said that the tax was not fully harmonized and that there were still adjustments to be made. So the other side of the House should stop engaging in disinformation.

As well, the Premier of Quebec himself said again this morning that transfers to Quebec had risen by 60%. Can anything be more tangible, more concrete, than that? Those are numbers, not just smoke.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons voted last year to have all troops out of Kandahar by 2011, but now we hear hints from the Minister of National Defence that the troops may stay in Afghanistan longer.

It is now the established practice in the House that there be a vote in the House of Commons on the deployment of Canadian troops. Does the Prime Minister believe that he can keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2011 without a vote in the House authorizing such a deployment?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

October 1st, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear that it was this government that brought in the practice that military deployments have to be approved by the House of Commons.

The position of the government is clear. The military mission in Afghanistan will end in 2011. I have said it here and I have said it across the country. In fact, I think I said it recently in the White House.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of National Defence told the House that the government is cooperating with the investigations of the Military Police Complaints Commission, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The government has not provided one single document or allowed one single witness to speak since January of last year. A diplomat, Richard Colvin, wants to testify before the commission about torture in Afghan prisons, but the Conservatives are barring him.

Why will the Prime Minister not allow Mr. Colvin to testify? Does he have something to hide here?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as is so often the case, the leader of the New Democratic Party has his facts completely wrong.

The Government of Canada has been cooperating with the Military Police Complaints Commission. We have provided dozens of witnesses who have testified already. We will continue to cooperate. We have provided thousands of documents that have also been entered into testimony.

With respect to Mr. Colvin, he was on a witness list that was compiled before the Federal Court had ruled in favour of the federal government, limiting this complaint commission to the mandate that is set out in the National Defence Act. Those are the facts and he should read the facts.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in other words, they do not want to hear from Mr. Colvin. That seems pretty clear.

If the government really wants to help the Military Police Complaints Commission, it has to allow it to operate independently. By preventing people like Richard Colvin from testifying, the government is doing the opposite. We are talking about torture! Since January, they have refused to provide documents. Since January, they have refused to allow people to testify.

Mr. Colvin is an exceptional witness. Why is the government trying to muzzle him?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I will say again that the member is wrong. The government and the members of the Canadian Force in particular cooperate fully with the commission.

It is clear that we are complying with the mandate of the commission itself. It is also clear that this is set out in federal legislation. It is set out in the National Defence Act. It is set out by the Federal Court. This is not politically motivated. There is no political interference. This is done by an arm's-length commission.

I know that the hon. member has never been part of a government. He may not understand that, but this is an arm's-length process and we are respecting that process.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday I was in Trois-Rivières. I met with forestry workers who have lost their jobs or fear they may lose them in the near future. They are very angry that this government refuses to do anything to help their industry and to save their jobs.

Is it because the Conservatives gave $1 billion to our American competitors as part of the softwood lumber sellout that they no longer have any money to support the Canadian industry?