House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was development.

Topics

(The House resumed at 9:30 a.m.)

Sitting Resumed
Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being 9:30 a.m., pursuant to a special order adopted the other day, we will now proceed with oral questions.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' record of waste and incompetence is even more shocking than their record deficit. They have bought fighter jets for $16 billion and spent money on glow sticks, a fake lake and stuffed ducks.

When the economy was slowing down this summer, why did the government continue its spending spree? Why did it betray Canadian families?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. This government has been focusing on the economy. It has been focusing on job creation. We have seen great success over the past 15 months. The Canadian economy has created some 430,000 net new jobs.

Canada's economic action plan has been a central part of that success. For the first time in my lifetime I see an unemployment rate substantially lower in Canada than in the United States, and that has happened because of good economic management by this government.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Governor of the Bank of Canada is warning Canadians to curb their enthusiasm for household debt. Families struggling to make ends meet have the same message for the reckless, borrow and spend Conservative government. The Conservatives are adding $100 billion, and counting, to the national debt.

Why can those characters not behave responsibly? Why have they squandered so much and achieved so little?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are running the most fiscally responsible government in the western world. All OECD countries look at the Canadian economy, look at the management of the economy by the government, with great admiration.

We have seen a tentative, fragile recovery beginning to take hold, but by no means are we out of the water.

We remain focused on job creation. We remain focused on the important priorities of Canadian families, and that is ensuring that they have jobs so they can provide for themselves. The dignity of a job is very important. We remain focused on the economy.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government obviously has been watching too many science fiction fantasies.

First the books must be balanced, and then taxes can be cut. A first-year economics student knows that borrowing to cut corporate taxes is boneheaded.

Why does the biggest borrowing, biggest spending government in Canadian history continue to make such lousy decisions? Why should struggling Canadian families pay for its incompetence?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite wants to take any lessons on the economy, he should take them from his leader.

Just the other day his leader called the Bloc Québécois' proposal to institute a 45-day work year and the accompanying 35% payroll tax increase fiscally irresponsible. One would think his caucus would follow its leader. However, later that day, the Liberals all trotted in here and voted for that Bloc Québécois proposal and the accompanying 35% payroll tax increase.

When the Liberal leader calls a bill fiscally irresponsible, his MPs should vote against it.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

October 1st, 2010 / 9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, after denying allegations for months, late last night an assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources stepped down after he was caught meddling in access to information requests.

That is potentially criminal behaviour.

What is more, this practice was widespread in the minister's office. Documents show that a number of the minister's senior employees participated in this systematic, misleading and illegal withholding of information.

The minister cannot claim he knew nothing about this. Will he take responsibility and admit that he broke the law?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Togneri did indeed tender his resignation yesterday and I accepted it. I immediately asked my colleague, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, to refer this matter to the Information Commissioner.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot have it both ways.

Just a month ago, that government leader proclaimed:

The fundamental constitutional principle of responsible government...provides that ministers are the ones accountable to Parliament, not members of their staff

So when his staff broke the law by meddling in information requests, the minister is accountable.

Instead of throwing his assistants under the bus, will he stand up and take responsibility?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Togneri tendered his resignation to me yesterday and I accepted it. As I said, I immediately asked the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to refer this matter to the Information Commissioner, which the minister confirmed to me this morning has been done.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, to prevent Mr. Togneri from testifying before the committee about one particular violation of the Access to Information Act, the Minister of Natural Resources, then the Minister of Public Works, invoked ministerial responsibility, which he said is “that the Ministers are accountable not only for their own actions as department heads, but also for the actions of their subordinates.”

Could the minister tell us if this ministerial responsibility only applies when used to prevent accountability?

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Togneri offered his resignation yesterday, and I accepted. As for accountability, I have asked the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to take this file and send it to the Information Commissioner. She confirmed this morning that this had been done.

Ministerial Responsibility
Oral Questions

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Minister of Natural Resources, he is responsible for the actions of his subordinates. He hired Mr. Togneri as a political advisor. The very same Mr. Togneri accepted responsibility for serious mistakes that violated the Access to Information Act.

Will the minister abide by his own definition of ministerial responsibility and resign?