House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Government Priorities
Oral Questions

October 7th, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadian families are painfully familiar with the pressures of caring for sick or aging family members at home. Eighty per cent of home care services in Canada are provided by family members, three-quarters of whom are women, and two-thirds have household incomes under $45,000. Their home care work is unpaid, often at the expense of their day jobs. But it is a labour of love, with very little help.

Why does the current government put tax cuts for the most privileged corporations ahead of family care?

Government Priorities
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we put the well-being of Canadians first and foremost among our priorities. We pursued an aggressive agenda to create jobs and seek economic growth so that the government has the resources it needs to provide important services to Canadians.

One of the most important services to Canadian families when a relative becomes sick is a good health care system. That is why this government has made health care one of the biggest priorities for public spending. That is why we have honoured our transfer to the provinces and increased health care spending some 30% in just five short years.

Government Priorities
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, that increase was budgeted in 2004.

The total cost of tangible help for more than 600,000 family caregivers would be less than one-half of 1% of the current government's annual spending, to which Conservatives are now adding $16 billion for untendered stealth fighter aircraft. They provide no justification for this being the airplane Canada needs, no competition, no regional industrial plan, and no job guarantees.

Why is there a $16 billion blank cheque for that and nothing for caregivers?

Government Priorities
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this government's priority is to ensure that we do the right thing for Canadians, and protecting our sovereignty and giving the men and women in uniform the best equipment we can to support them in their important work to keep Canada safe is something that is incredibly important. We do not apologize, after the decade of darkness, for standing up for our men and women in uniform to ensure that they have the tools to do their job. The planes we have will be more than 40 years old by the time they reach the end of their life. We need to ensure that the air force has new planes to keep Canadians safe after 2020.

Government Priorities
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, technology problems plague the F-35 program, commitments from some other countries are wobbly, even the U.S. Pentagon says the program is two years behind schedule, there is a cost overrun of 65%, the accounting system at Lockheed Martin is a total mess, and the Canadian government has no guarantees, not on price, jobs, quality, or value for money. Talk about reckless. The government is flying by the seat of its pants. Why is it gambling 16 billion tax dollars on stealth airplanes but will not invest a cent in caregivers?

Government Priorities
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I just do not accept the premise of the member opposite's question.

It was this government that made a fundamental commitment to health care, whether that is cancer care, whether it is home care, which is provided by many provinces, whether it is services such as nurses and doctors, to ensure that Canadians and their families get the appropriate health care. It was not always so. At another time, at another recession, we saw members of the Liberal Party, including the member for Wascana, stand in their places and vote to cut health care by $25 billion. I can remember the member for Toronto Centre speaking very eloquently of the devastating effect of these cuts.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, nine months ago I asked the now Minister of Natural Resources whether any rules had been broken in the awarding of the contract on the north tower of the West Block. He tried to slough off my questions as fictional stories and said next we would ask him to start searching for Elvis in his department.

Will the minister now come clean on exactly who was involved in his “internal...staff matters” that he was so evasive and arrogant about last December?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, after years of Liberal scandals, it was our government whose first priority when we were elected to this place was to bring in the Federal Accountability Act. As the highest ethical standards ever brought into this House as legislative reform, it was quickly adopted and it imposes obligations on every Canadian when it comes to ethics. Anyone who breaks the rules will face the full force of the law.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, so why are they not accountable?

They can try all they like to distance themselves from this scandal, but it will end up swallowing them whole.

Gilles Varin, a long-time Conservative organizer, had dinner with Bernard Côté, the assistant to the former public works minister, before the contract was awarded. Gilles Varin helped organize a cocktail fundraiser with the Minister of Natural Resources after the contract was awarded. Senator Nolin's assistant, Hubert Pichet, says Varin talked to him about Public Works, and Varin walked away with $140,000.

Who in the Conservative government had their palms greased?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, clearly there are rules, laws and guidelines that govern the contracting policy for the Government of Canada. If any of those rules, guidelines or laws have been broken, we expect that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government told us that Mr. Varin was no longer a member of the Conservative Party and was not a lobbyist. Yet Mr. Varin did lobby the government, most notably for the contract to renovate the Parliament buildings, and he twice contributed to the party's coffers, in 2007 and 2009. Mr. Varin was even photographed in 2008 with Conservative senators and Mr. Bourgon, the former Conservative candidate in Repentigny.

Will the government finally admit that Mr. Varin is an unregistered lobbyist and a non-card-carrying member of the Conservative Party?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, here are the facts. The individual the Bloc leader is talking about is not and has never been a member of the Conservative Party. He was formerly an advisor to the Conservative Party, but he is neither a Conservative Party member nor an organizer. Those are the facts.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, he is neither a member nor an organizer, but he is a big party backer.

In other disturbing developments, the contractor who won the $9 million contract to renovate the Parliament buildings, Mr. Sauvé, held a cocktail fundraiser that was attended by not only the Minister of Natural Resources, but a number of other people who worked on the renovation.

Does the Conservative government not feel that this is starting to look like a system where contracts are handed out in exchange for partisan financing?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, after years of Liberal scandals, our government's first priority after the 2006 election was to bring in the Federal Accountability Act. We are very proud that this initiative sets the highest ethical standards in Canadian history. There are many acts and regulations in place, and every Canadian must obey them. Anyone who breaks the rules will face the full force of the law.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the members will recall, Alfonso Gagliano once had two responsibilities: looking after the interests of the Liberal Party of Quebec and handing out government contracts. The same is true of Michael Fortier and the current Quebec lieutenant, who have both been public works ministers and fundraisers for the Conservative Party of Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that by delegating responsibility for handing out contracts and raising funds for the Conservative Party to the same individual—on two separate occasions—he is setting his government morally adrift?