House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Product Safety
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of young children is a top priority of our government, which is why Canada's requirements for cribs and cradles are among the most stringent in the world.

Our amendments will further strengthen our existing safety requirements and introduce new standards for bassinets, which up until now were unregulated in Canada. As a parent, I know these new regulations will give peace of mind to parents, particularly to those with newborns.

Health
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, this is World AIDS Day, a day to reflect upon where we are as a country and as individuals and to recommit, once and for all, to eradicating this terrible disease. Yet it is with sadness that we learn the Conservative government has cut funding to a number of HIV-AIDS projects specifically targeted for aboriginal peoples.

As aboriginal people are one of the most vulnerable groups to HIV infection in the nation, when will the government restore this vital funding?

Health
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to a comprehensive, long-term approach to address HIV-AIDS in Canada and around the world.

The Canadian HIV vaccine initiative, led by our government along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights Canada's world-class HIV vaccine research expertise. In fact, I am pleased to inform the House that I announced today the appointment of Dr. Singh as co-chair of the advisory board that will oversee the renewed Canadian HIV vaccine initiative and its research and development alliance.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government once again stood out at the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun by sweeping first, second and third place fossil awards. More than 400 international organizations vote on the awards, which go to the countries that have done the most to block or undermine climate negotiations.

Why is the government getting in the way of international efforts to fight climate change instead of helping develop a binding plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The Environment
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Canada supports the binding international agreement, including all the major emitters, all the large emitters. In Cancun we will be working hard in the areas of financing, mitigation, adaptation, technology and, most important, accountability for all countries.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this week the minister said the much ballyhooed exploratory process for first nations citizenship amounted to paying national aboriginal organizations to collect more data and submit more reports. This was not what was promised. People demand and deserve more from the government.

Will the minister stop dithering and agree to a transparent process, on the public record, where stakeholders sit down and develop practical solutions around citizenship?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the exploratory process we will launch once Bill C-3 becomes law, assuming it does, it is an exercise that will be led by the national aboriginal organizations. They will set the terms of reference for the most part.

I do not understand where the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan is coming from on that.

The Economy
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, roads are being repaired, taxes are being lowered, workers are being retrained and clearly Canada's plan is working.

The global economic recovery is fragile. That is why our government's number one priority is jobs and economic growth, not job-killing tax hikes, as the opposition proposes, which the Chamber of Commerce labelled a “disastrous idea”. Our government is on the right track.

Would the hon. finance minister please give Parliament an update on the latest economic data?

The Economy
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Statistics Canada reported that our economy grew again for the fifth straight quarter. We have also seen 430,000 net new jobs created since the end of the recession. These are both signs that our economic action plan is working and that we are on the right track.

While we are not out of the woods yet, Canada is in a better place than most. This is what the Wall Street Journal said yesterday about our country. It said Canada, “has pulled through the downturn in better shape than most of its peers, with the healthiest banking system and strongest economic recovery”.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, during question period today, the member for Ajax—Pickering questioned the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans about an alleged cabinet leak that may have affected the share prices when that matter was dealt with by cabinet.

The minister did not answer. The government House leader told the member to take the matter outside. That was his answer.

This is question period. It is a legitimate part of our system of parliamentary accountability. Any mechanism that limits a member from asking a legitimate question limits the accountability of this institution. It renders the whole concept of responsible government illusionary. It restricts members from asking legitimate questions and it restricts members and the public from getting legitimate answers.

Every member of the House stands equal. They have the right, and I submit the obligation, to raise and advance issues of the public concern. Any answer that attempts to shift the issue from the parliamentary forum to the legal or the public forum is wrong. It is illegal. It certainly degrades, and I submit denudes, the accountability and answerability functions of the government.

In summary, it undermines the accountability of the House. It violates our collective privileges as a member. It is an assault on the dignity of the House. It is a very serious matter, and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to rule on that.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in December 2007 and in February and March of 2008, the member for Ajax—Pickering made very serious allegations in the House, allegations which had no basis. He lacked the courage of his convictions to take responsibility for those actions until March 5. When he did so, he was then forced to come back into the House on October 8, 2010 and “apologize and retract the statements.” He had to apologize and retract those statements because they were not true.

The member for Ajax—Pickering misled the House and when he was called before a judge, he had to take accountability for his actions and apologize for his reckless lies.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I think the government House leader is aware that suggesting members have lied is not parliamentary and he should refrain. Whether the judge said so or not has nothing to do with it. The judge did not say it in the House, which is the point. Members can say what they like outside the House, too, but there are limits on what they can say in the House and one of them is referring to other members as the member has.

I know the government House leader will want to withdraw that.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I withdraw it.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the response from the government House leader has absolutely nothing to do with my point of order and my point of order has nothing to do with the member for Ajax—Pickering.

The point of order is that the answer is an attack on the dignity of the House. It is a violation of our collective privileges as a member. It is a very serious issue and it is an issue that I, as a member of Parliament, urge you, Mr. Speaker, to rule on.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am happy to rule. The member pointed out in his statement that members are free to ask questions in the House, and there was no restriction on the member asking his question.

The minister, in his response, may not have answered the question, but it is not the role of the Chair to decide whether a response is an answer or not to the question. Indeed, the Chair has no authority to rule an answer out of order unless the answer contains unparliamentary remarks or a personal attack on some other member.

It is not for the Chair to decide whether the content of a response is in fact an answer. As we have heard many times, that is why it is called question period not answer period. It is commonplace in the House.

While I sympathize with the hon. member's comments, and I know the government House leader might, too, in certain circumstances, it is not for the Chair to decide whether an answer or response given to a question constitutes an answer to that question. It is beyond the competence of the Chair to make that kind of decision under our practice.

For that reason, I do not think the hon. member has a valid point of order in this case.