House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offence.

Topics

Pensions
Oral Questions

December 3rd, 2010 / 11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the unelected, unaccountable, Conservative-dominated Senate killed the long-term disability pensions, and again the government laughs, of more than 400 Nortel employees. These people are suffering from Parkinson's Disease and similar disabilities. Without their pensions, they will be destitute just 28 days from today.

At a time when Conservatives have a lot of money for jets and jails, corporate tax giveaways and bloated ministerial offices, why can the government not help 408 innocent, hard-working but now disabled Canadians?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberal Party would like to reform the Senate, I would encourage it to get behind this government's agenda.

We have legislation before Parliament with respect to elections of senators and with respect to the term limits going from 45 years to 8 years. We think that is incredibly important.

However, the issue involving Nortel pensioners and LTD recipients is obviously a very serious one. Regrettably, the reality is we cannot legally and constitutionally make laws that apply retroactively. I think the member opposite knows that.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister is plainly wrong.

Since coming to office, the Conservatives have wasted a billion dollars in extra spending on partisan advertising, outside consultants and other excesses. The Prime Minister's personal political expenses are up by more than 30% in just the last two years. The political spending of the Minister of Justice is up by nearly 20%. The Minister of Transport, is up 100%. The chief government whip is up 235%. Yet disgraceful Conservative senators are hacking the pensions of the long-term disabled.

How can the Conservatives look themselves in the mirror?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. If we want to look at the basket of political expenses by this government, let us look at the expenses in the offices of the ministers. The use of government aircraft, particularly the use of Challenger aircraft, travel and other associated expenses, hospitality and polling expenses are dramatically reduced under this government. The member opposite, I suspect, knows that.

We are following the issue incredibly closely with respect to the situation involving Nortel LTD recipients. The reality is we cannot make laws retroactive. If the member opposite believed in this, he had 13 years to change the Bankruptcy Act and failed to do so.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the disabled at Nortel. Two-thirds of Canadians do not have decent retirement savings at all. Under the current government, poverty for senior citizens has jumped 25%. Family household debt has skyrocketed. It is 50% higher than disposable incomes. The well-being of children is dropping.

Why does the government lavish $6 million in personal benefits on one Conservative senator, Senator Brazeau and his used Porsche, when it has nothing for pensions, family caregivers or better access to education?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has made great noises about wanting to raise the decorum in the House and talk about issues that are relevant to Canadians.

For the member for Wascana, talking about what kind of automobile a parliamentarian drives is not really—

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Honoré-Mercier.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, on one hand, the Conservatives are telling us that times are tough and that we need to tighten our belts. On the other hand, they are getting carried away and spending without restraint. Imagine, $1.3 million for taxis, and that does not include limousines. It is not their pocket money, it is Canadians' money.

I think I understand what the Conservatives are saying to Canadians. It is quite simple: Do as I say, not as I do. Is that it?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

North Vancouver
B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, our Federal Accountability Act is the blueprint for more accountable, open and ethical government. It represents this government's contract with Canadians to clean up government and ensure that the disastrous financial scandals of the Liberal years are never repeated.

As a government, our focus is always on accountability and ensuring value for money. Taxi vouchers are only used for official government business.

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the Conservatives are doing is disgusting. They are shamelessly wasting our money. Meanwhile, the poverty rate among seniors has increased by 25%. Has that become a priority for them? No, not at all. Worse still, they are changing the rules to make it even harder to access the guaranteed income supplement. This will force even more seniors into poverty.

I know they are very busy gallivanting around in taxis, eating canapés, building prisons and buying airplanes, but when they have finished all of that, will they finally find some time to look after our seniors?

Seniors
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we are certainly concerned with seniors and we have therefore taken a number of actions to be sure they have extra income in their pockets.

We have taken action specifically with respect to the guaranteed income supplement to be sure that they are entitled to receive that. We have increased the guaranteed income supplement twice.

We would ask the member and the Liberal Party to get behind us when we are taking initiatives that are helping our seniors in this difficult time.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a study released in conjunction with the Cancun conference, the past decade was the warmest since 1850. One of the greatest temperature increases was recorded right here in Canada, where 2010 is expected to be the warmest year in history. Global warming is having a devastating effect not only on the environment, of course, but also on public health, food security and economic development.

Given this disturbing reality—to say the least—how can the Conservative government still refuse to implement a binding plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thought my hon. colleague, being so concerned about the economy, was going to talk to us about the 441,000 new jobs created in Canada since our economic action plan was introduced.

I would simply remind the member that Canada is a signatory to the Copenhagen accord. We are working very hard with the 148 countries that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, many more jobs would be created in Quebec by reducing our dependency on oil than with the measures that have been put in place. The Conservative government, as clearly demonstrated by the minister, looks for every excuse to justify its lack of action on climate change. Sometimes it is the Americans who are the problem, sometimes the Chinese. There is always something.

Instead of playing hide and seek, what is the government waiting for to listen to Quebec, environmental groups and business people who all want a coherent greenhouse gas reduction plan in order to look to the future?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our government has committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 17% compared to 2005 levels by 2020. These are firm commitments and not empty promises. These are very firm commitments that the government has promised to honour. And we are convinced that we can reach this target.