House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was oil.

Topics

Public Safety
Oral Questions

May 28th, 2010 / 11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government invoked 9/11 to try to justify spending 300% more than any summit ever held in history.

Since 9/11 there have been 11 summits, including one in London, England which just last year was able to hold its summit for 5,000% less. It did it for $1 billion cheaper. Using the word “security” is not a get out of jail free card. One cannot use it to avoid accountability.

How did the government allow this summit to become far and away the most expensive meeting ever held anywhere in history?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, since the tragic events of 9/11, increased security has unfortunately become a fact of life. Security costs money. We are hosting two international events back to back, which is unprecedented.

All the costs have been budgeted for and are on target. As we have seen with the Ottawa fire bombing and the damages in Toronto last night, events like the G8 and G20 meetings attract thugs and other fringe elements that are desperate for attention. Canada, as host to the G8 and G20 meetings, has to be prepared to respond to any possible situation or threat to our guests, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only thing unprecedented is the cost. I said that there were 11 summits, all of them incredibly cheaper. In fact, London was 5,000% cheaper, just last year.

Clearly, the government does not get it. We are in a recession. Thousands of Canadians do not have jobs. The Conservatives have run up the biggest deficit in Canadian history. We cannot afford a $1 billion binge for 72 hours of meetings.

Now the public safety minister says that the costs are “very expensive” and asks whether “these types of meetings necessary”.

Why on earth did he not ask any questions before he signed off on $1 billion?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shocked last week by the fire bombing of a Royal Bank in Ottawa and by the damages last night in Toronto, prime examples of why we need to be prepared to face thugs who would threaten our safety.

We are on track to host safe and secure G8 and G20 summits. Our security plan has been developed and costed by Canada's best experts in the field. It is budgeted money. We are honoured to host the world's most influential leaders at the summits this June.

Unlike the Liberal leader, who has said that he is ashamed of Canada, we are proud and ready to showcase Canada on the world stage.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the issue is not security; it is incompetence and mismanagement.

The government says that it cannot afford improved EI benefits for breast cancer survivors. It tells police and firefighters that there is no money for the families of those who have died in the line of duty. It tells those who have lost their jobs in this recession that it does not have the budget to help, but it has $1 billion to spend on the most expensive 72 hours of meetings ever held.

Will the government just admit that its mismanagement, its poor planning, and its attempt to stick these meetings in a cabinet minister's riding have stolen $1 billion away from priorities that Canadians care about?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, just because the member says it does not mean it is true.

Canada is honoured to host the world's most influential leaders at the G8 and G20 summits this June. The G8 and G20 summits are major events, and hosting these summits requires complex security planning to ensure that we are prepared. The priority with all events of this importance must always be the safety and security of Canadians, participants, and our visitors.

We were successful in hosting a safe and secure Olympic Games that Canadians can be proud of, and we will ensure that the summits' security is as effective and well managed.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has denied visas to 60 representatives from African organizations for the blind, because it suspects that they will try to remain in Canada after their conference in Laval.

These visually impaired delegates from the Union Francophone des Aveugles are coming to Canada in the spirit of international co-operation, but the Conservative government is treating them like criminals.

First it was African rape victims. What does this government have against the least fortunate in Africa?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the question, although this is not an issue of criminality. The member needs to be extremely clear in how she uses that type of language.

I cannot comment on the specifics of any visa refusal without the consent of an applicant. That said, visa decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by independent, highly trained public servants, not politicians, who are applying the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Among the factors they consider is the likelihood that an applicant will violate the conditions of a temporary visa by, for example, not choosing to ever leave Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is treating the blind of Africa like criminals. I assume that it is because they are from Africa and not because they are blind, since representatives from other countries got their visas. Surely there is a way these people can come into Canada for this conference.

Will the government please take care of this now and let the conference take place with its delegates from Africa?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not mind questions of clarification. That is what the opposition's responsibility is. I have responded to the question. Now the hon. member is making allegations that are completely unfounded and have nothing to do with the issue. The government will not stand to be treated in a way that is unfair and that has nothing to do with government policy.

Securities
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the cat is out of the bag. The Minister of Finance is counting on pressure from publicly traded companies to convince Quebec to join the Canada-wide securities commission. Voluntary approach, my foot. It is all a sham.

Why does the federal government not admit that its real plan is to strip Quebec of its financial autonomy for Toronto's benefit?

Securities
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is a voluntary approach. We have asked the Supreme Court for an opinion to ensure that we are acting within our jurisdiction. Some other provinces want to get together to have a single commission under federal leadership. So we are asking the Supreme Court of Canada for an opinion, and if it agrees, we will go ahead. If Quebec does not want to take part, it does not have to. It is as simple as that.

Securities
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal proposal would eliminate the passport system. By cutting this system, the Conservative government is tying the hands of Quebec companies listed on the AMF and forcing them to make the jump to the Canada-wide commission, which would sideline the AMF and local authorities. It is not hard to understand.

How can the federal government claim that Quebec can keep its commission when the government is doing everything it can to strip Quebec of its financial autonomy?

Securities
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, once again, it is a voluntary approach. We are asking the Supreme Court for an opinion so that we can act within our jurisdiction. The proposed single commission would be decentralized, with offices in the major regions. That said, if Quebec does not want to be part of the single commission, the federal government will not force it to join. That is open federalism.

Securities
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

The Lortie report is clear. Balkanizing the system and having voluntary membership, as proposed, is the worst scenario. That is what it says. By eliminating the passport system, which is recognized and works, the federal government will complicate things in the short term and will take away Quebec's control over its financial sector and hand it over to Toronto in the medium term.

Why do you, in the federal government, wish to take away Quebec's financial autonomy? Why do you want to do that?