House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seats.

Topics

Democratic Reform
Oral Questions

December 13th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thought it was a socialist conspiracy. That is what the Prime Minister said the last time we talked about it. I knew the Minister of Foreign Affairs would take that sophisticated approach to this serious problem.

My final question for the Prime Minister is with respect to the question of the addition of seats in the House of Commons, a $100 million additional expenditure starting in 2015.

When the Prime Minister was fighting this issue a while ago, he took a completely contradictory position to that. He said that it was time to cap the size of the House of Commons and time to save money. Why is that not his position today?

Democratic Reform
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this party's position since the election in 2004 has been to increase the number of seats to give fairer representation to the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta, which are under-represented. It is the Liberal Party that has changed its position in about the last two months.

The fact is this. We know the Liberal Party opposes the seats that those provinces deserve, but this party supports it and we are proud of that.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, not only has the government mismanaged the climate file on the international stage, but it is also not protecting the environment in Canada.

The Environment Commissioner said that there is such poor management that the government does not even know who is breaking the law and, furthermore, it is not following up on half of the offences.

This government's record is awful.

Will the minister explain why he has abandoned the environment and Canadians?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the question, but the premise of the question is absolutely false.

Environment Canada accepts the environment commissioner's recommendations to address enforceability issues, and we are already taking action in this area. However, we note that the commissioner has failed to recognize that this government has made significant investments and improvements to the enforcement regime.

This government can balance protection of the environment and enforcement of regulations and also protect the economy.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner did an audit and the audit showed complete mismanagement by the government. The government is sabotaging climate deals on the international stage and mismanaging the environmental file here at home.

The government promised to beef up environmental enforcement, but four years later enforcement is actually worse. Conservatives cannot even confirm that new staff are enforcing anything.

The commissioner has made clear that this hurts the environment and it hurts the health of Canadians. When is the government going to stop listening to its insider friends and when is it going to start enforcing environmental regulation?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let me inform my colleague that this government has increased enforcement capacity by more than 50% through budget 2007. We enhanced it again in 2008. We hired more enforcement officers and they are, in most respects, doing their jobs.

We note some of the suggestions that the commissioner has made and we agree. We also note that the Environment Commissioner overlooked a number of relevant issues in composing this report.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the transportation of dangerous goods, like propane and acid, through our communities is a serious issue, but the government does not know if companies are following the rules and little happens when companies get caught breaking them. It feels like we are in the wild west and there simply is no sheriff. In one case, sulphuric acid was put in the wrong kind of truck, which literally dissolved a few kilometres down the road.

The government has known about these problems for years. Why has it not fixed them?

Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada has accepted the recommendations of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. There are over 30 million shipments of dangerous goods every year in Canada. The program continues to be very successful in preventing incidents during the transportation of dangerous goods.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in particular, the commissioner deplores the fact that the government does not check the emergency response plans of transport companies. The report cited the case of a company that transported 3,000 litres of flammable propane gas several times a day for 13 years, without careful review of its interim emergency plan.

When will this government stop playing games with the safety of Canadians?

Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are not playing games with the safety of Canadians. If something should happen, it is important to have a plan in order to be ready to intervene, and we will continue to support this. But when there are no accidents, no notification needs to be given. Every year, 30 million shipments of dangerous materials take place in Canada without incident. Naturally, we take the recommendations made this morning very seriously and our action plan is already being implemented.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope the Conservative government will listen to the commissioner, because he emphasized the importance of having reliable, up-to-date information in order to ensure a sustainable future for fisheries. With the decline in fish stocks in Canada and its devastating effect on the economy and coastal communities, the advice of scientists and proper monitoring are crucial in order to allow stocks to rebuild.

Why is the government reducing its scientific capacity just when fishers need it the most?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, our record on science is solid. Since 2006 we have actively invested in science, setting aside $30 million to update and refit laboratories and $36 million to construct three new science vessels. We have also made many other investments.

Our record is solid, unlike the previous government.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's coastal communities deserve better than that out of touch response.

The simple fact is that up to 400 staff of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are on the chopping block. Many are scientists on the front line of conservation and fisheries management. According to the commissioner, science is more important than ever.

Why are the Conservatives firing hundreds of fishery scientists and gutting monitoring programs just when they are needed most? Why are they turning their backs on coastal communities?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we are doing nothing of the sort.

As I indicated yesterday, the reductions in the staffing at DFO are a result of our strategic review. Specifically, 1% per year over the course of the next three years with an attrition rate of 6% annually in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The employees who were informed asked to be informed of potential downsizing and we did that at their request.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, on November 1 National Chief Shawn Atleo called on the aboriginal affairs, justice and status of women committees to expedite joint action to address violence against indigenous women and children. While first nations leaders and premiers all agree that action is a priority, the Conservative government does nothing. Now the UN has to step in to do the government's job.

When will the government finally respond to the myriad of calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered women and children?