House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was person.

Topics

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

December 15th, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has used or abused free speech with respect to justifying what has been characterized as reprehensible actions, but it has limited free speech with regard to the frequency of in camera committee meetings.

May I, in the spirit of the Christmas season, suggest to the government that it reverse priorities, namely, that it cease and desist from reprehensible actions and protect free speech and parliamentary democracy?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the fall session in which we have been delivering on the commitments that we made to Canadians at the same time as ensuring that debate occurred and decisions were made.

One of the things that we see when we compare Canada with other countries is we have a strong economy. If we look at the United States or at Europe, one of the problems is political gridlock. Decisions cannot get made.

Here in Canada we will continue to make decisions in the best interests of Canadians on the economy and on tackling crime. We will allow debate to occur, but we will not allow the political gridlock that the other parties want to see put in place here.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government started by refusing to disclose the cost of its crime bill, especially the cost that the provinces will have to cover. Then it refused to disclose the real cost of each fighter plane. Now, it is holding more in camera meetings.

Does the government not believe in transparency?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our government has an unprecedented commitment to transparency and openness reflected in the statutes that we have passed to ensure accountability.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, order. The hon. government House leader has the floor.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

However, the most important part of accountability is elections.

Canadians went to the last election, at the request of the opposition, to answer questions like: did they like our budget, did they like our economic action plan, did they like our tackling crime plan, did they want us to put them in place, and guess what? They gave us a strong mandate to do exactly those things. We are delivering on those commitments. We are doing what we told Canadians we would do.

Human Rights
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil is one of the first political prisoners of the post-Mubarak era, convicted on trumped up charges of insulting the Egyptian military. He had his conviction upheld yesterday at an oft-postponed hearing, after he earlier rejected an offer of freedom in exchange for a confession for “his alleged criminality”.

Given that Nabil is now in the 115th day of a hunger strike in protest both of the injustice of the Egyptian military tribunal and the injustice of his conviction, what measures are being undertaken by the Canadian government to help secure his immediate release?

Human Rights
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I share the member for Mount Royal's deep concern about this situation in Egypt.

When the member brought it to my attention, within a matter of hours we were in contact with the Egyptian ambassador. I met with him last week and expressed Canada's deep disappointment and real profound concern over the way this democracy activist had been treated. We demanded that this individual be let free and treated fairly in accordance with international standards of freedom and democracy.

As of yet, we have not had a positive response, and we will continue to look to ensure that justice is done in this case.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, the end of the year has been devastating for employment in Quebec: 150 workers at Resolute Forest Products in Kénogami have lost their jobs with Christmas just around the corner. And now, aluminum workers are fearing the worst. At Rio Tinto Alcan in Alma, workers voted to give their union a strike mandate in order to stop the company from outsourcing some jobs.

Will this government realize that Quebec and the rest of Canada are in the middle of an employment crisis? Will it finally come up with a real job creation plan?

Employment
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite talks about job creation. The record and the facts speak for themselves.

Canada has the best job creation record of any country in the G7, of any major industrialized country in the world. This is verified outside Canada by international organizations. We are proud of the fact that Canadians have been able to create those jobs, helped by government policy over the course of time, since the end of the recession in July 2009.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not the only concern of workers in Kénogami. Really, it is the complete hemorrhage of the pulp and paper industry. Some 600 workers at White Birch Paper in Quebec City are without work, because the plant shut down. Pensioners from those plants will not be spared, for they will not be able to access their full pensions. These workers deserve to retire with dignity. The NDP bill would give them their full pensions.

Does this government plan to change the legislation to protect these workers' pension benefits?

Employment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, certainly we are concerned and empathetic with people who are in a situation where they are being laid off, especially at this time of year. That is why we have been working, along with the Minister of Industry who looks after this file, to make sure that we put in place protection for those pensions.

We actually brought forward legislation just last year to make sure those pensions were as fully funded as they could be in case there was a bankruptcy, as protection against bankruptcy.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, families in the Lower St. Lawrence and the Gaspé are concerned, and with good reason. Nearly 600 workers at four Cedrico lumber plants may lose their jobs because the company is experiencing financial difficulty. A thousand indirect jobs are also threatened.

This is yet more proof of the Conservative government's inaction, more proof that they are not doing anything to create or maintain jobs in the regions. I remember that, in 2008, at the height of the forestry and economic crises, the government gave $10 billion to the automotive industry while it gave only crumbs to the forestry industry.

What is this out-of-touch government waiting for to take action and revive the forestry industry in Quebec and in Canada?

Employment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, our government is aware of the problems communities and workers affected by the forestry crisis are experiencing, particularly at this time of year. That is why our government is continuing to support the workers and communities affected by the forestry crisis in Quebec and Canada. Thanks to our government, concrete initiatives have been put in place: $100 million to create jobs and increase economic activity, including $20 million for silvicultural work.