House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was park.

Topics

Health
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, that was stunning. Let me try again.

The Canada health accord is up for mandatory review and the government has decided to bypass the elected House and, instead, ask unelected senators to do the review. It is undemocratic and irresponsible. Conservatives have refused to start public consultations on the next accord and are using their unaccountable Senate majority to bury the official review of the last accord.

Will the minister withdraw this request of the Senate and hand it over to the elected members of Parliament, where it belongs?

Health
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we have asked the Senate to look into this issue. The House health committee of elected representatives is certainly free to look into any matter it wishes. We have a minority on that committee.

One of the things that is important with respect to health care is that this government, instead of cutting health care by $25 billion like the previous government did, has increased health care spending by 30%. That is a great accomplishment of the federal government.

Conservative Party of Canada
Oral Questions

February 10th, 2011 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, a report from the show Enquête uncovered the close ties between the Conservative Party and fundamentalist ministers, some of whom—as we saw in the program—are verging on hysteria. We learned that a number of evangelical leaders have privileged access to Conservative members and senators, and use that access to influence federal politics.

Is it not worrisome to see all these fundamentalist groups circling around the Conservative government, trying to change legislation to impose their religious values?

Conservative Party of Canada
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian is entitled to be heard by our government. That is why our government is very proud to hold literally thousands of meetings with Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

In the last few months, I have had the pleasure to meet with Jewish groups, Muslim groups, Hindu groups and Sikh groups. I have had the pleasure to meet with Buddhist groups. And I want to tell you something remarkable: I have even met with a few Christian groups.

Conservative Party of Canada
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the evangelical churches are the fringe of the Conservative Party. We have seen it a number of times in the Conservatives' many attempts to reopen the abortion debate here and on the international stage. Each time a bill is deemed to go against their religious doctrine, the Conservatives bustle about to get it rejected. We need only think of our bill on the right to die with dignity. Even the Conservative government's science policy is directed by a creationist minister.

When will the Conservatives understand that there needs to be a separation between church and state?

Conservative Party of Canada
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I really do not know where to start with that question, but let me say this. As Canadians, people of faith, certainly have every right to be heard by their government. We respect their positions and their views. We think it is tremendously important in a pluralistic society like Canada to always reach out to people of different backgrounds, and we make no apologies for it.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates it will cost Canadian municipalities billions to conform to new waste water regulations. In fact, one in four waste water plants will need to be replaced. Where will the money come from?

Is the government preparing to download this cost onto municipal taxpayers? Is that how it will increase taxes on Canadians, by stealth? What will it be: corporate tax cuts for banks and oil companies, billions for prisons and bloated jet purchases, or clean water for Canadians? We know where Canadians stand.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member where the Conservative Party stands. To deal with exactly this type of problem and the needs right across the country, we doubled the amount of money that municipalities got through the gas tax. Then we made it permanent so they could make long-term plans.

There is up to $2 billion a year. From now on and from here on in, they can go into things like clean water, sewer treatment plants, green energy and other things. More than that, we have put a record amount of money into both short- and long-term funding for infrastructure, the type and amount of which the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has said is unprecedented.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the EPA, the U.S. environmental agency, announced that it was going to update its standards on drinking water to impose limits on at least 16 toxic materials and carcinogens found in water.

What is the government doing to tighten Canadian standards, given the growing scientific capacity to detect harmful substances in the water we drink? Why is the government dragging its feet?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the first question the hon. member asked was why Canada had raised the standard for drinking water right across the country. We did that. We put in the highest standards we possibly could because Canadians deserved it. They want to know they have clean drinking water. They want to know that the groundwater is protected through sewage treatment systems. We have put in the regulations through Health Canada and Environment Canada to ensure it stays that way.

We have done a tremendous job, from coast to coast, on improving our water systems and we will maintain that into the future.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the negotiations on the agreement with Europe are going on behind closed doors. We already know that the Conservatives like to sell off Canadian interests at bargain-basement prices, and we are seeing the results. Softwood lumber? Botched. The agreement with Panama, that haven for tax evasion? Botched. The buy American agreement? Botched.

For the agreement with Europe, where are the impact studies on health systems, public procurement, supply management and the environment? Will he provide them to us as soon as possible, or is he going to botch another agreement?

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we are undertaking these negotiations because of the positive impact on Canadians and the Canadian economy.

A study was done in advance of these negotiations. It indicated there would be a benefit to the Canadian economy of $12 billion annually, a positive benefit. We continue to consult with Canadians across a broad range of sectors.

That is why, when we talk to any business group in Canada, almost any chamber of commerce, any groups of Canadians that come from Europe and recognize the tremendous ties we have and see the potential there, they realize this is a huge opportunity to create jobs and prosperity for Canadians from coast to coast.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives said that before. The government has a reputation for not doing its homework. For softwood lumber, that cost Canadian $1.2 billion and 50,000 lost jobs and counting.

The demands of the E.U. multinationals are clear: changes to our laws to make it harder for affordable generic drugs to come on the market. This could cost $2.8 billion a year, taken out of our health care system.

The Conservatives have just never met a trading partner they were not happy to sell out to. Will the minister for once come clean with Canadians and let Canadians know how much he has given up at the table this time?

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we are in the process of negotiating and the issues the member addresses have not even been tackled yet. The negative results he talks about are simply not there.

We do know, though, that under the NDP we would not have a single free trade agreement with another country in the world, this for a country of 33 million people that is two-thirds dependent on trade internationally. Canadians understand that. They realize the NDP is misguided, living in the past and wants fortress Canada separate and apart from the world. That is not the Canadian way.

We will engage with the world, trade with the world and compete with the best in the world because Canadians can, and they do and they succeed. That is why Canada is successful today economically, ahead of all our competitors.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, while Canada is responsible for only 2% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, we as Canadians are determined to contribute toward alternatives like biofuels. We take very seriously our responsibility to do what we can to ensure a cleaner, greener future.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment please explain the next step in the government's biofuel strategy and why it is good news for both the environment and the economy?