House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the government has said before, we have looked at the Auditor General's report in its entirety. It does make some interesting recommendations and observations. The government has made it very clear that it will take those into account in the future and act on those recommendations.

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the third example of the government's double standard is the situation we are in with Air Canada and Canada Post. With Air Canada, it is clear that a legal strike started yesterday. Services are still being offered, but the government is in the process of introducing a bill to put an end to the strike. As for Canada Post, the government is very slow to react on behalf of the workers who have been locked out and on behalf of consumers.

Why this double standard?

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, so far, with both Air Canada and Canada Post, the parties have been unable to reach an agreement. This could cause serious damage to the Canadian economy and to a large part of the population. This government will take action to protect the best interests of the Canadian economy and the Canadian people.

Poverty
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, some numbers released today reveal that poverty in this country remains at an unacceptable level. One in ten Canadians lives in poverty. That includes nearly 700,000 children. While this government is building gazebos, middle-class incomes remain stagnant and poverty levels are increasing.

When will the minister realize the seriousness of Canada's poverty issue?

Poverty
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, one of the effects of the global recession has been an increase in poverty here in Canada. However, our economic action plan was there to fight poverty. We believe that the best way to fight poverty is to create jobs. That is why we have invested unprecedented amounts of money in training people so they can acquire skills and find work.

Poverty
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, 634,000 children are living in poverty, and poverty, as the minister has just said, has been on the rise since the Conservatives took power. Too many have to rely on EI to get by, benefits are running out, and people still cannot find full-time jobs to replace the ones they have lost.

How can the government continue to hand out huge tax breaks to profitable banks and oil companies while ignoring Canadian families living in poverty?

Poverty
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the NDP's concern for poverty is a little late in coming.

During the economic action plan, it was our government that tried to help those who were unfortunate enough to lose their jobs through no fault of their own by adding an additional five weeks and by making benefits available to the self-employed. We also provided unprecedented funding for training to help these people get the skills they needed for the jobs of the future.

Unfortunately, the NDP voted against every one of those initiatives to help lift these people out of poverty.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has begun announcing staff cutbacks in many departments including HRSDC, Canadian Heritage and Environment Canada.

It appears that these cuts have been made arbitrarily and that the government is no longer even trying to justify its actions to Canadians. The government really seems to be making things up as it goes along.

Can the President of the Treasury Board explain the logic behind these cuts—that is, if there is any logic involved?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is referring to the report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer which takes a look at part of our plans to ensure that we live within our means as departments, but it does not paint the full picture.

Our plans are on stream. We are looking at rationalizing some services, but also delivering those services to taxpayers in a better way. That is our promise to taxpayers. That was what we ran on during the most recent election campaign and we have a strong mandate to do so.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, now that we know that the President of the Treasury Board is able to stand, I would like to give him a third opportunity to tell Canadians about his use of the border infrastructure fund for projects in his riding, which is 300 kilometres from the border.

How can the President of the Treasury Board tell Canadians that he is going to cut their services when he himself is responsible for wasting $50 million of taxpayers' money?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to this issue before.

There were 32 infrastructure projects that went forward, including resurfacing a runway at the airport in North Bay, repaving a provincial highway, and building a community centre. All of those projects came in on time. All of those projects came in under budget.

The Auditor General raised some legitimate concerns and observations about how the government could do a better job and this government has accepted those recommendations.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians pay their taxes, they expect that their hard-earned dollars are going to be treated with respect. If we look at how the President of the Treasury blew through $50 million on glow sticks and gazebos, it is as if the three amigos, the mayor, the hotel manager and the minister, stuffed the largest porcine pinata ever conceived and then whacked all those baubles and booty over the hills of Muskoka.

When will the minister apologize for this abuse of the public trust?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest when the new Leader of the Opposition said that he was going to come to the House of Commons and raise the level of debate. I am very disappointed by the comments made by the member opposite.

With respect to the legacy fund, there were 32 infrastructure projects. They were all public infrastructure projects similar to projects done right across the country from coast to coast to coast. Every single dollar was accounted for. All the projects are now in the hands of municipalities, airport authorities, or provincial governments, and all providing good value for taxpayers.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP would certainly like to raise the level of debate, but to do that we would have to raise up somebody from the dead. He seems to be either hiding in the doghouse or he was put in the doghouse since he got whacked by the Auditor General.

When Chuck Guité played around with public funds for partisan gain, he got sent to jail. When the minister from Muskoka played around with public funds for partisan gain, he got the keys to the Treasury Board. What kind of message does this send to Canadians?

When will this minister stand up in the House and be accountable for his misrepresentation of public funds?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that, I deeply regret to say, was slanderous and character assassination. I expected better from the New Democratic Party.