House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

The Senate
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is time the government was clear with Canadians about the Prime Minister's Senate reform plans. We all know that no matter what we do, the changes will be complicated. Yet, the government's message is all over the map. Heck, the Prime Minister cannot even get his own senators on side with his plans.

My question is very simple. Why will the government not just support a straight-up referendum, asking Canadians, do they support abolishing the Senate, yes or no?

The Senate
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park
Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, our government received a strong mandate to reform the Senate and implement our plan to make it more accountable. We believe Senate reform is the best option to address Canadians' concerns about senators serving terms up to 45 years without a democratic mandate. We are committed to reforming the Senate, so that it better reflects the values of Canada and Canadians in the 21st century.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

June 20th, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it has been almost two weeks now since the Auditor General criticized the former industry minister's misuse and waste of public funds to benefit his friends. Yet the former minister has still not apologized and has not provided details on the projects that were chosen. This is becoming a habit. He also has not provided details on his plan for budget cuts. We have found out about some of them: the 40% cuts at the Canada Mortgage and Housing corporation, the 20% cuts at Environment Canada and the millions of dollars in cuts at the Canada Revenue Agency.

When will the minister start acting like a real minister?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to describe some of these projects and what was done. There is an airport in North Bay. The government helped resurface the runway so that planes could land on it.

There is a provincial highway in that part of rural Ontario that was repaved. That is important. A community centre was also built. It is now available for the benefit of the people in that municipality, and I could go on.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 2011-12 main estimates will soon be examined in parliamentary committee. The President of the Treasury Board has agreed to testify, but only for one hour. But we think that it must have taken much more than an hour to set up his $50 million plan for the G8 summit to benefit his friends.

Could the minister himself, or his foreign affairs critic, explain why we are allowed only one hour to discuss the management of $250 billion?

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, a question for me that has to do with my portfolio. I want to state to the House that I am looking forward to going to the government operations committee to defend our estimates. We have a strong mandate from the people of Canada to move ahead with the right kind of strategy, the right kind of agenda for Canada and Canadians, and we are darn proud of it.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was reading the 2011 ethical guide for cabinet ministers and I notice the government rewrote it to say that ministers must obey the law. I find it astonishing that ministers must be told that “Thou shall not collude nor conspire to create a coven of kleptocracy in Canada”.

The minister blew through $50 million without documentation. Did the Conservatives have to rewrite the rules so none of the other ministers were as cavalier with the public trust?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there was another change in the guide that jumped out at me. Civil servants are now told that even if the minister compels them, they are obliged to follow the rules. Was this why the member for Muskoka shut out the bureaucrats? How else could he have passed himself off as the Daddy Warbucks of cottage country?

How else could he have gotten the three amigos, the mayor, the hotel manager and the minister, to divvy up $50 million on outhouses, picnic tables and bike racks without documentation? How else could he have gotten away with it?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, try as the member might, he is not the member for Winnipeg North Centre.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

An hon. member

Never will be.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

And never will be. That is the real deal. I like the member for Winnipeg North Centre, and he is not the member for Winnipeg North Centre.

I am pleased to confirm to the House and to my friend opposite that none of the three individuals he mentioned approved any of the 32 projects.

G20 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government hopes that if it keeps piling on the paperwork, Toronto businesses will eventually forget about seeking G20 compensation and just quietly go away. Toronto businesses inside and around the G20 zone suffered millions in damages and they are not going away. It has now been a year without compensation and these folks are still suffering.

The minister claimed he is ready to move forward and expedite this, but after a year the question is, when?

G20 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I share the member opposite's concern. Many small businesses were really affected due to the security issues surrounding the holding of the summit in Toronto.

The member opposite raised this question two weeks ago and then again last week. I asked him if there were any specific businesses that I could specifically look into on his behalf. I am very prepared to do that. I think he and my colleague, our friend from Parkdale—High Park, have raised a legitimate concern about the adequacy of the funding and whether the rules are too strict, and I am certainly prepared to review that.

Privy Council Office
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know the government's waste fighter-in-chief sprayed $50 million around his riding with no oversight and no paperwork. Now we learn that the department of the Prime Minister himself has been breaking the rules on hospitality expenses.

So if the President of the Treasury Board is the fox guarding the taxpayers' chicken coop and if the boss of the fox is himself breaking the rules as well, how can Canadians possibly believe that this crew will cut government fat fairly and competently?