House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I rise for the first time in this House, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Richmond Hill for the confidence they have placed in me.

Canada has played a leadership role at NATO in the defence of innocent civilians in Libya. We have had reports of the good work of our air force and the work of our sailors on HMCS Charlottetown. As we prepare to debate the extension of the Libya mission, could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence tell us what the cost of Canada's commitment to this mission has been?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering
Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada has indeed taken a leadership role in helping to protect innocent civilians in Libya from the Gadhafi regime that continues to attack them. The member is correct about a forthcoming debate. He will be interested to know that the cost to date, as of June 2 of the mission, was $26 million. The incremental costs associated with this mission in coming months will be approximately $10 million per month.

We are extremely proud of the work of Canadian forces members who have been so courageous in reducing the ability of the Gadhafi regime to threaten its own people.

Telecommunications
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, everywhere Canadians turn these days they are getting gouged. The latest proof is an OECD report which shows that Canadians pay some of the highest cellphone fees in the world. In fact, our roaming rates are more than double the OECD average.

Does the minister understand the effects this is having on Canadian cellphone users? When will this minister act?

Telecommunications
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, it is important to ensure that there is healthy competition in Canada. The right decisions will be made in due course, but we want the services offered to be acceptable to Canadian consumers, and that requires healthy competition.

Telecommunications
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the cellphone companies are taking advantage of the government's slack regulations. A Telus executive even admitted Telus could cut its roaming charges in half and still be profitable. Canadians are paying double what our neighbours to the south are.

Will the minister commit to taking the necessary steps to stop this unjustifiable gouging by cellphone companies?

Telecommunications
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, we want to provide good competition for the consumer. Down the road, we want consumers to have the choice to pick the cellphone they want. For this, we hope to have the support of the opposition parties to move forward on reforms to come.

Personal Debt
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 2004, personal debt in Canada has increased by 40% and is at an all-time high. In Quebec alone, between 15% to 20% of credit card holders can only make the minimum payment. Families are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. They need help. However, the Conservatives have decided to help someone: the big banks. In the meantime, the Government of Quebec is taking action to protect consumers.

Where is the leadership from the federal government?

Personal Debt
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, for some years now we have heard the concerns expressed, and we have certainly expressed them, with respect to the level of consumer debt. That is why we have taken several steps. Three times we have intervened with respect to the insured residential mortgage market, including this year.

We also created the code of conduct in co-operation with small business in Canada and small retailers. They have praised that code of conduct with respect to credit cards because it is working.

Personal Debt
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec has just announced concrete measures to protect families and consumers. Similar measures could be taken by the Conservative government. It could choose to defend families against the voracious appetite of the credit companies, cap credit card interest rates, give financial authorities the power to prohibit excessive fees, and abolish transaction fees that are unfair to consumers and businesses.

When will the government finally take care of consumers?

Personal Debt
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

As I said, Mr. Speaker, the code of conduct that we developed was done together with small business and consumer groups. It was welcomed by small business and consumer groups.

Unfortunately, the opposition NDP voted against the code, but I gather from the question that I have just heard from the learned member of the NDP that this position will be changing and that he will be supporting our policy on the code of conduct.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, conceivably they could be done through a telephone conference call, but G8 and G20 summits are held, supposedly, to demonstrate to the world collective leadership forged from the rule of law and global stability created by fiscal prudence and respect for democratic institutions. Canada's G8 and G20 legacy? It was a showcase of unfettered and unaffordable spending, self-indulgent decision-making, and deception of democracy and institutions of democracy to arrive at that lavishness. It was quite a beacon to the world.

If the government could do it all over again, could it show some contrition and tell Canadians now that it would do it very differently?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the initial authorizations for funds to these unprecedented back-to-back summits was some $1.1 billion and we learned from the Auditor General today that they came in almost 40% under budget.

The real lasting legacy of the G8 and G20 summits in Canada is the leadership of the Prime Minister. Canada has a lot to be proud of for the summit resulted in the launch of the maternal, child health initiative, a multi-year initiative plan that will literally save thousands and thousands of lives around the world thanks to the leadership of the Prime Minister.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to today's Auditor General's report of first nations on reserve, under the Conservative watch the education gap has widened, the housing shortage has increased, and half of the drinking water systems on reserves still pose a significant risk to their communities.

The minister just said he is interested in real results. Will he tell the House when 100% of first nations will have adequate housing, when 100% will have safe drinking water, and when 100% of aboriginal youth will have the same educational opportunities as the rest of Canadians?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the comments made by the Auditor General. He said that the first nations are going to have to work closely with government to address some of these impediments and some of these fundamental issues. He said that the openness is there on both parties to deal with some of these fundamental challenges because if we are going to significantly improve the condition on first nations reserves, we need to do this.

I agree with his commentary. That is why we announced a joint action plan with the national chief this morning.

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives promised that there would not be any political interference in the $35 billion program for the shipbuilding industry, but the cat has been let out of the bag. Several prominent Conservatives met with lobbyists from Vancouver Shipyards and Irving Shipbuilding last fall. That can only lead to political interference.

Why did the Conservatives break their promise?