House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was smugglers.

Topics

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if public transportation is a priority for the official opposition, I would like my colleague to explain why the NDP voted against the Toronto Rocket project, against the Métrobus 803 project in Quebec City, against the Evergreen Line project in Vancouver and against a number of other projects. We will continue to do the work, to do what is necessary for public transportation and to ensure that all federal infrastructures are kept in good working order, while respecting provincial jurisdictions.

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not seem to understand the scope of the problem: a highway is collapsing, a bridge is urgently shut down. It is clear that this government simply does not have an infrastructure modernization plan that is focused on job creation. Patching up a bridge that is at the end of its useful life is not a sustainable strategy nor is it a safe one.

When will the minister understand that if he wants to ensure the smooth flow of traffic, a new bridge is needed?

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if we were to have a new bridge or other infrastructure, it would take seven to ten years to complete. How does my colleague think that new infrastructure would resolve Montreal's traffic problems today? That is unbelievable. We must ensure that the infrastructure in place now is still able to endure the load of existing traffic for a number of years and that all of the options are considered regarding future infrastructure.

Libya
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Libya this past summer has seen the toppling of the Gadhafi regime and the emergence of a real democratic hope. However, despite these gains we recognize that the situation does remain unstable.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs please update the House on the situation in Libya?

Libya
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, today the Prime Minister attended the high-level meeting on Libya at the United Nations chaired by the Secretary-General. Canada has been at the forefront of the international effort to protect civilians in Libya against the oppressive Gadhafi regime.

Canada stands ready to support the new Libyan government through the UN coordinated efforts committed to helping the people of Libya.

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the people of B.C. have spoken loud and clear. In a historic referendum they rejected the HST tax grab that the Prime Minister rammed through the House. Now the Conservatives are planning to punish British Columbians.

Forcing them to pay back over a billion dollars is a spiteful reaction to the province's fair and democratic decision. When will the government agree to respect voters and treat B.C. voters fairly?

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member opposite knows, there is an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia.

HST is a provincial responsibility. I met yesterday with the Minister of Finance of British Columbia. He reported to me, of course, the results of the referendum there. We are now working on the exit strategy since this is a provincial responsibility and the provincial government will not be continuing with the HST.

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this money has already been invested in health care, education and other family priorities. Forcing the province to pay it back will hurt very important services and create a hole in the province's budget.

The government needs to do the right thing, the fair thing. Will the government drop its plan to punish British Columbians for rejecting its HST?

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the HST is a provincial responsibility. There is an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia. The agreement has provisions with respect to repayment of the sum that was advanced by the Government of Canada. That sum was advanced as part of the agreement to proceed with the HST. The province is not proceeding with that now. It follows that honouring the agreement will require repayment.

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about honouring and keeping promises. In the Conservative Party platform unveiled on April 8 and in numerous statements made by the Prime Minister and his Quebec lieutenant, the Minister of Industry, during the election campaign, they promised to compensate Quebec with respect to the GST by September 15. It was a formal promise.

In a joint press release issued on September 14, the finance ministers from Quebec and Canada had to admit that the promise would not be kept. What is the problem?

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have had a lengthy series of discussions with the Government of Quebec with respect to the HST and those discussions have continued.

The Minister of Finance of Quebec and I agreed a week or so ago that we would continue the discussions toward the end of September. I am hopeful and relatively confidence that we will arrive at an agreement.

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, who is in charge in the finance minister's shop? During the election campaign, the Prime Minister promised, with his hand on his heart, that Quebec would get the $2.2 billion it has been owed for ages.

The two finance ministers say that there is progress, but we have yet to see anything.

Can the Minister of Finance confirm that the $2.2 billion that the federal government owes Quebec is being held up in his department?

Tax Harmonization
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite is familiar with negotiations.

We are negotiating with the Government of Quebec. We need to agree on the terms with respect to the HST, and then the payment would flow after that. This is entirely normal. It is the procedure we are following. There is goodwill on both sides. We will carry on with the discussions with the goal of reaching an agreement by the end of September.

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, for the third time, I have a question for the Minister of Transport about his government's rail service review, which is almost a year old. It said that the shippers of grain, oilseeds and special crops, forest products, minerals and the like were getting very bad service from the railways at a very high cost, and it called for new legislation to enforce binding contracts on the railways.

Will that legislation be introduced and enacted in this calendar year? For the third time, yes or no?

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in March of this year, our government announced a comprehensive strategy that responds to the findings of the review.

Our government is following up on its commitment to improve the performance of the rail-based supply chain. We will soon be naming the facilitator and the review process will be officially launched.