House of Commons Hansard #99 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugee.

Topics

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, while no decision has been made, the government is reviewing fish and fish habitat protection policies to ensure we are respecting conservation objectives.

Recent speculation about the current review is inaccurate. However, the government has been clear that the existing policies can be arbitrary and do not reflect the priorities of Canadians.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly, not all Canadians agree.

Last week, 625 prominent scientists wrote to the Prime Minister, asking him not to weaken environmental protection measures. They say that weakening the Fisheries Act will affect water quality and the fishery and will damage Canada's international credibility.

This government may be able to censor its own scientists, but it cannot ignore expert advice. Will the minister confirm that he will not gut the Fisheries Act?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, again, we have made no decisions but we are reviewing the policies. We want to focus our activities on protecting natural waterways that are home to the fish Canadians value most, not on flooded fields and ditches.

Science and Technology
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, by this point Canadians are catching on to a pattern with the Conservatives. When the Conservatives get caught doing something wrong, they blame someone else.

The latest attempt in this sorry saga is the Minister of the Environment's attempt to cover up his muzzling of scientists by blaming the media. The problem, he says, is a few grumpy journalists. It is another Conservative attack on democracy, this time by denigrating the fourth estate.

Will the minister retract this absurd accusation and admit that his heavy-handed communications protocols are keeping good science out of the hands of Canadians?

Science and Technology
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I have said any number of times in this House, Canadians can be proud of their scientists, particularly of the scientists working at Environment Canada and the contributions they make to science journals and the general media.

Our department continues to make its experts available to the media on a regular basis, many hundreds of times, in fact, in the past year.

Science and Technology
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the Canadian Science Writers' Association, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and even the journal Nature and the BBC all denounce the fact that the Conservatives are muzzling researchers by limiting their access to the media.

When will this government come up with a clear policy that protects the rights of scientists to inform Canadians?

Science and Technology
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Cambridge
Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, no government in the history of Canada has invested so much in our scientists and researchers. In fact, our scientists and researchers have more work to do and more research to publish as a result of our historic levels of funding, which were voted against by the opposition.

We are very happy to see Canadian scientists at symposia and conferences all around the world sharing their work, publishing articles and giving thousands of interviews. The NDP members are way off base.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has to come clean and explain exactly how this works.

A Tory MP is charged with DUI: he gets kicked out of caucus. There are rumours surrounding a female cabinet minister: she gets the boot. Another cabinet minister leaves briefs at his girlfriend's: he is shown the door. Now a Conservative cabinet minister is convicted by the conflict of interest commissioner for blatantly breaking the rules and he gets to stay.

The question is this: why are there no consequences for violating their own accountability act?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again I accept the conclusions of the commissioner. She recognized there was never an attempt to influence the decisions of public servants. The company in question never secured a contract. There was never any prospect or question of any advantage on my part.

In the future I will take further precautions when approached by Canadians seeking more information about the projects and programs delivered by their government.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lise St-Denis Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government keeps ending up in reprehensible situations in matters of ethics.

First there was the in and out scandal. Then there was the matter of electoral fraud, which keeps snowballing. Now it is the minister's turn to violate the Conflict of Interest Act.

Why are the Conservatives not doing anything about this? What will they do the next time this comes up?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, again, I accept and take note of the findings in the commissioner's report. I want to remind hon. members that the commissioner recognized that there was never an attempt to influence public servants. The company in question never secured a contract and there was never any prospect or question of an advantage on my part.

However, in the future, I will take further precautions when approached by Canadians seeking more information about the services and programs delivered by their government.

National Defence
Oral Questions

March 26th, 2012 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, CBC's The Fifth Estate has uncovered disturbing facts about the Canadian Forces' response to the search for Burton Winters in Makkovik in January. His family described the military's explanation as, “One excuse wasn't enough for them, they had to give five”. It was not the weather, it was not the protocol. They closed the file and later said they had no equipment available to do the search. One former SAR coordinator called the CF report “abysmal, misleading and wrong”.

What is the state of our search and rescue system in Canada? Will the government establish an independent inquiry to find out the full truth about what happened and what needs to be done to protect Canadians like this boy in Makkovik?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, once again our hearts and prayers go out to the family of young Burton Winters. It was certainly a tragedy. This young man was a member of the Canadian Forces junior rangers program. Members of his troop assisted in his search.

As the member would know, the reality is that the first call to the Canadian Forces came some 20 hours after young Mr. Winters was last seen. The second call was placed 51 hours later and Canadian Forces assets were deployed.

We have improved the protocol with respect to the communications between the province and the federal government and that protocol has ground search and rescue responsibility with the province.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the task force for payments system review has called for legislation that could save $32 billion in productivity gains by modernizing our payments system. According to the task force, Canadian payments regulation is being quickly outpaced by countries like Romania and Peru. Modernizing our payments system would help the economy but we are stagnant due to the government's focus on the interests of big money and big banks, not on new entrants and new ideas.

Will this minister take the decisive steps necessary to overhaul our payments system to further our national interests and for the well-being of Canadian consumers and small businesses?

Finance
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member and that is why we appointed the task force to do the work. It has just recently finished its work and submitted the report. We look forward to giving it the thorough review it deserves after the intense work done by the panel, and taking steps pursuant to the recommendations that are in the report.