House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was criminal.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that is an outrageous misquote.

We at Environment Canada are very proud of our scientists. We make them available for many hundreds of interviews every year and they are available even today in Montreal at the polar conference.

My friend should know that communications management is a widely respected and essential tool of any large organization. Our scientists are free to address questions regarding science. My friend should remember that when it comes to policy issues, ministers speak for the department.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is cutting budgets and firing scientists. It lacks openness.

Every week, more and more researchers are receiving layoff notices. In this context, overseers and Conservative propagandists are being sent to record every word uttered by our scientists during the IPY 2012 conference. This is an act of intimidation designed to censor our experts.

Is the minister so afraid of the facts that he wants to do away with the scientific dimension of environmental protection in the Arctic?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the premise of that question is false.

Our scientists in Montreal at the polar conference are spreading the good news of the policies of our government, both with regard to mitigation of climate change within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as well as outside, with a number of like-minded countries, to address short-lived climate pollutants.

Of course, my colleague should know of the significant investment our government has made in adaptation in the Canadian Arctic.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are outraged at the Conservatives' take on fisheries and the environment.

They are muzzling scientists, they have closed the west coast oil spill response centre and today the minister announced plans to gut fisheries habitat protection. It seems there is no limit on what they will do to help their big business friends avoid environmental responsibility.

Does the minister not understand that selling out fish habitat is short-sighted and will damage both the fishery and our economy?

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, I thank the member opposite for his totally inaccurate question.

The current fisheries policy goes well beyond what is necessary to protect fish and fish habitat. I have been saying that for some time now.

Our government is committed to protecting Canada's commercial, recreational and aboriginal fisheries. The changes I announced earlier today will move the current regime from an indiscriminate one that treats farmers' fields and drainage ditches the same as major projects to one that actually protects Canada's fisheries from real threats, such as aquatic invasive species and habitat destruction.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, habitat must be protected in order to protect the fishery. The protection of fish habitat is fundamental to ensuring the health of our ecosystems and the fishery. Scientists, people who work in the fishery, anglers and even two former Progressive Conservative fisheries ministers all agree: the Conservatives' plans to protect fish habitat are a joke.

Why are the Conservatives putting our fishery at risk? Is it so that their friends in big business do not have to obey environmental rules?

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, I thank the hon. member opposite for his question.

Certainly the changes I announced today will enhance habitat protection. There is no question about that.

We should not be in the fields of farmers. For example, the long-running Saskatchewan jamboree was nearly cancelled after newly flooded fields were declared fish habitat, and in Richelieu, the application of rules blocked a farmer from draining his flooded property.

That is not protecting habitat. We will protect habitat.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2008 we saw how the listeria outbreak targeted children, seniors and other at-risk segments of the population, so Canadians deserve a straight answer when it comes to food safety.

In the wake of significant cuts to CFIA's food inspection, will the minister confirm that food inspection staff are being informed they will eliminate the program to pre-clear and track high-risk products like meat, that they will suspend key elements of the consumer protection program, and that food inspectors will move toward industry policing itself?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, what an alarming question. There was a report on OECD countries that actually listed Canada's food safety system as superior.

Our cost-saving measures will not reduce food safety. In fact, in our last budget, the one we just voted on recently, we increased funding for food safety by $50 million.

What did the hon. member and his colleagues do? They voted against that increase in funding for food safety.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, slashing both food safety measures and jobs, Conservatives are cutting vehicle washing stations at Marine Atlantic ferry terminals in Newfoundland. These washing stations exist to prevent potato wart and potato cyst nematode-infected soil from being transported to other provinces.

The government says drivers will be responsible for removing the contaminated soil, but without the washing stations there is nowhere to wash away the contaminants.

Why is the government putting at risk a multi-billion dollar industry, in particular the potato industry in P.E.I. and New Brunswick?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, these types of changes will have no effect on the safety of Canada's potato industry. The CFIA will continue to inspect for soil contamination and will work with the provinces and the private sector to find an alternative vehicle cleaning service.

The safety is there, the car wash is there, but the Canadian taxpayer will not be there.

Air Canada
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Quebec government, Investissement Québec and the QFL Solidarity Fund are working on a recovery plan for Aveos, the Minister of Industry merely says that he sympathizes with the 1,800 workers who were laid off in Montreal. Despite everything, the government is leaving Quebec to fend for itself when it comes to saving assets and jobs.

Why is the government refusing to enforce the Air Canada privatization act? Why not support Quebec's efforts?

Air Canada
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our position on this is clear. This situation involves two private corporations. This case is currently before the courts, so we will refrain from commenting any further.

Air Canada
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government does not seem to understand the urgency of the situation.

Without the good work of Quebec government officials, Aveos workers would still not have received their employment insurance cheques because they have not yet received their official termination notices even though they were summarily shown the door.

The Conservatives are hiding behind their legal opinion to avoid enforcing the law. They are washing their hands of the whole thing. On March 2, 2011, Chuck Strahl rose in the House and promised that the Montreal, Mississauga and Winnipeg centres would stay open.

Is that all that a Conservative promise is worth?

Air Canada
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, in the preface to her question, the member made statements that are all wrong. It is thanks to our government, our minister and our work that Aveos workers were able to receive employment insurance benefits despite not having records of employment. How could it be otherwise?

We certainly sympathize with the workers who unfortunately lost their jobs, but once again, this is a private-sector matter that is before the courts. There will be no further comment.