House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rail.

Topics

Democratic Reform
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Alberta recently held a public consultation—an election—to choose future senators. That was what the Government of Alberta decided to do, and our government will respect the will of the people of Alberta by appointing those senators to the Senate at the next opportunity.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' budget choices are frightening: billions of dollars for the F-35 fiasco, while the Conservatives slash funding for food inspection, border security, water quality monitoring—basically, programs that are crucial to the safety of Canadians. These irresponsible cuts have no business being in the budget.

When will the Conservatives clearly state what price will have to be paid?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 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, Canada's economic action plan 2012 is of course our plan for jobs, economic growth and prosperity. It keeps taxes low, while focusing on a return to a balanced budget. We have found fair, balanced and moderate savings measures to reduce the deficit by reducing the size of the federal public service by 4% over three years.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is not about jobs. It is not about efficiencies or even cutting just backroom jobs. It is about cuts to the services that keep Canadians safe and healthy.

Conservatives did not campaign on these cuts. They never mentioned their plans to chop OAS. They never said a word about chopping food inspection or border services. Conservatives are now moving forward with billions in cuts by keeping Canadians in the dark about exactly which services they will now have to do without.

When did the Conservatives become so afraid of accountability?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 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, let me correct the record on several fronts. Seventy per cent of the savings that we have found and have been identified are operational efficiencies, and we are using the accepted practice.

The hon. members opposite seem to care about collective bargaining agreements. So do we, so we are informing the employees in a reasonable manner. That is the first thing we do. Then we inform the public. That is what we do in our estimates and in our quarterly reports, so all of that information is public.

It is good for the country to have a leaner, more affordable government.

National Parks
Oral Questions

May 1st, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we would like to talk about the consequences of these cuts, because the Conservatives refuse to so.

It was not enough for the Conservatives to eliminate the environmental assessment process; now they are attacking our national parks. Over 1,600 Parks Canada jobs are being cut. This will translate into shorter seasons and restricted access to parks and historic sites.

As an indirect result of these cuts, the regional tourism industry will lose a lot of money.

Why are the Conservatives attacking Canada's most beautiful natural sites?

National Parks
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to our national parks system. In fact, no other government has done as much to protect our natural spaces as this government.

At the same time, Parks Canada is doing its part to address deficit reduction. While Parks Canada is making changes, those changes are to ensure that we have appropriate staff numbers when the tourists and visitors attend.

National Parks
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister is ignoring his own findings. Last year the minister released a report showing that Parks Canada contributes more than $3 billion a year to our economy, and most of that is to small and local businesses.

Canada's national parks bring Canadians together and they draw tourists from around the world. Yet first the Conservatives are gutting the environmental assessment process, and now employee jobs are on the chopping block at Parks Canada.

Has the government calculated the impact of its reckless cuts on the tourism industry for Canada?

National Parks
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I compliment my colleague for her accurate quotation of my remarks last year, and in fact we do cherish the contribution that our national parks and other protected spaces do make to the GDP every year, directly and indirectly, more than $3 billion.

Because of that, we are also committed to increasing the total square kilometres of protected space in Canada. Since 2006, our government has added an area roughly equivalent to the size of Germany.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is clear the government just does not seem to get it, that cuts to parks, cuts to environmental protection hurt local economies.

Many coastal communities depend on the fishery and they depend on the laws that protect fish habitat.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is shirking his responsibility. He is abandoning our fishing industry, while giving the oil industry greater leeway to pollute and destroy fish habitat.

Why is the minister putting our oceans, our lakes and rivers and our fishing communities at risk?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is totally wrong in his questioning. We are refocusing our efforts away from farmers' fields and focusing on fish and fish habitat protection, as I said yesterday.

This has the support of many people, and I might like to mention one quote from the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, which says:

...municipalities have been paying inflated costs to accommodate the provisions of this Act for over 10 years. SARM thanks the federal government for these changes....

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is not about farmers' fields and drainage ditches. Nobody is buying that line, not even farmers. If that were the government's aim, it could have introduced minor changes to the act in order to deal with that problem.

Instead it has written amendments that, by the minister's own admission, will throw the doors open to major industrial projects at the expense of our fisheries.

When will the minister stop trying to hide his attack on fish protection behind law-abiding farmers?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about the way that DFO operates in certain jurisdictions. Farmers, cottage owners and the municipalities are all important and we are listening to them.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities also said:

The federal government has pledged to give the Fisheries Act more teeth by introducing enforcement provisions where none have existed before and giving regulators new legal tools to keep invasive species from entering Canada....

Municipal leaders have consistently called for common sense reforms in Ottawa that deliver better results for Canadians.

Statistics Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the industry and communities that rely on the fishery are going to pay the price for the Conservatives' insistence on attacking the Fisheries Act.

There are other cuts and other problems. The decision to cut 8% of Statistics Canada's budget is troubling. In addition to the budget cuts, the organization has to deal with reduced budgets at the other departments that fund its studies. We need statistics in order to help us understand the trends in economic cycles.

How can the government do without such important statistics on the economy?

Statistics Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave us a strong economic mandate, which means we have to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent as efficiently as possible.

Statistics Canada has identified savings in order to operate more efficiently while continuing to provide Canadians with top-notch statistics and services. That is the mandate Canadians want us to accomplish.