House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was years.

Topics

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on that particular score, surely the Prime Minister is not denying the fact that Mr. Rideout, in calling about the health of his father, was routed to a doctor in Rome. The doctor in Rome did not know where the call was coming from and wanted to know what kind of fishing was going on. Mr. Rideout was so frustrated he hung up the phone, came back and phoned the CBC about the rerouting that had taken place.

Why would the Prime Minister stand in his place and give the House false information with respect to the situation of the--

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of National Defence have provided radio medical service to mariners in Atlantic Canada through service providers in Halifax for many years, and we continue to do so.

As in the past, an internationally recognized service provider has been used in the event that backup is required.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Some backup, Mr. Speaker.

There is so much in the bill that would give additional powers to the cabinet, which effectively means giving additional powers to the Prime Minister, particularly with respect to the issues around environment, environmental assessment and environmental regulations. The Prime Minister's reaction in opposition was so completely different when all of these powers were being accumulated around the office and person of the prime minister.

What is the government going to do to resist the inevitable, dictatorial tendencies to give power to one person and one person only with respect to public policy issues?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party should actually read the sections of the bill in question. They cannot be adequately categorized in that way whatsoever.

What is being done in the area of environmental assessment is to ensure we still have thorough environmental assessments but that there will be a defined timeline within which judgments and advice have to be rendered. That time can be up to two years, which is plenty of time. That is the kind of certainty that investors are looking for.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes, I did read the bill, and it is here and here and here. This bill gives extraordinary powers to cabinet.

Everyone knows what cabinet means. It is the power held by one man, in this case, the Prime Minister. This is a huge change that gives even more power to the Prime Minister and none to Parliament or to Canadians. That is the problem.

Why is the Prime Minister doing this?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. What we are doing with environmental assessments is ensuring a clear timeline. That is vital to the certainty of our investments.

I completely reject the Liberal leader's analysis.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a result of the budget cuts, 12 different government agencies will lose their internal auditors. That is Conservative-style transparency.

The role of the auditors is to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent properly. The Conservatives are therefore in favour of allowing millions of dollars to be spent without any oversight. They are leaving the door wide open to abuse.

Why do the Conservatives think that government spending does not have to be supervised? Are they hoping to spend money however they want?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

May 10th, 2012 / 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, funding agencies have reviewed some back office operations, and this is something they do internally to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The Office of the Comptroller General of Canada already serves 47 government organizations and has all the necessary know-how to provide auditing services for all the regional development agencies.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have seen examples where the Conservatives' lack of transparency led to abuses. Look at the G8 slush fund. Indeed, there is cause for concern when the government announces its intention to cut the auditing powers of the Auditor General.

We have even seen the Conservatives refuse to allow the Auditor General to testify before the parliamentary committee. They want to silence the person responsible for ensuring that taxpayers' money is spent properly.

Why do the Conservatives want to take away the Auditor General's powers?

Government Spending
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, I believe in the particular case the hon. member is referencing, the Auditor General makes his own decisions on what audits he does. That is independent of the government and indeed, I would think, of this House. He is an independent agent who reports to this chamber. We have not had any impact on his decisions.

Parliamentary Budget Office
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the creation of the Parliamentary Budget Office and the 2006 Accountability Act were to mark the beginning of a new era of greater transparency. Six years later, though, the Conservatives are dismantling their own law.

When the Parliamentary Budget Officer tries to do his job, he is muzzled by the government and attacked by Conservative ministers. In fact, 75 of 83 departments have even refused to reply to him.

This government established the Parliamentary Budget Office. So why is the government preventing the Parliamentary Budget Officer from doing his job?

Parliamentary Budget Office
Oral Questions

2:30 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, we will continue to report to Parliament by the normal means, including the estimates, quarterly financial reports and the public accounts process.

Of course our budget 2012 is a plan that is focused on jobs and opportunity throughout our country, and part of that is reducing the deficit by a total of 2%. In terms of reductions, I think that is fair, modest and moderate.

Parliamentary Budget Office
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, from name calling by the Minister of Finance to attacks by the Minister of National Defence for revealing the real cost of the F-35, make no mistake, the PBO is under attack by Conservatives who want to hide from oversight.

Out of 83 departments, 75 ignored his requests for basic information about planned cuts, and 90% of government departments even refused to answer him. When did Conservatives become so afraid of accountability? Will the government stop obstructing the PBO and let him do his job?

Parliamentary Budget Office
Oral Questions

2:30 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, as I have already said before, and the hon. member, I am sure, knows this, we have obligations to report to Parliament, which we take very seriously.

We will continue to report to Parliament through the normal means, including the estimates, the quarterly financial reports and the public accounts process of this chamber. We do have some obligations to our employees to inform them first if there are any changes in their status. We take that seriously as well.