House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was changes.

Topics

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the government will continue to report to Parliament through the means that have been used for many years. They includes the estimates, the supplementary estimates, quarterly reports and the public accounts. Based our current collective bargaining arrangements with our employees, we are working with the departments to inform unions and employees of any affected changes. We think we owe it to them to tell them first before they learn about it on television.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they are breaking the law.

The President of the Treasury Board said that he could not give specific information about the cuts because of the unions. Yet the unions have written to the Clerk of the Privy Council specifically asking that that information be made public. MPs are about to vote on this omnibus bill at third reading without having all pertinent information, and even government members are starting to complain. By hiding this information, the Conservatives are wilfully breaking the law. That is an order that only a prime minister can give.

When will the Conservatives start respecting law and order?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we had unprecedented debate about budget 2012 in the House and in committee. We sat for more than a full day, 24 hours, discussing, debating and voting on the bill just last week. We will continue to have more debate on this important legislation.

What we cannot debate is the reality that this government is on the right track when it comes to the economy. The Prime Minister, right now, is meeting with world leaders, and they all look to Canada as an island of stability. That has happened because of the fiscal measures taken by this government, and we are very proud of them.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the law is crystal clear. The Federal Accountability Act requires that members of Parliament be given “free and timely access to any financial or economic data in the possession of the department”. That is the law. Financial and economic data sounds like the sort of thing that Conservative members might like to see themselves before they vote on the budget.

Why is the Prime Minister showing his own MPs such blatant disrespect?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is this government that held unprecedented consultations in preparing budget 2012. It is a plan for long-term economic growth and prosperity. It has low taxes and balances the budget, and those are absolutely key and essential to creating a good economic climate.

Those of us on this side of the House consulted for many months leading up to that budget. We have had an unprecedented amount of debate in Parliament and committee, and we saw last week, more than 157 times, the House vote full confidence in the measures brought forward by the Minister of Finance for job creation and economic growth. He should respect that as well.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise that the Conservatives are hiding information on the budget. Cuts to services are going to be worse than previously announced. More jobs will be lost and government services will be jeopardized. By refusing to share this information, the Conservatives are asking their own members to cast a blind vote. Legal opinions are clear: the Conservatives are breaking the law.

Why are the Conservatives refusing to properly inform the Parliamentary Budget Officer? Why so many blind votes?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 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. As was clearly shown in Canada's economic action plan 2012, we have found fair, balanced and moderate savings measures to reduce the deficit.

We have a plan to make sure that we continue to grow jobs and economic opportunity in this country and we are in the midst of implementing that plan.

Pensions
Oral Questions

June 18th, 2012 / 2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know that the facts have a well-known anti-Conservative bias. However, even though it is on the chopping block, the very last Statistics Canada report on labour and income dynamics that was released today shows that over the last few years, seniors' income has declined and the number of seniors living in poverty has increased.

The Conservatives' cuts to old age security and the guaranteed income supplement only hurt seniors more. Why are the Conservatives ignoring the facts and punishing seniors with this Trojan Horse budget bill?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in fact, we have done just the opposite. We have helped seniors become better off. Through our tax cuts—and there have been over 150 of them in the last few years—380,000 seniors are no longer having to pay tax. That is money that they are keeping in their pockets. We have also increased the guaranteed income supplement by record amounts in the last 20 years.

We have done a lot to help seniors. Unfortunately, the NDP has voted against every one of those initiatives to help our seniors be better off.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer is an officer created by Parliament. This office was promoted by the government as a new way of adding to accountability and transparency, so when the government says that it is doing all the things it normally does, well, the government has not adjusted to the “new normal”, which is that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has a right to free and timely access to economic and financial data.

The simple question to the government is this: why is it showing not only contempt for Parliament but contempt also for its own backbenches, for the Parliamentary Budget Officer and for the law?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, when this government sought election this past year in May 2011, we came forward with a solid economic plan to create jobs and opportunity. Part of that was to reign in government expenditures and to live within our means. The other part was to grow the economy to create more jobs.

We will continue to report to Parliament through the estimates, the supplementary estimates, the quarterly reports and the public accounts and we will continue to be fully accountable to this House.

What the leader of the Liberal Party needs to do is join this government and be focused on job creation and long-term economic growth. That is the real priority of Canadians.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have only been gone for three days and I am already getting an offer from the government.

However, I can assure members that unlike the Leader of the Opposition, this does not come from me but from the government. Let the record show that.

The problem is this: this is not an extraordinary request. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has the right to have access to the information. However, the government is refusing to give him that information. The Reform Party of Canada was elected to ensure that the executive was accountable to Parliament.

What happened to the Reform Party?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this party is the party that was elected on a plan for job creation and economic growth. We are focused on delivering that for Canadians. We have seen the creation of more than 750,000 net new jobs since the recession ended. It is that type of focus, commitment to job creation and economic growth that has made Canada an island of stability.

We will continue to report to Parliament through the normal means, whether through the estimates, the supplementary estimates, public accounts, or quarterly reports. We will continue to provide Parliament with the important work that it needs to undertake.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough. The government is denying the fact that it created a new job, the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The government created it by reforming the laws affecting Parliament and parliamentary scrutiny. That was not simply coming from the opposition; it was coming from the government.

How can the minister stand in his place when he was the minister then and pretend that there is no such person as the Parliamentary Budget Officer? The Parliamentary Budget Officer is not fiction; it is a real job that requires real scrutiny. Why does the government not--

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.