House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was centre.

Topics

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, why does the minister not go and visit Trepassy, Arnold's Cove, Burgeo and the other rural outports that will be losing their DFO offices? Try to explain to those people how job losses and shutdowns are going to somehow make the fisheries better. Explain how they will be able to regulate the fisheries with no local office.

Consider this an invitation. Will the minister come with me to these outports to explain to the people why the Conservative government is abandoning them?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. A consolidation of conservation and protection offices will improve the overall efficiencies the conservation and protection program will provide for a more strategic deployment of limited resources to higher-risk areas.

Parliamentary Budget Officer
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are closing the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices after announcing the dismantling of the Fisheries Act. This is just one more institution that is being attacked, much like the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

The Conservatives have basically told the Parliamentary Budget Officer to get lost, when he is merely asking for numbers that, under the Conservatives' own law, should be provided to him. Imagine—he might have to take them to court just to do his job.

Why are the Conservatives hiding information from an independent officer of Parliament, whose only job is to check the government's numbers?

Parliamentary Budget Officer
Oral Questions

2:40 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, that is not the case. We will continue to report to Parliament through all the usual channels, including the estimates, the quarterly financial reports and the public accounts.

As usual, with budget 2012, we are supporting an economic action plan to boost our economy, fight unemployment, create jobs and encourage economic growth. That is our goal, and with budget 2012, we will succeed.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the law is clear. The Parliamentary Budget Officer is mandated to provide MPs with independent analysis of budgets, estimates and spending. The objective is ensuring MPs are not voting blind on fiscal measures.

Despite promises of openness and accountability, the Conservatives continue to withhold key information on cuts from the PBO and from Parliament. The Parliament of Canada Act requires the government to disclose this information.

Why are Conservatives refusing to comply with their own accountability laws?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:40 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 the hon. member well knows as she has been in this place long enough, there are a number of different ways and means that this government reports to Parliament and through Parliament to the people of Canada. We do so through the estimates, we do so through the quarterly financial reports and we do so with the public accounts.

We also think it is important, if there are to be changes in the workplace, that we contact the workers first so they can go through their workforce adjustment. That is the compassionate thing to do.

I am surprised that the hon. member, who purports to come from a party that is on the side of the workers, is not in fact on that side.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, under the Federal Accountability Act, the PBO has an absolute right to full and timely access to financial data.

After the Auditor General's scathing report on the F-35 costs, I asked the PBO to get an update. DND blew off the PBO with a non-response which looked eerily similar to the minister's non-responses in question period.

Is this what transparency and accountability look like under the ultra-secretive government which takes no prisoners?

National Defence
Oral Questions

June 6th, 2012 / 2:45 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is wrong.

In actual fact, the Minister of National Defence and I appeared for four hours before the committee of the whole, where we answered over 100 questions from all opposition parties. I have also dutifully answered several hundred F-35 questions and disclosed a myriad of documents to the opposition during the past year.

We have been open and forthright. It is unfortunate that the member opposite has not been listening.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, MPs must make informed decisions, especially on a budget cutting $5.2 billion and slashing 19,200 jobs. Yet the government will not release vital information to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Providing information to the PBO is more than an election promise; it is a legal duty.

Why did the Prime Minister order his deputy minister to stall who and what the government was cutting until it was politically convenient? When will the government actually adhere to its own Federal Accountability Act by giving that information to Parliament and the PBO?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:45 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, at the risk of repeating myself, I would remark that we are reporting to Parliament precisely in the normal means, through the estimates, the quarterly financial reports and the public accounts. We also have an obligation to the workers who report to us to inform them of any changes in the workplace that might affect them through workforce adjustment. Then we do our reports to Parliaments.

This is the normal way that the government reacts to changes in its expenses. We do report to Parliament and through that to the people of Canada. The people of Canada want to know that we are focused on jobs and economic opportunity.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I see that while the emperor is in Europe, the court jester is here.

The problem we have right now is that not only does the union agree with this, but the government is required by law to give all the information to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

What do the Conservatives have to hide? Which public servant are they going to try to blame? It is not complicated. The law must be enforced. We want to know. Why are the Conservatives preventing the Parliamentary Budget Officer from having all the information? Everyone agrees except the Conservatives, who have something to hide.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:45 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, this is not about the union. If we decided to inform workers first, it is because we have compassion for them. Of course, as I said earlier, we then have the obligation in this House to inform Parliament and the Canadian public through the usual channels, such as the estimates, the quarterly financial reports and the public accounts. That is normal. That is how it usually works.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the search for the truth into why a young Canadian soldier killed himself after returning from Afghanistan is being blocked by the Conservatives.

The Minister of National Defence has prevented the release of documents about his department's investigation into the case and many of the documents that have been released to the inquiry are censored.

How can we avoid another tragic incident like this one if the minister is making it impossible for the commission to get to the bottom of this? Why will he not release the documents?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are deeply saddened by this tragedy.

The Government of Canada has reiterated its commitment to co-operating with the commission and within the proper limits of the commission's mandate and the law. That is exactly what we have been doing.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is the only person who has the authority to release the crucial documents in this case. The commissioner has said that the government's action “flies in the face of seeking the truth.”

This is not just about a specific case; it is about the government doing everything it can to meet the needs of the thousands of soldiers coming back home, suffering from psychological or physical injuries.

Why will the Minister of National Defence not do the right thing, release the documents and let the inquiry do its job without censorship?