House of Commons Hansard #214 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was municipalities.

Topics

Claudette Boyer
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness that I attended a funeral service today honouring Claudette Boyer, a friend and ally for 35 years in both the Francophonie and Liberalism. She passed away on February 17 at the age of 75.

She began honing her skills in education as a teacher and a committed activist. She was the first francophone woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. A tireless worker and committed volunteer, she helped many community organizations and headed up the Association des communautés francophones d'Ottawa, or ACFO, from 2007 until her death.

Sadly, she passed away just four days before ACFO Ottawa's Bernard Grandmaître awards gala. This annual event recognizes remarkable francophones and francophiles. At this year's event, however, the most glowing tribute of all was paid to Claudette.

On behalf of the residents of Ottawa–Vanier, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the children of Claudette and her late husband Jean-Robert Boyer—Pierre, Michel and Julie—as well as their grandchildren and her entire family.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the NDP is scheming to ruin our economy by implementing a $20-billion job-killing carbon tax for Canadian families, our government is focusing on what matters to Canadians: jobs and economic growth.

Thanks to our Conservative government, Canada has the lowest debt burden by far, and we have the strongest job creation record in the G7, with over 900,000 net new jobs since July 2009. No wonder the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Association recently said, “The government’s policies with respect to taxes, technology, trade, training, and transformation are extremely important in setting the stage for the growth of advanced manufacturing industries in Canada”.

While we are working on making our economy stronger, the NDP's job-killing carbon tax would raise the price of gas, food, electricity and everything else. Our government will continue to protect Canadians from the NDP's reckless economic policies.

The Senate
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are cutting public services like crazy. Aboriginal Affairs will be cut by $480 million and CIDA by $471 million. VIA Rail Canada will lose 60% of its budget.

In the meantime, the budget of that relic we call the Senate continues to increase. Just ask any Canadian, regardless of their age or province, whether it is better to spend money on services and job creation or on an outdated institution like the Senate.

No one would choose to squander public funds on people who are unable to fill out a form and who just approve Conservative policies without even reading them. In fact, only the Liberals and Conservatives continue to feel entitled to have their parties' fundraisers subsidized by taxpayers.

While the Conservative expense scandal is heating up, with Senator Wallin—who did nothing wrong in the Prime Minister's eyes—having to pay back thousands of dollars, the Conservatives are nonetheless going to increase the Senate's overall budget while reducing that of the office of the Senate ethics officer.

The NDP has had enough of senators who cheat. In 2015, we are going to put a stop to this.

The New Democratic Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, as the days grow longer and temperatures slowly get warmer, we can feel the optimism of Canadians around us that spring is finally on its way. However, despite the warming of their spirits and the air around them, Canadians are still as cold as ever to the idea of a $20-billion NDP carbon tax. Who could blame them?

A new tax would literally raise the price on everything, cutting into the budgets of Canadian families from coast to coast to coast, families that are already feeling financial pressure. A new tax would diminish disposable income, limiting the choices of Canadians and what they could afford. A new tax would place a significant burden on our seniors and veterans who are living on fixed incomes.

That being said, there is one idea that my constituents and Canadians across the country are warm to. It is the government's low-tax plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when a Conservative minister in the Mulroney government phoned a judge about a case he was considering, he was dropped from cabinet. When a Liberal minister wrote to the CRTC about a case before it, he was dropped from cabinet. Recently, when the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs wrote to the Tax Court about a case before it, he was dropped from cabinet.

The Ethics Commissioner has made a determination that the Minister of Finance used his title as finance minister to write to the CRTC about a case before it. What excuse has the Prime Minister come up with to not apply that strong tradition of this Parliament to the finance minister?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the NDP knows well, there was an administrative error in that case. The Ethics Commissioner has required a compliance agreement from the Minister of Finance, which he has agreed to. In the meantime, he continues to be the best minister of finance in the world.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on February 1, the Minister of Human Resources told the House: “Departmental employees do not have individual quotas.”

She said that allegations of a quota system were “absolutely false”. The problem is that they are absolutely true. Just because she used her thesaurus to find a synonym for quota does not mean that a quota system is not being used.

When employees are faced with a target of $500,000 that will affect their careers if they do not meet it, that is a quota.

What excuse does the Prime Minister have to justify the behaviour of his minister, who is not telling the truth?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadian workers contribute to the employment insurance system so that it is available to them when they need it.

Clearly, HRSDC is trying to ensure that workers who contribute to the system have access to it should they become unemployed.

Any abuse of the system only hurts unemployed workers who really need that help.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, allegations of corruption in the Senate continue unabated. We have two more senators under investigation as of today.

What is interesting is that last week, the Prime Minister told the House that he had personally reviewed the cases of Duffy and Wallin and that there was nothing wrong, which is all the more interesting given the fact that they have decided to reimburse hundreds of thousands of dollars they were not entitled to receive.

There has not been one word yet, formally, from him on how much money has been repaid or on which senators are currently under investigation. Instead of just talking about taxpayers' money, would the Prime Minister finally stand up and say that he is going to defend Canadian taxpayers and hold the unelected Senate to account?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear, as has the Senate and as have all senators. They are reviewing all of their expenses to ensure not only that the expenses are appropriate but that the rules in the future for governing such expenses are appropriate. That is a commitment that has been made on this side.

As far as taxpayers' interests are concerned, that is always our focus, which is why, of course, we reject a $21-billion carbon tax.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is still a common thread in these different exercises: one set of rules for some people and a different set for others.

When a minister is given the right to tell the opposite of the truth in the House, it shows a lack of respect for our democratic parliamentary institutions.

How are the Conservative senators who are members of his caucus supposed to come to a decision other than the one that was already announced by the Prime Minister himself? The Prime Minister said in the House that he looked over the Wallin case and that there was no problem.

Does he really believe that the investigation will be objective?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as we just said, our senators and the Senate are reviewing all of their expenses to ensure that they are appropriate. That is a clear commitment that the government and the Senate have made.

As far as our democratic institutions are concerned, our party is the one proposing Senate reforms that will allow for senators to be elected. It is the NDP that is resisting the idea of a reformed, elected Senate, which is what Canadians want.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is rich coming from a party that used unelected senators to overturn Jack Layton's climate change bill duly enacted by the Parliament of Canada.

In 2009 the international community failed spectacularly to prevent atrocities committed against Tamil civilians in the final months of the Sri Lankan civil war. The government of Sri Lanka has refused to accept accountability for these events ever since.

If no investigation occurs, as being asked for right now in the United Nations, will the Prime Minister commit to stay away from the upcoming Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. It is this party that is trying to get the Senate elected; it is that party which is resisting Senate elections. We all know why. It is not because of abolition because those members have never actually seriously proposed it. It is because we know, as we knew during the 2008-09 coalition exercise, that they want to appoint their own senators. That is why.

In terms of the question on Sri Lanka, as the House knows, I have indicated that unless changes occur in Sri Lanka, I will not attend the Commonwealth summit there. I am concerned with further developments since I made that statement, which are taking that country in a worse direction.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

February 26th, 2013 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government may have Inspector Clouseau in charge in the Senate, but it is clear that it has Inspecteur Javert in charge when it comes to employment insurance.

This two-headed monster and this double standard means that for the first time inspectors are going out to talk to Canadians with respect to employment insurance whether or not they have any reason to believe there has been any instance of fraud or of misleading in the case of the person they are interviewing. This is the first time in Canadian history that this has been done.

Could the Prime Minister confirm that managers will be receiving bonuses, depending on the performance of those agents who are going out.