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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was surplus.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

We will have a little order, please.

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec has already devoted a great deal of effort to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions, and its per capita emissions are twice as low as the Canada-wide figure and six times as low as Alberta's. Yet the federal government refuses to take this glaring reality into consideration in its Kyoto action plan.

Does the Prime Minister admit that, if the government wants an agreement with Quebec, it must start with tangible recognition for the efforts already made by Quebec to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has already said that his door is always open to his counterparts in Quebec or the other provinces. As a Quebecker, I know that we are all proud of the progress made in Quebec.

We do, however, have a greenhouse gas emission problem and we must all work together to achieve the necessary results.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, based on the polluter-pay principle, rather than polluter-paid, the Quebec environment minister, who can hardly be described as sovereignist, or a PQ or Bloc supporter, has said, “Alberta will be cleaned up at taxpayers' expense”. He went on, “I do not believe Mr. Klein needs Quebeckers' tax dollars to clean up his industry”.

Are we to understand that not only does the government refuse to compensate Quebec for past efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but that it also wants Quebeckers to ante up twice?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have just said that the Minister of the Environment is certainly prepared to sit down with his counterpart to discuss this, and intends to do so.

I would, moreover, like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Minister of the Environment on receiving the International Fund for Animal Welfare Animal Action Award yesterday. This is a Minister of the Environment who has the environment of Quebec and all of Canada at heart.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec environment minister, Thomas Mulcair, clearly has had it with his federal counterpart. He said, “—the word disdainful does not go far enough to describe what I encountered, and that upsets me”.

Will the Prime Minister again tell us that everything is going well between his government and the Government of Quebec, when things have rarely been this heated?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we will not be the ones heating things up. This issue is far too important. Climate change, the impact of human activity on the climate, is probably the most serious ecological problem threatening this planet and humanity in this century. The government will do its part, everywhere in Canada, including Quebec.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Mulcair described the federal environment minister's position on the Kyoto protocol as stonewalling. These harsh words come on the heels of equally harsh words from Benoît Pelletier last week.

Does the Prime Minister not understand that his government is barking up the wrong tree with its attitude that Ottawa knows all, Ottawa knows best, and all that the governments of Quebec and the provinces need to do is comply?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the plan is based on the inventiveness of all Canadians. It is a plan that will help create a carbon credit trading market that will provide Canadian firms and municipalities with funding to support their inventiveness in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, whenever required. If there is one thing I have confidence in, it is the inventiveness of Quebeckers.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the degrading, dehumanizing and disgusting conditions in Kashechewan have appalled Canadians.

These people deserve respect. They deserve better than being told to bathe their babies in rancid water. They deserve better than constant flooding and third world conditions. They need a new community on high ground, as proposed by the first nations originally before the federal government put their community in a sunken flood plain.

Will the Prime Minister commit today to rebuild the community on higher ground, and if not, why not?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have already stated in the House, our first priority is in fact the well-being of members of the community. We are very concerned about this totally unacceptable situation. It is for that reason that the Minister of Indian Affairs has already stood up in the House and said that he will be announcing, after he has had a chance to talk to the aboriginal leadership, the government's action plan.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will be watching to see that this is not another empty promise to first nations.

I would like to now turn to the Chaoulli decision, which the NDP has said will produce more privatization in the health care system.

Now we have Liberal Senator Kirby saying the same thing. He says that the court decision will produce more privatization. The difference between us is that this Liberal likes it.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will he bring in rules or, more to the point, why will he not agree to rules to protect public health care and stop privatization now that even Liberals agree it is happening?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that we want to strengthen the public health care system. That is why we have been working very hard with the provinces and territories to strengthen public health care.

I invite the member who just spoke to come and work with us to ensure that we strengthen the public health care system. We need to work with the provinces. We need to reduce wait times. We need to provide quality care in a timely fashion to all Canadians. That is the answer to Chaoulli.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jeremy Harrison Conservative Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Indian Affairs knew all about the drinking water situation in Kashechewan eight weeks ago. On August 19, reserve representatives personally gave the minister documents stating that “sewage is continually being exhausted into the source of the community's water supply. This situation must be addressed immediately”.

This morning at the aboriginal affairs committee, Chief Friday testified that the Indian affairs minister received this information and has done nothing for the past eight weeks. When will this minister resign?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the leadership in the community at the time asked us to look at this proposal. They are sick of band-aid solutions. They need a long term solution for the conditions in their community and that is exactly what this government is going to deliver.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jeremy Harrison Conservative Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister is right: the people of Kashechewan are sick and it is because of his negligence.

Chief Friday further testified this morning that when the Indian affairs minister visited Kashechewan last week he refused to drink the water or stay in the community because the water was contaminated. If the minister knew the water was not good enough for him, why was it good enough for the people of Kashechewan?

When will this minister resign?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, after having met with the community in August, after having worked on the solution that those people deserve as Canadians, I went there when this happened because that process was taken over by this emergency and I felt I owed it to that community. I heard from them and we will in fact deal with those conditions in that community.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a member of this House, as a Canadian, I am ashamed at what has happened at Kashechewan. That this would go on in my country, one of the richest in the world, is a pox on the government, a pox on our country and a pox on all of us. The government knew two years ago that Kashechewan was a tragedy waiting to happen, yet it did nothing. The Minister of Indian Affairs has utterly failed the people of Kashechewan.

The Prime Minister just said in this House that the situation is totally unacceptable. When will he replace his Minister of Indian Affairs with someone more competent?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I cannot tell you the number of times that I have sat in this House with this Minister of Indian Affairs as another initiative taken by this government to improve the quality of life of aboriginal Canadians was done and I have watched the Leader of the Opposition and his party vote against it. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen aboriginal leaders in the gallery looking down at this House while the opposition voted against an improvement to their quality of life. We take no lessons from those members.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable. Some of the most vulnerable live in Kashechewan and their treatment speaks for itself: substandard housing, substandard health care, and water that causes scabies, impetigo and hepatitis. This is a stain on all of us. Even more alarming, in the last 10 years under the Liberal government, the number of aboriginal communities living with unsafe drinking water has increased from 25% to 75%.

My question again is, when will the Prime Minister ask his Minister of Indian Affairs to resign?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the solution in Kashechewan is not another band-aid. The solution is long term, permanent investment in that community. That is what they asked for. That is what they are going to get.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, Tuesday, in response to a question from the leader of the official opposition on the softwood lumber issue, the Prime Minister said, and I quote, “We will not negotiate unless we have signs that NAFTA will be respected”. But just yesterday, he told this House, and I quote him again, “We are in the midst of tough negotiations”.

Could the Prime Minister tell this House which of these two statements made 24 hours apart is the right one: the one he made on Tuesday, where he said they would not negotiate, or the one made on Wednesday, when he told us they were in the midst of tough negotiations with the Americans on the softwood lumber issue?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we have said two things.

First, we said that NAFTA had to be respected. Second, we have always said that we were seeking a long term and durable resolution to this dispute.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, as for the Minister of International Trade, he stated in this House on Monday that they “would be prepared at some point to sit down and negotiate”. We will recall that, yesterday, the Prime Minister said that they were in the midst of tough negotiations with the Americans.

We would like to know which one of them is confused. They probably both are.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the answer is the same.