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House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghanistan.

Topics

Parliament of CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I already said there is no compromise on confidence. That is the answer.

Now, I have a question for the leader of the NDP. David Chartrand, of the Métis nation, has said that the leader of the NDP assured him there would be a meeting between the first ministers and the first nations. Is that true? If so, does he intend to keep his word?

Parliament of CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a very simple way to achieve everything that needs to be done this fall, including the first ministers meeting with the first nations. That is for the Prime Minister to get off his high horse and compromise, to recognize the majority will in the House and what we had proposed in the House, which would accomplish the first ministers meeting, the work to be done during the fall, avoid an election in the holiday period and allow for Justice Gomery's report to be in front of voters when they vote.

Everything the Prime Minister wants to do, we are democratically requesting in the House that he do. Why does he ignore it?

Parliament of CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, David Chartrand of the Métis Nation said at noon today that in a 25 minute telephone conversation with the leader of the NDP last week, the leader of the NDP assured him that the first ministers meeting with aboriginal leaders would take place.

The leader of the NDP is in a position to carry through on that promise. Is he a man of principle? Will he carry through on his promise?

Keeseekoose First NationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that there is a cover-up taking place at Keeseekoose, but that is not a surprise because the Liberals do not want anyone to know what is going on at the reserve.

The Indian affairs department spent $9 million to build a school for only 250 students. How can a school for 250 students cost that much? We know that over $600,000 was stolen from the school account. How much of that $9 million for a new school was stolen from the children of Keeseekoose? What is the minister trying to hide?

Keeseekoose First NationOral 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, as I have said many times, the first nation reported this to the RCMP, which investigated. Charges have been laid. It is before the courts.

Keeseekoose First NationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, bank records show that money from the St. Phillip's school account was withdrawn from at least five different casinos in Saskatchewan. In fact, in Casino Regina alone there were over 40 separate withdrawals totalling over $18,000.

When the Liberals heard these allegations of theft and corruption, did they call the police? No. They called a nomination meeting because they had just found the perfect Liberal candidate. When will the minister admit he is turning his back on the children of St. Phillip's school?

Keeseekoose First NationOral 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, this first nation did the appropriate thing when financial irregularities were found. It called the RCMP, an investigation was conducted and charges were laid. This is now before the courts.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 2003 the Liberal government was approached by André Demarais, president of Power Corp., to purchase the Skyline Complex. Even though public works was warned about the mould problems within the complex, the government went ahead and bought the building for $92 million without any open tendering process.

How is it possible that the son-in-law of a Liberal Prime Minister can show up and convince the government to spend $92 million for a building that is rife with rot without any public tendering process? How do they do that?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that public works, on an ongoing basis, monitors real estate markets to find the best possible real estate and office space for our employees at the best possible value for the Canadian taxpayer.

This building was purchased, was renovated, was brought up to standard for public servants and does represent both principles: the best value for the taxpayer and appropriate quality office space for the Canadian public servant.

Beyond that, the hon. member is basing his allegation on an unsubstantiated media report that had its facts wrong. I would urge him to call my department. We will set up a briefing so he can learn the facts.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, if he wants to talk about the renovations, let us look at these renovations. After spending $92 million to buy the building, to add insult to injury the government spent $82 million to renovate the building to downgrade it. Everybody knows the government could have built a brand new building for far less.

The minister makes hollow promises about fixing the rot in government building purchases. The truth is that the real rot that has to be fixed is the rot in the Liberal Party, those people who believe they are entitled to their entitlements. Is it not time that the Canadian people threw every single one of them out of this place?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services may respond if he wants. I am not sure what this question has to do with the administrative responsibility of the government.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I will gladly respond to that non-question. The fact is that this government is committed to getting the best possible value for the Canadian taxpayer, which is why in the Department of Public Works and Government Services, through our changes to real estate practices and our strengthening governance, we will save over a billion dollars over the next five years for the Canadian taxpayer by adopting businesslike practices within our department and managing our real estate portfolio more effectively.

We are walking the walk over here, defending the interests of Canadian taxpayers. They are just talking the talk over there.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has just announced a number of federal government interventions, in the areas of education and skills training in particular.

How can the federal government justify taking advantage of a reinvestment in education to meddle so obviously in areas of responsibility that belong wholly to the Government of Quebec?

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would again encourage the Bloc members to re-read the economic update. There is absolutely no question of getting into areas of provincial jurisdiction. It is a matter of continuing what is already being done under agreements with the provinces.

We have a country-wide loan and scholarship system. Quebec has its own and can continue to opt out. A trust fund will be set up that Quebec will have access to.

As for skills training, they may have forgotten, but my colleague here has even signed a skills training agreement with Quebec.

We in this Canadian federation are working together.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has announced its intention to intervene with social assistance recipients and even to repair class rooms in educational institutions.

How can the federal government claim to be respecting the jurisdiction of the Government of Quebec when it is going so far as intruding into our very classrooms?

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I challenge the hon. member to show me exactly where it says that we were going to intervene directly in the classrooms of Quebec. No way would that be the case.

What we have said is that a trust fund would be in place and accessible to all provinces, who would then determine their own priorities and have access to the trust fund as needed. Our federation is extremely flexible.

Economic StatementOral Questions

November 15th, 2005 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite figures to the contrary, the government continues to deny the existence of the fiscal imbalance. Instead of resolving this issue once and for all, it showed, yesterday, that it is more interested in buying votes for the next election than in resolving the fundamental issue.

How can the government claim to have learned from the sponsorship scandal, after yesterday's exercise in blackmailing the public, again using our money to benefit the Liberals.

Economic StatementOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, obviously, nothing makes the Bloc happy. It complains, criticizes and objects but it will never admit that the Canadian economy is in good shape and that this is good for all Quebeckers. This is exactly what my colleague from Finance told Canadians, including Quebeckers, yesterday. Canada is lucky to have a strong economy and every one of us will benefit as a result.

Economic StatementOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc, like the people of Quebec, is not happy about being blackmailed: if you fail to vote Liberal, you will not get a tax cut. We have heard this song and dance before.

Is not the attitude of federal ministers proof that nothing has changed in the land of the Liberals? They have the same mindset that they did during the sponsorship scandal. The end justifies the means. That is the reality and that was what we saw yesterday.

Economic StatementOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, nothing has changed in Bloc land. They continue to see themselves as victims, they continue to complain and to object. It is quite clear that the Bloc will never be able to offer Quebeckers tax cuts, because they will never lead this country; they will always be the opposition. I do not know how this will benefit Quebeckers.

Unlike them, we are in a position to tell Quebeckers our vision for the future, what we see for them, and how we can face the challenges of the global economy. This is what being a real government is all about.

AirportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Pearson Airport, Air Canada's major hub, will see its airport taxes to Ottawa increase by 14%, up to $151 million this year. This tax increase will be passed on to travellers with a new fee that was announced today. Pearson is already the world's most expensive airport and it just became even more expensive.

How can the Liberals justify increasing taxes on what already is the world's most expensive airport, hurting air travellers, hurting the air industry and putting at risk 70,000 people who work at Pearson Airport?

AirportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, rent represents 14% of the airport's budget. The debt load will go up to 51% by 2009. The problem is not with the rent. The problem is with the debt load. Also Pearson Airport uses less of its concessions. Concessions all around the country represent 40% of revenue. At Pearson it is only 20%. It has to smarten up on that too.

AirportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is often hard to lower debt when the government comes in year after year with increased taxes. Since 1998, landing fees at Pearson Airport have increased 298%. The cost of landing a 747 at Pearson Airport is $13,000. At Tokyo Airport, the second most expensive airport in the world, it is $7,300.

Liberals are taxing Pearson Airport into the ground. Every stakeholder in the city of Toronto wants taxes lowered. The government has done nothing, and Toronto wants to know why?

AirportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we know that the rent is only 14% of the expenses at Pearson. The rent is going to go down by $5 billion over the course of the lease. That lease was signed by the same administrators. Now $5 billion less for rent at Pearson Airport is pretty good news to me.

EqualizationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives have been fighting for a fair equalization deal for Saskatchewan for years, but all along the Liberal finance minister has been fudging the surplus numbers and telling the people in Saskatchewan that they do not deserve a fair deal.

We want the same fair deal as Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. We want the Liberals to stop clawing back over 90% of our oil and gas revenues. That money should benefit the people of Saskatchewan, not a Liberal government trying to spend its way out of scandal.

Why is the finance minister still refusing to give a fair deal to Saskatchewan?