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House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

No, Mr. Speaker, I will not confirm that because the hon. gentleman obviously has difficulty reading a balance sheet. He is referring to two fiscal years that are three years apart and he is drawing the wrong conclusions.

This government believes that we can have a good, solid competitive tax policy and also a very strong environmental policy and housing policy all at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, that answer is patently absurd in light of the environment commissioner's own report today, so my next question is for the Minister of the Environment.

The environment commissioner said that “bold announcements” are being made but forgotten before “the confetti hits the ground”. No wonder she is angry. It is the same anger Canadians feel. Our government gets up and lectures the world about how important climate change is, but we do not have the guts to impose fuel emission standards on cars. Can the minister explain why 10 states have such standards but Canada does not?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say first that the government welcomes the report of the commissioner and accepts all her recommendations. They are going in the same direction as the plans that the Prime Minister has for climate change and the environmental policy as such; it is project green.

I want to say that what the hon. member has said is wrong. Canada has standards for cars. They need to decrease their emissions by 25%. It is a measurement and there is a trajectory. If they do not increase their energy efficiency by 25%, we will regulate, but we are comfortable that they will do it because they have a commitment toward the Canadian people.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Questions

September 29th, 2005 / 2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have just seen ministers defend Mr. Dingwall because they said he did not break the rules. He did break the rules. It is expressly forbidden for lobbyists to receive contingency fees when they help to secure a Technology Partnerships Canada grant for their clients.

In spite of this rule, former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall received at least $350,000 as a reward for securing a TPC grant and he sees nothing wrong with this. Yet this government is not pursuing Mr. Dingwall or any other lobbyist who has defrauded the taxpayers by receiving kickbacks. Why will this government not force Mr. Dingwall to return this fee to the government, to the taxpayers of Canada?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member knows that there is a prohibition against companies paying contingency fees to lobbyists under the technology partnerships program. We have dealt with the company. The company was in breach of contract. The company can deal with Mr. Dingwall. We have recovered the money.

I might also say that the technology partnerships program has led to $14 billion plus in research and development and innovation in Canadian companies

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is unbelievable. This thing is a racket. The taxpayers of this country deserve some respect. There is no punishment for those who break the rules because in fact the lobbyists may be allowed to keep the money they take, against the government's own rules.

The fact is that David Dingwall is not alone. Up to 15 lobbyists have received kickbacks for securing TPC grants. The minister admitted yesterday that this number could be growing. Why is this government not going after former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall? Why is it not standing up for Canadian taxpayers?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, if only the hon. member would remind himself that nearly 90% of the companies that are assisted under Technology Partnerships Canada are small companies. The Government of Canada is in the business of supporting small businesses in Canada and helping them to become competitive, not in the business of punishing them.

We are getting the money back, we are correcting the breaches and that is the right thing to do.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been a year since the government ordered a partial audit of the TPC program and still we have no answers. Thirty-three contracts have been audited. Eleven, one in three, have been found to have been in breach. It looks like there are eleven more David Dingwalls out there, yet the government refuses to reveal their identities and how much they received in kickbacks.

The public deserves to know today who was involved in these breaches and how much money was siphoned off. Who are these eleven other David Dingwalls? How much did they receive in kickbacks?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I see that the hon. members have finally got back to their core niche, which is to drag people through the muck rather than talk about the public policy issues of this country.

We have worked closely with the Auditor General to audit the technology partnerships program. We will find any breaches of the program. We will correct them. We will recover the money. The hon. member should just sit down and think about what the best interests of Canadians are.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the facts speak for themselves. The auditor's interim audit states that one-third of the 33 randomly selected contracts are in breach. There are 160 contracts in the TPC program. It would only be logical to assume that one-third of them are also in breach.

We do not need more reports and hyperbole from this government. What this House needs is answers, answers as to which contracts are in breach, who is involved and what are the amounts of the kickbacks.

When will this government come clean on the $2.4 billion TPC program? Who else other than David Dingwall received these kickbacks and how much did they get?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member knows or should know that it is not illegal to hire a lobbyist under Technology Partnerships Canada. The only thing that was in breach of contract was either to not be registered or to have a contingency fee or a success fee.

That program has accounted for over $14 billion of small businesses investing in research and development and technology. For the member to malign a program that has that kind of positive impact on Canada I think is just wrong.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner of the environment denounced Health Canada's inability to determine water quality on board Canadian aircraft. She said, “Canadian travellers do not know for sure that the water used for drinking and food preparation on aircraft is safe”.

Does the Minister of the Environment find it acceptable that Health Canada reacted by saying that aircraft inspections will only be carried out in response to complaints, emergency situations or incidents, when there is obviously a health risk?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises an important question. We agree with the recommendations of the commissioner for the environment. I have asked my staff to contact the airlines and report back to me within six weeks. I want to see the evidence that they are complying with voluntary regulations. If they do not, we will regulate them.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, one has to wonder why, if it was aware, the government did not act earlier?

Some 60 million passengers travel on aircraft each year in Canada. Does the government not realize that, by not acting, it is endangering the health of a great many passengers? Is it waiting for people to get sick before assuming its responsibility?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have already said we agree with the recommendations of the commissioner. We will be enforcing and implementing those recommendations. I have asked my department to report back to me in six weeks as to the progress, if any is made by the airlines. If it is not made, we will actually regulate them through legislation.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, after representations were made by Guy Chevrette and Henri Massé on behalf of the forest industry, the Minister of Industry indicated that he would at last start working on an aid package for the victims of the softwood lumber crisis. High time, too, since we have been calling for such a plan since the crisis began, and the government has done nothing ever since.

Can the minister confirm to us whether the loan guarantees the industry wants and the Bloc Québécois has been calling for since the crisis began will at last be part of his aid package?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalMinister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, referring specifically to Quebec, the forest industry's problems go far beyond the softwood lumber issue. We are talking about the lumber supply, the Coulombe report, and a 20% reduction in access to softwoods. This is why we must help the communities affected according to their actual problems and not according to theories.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister were aware of the reality of these businesses, he would never dare make such statements.

The forest producers' associations, which have been involved in the legal battle with the United States from the word go, are also complaining about the poor financial assistance forthcoming from the government.

Does the government intend to beef up its financial support in order to defray a portion of the huge legal costs incurred by the associations during this whole softwood lumber battle? That is reality.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the court battles have been hugely expensive. That is why we have allocated $20 million to help the associations with their legal expenses.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night the government had a chance to support my bill with real measures to deter and combat auto theft. However, once again the Liberals showed that they are not listening to Canadians. Auto theft has doubled in Canada. It is a billion dollar a year crisis and it is killing and injuring Canadians.

When will that soft on crime government take serious action on auto theft? When will the Prime Minister finally listen to Canadians and impose mandatory prison sentences for these serious and violent offences?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we already have within the Criminal Code many tools that are helpful in dealing with auto theft, whether it be the general criminal statute, whether it be fraud, whether it be joyriding, or whether it be possession of a stolen vehicle.

The government introduced in the House yesterday a new piece of legislation dealing with vehicle identification numbers. It will have an adverse effect on organized crime which has been a very integral part of this process. This government is very much interested in dealing with auto theft and we are going to prove it.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, after two years of this Liberal government, our per capita rate of auto theft has now surpassed the U.S. level. Last night, this government voted against a Conservative bill that would have given the courts the power to set mandatory jail sentences for car thieves.

When, then, will the Minister of Justice acknowledge that mandatory prison sentences are justified?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, last evening we did deal with Bill C-293, but I do not think that was an appropriate bill to go forward. One of the reasons it was not an appropriate bill to go forward is we do not believe this is the time to be reducing sentences on auto theft. That bill actually proposed to reduce the sentence from 10 years to five years and we do not agree with that principle.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday members opposite chose to reject my motion to raise the age of consent, choosing instead to protect predators who prey on young teens. Parents and families need laws that protect children, not predators. Now predators are coming to Canada from around the world to take advantage of our weak Liberal laws. Police and family groups across Canada support this change.

Could the Minister of Justice explain why he is giving a pass to sexual predators instead of protecting young Canadians?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Minister of Justice is doing no such thing in terms of encouraging that type of conduct. In fact, as Bill C-2 clearly stated and which passed through the House and is now becoming law, we want to deal not with the child but with the person who exploits the child. That is the key to getting this resolved.