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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

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, a study just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives makes it clear that oil companies have raised gasoline prices away above what can be justified by the current price of crude oil. The study shows that Canadians should be paying several cents a litre less in the current circumstances, instead of being gouged at the pumps as is now the case.

The willingness of oil companies to profiteer from any and all situations would probably also apply to any tax relief on gas. They would just take up the slack and put it into their own pockets. That is why we would be better to have, as the NDP recommends, an energy pricing commission that would regulate the decisions of those who actually raise the prices in the first place.

Focusing on gas taxes is the approach of those who do not want to challenge the power of the multinational oil companies or those who do not want Canadians to be reminded of the fact that NAFTA curtails our ability to sell Canadians their own energy at a lower domestic price.

At the moment Canadians are paying the price of having a Liberal government and a Tory opposition that are both unwilling to tackle the real culprits.

Age of ConsentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, over 80% of Canadians want Parliament to raise the age of consent so children are protected from sexual predators. In most democracies around the world, the age of consent stands at 16 years but in Canada it is 14.

Liberal social policy is making Canada a hot spot for Internet predators. Sexual predators are flocking to Canada to take advantage of our vulnerable youth. Kids in grade 8 or 9 are not mature enough to drink, drive, smoke or watch certain movies, but the government believes 14 year olds can make adult decisions when it comes to sex.

This is not about puppy love, but about perverts preying on our children. We need to act now before more innocent lives are ruined.

Shame on the Liberals and shame on the minister for not taking the protection of our children seriously. A Conservative government would do the right thing. We stand up for Canadian children.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, in August, Canada Post announced that it would be transferring mail sorting services from Quebec City to Montreal, eliminating 500 full-time and part-time jobs in the region, with all the economic repercussions that this entails.

At a press conference this morning, a number of political and socio-economic stakeholders reiterated their support for a broad coalition that opposes this decision by Canada Post. Given the support of this broad coalition and the public, the Bloc Québécois will continue to demand a moratorium on this closure until the crown corporation tables a comprehensive restructuring plan.

The Minister of Transport, who is responsible for the regions of Quebec, downplayed this issue during his stopover in Quebec City, and the minister responsible for Canada Post has washed his hands of this matter by making his officials deal with it, despite the fact that the government is bound to act to save the sorting plant and the jobs at that plant.

Premier of Nova ScotiaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the great Nova Scotia Premier, John Hamm, who announced his retirement today.

A man of sterling reputation, Premier Hamm has led his province with distinction for six years and the people of Nova Scotia will enjoy the fruits of his labour for generations to come. Through his leadership the finances of the province of Nova Scotia are in the best shape they have been in decades. Under his watch reinvestments were made in health, education and infrastructure.

Among his many accomplishments, his greatest may be his securing of an offshore royalty deal that will ensure a prosperous and bright economic future for the people of Nova Scotia.

The Leader of the Opposition, the Conservative caucus and myself took great pride in working with Premier Hamm and his government.

Perhaps Gentleman John Hamm's greatest legacy will be the integrity and decency he brought to public life and the esteem he brought to the office of the Premier. He accomplished much with humble perseverance, humour and grace. At a time when cynicism about public life is high, John Hamm is leaving office with an ever increasing respect and affection of the people he served.

To John and his wife Genesta and their entire family, we extend our heartfelt thanks and best wishes.

Carmen ProvenzanoStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past July my friend and our former colleague, Carmen Provenzano, suddenly passed away. He was Sault Ste. Marie's federal member of Parliament from 1997 until 2004. He was a loving husband to Ada, a caring father to their children, a devoted member of the community, a hard-working MP and a great friend. His funeral mass was a wonderful testimony to his life.

Carmen will be missed but in many ways he will be remembered, including through the recent establishment of the Carmen Provenzano Memorial Cup to be given to the Sault Ste. Marie or Blind River team that does best in each of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League seasons.

Whether it was fighting to save the Sault's Algoma Steel Plant, working to ensure FedNor funding northern Ontario as our caucus chair, fighting effectively behind the scenes to advance community projects or doing the countless smaller but important things he did for his constituents, he will be fondly remembered as a man who loved his family, his friends, his community and Canada.

May my friend rest well and enjoy his place in paradise.

Newfoundland and LabradorOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday an all party event on the front lawn of Parliament was raising money to support the flood victims of New Orleans. Yet it seems no one is paying attention to what is happening here at home.

Stephenville, Newfoundland is under two feet of water due to heavy rains and flooding. A state of emergency has been declared and 181 people have been evacuated.

Given that Newfoundland and Labrador has no cabinet representation, what is the government doing to help the evacuees and to aid the situation?

Newfoundland and LabradorOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that we have been in contact with the local authorities. Military assistance has been given to the region. We have emergency preparedness in our country that is unparalleled. We discussed that this morning in cabinet.

We are ready to help and we are willing to discuss with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador exactly what we can do, what assets of a federal nature we can put in, and they will be there when they are needed and as requested. The local authorities are in charge. They have it under charge, and we are there supporting them fully.

David DingwallOral Questions

September 29th, 2005 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would urge the government to keep on top of the situation. We will, of course, aid it in anything we can do.

Yesterday while David Dingwall was resigning for his scandalous spending, the Prime Minister was defending him in the House. What a change for the man who said that he would clean it all up.

Will the Prime Minister now do the right thing and ask the Auditor General to do a thorough investigation of Mr. Dingwall's spending and contracting practices at the Canadian Mint and at Technology Partnerships Canada?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

First, Mr. Speaker, not only did David Dingwall turn the company around financially but he also produced a new positive spirit and higher morale as indicated by the fact that employees, as we speak, are writing a petition that he not resign.

That having been said, no performance in this regard is an excuse for breaking the rules. There is no evidence he did but, and this goes to the question, the board will be appointing external experts to conduct an independent review of the policies to ensure that he did not break any policies and to consider—

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, David Dingwall is accused of a wide range of misspending. There are suspicions about what exactly happened with moneys at Technology Partnerships Canada.

If the minister wants, he can negotiate with him some kind of golden parachute. The Treasury Board president can continue to urge him to stay and the Prime Minister can proclaim him to be the St. David of public service. If they are so certain, why do they not call in the Auditor General to investigate what actually happened?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

First, Mr. Speaker, I would have thought the Leader of the Opposition would know by now that the Auditor General is the auditor.

In addition to that, there is no evidence that Mr. Dingwall broke any rules. The expenses were signed off by the chief financial officer and approved by the board. However, for greater certainty the board is gong to two highly reputed external experts to ensure he broke no policy and to analyze whether the existing policies are the right policies for the future.

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, a year ago the Prime Minister was saying that he wanted to get to the bottom of all the wrongdoing. Yesterday he was nominating David Dingwall for the Order of Canada. What the heck happened?

It seems he is only a proponent of cleaning things up when he can send the bill to Jean Chrétien, but this happened under his watch. This is his dirty laundry. These lavish expenses should have been stopped by him, and Canadians are mad as hell. When will the government understand that they are not willing to take it any more?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, given that the member has not apologized for questioning the right of a francophone to speak French before a parliamentary committee, I am happy to reply to him in French.

The answer is the same as the one I have just given: there is no proof Mr. Dingwall did not follow the rules. The evidence will be examined by outside experts.

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is saying a lot, and nothing, at the same time.

Yesterday the Prime Minister tried to defend, as his colleagues are doing today, the indefensible. The Prime Minister had a choice yesterday: Liberal crony or Canadian taxpayer. He chose Liberal crony. He chose wrong.

The Prime Minister makes these bold pronouncements about improving governance, but they are nothing more than bogus. Now he is planning to add insult to injury by giving David Spendwell a severance package. Why is the Prime Minister giving more money to Dingwall when he should be getting it back?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the member opposite should play fast and loose with the truth. Would he please identify a single law that has been broken, a single rule that has been broken?

How does he defend the fact that he seems to think it is inappropriate for the head of a $400 million corporation, which generates $182 million offshore, to travel to do that business? This whole thing is nothing more than a character assassination on somebody who has done an excellent piece of work.

David DingwallOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the president of the Royal Canadian Mint resigned after embarrassing revelations on his spending while in that position. In 2004 alone, Mr. Dingwall and his entourage claimed miscellaneous expenses of $750,000 for such things as maintenance of the minister's BMW, a golf club membership and even chewing gum. Despite the extent of the scandal, the president of the Treasury Board asked Mr. Dingwall to stay on.

How, with such an attitude, does the Prime Minister have the nerve to say that his government has learned a lesson from the sponsorship scandal?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc should know that this $750,000 figure is not accurate because most of that money was for office expenses and not personal expenses.

That being said, there is no evidence that Mr. Dingwall broke any rules. To be still more certain of this, the board is appointing two outside experts to conduct an audit and make recommendations to determine whether policies should be changed.

David DingwallOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, that sounded just like Alfonso Gagliano answering the initial questions on the sponsorships. It is the same tune.

The minister responsible for the Royal Mint even thanked the fallen president for “his service to Canadians”.

Should he not instead have condemned Mr. Dingwall for helping himself to public funds?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I think we should be honest and if someone did a good job, that should be recognized.

The government is extremely serious about the possibility of rules being broken. That is why the board is hiring two experts.

That being said, the fact that employees at the Royal Canadian Mint organized a petition for Mr. Dingwall to stay on suggests that he served the employees and the government well.

David DingwallOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is incredible to hear the government pay tribute to David Dingwall after he resigned following revelations in the newspapers yesterday on his administration's laxity.

How can the Prime Minister explain the fact that he supports someone who has resigned as a result of poor administration and who made Chuck Guité responsible for the entire sponsorship program after ensuring the latter was a faithful Liberal?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it seems that the Bloc Québécois has trouble understanding whenever there is a two-part answer.

First, we are going to look into whether there were any irregularities. However, to date, there is no evidence that there were. We take this point very seriously.

Second, the facts suggest that, yes, he did a good job at the Royal Canadian Mint, with regard to both its profitability and company morale.

David DingwallOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, whenever we asked questions, back then, about Alfonso Gagliano, the government had exactly the same attitude it does now and it gave the same answers: he is beyond reproach, he is a great Canadian.

Given its arrogance with regard to the Dingwall scandal, is the government not showing that it has learned nothing from the sponsorship scandal and that it has no more respect for taxpayers' dollars now than it did back then?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I think the concern I have is that members take an area where there was a significant problem that is being addressed and then use that to slander anybody they choose. The reality is that Mr. Dingwall has not been accused of anything. Nothing. What we have is an opinion on his expenses.

Let me tell members this. On the reforms that we have put in place, Dave Brown, the past chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission, says they are very positive steps. They are practices adapted from the private sector. This clarifies the accountabilities within the crown corporation structure and between the corporations in a responsible manner. It reaffirms the essential stewardship of the crowns.

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

Apparently there is an announcement coming for a program for energy efficiency for homes. It is about time. The NDP put $100 million into the budget so that people could pay less for precisely that problem. That is why it is there. Left to themselves, the Liberals would have given it away in a corporate tax cut rather than helping people burn less.

Will the Minister of Finance simply confirm that his preference was to give money in corporate tax cuts to the oil companies, not to energy efficiency?