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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was opposition.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I know the Prime Minister and the Minister of International Trade brought back from Washington $4.5 billion of Canadian funds.

We took more action in six or seven short months than the previous Liberal government did in six or seven years. We have nothing to apologize for but the good economic times that will assist an industry with many problems.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in its election platform this government promised a complete overhaul of the Access to Information Act. This is quite appropriate in view of one of Justice Gomery's recommendations that public servants keep records of their activities and that the unlawful destruction of documents be penalized.

Can the government explain why it has done nothing in this regard even though in its election platform it had promised to reform the Access to Information Act?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, Justice Gomery's report has been taken very seriously on this side of the House. We read it as soon as we received it. And the first thing we did in this House was to introduce the Federal Accountability Act.

This is the greatest piece of legislation in the history of Canada to fight corruption. In this legislation, there are not 5, not 10, but 30 new government organizations that are now subject to the Access to Information Act. We are very proud of the fact that there is greater access to information. Furthermore, we wish—

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has set aside Justice Gomery's recommendations, particularly those regarding the Access to Information Act, despite the fact that the promise of greater transparency was part of its election platform.

Why has it made such an abrupt about-face and why is it now ignoring Justice Gomery's recommendations?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as mentioned by our hon. colleague, the President of the Treasury Board, we tabled the Federal Accountability Act, an extremely important piece of legislation that followed up on the recommendations of Justice Gomery. Furthermore, the remaining recommendations will follow in due course.

We were told that we had 24 months to react. What did Justice Gomery have to say? He said:

I believe that, in the long term, public servants have a greater awareness of the devastating consequences of not following the rules.

That is exactly what we are doing and I hope that the Senate will pass this bill.

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec is supposed to know the law of Canada. It is clear: the expenses he has incurred in carrying out his duties must be made public.

But the minister did not see fit to comply with these requirements within the time allotted. This is a cavalier attitude for a minister.

Since the minister has stated that the expenses he should already have declared are being processed, can he at least tell us how much he spent?

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, we are well aware of the rules requiring that we report our expenses to Parliament. This is what I do every time I come back to Ottawa.

During the summer, I came to Ottawa for half a day, I think, and I did not have my invoices with me at the time. I submitted them as soon as I returned.

That said—

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. minister will want to complete his answer.

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Conservative Jonquière—Alma, QC

That said, the expenses posted on the website are the ones that I have been reimbursed for to date, and the others will be included in the next report.

JusticeOral Questions

October 24th, 2006 / 2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, like many Canadians, I was horrified to hear that earlier this week a known sexual predator was exiled from the U.S. to serve his three year probation in Canada. As our laws are currently written, this man, Malcolm Watson, could not be charged in Canada for the same type of crime he committed in the U.S.

Could the justice minister inform the House about what measures the government is taking to protect our youth from adult sexual predators?

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-22 proposes to increase the age of protection from 14 to 16 years of age. It also puts in place a close in age exemption of five years. The purpose is not to criminalize consenting sexual activity among teenagers, but to protect 14 and 15 year olds from adult sexual predators.

This is a common sense approach. It is supported by police and the public across the country. The opposition should also step up, support the bill and get it through the House.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the attention of Canadians was recently focused on the appalling third world conditions in the community of Pikangikum, where only 5% of the homes have running water. It seems this did not matter to the Conservative government. Even though people are using pails to get water out of local lakes, this community was left behind when high risk water systems were identified.

Where is the minister's promised action on clean drinking water and when can the people of Pikangikum expect the same access to water as the people in Calgary, whom the minister represents?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of the difficulties with the water system in Pikangikum. We have representatives working on that. They have met with the community. I met with my department about that as recently as last evening.

We are making progress with respect to water. As the House knows, within 45 days of my becoming the minister, we embarked upon a water strategy. We have identified the high risk communities and we are dealing with those. As recently as this past weekend, I opened a new water facility in Eden Valley reserve. I was the first minister to ever appear on that reserve.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like a lot more talk and just not enough action.

Aboriginal communities in our country are desperate for the government to take actual action on clean water. The minister's expert panel on drinking water submitted its report more than a month ago and the minister promised to release a report in September. He said, “A report of the findings will be made public in September 2006”. That is from the minister's own release. Where is the report? It is nearly the end of October.

When will the minister release the report and its recommendations?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, once again, this is a matter that we embarked on shortly after becoming government.

I did strike a panel in concert with the Assembly of First Nations. That panel has worked across Canada. It has conducted public hearings. It is an expert panel. It has prepared a first cut of its report. I expect to meet with the panel shortly. I expect to have the final report in hand to share with the House of Commons sometime within the next 30 days.

Tobacco IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

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

The government made an extensive list of promises to tobacco farmers, yet today there is still no strategy, no timeline and certainly no money for these farmers. How can tobacco producers in my area plan for the future without a concrete timeline from the federal government? When will tobacco growers know what their future holds?

In short, when will the government keep its promises to tobacco farmers?

Tobacco IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as recently as last week, or perhaps the week before, the Minister of Health and I sat down with tobacco producers in Ottawa. We have had ongoing meetings with them to try to chart a path forward. The tobacco producers have put some suggestions forward. Their suggestions range in price tags up to $1 billion.

We are working with the Ontario government, as well, to try to find the best path forward, which is both affordable and will help tobacco farmers transition out of the industry.

Chinese CanadiansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, on June 22, the Prime Minister followed through on a promise to Chinese Canadians. He offered a full apology for the head tax imposed on them between 1923 and 1947. The head tax is a sad chapter in the history of our country and Chinese Canadians have been waiting a long time for redress.

When the Prime Minister delivered a full apology on behalf of all Canadians, he also promised that our government would make symbolic payments to surviving head tax payers or their spouses.

Could the heritage minister please update the House on the status of these payments.

Chinese CanadiansOral Questions

3 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, after over 17 years of the Chinese community demanding recognition, as they were ignored, with no apology and no redress, the Prime Minister and Canada's new government has acted. In June the Prime Minister apologized in the House.

This past weekend I had the honour to present the first payments to three living head tax payers. They asked me to thank the Prime Minister and to say that he was a great man. The spousal payments will be coming shortly.

The government, Canada's new government, does the right thing and fulfills its promises.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Garth Turner Conservative Halton, ON

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

More than two million retired Canadians are currently paying an unjustified amount of tax. Why? Because one spouse stayed at home with the kids while the other went out to work. As a result, pension income is now taxed in the hands of one person at a higher rate.

The minister knows this is unfair and that MPs from all parties want these people to have pension splitting.

Will he give a commitment today to seriously consider this in the coming budget? If not, please tell us why.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we increased the pension income credit for the first time ever in budget 2006. We not only increased it, we doubled it from $1,000 to $2,000, benefiting seniors across Canada.

I understand the concern of the member on the issue of income splitting, which is a significant issue. It would affect the entire income tax system, which is based, as members know, on the individual. However, it is worthy of study and we are reviewing it.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, Health Canada allowed the reintroduction of silicone breast implants by granting licences to the Mentor and Inamed corporations.

Could the Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario tell us why Health Canada took such a decision when new allegations made on October 12 by a former Mentor scientist, according to whom the company provided the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with inaccurate safety data, cast legitimate doubt on the safety of silicone breast implants?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I should tell the hon. member that scientific experts have reviewed more than 65,000 pages of documents, including more than 2,500 scientific articles. They are confident of the safety of the approved products.