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House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offenders.

Topics

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. I am sure the hon. member for Malpeque appreciates all the help with his question, but I think he has something in his hand and is ready to proceed with it.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the new government can take credit for one thing. It has established a new low for task force reports.

The Migie report completely fails to address the key question of who will benefit from the government's attempt to destroy the Canadian Wheat Board, with no witness list, no public consultations, no economic analysis, and no authority from farmers as to its recommendations.

Will the minister admit that this report is nothing but a complete farce, garbage the report as Conservative waste, and allow producers a vote as established by law?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

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

What this party and this government are keen on doing is giving marketing choice to farmers. We want to do that in an environment that has a strong, viable voluntary Wheat Board in a marketing choice environment. We believe that farmers are capable and want to make choices on how they market their grains.

It is interesting to me that the hon. member for Malpeque never suggests expanding the Wheat Board to include Ontario farmers, Quebec farmers or, for that matter, potato farmers in P.E.I.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Then, Mr. Speaker, the minister should give farmers the right to vote.

This report was written by and for grain companies. What about Canadian producers?

The U.S. tried 11 times to challenge the Wheat Board and lost every time. A U.S. wheat industry source said that the timeline is not crucial to the United States producers as long as Canada eliminates the monopoly powers of the board.

Why is the government selling out to the United States grain trade and pilfering farmers for $655 million?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:40 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, I think the hon. member should remember that he is no longer the president of the National Farmers Union. He is a member of Parliament.

We are trying to represent the marketing choice option for Canadian farmers. This task force report not only gives a staged transition to marketing choice and a strong, viable Wheat Board, but it also suggests that Canadians farmers themselves will want to eventually not only run but own the Canadian Wheat Board.

We think there is money to be made on the Wheat Board, with the Wheat Board, and we will always encourage those farmers who want to take part and use the Canadian Wheat Board to use it henceforth.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there can be no doubt that the plot from the minister's one-sided task force to kill the Canadian Wheat Board would trigger the producer plebiscite laid out in subsection 47(1) of the Canadian Wheat Board Act.

Farmers have the legal right to a fair and democratic vote on any change to the Wheat Board's marketing mandate. That right is enshrined in the law now.

Why will the minister not give all farmers his absolute guarantee that their legal rights will be fully respected? Why is he so afraid to let farmers vote?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:40 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, I am always interested when the member for Wascana talks about legal rights. It is like the time he and his government threw hard-working Canadian farmers in jail for marketing their own products. We are not interested in that. We think that western Canadian grain farmers want the option to market their products with the Canadian Wheat Board or outside of the Wheat Board. We see a strong, viable Wheat Board in a marketing choice world, unlike the restrictive views of the party opposite.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, either we have a single desk marketing system or we do not. The minister cannot suck and blow at the same time. Look at the government's ham-fisted, underhanded, bloody-minded behaviour: private meetings from which the majority of farmers are barred; a task force that is biased and stacked from the outset; a phoney letter writing campaign; a gag order to muzzle the board; directors under personal threat to shut them up; and the voters list suddenly slashed by 16,000.

Why is the majority--

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

--minority Conservative government bullying farmers and trampling on their rights?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:40 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, I thank the hon. member for Wascana for his prophetic words on the next majority government.

Again it comes down to a matter of what we campaigned on during the last campaign. We believe that western Canadian farmers want marketing choice when it comes to marketing their grain products. We believe in a strong, viable, voluntary Wheat Board. The task force report charted a potential path forward. We are interested to hear from farmers what they think about that.

And speaking of rights, the farmers that he threw in jail had damn few.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, for many years, Canada's softwood lumber industry suffered from the Liberals' inaction and from the inability of the Bloc Québécois—the party perpetually in opposition—to take any action. In four years, the former government spent more than $40 million in legal fees, yet was unable to put an end to the softwood lumber crisis. Thanks to the actions of the new government, the forest industry can finally look to the future with optimism.

Can the Minister of Industry, my colleague from Beauce, tell this House about the recent developments in this issue?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question, and I am happy to announce in this House that yesterday, forestry companies in Quebec and Canada began receiving their refunds.

As the president of Tembec stated, that is six weeks earlier than anticipated. We are ahead of schedule. This money will enable the industry to solve its cash flow problem and be extremely productive. We are very happy.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Liberal-Conservative mission in Afghanistan is unbalanced. For every $1 on aid a whopping $9 is spent on combat.

Yesterday, the Treasury Board released its estimates. Could the minister please inform this House how much of the $200 million going to Afghanistan will be committed to reconstruction and relief versus the money spent on counter-insurgency and combat?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the money going to Afghanistan is in support of our troops. It is in support of the battle group. It is in support of the PRT. It is all there for all the troops in Afghanistan.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, clearly the government is trying to hide the real cost to taxpayers for its war in Afghanistan. It hides costs that are directly associated with our participation in Kandahar in other line items. For example, we know that recruitment is directly related to the mission, yet the costs for recruitment are registered elsewhere.

Of the $1 billion allocated for defence, how much would have been necessary to sustain the forces had the Liberals not originally signed Canada up for George Bush's war on terror?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of the commitment in 2002 until today, the incremental costs for Afghanistan are about $2.1 billion, period.

Human Resources and Social DevelopmentOral Questions

October 31st, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is embarrassing. The human resources minister who had $153 million slashed from her department could not give a single specific example of one of those cuts at committee today. While she could not be bothered to get the details of cuts to students, homeless people and adults learning to read, she compared them to having to do without a cup of coffee.

Is she taking her cue from the President of the Treasury Board who dismissed adult literacy training as “repair work after the fact”, or will she now apologize to Canadians for these callous comments?

Human Resources and Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want a government, for a change, that will respect the taxpayers' dollars. We have identified $100 million within my department out of a total of over $80 billion. That is less than two-tenths of one per cent. What we are doing is cutting money from programs that are not delivering results for Canadians.

Human Resources and Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, several times in this House and at committee the minister has falsely claimed that she has consulted widely with groups about these cuts, widely, but she cannot list any. She cannot list one group she consulted before making these cuts.

While she sees no value in meeting with literacy groups, she can file a $3,000 travel claim for a symbolic cheque presentation. Why is a photo op value for money when consulting Canadians is not?

Human Resources and Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is exactly right. We consulted with Canadians on January 23 and they chose this government because they wanted responsible spending. They did not want their money being spent in ways such as $71,000 to upgrade a website, $80,000 to build a website, $30,000 for an executive director to do 90 days of work.

We are spending the money well. We are spending it on programs that will deliver real results for real Canadians.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government had extended funding for the supporting communities partnership initiative.

The SCPI was the cornerstone of the national homelessness initiative and federal funding served as leverage to attract additional investments in the communities.

The $263 million allocation expires this spring. Can the minister tell this House if she has renewed financing for the SCPI program?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained in this House before, we do have a responsibility to Canadians to review all programs to make sure the moneys are spent well. We also have to take care of the most vulnerable. That is why we extended the SCPI program and added $37 million to it. We will review how well that program works while we look for alternatives that may be even better, so that we can go forward and take care of this vulnerable part of our society.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is without a question, the province that benefited the most from the SCPI program and also the province with the greatest needs. Amounts allocated under SCPI were exhausted in Quebec well before they were in the other provinces.

Does the minister recognize that Quebec's need for funding of the SCPI program is urgent? What amount will be allocated to Quebec?