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House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral 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

Mr. Speaker, we started off our plan by adding another $1.5 billion to the agricultural budget. We are working closely with farmers in Quebec and we are addressing the disastrous situation in Saint-Amable with the potato nematode.

We are in full support of the supply management system which is very important in Quebec and in the rest of the country. We campaigned on that and we maintain that support. We continue to work closely with farmers all across the country, including Quebec, to ensure their needs are addressed.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he abolished income trusts, the Minister of Finance justified his decision by saying that this was costing the government far too much and that, in the long run, it could jeopardize Canada's tax base.

If indeed the Minister of Finance feels that income trusts were causing the government a huge loss of revenue, why did he not tackle the tax haven problem at the same time?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member asked about fiscal balance and about income trusts. One of the things we recognize as a government is that there is a fiscal imbalance and we want to move to a fiscal balance with governments. However, that takes some money and it takes a tax base, which means that corporations in Canada must pay their fair share of taxes and income trusts must pay their fair share of taxes.

I thank the Bloc Québécois for supporting the notice of ways and means motion that will bring fairness in taxation in Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

What I am talking about, Mr. Speaker, is tax havens.

In her 2002 report, the Auditor General denounced tax havens in terms similar to those used by the minister, saying that the extensive use of tax havens was depriving governments of several hundred million dollars each year, which was jeopardizing Canada's fiscal capacity.

Given how urgently he felt he had to act on income trusts, why does he not act just as quickly to put an end to the use of tax havens? That is what I want to know.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's support on the income trust issue, which is a difficult matter.

He raised another issue which we have also raised in “Advantage Canada”, our economic plan for Canadians, which has been well-received, and that is that all Canadians should pay their fair share of taxes.

I appreciate his advice with respect to his question on tax havens. We will review it as we prepare budget 2007.

Child CareOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minority government has scrapped provincial child care agreements in favour of a taxable monthly cheque but the lack of child care spaces means that Canadian women, especially poor women, will continue to be excluded from the workforce. The Conservative government does not even want to hear from Canadian women because it slashed Status of Women Canada.

Why are the Conservatives determined to crush dissent and to turn back the clock on child care?

Child CareOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are right on schedule to introduce our incentives to encourage new child care spaces, as we promised, on April 1 of next year.

When we talk about turning back the clock, the real question is why the Liberals want to take away the $100 a month in child care benefits that we delivered to Canadian families.

Child CareOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, only one in five Canadian children has access to a regulated child care space. By scrapping the funding for the Liberal child care plan, the government has turned hope into despair. Let us be clear, less than $3.50 a day is not a universal child care plan.

When will the government offer Canadian families a real child care program, not one that arrives through the mailbox?

Child CareOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government recognizes that different families have different needs. We do not support a one size fits all child care approach, as the previous government did. We believe that each family should have choice and access to choice in child care that meets their needs.

Why do the Liberals want to take that money, those resources, away from parents right before Christmas?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the old Reform Party wanted to get rid of the Canada pension plan. Now the regressive Conservative government is using CPP assets to fudge its debt numbers in what economists call a dangerous step.

Why are the Conservatives gambling with the pensions of Canadians, with Enron style accounting practices?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no intention at any time to use any CPP funds to reduce debt in the country.

There is a commitment in “Advantage Canada”, which has been praised, to eliminate the net debt of our nation in the next 15 years. It has taken a generation for that debt to be accumulated.

This is an honourable goal for our country, to go the other way and to reduce the net debt, in fact to eliminate it, and not in an entire generation but in 15 years. We can do it as Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of Republican style voodoo economics that left the people of Ontario with a $5 billion deficit.

The regressive Conservatives are playing politics with pensions. Why not keep their sticky fingers out of the Canada pension plan and tell Canadians the truth, that under their plan the national debt will not be paid off for 160 years?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we know the members opposite would not pay off the debt in 160 years. They were very good at building up national debt in Canada.

What we are going to do is reduce the national debt. We are going to have no net debt in Canada 15 years from now. Yes, it requires reducing debt. Yes, it requires payments against the national debt. We will make those payments.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's national museums are a vital part of our history and hold precious collections that define us as Canadians.

The previous Liberal government ignored and neglected our national museums, leaving us with leaky roofs, crumbling infrastructure and insufficient resources.

Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell us what action has been taken to address these urgent needs?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right that after a decade of Liberal neglect our museums have been deteriorating. In fact, the Auditor General recognized that the preservation of our national treasures and the health and safety of the staff and volunteers was at risk.

Today I announced nearly $100 million to meet the infrastructure needs of our five federal cultural and heritage institutions. This is the first step for the new government that takes action. This government is committed to work with Canada's museums today and for the future.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

December 4th, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the president and CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board, Adrian Measner, has been fired by the Minister of Agriculture. Mr. Measner was democratically chosen by the elected board of directors. He has performed in an excellent manner on behalf of that organization.

In an emergency teleconference Friday, the Wheat Board directors passed a motion calling on the minister to reconsider.

Will the minister agree today to listen to the CWB board of directors and reconsider this foolish decision?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:45 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, what we are doing is moving toward marketing choice in an orderly and transparent way.

I again ask the Wheat Board, as I have done repeatedly, to concentrate on its mandate, which is to market grain on behalf of western Canadian farmers.

We are going to have a plebiscite in the new year. Every time it gets away from its core role and duty, which is to market grain on behalf of farmers, it loses the support of farmers. It should get at the job at hand. There is lots of wheat to sell. Let us get at it and leave the other issues for politicians.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

The fact is, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture has demonstrated a blatant contempt: July, the minister's hand-picked Wheat Board opponents meet to plot strategy; September, a sham task force is charged with dismantling single desk; October, outright interference with the director elections; and now in December, loyalty to single desk is a firing offence.

This is getting out of hand. He must reinstate the president and CEO. He must stop acting like a dictator.

When will the minister learn that the Wheat Board works just fine without him and reverse all the negative decisions made to date?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:45 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, we campaigned in the last federal election on marketing choice for farmers. We are moving toward that in a transparent and open way. We have a planned staged transition so we can move toward marketing choice.

The first step of that will take place in a barley plebiscite in January and February. I urge all farmers who are actual producers to get involved in that plebiscite. I look forward to having their input.

We are consistently moving in a way that we campaigned on, and we look forward, again, to working with western Canadian farmers.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, after 18 months of consultations, the previous Government of Canada, first ministers and the leadership of the first nations, Métis and Inuit groups entered into the Kelowna accord.

Last week Liberals from across Canada overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution to honour Kelowna. While the minority government wilfully abandons aboriginal Canadians, the Liberal Party proudly stood up for them.

Is it still the minority Conservative government's position that it has no obligation to honour the agreement?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 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, the question highlights the quantum gulf that exists between what Liberals tell each other they did for aboriginal Canadians as opposed to what they actually did, which was not very much.

In its first budget this government put forward $3.7 billion of new program expenditures for aboriginal Canadians. This weekend I was in Dorset, Nunavut. The ground is being prepared for 36 new houses. How many houses did the previous Liberal administration deliver? Zero, none, nothing.

Talk about small and pinched, that is them.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, a majority of the House has called for Kelowna to be implemented. The House wants the accord honoured with its full funding commitment.

Canadians across the country are demanding that the prosperity gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians be eliminated. The only ones not echoing this call are the members of the meanspirited minority Conservative government.

When will the government respect the will of Parliament, listen to the voices of Canadians, show respect to aboriginal Canadians and implement the Kelowna accord?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 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, what the Liberals promised aboriginal Canadians was empty promises. They did not deliver. They did not deliver on water. They did not deliver on northern housing. They did not deliver on off reserve housing. They did not deliver on the residential school agreement.

On all of these matters, including the rights of aboriginal women, this government is standing up for aboriginal Canadians and delivering. They did not. They had ample opportunity to do that. They simply made empty promises and did nothing.

HIV-AIDSOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the members opposite who were trolling the convention last weekend, wearing my buttons.

In August the Prime Minister went into hiding while 20,000 people attended the 16th international AIDS conference in Toronto. His Minister of Health was booed by participants from across the world.

Last week, when his government finally admitted publicly to its non-existent strategy, the Prime Minister was MIA again.

HIV-AIDS education must start at the top. Why is the Prime Minister afraid to be near Canadians with this disease?

HIV-AIDSOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the member was pretty busy last Friday and that getting the news in French was not easy at the Liberal convention. I take this opportunity to tell him that, on World AIDS Day, we announced new investments, news initiatives totalling $120 million to achieve positive results in developing countries.