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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was bank.

Topics

Canada Labour CodeOral Questions

2:40 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, I want to remind members of the important changes that were made to the legislation in 1999, just seven years ago.

It is extremely important to maintain a balance. It is maintained with that bill, which was adopted in 1999 and allows the use of replacement workers. However, they must not be used to undermine the union's representational capacity. In addition, on returning to work, striking employees go back to where they previously worked in the company.

MarriageOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I support equal marriage because I believe in a Canada where rights are safeguarded, liberties are protected and all Canadians are treated equally under the law, but I also support it because it is the right thing to do. We are talking about people, our friends, our neighbours, our fellow citizens, people who love each other and want to spend their lives together.

I am asking anyone from the government side to stand up today and answer if we are revisiting this because that party believes that equal marriage has in any way had a negative impact on our society.

MarriageOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I think we have been very clear all along. We promised Canadians in the last election that we would revisit this issue. It is an issue that touches all members deeply. I am very proud to be part of a party that is going to have a true free vote on this. Can the hon. member confirm that for her party? I do not think so.

MarriageOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will be having a free vote on this, but the Minister of Justice has said that if the vote fails, he has a backup plan.

The issue of equal marriage has been debated and voted upon in this House many times and we are about to vote on this issue again. The Prime Minister and his government owe it to Canadians to state definitively today, is this the last time?

MarriageOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can only observe that we will have a free vote. We said this was a matter of personal conscience. I note that the Liberal Party has gone from believing this was a question of fundamental rights on Monday to now saying it is a matter of a free vote and personal conscience today. We have been consistent all along.

I know the member for Newmarket—Aurora has strongly held views. For instance, she has strongly held views on the citizenship of her leader. I know she will always helpfully convey those views to him.

MarriageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to quote the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works. I quote, “If the government is going to get involved and deny gays and lesbians the right to marry, it should do so on the basis that there is public harm in allowing gay marriage. I have read about everything there is to read on this and I do not think there is any public harm in doing this”. That is an interesting point.

Does the Prime Minister have any evidence that there has been public harm since gays and lesbians have been allowed to marry, and if so, can he share it with the parliamentary secretary and this House?

MarriageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we have evidence that members of the Liberal Party have changed their position on this many times. I notice the Leader of the Opposition supported the traditional definition of marriage in 1999. He has changed his mind. He has changed his mind a couple of times this week.

What we do know is we had a terrific debate in the House of Commons, a respectful debate and we will get the opportunity to vote on the motion after question period.

MarriageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Funny, Mr. Speaker, I could have sworn I heard the Prime Minister say he was in favour of less government intrusion in the lives of Canadians. Yet here he is putting the state back into the bedrooms of the nation.

Given that he has no problem breaking his income trust promise, no problem breaking his appointment of senators promise, no problem breaking his floor crossing promise, why does the Prime Minister insist on keeping a promise that would contravene the charter and take away the rights given by Parliament to a minority group?

MarriageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and this government have been true to their commitment to Canadians to have a vote on this. The member asked what the Prime Minister was clear on. What the Prime Minister is clear on is that the Liberal Party should not be governing this country. We have been very clear on that all the way along.

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Questions

December 7th, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the new Leader of the Opposition, during the recent Liberal Party leadership campaign, received a $50,000 loan from Rob Bryden, who was appointed the leader of his transition team. This represents a Liberal act of cronyism to which we have become accustomed.

Can the President of Treasury Board explain in this House how the federal accountability act will deal with this culture of entitlement?

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we must examine the actions of the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party and its candidates accepted over 139 cheques for more than $5,000 each in the last eight months. The new leader of the Liberal Party accepted loans totalling over $400,000 and placed one of these individuals in charge of his transition team. It is true that the new Liberal leader learned about politics from Jean Chrétien.

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, StatsCan knew years ago that it was applying a botched formula for inflation. Its mistake is being paid for by everyone whose income is tied to the CPI. StatsCan says going back in time would create economic chaos.

What about the chaos that its errors wreaked on seniors living on fixed incomes? They are increasingly becoming part of this country's homeless. A retirement in poverty is not a life lived with dignity and respect.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that the government has shortchanged seniors to the tune of over $1 billion for CPP and OAS alone and will he return that money to the seniors who have a right--

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Social Development.

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately Statistics Canada does take a retroactive look, but fortunately the adjustment was very small and that adjustment is being incorporated with the regular updates to OAS and the GIS.

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, speaking about homelessness and the vulnerable, winter is here. Thirty-two thousand people in Toronto, 4,779 children, stayed in a shelter last year. In Calgary 3,400 people live in a shelter and four people have died. In Vancouver, 2,174 people live on the streets, including 22 families with children. There are 700 homeless people in Victoria.

In 1998 our large city mayors declared homelessness a national disaster. In view of this alarming and tragic reality in our country, will the government declare a state of emergency?

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the situation with the homeless. That is why we extended the national homelessness initiative and that is why we added $37 million to it.

Actions do speak louder than words. When it comes to defending the needs of the vulnerable in our society, let us be aware that it was the NDP that voted against our taking 650,000 low income Canadians off the tax rolls. The NDP voted against increasing the child disability benefit. The NDP voted against cutting the GST. Now the NDP wants to take away the universal child benefit. Actions do speak louder than words.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on our National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, I was appalled by the hypocrisy of the members opposite putting on rose buttons and white ribbons while their government has just brutally slashed the very programs that supported thousands of Canadian women who still are victims of violence every day.

First the minister claimed the $5 million which she was axing was just waste. Now she is claiming there were no cuts.

Will the minister tell the House, does she have $5 million to invest in women's programs and if so, perhaps she could name the programs, because the shifting ground program is waiting for the $60,000 that she just cut.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, the expenditure review found $5 million which we could put into women's programs as of April 1, 2007. We are now working in collaboration. We will have information available to the organizations so that we can consider different projects to help women.

In fact, cutting women's programming is what the party opposite did five times in 13 years, and the Liberals did not give the money back to women's programs. They gave it to their Liberal friends.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in this House, the minister said, just as she did now, that there is $5 million available now directly for women's groups. Will the minister now confirm that the $5 million has been added to the government's women's programs and if so, will she explain how she will determine where the programs will receive the money now that she has closed all the regional offices?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, it very clearly shows we said that $5 million will no longer go into offices, but will go into programs to help women, and that money will be available April 1, 2008.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that the government has imposed gag orders, manipulated voters lists and exercised threats to the CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board. The CEO has said that the government has asked him to either support its agenda, which means violating the Wheat Board Act, or lose his job.

Is this the Prime Minister's definition of choice? Some choice: break the law and keep one's job, or respect the law and lose one's job. I ask the Prime Minister, what kind of choice is that?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 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, of course what farmers expect and what this government expects is that the CEO and management of the Canadian Wheat Board should maximize returns for farmers. At a time when the prices are on the rise, when the product is in the bins and the quality is there, we should be making money for the farmers and we should be doing that right now.

Speaking of choice, we want to ask farmers in a plebiscite what they think of removing barley from the monopoly position in western Canada. The Liberal Party of Canada says that it does not care what the farmers say, the Wheat Board is staying the way it is and they will just have to tough it out.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, this party says to let farmers make the choice. The Minister of Agriculture is starting to believe his own baloney. Ignoring farmers' rights is not listening to them. Ordering information websites down is not being transparent. Firing the CEO from a non-government agency is not consultation.

The Prime Minister's campaign, his ideological attack on the board and its officers, is killing Canada's credibility abroad in international grain markets. Will he for the good of the farmers and their livelihood stop this attack on the CEO of the farmers' marketing agency?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 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, of course, what we have done is continue to move ahead with marketing choice for western Canadian farmers.

We should be clear because people in eastern Canada would not believe this, that only in western Canada are farmers not allowed to market their own products. They would never accept this in P.E.I. It is not acceptable in Quebec. It never happened in Ontario. Only western Canadian farmers are told they have to sell their product to a government agency.

What we have said is let us consult the farmers in January in a plebiscite. We think they are going to want to take barley out of that, but most important, we are listening to farmers. The Liberals say it is the status quo or take a leap.

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the developers of a cooperative in Saint-Adelphe are perplexed by the conflicting replies they have received from the Economic Development Agency of Canada. While one letter from the department refused their application for assistance, another letter from the minister's chief of staff, dated one week later, stated that the project was in fact being analyzed. Which was telling the truth?

Given this confusion, will the minister approve this project, which is so important to the people of Saint-Adelphe; yes or no?