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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Members of ParliamentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the government believes in true transparency and accountability any more than the last gang did. The Prime Minister will not even talk to the media. He holds his secret cabinet meetings at midnight in the Diefenbunker and he is stripping out the ATI provisions from the accountability act.

There is plenty of room in the accountability act to answer this serious concern that Canadians have. They care about this. They want the practice stopped. Will he commit today to ending the practice of floor crossing once and for all?

Members of ParliamentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, I believe members of Parliament should have that freedom and be accountable to their constituents for their decisions at the next election. However, in my observation, the only parties that really have this as an obsession are the parties that no one ever crosses to.

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to engaging the Minister of Finance in lively but civil debate in the coming days and weeks.

Yesterday, on reading the throne speech, not a very long read, I was puzzled by one point. What is so terribly important in the Conservative agenda to justify increasing the personal income taxes paid by hard-working Canadians?

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the proposal is to reduce the GST by a full percentage point. This is a tax cut for which Canadians voted and on which we intend to deliver. I can assure the member opposite that overall Canadians will pay less tax under this government than they did under the previous government.

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had the impression from a story today in the Toronto Star that the minister might be making progress and seeing the light, that he was perhaps acquiescing, at least in part, to our position that it was wrong to raise the income taxes of Canadians at this time.

Will he confirm the story in the Toronto Star suggesting that he will keep the income tax that is now in place which was put forward by the Liberals? Will he confirm that story today and relieve all those millions of Canadians who do not want the burden of their income tax to increase?

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite will understand that I rarely confirm anything written in the Toronto Star having had some experience in that place over the years.

I assure the member opposite that we do intend to keep our commitment to reduce the GST. This is a tax which a former leader of the party opposite in 1993 said should be scrapped entirely. I cannot understand why the member opposite would be against this government reducing the GST to the benefit of all Canadians by one point.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the historic Kelowna accord signed by the federal, provincial, territorial and aboriginal leaders was going to greatly improve the standard of living of Canada's aboriginal peoples. In yesterday's throne speech the government was shockingly silent on this matter.

Will the Prime Minister stand up right now and vow to honour the Kelowna accord with its full funding commitments?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 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 throne speech reflects priorities that are shared by all Canadians. Child care, health care and community safety are concerns I have heard about from aboriginal Canadians in my consultations.

Canada's new government proceeded immediately to begin our work in improving the lives and the health of aboriginal Canadians. We have already taken action with respect to drinking water. We addressed the terrible tragedy that resulted from 13 years of inaction on the part of the Liberals. We will continue to work toward improving the lives of aboriginal Canadians.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is yet another sign of disrespect that the throne speech did not even mention the residential schools agreement. When the agreement was first announced the Conservative critic at that time, now the minister, said that it was long overdue. Now the government is silent on the issue.

Will the Prime Minister tell the House when the victims of this era can expect to see the first compensation cheques issued?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 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, action with respect to this matter remains unresolved. At the time of the election two conditions were required to be met: first, the preparation of a final agreement; and second, court approval. Neither of those steps has resulted at this point in time. I will continue to keep the House informed.

Older WorkersOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rise of economic powers such as China and India continues to have a serious impact on traditional manufacturing sectors, and older workers are especially hard hit. They urgently need help.

Does the government plan to re-introduce an income support program for older workers, many of whom are unfortunately losing their jobs as a result of globalization?

Older WorkersOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we did not campaign on this particular issue. We have made no commitments. I look forward to receiving recommendations in reports and I will be happy to take them under consideration.

Child CareOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec and the former federal government signed an agreement on child care that provided for investment of over $1 billion to recognize Quebec's past efforts. The new government put an end to that agreement, which will deprive Quebec of $807 million.

How does the government, which says it wants to correct the fiscal imbalance, intend to make up for this $807 million shortfall?

Child CareOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, during the campaign we promised three things. One was a transition period. We have taken the original program and extended it to the 10 provinces and territories that had no financial agreements. We extended that for a year which shows our commitment to child care. We are working with the provinces and the territories to develop our new choice in child care construction system which will create 125,000 new child care spaces right across the country in urban and in rural areas to meet the needs of all Canadians.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

First I want to assure her of our cooperation in the defence and promotion of Canadian culture. Judging by the lack of cultural priorities in yesterday's Speech from the Throne, she will be in great need of our cooperation.

Since not one of the new leaves mentioned yesterday by her government was relevant to culture, could the minister please inform this House of her department's priorities?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the government supports arts and culture. We recognize its importance in the cultural life of all Canadians and in a democratic society. We are committed to providing the support and the resources that artists and creators need to ensure they have the sustainability and security to fulfill their creative endeavours.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, reports are indicating that many Manitoba communities are again facing the possibility of flooding.

Could the Minister of Public Safety assure us that the government will be there to assist the people of Manitoba if this happens?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we join all Canadians in watching with concern the flooding that is taking place in Manitoba at this time. I thank the Conservative members of Parliament from Manitoba who are bringing this to our attention.

I can assure the people of Manitoba that we have in place a disaster assistance plan. As it hits certain levels of cost in the province we will be there and we will be waiting for a call from provincial officials.

National DefenceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on December 18, the Canadian Chief of Defence Staff signed an agreement with the Government of Afghanistan concerning the transfer of prisoners.

My question is for the Minister of National Defence. Was the previous Liberal government aware of this memorandum of understanding before it was signed? Why does a very similar agreement signed with the Netherlands allow its government to ensure full compliance with all international conventions while ours does not?

National DefenceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge the previous government knew about the arrangement because it was done under its watch.

With respect to the second question, this is a more mature arrangement than the Netherlands has. Nothing in the agreement prevents the Canadian government from inquiring about prisoners. We are quite satisfied with the agreement. It protects prisoners under the Geneva agreement and all other war agreements.

National DefenceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the agreement does nothing to stop prisoners from being transferred to a third party.

Once Canadians hand a prisoner over to the Afghan government we wash our hands of the entire matter. This is simply not good enough.

Will the minister ensure that Canadian government officials have the same rights as Dutch officials when it comes to tracking, interviewing and ensuring that no human rights violations or torture will take place?

When will the minister redraft the agreement to better reflect our values as Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have no intention of redrafting the agreement. The Red Cross and the Red Crescent are charged with ensuring that prisoners are not abused. There is nothing in the agreement that prevents Canada from determining the fate of prisoners so there is no need to make any change in the agreement.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has taken a dismissive attitude toward undocumented workers and immigrant communities as a whole, calling them a low priority.

Undocumented workers contribute significantly to our prosperity. Will the minister apologize for his destructive behaviour? Will he commit to actions to solve this issue?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we have been in touch with people in that community. I made it very clear that we are concerned about the fate of these undocumented workers. I want to point out that over the last 12 years the previous government continuously promised them all kinds of things that it never delivered on. The Conservative government will never do that.

AgricultureOral Questions

April 5th, 2006 / 3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadian producers have lived with 13 years of failed Liberal agricultural policies.

Producers are looking for reassurance from the Conservative government. Could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell the House and Canadians what his agricultural priorities are?