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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

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did the exact opposite of what he said. He said that to become a cabinet minister a person should be elected to Parliament. Then he appointed one of his main political campaign organizers—a non-elected person—to head a high profile department, that of Public Works and Government Services.

How does the Prime Minister explain this inconsistency between what he said in his speech on accountability and what he did?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think it is essential for the greater Montreal area to be represented in our cabinet and in our new federalist government. For that reason, I used the only option available to me and that was to use a seat in the other place.

If the Liberal Party is against such representation for Montreal, then it should just say so.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know that Montrealers do not agree with the Conservatives' views, nor do Torontonians or Vancouverites, but that is not the point.

How does the Prime Minister explain that a minister responsible for $13 billion in contracts annually is not accountable to this House of Commons?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member spoke of the views of Montrealers and Quebeckers. I can tell you that the views of Quebeckers are clear. They are not in favour of a centralist government or an independent Quebec; they are in favour of a stronger Quebec within a better Canada. Those are Conservative principles.

UNESCOOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a speech given in Quebec City last December 19, the Prime Minister promised Quebec that it could participate in UNESCO in a manner similar to its participation in the francophone summit, where Quebec speaks for itself. The throne speech now makes reference to granting Quebec a role in UNESCO, while adding that Canada speaks with one voice in the international community, and hence at UNESCO.

Can the Prime Minister tell us what Quebec’s real place will be at UNESCO? Will it be the one to which he committed himself in his speech of December 19, or the one described in the Speech from the Throne, which is very similar to the one promoted by the previous government?

UNESCOOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would also like to congratulate the leader of the Bloc Québécois on his sixth election to the House of Commons. I hope he understands that, despite my strong opposition to his political objective, he has long had my complete personal respect.

On the question of UNESCO, this government has invited Quebec to participate in that organization. We are presently in negotiation with the Government of Quebec. I am optimistic that we shall have a result shortly.

UNESCOOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

)Mr. Speaker, I too hope there is a result. However, there is a difference between the Quebec City speech of December 19 and the Speech from the Throne. At the francophone summit, Quebec speaks for itself and Canada does likewise. Two distinct voices are heard, and there are even two different ways of voting, for Quebec has voting rights in certain matters.

Is that what the Prime Minister has in mind, or is he telling Quebec that it can be part of the Canadian presence within the Canadian delegation, but that it must be quiet if it disagrees with the government, and that there is no question of it being given the right to vote? What is the position of the Prime Minister?

UNESCOOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat my response. We are now in negotiation with the Government of Quebec. We are very flexible about arrangements. However, we have to end up with a resolution that conforms to the rules of UNESCO itself. We are very optimistic that we will have a result very shortly.

UNESCOOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a speech he gave on December 19 in Quebec City, the Prime Minister promised that Quebec would have a seat at UNESCO as it does at the Francophonie summit. However, in the Speech from the Throne, the government backed away from that commitment.

When it comes right down to it, can the Prime Minister deny that what he is offering Quebec is no more than what the previous government offered?

UNESCOOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the former government refused to offer Quebec such a role. I can only confirm that we will negotiate an agreement with the federalist government of Quebec.

I am sure that the members of the Bloc will not support such an agreement. We know that their objective is to do much more than give Quebec a voice on the world stage.

UNESCOOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has shown interest in the Belgian model. According to this model, when the Walloon, Flemish and German communities disagree on a given subject, Belgium abstains from voting at UNESCO.

Would Canada do the same in the event of Quebec's disagreement? Is this the new role this government envisions for Quebec?

UNESCOOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec is a federalist government. It does not seek to deny Canada its voice on the international stage. It merely seeks to ensure that the province has a voice of its own and a role to play internationally in its areas of jurisdiction. Those are this government's objectives.

Child CareOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, 13 years ago a Liberal government was elected on a commitment to build child care spaces across the country. Three majority governments, eight surplus budgets and not a single child care space was built.

Therefore, let me turn to the Prime Minister and acknowledge that choice in child care is in fact important for Canadians, but one cannot have a choice if one cannot find a child care space.

Will the Prime Minister commit stable, long term funding for child care spaces to the provinces and territories right across the country?

Child CareOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

First of all, Mr. Speaker, let me also congratulate the leader of the NDP on his re-election. The leader of the NDP managed to substantially increase the number of seats that his party won in the last election. As we know, it is important to everyone, including the government, that we have an opposition party that is both national in scope and principled in its approach. We wish the member well in building that kind of opposition, as long as of course he remains in opposition.

I wholly agree with the member on the failure of the previous government's child care programs. Ours will ensure that we create real spaces.

Child CareOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP caucus supports the idea of subsidizing individuals and families. However, we believe that this should be done in addition to making child care spaces available. This is of the utmost importance. Statistics Canada indicates today that the number of families relying on child care spaces is increasing.

Does the Prime Minister realize that this situation requires stable funding for day cares and that this system should be established immediately?

Child CareOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member and his party know that this government's policy seeks to provide two things: an immediate family allowance to families with preschool children, as well as a tax credit, an investment credit, for the purpose of truly creating child care spaces.

We should note that the existing program, which will only end next year, has not fulfilled this mandate. However, I am hopeful that our program will create child care spaces and that we will have the support of the member and his party.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, today thousands of farmers have come to Ottawa to call for action from the government. They need cash and they need it now.

The Prime Minister knows that the $755 million booked by the previous government was for last year. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has stated there will be no money this spring.

Will the minister and the government consent to having a debate tonight to explain to farmers here today why the government refuses to act and put cash on the table?

AgricultureOral 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, it is no wonder the farmers out front are calling for action from this government because they certainly did not get any from the last government.

We have taken some action. The $755 million that the previous government promised but somehow could not deliver is going out the door. Furthermore, we campaigned on a commitment to add another $2.5 billion to the agricultural budget.

Help for farmers is on the way, and the Conservative government will make sure we deliver it, now.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows very well that record government payments were paid out in the last two years by the previous government. When the minister lives up to that record, if he can do that, then he will be able to brag. However, he is $1 billion short at the moment.

Is he willing to come to the House tonight to debate the issue so the farmers can see where that minister and that government really are in terms of shortchanging the farm community?

AgricultureOral 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, at any time I am willing to debate our plan and their record, but that is not a fair debate.

On top of that, I have been to all 10 provinces. I have met with industry representatives and farmers from coast to coast over the last six weeks. There is a consistent pattern I hear from the farmers: the previous government devised programs that did not work for farmers; it promised money and did not deliver it; it was too late, a dollar short and a plan short at every opportunity. That will change under a Conservative government.

EthicsOral Questions

April 5th, 2006 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, as industry minister, the new international trade minister signed a declaration removing himself from the softwood lumber file. This was done in 2004, on the advice of the Ethics Commissioner, to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest arising from the minister's ongoing financial relationship as former CEO of a major Canadian lumber producer.

Will the Minister of International Trade commit himself to returning to the higher ethical standard and step aside immediately from softwood lumber talks?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that not only will that minister and all ministers live by the provisions of the last ethics code, they will live by much tougher provisions in the future with the new ethics code that we will be bringing in, including the elimination of the blind management agreements for which that government was so famous.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I guess the muzzling continues.

I know the Minister of International Trade likes to consider himself above politics while depriving his constituents of democracy, but he should not put his own personal interests above being accountable and protecting the integrity of his own government.

With Canada and the United States set to return to the bargaining table in June, will the minister at least give the Prime Minister his assurance that he will not once again cross the floor and join the American softwood negotiating team?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, I have declared all my financial positions with all my assets. I had developed with the conflict commissioner a recusal that was in effect when I was serving under the previous government. That same recusal has been updated and it applies today.

I shake my head at the hypocrisy of the hon. member. Those hon. members were very happy to have my involvement in softwood lumber and other forest policy business, but now they have changed their minds.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister would like to address the fiscal imbalance. Very well. We all agree that such a problem cannot be solved overnight. However, urgent needs in education require an immediate increase in transfer payments. All stakeholders are calling for a transfer increase to the 1994-95 level of $4.9 billion annually, after allowing for inflation.

Since the Speech from the Throne does not mention the matter, can the government promise that the next budget will include an increase in transfer payments for post-secondary education and social programs?