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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

TransportOral Questions

June 6th, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, consultations are not action. Last week, the Minister of Transport said that the railway system did not have any problems that would justify an inquiry. A series of accidents in the Mauricie has shown just how costly the privatization policies of the previous Liberal government and then this government have been both for the environment and in terms of human lives.

For months now, we have been asking the minister to conduct an inquiry in order to shed light on the rising number of accidents. But the minister always refuses.

How many accidents do there have to be before the Prime Minister makes the right decision?

TransportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, last week when I appeared before the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, certain presentations were made by officials from my department. They were able to provide suitable, satisfactory answers to all the questions that the hon. member had.

Insofar as safety is concerned, Transport Canada is always trying to improve safety, not only for rail but also for all the other methods of transportation that Canadians use.

TransportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, clearly with the government it is safety last. The minister should stop and think about the public interest.

The numbers are staggering: 195 main track derailments in 2005, a jump of 28% from 2004. Trains are jumping the rails, hitting pedestrians and vehicles and damaging the environment. It is an epidemic. B.C. is still dealing with the consequences of these derailments, such as the contamination near Squamish.

Will the minister assume full responsibility for the lives that may be lost due to his inability to do the right thing?

TransportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada assumes a responsibility to ensure our railways and, of course, other modes of transportation are safe and secure for Canadians to use. Yes, unfortunately, there are cases where there are mishaps, incidents that occur, but our officials are there to take care of it and we build on the information that is gathered pursuant to the investigations that are taking place.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Transport was asked a question about rural mail delivery. At that time he promised to meet with the Prime Minister, presumably because the Prime Minister makes all the decisions around here, and then get back to the House.

Has the minister consulted with the Prime Minister and, if so, what is the Prime Minister allowing him to say about this particular issue?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this issue has been raised, not only by members on this side of the House, but also by members on the other side of the House.

As some members may know, there are over 840,000 rural mailboxes across the country. This government and this party is committed to maintaining the traditional rural mail delivery and this has been indicated to the officials of Canada Post. We will do what it takes to do that.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

I take it, Mr. Speaker, that the minister has not been allowed to say anything at all.

One hundred years of rural mail delivery is in jeopardy, mail routes used since Confederation are apparently now dangerous, workers in the field of mail delivery are now at risk and Canada Post puts the boots to rural Canada. It is time for a decision to be made by the minister.

Prime Minister, will you allow the minister to make a decision?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Speaker will allow the minister to answer the question.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there is no need to go back 100 years. One need only look at 2004 when the previous government enabled a certain number of traditional ways of doing things to change. We are committed as a government to maintaining rural delivery in Canada.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Tories continue to abandon Canadians, particularly rural Canadians. Now they are abandoning postal services. They will no longer deliver mail to 53,000 rural families in this country. This means 53,000 cars driving 40 kilometres each to pick up the mail instead of a few cars delivering it to all. A made in Canada plan.

Will the government guarantee that all Canadians will continue to receive their mail and that all Canadians will be treated equally?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am in agreement with the last statement. We will treat all Canadians equally and we will ensure Canadians receive their mail delivery on time and as it should be done. That is our commitment and that is what we will be doing.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent upon the minister to tell us how he is going to do it.

How will he do this? He stood in the House not too long ago on a question from me on the Digby Wharf and accused me of not doing anything over a 13 year period. I have been here for five years. When the decision was made on the Digby Wharf it was a Conservative who sat in the seat for West Nova. He and the minister for ACOA use their ministerial responsibilities for political purposes. He has indicated that he will make that decision on a political basis. He owes it to the people of Dibgy to return that facility to their hands.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to see all the effort that the hon. member has put into his question. It is too bad that he did not put as much effort and determination into solving the problem in his riding. The problem we have now with mail delivery has been apparent for several months. We are going to deal with it. Unfortunately, it must be said that they did nothing—especially this member—for the people of Digby.

National RevenueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec made a decision in the Norbourg case to help investors. It decided not to claim Vincent Lacroix's unpaid income taxes so that the money could be distributed to the victims of the fraud.

Why is the Minister of National Revenue refusing to tell us whether her government will do the same?

National RevenueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan

Conservative

Carol Skelton ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I can assure my hon. colleague that my colleagues from Quebec have kept me very well informed on this case. Regrettably, I must say once again that due to the privacy provisions of the Income Tax Act I cannot comment on the case.

National RevenueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is refusing to answer the question because she wants this session to end before giving a straight answer to the people who were defrauded in the Norbourg affair.

On behalf of those citizens, I ask her again to tell us why the federal government will not do as the Quebec government did to help the Norbourg victims. It is her duty to answer us and to tell us her government's position as soon as possible. Instead of hiding the answer, she must reply.

National RevenueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan

Conservative

Carol Skelton ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would like to say that I am unable to comment due to the privacy provisions of the Income Tax Act. I understand that a creditors meeting has been called for July 6. Our position will be known then.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier today I met with Nazanin Afshin-Jam, the Canadian champion of the cause to prevent the execution of an 18-year-old girl in Iran.

Ms. Afshin-Jam has brought world attention to this case of a young woman sentenced to execution after being convicted of killing a man who attempted to rape her and her 16-year-old niece. She was 17 at the time. Recent information indicates that the sentence has been commuted and a new trial has been ordered.

Would the minister confirm that he has received assurances from the Iranian embassy of a new trial? Would he update the House on any other developments?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question and her recent interest in this case.

Canada takes these matters very seriously, as we have previously with the case of Mr. Jahanbegllo. We have made representations to the government of Iran. We have tried on many occasions to engage them about human rights abuses and human rights allegations.

We will continue to do so. We will continue to engage our international partners to relay these very serious concerns. This is of course an ongoing situation given the difficulties that we are having with diplomacy in Iran today.

International AidOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Conservative Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government was one of the first countries to offer immediate emergency funding to the victims of the earthquake in Indonesia. The devastation in that country is profound and there is much work still to be done in rebuilding.

After further examination of the needs of the Indonesians, would the Minister of International Cooperation update the House of additional funding that might be needed?

International AidOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to say that our government was one of the first to respond to the urgent need of the affected population. Today I am announcing that in addition to the $2 million we have already given, our government will give another $4 million in humanitarian aid and to help rebuild and redevelop the country affected by this disaster.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government in Nova Scotia seems more committed to building and renovating liquor stores than providing desperately needed nursing home beds.

Nova Scotia Conservatives have cut long term care beds, but had no problem finding money to build and renovate 23 liquor stores. There are too few long term beds. Many seniors are stuck in acute care beds. This makes health care waiting lists longer.

Will the federal Conservative government commit today to long term funding for long term care, so that seniors can have access to the quality care they need and deserve?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House that in budget 2006 we have been very supportive of the 10 year deal on health care, which includes transfer funding at an unprecedented level for the provinces and territories to meet the health care needs of their patients and constituents.

That includes long term care and home care. If the hon. member feels that strongly about it, perhaps she should run in the provincial election in Nova Scotia.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is not 10 years from now that they need the beds. It is now.

To compound our seniors' health problems, the federal government has now backed away from its commitment to reduce pollution. Thanks to the Prime Minister, the Nova Scotia premier now says that he will not meet his commitments to reduce pollution. That is the Conservative legacy. No help for our seniors for long term care and no clean air for them or their grandchildren to breathe.

Will the Prime Minister finally introduce a detailed plan to clean our air and water so that Nova Scotians, indeed all Canadians, can breathe a little easier?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the House will recognize that these questions from the hon. member for Halifax are little more than her attempt to engage in the provincial election campaign in Nova Scotia. The NDP may need that kind of help, but I am sure the Conservative Party of Nova Scotia is able to stand on its own feet.