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House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have a lot of concerns about the CBC Radio Canada program that stated clearly that this government signed an agreement with the U.S. government concerning the Alberta oil sands.

The truth is that the Liberal Party held those meetings with the United States, and that the proposals were made when the leader of the Liberal Party was Minister of the Environment. Perhaps the leader of the Liberal Party can tell this House very clearly who was there and who agreed to the proposal?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact that the Minister of Natural Resources said he supports increasing oil extraction in Alberta to five million barrels a day proves that the government supports the conclusions in the report.

How can the government allow Alberta to contribute to increasing greenhouse gas emissions by producing five times more oil, then make Quebec and the other provinces bear the burden of reducing pollution?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. We should look at the facts. On the books, there are probably in total around two million barrels a day in the next five to ten years of projects in the oil sands.

However, we all need to work together. We need to develop science and technology on reducing greenhouse gases. We have to become more energy efficient. I look forward to working constructively together with the member opposite on her ideas. However, to suggest that we had anything to do with this meeting is absolutely, patently ridiculous.

National DefenceOral Questions

January 29th, 2007 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians are asking themselves what our soldiers are doing in Afghanistan. Many believe, and rightly so, that they are there to protect the fundamental liberties of the people of Afghanistan. And now the Minister of National Defence tells us that we are in Afghanistan, but instead, in the spirit of vengeance, for retribution.

Was the minister speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister when he made that statement? Is this a sign of a change in Conservative policy for Afghanistan?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are in Afghanistan for three reasons. First, the president and the people of Afghanistan want us to be there. Second, we have a responsibility to help failed or failing states. Third, there is a UN mandate for Afghanistan to ensure that the Taliban do not come back.

When I referred to retribution, I was talking to the Chrétien government's initial actions in Afghanistan.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this subject is too serious and this mission is too important to leave any lingering doubts about its objectives. The Minister of National Defence himself used the word “retribution” to define the objectives of this mission. Canadians do not need any further confusion. They need clarity with respect to this mission.

My question, therefore, is for the Prime Minister. Can he clearly tell us himself if the mission in Afghanistan is a mission for retribution, yes or no?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first, I did not use that word, at least as translated. As I said before, a famous statesman here in the House said, “a proof is the proof, is the proof”, and I am going to give the proof.

The Taliban government was in charge of Afghanistan. It sponsored the al-Qaeda terrorist who launched an attack from Afghanistan, attacked the Twin Towers and killed nearly 3,000 people, among whom were 24 Canadians.

A number of countries, among those Canada, returned to Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban government and replaced it with a democratic government. And that is the proof.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the “minister of vengeance”.

Yesterday, the CBC made public a document obtained through access to information. The document reveals the Canadian Forces' communications strategy for the next five years with regard to the mission in Afghanistan.

The document is dated May 2006. If I am counting correctly, five years takes us to 2011.

Why was there a five-year plan, when the mission is scheduled to end in 2009?

Did the government commit to a longer mission without telling Canadians? When will our soldiers really be coming back home?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is referring to the CF campaign plan, which is based on the Afghan compact and government direction. The government, and the member will find if he actually reads the campaign plan, recognizes that we are committed to the end of February 2009.

I would like to congratulate the member opposite for his recent appointment as critic. I hope he spends many years fulfilling that task.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, he has to come clean with Canadians on the true nature and length of Canada's commitment in Afghanistan.

We have also obtained a briefing book prepared for the minister that suggests Canadian troops will remain in Afghanistan until 2011.

Could the former military lobbyist truthfully tell the families of Canadian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan when Canadian troops will be coming home, or is it another case of “we can't handle the truth”?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first, there was no briefing book for me. This is a military plan, internal for the military. It has directions that we are committed until the end of February 2009, and that is our commitment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, Natural Resources Canada recently released an internal audit showing serious faults in the operation of a 2003-2005 climate change program. The program was designed to cut greenhouse gases in the transport sector, including anti-idling in commercial truck engines and the promotion of alternative fuels, such as biodiesel.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources elaborate on the findings of this most important audit?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, yes, this was in fact a $32 million climate change program under the old Liberal government. Once again, it was a scattered approach to climate change, but even worse, a climate change program that did not work. It was fraught with administrative errors. There were numerous problems.

Immediately upon finding out, I instructed my deputy minister to immediately tighten up the financial procedures. The person in charge of this program was immediately relieved of those duties.

Our government is committed to bringing the greatest and the highest standards of accountability, unlike the old Liberal government.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, every day in Canada working families are being gouged by the big banks. Average people everywhere are being forced to pay for access to their own money through outrageous ATM fees.

Considering how hard it is for Canadians to make a living and scrape together what they need to make ends meet and considering the banks' record breaking profits, will the Minister of Finance support NDP changes to the Bank Act and pledge his support to ban ATM fees?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue which the member raised previously in the House. At that time, I said that I would raise the issue with the banks, which I did. I look forward to further response from them.

The government does not regulate the day-to-day transactions of financial institutions with respect to fees and services, but we do believe in competition and choice for consumers. I would be pleased to report to the House and to the member further on the subject.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is it, after 49 days since we raised this question in the House, the minister promised some action.

All the polite questions in the world will not make ATM fees disappear, and it certainly will not put any more money in the hands and pockets of ordinary Canadians. The CEOs of Canada's big banks make more money in a few hours than average working families make in a year.

Why will the minister not just simply legislate a ban on ATM fees?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Quite Frankly, Mr. Speaker, it is not the role of the government to just simply legislate a ban on ATM fees.

I appreciate the question was asked in the House some time ago. The hon. member wrote me about this. I received the letter January 26, which is three days ago, or Friday.

However, we try to act quickly. I will get right on it again and get back to the member as soon as I can.

PassportsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Conservative incompetence has left thousands of Canadians unable to get a Canadian passport in a timely manner. Everyone knew about the American passport deadline, yet nothing was done to prepare.

Of course the Prime Minister does not care. Way back in March, he got his red passport in four days.

Why did the Minister of Foreign Affairs spend January travelling overseas without doing something, anything, to ensure Canadians got the travel documents they needed urgently?

PassportsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as it stands, over 20,000 applications are being received daily. As a result, to deal with this increase in applications, some time ago Passport Canada hired 200 new administrative and clerical staff in the year 2000. Another 300 are being hired and Passport Canada has recalled retired examiners and moved former passport examiners into other areas of the agency.

These people are working 24/7 to deal with the increase in applications. They are doing everything they can. The government is supporting them in that effort and will continue to do so.

PassportsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would say too little, too late. People lining up at 3:40 a.m. at the Edmonton passport office is simply not acceptable.

Joanne Scott was trying to take her family to Disneyland. “It is horrific,” she said of the government's efforts. She does not believe Canada's minority government when it says that everything is going great.

Why was the Conservative government so incompetent that nothing more was done to prepare for a passport crunch that everybody saw coming?

PassportsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I outlined the steps that Passport Canada has taken. I think the member opposite and members of the previous government must have been in Disneyland to not foresee some of the impending crisis that would occur as a result of the western hemisphere travel initiative.

We will continue to do everything we can to deal with this crunch. Canada has been advancing our interests when it comes to the United States and the implementation of this initiative. We will continue to do so.

We are on the file. Unlike the previous government, we do not sit back and wait for things to happen.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the Wheat Board, the government just cannot help but be deceptive.

Finally, after relentless pressure and after his gag orders, propaganda campaigns and firings, the minister has put forward nothing but confusing questions. One report called them intellectually dishonest.

The House supported questions written by western farm organizations. Why has the minister ignored the will of the House and why is he attempting to perpetuate a fraud on farmers with deceptive questions?

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, that could not be further from the truth. The member opposite, as well as many farmers and this party, wanted to go ahead with a consultative plebiscite. We have done that. We also have promised we will not make any changes on the wheat portion until we have an other plebiscite later on.

On this one, there are really three options for farmers. The status quo. They have a question that supports the status quo. They could abolish the board. That is not our position, but it is a fair question. The third one is, would they like to use the board when it suits their business practices?

We want a strong Canadian Wheat Board, but we want it to be voluntary in the best interests of all western Canadian farmers.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government pretends that it has no intention of undermining supply management as it did with the Canadian Wheat Board, but on December 21 the Minister of International Trade confirmed the government's real agenda: Supply management is already on the chopping block at WTO.

When will the Minister of International Trade own up to his actions and admit to Canadians that the government has already put supply management on the table as a bargaining chip?

AgricultureOral 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, we will not get into any more Disneyland comments, but the members opposite are living in a dream world. Again, our party policy is to support supply management. We campaigned on that. We have consistently promoted that.

This weekend the Minister of International Trade and myself were in Davos having discussions both bilaterally and multilaterally with our WTO partners. Consistently, both of us brought forward the Canadian position. We support supply management, we support protection of sensitive industries and we are taking steps to ensure that happens.