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House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was bills.

Topics

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, time passes but nothing changes. I am always amazed at how the Conservatives never stop attacking the official languages of Canada. It seems that cancelling the court challenges program without notice was not enough for this government.

Last spring, the Commissioner of Official Languages made it clear that there is a big difference between what the government says and what the government does when it comes to bilingualism.

It seems the Conservatives wanted to show they could go even further. The newest item on their record is that they are unable to provide bilingual health services in federal institutions such as Veterans Affairs and the RCMP. This is a sad but true representation of the unfortunate situation the linguistic minority populations have to suffer under this government.

It is time for this government to change its approach and show more respect for our linguistic minority communities.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

October 26th, 2007 / 11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know the so-called leader of the Liberal Party is not a leader. Now we know the Liberal Party stands for nothing, and literally.

On the throne speech, our plan for a better Canada, the Liberals just could not stand and vote. They sat in their seats, including the leader. What happened to their principles? The only Liberal principle left is self-preservation.

The party of health care and education? The Liberals voted against budget 2007 increases.

The party of the environment? This Conservative government adopted the toughest emissions reductions of any country for 2020.

A strong economy? The Liberals voted against all budget 2007 measures to help industry, measures they said that they supported at committee.

The party of national unity? Under the Liberals, support for sovereignty in Quebec it was over 50%. Now, our country is strong and united.

So what do the Liberals stand for? Just their paycheques.

A wise man once said, “You better stand for something or you are going to fall for anything”. He must have been talking about the Liberal Party of Canada.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that Canada's top soldier went to Afghanistan. The Prime Minister's Office apparently had no idea he was there. Then he contradicted the government's statement in the throne speech itself that Afghanistan would be able to defend itself by 2011.

Now the Prime Minister's press secretary has issued a public reprimand to Canada's top soldier, trying to bring him back into line. What is at stake here is the government's competence and its credibility.

When will the government get this mission under control? Who is in charge?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada was quite clear in our recently passed throne speech, passed by the assistance of the opposition on the important issue of Afghanistan.

Building up the capacity of the Afghan people will, obviously, take time. We want them to be able to defend their sovereignty. We know that will not happen overnight but our government does believe it can happen by 2011, the end of the period that is covered in the Afghanistan Compact.

We look forward to receiving the report of the Manley panel, which all parliamentarians will have an opportunity to review and, as we have said many times before, it will be up to this Parliament to decide, in the end, the deployment.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has a long history of bungling this mission. After the detainee fiasco, it had to shuffle its ministers. Then it had to appoint an outside committee to do what ministers should be doing, which is to determine the future course after 2009. Now we learn that General Hillier and the government are at loggerheads.

Our troops deserve better. They deserve competent leadership. When will the Prime Minister start to provide it?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the deputy leader of the Liberal Party believes that these decisions should be made by a small group of cabinet ministers. Our party actually believes something different and that is why we put this question to all members of the House of Commons when they voted, including the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, to endorse the deployment until February 2009.

We thank him for his support for the current mission and we know that he will want to have the opportunity to consider the report of the Manley commission on the future of the Afghan mission.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government says 2011. General Hillier says 2017. Our brave soldiers deserve better than that. Who speaks for Canada? Who is in charge of the mission? Who are we to believe, the Prime Minister or General Hillier?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was very clear: the members will debate the nature of our future engagement in due course. A panel of eminent Canadians has been appointed to study the future role of Canada in Afghanistan. the panel will provide parliamentarians with recommendations to help them make good decisions about the Canadian mission. The Afghan people have seen tangible improvements in daily life thanks to our assistance. For example, in 2001 only 700,000 boys attended school; in 2007-2008 there are more than 6 million children in school, and girls represent one third of that number.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, General Hillier says that it will be 10 years before the Afghan army is able to take over its responsibility for the safety and security of the Afghan people and yet the Prime Minister has said, as late as yesterday, that it will be four years.

Who is telling the truth: Canada's top soldier, or Canada's top spinner, the Prime Minister?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, many people have different opinions on the appropriate deployment in Afghanistan. In fact, over on that side of the House there must be at least half a dozen different opinions just in the head of the Liberal leader.

In our case, we have been clear and the Prime Minister has been clear. The throne speech set it out. We believe that the end of the Afghan Compact in 2011 is an appropriate time, but it is Parliament and the House of Commons that will decide. That is something that never happened when the Liberals were in government.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, General Hillier was on the ground in Afghanistan this week and, unlike the government's cabinet ministers, he was not there just for a photo op.

Why should Canadians trust a Prime Minister who twists, manipulates and spins the truth, instead of General Hillier, a real soldier who dares to speak the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, in our view, we have been fair throughout. We have appointed a commission, headed up by a former Liberal deputy prime minister, the Hon. John Manley, who is a very distinguished gentleman on a very distinguished panel, to provide advice to all members of the House of Commons on the best way to approach the deployment.

I assume the members of the Liberal Party were comfortable with that approach. They endorsed it publicly and then they endorsed it when they allowed our throne speech to pass.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian and American climatologists have issued a serious warning and are saying that the 2040 projections are no longer valid. Global warming is accelerating, and the Arctic could be ice-free in 2020 because of increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead of paying billions of dollars for ships to patrol the Arctic, would the government not do better to invest that money in improving its record with regard to energy and the environment?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we are well aware of the serious problems caused by the significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. For 13 long years, this problem grew much worse. That is why we are taking real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by major industries. For the first time in Canada's history, the government is taking real action. That is something that the Bloc has never done since it arrived in the House of Commons.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the face of such dire predictions, does the government not think it is taking the wrong course by first abandoning Kyoto and then introducing a supposedly green plan that will not even bring about absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions? Will the government admit that its plan will be 30 years too late producing results?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I agree completely with the member that the Government of Canada did nothing for 15 long years. That is why we have a real plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% over the next 13 years. This is something that the previous government unfortunately did not do. It did nothing about this problem. We are taking action. That is something that was never seen in the 13 long years when the Bloc was in opposition.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, although there are more and more warnings about the accelerated deterioration of climate conditions because of the unchecked use of fossil fuels, the Conservative government still wants to extract four times more oil from the oil sands.

Under these circumstances, does the government realize that by revealing its intention, it has shown its complete lack of long-term vision and lack of responsibility towards the environment?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in many years, Canada is taking real action to fight global warming and to combat climate change.

We have a plan to require the large emitters, the large polluters, to finally begin to reduce their greenhouse gases. The only thing the Liberal Party did was provide big fat tax breaks for one particular industry.

We are acting. We are part of a new international consensus that is working to establish a protocol beyond 2012 to get the job done, where the previous government failed.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is stubbornly heading towards an environmental disaster.

If it wants its efforts to fight global warming to be credible, what is the government waiting for to adopt absolute greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and establish a carbon exchange?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we are in fact doing both of those.

We have announced that we want a carbon exchange in Canada. Canadian companies, as a compliance mechanism, face tough regulation brought forward by the Conservative government. There will be a carbon exchange in Canada. There will be an offset market.

We are keen to work with international partners, whether it be groups within the United States or the national government as a whole. We are keen to work with the Mexican government. We are also pleased to work on the clean development mechanisms under the Kyoto protocol. That is tremendously important, and it is something that we are doing.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just raised the issue of big fat tax breaks.

Let us just look at this situation. In fact, even the Government of Alberta now understands that it needs to raise the royalty charges on the biggest polluters, big oil and big gas.

What does the federal government do? It continues to subsidize this very sector, the biggest polluters, with hundreds of millions of dollars of Canadian taxpayer money.

Will the Prime Minister finally decide that he is going to stop subsidizing this sector and start cutting the subsidies in the mini budget?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, at the outset, let me congratulate the leader of the NDP on his clear enunciation of this important issue.

We are the government that ended the tax breaks for big oil. Who voted against getting rid of those tax breaks? It was the leader of the NDP himself. It is this government that is bringing in targets for greenhouse gas reductions, which are demonstrably tougher than in the province of Alberta.

We are working hard. We are getting the job done.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister can start by telling the truth to the House. The fact is the tax subsidies to these very large polluters stay in place for many more years under the plan of the government.

At the same time, it will not even allow electric car manufacturers, which produce clean cars right here in Canada, to be sold in Canada. That is how far-sighted the government is. A Canadian-built car, the ZENN vehicle, is already sold in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, but it cannot get on the road in Canada. Solar cars are available here.

Why will the government not do the right thing and support the—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Transport.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada has been in discussion with ZENN over its request to import the shell of the French built car and its conversion to an electric drive for Canadian markets.

ZENN has not yet provided the information requested by Transport Canada to assess the eligibility for the certification process. We look forward to receiving this information and assessing ZENN in becoming capable of supplying the Canadian market.