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House of Commons Hansard #20 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

Child CareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I have to point out that by working cooperatively with the provinces, we are now on our way to creating 32,000 new child care spaces, but one thing we will not do.

The leader of the Liberal Party has said he would tear up the universal child care benefit, which really speaks volumes about his lack of faith in the ability of parents to raise their own children. I think he should explain why he thinks so little of parents, and by the way, the member really should apologize to the Minister of Justice for what she said.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want action on health and the environment, but unfortunately, previous Liberal governments failed to act and for years the links between health and the environment went unheeded.

Our government has brought forward numerous practical and achievable plans to clean up Canada's air, land and water. Today is National Child Day, so I would like to ask the Minister of Health what action our government is taking to help safeguard Canada's health and environment for our children.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 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, as part of our world renowned chemicals management plan, I am announcing the launch of the maternal infant research on environmental chemicals study, a five year study that will recruit 2,000 women from 10 cities across Canada during their first trimester of pregnancy and follow them through the birth of their child, and obtain data on their exposure to chemicals.

Once again, this Conservative government is taking action on behalf of Canadians in respect to health and the environment.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's softball lob from the government benches on emergency vehicles being stopped at the U.S.-Canada border is not going to cut it for Canadian families who depend upon cross-border cooperation in 911 emergencies.

It is not just one fire truck. It is not just one ambulance. These are not isolated incidents. In the past two years, 10 cardiac cases in Windsor alone have been stopped and pulled over. Why? It is because U.S. protocol says so and this government agreed to it.

Why did the minister not demand that the U.S. change this protocol, or did he not even know it was happening?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we take action immediately on situations like this. The western hemisphere travel initiative, which was announced by the Americans, is something that we have had concern with a number of times and we have addressed many of the unintended consequences of that.

I have not only written to the secretary related to homeland security, Michael Chertoff, on this. I have talked to him specifically about the incidents related to the fire crew and also to the ambulance. I have his assurance that this is not a policy of the United States. He looked into it directly and has given me assurance that he will make that communication clear to his people that the tradition of Canadians and Americans helping each other will continue.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the minister finally found a phone because when we investigated where his letter was, the department of homeland security could not find it. I guess it is locked up at the border, like everything else.

What I do want to know is, why has the minister not called in the ambassador? It is not only just people and trade. It is lives that are being put at risk. Why is the ambassador of the United States not being called in for us to demand an explanation on these border practices, and have that government stop this protocol that is putting Canadians at risk for no reason?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, the western hemisphere travel initiative has engendered a lot of concerns on our part. We do not like the fact that there have been some unintended consequences of this, and that is why I have not only written to the secretary of state responsible for homeland security, but I have talked to him personally.

If my colleague was truly concerned, he might have asked me for the number of the people who could address this, rather than dialing in to a receptionist somewhere and asking if that person had a copy of my letter.

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, this morning the finance minister continued to hide the details of the phantom deal in the Atlantic accord by cancelling, for the fourth time, a parliamentary briefing, this one 14 minutes before it was due to begin. The political decision caught even his own finance officials off guard who were waiting and then quickly scurried away.

We are told that since the legislation was not ready and had not been tabled in the House, disclosure to anyone before going to Parliament would be a contempt of Parliament.

Would the minister admit that copies of this legislation are in fact already in the hands of Conservatives and others in the province of Nova Scotia? Is this not a contempt of Parliament and a contempt of the people of Nova Scotia?

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the legislation, the proposed bill to which the hon. member makes reference, is the fall budget implementation bill. It is a complicated bill. It is complex. It covers a large number of subjects that were reviewed in the budget this year, and additional items.

It is, as I say, complex and is still being drafted over some technical issues. Our commitment was to have the briefing as soon as the bill was tabled. We will keep the commitment.

International AidOral Questions

November 20th, 2007 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Bangladesh has become dire. A category four storm with winds of 240 kilometres per hour brought torrential rainfall across much of southern and central Bangladesh. According to the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, the death toll is over 3,100 and could climb to 10,000 once all the affected areas are reached.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation update the House on what Canada is doing to help those affected.

International AidOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, let me first express condolences to the people and families who have been impacted by the disaster in Bangladesh. Canada has always responded to those less fortunate around the world.

It has been reported that the effects have been devastating. Our government responded immediately with $250,000, and yesterday Canada committed $3 million to support recovery and humanitarian aid. We will continue to monitor the reports received over the next days and weeks.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Independent Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has tabled Bill C-14 to withdraw Canada Post's exclusive privilege of delivering letters outside Canada.

Canada Post is already required to be profitable—as it should be—and it fears, and rightly so, losing a privilege and significant income in order to ensure quality service.

In rural regions like mine, Canada Post is struggling financially to strike a balance between safety issues and mail delivery.

As with local telephone service, the government is acting in favour of the companies and not the general public.

In its obsession with the free market, does the government realize that lower income for Canada Post inevitably means—

Canada PostOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Canada PostOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but I did not hear the end of the hon. member's question.

Nonetheless, I believe she is concerned about the fact that we have to continue to support Canada Post in its efforts to maintain rural service. That is something this House and the government support. We will continue to support Canada Post in its service delivery.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to order made earlier this day, I invite the honourable members to rise and observe a moment of silence in memory of the Canadian soldiers who have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the past few days.

[A moment of silence observed]

Letter Referred to during Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

In answer to my question, the Minister of Public Safety referenced a letter that I had requested from his office this morning. His office denied to send it out. Since he referenced the letter in the House, I would ask that he table it in the House of Commons.

Unparliamentary LanguagePoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.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 rise on a different point of order.

During question period, the Leader of the Opposition said, and I believe I am quoting here, “the documents tell the truth, but the Prime Minister did not”.

As recently as yesterday, Mr. Speaker, you felt it necessary to give a statement regarding unparliamentary language. Obviously, the Leader of the Opposition did not get the message. Suggesting that a member of the House has lied is clearly out of order. I counted some 40 rulings listed on page 146 of Beauchesne's sixth edition supporting that position.

As is our custom, Mr. Speaker, I believe you should ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw those unfortunate words that he spoke.

Unparliamentary LanguagePoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, obviously the Leader of the Opposition is not in the House at the moment. He will clearly review Hansard to examine the words that were spoken.

The fact of the matter is we have on many occasions pointed out the gross inconsistencies between what the Conservative government said last spring and what court documents revealed to be true at the time. It will be important to examine the exact record to determine where the truth lies.

Unparliamentary LanguagePoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Chair had reservations at the time the remarks were made, but I noted that the word “lying” was not used. The government House leader in his remarks did point out that that word has been ruled unparliamentary many times, and it was not used.

I will examine the matter. As the House leader for the official opposition has pointed out, he will speak with the Leader of the Opposition and will review the remarks also. If the Leader of the Opposition chooses to do that, he may hear from me in due course.

I will examine the words. I did have reservations at the time.

Cancellation of Briefings on the Atlantic AccordPrivilegeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege arising out of question period.

My question to the Minister of Finance was about a series of postponed, delayed, cancelled briefings on the alleged arrangement that has been made with the province of Nova Scotia and the federal government on the Atlantic accord. The chair of the Liberal caucus in Nova Scotia, the member for Cape Breton—Canso, asked a month ago for information on what was happening between the two governments.

The meeting was scheduled for 10:30 today and it was cancelled at 10:16. As I indicated in my question, finance officials were there as well waiting for this briefing. It was confirmed last night by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. The reason given for its cancellation was that the legislation has to be tabled.

Our concern is that there are people in Nova Scotia and perhaps elsewhere who know what is in that legislation before parliamentarians know. I want an assurance from the Minister of Finance that nobody will see the final legislation that is going to come before the House before parliamentarians representing the people of Nova Scotia.

Cancellation of Briefings on the Atlantic AccordPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.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 do not see the privilege raised. The Minister of Finance made it quite clear that a briefing will be offered as soon as the bill is introduced in the House. I think that briefing will happen very soon.

If the parties wish to consent to the bill being introduced later today, we could return to routine proceedings and we could offer that briefing later today. I put to the House that, by way of unanimous consent, we return to routine proceedings solely for the purpose of introduction of government bills, if members are prepared to do that.

Cancellation of Briefings on the Atlantic AccordPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It seems to me we are getting into a bit of a debate here. It seems to me that briefings and meetings are not a concern of the House.

Is there another question of privilege? The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is getting up again on the same one.

Cancellation of Briefings on the Atlantic AccordPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to make the point that the issue of parliamentary privilege comes out of information given to us by the parliamentary secretary, who told us the reason that we could not have the briefing was that the legislation was not coming into the House.

It was the government that said that was the reason the briefing was delayed. It was not us who said that. We just wanted information on this phantom Atlantic accord about which Nova Scotians are very dubious.

Cancellation of Briefings on the Atlantic AccordPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am sorry, I do not understand this is a question of privilege. The hon. member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte is rising on a question of privilege.

Cancellation of Briefings on the Atlantic AccordPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, in order to ensure that privilege has not been breached in the House, would the hon. finance minister confirm to all members of the House that the draft legislation has not been seen by any eyes outside his own Department of Finance? Has the draft legislation been transmitted to members of the provincial assembly of Nova Scotia, officials from the Government of Nova Scotia or Conservative members opposite? Please confirm.