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House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Sri LankaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Sri Lanka continues to be devastated by civil war. The UN has raised concerns about human rights abuses amid this renewed civil war, while the increased violence in Sri Lanka has led to the suffering of displaced people.

I have raised this issue in this House before, as have my colleagues, and I will continue to raise it until the government steps up and takes on a leadership role in finding a lasting, peaceful resolution to this conflict.

Canada is a peaceful, responsible and caring nation. Canadians expect their government to take action to help the people of Sri Lanka. We must act now to facilitate an immediate end to the violence that has cost so many lives.

Private Members' BusinessStatements By Members

November 21st, 2007 / 2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, last night I sat in this place ready to hear the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development speak to Bill C-303, a bill the NDP has identified as a priority.

However, when the private members' hour came I was shocked to see NDP members use procedural tricks to delay debating this bill. Imagine, NDP members manipulating the system to delay debate on their own child care bill on National Child Day.

One might ask why they would do this. Do they not want parents to hear how this bill would remove real choice in child care by limiting the options available to them? Are they afraid the public will realize that the only thing this bill would do is remove money from the provinces that do not cave in and support their one size fits all model?

Or, do they not want Canadians to know that the provinces oppose this bill and say that it would put a halt to the creation of tens of thousands of child care spaces across this country? Are those the reasons?

Or, is it that the NDP simply wants to play politics with this important issue without actually having to talk about the facts?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for a government that made the ridiculous claim that it had ended federal-provincial bickering, it continues insulting the partners of this federation.

The finance minister insulted Atlantic Canadians, the transport minister insulted Canada's mayors and now the House leader insulted the Premier of Ontario.

Will the House leader, a member from Ontario, apologize to Premier McGuinty and to the people of Ontario for his insult?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:20 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, the Premier of Ontario was complaining about a piece of legislation that proposes to give Ontario more seats in the legislature of Canada, the federal Parliament, than it is entitled to today under the current law. It is a provision that would give Ontario more new seats than any other province.

What did the premier do? He complained about it, which is what I mean when I talk about the small man of Confederation. He would get more seats for his province and he complains.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, shame on this minister for insulting one of this country's premiers.

But what can we expect of a government that, in nearly two years, has never agreed to a meeting of this country's first ministers? The Premier of Quebec has repeatedly asked for such a meeting for good reasons, for the good of our country's economy and Canadian workers and families, but the Prime Minister of Canada has told him he will have to make do with informal meetings. Shame on this government, which does not know how to make this federation work. Shame!

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:20 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, the Prime Minister has made it clear that he would be happy to have a first ministers meeting when we do not have elections and when everyone's' schedules can accommodate it.

What is interesting about that former cabinet minister is that he is now standing up for a premier who is complaining about a lack of representation for Ontario. When he was in cabinet, his party introduced bills twice to deal with redistribution and never once proposed increasing a single seat.

After one of those bills was introduced, Premier McGuinty had already been elected but did not raise any concerns at the time. Only now, when we are actually delivering for Ontario, is he raising concerns.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government insulted Ontario, ignored Quebec and now it is failing British Columbia.

The B.C. government had to call its own inquiry into the tragic taser death. Why? It is because B.C. says that there is a vacuum of leadership at the federal level.

How much longer will the government continue to be the backseat driver of this federation?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I have, on a number of occasions, discussed with the B.C. solicitor general this whole incident. I explained to him that the federal government was the first to move on this particular incident long before the tragic video was shown. And, long before there was one word of concern from the Liberals, we asked for the review related to the tasers.

We think a first report from the Canada Border Services will come out tomorrow. We are asking for action. The Liberals asked for nothing when this first happened. We took action.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Premier of Ontario was protesting a gross piece of political gerrymandering that will harm the citizens of Ontario.

The only thing--

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. There seems to be a lot of ho, ho, hoing. Christmas is not here yet. We will have a little order. The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore has the floor to put a question.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only thing small in this federation is the government's sense of responsibility, its sense of respect and its sense of honour.

Why will the government House leader not stand up in the House today and say that his remarks about the Premier of Ontario were out of order and out of control?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 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, what is small is the number of seats that Alberta, B.C. and Ontario have in the federal Parliament. They are significantly underrepresented.

I think we have now seen the real agenda of the Liberal Party. It is to ensure that B.C., Alberta and Ontario do not get those additional seats because it does not support that principle.

It is not surprising since the deputy leader of the Liberal Party is from Ontario where Dalton McGuinty introduced a bill, bill 214, that wiped out the principle of representation by population in Ontario, leaving southern Ontario 44% underrepresented against the rest of the province.

He should clean up his own house first.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a typical performance of the government to pit the west against Ontario.

The issue is fairness toward Ontario. When will the minister come to the House with a measure that is fair to the province of Ontario?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:25 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, we brought in a measure that brings in fairness, fairness for Ontario, for B.C. and for Alberta. We are the first ones to do it. The Liberals did not do it in 13 years. They were happy to see those provinces shortchanged.

We would be delivering 10 more seats to Ontario, more than any other province would be getting. Ontario already has the most seats in the House of Commons. It is doing very well.

However, traditional supporters of Confederation realize that we want to see every province and every region treated fairly, and not this cloaked effort to suppress the west that we see from the Liberal Party over there.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2005, when they were in opposition, the Conservatives voted for a Bloc Québécois bill calling for full retroactivity of guaranteed income supplement benefits. Now that the Conservatives form the government, they are refusing to go ahead.

How can the Prime Minister dare go back on the promise he made to seniors, when his government has more than enough money to keep that promise?

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, in the last election campaign, this party ran on a platform to protect the guaranteed income supplement, the old age security and the Canada pension plan. We have done more than that. We have enhanced programs.

Today, we continue to do outreach to ensure people are aware of the benefits they can receive. We have officials who go to seniors' homes. We advertise broadly. We even have people physically present in homeless shelters and on reserves so people know exactly what kinds of benefits are available to them.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is pure hypocrisy. When they were in opposition, they supported the Bloc Québécois bill, but now they are going back on their promise. Even worse, when the government owes seniors money, there is a maximum of 11 months of retroactivity, but when seniors owe the government money, there is no limitation period. It is a double standard.

How can we accept such behaviour? When the government wants money, there is no limitation period and it dips into seniors' pockets, but when the government owes money, there is an 11-month limit. The government must stop this hypocrisy.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, this government has done more for seniors in the last 21 months than the previous government did in the last 13 years.

Today we have a minister in charge of seniors' issues. We have a national panel dedicated to hearing seniors' issues. We are fighting elder abuse. We are enhancing benefits. We are lowering taxes for seniors.

Those are all things we support and that the Bloc, for some reason, has voted against. Shame on them.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Raymond Gravel Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Radio-Canada told us the story of Ms. Bolduc, who has lived on $7,000 a year since 2001. If the guaranteed income supplement were given to her with full retroactivity, she would receive $12,000. She could say—as another senior before her said to Mr. Mulroney, who wanted to de-index pensions—“Good-bye, Charlie Brown.” It is the same old story with the Conservatives.

Will the Prime Minister keep his promise to seniors and give them full retroactivity or will he wait for seniors to once again say to him “Good-bye, Charlie Brown”?

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, it is this government that moved to improve CPP and ensure additional benefits.

We have seen benefits for guaranteed income supplement go up over the last 18 months. We are lowering taxes so that 385,000 low income Canadians no longer have to pay federal income tax, and many of those are seniors.

We are helping seniors every day in tangible ways, while all we ever hear from the Bloc members is talk and, frankly, that is all it can do.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Raymond Gravel Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, if pensions were indexed for all seniors, each of them would receive an additional $110 per month. This measure would cost the government just a little over $710 million. Tax cuts for oil companies will total $532 million in 2008, and that figure could reach $1.4 billion in 2012. How can the government refuse this $710 million to seniors?

The government should be ashamed to give tax breaks to oil companies at the expense of seniors. Will it give them indexation, yes or no?

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the government has tremendous sympathy for the plight of seniors who live without adequate incomes, which is why we have taken action in a number of ways.

We put a minister in place precisely to deal with a number of these issues. We have a national panel on seniors. We have taken several steps so we ensure that seniors have adequate incomes, in the form of direct support from government, and we lowered the taxes so they do not have to pay them any more.

The real question is this. Why does the Bloc oppose these things at every step?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Bali conference on climate change is fast approaching, but it is clear that the government is not taking climate change seriously. There are consequences. Yesterday, we learned that mild winters and intense storms could split the Îles-de-la-Madeleine in two within five years.

Why does the Prime Minister not take climate change seriously? Why will he let the Îles-de-la-Madeleine be split in two?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the government is taking action. It has regulated large companies. For the first time in the history of Canada, we are taking real action for real reductions—absolute greenhouse gas reductions. We are working very hard on transport and energy. For the first time in the history of Canada, we are working together, with all the provinces, with public money, to help this worthwhile cause.