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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, our government is very proud of the Turning the Corner action plan to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.

We also acknowledge that we have to invest in adaptation. We are very proud of the Minister of the Environment on his announcement today in Indonesia of $85 million that our government is investing in measures with respect to adaptation.

May I also add that every single Canadian who is watching is very proud of our Minister of the Environment who is representing Canada so proudly at these talks.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2005 the Liberal government was alerted by then Ottawa Centre MP Ed Broadbent to the very serious concerns about missing safety procedures and quality assurance in the Chalk River nuclear program. Now nearly 24 months later, the world is facing a critical isotope shortage due to the serious errors made at Chalk River.

Was the minister aware that experts were telling the opposition the project was five years behind schedule and almost 300% over budget? If not, will he find out why these very serious concerns were totally ignored by the previous Liberal government?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the situation with medical isotopes, I can assure the House that our government is very concerned. Our first and foremost immediate priority is resuming production as soon as possible.

Immediately upon learning of the situation, I was in immediate contact with both the CNSC and AECL with respect to this issue. I want to stress to the House that both of these agencies are absolutely independent of this government. However, both the Minister of Health and I have written to both of these agencies today to put our concerns in writing. We are looking for an immediate response from both of these agencies to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is about time.

The facts are clear. An NDP MP forwarded the serious concerns of an engineer who warned the government about the technical capacity of the Chalk River nuclear facility. This person warned of serious risks to the safety of the site, its employees, the surrounding communities and the whole Ottawa Valley. The government and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission clearly failed to respond and now the site has been shut down, causing diagnostic equipment to go dark around the world.

When will the minister launch a probe into why these warnings were ignored?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we are very concerned. Our first priority right now is to ensure the production of these isotopes as soon as possible. We are working with both of these agencies.

I want to stress that both the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the regulator, and AECL are completely independent agencies of government.

We have also made available all government assets, if we can expedite this at all, to ensure that these radioisotopes come back online as soon as possible.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health knew for some time that the Chalk River nuclear reactor was going to shut down, but had no emergency plan for providing the radioisotopes that are critical for potential cancer patients. The result is disastrous. Thousands of patients have been waiting for more than 22 days for essential diagnostic tests. This is unacceptable and irresponsible.

Since the minister is very familiar with the problems in Chalk River, why has he not established an emergency plan, in case of a disaster?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 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, we understand the stress these patients and their loved ones must be under, given the situation.

The moment we were alerted to this extended shutdown, Health Canada swung into action. We have been scouring the globe for other replacement radioisotopes. We have been dealing, of course, as my colleague has, with an arm's length regulator and with AECL on how to start up as soon as possible. We are working with experts from coast to coast to see whether any replacement isotopes can be developed domestically.

We are acting in the best interests--

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Pierrefonds--Dollard.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, real leadership includes a strong dose of responsibility. This minister has done nothing but shift responsibility onto others and say the situation is out of his hands. I am sorry, but that is not leadership. It is blatant incompetence. Sick Canadians will have to wait until after the holidays to undergo essential diagnostic testing, because of his negligence. No happy holidays ahead for those patients.

When will the minister admit that he has once again let down Canadians? Will he establish an emergency plan to ensure that such a disaster never happens again?

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, we are working closely with our national and international partners.

As the hon. member knows, this is a complicated situation. However, from the day we learned that this was an issue, we have been working with our international and national partners. We have been responsible. We have been pro-active.

We have done everything under our power, given the fact that these are arm's length agencies, to protect the health and safety of Canadians. We hope and expect that the arm's length safety commission and AECL will do the same.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the leadership role Canada has long enjoyed in the global human rights movement is in question because of the mean-spirited government.

Canadians, aboriginal leaders and human right activists were appalled when the government reversed Canada's position on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and voted against it at the UN General Assembly.

Today is International Human Rights Day. Will the government side with the international community in favour of the declaration?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I must say that the hon. member has guts like Dick Tracy to raise this here today.

That is the member who moved amendments in committee that gutted Bill C-21 so that first nations people would not have coverage under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Then, after she said, “I'm flying blind. I have no idea what I'm doing”, she moved to adjourn the debate so we could not get it done and bring it back to the House.

First nations deserve coverage under the Canadian Human Rights Act and that member deserves to give it to them. Why does she not get off her high horse and let first nations have coverage like every other Canadian?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre has the floor.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member should read the transcript and get his facts right. It is those members across the floor who ignore the voices of Canada's aboriginal peoples. It is those members who ultimately deny them their human rights.

Last September, the chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador challenged the government to support the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The chief said that voting against it would bring dishonour and worldwide humiliation upon the Canadian population as a whole.

Why does the meanspirited government continue to ignore the voices of aboriginal leaders?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I will say one thing. We will not ignore the cries of aboriginal people, aboriginal people who have said that 30 years is too long. They have waited 30 years to be included in the Canadian Human Rights Act. They have been exempted for 30 years.

In committee, some members of the Liberal Party did not know they were not covered.

I am here to say that for 30 years they have been waiting for coverage under the Canadian Human Rights Act and that is 30 years too long. They deserve to be covered and it is time the Liberals got out of the way and gave them the coverage they deserve.

FinanceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Prime Minister says, the fiscal imbalance has not been corrected at all. All the government has done is make a partial financial correction. The real problem remains. All the members of the National Assembly of Quebec agree that there has been no final settlement. Even the Prime Minister's good friend, Mario Dumont, says that the fiscal imbalance has not been corrected.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his plan to correct the fiscal imbalance must include real measures such as tax point and GST transfers and respect for Quebec's jurisdictions, in order to completely eliminate the fiscal imbalance once and for all?

FinanceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I understand my hon. colleague's question, in light of the very enthusiastic welcome the people of Rivière-du-Loup gave the Prime Minister on Friday. I think the hon. member is worried, and he should be.

In fact, not only have we corrected the fiscal imbalance, but over the next five years, we will be giving Quebeckers tax reductions, GST reductions and corporate tax reductions.

What is the Bloc Québécois doing? Nothing.

FinanceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the last prime minister who came to Rivière-du-Loup was the member for LaSalle—Émard, and the new prime minister is going to suffer the same fate he did.

The fact that the government believes legislation on the federal spending power is necessary proves that the fiscal imbalance has not been corrected. Even the Conservatives' new acolyte, Mario Dumont, says so.

When is the government really going to give Quebec the power to opt out of federal programs in its jurisdictions, with full compensation and without conditions, which is the only way to completely eliminate the spending power? That is what the Prime Minister should have said in Rivière-du-Loup.

FinanceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, I see in my hon. colleague's question the arrogance of the Bloc Québécois when it comes to this issue.

One thing is clear, though. When this party, this government, says it will do something, it keeps its promise. We kept our promise on the fiscal imbalance. We are going to keep our promise on limiting the federal spending power.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

December 10th, 2007 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's seat distribution legislation means that Alberta and B.C. will each get new seats in the House for every 100,000 citizens in their province. However, get this. Ontario needs 200,000 citizens for each additional seat. Some fairness.

Instead of real answers, the government offers insults. The people of Ontario deserve much better from the Conservative government.

Will the Prime Minister at least commit to consult all of the premiers before forcing this unfair law on the people of Ontario?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:55 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 think we see in that question the real agenda of the Liberal Party on this matter, which is to resist any change to the existing formula, which shortchanges Ontario, Alberta and B.C. The Liberals do not want to see the current unfair law changed so that Ontario, B.C. and Alberta get more seats.

In fact, today in the Ontario legislature, for the first time in the resolution, it is acknowledging that our legislation tries to address that shortcoming.

It is time the Liberals got on board and supported something to correct that inequity that they never did anything about when they were in government.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the public record is clear. For 13 years the Liberals accomplished a big fat goose egg as far as the environment is concerned. In fact, while they were in government, greenhouse gases rose 33% above the Kyoto targets.

Our government will not sit idly by. We are taking action to fight climate change.

Would the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities tell the House what our government is doing to encourage Canadians to make environmentally friendly transportation choices?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we had the opportunity last Friday to announce the other tranche to the ecoAuto rebate program, which encourages Canadians to make environmentally friendly choices when purchasing a new car.

It saves them money. It is good for health, for the environment and for all Canadians. The list that we announced last Friday permits more eligible vehicles to be purchased by Canadians. We are happy this government is getting the job done.

Copyright LegislationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry clearly does not understand the issue of copyright because he has refused to meet with key Canadian stakeholders. He shut the door to universities and educators. He has ignored the advice of senior government bureaucrats and he has completely shut the door to consumer groups, artists and software innovators.

Meanwhile, his government has been rolling out the red carpet for corporate lobbyists and the U.S. ambassador.

Canadians have a right to know why they will be stuck with an unbalanced, one-sided piece of made in the U.S.A. copyright legislation.