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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-31.

Topics

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has been conspicuously absent from the summit on the future of the forestry sector despite the fact that unions, businesses, the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Claude Béchard, the Minister of Finance, Monique Jérôme-Forget, and environmental groups have unanimously called on the federal government to help the workers, businesses and communities affected by the crisis in the forestry sector.

Will the Prime Minister finally use money from his enormous budget surpluses to provide immediate assistance to the forestry industry?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, when this government came to power, we took action to protect the industry. We recognize the need for further action.

We made a promise in the Speech from the Throne, which the Bloc Québécois rejected. Even so, we are consulting with our partners in the federation and the private sector to ensure the best possible response to this situation.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, acknowledging the forestry crisis in the throne speech is meaningless if the government does nothing about it. The government must take immediate measures, such as bringing back the fund to diversify the forestry economy, granting refundable tax credits to skilled workers who move into resource regions, or implementing a program to support the development of ethanol production from forestry by-products.

With the projected surplus for 2007-08, the Prime Minister has more than enough money to move forward with our proposals. Will he take action?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the past two years, we have started programs to help older workers who have been forced to relocate because of this crisis. We have started programs for communities that have been affected. We have set up tax advantages to help the sector. We have signed an agreement with the United States to get $5 billion back for the sector.

There is still work to do, but in the past 17 years, the Bloc Québécois has not done a thing for the forestry sector, and it will not—

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at a meeting with his Quebec and provincial counterparts, the Minister of Finance missed another opportunity—after the Speech from the Throne and the economic statement—to announce tangible short-term measures to help the manufacturing and forestry industries, which are in desperate need of assistance. The minister should understand that the tax cuts he keeps talking about are not a solution for businesses that are not generating a profit and therefore not paying taxes. I hope he will understand that once and for all.

Given the expected $11.6 billion surplus, does the minister realize that his failure to act is scandalous, that he must act now and that he has the means to do so?

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

The action by the federal government, Mr. Speaker, has been early and large, particularly compared to the action of other governments. We brought in $1.3 billion in accelerated capital cost allowances and a 100% writeoff of new equipment over two years. That was not done now, that was done last March, and is now a part of the budget bills that have been passed.

In addition, there have been $60 billion of tax reductions in the month of October, over this year and the next five years, including $12 billion, not million, for Quebec.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, what the minister does not seem to realize is that at the forestry summit all of Quebec has put forward as its very first recommendation that the federal government provide immediate assistance to the forestry industry.

The forestry industry needs an injection of $1 billion from this year's surplus. Will he listen to the unanimous demand of Quebec and help the forestry industry immediately?

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

I am sure the member opposite knows, Mr. Speaker, that our government has already set aside, and this was done before, $72.5 million in the targeted initiative for older workers.

I know the member opposite wants to look at things in a grim way at Christmastime, but Canada's job growth champions today include the province of Quebec. In fact, Quebec now enjoys the highest percentage of adults with jobs ever recorded, at 61%.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the former premier of Quebec, who is now the Conservatives' special advisor in Bali, has publicly admitted that, “Canada has a credibility problem that stems from the fact that it has not delivered the goods in 15 years” because of the Liberals and now the Conservatives.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to get in line with the rest of the world? Why is he refusing to agree to a two degree limit? Why is he rejecting the binding targets the rest of the world wants to adopt?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is the first government in Canada's history that is setting mandatory targets for all Canadian industries.

In the meantime, our position is clear. We want binding targets for everyone, including the world's major emitters.

We intend to continue to fight for a new and effective protocol. Our position on this matter in the Speech from the Throne was quite clear to the opposition.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem with these so-called targets that the Prime Minister has established is they allow Canada's emissions to go up when the rest of the world has called on us to reduce the emissions.

The government will not sign on to an international agreement. Why? Because it knows it cannot get the job done here with its own plan. An example is the tar sands. The environment commissioner warned last year that the tar sands development would turn into an effect that would counteract all the other activities that could take place. The government is protecting the tar sands.

Why will the Prime Minister not stand up and say he will rein in the tar sands development so we can meet our targets?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP is completely wrong in his question. The targets of the government require a 20% absolute reduction from now until 2020. That is the position of the government. It is based on the biggest cuts to the biggest polluters. We are one of the few governments in the world that has announced any obligatory targets for industry, and these are some of the toughest targets in the world.

While I am on my feet, Mr. Speaker, if this is the last time I am on my feet this year, I would like to wish you and all members of the House, on both sides, a merry Christmas and a happy 2008.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am sure the Prime Minister's wishes are reciprocated by all hon. members.

The hon. member for Halifax West.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada is becoming the laughingstock of the international community in large part because of the shenanigans of the Minister of the Environment.

Why did the minister go halfway around the world to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference if all he meant to do was attend cocktail parties?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member must be referring to the work of the leader of the opposition in Bali. I can say this about what the Minister of the Environment is doing, and I am quoting Pierre Marc Johnson:

Canada is still playing a very important role in the working groups, despite what is being said in the media, an extremely important role as mediator. Canada often serves as a bridge between the Europeans and members from the other countries.

The Minister of the Environment is upholding a fine Canadian tradition.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, here is the kicker. Canada has received a record number of fossil awards for obstructing progress in Bali. The latest award was given when our environment minister walked out of a meeting of 40 international ministers so he could attend a social event.

Why did hard-working taxpayers cover the cost of sending the minister to Bali so he could wander around in flip-flops and go to cocktails? He could have just gone to Hy's.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth from a Liberal member. It was that party that got 86 fossil awards. Shame on them.

This government has made a U-turn on emissions. No more are the days where emissions are going up. It is absolute reductions of emissions because of the hard work of the Prime Minister. We are getting it done.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

December 13th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, fabricating the contents of a news release does not change the facts.

OPP evidence ties the environment minister and other top Conservatives to a federal bribe. On Monday, the OPP said that it would share evidence with the RCMP but then mysteriously, 24 hours later, a senior officer was muzzled.

I ask them again to stop hiding behind insults and name-calling and just answer the question yes or no. Did any member of the government, including the environment minister's staff, call or communicate with the OPP during that 24 hour period, yes or no?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 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, as this fall sitting winds down, we can reflect on what we have seen from members of the Liberal Party. It is a question period strategy that has avoided issues because their party simply was not prepared to talk about issues, to take a stand on them or to vote on them.

Instead, the Liberals wasted Canadians' time with conspiracy theories, false accusations and character attacks, first against MPs and now the member has expanded it to attacking the police.

I hope they come back in 2008 ready to actually talk about the issues that matter to Canadians. In the meantime, he could end the year on a slightly better note by apologizing to the Minister of the Environment.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader keeps quoting the Ontario Provincial Police, who, according to him, are exonerating the Minister of the Environment in the Mayor O'Brien bribery scandal.

Nonetheless, the quotes from the Ontario Provincial Police press release are more about Mr. O'Brien than about evidence that could implicate the Minister of the Environment. And the House leader knows it.

Why is he misleading the House on the content of the OPP press release and why is he still refusing to table the document he quoted from?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:35 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 will be quite happy to table that news release. It is quite public.

However, I would say that for nine months the Liberals, including that member, have dragged the minister's name through the mud with completely false accusations in this House.

They have been taking advantage of the parliamentary immunity from libel that they have. With that immunity, however, comes a certain degree of responsibility. Now that the Ontario Provincial Police have completely cleared the Minister of the Environment, instead of attacking the Ontario Provincial Police, perhaps they could assume that responsibility.

I know they want to be considered hon. members and perhaps they could earn that moniker by apologizing today to the Minister of the Environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question I would like the Prime Minister to answer.

Using 2006 as the base year instead of 1990 when calculating greenhouse gas emissions reductions will penalize manufacturers and aluminum smelters in Quebec by ignoring the efforts they made prior to 2006.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge this fact, yes or no?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we acknowledge that we have the toughest plan in Canadian history to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We also acknowledge that we have one of the toughest plans in the world. Canada is now doing its part but we need all the major emitters, like China and India, to do their part, then we can fight and be successful against climate change.