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House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigrants.

Topics

Forest IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, 280 jobs went down this week in Thunder Bay as the hemorrhaging of our forest communities continues. Pulp mills, kraft mills and sawmills are going down. Red Rock, Smooth Rock Falls, Opasatika, White River and Timmins have become a highway of shame and what has been the response of the government? Nothing, nada, an absolute indifference to the communities and the workers.

The government gives $1 billion a year in subsidies to its pals in big oil and gas. How about some fairness to the northern communities which are being sold down the river?

Forest IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, first of all, we want to acknowledge and recognize the difficult times the forest industry is in, large part to measures beyond its control. We know there is a major downturn in the housing industry in the U.S.

Our government and the Minister of International Trade not only resolved the softwood lumber dispute but we have been working with the industry and all of the executives. We announced a few weeks ago $127 million which is flowing now to promote innovation and investment to address the skills and adjustment issues and expand market opportunities. These are the exact issues requested by the industry. It has control of this money. It is directing the priorities and our government is very proud to support it.

Forest IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that part of the secret booby prize of the softwood lumber sellout is that the government gave up Canada's right to protect and help our own communities.

The government, along with the Bloc and the Liberals, fast-tracked the bill and kept it from public scrutiny during public hearings. The public did not know what was in that bill. So now it is learning that the U.S. trade interests are threatening Canada if our provinces step up to the plate.

Why did the government, along with its quisling allies in the Bloc and the northern Ontario Liberals, sell out our economic sovereignty, roll over for America, and refuse to stand up for Canada?

Forest IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is very quickly forgetting that because of the softwood lumber agreement, we have put back over $5 billion into the pockets of Canadian lumber producers.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, what was yesterday really about? It was about a Prime Minister whose only compass is a political compass, who has no other reference points to tell him: no, too far, too much and not right. It was about a Prime Minister who does not want anyone around him to be that check, that balance, not in his caucus or cabinet, not in the media, not in ordinary citizens, not anybody, and not in the judiciary.

Yesterday was really about power, who can be trusted with it and who cannot. The International Institute of Management Development's World Competitiveness Yearbook ranks our justice system as the fairest in the world. Why is the Prime Minister putting that at risk?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I believe our justice system is among the fairest in the world. When it comes to the security of our citizens, it is in fact the justice system, the Supreme Court itself, which has said that this particular constitutional provision is constitutional, and that Canadians can be protected by having this in place.

The Liberals should not try and deflect from the main question. They should not try to divert from the fact that their leader is ignoring all the advice on this, putting Canadians in peril, and impeding this investigation. I wish he were here today to hear it instead of sending a look-alike.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, what we saw yesterday was a Prime Minister behaving as if there are no checks and balances. If the politics is right, do it. It does not matter what or who gets run over along the way. No internal compass, nothing, no one to tell him otherwise. The purpose of politics is politics.

We have to be able to trust the person who has the power. The Prime Minister divides, one is a friend or is not, one is in or is out, and is governing to the 37% of the people who elected him.

We have to trust the person who has the power. I do not. Tell me, tell Canadians why we should?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, he is all over the ice with that question. I have no idea where he is coming from.

However, in terms of trusting the power, we have a system of balanced power in this country and that is why in terms of concerns about our security forces there is a balance to the things that our security forces would like to do. One of those checks and balances is the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, along with the Senate today, along with the former Liberal government, along with former Liberal prime ministers, and almost everybody that the present Liberal leader knows is saying to leave these protective provisions in place. That is a balance of power and the member is rejecting it.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the independence of the judiciary is not only a foundational, constitutional principle, it is a fundamental constitutional right of all Canadians.

Why is the government ignoring and disregarding the Constitution and the rights of all Canadians? Why is it ignoring the very process put in place by a former Conservative government in 1988 to protect these rights? Why is it ignoring the respected voices of the bench, bar, academe and the like?

I am asking the question, why is the government undermining not only the independence of the judiciary but the rights of all Canadians? I repeat, all Canadians.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. The judicial advisory committees were instituted by a previous Conservative government in 1988. That government changed it again around 1991. The committee has been altered on two occasions by the Liberal Party itself.

This is a change. I think it is a reasonable one. Adding a police officer has got the Liberals very upset as we can see, but I think they are wrong on this. When they see the operation of the judicial advisory committees, they generally operate on a consensus in any case, it will work very well.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, evasion and false countercharges are unbecoming of the Minister of Justice and unbecoming of the government.

The minister of justice in any government has a duty to protect the Constitution, a duty to protect the independence of the judiciary, and a duty to protect the rights of all Canadians.

Will the government perform this duty or demean its responsibilities?

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister has the obligation to protect the Constitution, not change it, as I think I am hearing from the hon. member.

While I am on my feet, this former justice minister knows the importance of the anti-terrorism measures that are now before Parliament. He supported them. I know his colleagues supported them, and I would ask for his help to get these past his colleagues.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Montreal yesterday, Al Gore did not beat around the bush in recommending that the Canadian government not follow the example of the United States when it comes to combating climate change, since their record is one of the worst in the world.

Will the Minister of the Environment hear the urgent appeals from people whose credibility is above reproach and who are warning him against copying the United States, because that is a scenario that would lead directly to failure?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, yes.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only has the government been very accommodating to the oil companies, but, according to Al Gore, it is indulging the automobile industry by doing less, in matters of fuel efficient vehicles, than Japan and, worse yet, less than China.

Instead of railing about the inaction of the Liberals, what is the Minister of the Environment waiting for to force the automobile industry to become more fuel efficient?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we said very clearly last October that we were ready to regulate the automobile industry. Our goal is to have stricter regulations. We currently have voluntary measures. That is not acceptable for this government. Last week, we met with industry leaders. We were very clear. Over the next few weeks or months, we are going to have new regulations in order to have a better environment here in Canada.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we witnessed the tactics of the Prime Minister in attacking individual integrity, but it is far worse.

I have a copy of the minister's barley ballot and the government is violating the very tenet of a democratic society: the right to a secret ballot.

Why has the minister allowed traceable numbers on the ballot itself? Is the reason to hunt down farmers who would vote contrary to the Prime Minister's ideological agenda? Is it his intention to audit certain farmers, or is it just to threaten and intimidate those who disagree with the Prime Minister?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I think that the hon. member has his tinfoil cap well removed today.

We have a clear question that we put to Canadian barley farmers. We asked them if they wanted the status quo; if they wanted to abolish the board, which is not our preferred choice; or if they wanted to have more choice, including the choice to sell to the Canadian Wheat Board.

We have given all that information to KPMG, an independent auditor. The independent auditor is running the campaign. All the information is with that firm. It is not with me. It is not with the government. If the hon. member wants to call into question the integrity of KPMG, I guess that is what he is doing.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, for years western Canadian grain farmers have been asking for greater openness at the Canadian Wheat Board. Because of the current monopoly, producers have no choice but to sell their grain to the board, accept whatever returns the board gives, hope this money is spent wisely and returns are maximized.

Could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell the House when access to information for the Canadian Wheat Board will come into force and what will it mean to western farmers?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

3 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear, as I know the member and thousands of Canadian farmers are, that as of April 1 the Access to Information Act will cover the Canadian Wheat Board. This is good news for farmers.

I want to thank the President of the Treasury Board and his predecessor for the good work on this.

I believe it is only right that farmers know how their money is being used. Administrative costs in that organization amount to $70 million a year. Farmers deserve the highest level of transparency on that.

For the first time ever, despite the efforts of the member for Wascana and the member for Malpeque to stop this, farmers finally are going get to know what is going on at the Board.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, today a delegation of 15 mayors from Atlantic Canada is in Ottawa. Their message is clear. Cities and communities need federal help to meet urgent infrastructure needs. It is the same message conveyed by majors and councillors from Toronto to Kamloops.

Canada's cities are facing an infrastructure deficit, which is estimated to be $60 billion and growing every year.

Will the government commit to fixing the imbalance that sees our communities with an infrastructure deficit while our federal government socks away billions of dollars in surpluses?

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, last night I had the opportunity to meet with the mayors from Atlantic Canada. As well, my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with them this morning. These people have indicated to us that they have never seen a more clairvoyant government in terms of handling the issues they face.

We will be able to see, as my colleague, the Minister of Finance tables his budget, where this government will lead the country and municipalities.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, hard-working Canadians do not need a Ouija board to figure out what is happening. They are paying more in taxes every year. Their property taxes are going up, and yet roads are crumbling, transit is more expensive and community services are dwindling. This is true for cities from coast to coast.

Cities are the economic, social and cultural backbone of our country. With over $13 billion in federal surpluses last year, why will the finance minister not find room to help our cities and communities? Is he content to let Canadians live in cities that increasingly do not work?

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as a government, we have committed to an unprecedented $16.5 billion in infrastructure money in budget 2006. We have committed $1.3 billion to improving urban transit in our country. We have helped a lot of communities through the gas tax.

My colleague, the Minister of Finance, will be able to look at that in the coming days.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

February 22nd, 2007 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Chris d'Entremont, Minister of Health and Acadian Affairs for Nova Scotia.