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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was impaired.

Topics

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government is dedicated to making Canadian cities better places to live and more prosperous. In budget 2006, we committed $16.5 billion to communities and infrastructure programs. We have re-dedicated the gas tax to help communities not only large and small, but we have committed that money to put it on a long term predictable basis. Budget 2007 will certainly have more to add to that important initiative.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad he has re-announced the NDP budget money.

In 1993 government transfer payments to local governments accounted for 25% of municipal revenues. Under the Liberals it sank to just 16%.

The Conference Board of Canada is a non-partisan, non-profit group. Its report is recommending a national urban transit strategy, increased investments in affordable housing, and a strategy to deal with the infrastructure deficit.

When will the government come forward with a real urban agenda? When will it help our cities fulfill their potential as engines of our economy?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned before, we have committed quite a bit of money to communities and cities. We have committed $1.3 billion to public transit systems across this country. We have also met with representatives of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. We have had discussions with them over the course of the last few months. We will continue to help our communities and cities on a long term basis to give them the chance to develop better communities across the land.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Merasty Liberal Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Indian Affairs says that money is not the answer to the child welfare crisis in first nations communities. That is rich given his own spending habits: $2,000 of taxpayers' money hobnobbing in Washington with Dick Cheney and staying four nights at the ritzy Mandarin Hotel for $500 Canadian a night. The hotel itself claims to have redefined what luxurious means.

Why is the minister wasting tax dollars in Washington while 27,000 children, not 9,000 as his blinders suggest, are in care?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is fully aware that in addition to being the minister responsible for Indian Affairs and Northern Development I am responsible for the pipelines in this country. The meetings that I was engaged in in Washington related to both the Mackenzie Valley pipeline and the Alaska pipeline project, which are two of the largest projects that have ever been undertaken in North America. There were extensive meetings. It was a very valuable trip.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, wasteful Challenger flights, a patronage contract to Harvie Andre, and now we learn of thousands spent on luxury hotels.

The minister continues to say that money is not the answer for safe drinking water on reserves. He slashed $400 million for water when he flushed the Kelowna accord. Now we have an international aid organization moving in to address poverty in first nations. Money is a problem.

Why is the Prime Minister allowing his big spending minister to mix oil and water?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the budget that the Conservative government put forward included $3.7 billion of additional expenditures in relation to aboriginal programs and services over two years. That included extensive investments in northern housing and off reserve housing. There have been significant improvements since the former government with respect to water and other issues on reserve. We will continue to make progress.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

February 6th, 2007 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, many young bachelors like to rent a limo on prom night. However, it is less funny when the Minister of Foreign Affairs bills taxpayers $45,000 for a Challenger flight to Rome to see Condoleezza Rice.

How does the minister justify spending $45,000 on his Conservative flying limousine when there are 11 commercial flights daily which would have cost a total of $2,933 per person?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 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, for years we saw a Liberal government preside over the decline of Canada's esteem on the world stage. Now we finally have a government and a minister that are showing leadership on the world stage, fighting for the Canadian values we believe in: freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. We are proud to have them showing a strong face for Canada again around the world and showing leadership.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the typical answer: no accountability.

Of course there is more. The passenger manifest shows that Challenger returned home via Ireland with only one passenger. Who benefited from this expensive flight costing almost $23,000? Not the minister, not the deputy minister, just one lucky Conservative political staffer who finally hit the big time: the foreign minister's own spin doctor and director of communications, Dan Dugas.

How can the government justify the outrageous abuse of taxpayers' dollars?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 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, our government makes no apology for standing up for Canada's interests on the world stage. That means having our foreign minister representing Canada abroad at the important meetings where Canada's interests for too long have been left to languish. Once again, we are showing leadership on the world stage and we make no apologies for doing that.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage's inaction is of great concern to the television industry. She is refusing to discipline Shaw and Vidéotron who, by withholding their contributions to the Canadian Television Fund, are endangering the production of three television series. Her silence suggests that she is complicit in the offence. She must act to save these three series. What is she waiting for?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the government has always been in support of a system that supports Canadian producers, Canadian production and Canadian programming. That is why the government announced $200 million over two years for Canadian productions. As I have reported to the House, I am getting fully informed. I am working on the issue and we will resolve it.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Quebec responded to one of the recommendations in the Macerola report by announcing $10 million in renewable funding to support the Quebec film industry. That report also recommended that the federal government do its part.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell us how much her government is ready to spend to support the Quebec film industry?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I remind the member for Saint-Lambert who supported a recommendation in a report that said: “Existing levels of support available through the Canada Feature Film Fund are generally adequate but need to be awarded and allocated differently”. We are looking at improved means of allocation. We do support Quebec's announcement. We encourage all members and all sectors to support the film industry.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, rather than trying to shift the blame to our diplomats, the Prime Minister must take responsibility for abandoning his personal commitment to stand up for Huseyin Celil.

Instead of asking foreign affairs to explain why no Canadian official bothered to attend the start of Mr. Celil's trial, the Prime Minister should be calling his Chinese counterpart, the Chinese president, to register Canada's displeasure at not being informed about the trial and insist that Canadian officials be present.

When will the Prime Minister stop passing the buck by blaming diplomats for his own shortcomings and actually stand up for Mr. Celil like he promised, or is this another example of what the government House leader said is leadership on the foreign affairs file?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government continues to make representations to the Chinese authorities. Our requests for information and trial dates have gone unanswered, but embassy officials are in daily contact and they are in fact en route to the province where Mr. Celil is being held to deal directly with court officials and secure access to court proceedings. They have in fact been directed to remain on site.

Cattle IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, after 13 long tortuous years of Liberal neglect and bungling on the agriculture file, farmers finally have a government that is actually listening to them and is taking action.

For years our cattle industry has been calling for an easing of import restrictions on cattle from the U.S. Could the Minister of Agriculture tell this House and all Canadians what Canada's new government is doing to normalize our trading relationships with the Americans?

Cattle IndustryOral 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, to help out Canadian farmers, effective immediately, U.S. cattle can enter Canada without any blue tongue related import requirements. As well, there will be reduced testing requirements for anaplasmosis. In addition, sheep, goats and other small ruminants will be able to be imported for breeding purposes.

We continue to take concrete steps to help our Canadian farmers. As Brad Wildeman, the VP of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said, this shows that we are serious about two-way trade and we are serious about helping our farmers.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the NAFTA environmental secretariat condemns the government's attitude towards the dumping of toxic substances in our rivers by pulp and paper mills. This report resulted from a complaint filed by seven environmental groups regarding 1,000 offences committed between 1995 and 2000. According to the report, the Liberal government did nothing to stop the dumping in our rivers, which is another of their failures.

Will the minister tell us what concrete action he will take today? It is his responsibility.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, when I was made aware that these reports had not yet been made public, I ordered that they be immediately released. I think that is important for accountability and transparency. We take the issues contained in them very seriously.

When it comes to the quality of our water, when it comes to the migratory birds at risk and other issues raised, we take them very seriously and we will move to work with the provincial governments to ensure that these important concerns are addressed.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, action needs to be taken now. The Liberals failed to enforce Canadian environmental laws and the Conservatives broke their promise to be different. It is same old, same old. First they hid the report and they have taken no action. It sounds familiar.

We are talking about significant amounts of toxic waste going straight into our rivers. In how many other provinces is this occurring? Does Environment Canada even have a mandate under this government? Why the cover-up? Why the inaction? Will the minister come clean and give Parliament all the facts?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the minute it was made known to me that this report had not been made public, I ordered that it be made public, because we believe in accountability, transparency and ensuring that people have the facts about our environment.

I am prepared to work with the provinces. We are prepared to look at what we can do to ensure that our record on environmental enforcement is stronger. We think that is an important priority for Canadians and it is certainly something that has my attention.

MexicoOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

There have been 15 homicides involving Canadians in Mexico since the year 2000. Many of the cases remain unsolved. Over the past year, three of my constituents, Adam DePrisco and Dominic and Nancy Ianeiro were killed while vacationing in Mexico. Canadians obviously want answers to these unsolved cases.

During his visit this week to Mexico, what specifically will the Minister of Foreign Affairs be demanding from the Mexican government to ensure the protection of Canadians?

MexicoOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his concern on this matter.

I believe he is aware that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has raised on a number of occasions with his counterpart in Mexico the situations that we have there, the ongoing investigations. He has requested very thorough, timely and transparent investigations on all outstanding cases. He is in fact in Mexico again this week and he will do so again.