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House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Middle EastOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are still waiting for the report that the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville and special advisor to the Prime Minister on Middle Eastern affairs had promised to make public. I have a very simple question for the Prime Minister and, for once, I would like him to be upfront.

Did he receive a written report from the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville on his trip to the Middle East, yes or no?

Middle EastOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have already said that I received the report from the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville after his trip abroad a number of months ago. I am honoured that the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville was prepared to serve not just this country, but also the new Government of Canada.

Middle EastOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I asked the Prime Minister if the report was a written one. He did not answer that. He needs to clarify if it is a written report, and if it is not, he needs to make public the notes made by the foreign affairs officials who were travelling with the member about where they went and what they did.

Will he release the written report? Where are the notes that the foreign affairs officials wrote while travelling on taxpayers' money?

Middle EastOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville was asked to go on a trip and to prepare a report for me. He did prepare a written report; I have had it for some time. This is advice I asked him to give the Prime Minister. He has given that advice to the Prime Minister. I intend to keep it in confidence as I would with any member. He will go on future trips and we will follow a similar procedure.

Middle EastOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a commitment was made by the member for Mississauga—Streetsville to release the report. The Prime Minister is keeping the report. He is not willing to release either the report or the notes made by the foreign affairs officials. I guess there is something there that the Prime Minister does not want to release to the Canadian people. We need to know what it is.

Will the Prime Minister now ask the Auditor General for a value for money audit on these trips?

Middle EastOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member of the Liberal Party knows full well that special advisers to the Prime Minister do not release their reports publicly. They have not in the past and they will not in the future.

What we all understand is that the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville decided that he could better serve his country by working with Canada's new government. I say respectfully to the leader of the Liberal Party that if he was interested in the opinions of the hon. member for Mississauga--Streetsville, he had three years to ask him those opinions and never did so.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, any government that depends on that member's advice on foreign affairs is in deep trouble.

The Prime Minister's own Privy Council Office has warned him confidentially that the Afghanistan mission will fail unless there is an immediate shift in development strategy. A European assessment of our aid effort in Kandahar said, “The impact of CIDA in Kandahar province is so minimal as to be non-existent”.

Will the Minister of International Cooperation tell the House how she proposes to get the aid situation in Kandahar under control and lead this mission--

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. the Minister of International Cooperation.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear this question.

In my opinion, the hon. member should have asked such a question when the Liberal government allocated just $250 million for rebuilding Afghanistan—a situation that we corrected by increasing the Afghanistan reconstruction and development budget to maintain it at $100 million annually.

He also could have attended, at noon today, the two speeches delivered by the director of the microcredit program in Afghanistan, who was here to reveal the results obtained in Afghanistan thanks to investments—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Minister of International Cooperation. What accountability measures does she intend to put in place to ensure that Canadian aid for development produces concrete results?

When will she report to Parliament on the results of our reconstruction efforts?

I ask her not to refer me to her department's website because that would be an insult to this House and to the intelligence of Canadians.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the CIDA website is not an insult to Canadians. It allows Canadians to become aware of the real results being produced in Afghanistan.

On this side of the House we have taken effective measures in order to ensure we are working in all transparency. We are working together with internationally known organizations such as the World Bank, UNICEF and other partners in Afghanistan. I invite the hon. member to also question these organizations that ensure that our funds are well spent in Afghanistan.

The fact remains that on the other side of the House, accountability is a concept that escapes them. The only way—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a meeting between the environment, natural resources and Indian affairs ministers, and the oil and gas industry is scheduled for tomorrow to discuss issues relating to global warming and the Kyoto protocol.

Will the Prime Minister ask his ministers to take advantage of this meeting to explain to the oil industry that its increasing profits are the result of its increasing pollution, and that the government will therefore be putting an end to the tax advantages in its favour?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc is aware that the government has already terminated the energy trusts. As we have said on several occasions, we intend to regulate all Canadian industries in order to ensure the regulation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We will continue to pursue the principle of polluter-pay.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his speech to the Canadian Club a few days ago, the Prime Minister said that all the money he saved by paying off the debt would be devoted to reducing personal income taxes.

Following that logic, will the Prime Minister commit to further cuts to oil industry tax benefits, that is the equivalent of $3 billion since 2005, and to take that money and focus it essentially on climate change?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I say again, this government has not given any new subsidies to the oil and gas industry. The accusation by the Leader of the Opposition is absolutely wrong. This government has reduced taxes and personal income tax, including a 1% cut in the GST and a tax credit for users of public transit, and this, I must stress, had the support of the Bloc Québécois.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of the Environment appeared in committee this morning, he maintained that Quebec is asking for too much and that it could not ask for both a territorial approach to reducing greenhouse gases and, at the same time, a carbon exchange in Montreal.

Can the minister tell us what is contradictory about Quebec's two requests, when that is exactly what is being done in Europe?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I never said that. I said it is absolutely extraordinary that the Bloc member is asking for a territorial approach on one hand, and a national exchange, which would be for Albertans, Nova Scotians and Quebeckers.

What is going to happen is that this government will work very hard with all the provincial governments throughout Canada to reduce greenhouse gases. This is a new approach, since we have never seen a national government truly take action to combat this serious problem.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the minister realize that, by advocating the intensity rule instead of an approach based on absolute reduction targets, he is compromising the creation of a carbon exchange?

Indeed, without specific targets, the very notion of a carbon exchange is compromised, and that is what is needed for it to work here in Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, what this country needs is a government that will take a real leadership role in this file. We are the first national government prepared to bring in regulations to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality. We are prepared to act and I hope we will have the support of the Bloc Québécois.

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, today's news that Chrysler is going to eliminate 2,000 jobs in Canada makes it very clear that we have to get down to helping out our auto industry. Consumers want fuel efficient cars, but the government stands by and does absolutely nothing about it.

That is why the NDP put forward a green car strategy in 2003, supported by Greenpeace and the CAW. Too bad the Liberals would not adopt it because it would have transformed our industry and we would have been in the forefront of protecting jobs and creating new jobs as well.

Does the Prime Minister not understand that when it comes to building green cars, either we get it done or China, Japan and Korea will do it?

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, while we are obviously concerned by the announcements that we expect from Chrysler, this is a global company that is making global decisions. These are not related to policies in our country, as the member well knows. At the same time, we have seen a growth in other parts of the auto industry.

I appreciate some of the suggestions the leader of the NDP has made. They are much more positive than the motion tabled last week by the Leader of the Opposition, which would effectively propose that we cut emissions from the auto sector, from all sectors, by one-third in the next four and a half years. I wonder if he has any idea how that would devastate the Canadian auto sector.

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is wrong about the impact of his own actions. The workers in the auto sector are worried and rightly so. Their jobs are on the line. As people look for more efficient cars, they will not find them manufactured here because there has been no action.

The government says that it is a global marketplace, that the market will take care of it, but the market is not fair. Those other countries can sell their cars in Canada without limit, but we cannot sell good Canadian cars, built right here, to countries like China, Korea and Japan.

Is that why the Prime Minister thinks it is a good idea to sign a free trade deal, signing away our auto industry to Korea?

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has been pursuing negotiations with South Korea and with others for the express purpose of opening up Asian markets to Canadian products. I am glad to see that Buzz Hargrove seems to have completely reversed himself and now suggests that is exactly what we should be doing, trying to open Asian markets. The government will work hard with the industry to do that.

The government has ongoing consultations with the energy sector. There are some happening this very day. We think it is important to consult with industry before telling it to simply slash one-third of its production, as the opposition would.