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House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

March 21st, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the Liberal leader suddenly took an interest in LNG tankers using Head Harbour Passage. This interest is surprising, given that he had the lead on the file in the previous government and did nothing.

In fact, the now Leader of the Opposition said in 2004 that his government had not received any information that required it to change the policy that would allow the passage of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage.

Could the minister advise the House what the government has done to indicate Canada's opposition to the use of Head Harbour Passage by LNG tankers?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government has indicated forcefully that we oppose the transit of LNG traffic through Head Harbour Passage. The Prime Minister has stated this. The veterans affairs minister has championed this. I have raised this with Secretary Rice. Ambassador Wilson has formally conveyed to the United States strong opposition to LNG tankers passing through Head Harbour Passage because of navigational, environmental and public safety concerns.

We welcome the flip-flop of the Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps he will now see the light on a number of other files. He will recognize a government that is getting a job done where he failed and perhaps he will visit another New Brunswick landmark, the Reversing Falls.

Military MedalsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in Canada right now we are about to lose some cultural and historical artifacts.

Mr. Conn Smythe, the founder of the Maple Leafs in the NHL and a World War I prisoner of war and a World War II veteran, as well as F.W. Curzon, one of Canada's first war artists during the Northwest Rebellion, have something in common. Both of their medals are up for sale on the auction block on the Internet by profiteers who want to steal the valour of others.

I ask the cultural affairs minister, the heritage minister, to stand up in this House and tell Canadians that these very important Canadian historical artifacts will not leave our country.

Military MedalsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, military medals recognize the valiant service that our military provides to Canada and Canadians. Those medals are the property of the recipients or their heirs.

The government does not intervene when the medals are sold within Canada. If they are sold outside of Canada, then the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board will make a determination, and a reasonable and responsible process will be followed.

Military MedalsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is absolute nonsense. My parents were liberated by the valour of Canadian soldiers, airmen and sailors.

The medals they wear are not currency on their chests. They represent valour, honour, duty and remembrance to those who died and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Nobody should profit from the valour of other people.

I say to the government one more time, if it will not stand up and stop the sale of these medals, then it should stop these medals from leaving this country once and for all.

Military MedalsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, military medals are part of Canada's recognition of service by our armed forces.

Upon their passing, they pass to the heirs or the estates of those military personnel. We respect that the families and the heirs of these valiant men and women want to and should be able to choose how they either retain or dispose of these medals. We respect the family's decision, but we do have a process in place if they are to potentially leave Canada.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, after months of misleading Canadians, the defence minister wants us to believe that he only recently learned how wrong his statements were on the role of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, even though he and the foreign affairs minister received a personal briefing last September.

Now, access documents show that if he had bothered to read his own ministerial briefing books, he would have known since October that the Red Cross only has the right to visit detainees and is not responsible to monitor them.

How can the minister expect Canadians to believe his so-called distortion was not deliberate when his answer was at his fingertips for months?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, our government is committed to ensuring that detainees are treated properly in accordance with military law.

For that we have engaged the Afghan Human Rights Commission that will go into the Afghan system and check to see how the detainees are treated. It will report back to us if there is any maltreatment.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we have here is an incompetent minister who misled Canadians, who is not being transparent in these matters and whose excuses will not make one bit of difference.

We have a general who is incapable of reading his notes or understanding a two-page agreement that clearly explains the role of the Red Cross.

What we have here is a former arms dealer who is now in charge of decisions about what kind of military equipment our troops need, the kind he himself was trying to sell to the government.

Why should we trust him?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all that blather is not going to change the fact that we will make sure that detainees are treated properly. We have engaged the Afghan Human Rights Commission. It will go into the Afghan system and report anything wrong with respect to detainees.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there are few things that are more important for the honour of a country than its duty to protect human lives, including war detainees. It is clear that the Minister of National Defence failed in his duty, even though he has often been briefed on this.

I have no other choice than to ask the Prime Minister to ask his Minister of National Defence to do the honourable thing and resign.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said in previous statements, my statements here in the House were made in good faith and based on the understanding that I had. I have taken action to ensure that our detainees are treated properly.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has to see that his minister was negligent and incompetent with respect to a very serious issue for a country like Canada: the protection of the human lives we are responsible for.

The Prime Minister cannot keep his Minister of National Defence, not unless the Prime Minister is telling us that it is not important for Canada to protect the human lives we are responsible for.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has provided a clear explanation to the House of Commons. As the member knows, this government was at the time operating under an agreement signed by the previous government. We have since entered into a new arrangement with the Independent Afghan Human Rights Commission.

I can understand the passion that the Leader of the Opposition and members of his party feel for Taliban prisoners. I just wish occasionally they would show the same passion for Canadian soldiers.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Développement de l’aéroport Saint-Hubert de Longueuil, also known as DASH-L, is piloting an important project in partnership with Pratt & Whitney Canada, in order to allow that company to continue to test its new engine models in Quebec.

One possible solution for Pratt & Whitney is to concentrate all of its engine test flights in Saint-Hubert, but on the condition that the main runway is lengthened and repaired.

Does the Minister of Transport intend to respond favourably to DASH-L, by allocating the $70 million needed for the project?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to speak with the hon. member who raised this matter. Our programs are subject to certain standards. Within the budgets under my responsibility, there is no money set aside for those requests. However, since the government corrected the fiscal imbalance, contrary to the official opposition's claims, perhaps within those funds, we could find what is needed to allow Quebec to flourish within a united Canada.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, time is running out. Pratt & Whitney Canada of Longueuil must make a decision this spring.

Is the Minister of Transport aware of the significant and lasting impact that such a project would have, not only for the consolidation of the aerospace industry in Quebec, but also for the economic development of the region?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am fully aware of the impact that such a project could have for the industry in the greater Montreal area. As we all know, the Bloc Québécois recently criticized my colleague, the Minister of Industry, regarding how certain spinoffs are going to be distributed across Canada. Pratt & Whitney is a world-class company that will be able to make its way in the world and that obviously deserves to have us look at this project.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made two shocking statements. First, he said that the government does not care about human rights and, second, that the official opposition does not care about Canadian soldiers.

The Prime Minister must understand that he has insulted the entire Parliament with his statement and he should apologize.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said absolutely no such thing. What I clearly said was that the government does care about this issue, which is precisely why the Minister of National Defence, upon learning the information he learned, acted to correct the situation. We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure we make progress.

The only other point I want to make is that I would like to see more support in the House of Commons from all sides for our Canadian men and women in uniform. I think Canadians expect that from parliamentarians in every party. They have not been getting it and they deserve it.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, mental illness affects one in five people in Canada. In Monday's budget, the Minister of Finance announced the creation of the Canadian mental health commission, including long term funding and the appointment of former Senator Kirby as chair.

Could the Minister of Health provide details and the reaction of the mental health community to this announcement?

HealthOral Questions

3 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, I first want to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance for creating a national mental health commission to help Canadians who need help to deal with this challenge.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association had this to say, “This is an important first concrete step toward getting a mental health strategy for Canada”. The Mood Disorders Society of Canada said, “We applaud the government on this important decision”.

We got the job done. The Liberals, in 13 years, did not get it done. Why will the Liberals not support and help those living with mental illness?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the spring flood season is upon us and the people of Kashechewan continue to wait for the government to live up to the signed agreement to move them on to safe ground on their own territory. They have tried to work with the minister and have given him report after report. Last week the minister slammed the door on Kashechewan. They are being left on the flood plain with no plan and no commitment.

If he had no intention of living up to that signed agreement, why did he play political games with a desperate community for over a year?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 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 knows full well that I met last week with Chief Solomon and members of the Kashechewan community. I reviewed at that time the document that they put in front of me. I indicated that I would get back to them within a two week period responding to what they had put before me.

In the meantime, we have sent people into the community to ensure that the water system is functioning properly, which I am advised it is, and that the dike is safe. We are taking all steps to ensure that is the case.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am so tired of the political spin I have been hearing from the minister.

We remember when he was in opposition and he stormed across the floor, threw down the book and demanded the Liberal minister's resignation for doing nothing. Here is the nub. He is sitting on a report that says that the dike will likely fail and that human life is at risk. He has done absolutely nothing to guarantee the health of these people.

What will it take for him to take action, deaths in Kashechewan?