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House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was companies.

Topics

Canadian Institutes of Health ResearchStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 2006 budget left the research community in Canada disappointed. The 2007 budget built onto that disappointment.

Allocated to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research were $34 million in 2006 and $37 million in 2007, a far cry from the $175 million that had been committed by our Liberal government in economic fiscal update 2005.

The Conservative government's lack of attention to the CIHR has shown a lack of interest unprecedented in a generation.

The investment made by Canadians in research through the CIHR has led to remarkable progress in defining the molecular processes that lead to Alzheimer's disease, in rediscovering an inexpensive drug that shrinks cancerous tumours, and in developing treatments that reduce the personal and financial burdens of diseases such as diabetes, AIDS and arthritis.

A failure to invest in research jeopardizes the well-being and prosperity of all Canadians. The Conservative government's last two budgets have put in peril the national research strategy that took two generations to build.

Battle of Vimy RidgeStatements By Members

March 29th, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, April 9, 2007, will mark the 90th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. On this date in 1917, 30,000 Canadian soldiers stood in the line of fire to defend and protect our great nation. Attacking at dawn, Canadians had taken Vimy Ridge by noon.

A mission tried and failed by many, this was the first time in Canadian history that four Canadian divisions fought simultaneously. In fact, on April 12, 1917, Canadians controlled the entire ridge.

This victory is one that Canadians hold dear to their hearts and has helped shed the yoke of British imperialism.

The price: 3,598 men were killed while 7,104 were wounded.

The outcome: freedom, democracy and rule of law, to say the least.

The words of Brigadier General A.E. Ross say it best: “In those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation”.

Let us all remember these brave souls, as well as the brave men and women of today's Canadian Forces, who carry on with the same courage and honour as their brothers who fought at Vimy Ridge.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we heard shocking testimony from senior RCMP officers appearing before the public accounts committee. The turbulence and chaos at the top of this Canadian icon of criminal justice is very unsettling to Canadians.

An investigation of the kind such as that announced by the Minister of Public Safety is simply not enough by itself.

Why will the government not call a full public judicial inquiry?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we all agree that the revelations yesterday are shocking and quite disturbing. That is why the acting commissioner of the RCMP has acted. It is why the Minister of Public Safety has announced today that the government will proceed with a full independent investigation which will report back very quickly and publicly.

As we know, these events occurred between 2000 and 2003, so I hope that the hon. leader of the Liberal Party and his colleagues will cooperate fully with whatever they know.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, one of Canada's most loved and respected institutions is in crisis. Both a full public inquiry and the unfettered work of the public accounts committee are required. Speaking about collaboration, why will the Prime Minister not commit fully to both?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we want answers immediately. Canadians want answers immediately. We know that a full public inquiry can take a long time to get to those answers, as effective as an inquiry can be.

I also indicated today that is the person who heads up this investigation at any time finds that there are those who are resisting bringing forward evidence or testimony, including former previous Liberal cabinet ministers, he can come to us and he will immediately be given all the powers he deems that he needs, including up to a full public inquiry.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, why will the government not rise to the occasion for once?

The government's new investigation, or the one it plans to hold, has no statutory legitimacy and will not report to the public, only to the government. This is unacceptable. We need a public inquiry, we need the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to be able to do its work unfettered and with full transparency.

Can the Prime Minister promise that this will be the case?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner has taken action. The Minister of Public Safety has taken action by launching a full and independent investigation, which he will report on as soon as possible. These are events that occurred from 2000 to 2003, under the former Liberal government.

We are very concerned about this information and the commissioner will have all the necessary power to reveal the truth to Canadians and to get this truth from the former Liberal government.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister discusses events that occurred between 2000 and 2003, but in November 2006 the Auditor General concluded that the investigation into the RCMP pension and insurance plans was not structured to ensure that it was independent and unbiased. The RCMP promised at that time to develop a new policy on investigations into its conduct. The RCMP also promised to review all amounts charged to its plans to determine whether anything needed to be reimbursed.

What steps did the Minister of Public Safety take between November and now to ensure that the RCMP kept those two critical promises?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that observation, because I met with the Auditor General on this very topic as soon as that report was complete. We went over it in detail. I noticed also what she had in bold print in her investigation. She said:

The RCMP has responded. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has agreed with each of our recommendations and is in the process of taking corrective action.

I asked at the time, and continue to ask, for the progress report on the action that the RCMP committed to give the Auditor General who reviewed this at that time, and we are still doing that.

Minister of Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety refuses to stand aside while the RCMP, for which he is responsible, investigates its own actions. There have been some disturbing allegations of corruption and obstruction surrounding the RCMP.

Will the Prime Minister take action and call on his minister to stand aside immediately?

Minister of Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 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, this is a very old story.

If the member is worried about people who have engaged in acts of inducing people to give up their office, perhaps he could talk to his own leader who, in order for him to have a seat in the House of Commons, the previous MP was given a seat in the Senate. It sounds like an inducement.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the planned partnership between Pratt & Whitney and the Saint-Hubert airport will be in danger if $70 million are not invested in repairing the runway. Without that investment, Pratt & Whitney will have no choice but to use another airport to test its engines. This is not about competition between a city in Quebec and some other Canadian city. This is about competition between Quebec and other countries. High-quality jobs are at stake. Pratt & Whitney will be making its decision soon.

Does the Prime Minister realize that if something is not done soon, Quebec will surely lose jobs?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, does the leader of the Bloc Québécois have a clue about regional economic development? In Quebec, 14 regions share a $200 million envelope. The leader of the Bloc Québécois is asking me to invest $70 million—one third of the regional economic development envelope—in a single project in the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert's riding. Perhaps the leader of the Bloc Québécois could give me a list of the regions in Quebec from which he believes we should take money so that we can do as his member asks.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the minister who was talking about the Marshall Plan. He does not look like a general; he looks like Private Ryan.

The ministers should stop squabbling about where to find the money. There is plenty of money.

Rather than insist that projects correspond to programs, should they not ensure that programs correspond to projects and save jobs rather than export them? Does he have a clue what jobs are? Does he have a clue about planning? Does he have any idea what a government is?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, when the Bloc Québécois was elected to this House, it promised to protect the interests of all Quebeckers and all regions of Quebec. Now, instead of doing that, the leader of the Bloc Québécois wants to focus on one single issue. He wants to allocate one third of my department's funding to make the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert happy. We introduced six new tools to help struggling regions in Quebec. We are working to help all of the regions, not just one project.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, let the Prime Minister and all the ministers in this government be advised that there is currently an airport capital assistance program, commonly known as ACAP, under which investments can be made in air transport infrastructure.

Why does the government not invest in the airport in Saint-Hubert through this program?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that the hon. member is aware of what this government is doing for the regions of Quebec and for the aerospace industry as well. In December, Minister Michael Fortier announced an investment of $350 million to help Pratt & Whitney. I repeat, $350 million to help Pratt & Whitney. This goes to show that our support for the aerospace industry is strong.

Moreover, my own department has increased by 61% what goes to the Montérégie region. That is 61% better than what the previous government did for that region.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, ACAP is an existing program, the government has the money and cabinet has the power to increase funding for that program and to tailor it to meet the needs of the community.

What is the minister waiting for to act on the Saint-Hubert airport issue?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we do not need lobbyists from the Bloc Québécois to do our work with the companies. We are quite capable of dealing directly with stakeholders, and we do plan to speak with the management at Pratt & Whitney.

There is no way, however, that my department will pour one third of its budget allowance into a single file. I say no to that.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the RCMP, it is absolutely vital that we restore trust in our national police force as soon as possible. The half measures announced today could make the situation even worse. It is crucial that the RCMP's honour be restored quickly.

We have heard reports not only of mismanagement and incompetence, but also of corruption, cover-ups and favouritism. This truly is a crisis. The government's attitude, however, gives no indication that this is a crisis.

Can the Prime Minister tell us that he will respond exactly as he should to resolve the situation as quickly as possible? This is vital.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is why we chose an independent and complete process. At the same time, this process can provide us with a report very quickly. It is essential that we receive all the details as soon as possible.

This government is interested in the truth, obviously, the truth concerning what happened when the former Liberal government was in power.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is an extremely serious situation. I would call on the Prime Minister not to step into partisan accusations, but instead to focus on re-establishing the public trust in the RCMP and the honour of our national police force as quickly as possible. After the sordid Maher Arar affair and now the attacks on the pension system, we have a serious problem here.

My question for the Prime Minister is, will he ensure that this inquiry produces all of the evidence that has to be brought forward? Will it be entirely brought forward into the public, so the public can re-establish confidence in our treasured RCMP?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, as the hon. member knows, this government dealt with the Maher Arar affair that had not been dealt with before.

At the same time, we obviously want to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. That is why we have structured a full independent investigation. I can assure the hon. member that will reach a report rapidly. I can also assure the hon. member, as the Minister of Public Safety just did, that if in any way that investigation is not heeded, its powers will be increased.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the investigation announced by the public safety minister today falls far short of a full independent public inquiry.

In light of the shocking revelations made at the public accounts committee yesterday, more now than ever Canadians need to be assured of the integrity of our national police force.

Given that the public safety minister is overseeing the probe he just announced, how can Canadians be assured of the independence of this very serious investigation?