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House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

International CooperationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, every year malaria kills more than one million people and more than 900,000 of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. In Africa, this disease kills more children per year than any other disease.

This morning, the Minister of International Cooperation announced a concrete program that aims to distribute bed nets on the African continent. Could the minister please tell the House more about this very important initiative?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

The fight against malaria is one of our government's priorities. This morning I announced that Canada will provide $20 million to the Canadian Red Cross for a program to distribute 2.5 million free bed-nets in Africa.

Canada's new government has already invested more than $46 million in the fight against malaria.

According to Canadian Red Cross authorities, an estimated 53,000 to 88,000 lives may be saved by this program.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Defence has an awful lot of nerve standing in his place today and saying that the reason he is running roughshod over a proper, democratic, full public inquiry is because he wants answers quickly. In fact, he said that he wanted answers “right away”, answers “quickly”, answers “now”. If he was so interested in moving so quickly, why did it take him two weeks to appoint the head of this investigation?

Yesterday, the standing committee said that this ad hoc approach would not work. The committee is asking and calling for the minister to bring forward a full public inquiry. Will he agree with the committee today?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague, the Minister of Defence, rising to the call for action because the question was directed toward the Minister of Defence, but the Minister of Defence actually deals with defence issues and he is not on the file, though I know he is concerned about this file.

I would just like to reiterate, with the rise in temperature we are hearing from the NDP on this, that we are moving on this. To locate somebody in less than two weeks with the type of credentials that we have, someone who was able to clear his calendar and be available is commendable and I congratulate the person for doing that. We are moving quickly on the rest of the file also.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, fair enough but I would just say that there is no defence for inaction in this case.

Sam Steele must be spinning in his grave. The government's ad hoc investigation cannot compel or protect witnesses. It will not report to Parliament and it is not even public. Yesterday, former Commissioner Zaccardelli acknowledged that the appointed head of the investigation had numerous professional relations with senior RCMP officers in the past. How can this be considered neutral?

Will the government launch a proper inquiry or is this just one pension-gate cover-up piled on top of another?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, let me separate a couple of the issues.

First, I tabled a report here yesterday related to the pensions. It showed that those funds are safe and sound with $13.2 billion in the members' funds. The rate of return on the two separate investment agencies respectively are 7.7% and 19.1%. The fund is in good shape.

If the members disagree with the process we are taking, that is one thing, but let us be clear that all the people of the RCMP who the investigator wants to call will be called and the report will be made public. It could not be any other way.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works is preparing to award a $400 million contract to a former client of his and the government says that there is no conflict of interest here. Incredible.

The unelected Minister of Public Works holds shares in a firm considered a strategic partner of the company that will get the contract. This company was also one of the minister’s clients for a number of years. They even worked together, including on a $330 million transaction in 2004.

Is that not enough to conclude that there is at least an appearance of a conflict of interest or a potential for it?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the minister has not been involved, whether directly or indirectly, in the evaluation process for the awarding of this contract or any other contract since he became Minister of Public Works. In addition, there cannot possibly be a scandal here, as my hon. colleague asserts, because no contract has been signed yet.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is pretty far away from here and does not have a chance very often to come and see us. Maybe that is why he has not had an opportunity yet to tell his colleagues and his parliamentary secretary in particular that he is up to his eyeballs in conflict of interest.

Now I know why the minister has not had time to run in a by-election. He is far too busy handing out contracts to his pals.

Will the government show some backbone and investigate this immediately because it fairly reeks of a conflict of interest?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the energy invested in that question, there are very few facts in the question that was asked.

There is no problem here. All the processes have been respected by the minister in charge. All the processes have been respected. Everything is going exactly as it has been in the past. There is no problem here whatsoever.

We are obeying all the rules that have been put in place and this is going forward precisely in the appropriate manner.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, W-FIVE aired the results of its investigation into the Ianiero murders in Mexico.

The show confirmed inconsistencies in the police reports. However, the attorney general of Quintana Roo stated that Cheryl Everall and Kimberly Kim remain principal suspects. The report states that the women were never suspects and that no blood was ever found in their room.

Why has the Prime Minister not demanded that Mexico clear the names of these clearly innocent Canadians?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, I met with both of those individuals and it is extremely unfortunate that they have found themselves caught up in this web and this very sordid investigation that has been underway for some time now in Mexico as a result of the murder of the Ianiero family.

However, as he knows well, the government has very little control over the press and the reporting of this particular incident, which is where the difficulty lies. The member can quote officials both past and present on what has been said about this case. It is an ongoing murder investigation and we cannot control how the press report this.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, the April 14, 2007 W-FIVE thorough investigation of the Ianiero case revealed major discrepancies between the claims of Bello Melchor Rodriguez, the attorney general for the state of Quintana Roo, and the police report.

I would like to know whether the Minister of Foreign Affairs believes that the Mexican judicial authorities are acting in good faith. If not, what will he do to ensure that Canadians are protected and that justice will prevail?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question and his interest in this file which I know is sincere. The difficulty of course is that this is an investigation that is taking place in another country. Just as we would not have investigators from another country come to Canada and tell officials here how they should conduct themselves, there is very little we can do other than to provide assistance and meet with officials, which we have done at the highest levels.

We have raised this issue with the President of Mexico. We will continue to provide consular support. We will continue to probe and push the Mexican officials to do this investigation properly and to see that it is finally brought to a conclusion and the perpetrators are arrested.

Quebec City's 400th AnniversaryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the head of the committee for Quebec City’s 400th anniversary celebrations claims that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is considering the possibility of inviting Queen Elizabeth to the festivities. Not many people in Quebec would like to have her attend the 400th anniversary celebrations, and they certainly do not want to pay for her visit.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs intend to tell us that there is no such plan?

Quebec City's 400th AnniversaryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as far as I know, no invitation has been sent by the committee to Her Majesty the Queen.

Paillé ReviewOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to my question yesterday on the scope of the mandate given to Daniel Paillé concerning the granting of polling contracts, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services answered that the government had nothing to hide.

Are we to understand from the parliamentary secretary’s response that from now on the new mandate of the Paillé investigation will cover all polls, those of the Liberals as well as those of the Conservatives, up to and including 2007?

Paillé ReviewOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the period we are talking about extends from 1990 to 2003. This is the period in which the problems identified by Sheila Fraser occurred. This is the mandate given to us by Canadians. We are keeping our promises to Canada’s taxpayers.

FisheriesOral Questions

April 17th, 2007 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, lobster fishermen in the Northumberland Strait are facing a crisis and this government is refusing to act. Landings have collapsed, costs have skyrocketed, and thousands of families are facing bankruptcy.

A licence retirement plan is the only immediate solution to avoid this disaster and give younger fishers and coastal communities a chance to survive. Fishermen also worry that the permanent access they were given to snow crab will be ripped out of their hands at a time when they need it most.

Will the minister confirm that crab sharing will remain and will he undertake an immediate lobster licence retirement plan to save these communities?

FisheriesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the member raises a good question. We are very aware of the conditions in the Northumberland Strait. In fact, some time ago, led by the fisheries minister from Prince Edward Island, with his counterparts in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we convened a summit in Prince Edward Island to deal with this very topic.

A number of pertinent committees were set up to look at all the aspects of the failure of the fishery in the Strait and a report on that should be in very soon.

In relation to the other issue he raises, we are also very much aware of this and in fact have asked for some advice on it. I will be letting the member know very soon--

FisheriesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Essex.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, back home in Essex the issue of clean air and cross-border pollution is very important to the quality of life of my constituents. Last week the Minister of the Environment was in Washington, D.C., to fight for better air quality between Canada and the United States.

Could the Minister of the Environment please tell this House about this important step in helping to clean our air and provide a cleaner environment across this continent?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

What a great question, Mr. Speaker. Indeed, we are seeking to build upon the work that has been done in the past on the Canada-U.S. air quality agreement. We want to reopen the agreement and strengthen the provisions for particulate matter to help ensure that the air Canadians breathe is free from pollution, particularly particulate matter.

The Liberal Party, in committee on Bill C-30, stripped the important clean air parts of Bill C-30 and replaced them with its carbon tax, something that will do nothing for young children with asthma and the elderly who have to stay in on smog days caused by Liberal inaction.

Government ContractsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, every time the Conservatives talk about health, Canadians are left with more questions than answers. A lot of people are asking if the $300 million exclusive contract was awarded to Merck Frosst for the HPV vaccine because a Conservative lobbyist who used to work for the Prime Minister was on the file.

The Canadian Revenue Agency says Merck used tax havens in the Barbados to hide profits. The IRS in the United States is also investigating Merck for back taxes. Why is this government giving Merck millions of dollars and not collecting the billions owed to Canadian--

Government ContractsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Finance.