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House of Commons Hansard #154 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was icsid.

Topics

Canadian CompaniesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are well aware of certain challenges in the economy and in the labour market. At the same time, we do have the hottest employment market and the lowest unemployment rate in almost four decades.

The leader of the NDP talks about the manufacturing sector. This government's budget had important measures that the manufacturing sector had asked for, including special writeoffs and accelerated capital cost allowances for new investments. That is what this government has done. NDP members voted against it and voted against workers. This government is doing the job for workers.

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the cat is out of the bag. The Minister of Labour and the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities covered up their air travel expenses. Even worse, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, in attempting to help his spendthrift colleagues, misled this House. However, Canadians will not be fooled.

Does anyone on the other side of the House have the courage to admit that the conservatives misled Canadians? The Minister of Labour? The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities? The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons? Anyone?

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:30 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, yesterday I saw another newspaper story on this. I spent a couple of hours last night again going through the numbers because I could not believe what I read.

Guess what I found out again by going through the numbers in detail? I found out that our Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec spent less than his Liberal predecessor ministers. All the flights included and everything the department paid for, all the stuff he disclosed, was less than that of his Liberal predecessor ministers.

It is simple: when we want taxpayers' dollars taken care of, ask the Conservatives to be in charge.

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the facts are that the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Transport have been caught hiding their expenses. Claiming innocence, they fired off letters bearing their signatures and their trademark funny arithmetic to various newspapers.

Now we know the facts do not support their story despite all the House leader's efforts. The issue here is disclosure and transparency. Who in the government will have the courage to correct the record and tell Canadians the truth, the labour minister, the transport minister or the government House leader? Who?

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

2:30 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, I thought they had brought the Internet to St. Boniface, but maybe not, because the member cannot seem to find numbers that are hidden on a website. Maybe it is just that he does not know how to use a computer yet. I do not know what the rules are or what the situation is, but the facts are as I have said.

The Conservative Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec spent less than his predecessors. The amount he spent has been disclosed. His flights have been disclosed on his proactive disclosures and on the government website. It is there for people to see. The spending is less than that of his Liberal predecessors. It is the Conservatives who are the guardians of the taxpayers' dollars.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the public accounts committee has heard testimony accusing the former commissioner of muzzling the RCMP ethics adviser.

It has also heard that deputy commissioners blocked access to information requests and that a culture of secrecy and fear exists inside the National Compensation Policy Centre, where workers were terrified of reporting abuses by their bosses.

The minister refuses to do anything more than window dressing. What is the minister afraid of? Why will he not stand up for these brave officers and call a judicial inquiry?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as we have said in the past, we want to get answers quickly. To go the route the Liberals have suggested, it could take two to three years to get the kinds of answers we want.

Anybody who checks the record will know that it is this government that stands up for the men and women in uniform who do the policing, who step into harm's way every day and every night around the clock. We are the ones who stand up for the RCMP and our other police forces. We are going to continue to do that.

We are also going to get answers to disturbing questions that we have heard raised, but we want to get those answers quickly.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the public accounts committee is hearing allegations of behaviour from senior officers that is simply unacceptable. Allegations of cover-up, intimidation and harassment are coming from rank and file officers who put their careers on the line while attempting to get to the truth.

This minister has done nothing to show that he is taking these allegations seriously enough and has taken no action whatsoever on this file. What is he waiting for? What will it take for this minister to get involved and call a full judicial inquiry? We cannot wait.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows very well, I have asked for an investigation. We have that person in place, who has been given the power and the authority to find out about and get to the bottom of these very concerning things and to do it in a hurry.

She said she cannot wait, but all these problems took place under the Liberal regime. She waited very quietly when she was parliamentary secretary. She did not even raise these issues.

We cannot wait. We are getting answers. We are getting the job done.

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

May 15th, 2007 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the leader of the government said yesterday, the proposal for electoral representation reform does not guarantee that Quebec’s representation in the House of Commons, which would fall from 24.4% of the seats to 22.7% in 2011, will be preserved.

Is the Prime Minister aware that his bill is inconsistent with genuine recognition of the Quebec nation, since such recognition means not reducing the political weight of that nation in federal institutions?

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:35 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, the bill guarantees representation of Quebec, whose 75 seats are protected.

We are taking a balanced approach. The level of Quebec’s representation is completely protected in this bill.

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about relative weight. Seventy-five seats out of 307 is not the same thing as 75 seats out of 330. He ought to understand that.

Even worse, the Conservative bill accelerates the decline in Quebec’s political weight in relation to what the previous formula provided. This is what his vision of nation building for Canada is all about.

Will the Prime Minister do the only thing that is consistent with recognition of the Quebec nation, which is to amend his bill to guarantee Quebec at least 25% of the seats in the House of Commons?

Electoral Boundary ReadjustmentOral Questions

2:35 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 bill is based on principles.

It is based, first, on the fundamental principle of democratic representation: one person, one vote, each vote to have the same weight, as far as possible.

Our bill is fair. The Bloc Québécois wants to see unfair arrangements, because it wants to undermine Confederation. We know that Canadians, including Quebeckers, want a fair, strong and united Canada.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the heels of the Bloc Québécois' motion on the price of gas, Quebec's minister of natural resources is demanding that the federal government take concrete action to control oil companies, especially at the refining stage. Claude Béchard would also like to know why Industry Canada has not taken action in response to rising refining margins.

Will the Prime Minister strengthen the legislation to give real powers of investigation to the commissioner and the Competition Bureau?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there is no need to strengthen the Competition Act. The act is working well. The Competition Bureau has all of the powers it needs to investigate rising gasoline prices and producers' profit margins. The Competition Bureau has all of the powers it needs to act.

As for Quebec, I would like to remind my honourable colleague that the Government of Quebec has the power to regulate retail gasoline prices if it wants to do so.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, in some cases, a laissez-faire policy is the worst possible policy.

The refining margin is 22¢ per litre. That is three times higher than the average in the early 2000s, and it adds up to $10 more than usual for a 50 litre fill. That money is not helping protect the environment. It is lining the pockets of the oil companies.

Is the Prime Minister aware that by refusing to give the Competition Bureau more powers, he is a party to a system that benefits oil companies at the expense of consumers and the economy?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my Bloc Québécois colleagues that the price of gas fluctuates, much like their leader's desire to vie for the leadership of the Parti Québécois.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Ernst & Young says that the finance minister's tax proposals are as “clear as mud”.

Let me allow the minister to clarify himself yet again. Will the minister tell the House how much tax revenue he will raise annually as a result of his new proposed limitation on foreign interest deductibility? Will he table his calculations?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Kings—Hants for changing his mind yesterday and announcing last night on television that he supports the measures we are taking against tax havens. I thank him for his change of heart on that. It is very important.

He is being consistent now, I note, with when he was a Conservative and said in this place that tax havens “are robbing the Canadian tax base in our ability to pay for the social investment and also to create a more competitive tax system”.

He was right as a Conservative and we are correct as Conservatives now.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the finance minister raised the real issue of tax havens. As Ernst & Young has said, adding confusion is the minister's link of double-dipping to tax havens: “It doesn't all fit together”. Ernst & Young is right. The minister is wrong. There is no relationship between tax havens and double-dipping.

Furthermore, he is appointing a panel of tax experts to advise him on his tax policy, but this is what the experts are actually telling him right now. KPMG says that his proposal is “big trouble” for Canadian jobs. Ernst & Young says that his proposal is bad for “Canadian competitiveness”.

Does the minister accept the advice of these tax experts or will he--

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Finance.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the difference between the party opposite and this party in the treatment of tax havens could not be more obvious. We are dealing with the issue of tax havens. That party did nothing on this issue over the course of 13 years.

As Don Drummond from TD Bank said last night, “I wish when I was at Finance that we could have done something about tax havens”. He said that the anti-tax haven initiative is “a very positive step forward”.

However, I understand that the member has his secret ways of communicating by email with Bay Street and has other information, I know.

EqualizationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, tonight the House will vote on Bill C-52, the budget bill that breaks the promise to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador on the Atlantic accords.

Will the Conservative MPs from those two provinces do the right thing, do what they were sent to Ottawa to do, and support their constituents by voting against this broken promise?

Will the Chief Government Whip permit Atlantic Conservative members to vote in support of their constituents and against this flip-flopping funding fiasco?

EqualizationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, what I suspect Nova Scotia and Atlantic MPs will do is support the budget because it is good for Nova Scotia. It in fact allowed the government of Nova Scotia to balance its budget this year.

However, I can tell the member opposite what we will not do. We will not do what the Liberal leader did to the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North. We will not throw a member out of caucus for voting his conscience. There will be no whipping, flipping, hiring or firing on budget votes as we saw with the Liberal government.

EqualizationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the vote on the budget bill tonight, the Conservative promise to Saskatchewan about equalization will be broken. The Conservatives will impose a cap on Saskatchewan, a cap they promised never to impose, and that cap kills their promise. No amount of double-talk will change that reality.

The Conservative MP for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre said, “If you want to say we didn't fulfill the commitment or keep our promise, fair enough”. But it is not fair enough.

The premier of Saskatchewan is asking all Saskatchewan MPs to vote against the budget bill. Will the chief government whip allow them the freedom to do so?