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House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-22.

Topics

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. I know that everyone likes to hear the government House leader, but we now have to be able to hear the answer. We will have a little order so members can hear the answer from the government House leader, who has the floor.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay has strong views on this. He said:

—even as an opposition critic, a Member of Parliament must keep a distance from stakeholders who could lobby in the prospect that the opposition critic becomes a Cabinet minister.

However, I took a few minutes to look some stuff up. Guess what? The member for Timmins—James Bay took a contribution from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. I cannot believe it.

That double standard does not stop there. There were other donations. The NDP House leader got one and even the NDP leader. There could be more, but I did not have enough time.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government falsely claimed it would expand Canada's role in international affairs, but, once again, that is all talk and little action, another broken promise.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has now announced the closure of 23 consulates around the world. How can Canada be expected to take a leadership role on the world stage when the minority Conservative government is busy putting up “closed for business” signs all around the globe?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

As is sadly so often the case, Mr. Speaker, that member's statement is completely false. There is not a scintilla of truth to what she has just said.

Let me give a fact about closures of embassies and missions abroad. Under the previous government there were closures of over 40 embassies.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when we came to office, we had a $42 billion debt to deal with because of the Conservatives.

Our consulates are the front line of Canada's international presence in the world. For those seeking to invest in Canada, consulates are key. For those seeking to travel to Canada, consulates are key. For those looking to immigrate to Canada, consulates are key. When it comes to Canadians who are travelling abroad, consulates are key.

Why is the government pulling Canada off the world stage?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, unlike the member opposite and her previous government, we have been extremely proactive in asserting Canada's case on the world stage. In fact, it was the steady hand at the tiller of the Minister of Finance that enabled the government to run these huge surpluses.

What I can tell members is I am extremely proud of the Department of Foreign Affairs, of the work that is done by our consular officials, our missions abroad. We have extremely dedicated, hard-working public servants at all of our embassies and consulates around the world.

PassportsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has allowed a surge in passport applications. He had one full year to prepare. It has become yet another fiasco. There are lineups at 4 a.m. and people are waiting all day. None of the new employees promised by the minister are actually on the job. Thousands of phone calls a week are being dropped.

How bad does the situation have to get before our passport offices have the resources to do the job?

PassportsOral 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, I do not know where the hon. member has been. Clearly, there is a surge in passports because of the western hemisphere travel initiative. We are working with officials in Canada to deal with this surge. In fact, we have hired 500 new officials who are coming on stream.

The member opposite would be the first, I would suggest, to agree with me that we do not want to cut any corners. We do not want to take any shortcuts when it comes to ensuring the integrity of the passports. That is what is happening. These individuals are being trained. They will be on stream. We are getting the situation in hand.

PassportsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the facts are plan and simple. The government had one full year to prepare for this surge in applications. It knew it was coming, but it chose to sit on its hands and let down thousands of Canadians across the country.

When will the government act on this national embarrassment and give Canadians the services they deserve?

PassportsOral 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, in addition to the 500 new employees at Passport Canada, we have taken significant steps to deal with this surge.

I fully sympathize with the frustration felt by Canadians. We have a situation where we are getting as many as 18,000 applications a day. We have taken steps, including nighttime shifts, overtime, hiring new employees and having national blitzes on the weekends.

The officials at Passport Canada are working extremely hard to deal with this. We are taking more passports in at Service Canada locations around the country. We are continuing to work extremely hard to find new, efficient ways to deal with the situation at Passport Canada.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite skyrocketing gasoline prices, the Minister of Natural Resources maintains that an investigation is not necessary. Yet, the former head of the Competition Bureau stated that the legislation did not give him enough power to investigate gas prices.

In view of escalating prices, does the government not think that it is time to give the Competition Bureau real powers to deal with this problem?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the real question that has to be answered is why are the NDP and the Bloc supporting the Liberal environment plan where under today's prices the price of gasoline in Ontario would be over $1.90? Those are the absolute facts.

I suggest the member may want to go back and ask his constituents if they support that price for gasoline. That is what would happen under the Liberal environment plan and those members know it.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think he has misunderstood my question. I will put it a different way so that he understands.

Citizens are right to ask questions. A refining margin between 5¢ and 7¢ is normal, whereas a margin of 27¢ is excessive. I will tell the minister again that in Halifax, Esso refines for everyone; in New Brunswick, it is Irving; in Quebec, it is Ultramar; and in Montreal, it is Petro-Canada and Shell.

Does the minister not find it normal for people to wonder? Is it not time to give the Competition Bureau the power to investigate?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the real question is how can the NDP, the Bloc and the Liberals support the Liberal environment plan, which independent economists Mark Jaccard and Don Drummond have studied and said that the price of gasoline would rise to $1.90 per litre under the Liberal environment plan? Those are the facts. That would happen.

They can yell all they want. They are yelling because they do not like the truth and that is the truth. They are supporting the Liberal environment plan and that is what would happen. They should go back and talk to their constituents in their ridings.

EqualizationOral Questions

May 3rd, 2007 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have news from two of the government's top dogs, and it is not good for Nova Scotians. Yesterday the finance minister confirmed the Atlantic accord deals will be ignored. Respected economists and provincial government officials have identified a loss of over $1 billion to Nova Scotia.

The regional minister has rolled over and played dead at the cabinet table, telling Nova Scotians he would see them in court and the finance minister has treated the deal like a fire hydrant.

The minister should give Nova Scotians back what they already had. When will he show some respect for Nova Scotians and honour the accord?

EqualizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

First, Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House I had very constructive discussions yesterday with the acting minister of finance in Nova Scotia. He offered the view to the media there that budget 2007 was an extremely positive document from an infrastructure perspective for the province of Nova Scotia, as indeed it is.

We are honouring the accord. The option is there for the government of the province of Nova Scotia to either choose the accord or choose the new O'Brien formula. It also has the choice this year, which it has chosen to exercise, to get an additional $95 million for the province of Nova Scotia.

Canada Pension PlanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, seniors and people with disabilities in my home riding of Peterborough, and right across Canada, have long been calling for changes to the Canada pension plan and the old age security program with respect to access to their benefits.

I know our government has done a lot of great things for seniors and persons with disabilities such as income splitting for pensioners and seniors and a new registered disability savings plan.

Could the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development please tell the House what the government has done to address the concerns about access to benefits?

Canada Pension PlanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, today I stood on the steps of Parliament with the Hon. Marjory LeBreton and representatives of the disabled and seniors communities as we celebrated the passage of Bill C-36, which extends disability benefits to people who should have access to the Canada pension plan. It makes GIS more accessible for seniors. We were happy to celebrate that with those groups.

We have also announced a new seniors council so seniors will have input on these important issues. We are getting the job done.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Canada's big city mayors are meeting in Toronto, They are calling on Ottawa to make cities full partners in Canada's prosperity. They need a long term transit program, permanent infrastructure funding and stable revenues that grow with the economy. Cities are the engines of our economy where most Canadians live and work.

When will the government finally act in the national interest and invest in the quality of life and competitiveness of our cities?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, clearly she has it right. We are doing exactly that. We are investing in our communities. We are putting $8.8 billion in gas tax. The Liberal government did not do it. We are taking care of public transit. Shortly we will be announcing the new design for the building Canada fund, which Canadians will be able to use to their best benefit.

Security Certificate DetaineeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, Hassan Almrei, never charged, never convicted of any crime, is now the only security certificate detainee at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre and his hunger strike continues at day 147.

The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration recommended that the government urgently find alternatives should there be only one detainee left at KIHC due to concerns about solitary confinement and again called for the appointment of the correctional investigator to mediate.

When will the government make a serious attempt to end Mr. Almrei's hunger strike? What steps will it take to ensure he is not subject to any form of solitary confinement?

Security Certificate DetaineeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that there are regular visits by medical officers to that facility for whoever is there. Certainly it is within a person's right to refuse certain types of food if that is the person's choice, but three meals are served there daily, along with snacks.

I can assure my colleague who is concerned about this that anybody's health--I cannot mention a specific individual--but the health of anybody who is in that facility is very carefully monitored on a daily basis and will continue to be done so.

EqualizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance flew to Nova Scotia to pour gasoline on the burning embers of the torched Atlantic accord. He had a six hour meeting, after which he emerged to say there was nothing new and the betrayal will continue.

The Conservative government of the province of Nova Scotia indicated yesterday that this deal, this betrayal, this double-cross, will cost Nova Scotia up to $200 million next year alone.

Why did the government break its word on the Atlantic accord? When will the regional minister get some backbone and stand up for Nova Scotia?

EqualizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

As usual, Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member opposite has his numbers wrong. There is $95 million more for the province of Nova Scotia this year than it would have had under the old agreement. There is $59 million more next year for the province of Nova Scotia than it would have had under the old agreement.

Let me say something else to the hon. member. Yesterday's discussions with the acting minister of finance for the province of Nova Scotia were very constructive, very helpful, just the opposite of what we hear from the Liberal members from Nova Scotia here.

Air TransportOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday I was pleased to be part of a great event at the Hamilton International Airport in my riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook.

The Minister of Transport and a gathering of dignitaries and guests were on hand to celebrate the arrival of the first international flight direct from the U.K. thanks to this government's blue sky policy.

Could the Minister of Transport please tell the House more about this event and the economic prosperity that the blue sky policy will bring not only to Hamilton, but to all of Canada?