This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #161 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said a number of times here, our military commitment is to the end of February 2009. The government has not considered any change. If and when it does consider change, any change will be brought before Parliament for discussion and a vote.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

May 31st, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Valley Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has a track record of short-changing our soldiers. We see it with the death benefits for soldiers killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. We saw it with the benefits for injured soldiers, the lost tax benefits and the danger pay fiasco.

The government promised to immediately extend veterans independence program services to the widows of all, and I repeat all, second world war and Korean war veterans, but there has been nothing so far.

When will the government treat the men and women of the Canadian Forces and their families with the respect they deserve?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

New Brunswick Southwest New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member knows full well that one of the first things I did as Minister of Veterans Affairs was to call for a health care review so we could understand exactly how we could extend those benefits, the VIP precisely. The member knows that and members of the committee know that. We will act on it but not before that full report is in.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, Mrs. June Dobson of Saint John, like so many other Canadian families, supports our troops by writing to her nephew, Master Corporal Steven Maher, in Afghanistan three times a week, greatly boosting morale.

Bill C-440 would make it free for Canadians to send and receive mail from our troops. All other parties have agreed to fast-track this important bill, except the Conservative Party.

Will the Prime Minister today support the bill, support our troops and their families and tell Mrs. Dobson that she can send her mail to her nephew for free?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have had an opportunity to discuss this issue with my colleague. I have told him that we are open-minded on this question and that we will be looking at it. We are following the Standing Orders of this House.

It is unfortunate that those members do not put the same zeal and drive into supporting our troops as we do when we go out and buy equipment to help our troops. Our Prime Minister goes over and supports our troops. He is there when needed. Unfortunately, those members are not there. Those members are all talk and no action.

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Quebec's Minister of Tourism, Raymond Bachand, urged Conservative members from Quebec to “rise up and get the emergency funding that Quebec's festivals need”. The response from the Minister of the Economic Development Agency was nonsense. This is about the budget of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

So which Conservative member or minister from Quebec is going to rise and demand that the minister accept her responsibility and hand out the $30 million that festivals are waiting for as soon as possible?

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this government has a program and the festivals in Quebec are being funded, festivals like the Festival international de la littérature and the Festival du Jamais Lu. In fact, those festivals are in the riding of the leader of the Bloc.

Is the very party that is asking about the use of tax dollars 12 years ago suggesting that we go ahead and fund without a program framework and without clear criteria and guidelines?

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of threatening Mr. Bachand as some Conservative members have done, which of them will dare to put pressure on the minister to transfer the money? Who will dare? If no one will stand up, they had better sink into their natural torpor and inertia and follow Mr. Bachand's advice to stay home and avoid all festivals in Quebec this summer.

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, this government and this party do not succumb to pressure. What we do is govern in the best interests of Canadians. We have full responsibility to ensure that we support festivals, we support communities, but we use the support and the taxpayers' dollars so that the moneys go where they are intended to go, not to party coffers but to really serve communities. We do it accountably and we do it with transparency.

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Labour accused the Bloc Québécois of being responsible for the delay in implementing the amendments to the Bankruptcy Act. This is totally false. The Bloc Québécois would like the wage earner protection program to be implemented quickly, but it also wants Quebec legislation to be complied with, something that does not seem to be a priority for this government and something the bill introduced by the Minister of Labour does not do.

What is the minister waiting for to introduce his bill and accept our one amendment designed simply to comply with legislation in effect in Quebec?

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:35 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, before Christmas, we gave a notice of motion to introduce this bill and fast-track it to the Senate by adopting it at first, second and third reading, because it proposes technical changes to the legislation.

Unfortunately, even though the Bloc Québécois initially told us that it was prepared to cooperate, it changed its tune.

You did not ask for one amendment, but two amendments. These amendments do not reflect the will of all parliamentarians. You must therefore suffer the consequences. You do not want the legislation, so too bad for you.

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Minister of Labour knows that he must address the Speaker, not the other members.

The hon. member for Joliette has the floor.

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, they are not two amendments, but two versions of the same amendment that the Government of Quebec suggested to us. In September 2006, the Government of Quebec informed this government that the bill sponsored by the Minister of Labour violated Quebec legislation.

What is the minister waiting for to consider the amendment suggested by the Government of Quebec and proposed by the Bloc Québécois, so that the wage earner protection program can be implemented?

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:40 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, even the unions want this legislation to go forward and are pressuring the Bloc Québécois to stop.

Do you know what the Bloc Québécois wants? It wants someone who goes bankrupt to have the right to put money in his RRSP a week before the bankruptcy and for this to be considered normal, even though this money does not belong to him.

We are staying the course. If the Bloc Québécois wants this legislation and if it really wants to protect and get behind workers, it needs to support us so that we can send the bill to the Senate.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, not a single environmentalist in this country supports the government's climate change plan. No independent third party will verify the minister's claims because they are simply beyond belief. His own officials tell us their analysis is weak or incomplete and they cannot bear out his numbers. The provinces, all but one, have scolded the Prime Minister for his lack of leadership on absolute greenhouse gas reductions. Even yesterday the “governator” kicked sand in the Prime Minister's face for his failure to act.

As we head into international negotiations next week, what precisely is Canada bringing to the G-8 climate change table?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, not a single former Liberal environment minister agreed that the Liberal Party did anything on the environment. Ask Sheila Copps. She blames the member for Wascana for not supporting Kyoto. Ask Christine Stewart, who blames the leader of the Liberal Party for not doing anything to support Kyoto. Talk to David Anderson who said that the then prime minister did not do anything to support Kyoto.

We are going to the G-8 conference next week with a real plan to see absolute reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions, something that will be a first for a Canadian prime minister.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government can keep saying that it will meet the G-8 targets, but its plan is utterly inconsistent with international consensus.

Its so-called bridge does not have a solid foundation. Canadian experts from all fields continue to find cracks in the minister's plan. Even Governor Schwarzenegger is not strong enough to twist the Prime Minister's arm.

By Monday will the government finally have something solid, serious and concrete to present at the G-8 meeting, or is it going to embarrass Canada yet again?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, back in 1997 the Liberal Party began to talk a good game on the issue of climate change. Every single year we have seen the problem get worse in this country. Greenhouse gases and climate change are having a huge effect on Canada. Schools are coming off their foundations in Inuvik because the permafrost is melting. We have seen the devastation caused by the pine beetle.

What this country needs and what this world needs is a plan for absolute reductions, something that this government is the first one to offer.

Aid to AfricaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is time that the government opposite woke up to the dangers concerning the environment. It is a little late but there is still time.

Not only will the government disgrace us during the G-8 summit with its bogus plan to protect the environment, but Canada will also be embarrassed when discussion turns to Africa.

The Liberal government assumed the leadership of a worldwide movement by developing a wide-ranging plan under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. We are still waiting for the Prime Minister to take measures to keep the promises we made to Africa.

Before leaving for the G-8, will the Prime Minister today—

Aid to AfricaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Aid to AfricaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows very well, in our 2007 budget, international aid was increased by 8%. That 8% will make it possible to double our funding for international assistance by 2010-11 from 2001 levels. The Liberals voted against that measure.

Aid to AfricaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Aid to AfricaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Josée Verner Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

I must also point out that last year the government made a commitment to invest between $100 million and $150 million for educational needs in Africa.

Aid to AfricaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, as usual the minister is evading the issue. I am not talking about international aid. I am talking about Africa. This government’s deeds do not match its words. At the G-8, in 2006, the Conservative Prime Minister made a commitment to take concrete action to contribute to achievement of the millennium development goals for Africa. However, not one cent of the money promised to wipe out AIDS and polio is included in the budgetary provisions.

When will the Prime Minister stop talking about Africa and starting doing something, as he promised?

Africa, Mr. Speaker.

Aid to AfricaOral 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, to complete the answer on the subject of our aid to Africa: when he was at the G-8 last year, the Prime Minister made a commitment to invest up to $450 million to strengthen health systems in Africa. This year, again, we announced an innovative project in cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation concerning the fight against HIV-AIDS. We announced $120 million at the beginning of December for some 20 projects, specifically in Africa to combat AIDS. The member should pay attention to the great announcements that we are making.