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House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was loans.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I suspect the Minister of the Environment meant smog day Leader of the Opposition, or something like that. If he was using the name of an hon. member, he knows that he has to use some other title. He will want to comply with the rules in his answer.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As the member for St. Paul's said last year, we had one smog day in 1993 and we had 48 last year. That is the Liberal record on smog and pollution.

It could get worse. The Liberals want to take out mandatory national air quality standards from Bill C-30, mandatory public reporting on air quality. The worst is that they want to allow the minister to exempt some Canadian--

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for New Westminster—Coquitlam.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Afghans are increasingly concerned with the mounting civilian death toll. This week the Afghan senate asked foreign forces to put an end to the hunting and the search and destroy approach. Last week President Karzai said that the civilian death toll is something his government can “no longer accept”.

Will the government acknowledge the serious concerns of the Afghan government and change course, just as Afghan officials and the Canadian public are demanding?

AfghanistanOral 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, of course we acknowledge concerns of the Afghan government. We work very closely with it. We have representatives of the Canadian embassy working each and every day with the government in Kabul.

With respect to the international security assistance force, it is a UN mandated NATO mission. We are all aware of that. We know that the operations are conducted with the consent of the Afghan authorities under a democratically elected government in Afghanistan. NATO operations are conducted jointly alongside Afghan national forces. The Canadian Forces and NATO allies attach the highest importance to the protection of civilian life in all of their operations.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, 90 civilian deaths in the last two weeks is something to take very seriously.

The Conservative government cannot tell us anything about what is happening with Afghan detainees. It cannot give us a straight answer about the duration of the mission. Canadians have clearly lost confidence in the Minister of National Defence and the government's handling of the war.

If the government of Afghanistan does ask Canada and NATO to change their tactics, will the government do so?

AfghanistanOral 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, what I can tell the hon. member is we are not going to engage in idle speculation from the member opposite.

What I can tell the member as well is that we have seen consistent inconsistency from the NDP on this issue with respect to the NDP's outlook on this mission. What we know very well is when it comes to the mission in Afghanistan, the members of the NDP are sheep in sheep's clothing.

EqualizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. To the Conservatives our Atlantic accords have always been viewed as unfair side deals, so on principle, Conservatives are now replacing the Nova Scotia accord with, get this, side side deals. How principled.

The Conservatives have gone from promises of no caps, no excuses, no fine print, to one big cap and a whole lot of fine print and a whole lot of excuses.

I would ask the Prime Minister to stand right here in this place and on his word, give a promise to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that he will replace the $11 billion that he took from the Atlantic accord and the equalization formula. Or are we about to hear more excuses?

EqualizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the member's rhetoric, this government promised to respect the Atlantic accords, and that is exactly what we did in the budget. We respected the Atlantic accord. We also gave the Atlantic provinces under the accord the option of moving into a new and even richer system of equalization. I do not know what the member is complaining about.

EqualizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, another example of Conservative flim-flam is the Conservatives' treatment of Saskatchewan on equalization.

During the last election, to buy votes the Conservatives promised Saskatchewan $800 million more per year, but their budget capped Saskatchewan at only one-quarter of that amount for this year and then nothing thereafter.

Saskatchewan people feel betrayed. The premier has said that he may now take this Conservative government to court.

At least five provinces are outraged about this budget. Is this the new era of peace and harmony the federal finance minister bragged about?

EqualizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, it is always amusing to me when the hon. member for Wascana gets up to speak about Saskatchewan and what he did for Saskatchewan.

The truth of the matter is under the Liberal government, the Liberals had no plans whatsoever to deal with removal of non-renewable natural resources from the equalization formula. We promised it. We delivered it.

Furthermore, Saskatchewan received the best deal on equalization. We received $878 million of new funding, a higher per capita payment than any other province in Canada. That is a great deal for Saskatchewan.

Student EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are playing games with the hugely successful summer grants program, which has provided hundreds of thousands of jobs for students and assisted community organizations.

Last fall they announced a $55 million cut, but no details. They wait until March to re-gift it, but change the program and, guess what, less money.

Students are confused. Community organizations are shaking their heads. Cuts, changes, less money; why is the minister treating this program like a game of three card Monte? Why stack the deck against our students?

Student EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have not heard of that card game, and I think we should avoid references to that sort of thing. It sounds a lot like perhaps the minister's name, and I have already had to chastise one hon. member for this kind of blunder this afternoon.

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Social Development has the floor.

Student EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed, that was a savage attack.

In fact, we have changed the program and we have improved it. Under the Liberals, they used the plan to fund companies like Wal-Mart, Canada Safeway and Bacardi, very successful international companies that did not need the support of taxpayers.

They also used the money to politically reward their friends. We have ended that practice. The culture of entitlement is over. We have preserved all the funding from the not for profit sector. The member is the one who is really confused.

Summer Career Placements ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, today community organizations have to pay the price for Conservative decisions.

Last year alone, the summer career placements program created more than 112,000 hours of work for students in Madawaska—Restigouche. That was an investment of more than $500,000.

This year, the Conservatives made cutbacks in the program and replaced it with a less generous program, with a registration process that shuts out community organizations.

How could the minister so seriously misjudge the great benefits of the summer career placements program? Why has he abandoned the students of Canada?

Summer Career Placements ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I know the member is disappointed that he can no longer direct this money to his political friends, but Canadians want a clean program.

We have ensured that the $77.5 million budgeted last year for the not for profit sector is there again this year. On top of that, we offer several million dollars more for public and private small businesses, businesses under 50 employees. We do not want to continue to send money to Wal-Mart like the previous government did.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, three years ago, the federal government introduced voluntary GMO labelling standards, but consumers in Quebec and Canada have not yet seen a single GMO label.

Given that over 80% of consumers in Quebec and Canada want mandatory labelling, which already exists in about 40 countries, does the government plan to give consumers the right to know whether or not their food contains GMOs?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, this is of great interest to agriculture ministers, both federal and provincial. A working group of federal-provincial ministers and our top bureaucrats are working on this right now and coming up with ideas and proposals.

We were also engaged in an international forum recently in Montreal. Up to 35 countries participated, again to try to find a way forward that would meet the needs of our international obligations while still allowing farm operations and our very safe food operations to continue in Canada. We are working on this, building consensus.

In the meantime, consumers should always send the message that they have the ultimate hammer. They can just not buy if they do not—

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Jeanne-Le Ber.

World BankOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, Paul Wolfowitz gave a big raise to his girlfriend, and now all countries belonging to the World Bank want him fired. All but three: Japan, the United States and Canada.

Can the Minister of Finance tell us why he still supports Paul Wolfowitz, whom the World Bank inquiry found guilty of nepotism?

World BankOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how on earth my friend opposite can come to that conclusion. In fact, our government's position is that we cannot make a conclusion on this matter until the process that has been put into place by the World Bank itself has been followed. It is now being undertaken. Examination of all the facts have been made by the World Bank and by its panel.

As soon as the facts come out and are published, then we will take a position. That is the fair thing to do.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs, with righteous indignation, misled the House in response to a question raised by my colleague from Thornhill.

Conservative MPs tried to block a Liberal motion to condemn the hateful words of the Iranian president and send his comments to the International Criminal Court. While the motion passed, it was only the Conservatives who voted against it.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs apologize for misleading the House and will he publicly condemn his colleagues for their shameful actions?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I completely condemn on behalf of this government, as I have in the past, the shameful commentary by President Ahmadinejad in his hateful comments, in his distortion of fact, in his ongoing denial of the Holocaust.

What is so tragic, so unfortunate, so abysmal, is members opposite trying to play politics with such a serious issue, trying to distort the position of members of Parliament, including myself, over an issue of international disgrace on the part of a supposed leader in Iran.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday our government announced a major step forward in efforts to ensure that Canadians have clean water and that our oceans and lakes are protected. We announced consolidated national regulations for pollution from ships, which will apply to all boats in all waters in Canada.

Could the Minister of Transport tell the House how these regulations will benefit Canadians and how the government is taking action against marine pollution?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the new regulations released yesterday are a prime example of the Government of Canada as a leader in preventing the pollution of the marine environment and reducing the environmental impacts of transportation. By working with the marine industry, we now have a zero tolerance regulation that will deliver results for the prevention of pollution from ships and dangerous chemicals.

When it comes to the protection of the environment, we are turning the corner and we are getting the job done.