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House of Commons Hansard #169 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.

Topics

Expenses of the Former Lieutenant Governor of QuebecOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General criticized the laxity of the Department of Canadian Heritage, which approved all these unjustified expenses.

Will the government change the audit procedure so that parliamentarians can invite any lieutenant governor and the Governor General to explain and justify his or her expenses before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts?

Expenses of the Former Lieutenant Governor of QuebecOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it was the government that asked the Auditor General of Canada to examine the expenses of the former Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec. We will work with the Government of Quebec to determine how best to respond to the two reports.

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of QuebecOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, following Lise Thibault, the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec is giving us another example of breaking the rules. A letter from the House of Commons payroll department confirms that an hon. member cannot hire an employee working for a department. According to the Members' Allowances and Services Manual, “Members...may not hire a person already employed by...a federal government department...or anyone receiving employment income from the Consolidated Revenue Fund”.

Will the Prime Minister ask the minister to reimburse the money paid to his employee in violation of the House of Commons rules?

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of QuebecOral Questions

2:25 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, there are rules for the riding's operating budget and other rules for the ministerial office.

As the Minister of Labour, when I incur an expense it is the Department of Labour that takes care of it. When I incur an expense for the Economic Development Agency of Canada, it is the Economic Development Agency of Canada that takes care of it. When Mr. Giguère did work for the riding, the riding's budget covered the expense and when it involved the ministerial office, then the ministerial office covered the expense. The initiative was approved by the department's financial controller.

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of QuebecOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, again according to the manual, the contract awarded by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec could be in violation of a revenue agency guideline, which requires the MP to make deductions at source when a person hired on contract is, in fact, an employee.

Does the minister acknowledge that by wanting to give his riding assistant a contract, he violated more than one guideline?

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of QuebecOral Questions

2:25 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, I want to remind the hon. member that there were two responsibilities: one for the riding office and the other for the ministerial office. What should have been paid by Ceasar was paid by Ceasar and the ministerial office assumed its responsibilities. The initiative was approved by the department's financial controller.

That said, perhaps the hon. member could explain how the hon. member for Montcalm managed to spend $100,000 in travel expenses? That represents 600 km by car per day, six hours a day, 365 days a year.

The BudgetOral Questions

June 12th, 2007 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's improvisation around equalization shows very clearly why the Conservatives just simply cannot be trusted.

He broke his promise to the people of Atlantic Canada. He broke his promise to the people of Saskatchewan. Now he is bullying his cabinet and he is bullying his backbenchers to force them to vote. The Prime Minister cannot stand up for Canada if he is going to break his promises.

My question is this. Will the Prime Minister let his members stand up for the Canadians that they represent or is he going to force them to stand with him and break their promise to their constituents?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 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, of course, they are standing up for their constituents when they vote for this budget implementation bill. This bill delivers to Canadians the things that are important for them.

What I want to know is why the leader of the NDP wants to oppose this budget implementation bill when, if it does not pass by the time we finish off here this spring, if we do not get it through, we are going to lose $612 million for patient wait time guarantees? This is important for the health of Canadians. Why is he against supporting money for the health of Canadians?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is simply hogwash.

Let me ask the Conservative members sitting here today this question. Is there a single one of them that is going to stand up, the Conservative members from Saskatchewan, is there a single one of them that is going to stand up for their constituents, or are they going to break their promise just like their Prime Minister is doing?

The fact is the promise was made to the people of Saskatchewan during the election. It was laid out as clear as can be. Is the Prime Minister going to let them stand up for their constituents or is he going to force them to stand with him and break his promises, or is he going to stand alone in the end?

The BudgetOral 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, as we can all see, all the members have stood up as they are going to stand up tonight when they vote for a budget that delivers the things that Canadians want, things like $1.5 billion to help the environment to help the provinces.

The NDP stands up every day and claims to care about the environment. What is the leader of the NDP telling his members to do? He is standing here and telling members of other parties to get up and vote against $1.5 billion to combat climate change. I never thought I would see it happen, but wonders never cease to amaze me when it comes to the NDP here in Ottawa.

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Empty threats, Mr. Speaker.

Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia signed a deal in 2005 and it must be followed to the letter. Now the Prime Minister wants to send a bill to the taxpayers for a court battle just to satisfy his own ego. Perhaps now is the time to bring back the court challenges program.

When will the Prime Minister do the right thing, stand up, and follow through on his promise and stop bullying these provinces?

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know how much fun it is to be in opposition, but this is an important issue. Mischaracterizing him does not help.

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. I cannot hear a word the parliamentary secretary is saying. There is far too much noise. We are going to have to have a little order so members can hear the answer that the parliamentary secretary is giving because the hon. member who asked the question has a supplementary. How is he going to ask a supplementary if he cannot hear the answer.

The hon. the parliamentary secretary.

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, mischaracterizing this issue does not help.

The fact of the matter is there is some disagreement and we know that. The Prime Minister is trying his best to make sure that there is a meeting of minds because we want to have everyone happy with what is going on. This may not be possible. There are options. We have talked about options. What we really want is to make sure that people come together for the good of all Canadians.

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

There you have it, Mr. Speaker, a slight disagreement, certainly the understatement of the year by far.

The minister for Newfoundland and Labrador is now on record as saying his government did break its word on the Atlantic accord. Here is what he said:

People at home are saying that the Prime Minister broke a promise. It was not the Prime Minister; it was the party and then the government. I am not denying that.

That statement was made by the Minister of Fisheries.

If the Prime Minister takes the province to court, will the Minister of Fisheries come forward and be the chief defence witness for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

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

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, unlike the hon. member and his colleagues who sit on the backbenches and snipe whenever they have a chance, we are the ones who do stand up for the province.

We have never denied that in our blue book as government we said to the provinces that we will take non-renewable resources out of the equalization formula if they wanted it. It was the provinces that said to us, “We do not want it. Give us a formula that is predictable, that is fair”. We gave it to them. It is called the O'Brien formula.

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the premier of Nova Scotia now agrees with every Nova Scotian, except perhaps two, that the Conservative government cannot be trusted.

The Atlantic accord has been cast aside and no one is standing up for Nova Scotia at the cabinet table. The finance minister mocks Atlantic Canadians when he denies breaking the promise, when he denies side deals and when he speaks of better choices.

Nova Scotians want what they had. They want what they had signed in 2005 and what was killed in 2007.

Will the minister stop insulting Nova Scotians with false choices and give us the only choice we want? Give us back the Atlantic accord.

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, of course the member knows that no such thing happened. In fact, budget 2007 keeps in place the equalization formula that was in place at the time that the 2005 accords were signed. There is no cap in that system.

In addition, the government moved to a new equalization formula, which gave every single province more money, including the province of Nova Scotia, and gave Nova Scotia a choice as to which one it wanted. I do not know why the member thinks that is unfair.

Atlantic AccordOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, less than a month ago we heard from a minister that no MPs would be expelled for voting their conscience. Last week we heard a minister say that was because he did not think anybody over there had a conscience. Today as Nova Scotians rise up against the Conservatives over the accord betrayal, they are saying, “Stand up for us today. Stand up for Nova Scotia”.

Are MPs on that side free to vote their conscience for their constituents, or are they ordered to vote against Nova Scotia, to vote against Newfoundland and Labrador, and tonight put the final nail in the coffin of our Atlantic accord?

Atlantic AccordOral 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, as I said, our members are all going to be standing up enthusiastically supporting an outstanding budget.

I want to know where that hon. member was with respect to standing up for his province back in 2002. A report from Broadcast News said, “The federal intergovernmental affairs minister”--who is now the Liberal leader--“says Ottawa has had enough of Nova Scotia's campaign for fairness. The province wants to keep equalization payments even as it takes the new revenue from offshore development”. The Liberal leader, as he now is, told reporters that would not be fair. I have heard him use that phrase before, “it is just not fair”.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government eliminated the EnerGuide program, claiming that it was inefficient, and then it proposed a poorly thought out version of the same program a year later. Now it is difficult for people anywhere—the North Shore, the Gaspé, even in Longueuil—to find an accredited evaluator. The plan was not well thought out.

The minister had a year from the end of the EnerGuide program to the launch of the new ecoEnergy program. Can he explain why he did not take the time to ensure that the necessary resources were in place before launching his new program?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, in fact, we have put in all the resources that are required. We are very proud of the record of the new eco-energy efficiency program. In fact, 40% of the homeowners today are receiving grants that are 25% higher than under any previous program. Ninety per cent of all dollars spent on this program are going directly to retrofits which in turn are actually helping to reduce greenhouse gases and are making a positive impact on the environment.

We all know the record of the tired old Liberal government and that is greenhouse gases--

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Beauharnois--Salaberry.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems like the minister is not up to date on his file. In addition to having transition problems, the program is unfair because it is not available to all of the people of Quebec.

What does the minister plan to do to ensure that all Quebeckers in all regions have access to the program within a reasonable period of time, thereby respecting their desire to help reduce greenhouse gases?