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House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, perhaps we are being told that the Prime Minister will change his mind between the speech he gave today and the speech he will give to the G-8. We look forward to that transition.

Even the Conference Board of Canada is saying now that we need to have concrete plans, objectives and targets for energy, but obviously this is something not understood by the government. It is about time that it did.

We need a commitment to stop temperatures from rising by more than 2°C. We have got to reduce emissions by 50% by 2050. We need accelerated action now.

The fact is that the world is watching this G-8 summit. The children of the world are watching. The question is, will we get action, yes or no?

The EnvironmentOral 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, absolutely. We are getting action for the first time in well over a decade on greenhouse gases with a plan that requires a reduction in our emissions by 60% to 70% in greenhouse gases by 2050. That is in fact reflected in the declaration with the European Union today.

The challenge for us is not to change the Prime Minister's mind. He is committed to combating climate change.

The challenge is to change the minds of the other countries that have stayed outside of the commitment to combat climate change, countries like India, China, Brazil and the United States. That is our effort, to bring them in and get them involved in this worldwide challenge.

If we care about the environment, that means we care about what happens everywhere in the world.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government claims that Canada is special and unique when it comes to fighting climate change. The only thing special and unique about the government's approach is its abdication of responsibility.

The Deutsche Bank said just last week that the government has materially overstated the cost of Canada complying with Kyoto and its so-called plan will keep emissions rising beyond 2020.

Why does the Prime Minister insist on a Conservative charade on the international stage?

The EnvironmentOral 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 am always impressed by Liberals who stood in caucus for years and did nothing. They stood by and did nothing. They had no plan to combat climate change and let them rise to well over 30% above the targets of the commitments they made, but that is not unusual for Liberals who make commitments and do not care about keeping them.

We are keeping our commitments. We are making a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. We have a plan in place. Having made that commitment, we are now going one step further to try and show others that even if we had a lousy record in the past or we were not there in the past under a previous government, there is the possibility of changing or recognizing that fighting climate change today is a global imperative.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the science is clear. We need to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C. We need to cut emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050. Most of the world is prepared to act, but the government seeks to undermine the call for urgent action, will not agree to bare minimums, and looks for loopholes and back doors. Failure is not an option.

Will the government reverse course, end the defeatist approach and do the right thing?

The EnvironmentOral 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, we are doing the right thing on the commitment she talks about, the long term reductions. We saw in the joint EU-Canada declaration that we have, together with the EU, agreed upon those long term commitments. Guess what? They were already in the plan this government has produced.

The loopholes, the culture of defeatism, and the concern about whether or not we can achieve things, that is something from the Liberal days. It has not changed because the Liberals' carbon tax plan is only something that gives polluters an unlimited licence to pollute as long as they are willing to pay the price in cash to the government.

It is a tax plan where people pay cash to the government and get to pollute. That does not result in reductions. That is one big loophole that we will not sign on to.

AfricaOral Questions

June 4th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, aid to Africa will be on the table this week at the G-8 meetings and we want to ensure that our commitments to that continent are fulfilled.

Last year the Prime Minister made some good commitments at the G-8 toward Africa, but as of today many of those commitments have not yet been fulfilled. When we asked about that in the House last week, we could not get a direct answer.

Canadians across this country have been emailing our offices wanting to make sure that our commitments to Africa are fulfilled. When will their legitimate concerns be addressed?

AfricaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the House that our government has confirmed its commitment to increasing the international assistance budget by 8%. I would also like to mention that the Prime Minister pointed out to his G-8 partners that we are on track to meet our commitment to double our assistance to Africa.

AfricaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the response from the minister, but in 2006 the Prime Minister promised that $250 million would go to AIDS funding in that same year. However, a mere $50 million was planned for in the estimates and none of the promised $45 million toward polio was in the government's estimates.

We do not want to mislead our African partners or our G-8 partners by making announcements that we are not going to act upon. When can we expect to see these commitments fulfilled?

AfricaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2006, we announced $250 million in contributions to the global fight against polio, malaria and AIDS.

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage has confirmed that the new festivals program will not be ready before the fall and that nothing will be done about festival financing this summer.

Does the minister realize that her stubborn refusal to transfer monies to the Government of Quebec is jeopardizing, in the opinion of the organizers, the future of the Montreal Tour de l'Île, which is facing a deficit of more than $200,000?

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 is a new program and currently those festivals are receiving money from Canadian Heritage. In fact, the large festivals in Montreal will receive anywhere from $300,000 to $1.2 million from this federal government this summer.

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, Laurentides—Labelle, Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Quebec City, just to mention these areas, festivals are in serious trouble because of the minister's incompetence.

When will the Conservative members and ministers from Quebec join with us and the Government of Quebec to convince the Minister of Canadian Heritage to provide, very, very quickly, the money needed to save these festivals before they are all endangered?

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 we know, the government of Quebec does support its cultural activities. I encourage it to look at the needs of the current festivals because some of those festivals do not have access to current programs. That is why we introduced a new program.

In fact, some of those very same festivals have said that it is irresponsible to count on money when the program has not been set up. They are willing to be part of the consultation process. We are expediting that and the program will be ready by the end of this summer.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government wants to rewrite the story of the sponsorship scandal and repeat the same errors committed by the Liberals by attempting, once again, to unleash its propaganda in school boards by making available to children a game called HistoriCanada.

After last year's outcry against its interference, does the government not understand that its propaganda is not welcome in schools?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, we want to ensure that future generations and the current young generation of Canadians appreciate their history and heritage. We will continue to work to make sure that we are all proud of this great country.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, while Telefilm Canada has a serious shortage of funds for Quebec film and the Minister of Canadian Heritage refuses to support festivals, $750,000 was found for the Historica foundation to flood schools—nevertheless the responsibility of Quebec and the provinces—with a game that rewrites history.

How can the minister justify a $750,000 investment in pure Canadian propaganda?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the Historica program is a national program which carries out many activities.

In fact, one of the best things about Historica and SEVEC, and why we support them, is student exchanges. They bring francophone students from Quebec to other communities as well as anglophone students into Quebec to share time with families and to work in those communities.

It is in this way that we are going to make sure that future generations know what a great unified country we are.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the new deal for cities and communities was a Liberal program. Gas tax sharing was a Liberal program. The GST rebate for cities and infrastructure agreements were Liberal programs.

The Prime Minister continued his well-known Pinocchio rant before the FCM, but he bombed. Canada's mayors know the truth.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he misled Canadians by taking credit for these achievements of the previous Liberal government?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, talk is cheap if there is no action to back it up and that is the case in this particular situation.

The $33 billion is an unprecedented amount in funding for infrastructure. That is because the Liberals left us in a $60 billion deficit. We are getting the job done where those members never started and they failed at that.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, we just need to ask Canada's kids and communities if they agree.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery. When will the Prime Minister imitate Liberal summer student programs, Liberal housing programs, Liberal transit programs, literacy programs, child care programs, and our plan to make the Liberal gas tax credit transfer permanent?

When will the Prime Minister imitate the Liberal Party's partnership with Canada's cities and communities?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me quote the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, after the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities spoke on the weekend, who said:

[The minister's] announcement today of a national transit strategy was very good news, and we look forward to working with him and his government to make the strategy work for Canadians.

Of course, he was speaking of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities when he mentioned that. I will say that $33 billion is an unprecedented amount in funding. We are getting the job done for Canadians.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to investing in our cities, the Conservative government will not put its money where its mouth is.

The previous Liberal government had invested over $800 million in public transit, but sadly, transit has fallen off the Conservative government's radar screen. The minister said this past weekend that the government's national transit strategy is not about new funding.

I wonder if the minister could tell me how many buses and rail cars he thinks cities can buy with his empty speeches.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that we are getting the job done. We are moving forward with real action. Over the coming months we will be consulting with the municipalities, territories, the FCM and other interested parties because, unlike the previous Liberal government that did not get the job done, we actually consult with stakeholders and do get the job done.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was the Liberal government that put cities on the agenda. It would never be there if it were not for the work that we did. The minority Conservative government has no plan for the future sustainability of our cities. The minister's flawed initiative to make monthly transit passes tax deductible does nothing to increase ridership.

Could the minister point to a single city where an increase in public transit use can be attributed to the introduction of his meagre $3 a week transit pass deduction? How does the minister expect transit use to go up when the only incentive he is offering amounts to the sum total of one free bus ticket a week?