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House of Commons Hansard #167 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Greenpeace condemned the G-8 leaders, saying that they had failed to live up to their historic responsibility to the Kyoto commitments.

By playing the same game as George Bush, is the Prime Minister not showing this government's complete lack of will to respect the Kyoto protocol and to truly fight climate change?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.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 truly fighting climate change. That is exactly what we have done in a declaration of the G-8 that holds out the European Union, Canada and Japan as models that should be looked at because we will deliver real results.

Again, the House does not need to believe me. It can listen to somebody like the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. I know some members may not have a lot of respect for the United Nations, but let us look at it. He said that he wholeheartedly welcomes the fact that the G-8 leaders have agreed on strong and early action to combat climate change. The fact is everybody in the world is applauding the results achieved at the G-8 as a great step forward.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order. The hon. member for Brossard—La Prairie.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the flowery rhetoric and solemn commitments that amount to nothing at all, the Prime Minister is so unwilling to establish binding targets that he is already referring to a future meeting that will be held in Bali next December, which will be another step towards adopting binding targets.

Will this government admit that the Prime Minister's approach to the environment looks more like an attempt to pass the buck, rather than a genuine desire to achieve concrete, measurable results?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.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 have a plan for Canada with real, up-to-date targets that are entirely achievable. The plan commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2010, with an even greater reduction by 2050. This is the same commitment made by other countries, in the European Union and Japan, and it serves as a model. It is the model we want, and one that other countries want to follow.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he is optimistic, despite this new report. Since the Conservatives came to power, their strategy has been to extend the deadlines as much as possible. Action on the international stage is the same as action here in Canada: the deadlines are being extended.

Instead of waiting for India and China, why not improve the government's green plan with a view to reaching the Kyoto targets?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.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 have real targets and we want other countries, including major polluters such as China, India and the United States, to adopt up-to-date, realistic and achievable targets, as well.

I want to quote a few other people who said good things about what happened. Tony Blair called it a major step forward. Then in the Vancouver Sun it stated:

But [the Prime Minister] is a serious man who devoted his attention to the work of the summit--peace and security, climate change and energy, economic partnerships, regulatory cooperation and other joint initiatives.

He is there showing leadership once again for Canada on the world stage. All Canadians are proud today that Canada is once again a leader.

PassportsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. government will suspend its rules requiring its citizens to carry a passport when flying in and out of Canada because of the massive backlog it has, but this decision to waive the rule is not being extended to Canadians. The decision proves that the program is dysfunctional and unfairly hurts Canadians. We know that officials here are swamped with passport applications and are not keeping up.

Will the government ask for the same exemptions for Canadians? Will it stand up for Canada on this issue?

PassportsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the hon. member, particularly knowing, coming from the west coast, this has affected all Canadians.

She is correct that there was an announcement yesterday that the U.S. government has in fact invoked changes with respect to the requirement of travel documents. We are disappointed that thus far it has not extended that to Canadians. We are taking this matter up with officials in the United States in the hopes that we can bring about some greater alleviation with respect to the implementation of the western hemisphere travel initiative.

I can assure the hon. member that we are going to continue to work on behalf of Canadian citizens to see that passports are produced in an efficient and timely way.

PassportsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this passport fiasco is creating major havoc for Canadians and border communities. The government is too busy helping George Bush water down G-8 commitments to do anything about it.

I want to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will he phone the U.S. ambassador and tell him that if the backlog for passports in the U.S. is a good enough reason to exempt U.S. citizens for six months, then the backlog here in Canada is a good enough reason to exempt Canadian citizens for six months as well?

When is he going to clean up this mess? When is he going to ensure that there are not long lineups and look at extending the length of validation for a passport?

PassportsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member and members of her party are fixated on George Bush, but I will do her one better. I am not going to call the American ambassador. What I will do is call my counterpart, the secretary of state.

I can assure the House that the Canadian passport office is doing everything it can. In fact, we will be making some specific announcements today that will further discuss the streamlining, the efficiency and the production of passports. We are doing this with the cooperation of Passport Canada officials, who have been doing exemplary work. In fact, to date they have been able to produce 40% more passports at this time than they did last year.

AfricaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in Canada's 2005 federal budget, at page 213, this country made an explicit commitment to increase our foreign aid to Africa to reach $2.8 billion. The Conservative government now says that Canada will invest less than that promised amount and, further, that Africa is somehow no longer in Canada's “neighbourhood”, no longer a focus for Canadian assistance.

The poorest people on the face of the earth in Africa should not be shortchanged by Canada. Specifically, why has the government decided that Africa is no longer a Canadian priority?

AfricaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is factually incorrect. In fact, Canada is very much on track to meet its Gleneagles commitments. Canada will double its international assistance from 2001 to 2010, with assistance to Africa also doubling in that timeframe.

According to a report released June 1 by the University of Toronto, G-8 research groups and Moscow State University, Canada is in full compliance with its commitments on African debt, relief and security.

Reading from an article in the Globe and Mail by Alan Freeman, it states, “It emerged yesterday that [the] former prime minister's government quietly reneged on its--

AfricaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfricaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order, please. A supplementary, the hon. member for Wascana.

AfricaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canada made a clear commitment to Africa in the budget in 2005. It was $2.8 billion. It was in the budget. That budget was passed by this House and it was not changed.

Why is the Canadian position at the current G-8 summit to downplay Africa, to reduce Canada's financial commitment and to shift Canada's primary foreign aid focus away from Africa? That is the public policy question. Why does the government believe that shortchanging Africa is good public policy?

AfricaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we would all like to know from the member for Wascana why his government did just that. He admitted in an op ed written by his own hand yesterday that his government did not spend all the money it apparently had budgeted for Africa. It went on to say that the level of aid provided by Canada to Africa in the last fiscal year was expected to reach $1.4 billion.

The hon. member knows that his budget was $350 million short. The member for Wascana and his budget commitments can best be described as out of Africa. Maybe he should take up Mr. Geldof's position as the leader of the Boomtown Rats.

AfricaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfricaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order, please. The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre. Order, order.

Human RightsOral Questions

June 8th, 2007 / 11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, indigenous people around the world are the most disadvantaged in society. The Departments of Foreign Affairs, of Indian Affairs, of National Defence, all three opposition parties, along with Kofi Annan and Louise Arbour publicly support the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people.

Contrary to all advice, the Conservative government, in a betrayal of this country's position, has been one of most aggressive opponents of the declaration.

How can the government say that it is a protector of human rights when it opposed the rights of indigenous people around the world?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada's position on the draft declaration has been consistent with the previous government's position over the last 10 years that this draft declaration has been negotiated. It is hoped that it will continue to be negotiated so that it is in a format that works for Canada.

I find it very surprising to hear this from a member whose party has yet to support our government's initiative to extend human rights to first nations people on reserve. I would like to see this bill passed before the summer. Hopefully, the Liberal Party will come on board with this.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, meaningless words when the member speaks of human rights and ignores the best advice from all government departments.

Despite the international nature of the declaration, we now know that for some reason the Minister of Indian Affairs has displaced the foreign affairs minister in the lead role.

Why does the Minister of Indian Affairs insist on substituting his own political bias instead of following the advice from the officials in the Department of Indian Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defence?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the member opposite's government previously did not support the draft declaration. Its position was very consistent that the draft declaration needed work. Our government is proceeding with real initiatives for first nations people. I support human rights for first nations people on reserve.

I would very much like for the member to stand with our party, our government and actually extend human rights to first nations people on reserve. She has the opportunity. Before going home to spend time at the cottage, maybe she can think about first nations people on reserve.

Festivals and Special EventsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the spokesperson of the Canadian Festivals Coalition, Luc Fournier, left a meeting with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women completely discouraged. He stated that the door had been shut and locked and that nothing could be done or even attempted.

What is the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women waiting for to take immediate action when she knows full well that she is jeopardizing several hundred festivals throughout Quebec?