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House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economic.

Topics

International TradeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, balderdash. With the softwood sellout and other examples, if the government ran a business the way it ran international trade, it would be sued by the shareholders.

Ordinary Canadians do not believe the government is acting in Canada's best interest. The new U.S. administration is willing to change NAFTA and yet the government forges ahead with secret APEC free trade talks and signs pacts with countries like Colombia that abuse human rights.

Why does the government not renegotiate the biggest of the trade deals so workers, the environment and all Canadians, not just the rich, can benefit?

International TradeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, again, expanding our trade opportunities in the Americas is a priority of the government. Free trade is good for Canada, it is good for our free trade partners and it is good for the economies and the citizens of all the countries involved in the free trade agreements.

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, Jean Perrault, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, had this to say about infrastructure spending projects, “What is needed now is the political follow-through to cut red tape and ensure that the BCF money budgeted for these projects in 2007 and 2008 is spent immediately.”

Does the Prime Minister realize that immediately does not mean in the next year, as he has implied? Will he expedite funding for infrastructure?

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the president and board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities met yesterday with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and me. They called on the government to expedite funding for infrastructure. This is crucial, and it forms a major portion of the Speech from the Throne. We are prepared to do that, and I hope the Bloc members will support our throne speech, because it is the best way to achieve real results and create jobs for Canadians.

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should be as red as his tie with shame. The money has been languishing in federal coffers since 2007.

In response to the current crisis, the parliamentary budget officer is calling for measures to stimulate the economy in the short term. Will the government follow his recommendation and announce more money for Building Canada in its economic statement?

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I noted with great interest the comment made by the Bloc Québécois member, who wants to build Canada. This is very important. We are very proud, and we agree with that strategy.

We are prepared to work with the municipalities and, in the case of Quebec, with the Government of Quebec, to make changes in order to create jobs in the construction industry, which is vital to economic growth, not only in Quebec, but across Canada.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conference Board of Canada calls the arts and cultural sector a key engine of economic growth, contributing $85 million to Canada's GDP and sustaining almost one million jobs last year alone. The Conservatives, however, thought that cutting $45 million from arts and culture was a good idea. Obviously everyone over there must have failed economics 101.

When will the Conservatives put forward a clear plan to bolster Canada's $85 billion cultural sector?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, some of the members across the way were missing in action when the various budgets were brought forward and tabled by this government, but we were not when it came to arts and culture. We were increasing funding to the Department of Canadian Heritage by some 8%, almost $200 million more than the last Liberal government budget.

It is hypocrisy at the highest to listen to a Liberal Party that made such significant cuts to arts and culture in the mid-1990s. The CEO of the CBC actually quit because so much money was cut from arts and culture and yet here are the Liberals arguing for heritage. Do not worry, we got it.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, does the minister not realize that his government's fit of ideological pique, which gutted PromArt and other cultural projects, resulted in the cancellation of over 613 cultural projects across the country which has caused huge job losses at a time when Canada cannot afford it?

Is this how the government intends to boost productivity and encourage economic activity? Where is the plan?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, once again, that is interesting hyperbole but it is not based on fact.

As we know, the government has substantially increased funding to arts and culture. There is no question that we conducted a strategic review of the department and selected some programs that we did not feel were either delivering for taxpayers or that had outlived their useful life.

In reality, however, we need to come back to the facts. No government in history has provided more support to arts and culture and to Heritage Canada than ours has. I am very proud of that. I hope the Liberal Party is proud of it too.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

November 21st, 2008 / 11:50 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, 800 hard-working paperworkers in Grand Falls-Windsor and their families are anxiously waiting to find out whether they are about to lose their jobs. AbitibiBowater is set to announce its decision on closing the mill between now and the holidays.

Earlier this year, the government announced a $1 billion trust fund to help the troubled forestry and manufacturing sectors but only 2% of that money went to Newfoundland and Labrador.

What is the government's plan to help the workers of Grand Falls-Windsor?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, our government has consistently acted to help workers and their families in the forestry crisis who are facing economic uncertainty. The NDP can sit here but it can never do anything except complain.

We have supported the Canadian forest industry by getting the softwood lumber deal done. We have created the community development trust in order to support families in those communities. We are fighting the spread of the mountain pine beetle.

We have worked across this country to protect and to work with the forestry sector on behalf of those families.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, we do not want to wait until the mill closes down. An older worker adjustment and transition for other workers will help to keep this mill alive. It is a 100-year-old business and the centrepiece of the Newfoundland and Labrador economy.

Will the government put these things in place to help save this mill?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know the consequences of the NDP's plans for Canada. Its anti-trade policies, its attacks on the energy sector and its plans to tear up the softwood lumber agreement would put Canadian jobs right across this country at risk.

There are over 270,000 jobs in the forestry sector and we are protecting them. There are over 369,000 jobs in the mining sector and we are protecting them. There are over 250,000 jobs in the energy sector and we are protecting them.

In these uncertain global economic times, Canadians cannot afford the NDP.

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, a newly released report by Statistics Canada shows that the level of lead contamination in Canadians has plummeted over the last 30 years. The head of the Occupational Environmental Health Laboratory at McMaster University called the numbers amazing.

Could the Minister of Health tell the House what actions the Conservative government has taken to protect Canadians from lead and other toxins?

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, before I begin to answer the question, I would like to thank the great people of Nunavut for electing me to represent them in Ottawa. I am humbled by their confidence.

I am happy to report that Canadians have never had so little lead in their bodies as they do today. This week the Canadian Health Measures Survey reported that, compared to 30 years ago, well over 99% of Canadians today have such low levels of lead that they will suffer no adverse health effects.

I want to assure the House that the government also remains committed to our chemical management plan, and the food and consumer products safety action plan which will continue to reduce harmful contaminants. Under the Conservative government, our health is going to get better.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, things have gotten much worse for forestry and sawmill workers since the softwood sell-out deal was signed. The lines of unemployed workers in front of employment insurance offices are getting longer. It should not necessarily have to be that way, but the Conservatives have muddled the negotiations so badly that the situation is now critical.

Do the Conservatives have a plan to revitalize our forestry industry or should the communities and workers who depend on the forest just give up hope?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, once again, we face hypocrisy.

The Liberals' record on natural resources speaks for itself. When the forestry industry needed a softwood lumber deal, they could not get it done. When Canadians needed action on the mountain pine beetle issue, Liberals could not get it done. When it came to setting targets for greenhouse gas reductions, the Liberals could not get it done.

Unlike the Liberals, the Conservative government is getting the job done.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that he has no intentions of asking for the repatriation of Omar Khadr, the young Canadian who has been held in Guantanamo. Of all the western countries, Canada alone refuses to act on behalf of one of its citizens. What is more, this young man was a child soldier who was tortured and mistreated.

Since we know that the new president of the United States plans to close Guantanamo, will the government finally ask that young Khadr be repatriated and will it stop feeding us the same lines?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our position remains unchanged. Unlike many prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Omar Khadr has actually been charged with serious crimes and is in a judicial legal process to determine his guilt or innocence. We support this process.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we had a dire warning from scientists that the government is risking an ecological crisis in the north. The Minister of Natural Resources does not see global warming as a danger to the north. She sees it as an exciting opportunity. We cannot allow the current crisis to be an excuse for accelerating an ecological disaster. Northerners need a voice. We are not asking for massive deregulation.

I want to know if the minister will be using the Sarah Palin school of politics: drill, baby, drill.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I said in the House yesterday, the policy of the government is to strike an appropriate balance between the environment on the one hand and the economy on the other. We will endeavour to do that at every step. We will do that with respect to our climate change policy. We will do that with respect to the importance of opening up natural gas basins in the north, which has been spoken to in the throne speech. I hope that the hon. member opposite will cooperate with us in that respect.

JusticeOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Quebec provincial police arrested 46 people on a variety of drug and organized crime charges. The day before Winnipeg police arrested a dozen individuals and seized a significant amount of weapons and drugs.

While the global economic crisis is threatening many small and medium size businesses, organized crime enterprises are thriving in this country and around the world, primarily through the lucrative drug trade which threatens the safety of our communities and destroys the lives of those most vulnerable to drug addiction, primarily our youth.

What is the government doing to fight crime?

JusticeOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we are doing a lot to fight crime in this country. In the last Parliament, we passed the Tackling Violent Crime Act that mandates mandatory prison terms for people who commit serious gun crimes.

We also introduced a drug bill that would send out a clear message to importers, drug dealers, and those involved with the grow-op business. Unfortunately, that bill did not get passed.

However, let me be clear. We will not be deterred. When it comes to cracking down on crime, when it comes to standing up for victims and law-abiding Canadians, Canadians know they can count on the Conservative government.

National ParksOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, for more than 30 years the Mealy Mountains region in Labrador has been considered as a future national park. Park status would not only protect this beautiful wilderness region but would generate employment opportunities and stimulate the local and regional tourism industry. Stakeholders, such as municipal and aboriginal leaders, have reached consensus on park boundaries and other matters.

A recommendation was sent to the environment minister last summer, yet there is no movement on the Mealy Mountains park file. What is the holdup?