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House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economy.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, although everyone acknowledges that more must be done for the environment, this government has decided to do less by axing the ecoAuto program, which proved to be a success.

Will the Minister of Finance finally understand that to help the environment he must announce in his economic statement that he intends to reinstate this program?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, there are many programs that are of significance with respect to the battle against climate change and we will continue to pursue those. In particular, in the throne speech the target was put forward of ensuring that by 2020, 90% of Canada's future energy comes from non-emitting sources. In that context, geothermal energy, hydroelectric energy, solar energy and biomass energy are all important, as are the major technological changes that we need to make in terms of things such as carbon capture and storage which we are working on.

AfghanistanOral Questions

November 25th, 2008 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the extension of our mission in Afghanistan was approved by the House expressly on the condition that NATO secure a battle group of approximately 1,000 troops to rotate into Kandahar which would be operational no later than February 2009.

I have two questions. First, has NATO secured additional 1,000 troops under NATO command to rotate into Kandahar? Two, our role by February 2009 by implication was supposed to have changed significantly. Is there any anticipated change and, if so, what?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my colleague back to this portfolio.

The answer to the member's questions is yes and yes. We have secured additional battle groups. In fact, I met with defence ministers from RC (South) this past weekend in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia and we had a very frank and open discussion about this.

We continue to seek other support from NATO allies with regard to troop commitments as well as equipment, as well as the development, as well as the work that is being done in aid of Afghans living in this region. I met with the defence minister from Germany today to have further discussions.

So, yes, we are seeing progress. It is a difficult challenge but Canadians are making a significant contribution.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know specifically which country is adding 1,000 more troops.

The Manley report and the resulting resolution asked the government to be more transparent and accountable to all Canadians on the Afghanistan issue. We now know there have been serious concerns and allegations with respect to detainee transfers which may have resulted in abuse and torture.

Why is the government now moving before the courts to actually bar the Military Police Complaints Commission from conducting hearings into these matters?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, picking up on his latter question, nothing could be further from the truth. We are in fact co-operating. There have been over 35,000 documents. We have made officials available for discussions on the subject matter.

The reality is that the only issue is one of jurisdiction, not one of disclosure. As for disclosures to the House, we have had numerous opportunities before committee to discuss the mission in Afghanistan. We have had no less than 30 technical briefings. I invite my colleague to be in attendance when those technical briefings take place.

FinanceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the troubling economic times are leading to harsh choices for everyday consumers. In most of Canada, consumer confidence is dropping.

However, just in time for the holiday season, credit cardholders will get hit with a punishing 5% interest rate hike. In these hard times, consumers need a helping hand up, not a slap in the face from the banks.

Does the finance minister think this latest attempt to gouge average consumers is acceptable? If not, what is he prepared to do about it?

FinanceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, fortunately, we not only have the soundest financial system in the world, according to the World Economic Forum, we also have competition. We have banks with different interest rates. We have credit unions and caisse populaires in the same business. I encourage Canadians to shop around for the most favourable interest rate.

FinanceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the parliamentary secretary told Canadians that while the banks can count on the government's help, consumers are on their own.

The government does not get it. At a time when consumers and the businesses they shop at are hurting, bank profits are up. The Bank of Montreal just announced today that profits in the latest quarter are up 24%.

Does the minister believe this to be a good time for the banks to be ripping off consumers? If he does not, will he do a better job this time than he did on ATM fees?

FinanceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know an NDP government would want to run the banks in the country, which would be some day for Canadians if we had the NDP running our banking system.

We encourage and insist on competition in financial services in Canada, as I wrote to the federally regulated financial institutions last week. There are more than 200 of them on the RIFF issue.

There is lots of room for Canadians to decide whether their particular financial institution is giving them a good deal or not and I encourage them to shop around.

Public ServiceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know that public servants and the government are currently negotiating new collective agreements.

They are attempting to reach wage settlements that reflect the value of the work they do but also protect the interests of taxpayers in uncertain economic times.

Could the President of the Treasury Board update the House on the status of negotiations with public service unions?

Public ServiceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that we have reached a fair and reasonable agreement with more than 100,000 public service employees. Yesterday, we reached agreement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada and today I am pleased to announce that we also reached an agreement with the Canadian Association of Professional Employees for the translation group.

I thank our negotiators, as well as those of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Association of Professional Employees.

Violence Against WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canada's record on dealing with violence against women has been harshly criticized by the United Nations. Shockingly, a recent UN report cites the tragic cases of more than 500 missing or murdered first nations, Métis and Inuit women. Meanwhile, the Conservatives continue to ignore calls for a national violence prevention program and an inquiry. More needs to be done. The silence cannot continue.

Why are the Conservatives doing nothing about this disgraceful and shameful stain on our national and international reputation?

Violence Against WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, ending violence against women is a priority for the government. We have worked very closely with the Sisters in Spirit program, which is a program that is funded by Status of Women Canada, and we have worked closely with the aboriginal community to identify violence against women issues.

In fact, the number of women who have now been identified is as a result of the good work of the Sisters in Spirit program. I note that in budget 2008 we announced the development of an action plan and it will include further work on violence against women, especially in the aboriginal communities.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, all the economic stakeholders agree that during an economic slowdown, spending on infrastructure must be increased and accelerated. A Fisheries and Oceans Canada study showed that the percentage of port facilities that are unsafe or in poor condition went from 20% to 26% in five years.

Does the government realize that if it quickly updated these infrastructures, it could kill two birds with one stone? It could help fishermen and stimulate the local economy.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, budget 2008 committed a further $10 million per year to the small craft harbour program for upgrades and retrofits.

Violence Against WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, identifying the number of women missing is not enough. Canada's aboriginal women are still disappearing and dying.

The Native Women's Association says that 510 aboriginal girls and women have vanished or have been murdered in Canada since 1980. One aboriginal woman has gone missing or has been murdered every month in each year for the past 28 years. This national disgrace is now an international embarrassment.

The UN committee on discrimination against women is now demanding that the government take action. Will the minister commit today that an investigation will take place?

Violence Against WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question and look forward to working with her and all of the critics in the House on this very important issue.

Sisters in Spirit is a program that has been applauded by Beverley Jacobs of the Native Women's Association who has recognized that Sisters in Spirit now gives a voice to the women who are victims of violence.

We have made a commitment already in budget 2008 to continue to work with the aboriginal community to address this very serious issue because it is something that all members in the House would like to see an end to.

Human RightsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government recently co-sponsored a motion at UNESCO to honour the millions who were murdered during the Ukrainian famine genocide, the Holodomor.

Our government also supported Bill C-459, brought forward by the member for Selkirk—Interlake, which established the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day.

Would the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism update the House on what the government has done to commemorate this historic crime against humanity.

Human RightsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, for that member and all members for their interest in this important issue, I was honoured, together with Senator Andreychuk of the other place, to represent Canada at the 75th anniversary commemorations of Holodomor in Kiev this past weekend to extend to President Yushchenko and the Ukrainian people the solidarity of Canadians who recall that terrible crime against humanity which occurred under the Communist dictatorship of Joseph Stalin in 1932-33 that left millions of Ukrainians and others the victims of that totalitarian regime.

This Parliament led the way as the first and only G8 country to recognize its genocidal nature. We should take credit for that.

Violence against womenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and we are highlighting the start of a campaign to put an end to gender-based violence. The UN has asked Canada to take more action to stop violence against women, and criticized the serious cuts to the court challenges program.

When will the Conservatives realize that in order to put an end to violence against women, they will have to take women's equality seriously?

Violence against womenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member is aware that Canada just signed on to the UNIFEM campaign to say no to violence against women. This is an issue that our government takes very seriously.

I look forward to working with the member as we develop our action plan. Not only will it talk about economic security for women, but there will be a huge component on violence against women and on women in more leadership roles across Canada.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Dr. Franz Josef Jung, Minister of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. June Draude, Minister of First Nations and Métis Relations for Saskatchewan.