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House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was coalition.

Topics

ThailandOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, after doing nothing to assist stranded Canadians in Thailand while other countries moved quickly to get their nationals out, the government finally announced yesterday that it was hiring one plane to get some of our citizens.

Would the Minister of Foreign Affairs explain why such a delay occurred in developing his evacuation plan? Why does he not think that we need to get all of our stranded citizens out at the same time? Is the minister resorting to a staggered evacuation plan that was really done on the fly and is too late to begin with?

ThailandOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, while my hon. colleague was building a coalition with the separatists, we were working.

I want to reassure the House that the first planeload of 34 Canadians landed this morning in Hong Kong. The embassy continues to work around the clock to address this. Flights are leaving; people are departing Thailand. The embassy has secured blocks of seats, an additional 70 today and 100 tomorrow, on Bangkok Airways flights to Hong Kong and has contacted all tour groups to make sure that there is available space.

ThailandOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the result of the minister's delay means that many seniors cannot even get on a plane because they are too sick to get there. Canadians are taking a $5,000 fleecing for flights back. More important, there are two Canadians who died tragically in this incident. This tragedy and other acts of desperation could have been avoided if the government had an evacuation plan at the ready and had its embassy officials communicated with stranded citizens.

I ask the minister again, will he act to get all of our citizens out of Thailand immediately, and not resort to a piecemeal evacuation plan that leaves others behind?

ThailandOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, while my colleague was forming strategic alliances with the Bloc Québécois, with the sovereignists, we were acting. Today, we have arranged for Canadians to leave Bangkok. There are already chartered flights to get these people out of Thailand to Hong Kong. From there, obviously, they will return to Canada. The arrangements have already been made. The embassy is working very hard to reassure people and we are on the case.

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, northern Ontario cannot wait any longer for economic stimulus. One hundred and thirty workers in Greenstone have lost their jobs in the last few days just in time for the holiday season. Companies like Longlac Wood Industries have raised the alarm with the government for years to no avail.

Families in northern Ontario want a government that will act to protect their jobs, their savings, their homes, but the government has refused to take action. How can northern Ontarians have any confidence in the Conservative government?

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the fact is this government recognized last year that there was an injection needed into the community development trust, and put $1 billion into the trust in order to help those affected.

I have to say that the socialist-separatist coalition's concern today is quite self-serving and does nothing more than to indicate there is an attack on Canada, an attack on democracy. It is time for Canada to be stood up for and that is what we are going to do.

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the impact of shutdowns hit home today with news from the Abitibi Bowater mill in Nova Scotia. Families woke up this morning and found out that they are not going to have a job for five weeks. The people of Brooklyn are the latest among millions of Canadians who are paying the price for the government's refusal to stimulate the economy.

How can Nova Scotians have any confidence in the Conservative government?

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, the government put $1 billion into the community development trust. In fact, the premier of Nova Scotia said that he welcomed the money and he looked forward to this being a good first step in helping communities and businesses deal with the recent economic upheaval. That was on January 11, 2008. We acted quickly. We acted decisively. We continue to stand up for Canadians.

Opposition Coalition ProposalOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are rightly outraged at the secret Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition seizing power in a coup d'état worthy of a banana republic. It is damaging for our economy and it puts the future of our country in the hands of Quebec separatists.

Could the Minister of Labour tell this House what advice the premier of Alberta has for the opposition?

Opposition Coalition ProposalOral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, Premier Stelmach did say yesterday that the opposition parties should put Canada first and stop this nonsense.

When I was elected by the constituents in my riding, I could have been elected to sit on either side of the House, but I can say that I would never be elected to sit with a governing coalition and separatists.

This government will continue to stand up for Canadians and support our economy.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

December 2nd, 2008 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of three ministers from Nova Scotia: the Honourable Chris D'Entremont, Minister of Health; the Honourable Cecil Clarke, Minister of Justice and the Honourable Mark Parent, Minister of Environment and Labour.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, during oral question period, the Prime Minister stated in this House that there were no Canadian flags in the room at the press conference and signing of the agreement between the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the leader of the New Democratic Party and the leader of the Bloc Québécois.

The Prime Minister knows very well that there were two Canadian flags, along with the flags of every province and territory. In my opinion, he misled this House and Canadians, and I call on him to withdraw his remarks.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I do not believe this is a point of order because it does not concern the Standing Orders. In my opinion, there are certainly questions that contain incorrect statements from time to time, and the situation is exactly the same for replies.

It is not for the Chair to decide what is correct and what is not. In my opinion, this is not a point of order.

There is another point of order. The hon. member for Outremont has the floor.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, during question period the Prime Minister affirmed that there were no Canadian flags present at the signing of the tripartite agreement yesterday. That was false.

The Prime Minister should be required to apologize as there were two Canadian flags.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have already dealt with that. I do not think a statement that it may have contained an error is a point of order. It is not for the Chair to decide what statements were correct or not. Members have made their point but I submit that it is a matter for debate, not a matter affecting the rules of the House.

Order, please. The hon. member for Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour is rising on another point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, when we asked the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development a question, she replied three times that the Bloc Québécois cost too much money.

My rights and privileges as an elected member of this party have been attacked. I therefore ask the minister to withdraw her comments. All members have the right to sit in this House and all members cost the same amount of money. One party does not cost more than another party, in proportionate terms. It was insulting to all Bloc Québécois members, and I would like the minister to withdraw what she said.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I will look at the minister's remarks and what the hon. member said, and I will come back to the House, if necessary, for a retraction. I did not hear the comments during question period.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Independent

Bill Casey Independent Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, I also rise on a point of order. Yesterday, in question period, I asked the Minister of Finance if Nova Scotia would have an exemption from the cap on equalization outlined in the economic statement. The minister did not answer the question in the House but later in the day the Halifax Chronicle-Herald reported that when the government was asked about my question, finance officials provided them with the answer in writing.

Will the minister table the same document in the House that was provided to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am sure the minister will look at the point that the hon. member has raised and answer the question when he is here. However, since the minister is not here it is a little difficult to arrange for the tabling of a document in his absence. That will be up to him to answer.

The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

When question period began, the hon. member for Sherbrooke had the floor. There are four minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks.

The hon. member for Sherbrooke.

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have thought you a little more generous. I have only four minutes to express what I feel about the Conservative government, today especially, after the remarks they made during statements by members and in oral question period. It was pathetic to see, in particular the Conservative members for Quebec, who, in my opinion, are far removed from the needs and aspirations of the people of Quebec.

I will probably not have the time to say all that I wish, or to try to inspire the Conservatives. Given how the Conservatives behaved this afternoon during question period, I will use an example to explain.

When I was young, I had a little cat. As you know, a cat is a domestic animal that is quite friendly, often soothes people, is approachable and, of course, likes to be petted. One day, the cat hurt itself and I noticed its animal instincts came to the surface and it could be quite nasty to anyone who came near. What I see here is not a domestic animal but a wild beast that has been seriously wounded because it realizes that it has lost people's confidence.

In the same way, the Conservative party has lost not only the confidence of Parliament and the members of the opposition, but it is losing any confidence or credibility in the eyes of the people of Canada and Quebec. You know what an injured animal does; especially a wild animal. It is astonishing. It will do anything to save itself. We can therefore expect anything from this government. That is why I repeat that the opposition parties have lost all confidence in it. And, no matter what it tries to do, the cat was out of the bag in the Speech from the Throne and the economic statement. Now we know what the Conservatives want. Quite simply, they want power for the sake of power. They want total control. We have seen their actions against democracy; and that is unforgivable. There can be no going back; no matter what they do, or what they say. Confidence has been broken; it has been shattered. This is a point of no return.

The Bloc Québécois associated itself somewhat with the other opposition parties, and to this extent the coalition is non-partisan but against everything the Conservative government might do to the people of Quebec and Canada. Most of the time, what the Bloc proposes is good for Quebec and protects Quebec’s interests 99.9% but is also good for the people of Canada and those Canadians who are having trouble with employment insurance for example.

My colleague also spoke about the waiting period. We will get rid of it. There are unemployed people in Canada too and he should think of them. There are other important aspects as well. There are people in Canada who lose their jobs and are retirement age and cannot get back into the workforce. A program for older workers is possible in Canada too, but it is also very good for Quebec.

Insofar as investments are concerned, the finance minister did not even read what the Bloc Québécois suggested. We know this because he admitted yesterday, after the question asked by my colleague from Saint-Maurice—Champlain, that he did not know what the Bloc had proposed. He would do well to take an interest because the opposition has lost confidence in this government forever. We need change, and in a hurry.

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the House knows, 100% of confidence measures under the new proposed coalition will need the support of the Bloc. We also know that the Speech from the Throne is a confidence measure and that it lays out the vision the government has for this country.

If there were a Speech from the Throne under the new coalition government that strongly articulated support for a united Canada, including Quebec, would the hon. member support that Speech from the Throne?

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not indulge in a lot of hypotheses like the hon. member, whom I did not recognize unfortunately and who is probably newly elected. Despite all the good faith he demonstrated in order to get elected, he is probably realizing that he too was relying on Conservative hypotheses to defend his party.

As I said earlier, the Conservatives are far removed now from the interests of the people, their needs and aspirations, and most of all, any solutions.

I suppose the people of this member’s riding are experiencing the same things. He must realize that regardless of what he was told earlier, his Prime Minister wants a majority at all costs. Regardless of what it takes or how it is done, he wants a majority in order to have total control.

Imagine taking away the funding of political parties. Where does that usually lead? We could re-read history, but I hate to think it could happen again in Canada. We have already seen governments take away all the funding of political parties in order to make them disappear.

The Conservatives are doing this at a time when they think people feel they are pretty well off, but the bulk of that money came to them under the old legislation. They did not even want to say who had funded them. The attack on democracy and free expression of the various parties in a democratic society is a fundamental element and by its very existence constitutes a point of no return. There is no way I can believe that the member who has just asked me that question was unaware that there was no significant element in it to deal with the crisis.

The Bloc Québécois submitted some proposals that the Minister of Finance did not even read. Then the Conservatives asked the opposition parties for their cooperation. The opposition parties decided to take the situation in hand and to cooperate in order to meet the needs and aspirations of the public, and especially to present some solutions people could understand and were both practical and for the short term. What the Conservative Party is lacking right now is a vision.

Since January 2006, anyone with the slightest clue about finance and economics knew what was coming. It was not a matter of using a crystal ball, there were facts pointing to it. People could see the ups and downs happening, and the way things were headed. The Conservatives are incapable of meeting the needs of the population. They have clearly demonstrated this. The Bloc Québécois has presented its measures to help the people of Quebec and in so doing to help the unemployed elsewhere in Canada, as well as people dealing with problems such as a shortage of social housing. We are meeting the needs of Quebec. Yes, we are defending its interests, and this automatically protects Canada from the Conservatives at the same time.