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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Bulk WaterOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, under NAFTA there is no obligation on the part of Canada or any of the NAFTA partners to export bulk water in any form. In fact, there is legislation in place that protects against the commoditization of water, as long as water remains in its natural state, and on boundary waters, it cannot be removed without the permission of the federal government under law, for export or for any other reason.

There is good legislation in place. If the Munk Centre study has something new to tell us, we will certainly study that.

Bulk WaterOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, “water was not exempted from NAFTA”. Who said that? The MP for Calgary East, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The problem started when prime minister Brian Mulroney removed from the last draft of the free trade agreement the exemption for water that had been included in earlier drafts, to the surprise of his international trade minister.

Why does the government always have to be dragged kicking and screaming to face the truth that everyone else knows? Why will the government not do something to protect our environment, our natural heritage--

Bulk WaterOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of International Trade.

Bulk WaterOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the partners to the North American Free Trade Agreement actually came together and signed in 1993 an agreement that water in its natural state was not covered in any way by the North American Free Trade Agreement. It is against the law to export bulk water, to remove bulk water from its natural state, from its water basins. That party was in power for a long time and it said the same thing.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, in December the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration shamefully boasted that the government was “very proud” and “was delivering” on its record of immigration. The grim reality is that under the Conservative government, people are waiting longer than ever before to enter Canada, 20% longer. We need immigrants desperately to help this country grow, but the government has no long term plan to get them here.

Why has the Conservative minister neglected to get the necessary resources from her government to look after Canada's failing immigration system?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we are hardly going to take lessons on immigration from the Liberal Party. Let us look at the Liberals' shameful legacy: They put a $975 tax on immigrants; they ballooned the backlog from 50,000 to 800,000; they voted against $1.3 billion in settlement funding for new immigrants; they voted against our foreign credentials referrals office. When it comes to their claims, they claim to stand up for immigrants, but they actually vote against them.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government can try to duck and hide and the minister can play ostrich and stick her head in the sand, but the fact is the government has repeatedly failed new immigrants, another broken promise.

How fast a person immigrates to Canada depends on where the person lives. This is discriminatory. Beijing waiting times have increased by 41%, while process cases have decreased by 48%.

Will the government immediately rectify the problem and allocate necessary resources everywhere so that everyone is given equal opportunity to come to Canada? When will the government do it?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, given the fact that the Liberals voted against all our other efforts to help immigrants, I find that surprising.

I also find surprising that that particular member would be saying that everyone deserves the same kind of treatment. They may deserve it, but I do have in my possession a letter from an MP in this House asking for special treatment for certain people very close to him. That member is the member for Scarborough—Agincourt.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, by closing its employee payroll service at the Shawinigan Tax Centre, Canada Revenue Agency has eliminated 28 permanent positions that represent high quality jobs in a region already harshly affected by a number of plant closures. Despite all that, the minister responsible is saying that the agency has improved the efficiency of its service by concentrating these jobs.

Does the minister realize that this centralization is detrimental to the Mauricie region and that cutting positions in Quebec and sending them to Ontario and Manitoba is unfair to the workers in Shawinigan?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier in the House, CRA studied this issue extensively and arrived at the conclusion that it was more efficient to concentrate these functions in two locations.

I also pointed out that CRA continues to grow in all areas of the country.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's response is an insult to the hundreds of workers who are waiting for their paycheques.

How can the minister responsible for the agency claim to be offering a better service when casual employees are forced to wait 10 to 12 weeks for their pay as a direct result of this decision?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I said Friday, unfortunately some new workers in CRA did not receive their cheques on time. CRA has taken action to correct this.

If the member is aware of anybody who has not been paid, please advise me and we will take the necessary action.

ForestryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C. native leaders have been asking for help for two years from the Conservative government.

Last week they came to Ottawa to plead with the government for help with the pine beetle infestation. More than 100 aboriginal communities, already reeling from forestry job losses, are living in fear as the forest fire season approaches.

When will the minister finally help these communities, or will the government fumble this crisis the same way it has others, laissez-faire, too little too late?

ForestryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week I had a very productive meeting with the B.C. First Nations Leadership Council.

Our government has committed funding, something which the previous government did not do, to fund exactly this issue, to protect communities from forest fires.

Under our program, 53 first nations communities in British Columbia are receiving funding under our mountain pine beetle initiative to protect communities. We are getting the job done.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government knows how to set goals and priorities.

Many African countries are working to meet the basic human necessities that we take for granted.

As a rich nation, Canadians are well equipped to help the world's poor. I know the people in my riding of Sarnia—Lambton are extremely compassionate when it comes to international development.

The Prime Minister committed to doubling aid to Africa by 2008-09. Can the Minister of International Cooperation tell the House if Canada is on target to meet this commitment?

International CooperationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the government is on target. Last week I announced $302 million to the African Development Bank, $72 million to the World Food Program and $17 million to strengthen governance in Africa.

Last July the government announced $125 million to feed children in Africa. In November the Prime Minister announced $105 million toward improving the health of Africans.

In this year alone our government has announced over $620 million. We will meet our commitment to double aid to Africa.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the TimberWest Elk Falls sawmill in Campbell River closes May 8, with 257 workers fired. This is the 112th casualty of the forestry industry crisis, with 30,000 jobs lost since 2003.

It will not stop with the sawmill. The pulp and paper mill next door is struggling to survive the high dollar. Without a secure source of fibre from the sawmill, Campbell River could lose another 400 jobs.

The government must immediately advance the $1 billion trust fund to the provinces. Could the minister tell us how long we will have to wait in Campbell River?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, our government has been very proactive for the forestry sector. We have been investing millions of dollars to promote innovation, looking to expand our market opportunities.

We recognize the struggle of this sector in every corner of Canada. That is why our Prime Minister announce $1 billion for the community development trust fund. I am very pleased that the province of British Columbia has been extremely supportive. In fact, I have had discussions about this fund with the premier, and I have every confidence that it will deliver for these communities in the months ahead.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in the manufacturing sector is getting worse: 1,200 jobs lost at Kitchener Frame; 150 at Dana Manufacturing in Barrie; 55 at Abitibi-Bowater; 270 at Lanxess Inc. in Sarnia; and 600 at Ford/Nemak.

We are losing good paying jobs every day and it is hurting working families. An aid package is only a start. We need a comprehensive manufacturing strategy.

How many more jobs will be lost before the government wakes up, takes concrete action to prevent layoffs and helps industry weather this economic storm? Why does it not wake up?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member would want to take notice of the stimulus that has been provided to the Canadian economy for 2008 by the government. The cumulative effect of the stimulus is 1.4% of GDP in Canada. She can compare that with the proposal in the United States, which is about 1% of GDP.

This is an enormous stimulus being delivered now to the manufacturing and other business sectors in Canada.

AutismOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, last year the House, with the support of all Conservative members, passed a motion calling for the creation of a national autism strategy. The government has totally ignored this motion.

This week, Stephan Marinoiu, a father of an autistic child, walked from Toronto to Ottawa to raise awareness of the government's failure to live up to this commitment. Over the last couple of days, it would have been a tough cold walk.

My question is for the Minister of Health. How many more Canadian families will be left out in the cold by the Conservative government as costs rise for family members dealing with autism?

AutismOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, this is something parents around the country, who have autistic children, deal with on a day to day basis, including members of our caucus.

This is why the government acted. We did something last year that no other federal government has done. We invested $1 million in a brand new chair of autism research. We hosted a national research symposium, working with our provincial and territorial partners to share best practices, improve knowledge and research.

We are doing concrete things in our sphere of jurisdiction to help the lives of autistic children and their parents.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

February 12th, 2008 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-8 makes amendments to the Canada Transportation Act that will help protect rail shippers from potential abuse of market power by railways. This is great news for rural Canada and for Canadian farmers and manufacturers.

The Grain Growers of Canada and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities both voice their support for the bill and encourage the Senate to pass it in a timely manner.

Could the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities inform the House when he expects the bill to pass the Senate?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise all members of the House that Bill C-8 is supported by both parties in the Senate. Senators are aware of the fact that the support for the bill was unanimous and that clause by clause on Bill C-8 was completed in a record 15 minutes in committee.

Given that no one in either house opposes Bill C-8 and that there are no unresolved issues remaining, it is my understanding that Bill C-8 should get through this week for our shippers and people needing this.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 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 the Hon. Kathleen Casey, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island and the Hon. Roger Fitzgerald, Speaker of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador.