This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was infrastructure.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, ordinary Canadians know that toxins in our environment have a direct impact on our health, but to the Conservative government, the only thing they consider toxic is the truth.

A leaked report from the U.S. shows that toxins in the Great Lakes are spinning out of control.

Liberal and Conservative governments have identified 17 toxic sites in the Great Lakes and cleaned up exactly 2 since the year 2000. At this pace, it will be 60 years before Canadians can expect clean water.

How much longer must Canadians remain in the dark while the Conservative government dithers and delays on the cleanup?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I have bad news for the NDP member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. He voted against $93 million to help clean up our Great Lakes. He voted against $30 million to clean up Hamilton harbour, something that the Liberal government never did. He voted against $11 million to clean up contaminated sediment that poses a risk within the Great Lakes. He voted against the Great Lakes sustainability fund. He voted against protecting over 10,000 square miles of Lake Superior, something that had never been done in this country.

We are delivering despite the rabid opposition of the NDP and that member.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this representative and this party voted against $14 billion for big oil and gas companies that are polluting our environment.

The government is not satisfied with just one toxic time bomb, now it is creating Canada's very own Love Canal in northern Alberta. The toxic tar sands project, which the Conservatives support, will spew out 60% more toxins under their watch.

The Fort Chipewyan people are here in Ottawa. The cancer rates in their community are off the charts. Will the government tell the people in Fort Chipewyan that it will clean up their environment, or will it continue to support the biggest polluters in our history?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I have to give it to the NDP member, he has a lot of nerve. He was the NDP member who stood in his place and voted for the Liberal budget not three years ago, a budget that gave specific targeted tax cuts, to whom? Big oil. That member has a lot of explaining to do.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, how the Conservative government is dealing with the Canadian Wheat Board is outrageous and should scare all Canadians.

First, the government rigged the Wheat Board plebiscite and then manipulated the results. Then it tried to make changes to the board in a way that the Federal Court ruled is illegal. Then the Minister of Agriculture said to the Wheat Board, “Get the hell out of the way”.

When will those Conservative thugs stop trampling on farmers' rights?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should be careful because that high horse he is riding on is not leading a parade, it is headed to the glue factory.

As for the Wheat Board, if it does not get out of its intransigence and start to listen to producers, it will not survive the changes that producers are driving. We are firmly on the side of farmers out there in western Canada. They are looking for changes and we will deliver them.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is disconnected with reality.

The Conservative government has used every dirty trick in the book to kill the Wheat Board. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said yesterday that the board will “survive until after the election...then all bets are off”.

That is a clear direct threat. No more camouflage and no more pretenses. A Conservative government means the Wheat Board is dead.

Why is the corrupt Conservative government flouting the will of 70% of western farmers?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that 62% of western Canadian barley producers voted for change. They want something different. What is being offered by the Wheat Board? Anchored in the past, busy naval gazing, completely isolated and insulated by its own demise, it will not get out of the way and allow producers access to that burgeoning, booming U.S. market.

Wheat Board officials have shut down the futures for next fall. They will not market the product and yet they will not allow producers to market the product. They are going to cut their own throats on this issue. They have to learn. And, the correct quote is, “lead, follow, or get...out of the way”.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

February 14th, 2008 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, students across Canada do not know whether to laugh or cry when they hear the government claim to support education. An $80 tax credit is not support.

The Conservatives have not renewed the millennium scholarship. They collect student loans from families of the dead and they ignore the needs of the most vulnerable Canadians. They promise everything but deliver nothing.

When will the minister finally commit to reinvesting in needs based grants like the millennium scholarship? When will the government stand up for our students?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that the member would ask this question, because he did not stand up for students when it came to voting for our budget, something that would put $800 million back into post-secondary education to help universities and colleges after the government that he was part of cut funding for schools by $25 billion.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, that minister's smiling face should be in the dictionary beside the word “hypocrisy”. He himself called for deeper cuts back in the 1990s. Now he talks about increased funding and students know it is a hoax.

Specifically, will he renew the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation? Or will he gut this great Liberal initiative? Worse, will he try to rebrand it in a shade of blue, reduce the funding and hack it to pieces like he did with the summer jobs program?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, generally speaking, if it is a Liberal initiative, it has no guts.

I want to assure the member that this government did commit to review the Canada student loans program and student financing in general. The results of that will be known in the budget, which is coming up on February 26. We all look forward to hearing the results.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Bloc Québécois requested an emergency debate on the crisis facing pork and beef producers. We would like to have heard the minister speak, but instead we heard his Conservative colleagues take turns denying that there is a crisis in this industry. But the Quebec agriculture, fisheries and food minister recently met with his federal counterpart to ask him to take action quickly to help the pork and beef industries.

Does the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food acknowledge that these industries are in crisis, and does he finally plan to do something about it?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we have been fully involved with the livestock sector across this great country for the last number of months. We have been working with the sector, which advised us to work with programs that are not countervailable and to work within existing frameworks to get the money out faster.

We have done that. I have had those discussions with Laurent Lessard of Quebec. I explained to him that there is some $320 million available to the pork sector in Quebec through the ASRA program. I know there are some problems with delivery through that program, but that is something the member might want to take up with his colleagues in Quebec.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister says that he has been working on this for months, which is how long the producers have been in dire straits.

Christian Lacasse, the president of the Union des producteurs agricoles, has said that the situation is very serious and that the federal government needs to free up some money. There is no getting around it.

Will the minister heed this plea and implement the six recommendations in the unanimous report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food concerning the crisis in the livestock industry? This is urgent.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we have taken action and I have outlined some of those to follow. We have made available unprecedented amounts of money to the livestock sector. That money is flowing out to it. We are looking at other avenues that we can work on.

We have made the 2008 targeted advances available early. That is unprecedented. We are working for the best interests of the livestock sector.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, tobacco farmers are in desperate straits. Some are losing their farms. Some have fallen so deep into despair that they have taken their own lives.

Last week in committee I asked the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food what his government was going to do to assist tobacco producers. The minister claimed that he would take action sooner rather than later.

So I ask the minister today, what action and what does he mean by sooner rather than later? How many more lives must be destroyed before the government takes action?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth.

There must be an election coming. The opposition members are finally starting to talk about agriculture.

We have met with the affected groups. There are numbers of them. Every one of them seems to have the magic answer. As the member well knows, this is not a new file. This has been ongoing for some 25 years. A couple of governments have taken a run at this, including his own for 13 years prior to our stint here in government. The member knows that we are moving on this file and that we will get the job done. He should stay tuned.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, taking action in the fight against climate change is certainly something that Canadians want to see from their government, but we know that Canadians also want a share in that fight and in those actions. Sadly, the previous government did not understand that.

Can the environment minister tell us if our government is doing anything to help communities fight climate change and air pollution?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member for Simcoe North that finally the government is beginning to act, something that had never happened in the 10 long years since Kyoto was signed, with more money for public transit and a tax credit for commuters to encourage them to use public transit, also something that has never happened before.

Now we are going to do something remarkable. We are actually bringing in mandatory emission standards for automobiles, not weak voluntary measures but real mandatory measures, something that will help deliver real results in fighting climate change. This government is acting and getting the job done.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, “There must be an end to patronage, and when we are in power, we will put an end to it”. Who said that? The Prime Minister did, when he was in opposition.

The fact is that today's Toronto Star reports that the Minister of Finance has once again given a gift to one of his friends, another party backer who has been rewarded. This time it is Mr. Love, who has been appointed to the board of the Royal Canadian Mint.

Why does the Minister of Finance not honour his Prime Minister's commitments? Why does he not respect taxpayers?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the appointment was to the Royal Canadian Mint. The person in question is one of Canada's leading tax lawyers. He led the committee we had to design the tax benefit for children with disabilities, which is a great step forward for Canada.

He was paid a very large sum for volunteering his expertise for that, Ralph. Guess how much? One dollar.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Finance has been warned before that referring to hon. members by name is out of order, and in this case, he was pointing right at his victim.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. It just shows what kind of disorder can arise when we have this nonsense.

Members are urged to read the rule book. It does say they must refer to hon. members by their proper title or by the name of their constituency. They cannot point at a member and call him or her a name and carry on. We have had this trouble before. I hope it will stop.

The hon. member for Outremont.