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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was troops.

Topics

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the big six cultural organizations in Toronto renewed their call today for the federal government to include much needed top-up funding in their budget announcement tomorrow.

Organizations like the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum are invaluable institutions that tell Canadian stories, shape our identity as a nation and allow Canadians to share the work of our great artists and performers.

These cultural organizations have managed their limited finances well, but maintaining and improving their infrastructure is very costly. Canadian tourism is already threatened because of the dramatic rise of our Canadian dollar. Canadians overwhelmingly support their artists and have handed over hundreds of millions in donations.

It would be a tragedy for Canada's cultural industry to suffer because our finance minister could not offer up the modest funds that many Canadians have already surpassed in donations from their own pocket.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities-McGill University infrastructure survey estimates a $123.6 billion national infrastructure deficit in 2007.

Municipal leaders across my riding have flooded my office with letters that call on the federal and provincial governments to work together to develop a long term plan for tackling this very serious situation. Many towns such as Rainy River are wondering where the applications and the money are.

The Liberal Party has a plan to address this crisis. It is a plan that FCM has called “bold and visionary, with the potential to change the face of our country”. It is a plan that would make the gas tax transfer permanent. It is a Liberal plan that would ensure a fairer, richer and greener Canada that respects all communities.

Denis LazureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we could put a face on humanism in Quebec, it would be that of Denis Lazure, who is no longer with us.

Dr. Denis Lazure passed away on Saturday at the age of 82. He was one of the architects of a real revolution in psychiatry in Quebec. But most Quebeckers would know him for the very important role he played in René Lévesque's first government, in which he focused on defending the rights of the disabled. He had a long career that spanned over 50 years, during which he tenaciously fought against all kinds of social inequalities, injustices and prejudices.

Quebeckers will also remember his strong support for the sovereignty of Quebec, and the integrity, dedication and intelligence he brought to this noble struggle. Passion, compassion, action and persuasion typified this great social democrat.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I would like to offer our sincerest condolences to his wife, Anne-Marie, his children, and to all of his friends and family.

LandminesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to join in the celebration and recognition of the achievements made by Canada and the global community in achieving a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel landmines. This week marks the ninth annual Canadian Landmine Action Week.

This week is an important opportunity to reinforce the Canadian commitment to human security everywhere through events, educating communities and raising funds for this worthy cause.

Canada has made positive steps in aiding multilateral organizations such as the UN in landmine action. Canada continues to support the Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention of 1997, in which Canada was a pioneer. It is also important that the government continue to utilize the excellent smaller Canadian organizations which have a great record in demining.

Canadians must continue to show leadership to rid our globe of this terrible device that destroys so many lives.

Leader of the OppositionStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the leader of the Liberal Party has bought himself a new pair of glasses, and just in time because he has been making spending promise after spending promise. He is at the point where his tax and spend announcements would cost taxpayers at least $62.5 billion and those are just the ones he has priced. He still has 33 of them that he has not priced out yet.

He even sent his finance critic over to my riding and left everyone there shaking their heads, wondering what his plan was.

Therefore, we will see if the new glasses give the leader of the Liberals a clear view of his spending promises and his deficit budgets. Come to think of it, perhaps a new pair of glasses is not enough to take care of that massive sea of debt. What the leader of the Liberal Party really needs is a swimsuit so he can do the front crawl in his own ocean of debt and broken promises.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister has shown a new openness, which we would like to see extended to other issues, such as climate change, one of the worst threats to humankind. The government killed the clean air bill, Bill C-30, a comprehensive plan to combat climate change.

Could the Prime Minister not resurrect this plan and hold a debate in this House on the basis of this bill, to prove that his new openness will not be limited to the issue of Afghanistan?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, last fall, in the throne speech, this government presented its very specific approach to climate change. Our reduction targets are 20% by 2020 and 70% by 2050. The House adopted these targets.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the plan put forward by the Minister of the Environment has been roundly criticized and is considered very weak, whereas Bill C-30 was widely praised for good reason. Moreover, it is based on the Liberal idea of a carbon budget. The Pembina Institute called it the best proposal any Canadian political party ever made to control industrial pollution caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

I therefore want to ask the Prime Minister this: what is preventing him from recognizing the excellent work done by Parliament and allowing a debate in this House on Bill C-30, Canada's Clean Air and Climate Change Act?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are working out the details of our plan. We are considering not only the work of the House, but also economic analyses. It is important to consider everything.

I should also mention that this government presented its targets to this Parliament in the throne speech and that, with the Liberal Party's help, Parliament adopted the throne speech.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Prime Minister should make up his mind. Sometimes he says that we do not make our minds up. Then he says that we support him.

We certainly do not support this weak plan. We are disappointed by the fact that the Prime Minister comes back to his vagueness now that we are not speaking about Afghanistan. There is maybe a lack of commitment and conviction from the Prime Minister who spoke about the so-called greenhouse gases.

Now we have the journal Nature's condemnation of what it has called the government's “manifest disregard for science”. How does the Prime Minister explain that he is condemned by this international academic journal if—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, in the throne speech the government was absolutely clear on its targets for greenhouse gas reductions, a reduction of 20% going forward to 2020, and 60% to 70% until 2050. The government has been very clear and is now developing the details of its plan in that regard.

The Leader of the Opposition should be aware of those targets and aware of that plan because it was he who assisted the passage of the throne speech.

Atomic Energy of Canada LimitedOral Questions

February 25th, 2008 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have tried to work with the government on Afghanistan. We have also tried to work with it to restart the Chalk River reactor, and it was not such a happy experience.

The government promised to guarantee the authority of Canada's nuclear regulator, but no sooner had we passed the legislation than the regulator was fired. Now we begin to understand why.

Will the minister admit that he fired Ms. Keen in order to pave the way for the privatization of AECL?

Atomic Energy of Canada LimitedOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. With respect to Ms. Keen, I will not comment on that. It is before the court.

Our government launched a review of AECL well before any of these events took place.

What is interesting is members opposite cannot make up their minds. One day they say that they want us to act sooner. The next day they say that we should not have acted at all. They do not know what they stand for. They change their minds from one week to the next.

Atomic Energy of Canada LimitedOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has to tell Canadians the truth about its plans for Atomic Energy of Canada. The minister must answer—and truly answer this time—a very simple question.

Will he admit that he bent the nuclear safety rules to make Atomic Energy of Canada appear more attractive to private investors?

Atomic Energy of Canada LimitedOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, that is absolute nonsense coming from the other side. When we were faced with a situation in early December, the government took reasonable steps, and ultimately had the support of every political party, to ensure the health and safety of all Canadians by resuming the production of medical isotopes.

The hon. member and the party opposite do not know what they stand for. One day they say that we should not have acted. The next day they say that we did not act soon enough. They say that they support Bill C-38. The following week they change their minds. They say that they are not sure if they should have done so. They do not know where they stand.

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, regardless of tomorrow's budget, there is a $10.6 billion surplus for this fiscal year. A report published by the Desjardins movement last week concluded that not all of the surplus should be put toward the debt and that some of it should be used to stimulate the economy. A few days later, the Bank of Montreal came to the same conclusion.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, although it is important to pay down the debt, it is also important to meet the needs of the people, especially during an economic slowdown?

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has already done significant spending and investing in a number of areas. We have also cut taxes for businesses and individuals. Furthermore, we have targets for the national debt. It is important to maintain a balanced approach and that is what the government intends to do.

FinanceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, cutting taxes for companies that are not making a profit is not balanced: this helps the oil companies and does nothing for the manufacturing and forestry industries, absolutely nothing.

With a $10.6 billion surplus for this fiscal year, the Prime Minister has room to manoeuvre without creating a deficit, we are talking about a surplus. If this surplus is not used by March 31, the whole thing will be put toward the debt.

Would it not be better to use that money not just for the debt, but also for addressing the problem in the manufacturing and forestry industries and for helping the workers affected by this crisis?

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc leader is absolutely wrong. In reality, this government has cut taxes for everyone, not just for certain companies, but for every company in the country, for families and for individuals.

Quebeckers supported the GST reduction and the personal income tax reductions. Exporters and manufacturers in Quebec supported the reductions offered to companies. There will be an $8 billion cut for the manufacturers, including $2 billion for Quebec manufacturers.

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, by talking about the deficit and a balanced approach to the surplus in the same sentence, the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister are trying to hide their obsession with paying off the debt at the expense of the needs of the economy. With a $10.6 billion surplus, it is ridiculous to even mention the deficit. Instead, the minister should listen to the CSN, the FTQ, the manufacturers and financial institutions, which are calling for real balance that will allow the debt to be repaid as well as allow improvements to the assistance plan for the manufacturing and forestry sectors.

Will the minister act responsibly and respond to the Quebec consensus?

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting question coming from my friend across the way.

I am not one who wants to pass on to my children and grandchildren the kind of debt that the Liberals passed on to us. That is not the way this government will go forward.

We are balancing a budget. I am looking forward to tomorrow when we will once again have the finance minister table a balanced budget in this House that will act upon reducing the debt and will support communities.

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the last thing we need is such a vaudeville act between the Liberals and the Conservatives. What we need is action for the economy.

Quebec has lost nearly 150,000 jobs in the manufacturing and forestry sectors in five years, half of which have been lost under this Conservative government.

Will the minister take the only responsible action he can under such circumstances, that is, concrete action to address the crisis in the manufacturing and forestry sectors? Tomorrow is budget day and we must know as soon as possible.

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I might remind the hon. member that in January alone there were 7,200 new jobs created in Quebec. I know he is concerned about job losses as we all are, but 7,200 new jobs have been created. These are high value jobs.

That is because this government took steps last fall in our economic statement to provide incentive for industries to keep hiring, to grow jobs, and to grow the economy.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the representatives of the government say, if we go to cities across this country and spend time with the people who work in the economy to build it, we will find that thousands of them are being thrown out of work by the policies of the government. They have absolutely no hope.

Why? It is because the government has already picked the winners: the big banks, the oil companies. They are getting all the help. Meanwhile, manufacturing, forestry and the middle class are getting squeezed.

Why do we not see some action from the Prime Minister that would be focused on helping the people in this country who really need it, instead of those who have so much already?