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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

KosovoOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, a non-position is hardly a position. It may be for the government but it clearly will not satisfy Canadians.

Can the government clearly tell us when it plans to come to a position, how does it plan to get there, and when will it announce its conclusion to members of the House of Commons?

KosovoOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member might consider listening to his former colleague, former prime minister Chrétien, because he did advise that we should remain cautious.

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the fall economic statement our government acted early to deliver tax relief for Canadians.

Tomorrow afternoon the Minister of Finance will bring forward our government's third budget.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance please inform the House if the government will accept opposition amendments to budget 2008?

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, indeed tomorrow the finance minister will stand in his place and deliver the third consecutive Conservative balanced budget.

Unlike the Liberals in previous years who amended their budget after it had been tabled, we will not accept any amendments that the Liberals would like to propose that would drive us into a deficit.

Public AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to roll out one patronage appointment after another. We have the failed Conservative candidate, Mark Patrone, parachuted into the CRTC. We have the guy who gave money to the finance minister's leadership bid who gets the cushy gig at the mint. We have old Elwin Hermanson dumped off at the Canadian Grain Commission.

The government promised it was going to change how business was done in Ottawa. Instead, it just stole the old pork-barrel playbook from the Liberals.

If we had a public appointments commission, the Conservatives would not get away with such brazen activity. Why have they broken this key pledge on accountability to the Canadian people?

Public AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I know that the problem in the House of Commons is that we have people like the NDP members who just will not stop attacking people in the media.

Mark Patrone is a first rate Canadian with long experience in broadcasting. He is an example of the capable members that we keep appointing, people who serve their communities as well and who are eminently qualified for the positions they take on. We should be proud of their willingness to commit to help Canadians in that fashion.

As for the NDP members, if they wanted that appointments commission in place, they did not have to work so hard to keep it from happening.

Public AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have never heard such a tear-jerking defence of pork-barrelling.

Let us go back to what Justice Gomery said. He slammed the government for its excuses on killing the public appointments commission. He said that this key aspect of accountability has fallen into a black hole of Conservative indifference.

If we are going to have responsible government in this country, we have to drain the swamps of cronyism. Instead, the government is using taxpayers' dollars to give out untendered contracts to party pals. It is using the public appointments process as a massive job creation program for failed Tories.

Why has the government broken this key promise to the Canadian people that it would end cronyism?

Public AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, on that theme that I was developing a bit earlier, I know it is important for us to look to those folks in the media for whom the NDP have a low regard but we in some cases have a high regard, and I go to no more than Tim Naumetz of the Ottawa Citizen, who, in looking at our appointments, said the following: “...many, perhaps more, are going to eminently qualified Canadians. Better than ever, you are getting appointments of top-notch people that are going to serve Canada well. No more of the pork-barrel patronage that we saw in the past”.

That is what our government is delivering: first rate, qualified appointments, regardless of their background.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government keeps trying to defend cutting women's advocacy groups, and Canadian women are noticing. Yet the Conference of Defence Associations, the oldest and most influential advocacy group in Canada's defence community, receives $500,000 in funding from the government.

Why is it that defence advocacy groups that get government contracts receive so much attention when women's advocacy groups fighting for women's rights get the door slammed in their faces?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauport—Limoilou Québec

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, our government spends $20 million every year on projects that a have a direct impact on women and young girls, a record for Status of Women Canada.

Furthermore, several Canadian government programs are directly related to women, such as the official languages minority communities program, the aboriginal peoples program, particularly the national women's organizations component, and the women's multiculturalism program.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member did not answer the question.

We have no issue with the CDA receiving funding. We have a problem with the hypocrisy of the government, however.

The government cut the court challenges program, telling Canadians it did not make sense to fund an organization that challenged the federal government. However, it has no problem giving money to organizations that agree with everything the Conservative government says.

When will the Conservatives come clean and admit that they have a double standard?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member would be quite aware that that very particular issue is now before the courts. I think all members of the House of Commons would agree it would be inappropriate to make any comments on it at this time.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Questions

February 25th, 2008 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, cigarette smuggling is in the news. This sort of problem has reared its head before. In the early 1990s, smugglers cost various levels of government billions of dollars in lost tax revenue. The authorities sometimes make successful busts, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

How does this government plan to fight tobacco smuggling?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. friend. That is why we have provided the RCMP and other authorities with additional resources to reduce the problem she mentioned.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, additional resources are not enough. We need exact figures. Cigarette smuggling is not a problem just because it costs the government revenue. Smugglers also undermine all the anti-smoking programs created to maintain public health. Moreover, cigarette smugglers contribute to the rise of organized crime.

What exactly is the government doing to make sure the illicit tobacco trade does not affect public health or the welfare of aboriginal communities?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we have exact figures. I can send them to my colleague. For example, between December 2 and 4 of last year, the RCMP seized nearly one million illegal cigarettes, and it is continuing to do its job.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, this problem is so serious that it deserves four questions. Cigarette smuggling is flourishing and is now out of control. Federal and provincial governments are currently losing millions of dollars in tax revenues. Over the past few years, consumption of illegal cigarettes has doubled in Quebec, and things are getting worse.

Is the Minister of Public Safety ready to ask the RCMP to take this matter firmly in hand and put an end to cigarette smuggling?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the RCMP will continue to work toward its goal of overcoming the problems my colleague mentioned. That is why we reversed cuts to funding and resources. In the past, when the Liberal government was in power, resources were cut and crime rates increased. We want to increase resources and cut crime.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, last November, I asked the same question and received pretty much the same answer. However, smuggling has been shown to be on the rise. To fight this scourge, several organizations and departments must work together. If that happens, one minister must take the lead on concerted action, and the most logical person for the job is the Minister of Public Safety.

Why is he so weak and missing in action? Why does he not assume leadership of such an operation? Can he tell us about the measures he plans to take?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have already dedicated more resources and people to the problem. We have also equipped our integrated border teams with more resources to tackle the problem.

That is something the Bloc members cannot do. They cannot do anything to help the people of Quebec with this problem, but we can.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the heartless Conservative government sent Dunia Rivera-Mora, and consequently the son she was breastfeeding, back to Costa Rica. Her spouse is a Canadian and their child was born in Canada. I wrote two letters asking that the removal be postponed, and I made a number of calls, but to this day I have received no response. Ms. Rivera-Mora has apparently now filed a sponsorship application.

Will the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration show more compassion than her colleague from Public Safety? When will she allow this family to be reunified in Canada?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, each case is evaluated on its own unique merits and circumstances and based on all of the facts. We are happy to look at the situation on that basis.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, over recent months, various regions of the country have seen a proliferation of blue-green algae in their lakes and rivers. This is a very important issue for many regions in Canada, including Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec.

Can the Minister of the Environment explain here in the House what action will be taken to solve the problem?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, all the questions I have received have come from the government caucus.

Last week, the government issued a notice of its intention to regulate phosphates. Our measures will reduce their concentration to 0.5%. We are working very hard and in close cooperation with my colleague in Quebec, Ms. Beauchamp, as well as the minister in Manitoba, Christine Melnick.

This is another good example of the open federalism practised by this government. We are working in partnership with the provinces and achieving real results for our environment.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian and U.S. military officials have confirmed it is impossible to have forces deployed in southern Afghanistan and not be engaged in active combat. Most recently, Admiral Fallon of the U.S. Central Command confirmed the impossibility to distinguish between a so-called defensive operation and the current operations ongoing in Kandahar.

Does the Minister of National Defence agree with the admiral when he stated unequivocally that they cannot be in Kandahar and not engaged in combat, or does he agree with his new coalition partners, the Liberals, who say that they can?