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House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, under the previous Liberal government, contrary to what the Prime Minister has just said, the queue for refugee claimants had been effectively reduced to zero.

Under the Conservative government, the backlog has ballooned to nearly 60,000 and it is said to be heading to 100,000 by 2012.

The chairman of the Immigration and Refugee Board says that it is the largest backlog in its history.

This is not just a bad record, it begs a simple question. What does the government have against refugees?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we agree with Canadians. Canadians want a refugee system that helps and protects legitimate refugees. To do that, we need qualified members of the IRB, not people who the Liberals hired regardless of their qualifications, many of whom were relatives.

Our candidates have to actually pass the test to prove they are qualified before they get appointed because that is what Canadians want, competence.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the source of the problem is simple: the board needs more members.

When this government's term began, the board had only 10 vacancies. It now has nearly 60 because of this minister.

If these positions are not filled, files will continue to pile up and thousands of refugees will have their lives put on hold.

Why have they let the problem they created turn into a crisis? What do they have against refugees?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, like all Canadians, we want a refugee system that helps and protects legitimate refugees. We therefore need to appoint qualified board members, and that is what we have done. We have appointed more than 100 IRB members. We chose them because they passed the test, something the Liberals did not require.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

April 9th, 2008 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, discussions are being held in the United States to implement greenhouse gas emissions ceilings. The three U.S. presidential candidates have even spoken in favour of a carbon exchange. In Canada, the government's so-called green plan is based on intensity targets, meaning that for the oil sand industry alone, greenhouse gas emissions will double by 2020.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his so-called green plan goes against the economy, the environment and the global mindset?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Bloc has it all wrong. With our plans, we will cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.

I admit that our task will be much easier with the cooperation of the United States government. We are watching with interest the debate in the United States and we are hoping for a government that could work with us in the future on a plan not only for this hemisphere, but for the entire planet.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, either the Prime Minister has just misled the House, or he does not consult his files. According to the documents he gave us, the oil sands will increase their emissions from the current 25 megatonnes to 50 megatonnes in 2020. This is in the documents provided by the government. This will happen as a result of intensity targets and because oil production will increase from one million barrels to five million barrels a day.

Could the Prime Minister give us an answer and tell us that what I am saying—the increase from 25 megatonnes to 50 megatonnes—is found in the documents he provided us? If not, then we were provided with the wrong documents. It has to be one or the other; it cannot be both.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the targets for the economy are clear. According to our plans, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 20% by 2020. In the meantime, in the regulatory system proposed and detailed by the Minister of the Environment, it is clear that we are calling for efforts to be made in terms of carbon sequestration, specifically for the oil sands. These are special measures for that sector to help us achieve our results.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the CIBC World Markets report calls for a new carbon tariff on countries that do not do enough to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions. This tariff, and I quote the CIBC, “will tax the implicit subsidies on the carbon content of imports that come from carbon non-compliant countries.”

Does the Minister of the Environment realize that, by refusing to implement Kyoto, he is exposing our exporters to such a tariff? That is totally unacceptable.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in the history of Canada we are taking action and regulating major polluters. Last week it was with great pride that we unveiled the details of our action plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 20%.

The first person to talk about it was the head of the Montreal Exchange who announced the opening of a carbon exchange in Montreal. We congratulate him for his actions and we support him. Together, we are taking action.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that Quebec companies will end up paying for the Conservative plan, which puts the oil sector ahead of Quebec exporters. To prevent our companies from having to pay such a tariff, we need a real plan to reduce greenhouse gases based on the 1990 reference year and absolute targets.

What is the Minister of the Environment waiting for to adopt such a plan?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the facts are clear. In the past 18 years, since the Bloc Québécois has been in this House, greenhouse gases have increased by 33%. That is not acceptable.

Canada must have a plan to reduce greenhouse gases. This plan targets an absolute reduction of 20%. The Bloc has done nothing for 18 years. We are taking action.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is making an effort to stall committee work.

His whip and House leader are threatening to call an election over this standstill, caused by the Conservatives themselves.

The government members are the ones obstructing and filibustering during discussions on the environment. Their committee chairs are adjourning meetings and ignoring the rules.

Why is the Prime Minister preventing parliamentarians from doing their job? Does he have something to hide?

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:30 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, that is not accurate at all. In fact, in the case of the justice committee, it is not the chair of the justice committee who has been adjourning the meetings. The chair of the justice committee has been turning it over to the vice-chair, who happens to be a Liberal, who has been adjourning the meetings. The fact that he is the one who brings the meetings to an end and does not allow a vote to proceed should tell members something about the way the Liberals approach these committees. They are simply using them for political grandstanding.

You, Mr. Speaker, gave good advice when you told the House that there was a tyranny of the majority happening at the committees. It matters not that the minority for whom the rights are to be protected happens to be the government.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this kind of inanity shows why things are not getting done around here.

For 25 years Canadian families have been waiting for action on the environment. They were told the big polluters were going to be taken on. All they got was dithering and inaction.

We see the same thing now. The big polluters were the first to celebrate the so-called action by the government on the environment. That is why we put forward Bill C-377, which would get Canada on track to deal with the crisis of climate change, yet the government is filibustering and delaying.

Will the Prime Minister tell them to stop today so we can get some results?

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, for the last 18 years greenhouse gas emissions have been skyrocketing. The Liberals did absolutely nothing. In that effort, while the planet burned, the Liberals were propped by the NDP and that member.

We are finally taking real action, requiring the big polluters to take real action to reduce their greenhouse gases. We are working hard, we are getting the job done and we are going to deliver.

Olympic GamesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs about China, Tibet and the Olympic Games.

Recently, his colleague, the Minister of National Defence, opened the door to a potential boycott of the Olympics.

At the same time, or just before, the minister spoke with China's foreign affairs minister and said the complete opposite.

I would like to give the minister the chance to set the record straight and to state the position of the Government of Canada.

Olympic GamesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and for giving me an opportunity to clarify this. Canada's position is very clear. We do not plan on boycotting the Olympic Games. That said, we also have a clear position on China's activities as they affect human rights.

We urge the Chinese government to respect the freedom of expression of Tibetans and to stop the violence against these people. We have a policy and we want to see talks between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama to bring an end to the violence, so that the situation there complies with international human rights standards.

Olympic GamesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is clearly a need for mediation with respect to the situation of human rights in China. Certainly everyone in the House can agree on what needs to happen with respect to the leadership in Tibet.

However, the other big mediation that needs to happen in Canadian foreign policy at the moment is within the Conservative Party. We have all sorts of different factions saying all sorts of different things. It is absolutely imperative.

I want to ask the minister—

Olympic GamesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Olympic GamesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Toronto Centre has the floor. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has to be able to hear the question if he is to answer. We will now hear the question from the hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Olympic GamesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have the position of the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism. We have the position of the Minister of National Defence. We have what you told the Minister of Foreign Affairs in China.

What is the position of the Canadian government?

Olympic GamesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I do not think he meant the Speaker told the minister anything.

The hon. government House leader.

Olympic GamesOral Questions

2:35 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 have the utmost respect for the intellect of the member for Toronto Centre, but it should not be that hard to figure out the government's position. It has been stated clearly.

In terms of the games, there will not be a boycott. That would only punish the athletes. In terms of the opening ceremonies, we have not made an announcement in particular on how we will deal with that. We have been very clear where we stand on human rights and our concerns about the Chinese government.

The real question is, where does the Liberal Party stand on this or any other issue? A thoughtful guy once said, “We do not have a clue where the Liberals stand because they do not know themselves”. Who said that? The member for Toronto Centre.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Afghan motion passed by the House is not a blank cheque. It is a contract for change, explicitly for the Canadian mission to change in 2009.

When the Prime Minister was in Bucharest did he tell NATO that specifically?