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House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was communities.

Topics

International AidOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the case of the tsunami, of course, the previous Liberal government could not actually get to Sri Lanka, so each week it had to announce more and more money it would spend as compensation.

The reality is that this government now has the capacity to move the DART around the world and be where a catastrophe is actually happening. That is the difference between this government and that government.

International AidOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the numbers I just read out in the House speak for themselves.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is refusing to say the words “responsibility to protect” despite the fact that it is a principle invented by Canadians.

If he cannot bring himself to say these words, will he enforce the principle? What is this government doing to promote the principle, which says that no country has the right to deny its own citizens humanitarian aid?

International AidOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear what we are doing. I said it in the House yesterday, and I will say it again today. We are speaking with our international colleagues. We have taken the matter to the United Nations Security Council and have asked for an emergency debate on Burma. We asked for that several days ago, while the European community only brought this important matter to the Security Council yesterday or today. We were one step ahead. We are players on the world stage, and we are urging the Burmese regime to open its doors to Canada.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

May 14th, 2008 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the announcement made by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec to end funding to not for profit organizations that work in economic development is another fine example of a purely ideological decision. These cuts threaten the activities and very existence of organizations such as the Saint-Maurice valley Technopole and Montreal International, which contribute to the emergence of job-creating businesses throughout Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister realize that by eliminating funding for organizations that support businesses, he is threatening the economic fabric of the regions of Quebec?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, why did the Bloc Québécois say that federal programs and organizations that contribute to regional development are a waste of energy and money? That is what the Bloc Québécois platform said. The Bloc writes one thing in their platform and when they get to the House, they ask us for another thing.

What is more, the Bloc voted against creating the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. How can they vote against that and now ask for something else?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will explain, since he does not understand. We voted against it because we knew they would make an utter mess of things and that Quebec would have to pick up the pieces and make it work. That is why we voted that way.

That said, he should ask why the Bloc Québécois shares this opinion with the Quebec federation of chambers of commerce, the Quebec manufacturers and exporters association, the Conseil des relations internationales de Montréal, the Parti Québécois, and the Government of Quebec. They all denounce this decision. How can the minister of patronage be so out of touch with Quebec's reality?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, again I want to remind hon. members that we will continue to support economic organizations, but we are supporting them through one-off projects that will be submitted to us and reviewed. We want to have projects that have a beginning, a middle and an end.

We will no longer be funding operating costs, salaries, pencils and paper, forever. We want to fund one-off projects. We want to help renew recreation, tourism and economic infrastructure in the regions, through projects submitted to us by organizations.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bad decision made by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec will be disastrous for a large number of regional high-tech hubs such as the maritime technopole in Rimouski, the Saint-Maurice valley and Chaudière-Appalaches technopoles, and the Lanaudière bio-food development board. Such cuts will cripple these economic development agencies and, in the worst case scenario, they may disappear altogether, which will have a negative impact on all regions in Quebec.

In light of these facts, how can the minister be so intransigent and ignore the Quebec consensus?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the Economic Development Agency of Canada has a budget of approximately $200 million per year. The Liberal policy of saying yes to every organization and funding their operating expenses forever has put the department's back to the wall. That is why we are going in another direction. We will support the economic organizations but on the basis of specific projects, namely those with a beginning, middle and end.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, when we debated Bill C-9 in February 2005, the Bloc Québécois had proposed an amendment that would make Quebec the sole authority for its regional development and allow it to recover the money that the federal government spends there. The Conservatives voted against this amendment.

Is the government's ideological intransigence not proof that Quebec must repatriate all these powers?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers have had two opportunities to have their say in a referendum on Quebec independence and both times they chose to remain in Canada.

I would remind my colleague that under the Canadian Constitution, economic development is a jurisdiction shared by Quebec and Ottawa. It is our mission to help the economic development of Quebec regions.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, summer holidays are just around the corner, and consumers are yet again being gouged at the pumps, while oil companies are making huge profits and benefiting from huge subsidies and tax cuts from the government.

Does the Prime Minister know that gas has reached $1.40 in Montreal? Does he realize that consumers are suffering? His GST cut was swallowed up in no time by the companies, not making any difference for consumers. Does he realize that?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has not given a single subsidy to the oil companies. We have cut taxes for businesses—and also for families and consumers—by reducing the GST.

The NDP should support these benefits for the people.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are hundreds of millions of dollars going right into the pockets of the big oil and gas companies this very year, contrary to what the Prime Minister keeps trying to convince Canadians.

The fact is that whether we are at the pumps or whether we are at the grocery store, our prices are going up. The government has absolutely no plan to help out ordinary Canadians. It has no strategy whatsoever to deal with the rising costs. It has no vision other than just untrammelled development of the tar sands, without any restrictions at all.

So, when it comes down to the gas prices, just whose side is the Prime Minister on anyway?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2007 the government brought in the elimination of subsidies for the oil sands that the previous government had put into place. The NDP opposed that. The government, in the last year, has cut taxes, raised the basic personal exemption, cut the lowest tax rate, and cut the GST for ordinary consumers and families. The NDP voted against that.

The government has also made clear that it will require carbon capture and storage for future oil sands development. The NDP was against that, too. So, whose side is the NDP on anyway?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister tried to distance himself from all blame for a $122,000 contract that did not follow Treasury Board guidelines and which his department told him should not be sole-sourced. He blamed his former chief of staff, who has since been promoted to a $200,000 job.

It sounds like the minister said this to his chief of staff, “Hire MacPhie but spare me the details”. Is that what happened?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. I know there is a hue and cry to hear the minister, but I cannot hear with all the noise.

The Minister of the Environment now has the floor. We will have some order.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let me tell members what was said in this place. That member unconditionally and falsely smeared the minister, smeared the minister's wife, and smeared the minister's family. If he can smear and recklessly attack innocent people, he can unconditionally apologize to this House, and apologize to the minister and his family.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the simple fact of the matter is that the finance minister will not answer me because I asked about his financial interests in a school which may have benefited from his budget. That is a perfectly legitimate question. So, will the minister simply rise and tell us why he broke the rules to help Hugh MacPhie?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party thinks it is perfectly acceptable to falsely and inaccurately smear individuals. The member from Markham should listen to one of his own constituents who wrote the government this: “I am pleased to lend our enthusiastic support to re-establish the Peterborough Rail Line which passes through the east end of Markham. This timely investment is crucial for the greater Toronto area”.

Who said that? Frank Scarpitti, the mayor of Markham.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Given the concerns, not of political partisans, but of national security experts, can the minister personally assure us that his particular situation is being reviewed independently and that it does not create any concerns or problems with respect to national security?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral 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 assured the House that the government would not put national security at risk. Notwithstanding the approach used by the hon. member, the reality is that this is an issue that has nothing to do with anything except for the prurient interest in people's private and personal lives.

That is not what politics is about, but it is what we have seen throughout and we will continue to see throughout question period: a Liberal Party that prefers smear to policy. It is very different than what the Liberal leader once said he would do. He once said, “I would be very pleased to see less personal attacks, less low politics”. Guess what? He is not following that direction, nor is his competitor for the leadership.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it would appear there are more ventriloquists over on the other side than there are on Sesame Street. I put a question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I received an answer from the government House leader, and I will ask my supplementary to the same minister.

The question about policy is this. It is not just a question of political partisanship. I see that the Prime Minister is giving him an answer. I will let the Prime Minister finish his briefing of the minister.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!