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House of Commons Hansard #87 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was income.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate this member on his interest, particularly in children's health. He is absolutely right. Once again Canada is taking real leadership with the strong efforts of the Minister of Health and the many scientists at Environment Canada and Health Canada. Canada is providing real leadership.

We were excited to see, south of the border, Senator Hillary Clinton announce that she would co-sponsor a bill to follow up the action of the Conservative government here in Canada. We are excited about this initiative and are looking forward to continuing to get the job done.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, last week, it was reinforced just what an environmental disaster the tar sands are. At least 500 ducks were killed when they landed in the toxic sludge of a Syncrude tailing pond.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that he would look into the killing of these ducks. More study was the answer people along the Athabasca-Mackenzie watershed heard from the Liberals. Action to deal with all the environmental damage caused by the tar sands is needed now.

When will the Conservative government take action to prevent more damage from the out of control development of the tar sands?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we are tremendously concerned about the effect on wildlife and the incident that took place outside of Fort McMurray.

Environment Canada officials and enforcement officers, together with the representatives from the Canadian Wildlife Service, are on the scene and are conducting an investigation. If charges are to be laid they will lay them.

We will bring those responsible for environmental crimes to justice. That is why we got such a big increase in the budget for environmental enforcement, an increase, I would remind the member, that he voted against.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, we are not just talking about the death of 100 ducks, but the damage being done to the water, air and earth of northern Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories from this out of control development.

Thousands of people, many aboriginal, who call this part of Canada home are suffering because of the environmental damage of the tar sands. The welfare of aboriginal people and transboundary pollution are federal responsibilities.

The government's plan has been to let the companies police themselves, a plan for disaster if I have ever heard of one.

When will the Conservatives shoulder their responsibility—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I do know that the member supports the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, which is very interesting given his comments, to help flow petroleum products to market.

We reject the Liberal approach, which is nothing on air quality in the oil sands and nothing on global warming. The only thing the previous government did for the oil sands is give them a big fat tax break.

When this government wanted to rescind it, that member of the NDP voted against it. I say shame on him and shame on the Liberal Party.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are reports that Canadian military personnel are engaged in talks with the Taliban. The government, however, denies this. Yet, Afghan government officials, including the head of the Kandahar provincial council, contradict Canadian ministers. They praise this initiative, even characterizing it as a Canadian decision.

Will the government, in the interests of transparency and principle, account for its denial in the face of Afghan confirmation, not just media reports, of the Canadian military having discussion with the Taliban?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the decision to engage the Taliban was made by the government of Afghanistan. Canada does not interfere with what the government of Afghanistan does.

We will support the government of Afghanistan in any kind of reconciliation effort that can bring peace to the region and that will renounce the violence. Therefore, we will continue to support the government of Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not an answer. The head of the Kandahar provincial council, Ahmed Wali Karzai, yesterday confirmed the Canadian government's decision to talk with the Taliban. He said, “I support the Canadian decision. I believe it is a good approach.”

The ministers of Canada's government are saying that there are no talks, but the Afghans confirm that there are. What is the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, for any decision made in engaging with anybody, it is the Government of Canada that will make the decision. However, as I have said, and I will repeat it again, it is the responsibility and the prerogative of the Afghan government to negotiate with its citizens, including the members of the Taliban. For any reconciliation process that will bring peace to the region, they can count on Canada's support.

Canada Border Services AgencyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, small cities across the country are experiencing serious customs staffing shortages at local airports. Penticton, Fredericton, Prince George, Moncton, Regina, Terrace and Mont-Tremblant are losing out because the public safety minister cannot be trusted to make sound airport staffing policy. He seems to be in a daze.

The minister's reaction is symptomatic of Conservative blindness to the economic needs of smaller cities. Can the minister explain why his customs policy does not give our smaller cities even a chance?

Canada Border Services AgencyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, CBSA officials have been tasked with advancing the file on addressing the issue. They have conducted a core services review to establish a service delivery approach that is fair, transparent and flexible. Options are currently being discussed.

Canada Border Services AgencyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

What is transparent, Mr. Speaker, is that there is no plan to distribute budgeted money fairly to airports across the country. But fairness is not the government's strong suit. It has cherry-picked some small airports to be open 24 hours. Meanwhile, others are losing out on contracts with air carriers that need to operate beyond the nine to five hours set out by the empire of CBSA.

Why is the minister determined to separate the A cities from the B cities?

Canada Border Services AgencyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as I previously noted, we recognize the importance of this issue in terms of national security as well as economic prosperity.

CBSA has conducted its review of core services at the request of the minister and options are being developed. Decisions to provide CBSA services take into account security, service to the public and the government's fiscal responsibilities.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government's inaction when it comes to setting reciprocal standards for specified risk materials, SRMs, with the United States, has forced another slaughterhouse to close its doors, this time in Ontario.

Is the minister's goal to force the closure of every slaughterhouse in eastern Canada, or will he resolve this situation before he single-handedly provokes another crisis for beef producers?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. It is grandstanding.

My colleague knows full well that the minister is working on this. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been directed to harmonize the SRM policies with U.S. regulations. Progress has already been made. Policies on the buildings and on the water used for cleaning have already been harmonized. If the hon. member was unaware of this, then he is learning it from me. These are significant gains for the industry.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Levinoff-Colbex slaughterhouse in Saint-Cyrille-de-Wendover, Québec, is the only major slaughterhouse in eastern Canada.

The federal government refused to give producers money in 2006 to help them get organized. Will the government finally acknowledge that it made a mistake and help Colbex absorb the costs of the new rules on SRMs, or will it simply allow that slaughterhouse to close as well?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, in the Levinoff matter, it is very interesting to see that the producers want to reinvest in it.

What is even more interesting, and what I would like to say to my colleague, is that the last budget included an additional $3.3 billion in funding for people in the livestock industry. That money is now in circulation to help people, in addition to the $50 million for hog producers who are in crisis.

What are they doing? Not only have they been absent, but they voted against the budget. Let them tell the producers that and see how they feel about it.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is mired in controversy. Let me remind the government that it has been eight weeks since the Prime Minister promised Canadians that he would get to the bottom of the NAFTA-gate leaks, leaks that implicate his inner circle.

It has been eight weeks and counting. Where is the report? My question is very simple: why does it take the Prime Minister eight weeks to ask Ian Brodie what he said?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is aware from previous questions asked in the House, the matter has been taken up by the Clerk of the Privy Council to undertake an investigation. It is not being run by the Prime Minister but by the Clerk of the Privy Council to ensure that it is fully independent and thorough.

We will await his response on it, because it is important that we have positive relations with the United States. It is important that our trading partnership remain strong. It has been very beneficial for Canada and it has been very beneficial for the United States as well. We will continue to stand up for the benefits it represents for both countries.

New Brunswick FloodingOral Questions

May 2nd, 2008 / 11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the last several days New Brunswickers living along the Saint John River have been under siege by the rising flood waters. Also, Canadians know that the tax filing date is April 30. Some of these folks living along this river in New Brunswick may have been unable to file their taxes in time because of flood preparations and safety precautions.

I would like to know if the government has any plans to help these people who have been affected by the flooding.

New Brunswick FloodingOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, our government has been monitoring the situation very closely. In fact, the Prime Minister will be in New Brunswick this afternoon to meet with residents and view the flood damage.

Further, the Minister of National Revenue has instructed the CRA to apply taxpayer relief provisions for New Brunswickers who may have missed the tax filing deadline. Our government understands the stress and fears those affected by the flood are experiencing while they are dealing with the evacuation of their families, businesses and communities.

We will stand with New Brunswickers in their time of need.

Firefighters MemorialOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, all men and women are created equal, and then some become firefighters. The day a person becomes a firefighter, he or she becomes a hero in my books.

Today the leader of the NDP is speaking to Toronto's firefighters, but he has the sad duty to report to them that despite a vote in the House of Commons over a year ago to approve a firefighters memorial, the government has failed to erect this memorial to Canada's heroes.

I ask the government: when will the firefighters memorial finally be built as specifically instructed by the House of Commons? A grateful nation wants to honour its heroes.

Firefighters MemorialOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is a government that very strongly supports our emergency first responders: our police, our firefighters, our EMS workers. We have done a number of things to ensure their roles are respected by the government.

We have done it in areas such as law enforcement, where we have brought in very important legislative changes involving the Tackling Violent Crime Act to back up our police. We have also been looking very seriously at the question of how we can support and assist our firefighters more.

We appreciate the commitments that we make, we respect the commitments that we make, and of course we are deeply saddened, as is every member of Parliament, when a firefighter is lost in service.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, gas prices in Hamilton hit a record high this week while Petro-Canada was announcing a $1.1 billion first quarter profit for 2008. What a slap in the face for consumers.

Lower income families in Hamilton are falling farther and farther behind. How will seniors pay for gas, eat healthily and afford their expensive prescriptions?

The Conservatives and the Liberals before them continually supported big corporations, banks and the oil companies. When will the government start truly supporting working families in their time of crisis?