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House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was region.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the DFO has a mandate to protect fish and their habitat, but at least 16 Canadian lakes are about to be reclassified as toxic dump sites for mining companies. From B.C. to Newfoundland, these lakes are fish-bearing waters and it is illegal to put harmful substances in them, but the government is in the process of using a loophole in the law to allow mining companies to dump their toxic sludge in them.

Why are the Conservatives choosing to help the mining industry by giving it access to cheap waste disposal methods for its toxic waste?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in mining operations tailings are produced. Tailings can be stored on land or in water. It is much more responsible to store them in water.

Any damage done in relation to fish or fish habitat has to be mitigated where there is no net loss to either fish or fish habitat. There is a major environmental study done before any go ahead is given. Therefore, every aspect is covered before anyone can do any damage to the environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely nonsense.

The minister knows in his own province that DFO environmental assessment officers even said that they did not do a good enough job on Trout River Pond and hopefully they would do better in the future.

The Conservatives are giving those mining companies a huge subsidy by allowing them to use freshwater aquatic systems that are fish-bearing lakes as cheap waste disposal sites. What they should be doing is having independent linings and holes filled with water and put the tailings in those, free and clear of any natural water system.

Why is the government continuing to pander to the mining companies at the sake of fish and their habitat?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, what this government is really doing is seeing industry progress in the country to create jobs in the areas where they are badly needed. Any water that is damaged in any way, there has to be assurance that there is no net loss to either fish or fish habitat. Mitigation has to occur. It always occurs. When it does not occur, the company does not get a permit to move ahead with the operation.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

June 17th, 2008 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government's refusal to announce the reinstatement of the court challenges program immediately shows to what extent it has taken minority language communities hostage. Now, almost two years after eliminating the program, the government is still not being clear about when or even whether it will be reinstated.

Why is the minister putting partisan politics ahead of the interests of minority language communities?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, this is not about politics. Our government and the FCFA reached an out of court settlement that we are very proud of. All parties negotiated in good faith, and we agreed to respect the confidentiality terms.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is appalling to see how the government has taken linguistic minority communities hostage. Precisely because they are a minority, these communities need stability and predictability, without being subject to partisan threats.

Why is the government using linguistic minority communities for its own narrow political gains?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, in the throne speech last fall and in the latest budget, our government committed to releasing the second phase of the official languages action plan by the end of spring. As always, we will keep our promise.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, for years the court challenges program, established by previous Liberal governments, has helped all minority groups to have access to the courts to protect their rights. For example, the program has been very useful for the advancement of women's rights. Given the limited scope of the government's new court challenges pretend program, women's organizations would still be shut out.

Will the government commit to re-establishing a court challenges program to which all minorities would have access?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the confidentiality conditions governing this agreement will remain in place until further notice.

That being said, we made a clear commitment to women's groups: we announced additional funding for programs—a 76% increase to enable more Canadian women to achieve concrete goals.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

However, no access to the courts, Mr. Speaker. One of Canada's strengths has been the ability of all minorities to defend their rights. That is why the government should not be able to exclude minority groups from the court challenges program. The Conservative government is sending the message that in its Conservative eyes all minority groups are not equal. They are cherry-picking who can defend their rights and who cannot.

Why will the government not ensure that all Canadians can defend their rights and prevent problems rather than making mistakes and apologizing later?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned repeatedly, the terms of the agreement are still confidential. When we can make them public, we will.

That being said, our government has done so much for Canadians, whether they belong to minority groups or not. The Liberal Party is proposing a carbon tax that would hit all Canadians, including minorities.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, today in a letter, Quebec's minister of economic development spoke out against the disdainful remarks by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec about not-for-profit organizations. He wrote:

These are disrespectful words and insulting to a great many businesses, economic leaders, and men and women who contribute... to the growth of the Quebec economy.

Is the Prime Minister aware of the level of exasperation among Quebec's elected representatives and economic stakeholders, and will he reverse this bad decision by his minister and restore funding for these bodies?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 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, first of all I would point out to the hon. member that we are going to be continuing to fund organizations of an economic nature, but on a the basis of individual projects with clear timelines. Moreover, this decision provides us with some scope to intervene in all regions of Quebec.

I would remind hon. members that, as a result of the last budget, an additional $1.6 billion went to the Government of Quebec. We share a federalism of openness, and remedying the fiscal imbalance has freed up $242 million more for the Quebec minister.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bad decision by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec demonstrates his lack of understanding of the economic dynamic of Quebec. For example, the mandate of the Quebec Film and Television Council is to attract foreign productions here, through ongoing actions, not just one-shot efforts. Its tireless and efficient efforts have resulted in a doubled economic spinoff from film in Quebec between 2006 and 2007. It could end up closing as early as this fall, thanks to the minister's cuts.

Will the Prime Minister reverse this bad decision by his minister and will he restore the funding of the Quebec Film and Television Council in order to avoid its closure?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 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, I will say again, we are active in all regions of Quebec. Our budget has remained around the $200 million mark this year. There is even an additional $24 million over two years to enable us to develop the body of infrastructures around the cruise ship industry, which will be of great benefit to Quebec.

I would like to take a few moments to speak about the greater Montreal region. Do the words Ubisoft divertissement Inc. ring a bell with the hon. member? We contributed a repayable amount of $8 million out of a total $18 million project, which created 500 jobs in the greater Montreal region.

Human rightsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is stepping down at the end of the month. She has already been congratulated by people the world over for her courage and candour, but here, this Conservative government is remaining silent, humiliating Canada in front of the international community.

Is it true that the Prime Minister himself has asked that Canadian representatives say nothing?

Human rightsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Shame on her.

Human rightsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we congratulate the work of Louise Arbour. We very strongly support the United Nations in its pursuit of the protection of human rights and will continue to do so.

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the human resources committee heard from UK officials about their fuel poverty strategy. They say new taxes on the domestic use of fuel and power have an unacceptable social impact.

The groups adversely impacted by higher fuel taxes are people living on low incomes, the elderly, rural residents, and young, single women. They cautioned that Canada should look carefully at the winners and losers before pursuing such policies.

Can the Minister of Human Resources tell this House about the impact of a Liberal carbon tax on vulnerable members of Canadian society?

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, not only are the Liberals going to take away the universal child care benefit and plunge 24,000 Canadian families into poverty but they are going to raise the GST. Now they want to raise the price of gasoline, home heating fuel, natural gas and electricity.

It sounds to me like the Liberals are very confused. Instead of launching an attack on poverty, they are launching an attack on the poor. Shame on them.

Canadian Space IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, 40 days ago today, the government took the NDP's advice and rejected the sale of MDA. Now that we know Canadians can keep MDA, the next step is to protect the future of our space industry.

What steps has the Minister of Industry taken to protect the Canadian space industry's future contracts and the jobs of Canadian scientists and workers in the high-tech sector?

Canadian Space IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in the time since the MDA decision there has been a significant contract that was let specifically to MDA. It was a contract that related to the maintenance on the international space station, particularly the sliding arm, the Canadarm, and the apparatus on which it functions.

We will continue to work with MDA. MDA has been an extraordinary Canadian success story and we will continue to work with it in building this industry.

Canadian Space IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, re-announcements of already committed funding just does not cut it.

A recent study has painted a grim picture of Canada's space industry. Among the major problems are the fact that Canada is second to last among the G-8 in funding the space sector. There is a frozen budget and a revolving door of leadership at the Canadian Space Agency. There is the need for $1.5 billion of investment over the next five years to rebuild the space agency capabilities.

Will the Minister of Industry now act concretely and resolve these problems or will he jeopardize the future of a sector so important to our national identity and sovereignty? Will he act?

Canadian Space IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I will act and I have been acting. The Canadian Space Agency continues to be something that all Canadians and the government are extremely proud of.

If one wants a dose of pessimism, however, it always seems to come from the NDP. When I speak to Canadians who are working at the Canadian Space Agency or Canadians who are working in the industry at companies such as MDA, they are proud of what they have achieved. They are proud, for example, of the recent mission and the Canadian weather station on Mars. One only needs to look to the NDP to find depression.