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House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am excited to work with my friend Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario. Dalton McGuinty and I do not agree on many things but the one thing we are prepared to work on in common cause is to help defeat the carbon tax being proposed by the Liberal Party and our friends opposite. Canadians cannot afford to pay more for their tax, more for home heating fuel and more for their electricity.

I will work with Dalton McGuinty to defeat the Liberal carbon tax plan any time, any place, any day of the week.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister let his Minister of the Environment distort reality on something as key as climate change. This is what the Prime Minister said about the British Columbia plan, “contrary to some commentary, the national plan and British Columbia's plan complement each other”.

Will the Prime Minister stop distorting reality and come up with a real plan to fight climate change in Canada?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to sit back years from now and wonder what might have been, like the leader of the Liberal Party. We have a plan to cut, in absolute terms, our greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are causing dangerous climate change.

We are going to force the big polluters to clean up their act. Going after the big polluters will be central to our plan to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, instead of going after those seniors living on fixed incomes and the middle class, as the Liberal Party is so keen to do.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of trust and judgment, trust in the Minister of Finance and in the government.

Just two weeks ago this minister incorrectly stated that the economy was still growing: “Our economy continues to grow and to grow in all regions of Canada.” However, the truth of the matter is that the Canadian economy, the GDP, shrank during the first quarter.

How can Canadians trust this minister and this government when it comes to the economy?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know full well they cannot trust the Liberals, who want to impose a carbon tax, who want to increase the price of gasoline, who want to increase the price of home heating fuel and electricity, and particularly put this burden on those Canadians with fixed incomes who can least afford that kind of tax burden.

The Canadian economy is strong. The economic fundamentals in the Canadian economy are strong. The member should stand up and support the economy in this country.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite the finance minister's effort to avoid the question and the fact that he has it backwards, in the first quarter of this year, the U.S. economy actually grew and Canada's shrank.

I will remind the finance minister that two quarters of shrinkage make a recession. Canada's economy is not okay. According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence has plummeted.

How can we trust anything the minister or the government says or does about the Canadian economy?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is regrettable to see a new member of Parliament so pessimistic about our country.

We have 120,000 new jobs, more than 19,000 new jobs in the month of April alone. The labour picture in Canada is strong. It is strong all across Canada. When I met with the finance ministers on Thursday and Friday, I heard about labour shortages from coast to coast in Canada.

The economy is strong. It will get stronger as we go forward. The economic fundamentals are strong in Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, environmentalists, the business community and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec are all calling for the same thing: a carbon exchange based on fixed targets, with 1990 as the reference year. They are unanimously criticizing the Conservative plan, and Jean Charest is even asking Ottawa to change its approach.

Rather than attacking Quebec and Ontario, will the minister immediately respond favourably to their call?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear for the past year: we support fixed targets for greenhouse gases reductions.

Last year we were very proud to announce our plan of action to regulate major polluters. We were also pleased to announce, on March 10, the details of our plan. And we were very pleased, following the announcement of the details of our plan, that the carbon exchange opened on Friday in Montreal. I am very proud to have been invited to speak at that event.

We are taking action and we are finding real solutions for the environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister is turning a deaf ear to the requests and warnings from Luc Bertrand of the Montreal Exchange, who criticized the federal minister last Friday. The minister should listen to what the Exchange is saying.

The Conservatives are against the joint plan of Quebec and Ontario to implement an interprovincial greenhouse gas credit exchange. To the two premiers who speak on behalf of the fourth largest economy in North America and 60% of the Canadian economy, the federal Minister of the Environment said it would interfere with his party's green plan. That is totally absurd.

Will the minister of pollution stand up and tell us whether this plan was drafted by the oil companies?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we were very pleased to announce a plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 20%, which is a fixed target. If the provinces want to take additional measures, that is their right, but I have to be very clear that our targets are fixed. They are fixed in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

We have found real solutions for our environment. This is the first time in Canadian history that we have a government with a real plan of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Federal Spending PowerOral Questions

June 2nd, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec has indicated that it disagrees strongly with the Conservative approach and with the bill the federal government has concocted to limit the federal spending power in the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces, because it resembles the agreement on social union that Quebec refused to sign in 1999.

Will the government admit that the only bill that could be acceptable would be one with the unconditional right to opt out, with full financial compensation, of any federal program that interferes in Quebec's areas of jurisdiction?

Federal Spending PowerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, we do not need any lectures from anyone in this House to deliver the goods or keep our promises. We have made commitments and will honour them. In fact, we have already begun to do so.

In budget 2008, we reformed the millennium scholarships, which everyone condemned and which had been invented by our centralizing Liberal predecessors. Now, there is a new program, which Quebec can opt out of. We respect provincial jurisdictions. We want federalism to work. We are giving Quebeckers and Canadians open federalism.

Federal Spending PowerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the Secretary of State (Agriculture) that I was talking about the position of the Government of Quebec.

Regarding the prospective bill on the federal spending power in the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces, it is easier now to understand what the Minister of Labour meant when he said that no one should be expected to do the impossible. This is not impossible, but the Conservatives do not want to do it.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his government has broken another promise?

Federal Spending PowerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that a party that wants to separate Quebec from the rest of Canada will grasp at anything to minimize the Conservative government's outstanding record of achievements. We have kept our promises, and not many governments have kept their word as much as we have.

Who gave Quebec a seat at UNESCO? Who corrected the fiscal imbalance? Who is going to address spending power? The Conservative government. Certainly not the Bloc Québécois, which has never kept a single promise here in the House of Commons.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, why do I feel I am listening to an audition?

My question is for the--

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. We have to be able to hear the audition. The hon. member for Toronto Centre has the floor and we will have some order.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only problem with the review asked for by the former minister of foreign affairs is that we do not know who will do it, we do not know what questions will be asked, and we do not know which people will be asked questions.

My question quite simply is, how can the government possibly justify a process that is clearly designed to do only two things: to help a minister who had to resign and to help a government which is clearly avoiding its responsibilities?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 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 thank the hon. member for his audition before this House. I know that on his previous audition the voters of Ontario watched for five years and then took a pass.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

I have heard worse from better people, Mr. Speaker.

Perhaps I could ask the same question in French, since he is clearly having problems in English.

The only problem with the review that has been announced, regarding the former minister who had to resign over the issue of classified documents, is that we do not know who will do it, we do not know what questions will be asked and we do not know who will be asked questions. How can the minister justify such a process?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 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, it is obviously logical for foreign affairs to examine the processes it has in place for dealing with documents in this fashion. Since it is the department's processes, that is the best place to do it and that is why it is there to do that job. We think that review will be a full and thorough one and we look forward to its results.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday afternoon, Ms. Couillard returned the secret documents to the government. The documents had been left at her house by the former foreign affairs minister. Yet at noon the next day, we heard the Prime Minister say once again that he was not taking this matter seriously. How could he say that when his government had already known for nearly 24 hours that documents had been left at Ms. Couillard's house? Why was he still trying to cover up this matter the next day?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 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, the facts are quite simple here, even if the hon. member has difficulty appreciating what they are. The facts are that the government became aware and the Prime Minister became aware of the problem that the documents had been left in an unsecured place on Monday afternoon. At that time the minister tendered his resignation, recognizing that he was in error and taking responsibility for it. That resignation was accepted.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, we got two different versions from the only two statements the ex-foreign affairs minister has made. In one version he said he informed the Prime Minister on Monday; in the other version he said it was Sunday.

The government cannot have it both ways. Either the Conservatives want us to believe that all of the senior officials kept it from the Prime Minister for over 24 hours, or they are trying to cover something up. Either way, it stinks. Which is it?