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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, what it means is that there is a file somewhere and the Prime Minister should be aware of it because the former foreign affairs minister's spouse has a well documented past. Her previous partners included shady characters and criminal bikers. She was also linked to a prominent mobster who was under surveillance by the RCMP. She was interrogated for 15 hours by the Wolverine Unit, a joint RCMP and Sûreté du Québec task force.

She was well known to law enforcement, yet the Prime Minister is telling us that the RCMP and CSIS were asleep at the switch. How is it possible that they never informed him of any of this and of potential security risks?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 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 know that the hon. member has associated with people who have also been investigated and charged by the RCMP in the province of Quebec, and I am not going to get into his dating history here in the House of Commons.

We are focused on the important public policy questions and in that regard foreign affairs will conduct a review of the issue of security of documents which is the important question in this matter.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is asking us to believe two things that defy credibility. The first thing is that for a period of several months no one in the RCMP and no one in CSIS informed the Prime Minister about the security situation involving the former minister of foreign affairs and Madame Couillard. The second thing is that no one figured out that for seven weeks classified documents were missing. No one with any experience in either security or government can actually believe these two things are possible.

Can the minister or the Prime Minister, anyone who wants to answer the question, please tell us why they are stretching credibility to this extent?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, what is stretched is the credibility of the member for Toronto Centre, when he engages in righteous indignation over confidential information and disclosures. When he was the NDP premier of Ontario, he had eight cabinet ministers resign. He never had any public inquiries, even though several of them involved the disclosure of confidential information and violations of privacy law. He never saw fit to have a public inquiry. I guess he has changed his colours in more than one way since then.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Toronto Centre has the floor. The previous question and response are finished.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are two important things here. First, the government has led us to believe that in recent months the Prime Minister did not know anything about Ms. Couillard's past, and that no security officials had asked the government important questions. Second, we have been told that confidential documents were missing for seven weeks and no one knew.

The question remains about how much credibility this government has, and the minister is the one taking the hit for the government. How could the government have us believe two things that are completely unbelievable?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, the government is taking appropriate action in the circumstances, the kind of action he never took when he was NDP premier of Ontario. When his own communications director tried to disclose information to a reporter, confidential, private information about people's backgrounds, the reporter rejected it.

That fellow was asked to resign by the premier, to his credit at that time. He was an NDP premier. But he said there was no public inquiry required. Today he speaks a different tune. I guess that is why he said in 1979:

I will not engage in the kind of hypocritical criticism which we have heard from the government in exile, the Liberal party.

He is working hard to become one of those hypocritical Liberals.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the cap and trade system presented by Quebec City and Queen's Park uses a 1990 baseline for emission levels. This means that the aluminum smelters and pulp and paper mills in Quebec that have already reduced their greenhouse gas emissions will see their efforts recognized. Without this, all of the efforts made by industry between 1990 and 2005 are for naught.

Will the Minister of the Environment admit that by choosing 2006 as the base year, he is directly penalizing Quebec companies solely to spare the big oil companies?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, some people want to look backwards as to what might have happened since 1990. We believe that climate change, dangerous climate change, is having a terrible effect on our environment and what that requires us to do is to actually reduce harmful greenhouse gases in the future. We are trying to build a better world, a better planet. We are going to look forward, not backward.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that national targets are mandatory and that provinces cannot avoid these targets.

Given that Quebec and Ontario's plan is far superior to the federal plan, will the Minister of the Environment rewrite his made-in-Alberta plan and adopt a territorial approach so that they can move ahead with this?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we will certainly look toward a plan that will allow us to look toward the future. What we will not do is follow the Liberal Party of Canada. I read a few interesting quotes from the Toronto Star that members will be very interested in. It said:

Imposing a new carbon tax on fuels and other products is not the best way to combat climate change.

Do we know who said that? My friend Dalton McGuinty.

Federal Spending PowerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative proposal to limit the federal spending power to new shared-cost programs is a pointless exercise, because there are hardly any such programs. Quebec wants to be able to opt out of any federal initiative, new or old, shared-cost or not, with no strings attached and with full compensation.

Will the Conservative government keep its promise and give Quebec the answer it wants?

Federal Spending PowerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, since coming to power, this government has respected provincial jurisdiction. This government respects provincial jurisdiction.

I invite members of the Bloc Québécois to give me one example of this government not keeping a promise to the Province of Quebec and other provinces with respect to their jurisdiction.

Federal Spending PowerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the Conservative government is afraid that there might be an outcry in Quebec if it gives Quebec what it wants. It is really sad to see ministers from Quebec, such as the Minister of Transport, sacrifice their beliefs and ignore Quebec's interests to bow down to Canada's interests.

Is that what is really going on with Conservative members from Quebec: is it Canada's way or the highway?

Federal Spending PowerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois' enthusiasm for reforming the Canadian federation is impressive indeed. A few weeks ago, the Bloc Québécois leader was in Quebec City to inspect the sprinkler system at the armoury. He wanted us to fix it.

Also, several weeks ago, the Bloc Québécois leader demanded that Canada be fully bilingual and Quebec, unilingual francophone. Now the Bloc Québécois leader has made yet another senseless demand.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's so-called climate change plan has been called a fraud by every economist, environmentalist and scientist who has analyzed it.

However, when Ontario and Quebec work together, take action and come up with a plan, what does the minister do? He attacks it and calls it a rogue initiative. The minister has failed to do anything to ensure emissions are actually reduced.

When is he going to quit attacking his provincial colleagues for taking action and come to the table with an aggressive national climate change plan?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we have a forward-looking plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an absolute 20% for the first time ever in Canada. Big industry will have to get aboard and do its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Premiers are prepared and are certainly welcome to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in any way, shape or form they like. However, one thing we will not allow them to do is to opt out of a tough national plan for absolute greenhouse gas reduction. We will not allow our plan to be watered down.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we should start by taxing the minister's hot air.

The government goes on the attack when it is caught doing nothing on the economy, democratic reform or climate change. We have the Minister of Finance telling people not to invest in Ontario and the House leader calling Ontario's premier the small man of Confederation. Now the environment minister is attacking Ontario and Quebec for doing something that he has failed to do, which is to take concrete action in spite of all of his bluff and thunder.

When will the government stop discrediting premiers who believe it is their responsibility to be part of the solution?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, far from it. I reject the premise of the member's question. Yesterday I stood in this place, as I did just five minutes ago, to defend my premier and his vision on how we fight climate change.

My premier, D. McGuinty, the provincial Liberal member for Ottawa South, believes that a carbon tax is wrong for Ontario, that it is bad, and I agree. That is why we are going to force the big polluters to clean up their act and we are not going to go after seniors living on fixed incomes.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that British Columbia's carbon tax plan was consistent with the Conservative plan.

It is not very often that the Canadian government sends the two biggest provinces packing. Yet that is what the Minister of the Environment is doing by attacking Ontario and Quebec for their joint plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Is it too much for his pride to see Premier Charest and Premier McGuinty succeed where he has failed, that is, in putting forward a viable plan for the environment?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we remain committed that the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to follow the “Turning the Corner” plan, which last year required big corporations to reduce their emissions by 6%, this year by a further 6% and next year by a further 6%.

The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada wrote in the Edmonton Journal last year, “I promise you I will not bring in a carbon tax”. Now he is breaking faith with the people of Canada and doing what Liberals do, which is they love to raise taxes.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have just two words to say to him: income trusts.

The Minister of the Environment should admit that it is his government's lack of vision that is forcing the provinces to do his job for him.

Will the minister admit that his so-called pale green plan is inconsistent with international consensus? Does he not realize, as Premier Charest does, that it is better to lead the way rather than lag behind the international community?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do agree with Premier Charest. I wish governments at the national level in the country had taken action. Thank goodness, we have a government that is taking action.

We are taking action to force the big polluters to clean up their acts. We are taking action by setting up a national emissions standard, the first legally binding emission standard for automobiles in Canadian history.

When the history of our country is written, people will look at two things: the rhetoric of the Liberal Party opposite, which accomplished nothing, and they will look at the real action by those of us on this side of the House, who delivered.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

June 3rd, 2008 / 2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberal leader does not repay the loans he received during his leadership race by the end of today, those loans will become illegal donations.

If the Liberal leader cannot manage his own finances, how does he ever expect to manage the finances of the country? Canadians know exactly who will be pulling the Liberal leader's strings if he does not repay these elite and powerful favoured few.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Board President tell us what the government is doing to provide against and crack down on these illegal donations?