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House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was canada's.

Topics

Nuclear EnergyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government was so busy leaking budget highlights that it forgot to let Canadians know about serious security issues at Chalk River. In December, there was a spill involving radioactive material at the nuclear facility. Why did the accident happen? What human health and environmental impact assessments were carried out, and why was the public not informed?

Nuclear EnergyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of Canadians is always our foremost concern. In fact, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and AECL, the operator, were on the ground working together during the stoppage of the NRU and, as well, they were working together during this incident at Chalk River. I have been informed that Chalk River has had no adverse effects on human health or the environment during this period of time. As I mentioned, CNSC was on site, and the communications were in place between AECL and CNSC. Regardless, I have asked for a written report on the incident and CNSC officials continue to work with AECL in these matters.

Nuclear EnergyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve the truth and transparency when it comes to nuclear safety and oversight, but they have a government that interferes with independent regulators and keeps them in the dark. The leak remains ongoing, with thousands of litres of low-level radioactive water being dumped into the Ottawa River.

What is being done to solve this and why was the public not informed?

Nuclear EnergyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as indicated already, at no time did any of the events that took place at Chalk River have an adverse effect on human health or the environment. The health and safety of Canadians is always our foremost concern.

The reactor at Chalk River continues to operate consistently and meets all safety regulations and security regulations. We continue to work with CNSC to ensure safety requirements at Chalk River labs continue today.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact that the environment was not mentioned even once in the Speech from the Throne shows just how little this government cares about climate change issues. One of the first things the Minister of the Environment did was defend the oil sands, thereby demonstrating his utter submission to the oil companies.

Can the government explain why the Speech from the Throne was silent on the subject of the environment despite the fact that the future of the economy is inextricably linked to the environment?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

January 27th, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we disagree. It is right there in black and white in our platform, and we have now made a commitment in this area. We will implement a North American cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollution, and we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. These major commitments represent more than any other party has done.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the minister says one thing one day and another the next. He needs to understand that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. Take, for example, the mayor of Rivière-du-Loup, who said that his city cannot be listed on the European carbon exchange without clear Canadian targets. As a result, the city's disposal site is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

How can the government fail to realize that, even at that level, the environment can be profitable?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. We are working on that issue with the United States. For example, the government has decided to harmonize its plan with the provinces, to adopt North American automobile fuel standards, and to introduce a regulatory system for greenhouse gas emissions for various industries.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's minister of culture is taking up the cause again and has stated that artists must recoup the money cut last year by the federal government in order to continue obtaining international exposure.

During his recent tour of Quebec, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages demonstrated that he is a good listener. However, can he confirm for us today that he is also very capable of taking action by announcing that he will restore the monies eliminated for international tours?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. She ought to know that our government will invest $21 million in our artists working internationally.

We will also invest $2.3 billion in our artists, the largest amount ever budgeted by the federal government. We are investing in our artists to add to the quality of life of Canadians in every region of our country. We are giving to artists. It is a real problem for the Bloc Québécois, because every time that we increase our investments, the Bloc Québécois votes against it.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is incapable of understanding the importance the Quebec nation sees in promoting its artists abroad.

The minister should perhaps think about using some of his energy to convince his colleagues to transfer to Quebec all responsibility for arts and culture, together with their budgets.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, this idea was presented to Quebeckers by Ms. Marois during the last provincial election campaign and Quebec rejected the proposal.

What Quebeckers and all Canadians want is a federal government that makes good investments for the arts and culture of our country. That is why, in each budget, our government has increased spending and investment related to arts and culture. This year, the amount is $2.3 billion and, in about one hour and twenty minutes, we will see that our government continues to support artists in our country.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, when 10,000 forestry workers lost their jobs in B.C., we asked the government to help. Instead, it prorogued Parliament. During that time more jobs were lost, 940 at Potash Corporation, 380 at Agrium, 400 at Teck Cominco, and the Conservatives still did nothing.

In yesterday's throne speech the government said that the present crisis is new. New to whom? Why did the government fail so completely to protect Canadian workers?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, during the past few weeks an unprecedented number of consultations have taken place with Canadian companies, Canadian workers and Canadian municipalities dealing with the issues associated with forestry, mining and other sectors that are affected by this economic recession.

I look forward very much to hearing from the Minister of Finance later today exactly what he will be offering to the forestry sector. I anticipate that the forestry sector will be very pleased, because we do care.

IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, two of Quebec's flagship manufacturers, Bombardier and Alcan, just laid off nearly 1,500 workers. The unemployment rate in Quebec has reached 7.3%.

Why did the government not take preventive action in its November economic update? Why did the Conservatives do nothing?

IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the facts are clear. We invested in the aerospace sector in the 2007 and 2008 budgets, and we will increase our investments in the current budget, I hope. I think the Minister of Finance recognizes this problem as a challenge to be addressed. If we work together, we can increase assistance to the aerospace sector and to other industries.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, in October we had an election during which the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance both assured Canadians repeatedly that the economy was doing wonderfully. The very next month, in November alone, over 70,000 Canadians lost their jobs. That same month the Conservative government's economic statement seemed to have missed that little fact and continued to pretend that all was well.

I ask the government, what are the real job loss forecasts that it is working with and what layoffs will this budget prevent?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for being able to get that question out.

Seriously, we are always troubled when Canadians lose their jobs. It is very serious and very important to this economy. What we talked about in the fall economic statement is just a reflection of the job losses that we may see in the future. We need to remember that since this government took power in January 2006, there are still over 190,000 net new jobs.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we all already know, this Conservative government has problems with facts and figures. I will try again with a very simple question, a precise question, that requires a simple and precise answer. By how much will this budget decrease the job losses already anticipated?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we heard an eloquent speech in the House yesterday that encouraged all hon. members to recognize there was one more sleep before the budget. I would love to be able to share what is in the budget, but if the hon. member goes back for a nap, there is one more nap before the finance minister delivers the budget.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the last few weeks we have heard from provincial premiers and municipal leaders across the country that increased spending toward infrastructure projects can provide a vital shot in the arm for our economy.

Would Canada's transport and infrastructure minister please tell the House what steps our government will be taking to make sure that construction on key projects can begin as soon as possible?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member for Newmarket—Aurora knows how loath I am to divulge any details that could be contained in the budget that will be presented in this place at four o'clock.

We have lots of rules and laws in place to stop bad things from happening, but we do not have enough rules in place to facilitate good things to happen. We came forward with a five-point action plan designed to speed up and encourage the creation of jobs, encourage the construction of roads, bridges and sewers right across the country. We brought that plan to Canada's 13 premiers and they all agreed to support that plan.

We are going to get on with creating jobs and providing hope and opportunity.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the previous government leaked parts of the budget, the current Prime Minister hit the roof. It was completely reprehensible; it threatened market stability. Yet the Prime Minister ordered a series of announcements in recent weeks totalling billions of dollars in spending, thereby breaching budget confidentiality.

Why threaten market stability? Why did he do the opposite of what he said? How can we trust this government?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of openness, there was an awful lot of numbers floating around and we felt that it was only appropriate to share some of those numbers.

Canadians are genuinely concerned about the economy. They are genuinely concerned about their future and about their jobs. It is highly disrespectful to Canadians to suggest that one is not even going to read the budget before one votes against it. That is what we are hearing from the leader of the NDP.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is the same gang that was telling people to call their MPs, telling them to vote for a budget that we had not even seen yet.

The shameless breach of budget confidentiality through leaked information and announcements is part of a strategy designed to manipulate public opinion. Today's newspapers are reporting that the Conservatives will cap interest rates on credit cards. Yet they laughed at that very idea when it was proposed here in the House. They said the only thing to do was to shop around for a credit card.

Did the government really change its mind? Is it going to cap interest rates? Can we trust this government?