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House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offenders.

Topics

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, is that a member of the Liberal Party talking about Conservatives using taxpayers' dollars as their own? We remember the days when the Liberal Party was forced to write cheques back to the taxpayer after the money was stolen from the taxpayer. Those days are over. We did get a $1 million cheque from the Liberal Party to compensate for some of the money they stole. With $1 million down, we just need an extra $39 billion from the Grits to get the job done.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is rich. Every single promise the government has made about infrastructure spending has been broken. When the Minister of Industry is treating the G8 summit as a political slush fund opportunity, he is now also harming Canadian students. The minister is shortchanging the majority of students who live in opposition ridings by over $400 per student, a total of $250 million less for better buildings and resources.

Can the minister explain to Canadian students and their parents why they are being so mistreated by the government?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, does he forget the Minister of Industry would have to plead guilty he is disproportionately spending funds for colleges and universities in ridings where there are colleges and universities?

Let us look at what one university president said. “The University of Ottawa applauds the governments of Canada and Ontario for this most important and significant capital funding contribution”, said Allan Rock, president of the University of Ottawa. “The federal and provincial governments have demonstrated real foresight and prudence”.

Thank goodness we have hard-working university presidents like Alan Rock working with the Minister of Industry.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are beginning to recognize and expect this smugness. The Minister of Industry assigned 74% more dollars to Conservative areas in British Columbia and 102% more dollars to Conservative areas in Ontario. Nine out of the top ten institutions getting up to $40,000 a student are in ridings held by the Conservative Party. At the same time, students in Canada's research universities are getting less than their share just because they happen to be in opposition areas.

Is there any point at which the government is going to stop putting the Conservative Party first and the country second?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I almost wonder whether the member for Parkdale—High Park is not writing some sort of enemies list. Who are the people against him, Dalton McGuinty, George Smitherman, Alan Rock? In the province of Manitoba, I am told, even Lloyd Axworthy received a grant for the University of Winnipeg.

I ask the member opposite, does the Minister of Industry ever stop doing the right thing?

Federal Bridge CorporationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the case of the contract awarded to a corporation that employs Senator Housakos, the government claims that all the rules were followed. What the government forgot to say is that things were set in motion to stack the deck before the contract was awarded. By controlling appointments to the Bridge Corporation, the government controls the contract process.

How can the Conservative minister condone the fact that Conservative members awarded contracts to the Conservative senator's company at Conservative cocktail parties?

Federal Bridge CorporationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if the Bloc Québécois member has specific allegations to make I encourage her to put all the facts before this House and then repeat them outside. I have never heard opposition members repeat their allegations outside the House. There is surely a reason for that.

Federal Bridge CorporationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we have to repeat them somewhere else, we will.

Conservative Senator Leo Housakos is a key player in this matter. He was the one who organized the fundraising cocktail party that brought together ministers, engineering firms, and those responsible for awarding contracts.

If the contract was awarded according to the highest ethical standards, as the government claims, can the minister tell us if Senator Housakos received a commission?

Federal Bridge CorporationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it was this government and this Prime Minister who reformed the system for financing election campaigns. It was this Prime Minister and this government who eliminated all corporate donations and all union donations and lowered the amount that individuals can donate to political parties from $5,000 to $1,000.

I say to the member opposite that if she has any specific facts, she should put them before the House. The fact that she does not suggests that there are none.

EqualizationOral Questions

October 29th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, first we lose $1 billion because of the cap on equalization, and now we learn that the economic downturn in Ontario will cost the Government of Quebec another $225 million. And the 10 Conservative members from Quebec just subserviently go along with it all.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that the cap he unilaterally put on the equalization formula was designed to benefit Ontario at the expense of Quebec?

EqualizationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

As usual, equalization payments for 2010-11 will be determined in December using the formula provided for in the legislation. The total equalization payments should increase in 2010-11.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, like Jean Chrétien's government, the Conservative government is once again encroaching in the post-secondary education sector by insisting on imposing a grants program that does not take students' needs into account.

This government claims that it respects the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces, so why is it so bent on imposing its grants program on Quebec students when Quebec maintains its right to opt out unconditionally with full compensation?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, of course there are differences. In Quebec, it was about agreements between the federal government and the Government of Quebec. There are always exceptions and that is how it works. This government implemented a new grants program.

This is a grant for Canadian students that is going to help low and middle income students to an unprecedented degree so that they can get the post-secondary education that they need, want and deserve.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, Senator Housakos' employer has a very productive vice-president of business development.

What role did he play in the awarding of a contract by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to his employer? What about the contract his employer received from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada?

We know that Senator Housakos and the Prime Minister's advisor, Dimitri Soudas, are very interested in the defence industry.

Did they have something to do with DND's awarding of a contract to Senator Housakos' employer?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have seen fishing. That was a fishing trawler, a bottom trawler others would say.

Here are the facts. The member opposite is not prepared to make any specific allegations against the individual in question outside the House. He is not prepared to put any facts of disrepute before the House.

What he is doing is providing innuendo and speculation. The Liberal Party members once had great ideas for this country. They offered bold visions and now all they do is throw mud. That is a big disappointment to most Canadians.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just named three government departments that recently awarded contracts to Senator Housakos' employer. I forgot one: the Canadian International Development Agency. It appears that Senator Housakos is quite versatile.

We knew that Senator Housakos' employer was awarded a contract for the work on the Champlain Bridge. What role did Senator Housakos play in the awarding of a contract recently by the Federal Bridge Corporation for the work on the Mercier Bridge?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Again, another question that if there was a label on it, Mr. Speaker, it would say “fact free”.

The reality is the member opposite has no specific allegations he is prepared to make against the member outside of this place. It is fear. It is innuendo. It is politics of the worst kind.

Canadians want a government to fight the H1N1 crisis. They want a government to create jobs. They want a government that will focus on their needs. That is exactly what the government and the Prime Minister are doing.

Crown CorporationsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently I requested a meeting with officials from a crown corporation, namely Canada Post. To my surprise, a staff member from the office of the Minister of State for Transport tried to crash my private meeting. Consequently, the minister would not allow the crown corporation, Canada Post, to meet with me without his micro-management.

Is it the practice for the Conservative political staffers to attend private meetings of crown corporations?

Crown CorporationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I recall that I actually chatted with the member with regard to any information she would like about any crown corporation, not just Canada Post, and she is welcome to that. She is absolutely welcome to come to my office or to have it at any room in this place. Not only for that individual but for any of the opposition members, we would be more than obliged.

Crown CorporationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, crown corporations are supposed to operate at arm's-length from the government, but the Conservatives will not let crown corporations like Canada Post meet with an MP without overriding political control. However, we are supposed to believe that they have allowed the Federal Bridges Corporation, another crown corporation, to operate at arm's-length. The Conservatives cannot have it both ways.

When will the government admit there is nothing arm's-length about Senator Housakos, those Conservatives and the Federal Bridges Corporation?

Crown CorporationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

What is very clear, Mr. Speaker, is the member opposite wanted a meeting with a crown corporation. The meeting was offered to her. We offered to put everything on the table so she could get a briefing for her new role as critic for crown corporations, and I want to congratulate her on that promotion.

With respect to her comments and Senator Housakos, is it not interesting that she is once again asking a question that is fact free?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to tackling gangs and organized crime. Auto theft significantly impacts Canadians, both individuals and businesses, with an estimated cost of more than $1 billion per year. While Canadians suffer the financial and emotional impact from this criminal activity, organized crime profits.

Could the President of the Treasury Board tell the House why the government's legislation to combat auto theft and property crime is so important?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his hard work.

The best way to fight gangs and organized crime is to disrupt the criminal enterprises on which they depend. Our government legislation, Bill C-26, which has been held up in the Senate for four months, would do just that.

Our legislation would add new penalties in the area of property theft and, more specifically, the serious crime of auto theft. This would have a positive impact on my home province of Manitoba and right across Canada. Why are the Liberal senators holding it up?

Canada Pension PlanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, provincial governments are considering establishing parallel programs for the Canada pension plan because of its current inadequacies. The CPP is the least expensive and safest retirement savings plan available to Canadians. Unfortunately, it limits the contributions that individuals can make and offers a maximum $11,000 a year in retirement benefits. It is simply not meeting the needs of hard-working Canadians who are concerned about surviving their retirement.

Will the government take the lead and work with its provincial counterparts to make it the reliable and affordable savings plan that the CPP ought to be?

Canada Pension PlanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

We have been doing just that, Mr. Speaker. We have been working with the provinces and territories since last December on the pension issues.

I thank the member opposite, her party and the finance critic for the NDP who said, “We're all agreed that on pensions we're on the right track and we're getting an important report in December”. That is true. We are getting an important report, in co-operation with the provinces and the territories, unlike the Liberal opposition, which has the position that it actually does not have a policy on pension reform, according to the member for Markham—Unionville.