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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.

Topics

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

October 8th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is having a great time with taxpayers' money. It is on a partisan advertising spending spree and the bill is going not to the Conservative Party but to Canadian taxpayers.

Government advertising has to be objective and informative, but that is not so here. On the contrary, they have spent tens of millions of dollars to toot their own horn for no apparent reason.

Using Canadians' money to try to win them over is not only immoral, it is illegal. Are they aware of that?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, advertising is a key way for the government to reach a large number of Canadians on important issues of public concern, such as H1N1, elder abuse, Canadian Forces recruitment and the home renovation tax credit.

We are not surprised that the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberals do not want Canadians to know about measures like the home renovation tax credit. After all, they voted against it in their relentless pursuit for an unnecessary, opportunistic election.

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite all of their efforts to avoid this, we are witnessing an unprecedented, massive taxpayer-paid, partisan, self-serving ad campaign that pats the government on the back. It is not only unethical, it is breaking the law, in fact several laws. This is an attempt by the Conservatives to buy Canadians with their own money, an awful lot of their own money.

We ask, when will it stop?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, that comes from the party that brought us the sponsorship scandal. What a turn of events.

This government has a long-standing commitment to communicate important services and benefits to Canadians. We will continue to live up to our responsibility, especially the global economic crisis.

Is the member opposite suggesting that Canadians do not deserve to know about measures like the home renovation tax credit?

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, all parties agreed to the creation of a public appointments commission to set standards for and oversee federal appointments. Four years later, there is no commission, no commissioner and more than $1 million wasted on a phantom office.

Over 3,000 appointments were made without scrutiny. In the last six weeks alone, 37 Conservative insiders, donors, bagmen, candidates and campaign workers have received lucrative government jobs.

How many more rewards does the Prime Minister intend to hand out to his Conservative flock?

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, this is the government that tried to bring in a public appointments commissioner but the Liberal Party shot it down. We are committed to accountability and transparency and we will continue to be committed to that.

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, only the government would expect a crony to stamp out cronyism. How ridiculous.

The Conservatives' constant cronyism is insulting to those who believed them when they promised to put an end to partisan appointments.

The Prime Minister promised a commission “to ensure that the selection of individuals is based on merit and is done in an open and transparent way”.

Four years later, there is still nothing, except for the appointment of 37 Conservative faithful.

How many Conservative cronies will get one of these rewards?

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to accountability and transparency and we will continue to be committed to that.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want individuals who are convicted of serious crimes to serve sentences that correspond to the seriousness of those crimes.

That is why our government introduced a truth in sentencing bill that will end the practice of giving “2 for 1” credit for time spent in pre-sentencing custody.

I know the Government of Quebec also believes very strongly in this. Can the Minister of Public Works and Government Services explain to the House what this bill is all about?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his excellent question.

As we know, the Liberal Party has always been soft on criminals. We saw this yesterday, as Liberal senators gutted our truth in sentencing bill.

This is a bill of great importance to all Canadians, yet it was taken hostage by the Liberals because of their own infighting.

It makes no sense, and I hope the Leader of the Opposition will see reason. When will he start defending victims?

They deserve better.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Federal Court of Canada has ruled that the Military Police Complaints Commission has the duty to investigate. Let us be clear. This is not a debate about legal niceties. This is about allegations of abuse, torture and extrajudicial killing.

Despite its rhetoric, the government is not following the court ruling. Instead of searching for answers, the government is blocking evidence and the minister is showing the chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission the door, telling him “to start your career planning as soon as possible”.

What is the government so desperate to hide?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, despite the wild-eyed, woolly-headed allegations of the not-so-New Democratic Party, we are co-operating with this commission. We have provided evidence and witnesses. We have complied with the Federal Court's ruling, which confirmed the mandate of the Military Police Complaints Commission.

We have co-operated at every stage. We intend this commission to continue to do its important work. I wish the hon. member would stop trying to undermine and confuse Canadians with allegations that in fact impugn the work of the Canadian Forces.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, glib answers are not acceptable. This is a disturbing pattern of cover-ups.

Despite the government's assertion that Omar Khadr is being treated fairly, Canadian press reports that muzzled foreign affairs officials have grave concerns. They say that Khadr is not getting a fair trial, that he does not have access to the evidence against him, that he has suffered long stretches in isolation, that he has severe sleep deprivation and that in his teens he was threatened with rape.

How long has the government known about these reports and just what else is the government covering up?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have repeated on many occasions, our position on this matter has not changed. Mr. Khadr still faces very serious charges. We are awaiting the due process in the United States to see what President Obama will say. Until that time, I have no further comments on this issue.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, with injustices toward Quebec increasing, the government's plan to reduce Quebec's political weight within Parliament is even more worrisome. In all, the federal government is shortchanging Quebec to the tune of $8 billion. This includes the $2.6 billion for harmonizing the sales tax, the $800 million for post-secondary education and the $1 billion in equalization.

What is the government waiting for to give Quebeckers the money that is rightfully theirs?

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. I have had good discussions with Quebec's finance minister on harmonization. We intend to continue those discussions.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government claimed to be different from the Liberals, but it is acting the same way. All the provinces have to be treated equally. There is no room for difference. That is what the Prime Minister himself said in connection with harmonizing taxes. For student assistance, as with Jean Chrétien's millennium scholarships, the current government is requiring Quebec to conform with the Canadian system.

Why is this government insisting on imposing its new bursary program on Quebeckers, who are calling for the unconditional right to opt out with full compensation?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have had constructive discussions with the Government of Quebec. I have had good discussions with the minister of finance in Quebec. Quebec signed an agreement some years ago with respect to sales taxes and now there is a desire to move toward harmonization as some other governments have chosen to do in Canada. I look forward to continuing the discussion.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, today the Liberals received a notice of motion supported by Bloc, NDP and Conservative members of the fisheries committee asking the government for more time to consider the revised NAFO treaty.

Even Conservative members of the committee said that the government's policy on the tabling of foreign treaties in Parliament needs to be changed by extending the 21 days of House consultations to 42 sitting days.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House if he is prepared to change his policy accordingly? Is this a realistic coalition request or is this just another one out of the Conservative Party playbook: delay, deny, deceive?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, our government fought hard for Canadians' interests at NAFO. If opposition members were serious about discussing the amended convention, they could have used some of their opposition time.

Nevertheless, those committee members who actually care about the impacts on Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and are not killing the stronger treaty for pure political opportunism, have requested more time. That is no problem.

The Liberals should stop playing games and stand up for the fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, that is not an answer from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. That is no answer at all.

What is troubling here is that NDP members are asking for more time. What is it that they need to know about this convention? What is more important is that Conservative members are about to vote against the policy established by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the House. They are about to vote non-confidence, not only of the policy but in the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Is the Minister of Foreign Affairs prepared to announce to the House that he will change his policy on the tabling of treaties before Parliament to allow a 42 day period for consultation? Is he or is he not?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, some reasonable members with no political agenda have expressed a desire to call additional witnesses before the fisheries committee. This is a reasonable request and we are reasonable people. Therefore, we will delay ratification for another few weeks so that the fisheries committee can hear from more stakeholders. That is reasonable.

The Liberal Party should start standing up for fishers in Atlantic Canada and Quebec even if it is unpopular in Toronto.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, according to a Conference Board of Canada report, Canadian companies are falling behind when it comes to developing emission reduction plans.

Why is Canada not a leader on alternative energy technologies and emission reductions?

The Nova Scotia government introduced hard caps this summer, and my premier, Darrell Dexter, is going to Copenhagen. Canadian premiers are filling the void left by the federal government.

When will the minister announce his long promised regulations and avoid embarrassment in Copenhagen?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of the hon. member, we now have a North American target that is comprised of minus 20% by 2020.

We must continue, as North Americans, to work with our North American partners toward those targets. That is why we have been making progress on tail pipe emissions, on aviation standards, on regulations surrounding carbon capture and storage, a smart grid for North American electricity, as well as a North American approach to cap and trade.

On the other hand, we have the Bloc, the Liberals and the NDP who are in this together. They would isolate us, damage the economy and endanger the environment as well.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government has misspent billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing the production of corn ethanol and offering rebates to folks buying E85 vehicles. It claimed that it would be cutting greenhouse gas emissions but now Canadians have learned from a briefing note to the minister herself that her own department does not even believe the spin.

With only 14 E85 stations, most Canadians would need to drive hundreds of kilometres just to fill up. These vehicles are being filled with regular old gasoline. Emissions continue to rise and taxpayers are being taken along for the ride.

Could the minister explain why the government continues to pour billions into a failed idea when its own officials are telling them it does not work?