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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, the government is fixated on rewarding Conservative loyalty. The minister's answer and the ongoing political patronage saga is indeed an insult to Canadians who took the Conservatives at their word to abolish this type of behaviour.

Where is this public appointments commission they promised that would set standards for federal cabinet appointments? There were 37 Conservative appointments in just six weeks.

It has been almost four years. When will the Conservatives practise what they used to preach? Do it now.

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I categorically reject, not only the premise but also the substance of the hon. member's question.

All appointments by this government are subject to rigorous scrutiny. The appointments in question went to extremely qualified candidates. Our appointment process is open, transparent and competency based.

The government will continue to appoint individuals based on merit.

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, at least I wrote my own question.

The Conservatives' message to Canadians is that if they want help from the government, they had better be a card-carrying Conservative.

How about awarding postings to four Conservative insiders last month, including two to the Toronto Port Authority board. Who did that? It was the Minister of Transport who did that.

Might the Minister of Transport explain why his colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, is currently under investigation for organizing a Conservative fundraiser straight out of the Toronto Port Authority head office?

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, it was our government that actually brought in the changes. We brought in the arm's length powers under the Accountability Act to be able to have agencies investigate such matters.

It just so happens that the Minister of Natural Resources has told me that she has received correspondence from the Ethics Commissioner and that correspondence has cleared her of all allegations.

PensionsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, a couple of days ago I met with Joe and Marlene. Joe had worked for Nortel for over 20 years. He contributed to his pension plan and now, because his company has gone bankrupt, that pension has been gutted and there is no help from the government.

Just a few short years ago, the current Prime Minister actually said that he wanted to kill the Canada pension plan. What would Joe and Marlene have done? How would they ever have been able to pay their heat, their utility bills and their grocery bills if we did not have the Canada pension plan?

Will the Prime Minister admit that he was wrong and that he has no intention of killing the Canada pension plan?

PensionsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the pension issue regarding Nortel is a provincial issue and should be dealt with by the provincial government in Ontario.

When the opposition asks this type of question, I am reminded by the quote from their party leader who said, “Nothing is personal in politics, because politics is theatre. It's part of the job to pretend to have emotions that you do not actually feel”.

PensionsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, just as a reminder to the parliamentary secretary, the Canada pension plan is a federal responsibility and something that we are supposed to be looking after.

Seniors are under attack continually, whether we are talking about rising utility bills, the higher cost of living or low interest rates.

The last time the Prime Minister actually studied this issue, he was very much in support of killing the Canada pension plan and privatizing it. Where would seniors be today? Where would Joe and Marlene be today if they did not have the Canada pension plan to rely on?

We want to know if the plan is under attack and whether it will be protected in the future.

PensionsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we can safely say that the Canada pension plan is intact, the old age security is intact and the guaranteed income supplement program is intact.

We have done more for seniors in two years than the Liberal government did in 13 years. We have established a minister of state for seniors and a national council for seniors so we can listen to seniors and do things for them. We introduced pension income splitting, doubled the pension income tax credit and raised the GIS exemption from $500 to $3,500.

We have done a number of things for seniors that the Liberals failed and refused to do over 13 years.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to an environmental strategy that Canadians can trust and believe in.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources please tell this House and all Canadians how this government is investing in green technology and promoting leading-edge research in carbon capture and storage?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park for his incredibly hard work and his successful work on this file.

We have another good news story out of our economic action plan. As everyone knows, our government is committed to investing in green technology and yesterday we announced a $120 million investment in carbon capture as part of our clean energy fund. This announcement is a joint venture with government and industry. It will develop a fully integrated carbon capture and storage project. This project will see the capture, transport and storage of over one million tonnes of CO2 per year.

NortelOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that executives at Nortel have filed a staggering $25 million in claims for pension bonuses and severance payments.

Those who drove the company into the ground are pursuing massive payouts while rank and file Nortel workers are in danger of losing their own pensions. In Quebec, Nortel pensioners are being protected by the Quebec pension plan but that is not so in the rest of the country.

When will the government finally protect Nortel workers who have been left out in the cold?

NortelOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned, and the hon. member knows this, the Nortel pension issue is a matter for the Ontario government to work on.

NortelOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, do you not love it? In Britain and in the U.S., they are protected but not so in Canada.

We also know that the federal government is buying the Carling campus of Nortel. Some of that money could be used to help Nortel employees who have been struggling with the company's collapse. Nortel employees are taking a backseat to large creditors and are being forced to watch as the remains of the company are divided up while the government is watching.

Will the money going to Nortel for the purchase of the Carling campus find its way into the hands of Nortel workers or to the executives who destroyed the company?

NortelOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, once again, our thoughts are always with workers who lose their jobs and workers whose pensions are affected.

However, I would remind the hon. member that this is not a time for political gamesmanship. The fact is that the jurisdictional responsibility for Nortel pensioners in Canada lies with the Ontario government. The situation is different from what it is in other countries.

BiotechnologyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Government of Quebec unveiled its new biopharmaceutical strategy. It includes an initiative along the lines of the Bloc Québécois' economic recovery plan, which proposes to allow businesses to claim on a quarterly basis tax credits for research and development.

What is the government waiting for to act on this proposal from the Bloc Québécois that would ensure that all businesses can have access to cash and reinvest it immediately in their development activities?

BiotechnologyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, on this issue and on many other issues, it is interesting to hear the Bloc stand up and talk about a variety of things and attack this government.

I want to quote, if I could, France's finance minister, who, in talking about Canada's overall approach during this global economic slowdown, said: I think …we can be inspired by …the Canadian situation. There were some people who said, ‘I want to be Canadian’.

I wish all members in this House felt the same way.

BiotechnologyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, while Quebec strongly supports its biopharmaceutical industry, this Conservative government refuses to act on the issue of innovative pharmaceutical companies' right to appeal. This jeopardizes investments in research and development.

When will Canada create a fair right to appeal in terms of competition?

BiotechnologyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, on research and development, this government has taken steps that no other government in Canadian history has taken. We have invested $5.1 billion in science and technology through Canada's economic action plan.

The result of that, in terms of Canada's competitiveness, is that the World Economic Forum recently announced that Canada would be one of only two industrialized countries that would emerge from this global slowdown in a more competitive position than we went in.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

October 9th, 2009 / 11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, last year's Conservative strategic review caused a loss of $4 million for the Museum of Civilization and the War Museum. This reduction makes it very difficult for management to fulfill its responsibilities and protect the well-being of employees. So much so, that subcontracting is widely used, thus depriving employees of job security.

When will the Conservatives direct the management of the museums to go back to the table to negotiate an end to the strike that damages the reputation of these two national emblems?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the member should know that national museums are independent from government. However, we do urge the parties involved to keep working toward a resolution.

The member should also know that funding for our national museums has gone up every year since this government took office. It has gone up over levels from when the Liberals were in government. The member should know that because on the last budget I think he actually supported it initially and then voted against it later. However, he did originally think museums deserved more money. We have always felt that way.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is misleading the public again.

The strike by the 420 employees of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum has entered its third week. These employees are simply asking to be paid the same as other Canadian museum employees. The Conservatives' cuts to culture are starving our museums.

When will the minister help these two museums find solutions, so that their employees can have fair working conditions?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, a federal mediator has been working with the parties even before the strike began and continues to work with them to bring about a solution. We are monitoring the situation closely. We are urging the parties to come to an agreement in the interests of all Canadians.

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the same old story of shady fundraising behaviour.

Michael McSweeney, a registered lobbyist for the Cement Association of Canada, organized a fundraiser for the Natural Resources minister from his corporate office. Robert Poirier organized a fundraiser for the Industry minister and was rewarded with an appointment to the Toronto Port Authority, better known as the Tory pork authority.

Will the ministers actually admit that using private companies, crown corporations and lobbyists to raise money for themselves is unethical and unacceptable?

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question but the reality is that I have answered this already in the House. We are the government that brought in a third party and strengthened third party powers to arm's length agencies to be able to deal with these kinds of matters.

As I have said before, the Natural Resources minister has had correspondence from the Ethics Commissioner who has cleared her of all allegations. They are totally unfounded.

Federal AppointmentsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, actually that is not true. This behaviour is not new. We saw it when the Liberals were in power and now we are seeing it with patronage appointments to the immigration board, to our judiciary and to the boards of crown corporations.

Appointments are a reward program for bagmen, campaign managers and failed candidates. The more pork they bring into the Conservatives, the more rewards they will get.

When will the Conservatives stop this abuse and stop this unethical and illegal behaviour?