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House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was office.

Topics

Broadcasting IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the CRTC were doing its job, the minister would not be floating trial balloons about using an order in council to override the CRTC.

When he does override, will it be to help his buddies in the cable industry or will he force the cable giants to put some money into local television, stop consumers from being gouged and ensure that the broadcasters meet minimal requirements so that Canadian stories are once again heard on Canada's prime time airwaves?

Broadcasting IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we are making the investments that the member describes in terms of Canadian content.

Not only did we arrive at the agreement to bring all partners together with regard to part II fees, we also brought partners together to create the Canada media fund; $310 million to do what the member describes, which is to create Canadian content and make it available on multiple platforms so Canadian stories can be told to Canadians on Canadian platforms. That is what we have done as a government.

The member criticizes us for getting involved. I will not apologize to the member or anyone else for getting involved to ensure that the CRTC does not arbitrate between two big corporate entities as he describes but ensure that the first responsibility of all of us, including the CRTC, is to put consumers first.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2007, the Privy Council Office, the Prime Minister's own department, ordered Canadian diplomats to cover up information held by the government concerning the torture of Afghan detainees transferred by Canada to the Afghan authorities.

Can the government explain to the House whether this extremely serious information, coming from the Departments of National Defence and Foreign Affairs, is founded?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, I will say it again and I hope the opposition listens very carefully.

DFAIT has received no allegations of torture or abuse. The Government of Canada has received no proven allegation of abuse since instituting our strengthened detainee arrangement in 2007.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this matter, this minister, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are doing whatever it takes to bury the truth. We are going to do whatever we can to uncover the truth.

Senior officials from the Privy Council Office gave Canadian diplomats orders to hide the facts and the truth about the torture used against Afghan detainees. Where do these revelations come from? From officials at National Defence and Foreign Affairs.

Will the Minister of National Defence stand up here and tell us—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

No, Mr. Speaker. These allegations come from an unnamed source.

The reality is that we have co-operated. We have provided thousands of documents to a number of tribunals, both military and parliamentary. We have provided access to witnesses. We have co-operated with respect to disclosure, which we will do today with respect to parliamentary hearings.

I do want to be very clear on one thing. There has never been a proven allegation of abuse involving a Taliban prisoner transferred by Canadian Forces. There is no wrong-doing on the part of the soldiers who are working hard to protect our interests in Afghanistan.

PovertyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the government could not tell us why it erected an expensive sign in Gatineau to advertise the installation of another sign. In Yellowknife, another Conservative sign has been bought to advertise the installation of “interior-exterior signs”. Signs, signs, everywhere a sign. Meanwhile, almost 800,000 Canadians are lining up at food banks. Statistics Canada confirms that the jobless numbers are continuing.

Instead of paying for signs to advertise signs, why will the government not send a sign to Canadian families who are struggling in this Conservative recession. That would be real stimulus. Why can the government not help those in need?

PovertyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as part of the government's economic action plan, we have undertaken the largest infrastructure initiative in this country since the second world war.

We believe we have an important responsibility to be both transparent and accountable for the investments that we are making.

Signs are going up right across the country, which are signs of hope, signs that opportunities are coming to the labour market and signs that the economic downturn is turning around and the economy is growing, jobs are being created and Canada will soon be back.

PovertyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, for every dollar invested in food banks, eight dollars' worth of essential food can be acquired by food banks to help people living in poverty. The $100 million spent on Conservative propaganda could have meant $800 million for Canadians who are struggling to feed their families. Instead, we get signs, some of which are advertising other signs.

The Conservative government has chosen to spend $100 million of publicly funded money for Conservative waste instead of helping the victims of this Conservative recession.

What kind of pathetic sign is that to Canadian families in need?

PovertyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that in every corner of this country some of our fellow citizens are experiencing a real challenging time with respect to the economy. That is why we brought forth Canada's economic action plan. That is why we are working constructively with the provinces, territories and municipalities on getting infrastructure projects up so we can create jobs and create a bit of hope for the future and opportunities for Canadian workers.

Whether it is for the materials, for architects, for engineers or for the construction workers themselves, we are putting in more money and giving a big boost to the Canadian economy. We are proud of that.

We have an important responsibility to continue to work hard on creating those important jobs.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that the Privy Council Office sent a directive to Afghanistan that information on the handling of Afghan prisoners should be withheld from reports by diplomats in the military. This not only undermines accountability and transparency, hiding the truth from Canadians, but it allows ministers to have what is known as plausible deniability.

Why did the Conservative government send this directive and why did it think that information on torture and abuse had to be covered up?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, let me say again that this government has always had concerns about the treatment of Afghan prisoners. Because the government believes in upholding its obligations under international law, we put in place an enhanced system in 2007 in order to visit and monitor transferred Afghan prisoners.

Let us not forget that the previous government put in place a transfer agreement only one month before it left office.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, how convenient is it for the most powerful agency in the government to order that no records be kept? This appears to be part of a broader strategy by the government to hold back details of torture and abuse in Afghan prisons.

In 2007 the Department of National Defence even set up a group called the Tiger Team to vet access to information requests concerning detainees. The process continues with government efforts to hinder the work of the Military Police Complaints Commission.

When will the government remove this cone of silence and let Canadians learn the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as has been stated many times, we have co-operated with the Military Police Complaints Commission. We have co-operated with parliamentary committees. We have co-operated with investigations.

I state again that there has never been a single solitary proven allegation of abuse of a Taliban prisoner transferred by the Canadian Forces. It is important the member knows that since this new arrangement has been put in place, there have been over 170 visits to Afghan prisons to ensure this new arrangement is improving human rights.

That is what our government did. We improved upon the situation. We will continue to make improvements in that country.

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-23, the Canada-Colombia free trade act, has been filibustered in the House for over 30 hours. The NDP and the Bloc, with the support of the Liberals, are wasting Parliament's valuable time, holding up an agreement that would create new business opportunities for Canadians, create jobs and encourage economic growth across Canada and in Colombia.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade tell the House why the Liberal Party should finally stand up and support this free trade act?

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the reality is the opposition parties are allowing their partisan ideology to fritter away the opportunity of Canadian companies. If they would just listen over there—

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor. We have to have some order in the House.

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, the reality is the opposition parties are allowing their partisan ideology to fritter away an opportunity for Canadian companies to have access to Colombian trade in front and ahead of their competition.

The reality is we need the Liberal Party to support the Colombia free trade agreement. We need it to support Canadian companies. It is time the Liberals did it. Get up and support—

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte.

Airline IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, putting consumers first is an interesting slogan.

The House may recall when the Minister of Transport voted in favour of my motion to bring in new, robust, legally binding protection for airline passengers. However, what members will not recall is that prior to the vote, that same minister, the industry's regulator, ordered professional lobbyists to mount a public relations campaign to undermine the very policy of which he voted in favour.

Which is it? Is it the lobbyists who are running the transport department, or is the transport department running the lobbyists? This collusion occurring between the government regulator and the airline companies must end. When is airline passenger protection coming in?

Airline IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are obviously tremendously concerned for the many Canadian families, people with small businesses and the travelling public. They face challenges with weather conditions. Then there are mechanical issues and other problems with our airlines.

However, we have been working constructively. We have put forward some new public policy. We have worked constructively with the airlines. We are pleased with some of the new proposals that have come forward.

Right now before the House, there is legislation, sponsored by the NDP, which I confess I voted against, that is being considered in committee. The committee will hear from the public, the industry and consumer groups. We look forward to hearing that input.

National DefenceOral Questions

November 18th, 2009 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, after spending years contaminating the water in Shannon, now the federal government is continuing to go after the victims by seeking a review of the 2007 ruling by a Quebec court that authorized a class action. Yesterday, Quebec's environment minister deplored the federal government's general attitude toward this matter and said she is infuriated at what has happened. She also criticized the federal government for withholding information.

How can the minister responsible for the Quebec City region continue to keep mum while the Department of National Defence continues to show such bad faith?

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. We have great sympathy and concerns for anyone affected by the situation involving the water in Shannon, which is why we have invested significantly, in fact, $40 million initially to improve the water system and another $13.3 million to complete the construction of the existing water system to help the people of Shannon. That initiative was taken by my colleague from Quebec.

The issue with respect to the court is an issue over the review of disclosed material. It is the government's view that this case has no longer qualified as a class action suit and we are moving to have it dismissed. However, with respect to the people of Quebec, the people of Shannon, we will continue to work to find solutions.