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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, on the subject of employment insurance for self-employed workers, I want to remind the House that we wanted to extend EI benefits by five weeks. The Bloc voted against that.

We wanted to relax the work sharing rules; they also voted against that. We increased the amounts for workforce training; they also voted against that.

We wanted to add 5 to 20 weeks for long-tenured workers; they also voted against that. And they are getting ready once again to vote against what we want to do to help self-employed workers.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, the Conservatives did everything they could to prevent the former chief actuary for the Employment Insurance Commission from testifying, because they knew that, like us, he was going to condemn the injustice being done to self-employed workers in Quebec, who will be paying three times what they should into the plan.

The government should stop saying the same thing all the time and tell us how it can possibly defend such blatant inequity.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, people know that group insurance costs less than private insurance.

As a government, we made a commitment to provide special benefits for self-employed workers, and we took the situation in Quebec into account. The contribution rate for workers there will be $1.36 instead of $1.73, which is affordable. Self-employed workers had been asking us for special benefits for a long time, and they will receive those benefits thanks to us, the Conservatives.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to pay lip service to accountability. It is time to put its money where its mouth is.

There is clear evidence that the Minister of Natural Resources violated the Conflict of Interest Code. The Ethics Commissioner has written that the evidence clearly shows an inquiry is warranted.

Will the government stop covering up the minister's misconduct and ensure that a full investigation is conducted without government obstruction?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this matter is currently before independent officers of this House. I think it is best to allow them to do their work independently, free from political interference.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives seem to think that they are above the law. Transparency, honesty and accountability are words that they do not seem to understand.

Will the minister step down while officials try to get to the bottom of this? That would be the proper thing to do.

If the minister refuses, will the Prime Minister assume his responsibilities and relieve her of her duties?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this government has brought forward the most comprehensive anti-corruption legislation in Canadian history.

We raised the ethical bar. We banned big money from politics and political campaigns, and eliminated entirely the role of corporations and unions in donating to political parties. We gave added independence to the independent officers of Parliament so they can properly and independently do their job, and we will allow them to continue to do that.

Federal PropertiesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, recent media reports have alluded to mysterious and secretive investigations at the Department of Public Works and Government Services.

Could the minister confirm, one, that an investigation is indeed currently under way and, two, that it relates to suspected irregularities in the government's sell-off of federal properties?

Federal PropertiesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Public Works and Government Services is aware of these investigations, and I can make no further comment at this time.

Federal PropertiesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but that was not an answer. We need an answer. If an investigation is currently underway, we need details. I specifically asked if the investigation was linked to suspected irregularities in the sale of government assets.

Federal PropertiesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, under our government, the new laws we have established and the criteria for accountability and transparency are clear. We will continue along that road.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, provincial taxation is a provincial responsibility and the provinces should choose what suits them best. The previous federal Liberal government allowed three willing provinces, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, to harmonize new value-added taxes with the federal one. We believe that all provinces should have the right to make their own tax decisions.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance please update the House what we have done to respect provincial tax choice?

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, out of respect for provincial autonomy, we will facilitate any province's decision to switch to a harmonized value-added tax. This requires legislative changes to provide a framework that will be equally available to any province that chooses to fully harmonize value-added tax. Any framework of this sort does not affect federal revenue or federal spending, and therefore is not a confidence measure.

Next week we will ask Parliament to confirm the right of provinces to choose a harmonized value-added tax.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, the national round table on the environment and the economy says northern communities will need lots of help to adapt to the effects of climate change. Storm surges are threatening Tuktoyaktuk. Permafrost is melting causing roads and infrastructure to fail. Wildlife, such as caribou, is being threatened by changes to its ecosystem. All of these things are threatening the economic and human development of the north.

Does the government have a plan to help the north deal with the rapidly spreading effects of the changing climate?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal approach is to add a massive carbon tax on the north. Our government understands that, as a northern country, Canada is particularly vulnerable to climate change. That is why the Mayo B hydro project in Yukon was the first project to receive federal funding of $71 million for the new green infrastructure fund. Since 2007 the federal government has invested over $85 million to help Canadians adapt to climate change, $21 million of which was specifically directed to communities in the north. There is the massive expansion of Nahanni, and on and on. We are getting it done for the north.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, the government's inaction on climate change is not just being noticed at home, but Canada's very reputation is on the line. A number of prominent figures from Commonwealth developing nations are moving to get Canada suspended from the organization for its active attempts to block action on climate change. This action is usually taken against the worst human rights abusers, but they argue that Canada's actions will end up having the same impact.

Will the government stop fighting against climate change, or is it willing to sacrifice our Arctic with its cynical lack of effort on climate change?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order please, there is a lot of noise going on and the Speaker is having difficulty hearing.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the fact is Canadians know the only party in the House that takes climate change seriously, that is actively working against climate change with our international partners, is this party right here. The Prime Minister has been very clear and the--

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, order. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment has the floor.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has said repeatedly that Canada supports an international binding treaty that will balance environmental protection and economic prosperity, maintain a long-term focus, support the development of clean technologies, and support constructive and ambitious goals. We are getting it done.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

November 27th, 2009 / 11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, large companies in Quebec's aeronautics sector are in crisis. Bell Helicopter, Pratt & Whitney, CAE and Bombardier have been forced to let 4,000 skilled workers go. That means that 4,000 workers—4,000 families—will lose their pride along with their jobs. Not to mention the 215 subcontractors that are in deep trouble.

Why is the Minister of Industry refusing to put short-term measures in place to support the industry and keep it from crashing?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult when a Canadian is laid off due to what is going on in the global economic environment.

That said, our government's long-term approach to the aerospace sector and our long-term dedication to improving this sector is unquestionable. We have put $350 million toward Bombardier's CSeries program. We have put $329 million toward an innovative flight simulator program with CAE. As I mentioned earlier, just a couple of months ago we announced a $200 million additional investment in the strategic aerospace defence initiative.

We are committed to creating a rich environment--

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Hochelaga.