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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

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, that is why a number of years ago Canada instituted an enhanced agreement with Afghanistan on this issue. That is why we took action.

Whenever there have been credible or substantiated allegations made, the government has treated them seriously and we will continue to do so.

The reality is there is no credible evidence suggesting that any Canadian transfer of a Taliban terrorist has resulted in any torture. Those are the facts.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is doing everything possible to hide the truth about the atrocities suffered by detainees transferred to Afghan authorities. After derailing the Military Police Complaints Commission, the government is intimidating diplomat Richard Colvin and refusing to release various reports, which it nevertheless provided to witnesses who support its position.

Why put all this effort into hiding the truth if not to hide violations of the Geneva Convention?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we have provided and will continue to provide all legally available information.

Let us be clear. As part of the preparations to testify in hearings before the parliamentary committee, individuals like Generals Hillier and Gauthier, recently retired, as well as currently serving General Fraser were provided documents relevant to the issues being discussed at the parliamentary committee, as were Mr. Colvin and Mr. David Mulroney.

It is common practice for current and former public servants to be given information to which they are privy to give testimony before the parliamentary committee. It is the normal practice that we follow.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, David Mulroney acknowledged that the government knew that prisoners transferred by Canada to Afghan authorities risked being tortured. The Geneva Convention has clearly been violated by the Canadian government, which was not even capable of keeping tabs on its detainees.

Will the government admit that all its attempts to hide the truth have one objective: to hide the fact that for months it did not comply with the Geneva Convention?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, let us take a direct look at that statement just made.

Here is what Mr. Mulroney actually said: “We never, ever transferred anyone if we thought there was a substantial risk of torture”. The member has made a complete misstatement of fact.

He said, “We knew that there were problems in the Afghan system, but we developed a robust monitoring system”.

Those are the words of an individual closest to the mission, in the best position to make these assessments.

He continued, “I didn't agree with his assertion that everybody who went into the NDS was tortured, that the detainees were all farmers or probably all innocent. This is where I think he went from an observation to speculation”.

Those are the words of Mr. Mulroney in his testimony yesterday.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, on the detainee torture issue, first the government starved the MPCC by withholding documents. Then it fought against the committee hearings. Then it intimidated the witnesses at committee and withheld information from members of Parliament. At the same time, it gave full access to documents to its witnesses, even those no longer working for government.

Despite that, Mr. Mulroney yesterday confirmed our contention that for a year and a half, Canada did not have in place proper protection for detainees, as required by international law, and left them at risk of torture.

When will this government stop playing games and hiding the truth? When will it call a public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government has said, and I will say once again, that it will continue to provide all legally available information. Having said that, our first responsibility, our first priority, is to protect the lives of our men and women in uniform, and that will continue to be the case.

Mr. Mulroney testified before the committee not 24 hours ago that the government never transferred any captured Taliban where there was any realistic fear of torture. “Never” is what he said.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite the widespread knowledge of torture in Afghan institutions, despite the recognition of the risk of human rights abuses, the government had no process to monitor whether or not Canadian-transferred detainees were tortured by the authorities.

For over a year, Afghan detainees were thrown into a black hole, prisons where beatings with cables, and electric shocks, punching and sexual abuse were normal practices. No one, not even Mr. Mulroney, could assure Canadians that those detainees were not tortured.

There is only one way to get to the truth. That is to call a public inquiry. Will the government do the right thing and call—

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Transport.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, General Hillier dismissed some of these allegations not two days ago as ludicrous.

The member from the NDP, whom I have a great deal of respect for, seems to be happy to believe that Canadian soldiers are somehow arbitrarily rounding up farmers and taxi drivers and willingly sending them off to abuse.

Let me be very clear: our men in uniform would “never”, in Mr. Mulroney's words, do that. Never.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is set to ask the House to approve its billions of dollars in bribes to the provinces so they can hit Canadians with the HST. We have learned that should the opposition parties vote down this tax grab, the government will not reintroduce it. Other opposition parties might still be iffy about how they will vote, but I am looking to get confirmation from the government.

If its motion fails, will it drop its plan to hike taxes on families? Will it commit not to reintroduce the HST tax grab if that fails in a vote in Parliament? Yes or no?

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me say very directly that we have no such plan to raise taxes arbitrarily on Canadian families. Our government's first priority has been to cut taxes for working families.

We cut the GST from 7% to 6% and then from 6% to 5%, and when we needed help to do that, when Canadian families needed a break on paying high taxes, could they count on the support of the NDP? No. The NDP members stood up and said they did not want a 5% GST. They wanted it to be 7%. They wanted to keep taxes high.

It is this government that fought to cut taxes and keep them low for Canadian families.

NortelOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we condemn the decision by Nortel executives to give themselves bonuses of several million dollars while employees are not entitled to severance pay, pensions or disability benefits.

Now that the Conservatives have taken steps for Nortel to be sold to Avaya, will they ensure that the Canadian employees, especially those who are disabled, are treated fairly and will receive the benefits for which they have worked so hard?

NortelOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we share the outrage of the hon. member at the news yesterday. It is incomprehensible that the executives at Nortel would choose to give themselves bonuses, court-authorized or not, at a time when the rest of the country is tightening its belt.

On the issue of pensions, our Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance has travelled the country over the course of the summer to hear from Canadians on this issue. Coming out of those consultations, we introduced measures to help protect pensioners by requiring companies to fully fund pension benefits on plan termination, make pensions more stable, give pensioners more negotiating powers and modernize the investment rules of pensions.

NortelOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, less than a month ago, those same employees from Nortel stood on the front lawn of Parliament Hill and asked the government to help them retrieve their hard-earned pensions and severance packages. The Conservatives were remarkable for their silence. We now hear that current Nortel senior executives have just rewarded themselves another round of huge bonuses.

When will the government finally stand up for rank and file Nortel employees?

NortelOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, of course we are outraged by the news that came out yesterday.

But again, on the subject of pensions, we have already completed cross-Canada consultations on federally regulated pensions. We are working with the provinces to set up a federal-provincial research working group on retirement income, and we have already convened a national summit of provincial and territorial finance ministers to discuss the group's findings in December.

What is remarkable is that the member for Markham—Unionville said just a few short weeks ago, “The Liberals don't actually have a policy on pension reform”.

EmploymentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the holidays approach, hundreds of people do not share the holiday spirit. Jobs continue to disappear by the hundreds. Yesterday it was Bombardier and Rogers that announced 715 and 900 layoffs respectively. The Conservatives have ignored our calls to introduce an aerospace strategy. They are allowing our technological giants to slip into foreign hands.

How high does the unemployment rate have to be before they decide to do something about it?

EmploymentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, of course, we do understand that it has been a difficult year for the aerospace industry in these global economic circumstances, as we have seen a tightening of budgets, particularly budgets for executive business jets. That has had an impact, obviously, on Bombardier.

That said, our government is actively working with and committed to supporting Canada's aerospace industry. In fact, we have recently made a $350 million investment in Bombardier Aerospace for its CSeries program. We have also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the strategic aerospace defence initiative, in fact just a couple of months ago, announcing a $200 increased investment in that program.

MuseumsOral Questions

November 27th, 2009 / 11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the unemployed who are concerned about the fast approaching holidays. Workers involved in labour disputes are worried as well.

Such is the case for employees of the Museum of Civilization and the War Museum, here in the national capital region.

Will the minister wake up and impose arbitration in order to resolve this dispute once and for all?

MuseumsOral Questions

11:35 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 mediator has been working with the parties from before the strike began, and we are continuing to work with them and encouraging them to come to the table to resolve this issue. Of course, if both parties agree, the minister can appoint an arbiter, but they both have to come to that agreement.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada is discrediting itself, not only on the international stage, where there are calls to have Canada expelled from the Commonwealth, but also here at home, where 3,000 Canadian scientists are calling on the government to negotiate an agreement that will rapidly and adequately address climate change.

What will it take for the government to announce a greenhouse gas reduction plan that is credible and produces results?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the fact is Canada is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020. That is one of the toughest targets in the world. The fact is President Obama just announced a conditional target of a 17% reduction by 2020 using the 2005 levels. That target is virtually identical to this government's target.

Why do opposition members want Canada to diverge from a North American target and instead choose a job-killing European target? Canada will not abandon the North American harmonized approach. We will not jeopardize Canadian jobs or the Canadian economy.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec could be the first to pay for this government's inaction, since it exports the most to Europe.

Does the government realize that if Europe follows through on its carbon tax threats for delinquent countries, like Canada, Quebec exports will be the first to be hit hard?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the government has been very clear. Canada does want an international binding agreement on climate change that includes all the major emitters. One hundred and ninety-two countries will be at the negotiating table.

This government will ensure that any treaty will include Canada's economic, geographic and industrial realities. We will not sign a deal that would be bad for Canada. We will continue to work on behalf of all Canadians.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government is trying to force workers in Quebec to swallow an insult. The contribution rate that self-employed workers in Quebec will pay for benefits under Bill C-56 is totally disproportionate. According to the human resources department's own estimates, Quebeckers will pay too much for the services they receive.

Will the government admit the injustice that is being done to self-employed workers in Quebec, who are going to have to subsidize other workers?