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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister is telling the Chinese about Canada's economic situation, Canadians are asking questions. The Conservatives are throwing out figures that do not add up. They are saying that 90% of the stimulus funds are already committed, but in the same breath they are threatening that the money that is not spent will disappear. That is a bunch of nonsense.

People are not seeing the projects, and they are not seeing job creation.

Why create illusions and false hopes instead of real jobs for Canadians and the unemployed?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this government reported to Canadians yesterday that some 97% of the funds for this year have been committed. That is exceptionally good news.

In every corner of the country, from coast to coast to coast, there are thousands of infrastructure projects under way. In every corner of the country, the home renovation tax credit is benefiting Canadian families. Our tax cuts are helping small business.

We see in fact this year that Canadian economic growth will be the best in the G7. That did not happen by accident. It happened because we had the best government and the best finance minister in the western world.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

The truth is, Mr. Speaker, that because of the Conservatives' reckless economic policies we have now posted the worst deficit in history, we have a terrible job record, and they have gutted the fiscal capacity of government to address the issues we are facing. How did they do it? It was with cuts to big, profitable corporations on the backs of Canadians.

Yet another round of these tax cuts to the big banks and oil companies is coming January 1. At the same time, the HST they are bringing in will be on the backs of the families.

Why do they make those kinds of choices that do not work for Canadians?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it was just one short year ago that the leader of the NDP signed an accord with the Liberals to basically embrace every tax cut that this government has brought in. That is something that is important to note.

The member opposite has a real difference of opinion with this government. We wanted GST at 5%; he wanted a GST at 7%. He wanted to hurt Canadian families with high taxes and burden them with significant debts. This government is taking real action to turn our economy around. We are beginning to turn the corner and we need his support.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party is the father of the GST. Let us always remember that. Mr. Mulroney lives still.

While the Conservatives coddle their friends on Bay Street, they are slashing funding to non-profit organizations such as KAIROS.

It is a church-based group that tries to improve the well-being of people around the world. It involves lots of Canadians from faith-based backgrounds. What does it get from this government? It gets a cut of millions of dollars so it cannot do its work to spread Canadian values and good work around the world.

Why are they doing that?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is this government that is taking Canadian values right around the world under the leadership of the Prime Minister, in his visit to China and in his great work in ensuring that we did not repeat what the Liberals did in attending the Durban hatefest. It is this government that was the first government to walk out of the anti-Semitic hateful speech by the President of Iran.

It is this government that has done more to protect Canadian values of human rights and democracy than any government in our history. Canadians should be awfully proud of the Prime Minister and awfully proud of this government.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, in heavily redacted memos made public yesterday, we read that Canadian diplomats had met with UN representatives in Kabul in November 2006. In this report, the entire part about human rights is redacted, as is the part about Kandahar.

We know that the UN has talked about systematic torture and prison system corruption in Afghanistan. What did the government want to hide in this report?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, over three years ago when we started to improve some of the mess left by the government of the hon. member opposite, we went about improving the transfer arrangement, investing in prisons and in mentoring and monitoring inside prisons.

With respect to redactions, I would remind the member again that this is done by arm's-length, non-partisan individuals working at the Department of Justice and other areas. I know he is a lawyer and I know he understands that.

That is not a political issue. It is simply a practical issue concerned with the security of information and, most important, securing the information that might hurt soldiers and civilians on the ground in Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, in December 2006, a memo about detainees that was approved by our ambassador in Afghanistan was sent to dozens of government officials. That memo is now totally redacted.

In February 2007, Richard Colvin sent a report to Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister's Office. That report, including the subject line, is totally redacted.

When will the Conservatives stop the cover-up and finally call for a public inquiry so that we can get real answers?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our professional, impartial public servants are the ones who make those redactions in compliance with the Canada Evidence Act, and the improvements made to it, I would note, by the previous government.

It is interesting that with the benefit of four years of hindsight and from the comfort and security of this chamber how the members opposite can continue to cast aspersions about our professional civil servants, our military, bringing down the mission, bringing down the important efforts that continue to this day to improve the rights and democracy in a place like Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, in late May 2006, the Canadian deputy commander of the reconstruction team in Kandahar met with the Red Cross.

At this meeting not only was the deputy commander told that his officials did not answer phone calls from the Red Cross, but also that Afghans were not reported captured for up to 60 days, and the Red Cross added that “a lot can happen in two months”, including beatings, whippings with cables, electrocution.

We now know full well what could have gone on in those two months. Why did the government ignore these clear warnings from senior officials in the field?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, nothing was ignored. We had military officials and, obviously, Department of Foreign Affairs officials working in Afghanistan throughout our time in office and previously. It is through that filter and through that prism that government decisions are taken.

Here is a news flash for the member opposite. It is not just in Afghan prisons where human rights abuses were taking place, it is not just in those prisons where violence was occurring, but we have stories of Afghans being thrown down wells and beheaded in soccer stadiums. It was one of the worst places in the world. Let us not lose sight of that.

That is why we are there. That is why we are trying to help and improve the people's rights in that country. That is a news flash for the hon. member.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, it would appear that the minister thinks this is justified because it is happening everywhere else in the world.

On June 2, 2006, the Red Cross warned Canadian officials that there was a lack of judicial safeguards and that “all kinds of things are going on” in prisons where detainees had been transferred by Canadians.

Soon afterwards Red Cross officials met with senior Canadian officials on the issue of torture, both in Ottawa and Geneva.

Why will the Conservatives not tell Canadians who was at those meetings and what they discussed with the Red Cross?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, when there have been substantiated claims of abuse, we have acted, officials have acted, but let us not just quote selectively from the Red Cross. It has already clarified and dismissed some of the attempts by the members opposite to misinterpret their information.

Bernard Barrett, the Red Cross spokesperson, said in Washington he would never share confidential information. He went on to say that these interpretations are someone else's interpretations of a meeting. He also said he tried to get in touch with Canadians in Kandahar in 2006 not to warn them about prison conditions, but rather routine matters of discussing the country's responsibilities.

We value the contributions of the Red Cross in Afghanistan and internationally. It is doing great work. So are soldiers and civilians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

December 3rd, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the Copenhagen summit fast approaching, and in response to pressure from the Americans, the Canadian government has finally agreed to listen, and is proposing to adopt absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets. However, this change will not make a real difference if the government plans on keeping 2006 as the reference year.

Will the Minister of the Environment admit that Quebec will pay for Alberta if he does not recognize the efforts the Quebec manufacturing sector has been making since 1990?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the targets will be the main focus in Copenhagen. A year ago, in the coalition agreement, the Bloc was pushing for a North American carbon exchange. Now, it wants European-style targets and efforts.

Does it want an integrated carbon exchange with the Americans or with the Europeans? Those are two very different things. The Bloc cannot have it both ways.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we want the Kyoto targets and we want Quebec's efforts to be recognized. Is that clear enough?

For Canada, the reference year is 2006; for Quebec, it is 1990. Quebec is aiming for greenhouse gas reductions of at least 20%, and would like to do better than the 3% target Canada is set to adopt.

How can the minister claim to be speaking on behalf of Quebec in Copenhagen?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I met with the Premier of Quebec. The Conservative government represents all Canadians.

We have made progress with the provinces. We consulted extensively with the provinces and territories before Copenhagen. We invited the provinces to participate in talks in Copenhagen as members of the official Canadian delegation. That is why we are making the services of the embassy available to them.

We practise open federalism, and the Bloc has supported our efforts.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, Marc Lépine walked into the École Polytechnique and killed 14 young women with a hunting rifle. His was a hate crime targeting women.

Nathalie Provost, one of the victims who was injured in the shooting, is pleading with the government to maintain the gun registry. She has reminded parliamentarians that the registry is a critical tool in preventing violence against women.

Will the Minister of State for the Status of Women act in accordance with her responsibilities and explain to her colleagues that the gun registry helps prevent violence?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, our government of course is very concerned about the cause of supporting the safety of women, and protecting the rights of women and protecting women from violence. That is why our government has embarked on an agenda of aggressive changes to our criminal law, to create real consequences for those who wish to engage in gun crime and otherwise. We will continue to do that and we will continue to memorialize and remember the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, Heidi Rathjen, a former student at the École Polytechnique, called the Conservative government hypocritical because it commemorates the tragedy but refuses to learn from it. “The government could not care less about human life, about people's safety, about women's safety or about violence against women,” she said.

How can women trust this government when it wants to get rid of a registry that helps prevent violence, particularly against women?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, let me first highlight that the Liberal gun registry did absolutely nothing to make Canadians safer. It certainly did nothing to protect women against violence.

I would also like to highlight that the member is very well aware that we have made some significant changes at Status of Women. One of our pillars of focus is violence against women. We are funding a significant number of projects across the country that address the many forms of violence, be it domestic violence, cyber stalking, culturally based violence and the high rates of violence within the aboriginal community.

We have funded an equivalent of $23 million in projects just in the last year and a half.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, more than 520 aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or have been murdered in this country. Aboriginal women need to feel safe and they need to know they are being heard.

The government talks about being tough on crime but refuses to act. It refuses to launch a complete public investigation.

What will it take? How many more women will have to go missing?

When will it launch a comprehensive, national public investigation?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the member is well aware that we are supporting Sisters in Spirit, which is led by the Native Women's Association of Canada, as it should be. It is a five year, multi-research project that our government supports and financially backs.

We are in fact looking at exploring the next options. The president for NWAC has recently said that she knows that I am supportive and that we are working together on a regular basis to look to the future.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, that may be nice but it is not sufficient, and the Conservatives just do not get it.

At least 520 aboriginal women and girls have been murdered or gone missing. At least 520 aboriginal families want answers. First nations, Inuit, and Métis communities and urban aboriginal people want and need answers, and all Canadians deserve them.

Does the Minister of Justice not know that when he talks about law and justice, it rings hollow as long as there is no justice for these women and girls?