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House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was goods.

Topics

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let me raise another matter, which is the U.S.-Canada border. It has become a choke chain on the Canadian economy. The tourist industry, the auto sector and communities next door to the American border have all suffered from the U.S. tightening of the border.

What specific measures will the Prime Minister propose to the president to loosen that chain? For example, will he ask the president to rethink the passport requirement due to be imposed in June?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, I think the entire House knows that it was under the preceding government that the border was tightened and, in fact, that we lost our privileged relationship with the United States.

Under our government, some of the implementation of the matters that the hon. member speaks of have been delayed several times. We always indicate to our American friends that this government views the United States as our closest ally and partner, that we share not only a vibrant commercial relationship with it but also its security concerns, and that we are always willing to work as a partner.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the third point I want to raise is this: President Obama's visit will give us a chance to unite in the fight against climate change. The government claims that its environmental standards are similar to those of the new American administration, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Is the Prime Minister ready to get on board with the U.S. government's initiatives, and is he ready to support stricter North American targets?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the climate change targets the opposition wants are completely unrealistic. Neither this government nor the U.S. government want unrealistic targets. It is critical that we talk about our objectives together. In addition to an integrated continental approach with an integrated economy, we must insist, in international talks, that all large countries adopt targets. That is this government's position and that of—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Le Président Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Ottawa South.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are still waiting for a regulatory framework for the fight against climate change. The opposition rewrote the Clean Air Act, then the Conservatives let it drop. Eleven independent groups say that the Conservative plan is doomed to failure, and Canada is falling behind internationally.

In anticipation of President Obama's visit, how can we undertake climate change negotiations with the United States if we have nothing to bring to the table?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth, and I want to finish my previous answer.

It is important to understand that the targets the Obama administration is looking at in terms of climate change are very close to the targets of this government. They are certainly not the completely unrealistic targets of the opposition.

The position of the opposition parties that only some emitters should reduce their emissions and not all emitters is unacceptable to this government and I think it is also unacceptable to the government of the United States.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' climate change story has gone from made in Canada to delayed in Canada to made in the U.S.A. Canada is scrambling to catch up, lurching from ice floe to ice floe, without credibility and without a plan.

When President Obama says cap and trade, he means cap as in hard cap, not intensity-based targets. When he says trade, he means trading that is in line with the European Union and, of course, the United Nations.

Why does the minister not simply admit that he is making it up on the fly and that he is no position to cooperate with the United States on climate change? Or, is he the Minister of the Environment in prime minister Obama's country?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the targets we have spoken of are very clear.

I would say that the hon. member opposite is making fairly extreme statements, both in the House and elsewhere, about this particular matter. He has referred to the ecoTrust funds, for example, including the ones that went to the Government of Ontario, as eco-fraud.

I would ask the member here in the House if he could share with the House any specific accusations of fraud that involve the Government of Ontario or any other provincial government?

CultureOral Questions

February 12th, 2009 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Prizes for the Arts are turning into the blooper prizes, with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages in the leading role. Yesterday, he had the audacity to say that the prizes were not even his project.

I would remind this House that in its latest budget, the government earmarked $25 million for something that is allegedly not its project.

Does the Prime Minister realize that he has no option but to cancel this project, which has been universally condemned, and transfer the $25 million to the cultural programs he cut?

CultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc always opposes any initiative that strengthens Canada. This government has established world-class science and medicine prizes. We are doing the same thing for the arts.

There is a proposal in the budget. The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is consulting the cultural community to clarify that proposal. The project will be good for Canada, despite the Bloc's opposition.

CultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if I understand correctly, during the vote on the budget, this House voted $25 million in funding for an unknown project, and to boot, the government is cutting cultural programs without familiarizing itself with the analyses justifying these cuts. So much for sound management of public funds.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages shoulder his responsibilities and take his cue from Edgar Allan Poe, saying, “Nevermore, nevermore”?

CultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the only justifying here is being done by the Bloc leader, who is always trying to justify voting against initiatives that benefit the cultural community. This government is taking action and is going to create a world-class prize. This is important for this country. The Bloc may always vote against these things, but we are going to take action.

CultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages has shown that he is incompetent because he was duped by two promoters who did not hesitate to lie and to invent backers to snatch $25 million from the government for the Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity.

Rather than criticizing the opposition members who do not support his project and attempting to defend the indefensible, would it not be better for the minister to be working on re-establishing programs that will allow our artists to promote culture abroad?

CultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we will make investments this year, as we have in the past and will in the future, to promote our artists around the world. This year, we are investing $21 million. Yes, there is $25 million in the budget to create prizes for artists, to look after the cultural and artistic community in Canada. We want to create prizes, like those we have for doctors and scientists, to celebrate Canadian artists, even if the Bloc votes against it. The Bloc always votes against measures to support artists' needs. It votes against every bill that seeks to establish real prizes for Canada. That is shameful.

CultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister abolished the former touring programs under the pretext that they were poorly administered. However, he refuses to make public the analyses to support his conclusion, as though his management of the Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity were exemplary.

Does the minister realize that he has achieved the impossible? He is even worse than his predecessor.

CultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, speaking about the Canada Prize, here is what the Globe and Mail had to say about it. It said:

This is about giving a jolt of entrepreneurial energy to the arts, about putting young artists in a borderless world on centre stage, and with them, Canada, as a country that is open to the world culture, and cares about the arts and the artists. Artists should be thrilled. This is their moment.

Artists in this country are receiving more support from this government than from any government in Canadian history. We are proud to support our artists. All we ask from the opposition parties is that they wait and see the exact plan that we are going to put forward for arts and culture. It will be fantastic. When we do, hopefully we will hear no more comments from the Bloc.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the facts show that the Conservatives' economic policies are not working: we have the first trade deficit in 33 years; we saw a record number of job losses in January; there has been a 50% increase in personal bankruptcies; and job losses continue to mount, for instance, at AbitibiBowater in Grand Falls, Pratt & Whitney in Longueuil and Domtar in Ear Falls.

The Americans have a buy-domestic policy. Why does Canada not have such a policy, in order to create jobs here in Canada?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada does not want to see an increase in protectionism around the world. We honour our commitments and we expect the Americans to do the same. However, we have brought forward important initiatives for the economy, initiatives that are being well received by Canadians. We are in the process of passing the budget. Not only did the NDP oppose the budget before even reading it, but that party is trying to stall its passing. That is completely irresponsible.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this buy Canadian policy is not protectionist. It is, in fact, consistent with NAFTA. It is supported by business and labour, and it is in the Obama stimulus package that the government said it is pleased with.

But the government is going in the opposite direction than that budget adopted by the Americans. In fact Canadian companies have been shut out completely in bids for public works contracts. They have gone to the U.S.

If the Prime Minister believes that Canadian companies are the best in the world, why will he not at least let them bid on government contracts?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is absolutely a ridiculous accusation from the NDP. The fact of the matter is that our Canadian companies bid and every year they win between 80% and 90% of those contracts. We respect the rules. We expect the Americans to do the same.

Our government has a number of important economic measures before the House that require passage for the Canadian economy. The NDP decided it would be against them even before it heard about them. Now it is the only party in the House trying to delay passage of these economic measures. The NDP is once again behaving totally irresponsibly for the families of this country.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister raises the issue of the budget implementation bill, but it is filled with ideological add-ons, such as making it easier for companies to take over Canadian businesses. People should be concerned about this.

For example, the government has a legal agreement with Xstrata that says there are to be no layoffs for up to three years. Yet there are people in Sudbury, 700 of them, who have received pink slips now before the three years is up.

We have to ask ourselves, how can we trust a Prime Minister who will not even stand up for agreements that his government has signed on these issues?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the budget has measures to support Canadian communities. It invests in industries that are hard hit. It invests in strategic industries. It has measures to improve credit and financing for Canadian business. It has measures to help the unemployed and to retrain people. These are what is important for the Canadian economy and Canadian families, not the hon. member's pet undemocratic coalition that nobody voted for.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Pratt & Whitney is laying off 1,000 employees, Bell Helicopter has sent 500 workers packing and Bombardier has slashed 710 jobs. All of this news, which is disastrous for the aerospace industry in Quebec, in less than one week.

Is the Minister of Industry still ready to say, as he did on Monday, that the aerospace industry is in good shape and does not need special federal financial aid?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, there are challenges in many Canadian sectors. Obviously the aerospace industry is one sector that is being affected by the global economic crisis.

However, we have already announced $900 million for the aerospace industry through SADI. And Bombardier has announced 730 new permanent jobs in Montreal as well. The news is not all bad.