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House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, studies on the construction of a high-speed rail line in the Quebec City-Montreal-Windsor corridor are moving forward. However, the Premier of Ontario has said that the federal government is dragging its feet and finds that the Prime Minister is not very keen on the project.

In view of the challenges posed by global warming and a slowing economy, why does the Prime Minister not see the economic and environmental advantages of building this rail line?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are working co-operatively with the Government of Quebec and the Government of Ontario on this important initiative. Three million dollars have been allocated and recently we have awarded a contract that will update a study done in 1994.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not what the Premier of Ontario believes.

The minister of transportation at the time, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, was quick to ridicule the Bloc Québécois proposal to build a high-speed rail line between Quebec City and Windsor.

Now that Quebec City and Toronto are on board, will the government commit to supporting the project, which is perfectly suited to counteracting the current economic slowdown?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this government will do the study first and make a decision once that study is complete.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation announced that CIDA is cutting six African countries from its aid list, thus reducing Africa's share of its bilateral aid budget from 70% to 30%.

We would like the minister to explain how dropping the poorest countries on the planet from the CIDA list will help improve their situation.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the facts are that 45% of CIDA's total budget goes to African countries and, in fact, we are on track to meeting our commitment to doubling aid to Africa a whole year ahead of the original commitment.

We are responsible in meeting the needs of the African countries.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Colombia and Peru have been added to this list. We know that Canada has signed free-trade agreements with these two countries.

Are we to understand that trade interests now dictate international assistance provided by this government?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, we want to ensure that Canadian dollars are being used responsibly. I must say that of the many countries I have visited, the slums in Peru are among the worst. There are needs among the people in Peru and Colombia and, like we serve all peoples around the world, we will also serve those people in Peru and Colombia.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are losing their jobs in the auto sector. They are struggling to make their mortgage payments, to put food on the table and to pay their bills. Auto workers, like Randy and Patricia in Brampton, are crying for help but they have received nothing from the Conservative government.

On December 22, the industry minister told Canadians that an audit of the auto sector would be conducted and completed in a few weeks. It is two months later, where is the audit, why is there such secrecy and why has there been no action? Why are the Conservatives asleep at the wheel while Canadians are losing their jobs?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. We have been active on this file since the very beginning, in fact since before the last government was sworn in, in terms of our auto innovation fund. We have been active with Chrysler, to which the hon. member referred and which is in her riding. We have been undergoing a series of reviews of its situation. It is a private company and it does have strategic information, as the hon. member should be aware of.

I should note that the former auto critic was made the ag critic. In The Guelph Mercury it was indicated that the reason he was changed was because there was no point anymore to--

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Brampton--Springdale.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the real question is: Where is the audit and why is there such secrecy?

Let us look at the Americans. They have President Obama who has brought together the best and the brightest minds to discuss an action plan for the U.S. auto sector. The Canadians are stuck with a Conservative government that operates in secrecy, in denial and falls asleep at the wheel while Canadians lose their jobs.

The U.S. struck a task force to develop solutions but our government adviser, Jim Arnett, resigned after less than three weeks.

When will the government provide the leadership, the action, the hope and a plan for those people who are losing their jobs?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, let me try that last one again. I am not sure that TV-land heard the whole thing.

The member for Guelph--Wellington used to be the associate industry critic and then was changed to become the ag critic. When The Guelph Mercury asked him why that occurred, he said that it was because the auto critic position had essentially been completed with the industry minister's announcement of the loans to the automakers in December.

They do not even have an auto critic over there. Why is the hon. member, when she talks about the wise heads at the head of this, being so down on Dalton McGuinty and Mike Ryan?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the residents of Brampton, where there is a major Chrysler plant, are tired of the Conservatives doing nothing to protect their jobs.

The Prime Minister, just moments ago, failed, yet again, to show leadership by refusing to create a parliamentary committee on the auto crisis. Given that vacuum of leadership, the official opposition will today call for an industry subcommittee of Parliament to immediately tackle the auto sector crisis.

The Prime Minister mentioned the industry committee. Will he at least direct his committee members to support our proposed subcommittee, yes or no?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this is quite interesting. The hon. member for Brampton West and the hon. member for Brampton—Springdale may have known from their colleagues, including the member for Nipissing—Timiskaming, that I actually appeared before the industry committee two weeks ago to answer questions for two hours. The hon. member was not there and the hon. member for Brampton—Springdale was not there. Why were they not standing up for the people of Brampton then?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gets worse. There is no leadership from the government today and yesterday the Minister of Finance demonstrated that he does not understand his own budget.

It is clear the Canadian secured credit facility is not in Bill C-10 but it can and must be implemented by the Conservative without further delay. It did it for the banks last November. Why can it not do it now for the auto sector and consumers? Canadians will lease or purchase cars if they have access to credit, which is the other side of the auto industry solution.

Will the minister commit to the immediate creation of this credit facility?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, unlike the member opposite, we actually believe that we should consult with the industry, which is what we are doing now, in order to craft the credit facility appropriately.

We are also moving ahead with the entire credit facility of up to $200 billion, which is very important. As we know, the number one issue now is access to credit not only in Canada but internationally.

JusticeOral Questions

February 24th, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, as if Winnipeg and other western provinces have not been under siege enough from violence, a high-risk offender was re-arrested last Friday only hours after being released from prison. Kenneth Erdley Ross, a career criminal with a serious sadistic personality, has a record dating back to 1987, including sexually assaulting and slashing the throat of a 22-year-old Winnipeg man.

Would the Minister of Justice tell us what the government is prepared to do to ensure that criminals like Ross are kept in prison where they belong?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I do not comment on individual cases but I can point out that fighting crime in this country is a priority of this government.

Under the Tackling Violent Crime Act, anyone now convicted of crimes from a list of serious personal injuries would be considered a dangerous offender and anyone convicted of three serious offences for which federal time would be served would now be automatically presumed to be a dangerous offender.

These are steps in the right direction. When it comes to fighting crime in this country, we have done a lot and we will do more.

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, in its budget bill, the government launched an attack on pay equity, environmental assessments and the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers, including wage rollbacks to the RCMP and the Canadian Forces.

It now appears that workers at General Motors are next in the line of attack. GM is describing its pension liabilities as crippling but the Minister of Industry is refusing to protect workers and the pensions they have worked so hard to build.

Will the minister stand up for GM workers by protecting their pensions or is he simply going to turn his back on them?

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, only the NDP would think that it is adequate or beneficial public policy to have the taxpayers of Canada save the pensions of one set of workers when we, in fact, are doing the right thing and supporting the restructuring of the industry to ensure the industry is there for its workers and for consumers in the future. That is our position. It should be their position.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada just released alarming facts about the increase in the number of Canadians accessing employment insurance. For example, in London, Ontario the number rose by over 75% and in Windsor the number rose by over 61%. Even more alarming is the fact that 6 out of 10 unemployed workers do not receive the EI benefits they so desperately need. That is simply unacceptable.

When will the government act responsibly and take real action by expanding EI to help laid-off Canadians put food on their families' tables?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it was truly disappointing to see the layoff numbers this month. Unfortunately, we expect them to continue.

The good news is that the EI system is working. It is automatically adjusting to make access easier and to provide benefits longer. In our budget we have included an extension of five weeks of regular benefits to help those who are most in need. Sadly, the opposition member is voting against that.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Canadian Heritage is saying is that culture must serve politics and Canadian unity, and that his big project will unify the country. In fact, this is like the sponsorship scandal under the old Liberal government: anything to promote Canadian unity. It sounds like back to the future.

Will the minister admit that for the Conservatives, as was the case with the Liberals, arts and culture must serve Canadian unity?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, this is ridiculous. What I said about the Canada Prizes is that we want to create prizes for artists from all parts of the country. We think it is important to underscore the excellence of our artists from coast to coast. The hon. member likes to refer to some proposal. We will soon present our policy on this issue. When it becomes public, the hon. member will be in a position to discuss it and to comment on it in a factual manner.