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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judges.

Topics

FinanceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to $1 billion in equalization, the Conservative government has been stalling the settlement of various files worth an additional $5 billion for the Quebec government: Hydro-Québec's revenues for equalization, infrastructure programs, health care, post-secondary education, social programs and the ice storm, just to name a few.

When will the Conservative government stop ignoring Quebec and transfer the $6 billion it owes to Quebec?

FinanceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, as usual, our government has put in place a number of measures to spur the development of the province of Quebec, and we will continue to do so. Once again last week, I had the honour to visit many areas of Quebec. I was able to see for myself just how much our measures are being welcomed by the people of Quebec. I understand that this might not please my colleagues across the floor, but we are doing the work we were elected to do.

FinanceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec should not have to beg for this $6 billion. That money belongs to Quebeckers and is sitting idle in Ottawa. That money is not a gift; it is owed to Quebec. Like so many other nations, Quebec is struggling to balance its budget.

In this time of economic crisis, can the government promise here today that it will transfer the money owing to Quebec, thereby helping to stimulate its economy?

FinanceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. Transfers to Quebec will not be reduced. Under our government, federal funding to Quebec has increased by 37% and will continue to increase. Equalization now represents 13.4% of Quebec's provincial revenues, up from only 8.6% in 2005-06.

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Suncor announced a takeover of Petro-Canada that has significant implications for the supply and price of fuel and other things. The government demonstrated its lack of concern for high energy prices by scrapping the Office of Petroleum Price Information, thereby destroying any chance of transparency in the energy market.

What action is the government now prepared to undertake to ensure this merger will not lead to a further concentration of the refinery sector and even higher prices for Canadians for home heating fuel and at the pumps?

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right to raise issues of competitiveness. He will know that the government's economic action plan is promoting a competitive marketplace by ensuring Canadian business is in fact competitive.

In transactions like these, he will also know that the Competition Bureau will take the appropriate steps to scrutinize the transaction under the Competition Act. If it finds a reason for the government to need to protect the interests of Canadian consumers, we will of course be there and will do that very vigorously.

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am hoping the hon. minister could tap her colleague, next door to her, on the shoulder because her department, Natural Resources Canada, has indicated that “Refinery utilization rates close to 100 per cent, along with growth in demand...have created a need for significant additions to refinery capacity in Canada”, not less.

What assurances is the government now seeking to ensure that this merger will not lead to a further reduction in refinery capacity, a process that I think all colleagues will agree has led Canadians and consumers to having to pay dearly at the pumps and to keep themselves warm in difficult times?

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, first, those are precisely the issues that the Competition Bureau will be examining under law. Our government, in the economic action plan, wants to make sure that our economy is highly competitive and productive.

As the Competition Bureau does its work, the government will be informed. The government will take each and every necessary step to ensure that the interests of Canadian consumers and their needs are fully protected.

Campaign AdvertisingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, suspicions have been raised about five previously unheard of third party organizations that bought advertising endorsing the Minister of Sport in the 2008 campaign.

Four of these groups shared a financial agent and an office address, an address at the office of the 2006 B.C. Conservative election co-chair, who is a current member of the minister's riding executive. One group bought signs from the co-campaign manager of the minister's 2008 campaign.

Can the minister explain why these organizations seem to have such direct ties to his campaign team?

Campaign AdvertisingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, in the last campaign and in every election campaign, this Conservative government always follows the rules and the regulations, absolutely. Any allegations by the NDP are, of course, made up.

Campaign AdvertisingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know from Elections Canada returns that the Minister of Sport's campaign was closing in on the local legal limit. We also know that these previously unheard of organizations with links to the minister and his political organization ran ad campaigns endorsing the minister, totalling over $12,000, a figure that, if spent by the minister's local campaign, would have put him over the legal limit.

Was this an attempt to do an end run around the spending limits, just like the in-and-out scheme of 2006?

Campaign AdvertisingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the member involved has always respected the campaign finance laws of this country in the past and always will in the future.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada went courting Quebeckers in Laval, but he did not make any firm commitments. Yet he makes fun of how we Quebeckers talk, and he would like to put Quebec in its place by taking away its seat at UNESCO.

I would like the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to tell this House about the real action our Conservative government has taken for Quebec and for Canada, to create a strong Quebec within a united Canada.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his interesting question. First, unlike all previous Liberal governments, our government promotes decentralization and respects the provinces and Quebec.

We have substantially increased transfers to Quebec since 2006, and we have recognized the Quebec nation. That is the difference between the Liberal Party and our government.

Quebec is well represented on this side of the House of Commons by me and my fellow members. And we are here because we believe in a strong Quebec within Canada.

MulticulturalismOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is a shameful quote:

institutionalized multiculturalism as a taxpayer-funded program has run its course.

That is direct from the 2004 Conservative policy book.

This past weekend, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism stunned immigrant Canadians by stating:

We don't need the state to promote diversity.

It is clear that Conservative Reform roots are coming out and showing up once again. Why is the Conservative government abandoning multiculturalism and forcing Canadians to choose between diversity and integration?

MulticulturalismOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, no one is forcing such a false choice. The reality is that we have changed the priorities within the multiculturalism program to focus on the concrete challenges that newcomers and members of cultural communities face. This government is taking action on those concrete challenges.

The Liberals, for instance, cut language program funding. Our government has tripled it.

The Liberals did nothing to assist newcomers on foreign credential recognition. We put over $80 million into helping to accelerate pathways to credential recognition.

When it comes to helping newcomers, for the Liberals, it was all talk. However, we are delivering the goods.

Science and technologyOral Questions

March 23rd, 2009 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Science and Technology. Some members opposite, who are getting in touch with their Reform roots, are saying that humans and dinosaurs coexisted. Certainly, looking at some members opposite, we are tempted to believe that there is some truth in that assertion.

But seriously, can the Minister of State for Science and Technology tell us whether or not he believes in Darwin's theory of evolution?

Does he believe in it, yes or no?

Science and technologyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am not convinced that this question relates to his government responsibilities. However, if he wishes to answer, the Hon. Minister of State for Science and Technology may now have the floor.

Science and technologyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, I accept the opportunity to clarify, because I know the member has difficulty reading.

I do in fact believe in evolution, full stop, but what is important is what this government is doing for our science and tech community. We just surpassed the $10 billion per year mark for our scientists.

This year alone, we put $5.1 billion into our science and tech community, and that member and his party voted against every bit of it.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, we all share in the shock and sorrow at the death of 17 offshore workers who lost their lives in the Cougar helicopter crash off Newfoundland's east coast.

As the Transportation Safety Board seeks the cause of this crash, questions are once again being raised about search and rescue response time, though it may not be a factor in this case.

After the Ocean Ranger disaster 27 years ago, a royal commission recommended that the Government of Canada ensure that a fully equipped search and rescue helicopter be stationed at the St. John's airport, nearest the offshore activity, now greatly increased.

Will the government now commit to implement this recommendation to ensure the safety of offshore workers?

Search and RescueOral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canadian Forces search and rescue assets are carefully managed and strategically located across the country.

The location of CF assets is based on experience. Studies have determined where search and rescue incidents happen, and assets are concentrated where the need is greatest.

Gander is centrally located in Newfoundland and Labrador, and as such, allows the CF an even search and rescue coverage throughout the region.

The Canadian Forces does work closely with its search and rescue partners and does take appropriate action to ensure that Canadians get the most efficient search and rescue service available anywhere in the world.

Seal HuntOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the opening of the Canadian seal hunt in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is a long-standing tradition and the backbone of many communities in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Can the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans tell the House how Canada is standing up for these proud sealers and this vital industry?

Seal HuntOral Questions

3 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the seal hunt does begin today around Îles-de-la-Madeleine. After being the subject of very disappointing attacks by both the Liberals and special interest groups, the sealers are a very resilient bunch.

I want to assure the 6,000 Canadian sealing families that they have the full support of the government, and we wish them a safe and very prosperous season.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, across the country, sewage facilities are in a state of disrepair.

Here in Ottawa, raw sewage regularly leaks into the Ottawa River from an aging treatment plant in Arnprior, contaminating a body of water used daily by over a million residents in this region.

Arnprior's mayor, Terry Gibeau, applied to the building Canada fund to fix the plant. It met all the known criteria to gain access to funding, but the application was refused.

Why is the minister saying no to Arnprior and yes to raw sewage in the Ottawa River, while sitting on a pot of over $3 billion of unspent infrastructure money?

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this was a joint decision between my friend Dalton McGuinty and me.

The proposal from Arnprior is a good one. The challenge was that it was not able to begin quickly enough. That is why the province and the federal government made that decision.

Perhaps at Sunday dinner, before he wastes his time here in the House of Commons, he could inquire as to his brother's excuse as well.