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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regions.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all true. The point is that Quebec administers its own tax. This is not about federal harmonization, such as Ontario plans to adopt, period. That is the difference. Nobody made up any new laws or anything like that. Currently, Quebec administers its own tax, but Ontario will not, as per the agreement it plans to sign. I think that is clear.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will table Paul Martin's letters later.

Ian Brodie, the Prime Minister's former chief of staff, just gave a speech at McGill where he detailed an example of Orwellian Newspeak. He said that as far as Conservatives are concerned, bad tax policy is in fact good when “Despite economic evidence to the contrary...it helped us to win”.

Is that what is behind the new Liberal-Conservative higher tax on everything for Ontario: Make an announcement with a grinning Dalton McGuinty, but stick it to families at this time of crisis with 8% more for home heating, electricity and gasoline?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is up to those provinces in Canada that have not harmonized their PST and GST to decide whether they wish to harmonize or not. The Government of Ontario has made that decision.

The Governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador some 10 years or so ago made the same decision. At that time they received some compensation from the federal Liberal government. The precedent was set then.

Harmonization, the creation of a VAT, is in the best interests of growth of the economy in Canada. Quebec chose not to sign a harmonization agreement. It chose to collect its own sales tax, which is not harmonized.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the predecessor of the current Minister of Foreign Affairs asked that Mr. Abdelrazik's name be removed from the no-fly list after the RCMP and CSIS cleared him of all criminal or terrorist activity. Yet today, he is being denied an emergency passport, which would allow him to enter Canada.

Can the minister explain why Canadian authorities have changed their position?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our position has not changed. I would like to remind the hon. member that Mr. Abdelrazik has been on the UN Security Council no-fly list and is therefore subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.

Again I would like to remind my hon. colleague that since this matter is before the courts, we cannot comment on it further.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is, the department is creating obstacles to block Mr. Abdelrazik's repatriation. We are calling on the department to remove his name from the no-fly list—United Nations resolution 1267—before he will be authorized to enter Canada. However, despite that list, United Nations Security Council resolution 1390 stipulates that no state shall deny its own nationals entry into its territories.

Why is the government denying Mr. Abdelrazik's entry into Canada? Why is the government reversing its position?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would again like to remind my hon. colleague that our position has not changed. Again, Mr. Abdelrazik is on the UN Security Council no-fly list and is therefore subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.

I would like to remind the hon. member again that since this matter is before the courts, I cannot comment any further.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, ministers from British Columbia came to Ottawa, looking for changes to wiretap and electronic monitoring and surveillance provisions to make them more effective.

The governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have asked for the same thing.

Last week, the Assistant Commissioner of the RCMP, Mike Cabana, who appeared before the justice committee, asked for the same thing.

Why is the government not listening? Why is the government not assisting the police so that they can actually apprehend and disrupt the gangs in British Columbia and bring about peace and order on the streets of British Columbia?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the hon. member has noticed, but we have done a lot of things that were never done under the previous government to try to help the police to combat those gangs in British Columbia, including mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes, which their party dragged on and on. We had to threaten elections three times, I think, to get that through in the last Parliament.

With our new legislation on drug crimes and our new legislation on organized crime, those are all things that we are doing.

In terms of the matter of the searches, the important thing is to ensure we strike the right balance between privacy rights and assisting the police. I know he would not want to violate people's privacy rights and charter rights either.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, for three years now, the governments of at least five provinces have been asking the Conservatives to give them the legal means to obtain the information they need to fight criminal gangs. My bill, Bill C-285, introduced two years ago and introduced again a few weeks ago, addresses their concerns. It would limit criminals' ability to use sophisticated technology to operate secretly.

Will the minister finally wake up and do something, as called for by the provinces?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we believe it is important to give police all the tools they need to achieve justice and tackle crime. We intend to provide them with that.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the second anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, yet the government refuses to ratify this convention despite the support of Canadians and a unanimous motion passed by the House.

What is the Conservative government doing instead? It is spending a quarter of a million dollars on an online poll asking whether or not this convention should be ratified.

Since when do we use polls to determine whether human rights should be upheld? Will the government support people with disabilities and ratify the convention now?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government stands for human rights. This is one of its key foreign affairs policies. Therefore, she can rest assured that this government will fight for the rights of the disabled or anyone.

However, I would like to remind her that when we sign international treaties, we also require the assistance of the provinces. We are working with the provinces to address the issue she is talking about.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that does not explain why the government is prepared to spend a quarter of a million dollars determining whether the rights of persons with disabilities ought to be defended. How in the world can it justify that?

Then it turns around and underfunds by $1.8 million per year a program to help people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. It is a program that is already shortchanged at only $3.3 million a year.

The Minister of Health should be ashamed of trying to cover up for that kind of cutback. She knows better.

I want to ask the Minister of Finance if he is prepared to stand up today to show that the money is put back and that people with disabilities are supported.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my answer, this government supports human rights, whether it be the rights of the disabled, of visible minorities, or of anyone. We will continue doing that, but it is critically important to know that we work with provinces and everyone else so that we can fight for those rights.

I would like to remind her that a cabinet minister of this government is a person of disability at the forefront of support for the rights of the disabled.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources was in Toronto this morning announcing an extension to the already successful ecoEnergy home retrofit program. I know many of my constituents are interested in this program that helps Canadians make smart improvements to their homes while saving money.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board please inform the House and my constituents of Northumberland—Quinte West of the new opportunities in today's announcement?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Northumberland—Quinte West for his question and for his hard work on this file. Today, as part of Canada's economic action plan, the Minister of Natural Resources announced an additional $300 million for homeowner grants through the popular ecoEnergy home retrofit program.

This is a great chance for Canadians to save money on home renovations. It is a great chance for Canadians to cut their energy bill for years to come. It is a great chance to make an impact in terms of the environment.

We have also introduced the home renovation tax credit. This government is getting things done for Canadian homeowners.

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister had the weekend to reconsider the obstructionist tactics of his parliamentary secretary blocking the Subcommittee on Food Safety from doing its work. One of hundreds of emails directed to the Prime Minister states: “I hope you agree that playing politics with food safety - as your MPs have done - is despicable. I urge you to order the Conservative MPs to allow the committee to do its work, and quickly.”

Has the Prime Minister reconsidered and will he now allow the committee to do its work as was intended, looking into food safety and listeriosis?

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we are of course prepared to do just that. We have rolled up our sleeves and we are ready to go to work. I cannot for the life of me understand why the opposition parties want to delay the report until next December. We have a number of other reports coming in, late this spring and early this summer. We would hope that this one will be done in that same timeframe.

If they want to extend meetings, if they want to extend the hours and stay and do the work, we are happy to do that, but let us roll up our sleeves and get this done long before December.

National DefenceOral Questions

March 30th, 2009 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government claims it is providing its troops in Afghanistan with top-notch equipment. Yet General Leslie says that 80 Leopard tanks have been sitting unused in warehouses in the Netherlands and Montreal for nearly two years because the government is delaying in upgrading them. Companies in Quebec such as Rheinmetall have the ability to do this work.

What is the government waiting for to refurbish these tanks, which are considered a priority for protecting the troops? What it is waiting for to award the contracts? What is it waiting for to recognize that Quebec has the skills? It must act now.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of our decision to purchase new tanks. They are needed for the troops on the ground in Afghanistan. It is a good decision.

I would point out for the member opposite that it was this government's decision to buy these tanks, against the wishes of many at the time. These are now saving lives in Afghanistan. We are moving forward with a contract to up-armour those tanks and have them available to those troops for both their work in Afghanistan and the training required.

The reality is that we would not have those tanks today were it not for this government.

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, on March 11, this House unanimously mandated the government to make poverty reduction a top priority at upcoming G8 and G20 meetings. In direct violation of this motion, the Conservatives have relegated this issue to a secondary concern at the G8 social summit.

Other world leaders recognize that this economic recession will quickly turn into a bottomless social recession if the middle class and most vulnerable are ignored.

Why does the government not understand that fighting poverty and the recession are one and the same, and why is it ignoring the will of the House?

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will be attending the G20 conference in London next week and he will be working with the world leaders to fight on many issues that the Prime Minister has said are important for everyone.

It is important to recognize that this is a collective effort with all G20 countries and those that are coming to London to fight against poverty and stimulate the economy. We are looking forward to some positive results out of that conference.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Elgin--Middlesex--London, tobacco farmers were not only ignored by the former Liberal government but their businesses were actually undermined. We saw those years of neglect.

Farmers asked for assistance and this Conservative government delivered. Our Conservative government put forth a plan and funding to help transition these tobacco farmers into new opportunities.

Could the Minister of Agriculture tell the House how this program has helped tobacco farmers while ensuring taxpayer dollars are well taken care of?

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the great work that he and his colleagues in southwestern Ontario have done on behalf of tobacco farmers.

We have allocated some $286 million to start to move them out of the tobacco industry and transition into other great crops.

We are concerned that we are hearing reports of some farmers trying to bend the rules a little. To that end, we have allocated auditors to go down and have a look at this transition process. We will be working with the tobacco board down there to ensure the program is delivered in the spirit and the letter of the law by which it was created. We will continue to work with them.