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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was human.

Topics

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Macfarlane of Dorval has been an Air Canada employee for over 20 years. Thousands of Canadians and hundreds of my constituents work for Air Canada. Like Mr. Macfarlane, they are sick with worry over the security of their jobs and their pensions in the face of this looming restructuring.

Will the minister stand right now, do more than keep a watchful eye and actually reassure Air Canada's 30,000 employees that their pensions and the financial security of their families will be protected by the government?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this is a very difficult issue. The member opposite will know that more than nine air carriers went bankrupt when her party was in government.

These are challenging issues. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance is looking at the pension situation with respect to federally regulated areas. That is helpful. The airline did hedge fuel at $110 a barrel. The government cannot do anything with respect to that.

We have seen some steady declines in ridership. We are engaged in it and following it. The one thing this government would never do to Air Canada and to the travelling public is bring in a monster-sized carbon tax, which would have decimated the industry.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is refusing to compensate Quebec, which has harmonized its sales tax with the GST. Yet the situation of Quebec and Ontario is the same: neither has experienced a loss of revenue as a result of harmonization and their respective sales taxes do not apply to certain products. In fact, the only difference between Quebec and Ontario is that, in Quebec, medium and large businesses with sales in excess of $10 million do not get a QST rebate on the purchase of certain goods.

Since the Quebec finance minister has made a commitment to reimburse the businesses concerned, will the government commit to compensating Quebec as it has Ontario?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, on Monday we discussed the difference in the situations in Ontario and Quebec, and it is still the same. The Quebec finance minister said so yesterday: if there has to be harmonization, if there have to be adjustments, it will be done.

We will follow the debate and, in good faith, if negotiations are begun, we will be there. But they need to stop create fake debates like this one.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is certainly not a fake debate. This was the object of a unanimous motion in the Quebec national assembly, in other words by the Liberals, PQ and ADQ. There are $2.6 billion at stake. The Quebec finance minister has identified the single difference between the Ontario and Quebec sales taxes, which requires a simple adjustment for companies with over $10 million in revenue for whom certain goods are not reimbursed.

If she makes that little adjustment, will the federal government compensate Quebec to the tune of $2.6 billion? That is the question.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that is precisely what I have just said. The finance minister said yesterday that her tax was not harmonized and that adjustments would be made. We are following the situation closely.

We are getting called names, “token Quebeckers” among others, and I can understand that the leader of the Bloc is here frustrated and making a ruckus. He has never governed, nor will he ever. He tried his luck in Quebec but his head office sent him here. I prefer to be at the service of my constituents rather than a token, an on-looker.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the minister will say anything to avoid answering the question. Quebec's finance minister has clearly stated that the tax is harmonized in Quebec. Yesterday, she promised to change the few details in the harmonization of the TVQ with the GST that the federal government is using as an excuse to refuse to compensate Quebec.

Will the federal government show good faith and promise to “treat Quebec justly and equitably, by granting compensation that is comparable to that offered to Ontario”, as the National Assembly has unanimously called on it to do?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I will tell my colleague that he should listen instead of reading his sheet while I answer questions. I said that we would monitor the situation closely. If there are negotiations, the government will negotiate in good faith. This cannot be negotiated here in the House of Commons or in the newspapers, Our government is federalist, like the Government of Quebec. We want this to work, and we will negotiate in good faith.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister had really wanted to show good faith, he would have admitted that Quebec's finance minister said that the tax was harmonized in Quebec.

Quebec has never been compensated for being the first province to harmonize its sales tax with the GST, even though three Atlantic provinces received $1 billion in 1997 and Ontario is now getting $4.3 billion.

Instead of showing bad faith, will the government make a clear commitment to compensate Quebec and pay it the $2.6 billion it is entitled to?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, the Minister of Finance of Quebec said yesterday in the National Assembly that adjustments would have to be made to harmonize Quebec's tax. I am referring to the debates, which he should read.

That said, we are looking at the situation and, as a good government, we will negotiate in good faith if negotiations are held, and we will monitor the situation, but this will not be negotiated here in the House of Commons or in the newspapers.

They wanted to engage in a false debate, but now they see that the tax was not harmonized. The Minister of Finance said so herself.

AfghanistanOral Questions

April 1st, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in response to a question from the New Democrat member for New Westminster—Coquitlam, the government said:

The onus is on the government of Afghanistan to live up to its responsibilities for human rights...including rights of women. If there is any wavering on this point from the government of Afghanistan, this will create serious problems and be a serious disappointment for us.

Could the government tell us today how it will express the disappointment of the Canadian people with regard to these laws that attack women? Will it tell us what real consequences there will be for the government of Afghanistan and whether the mission and its purpose will be reconsidered in this context?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister has expressed serious concerns with this Afghanistan law. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs has done that also and continues to do that. The status of the law is still unclear, even among the Afghan legislators themselves.

However, what is very clear is we are concerned with the provisions in this law as we see them. We are calling unequivocally upon the government in Afghanistan to ensure it lives up to its international treaty obligations for human rights, especially human rights for women. We are very clear on this.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this law grants men all legal rights when it comes to custody of children, divorce and inheritance. And it permits rape. This is a very serious attack on the rights of Afghan women. One hundred and sixteen of our soldiers have given their lives to change things in Afghanistan.

How can the government say that our soldiers died to protect women's rights when Hamid Karzai allows such a law to pass?

If Afghanistan goes ahead with this law, is the government prepared to reconsider its approach in Afghanistan, yes or no?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has indicated, and we continue to indicate, that this could have serious implications. Other countries that are helping the people in Afghanistan are also expressing concern.

We are being very clear on this. What we know about this law causes us serious concerns. We are calling on the government of Afghanistan to live up to its obligations, to clarify its position on where it stands and to ensure that the human rights of all people, including and especially the human rights of women, are protected to the full extent of its obligations.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, for years now, the government has ridiculed anyone in the House who dared to question what was going on in Afghanistan. The government said over and over again that the underpinning of this mission was to defend women's rights and to provide education for girls.

After all the sacrifices, after all Canadian families have put on the line, could this really end up being what we are fighting for in Afghanistan? Will the minister stand immediately in the House today and tell us he will take decisive action to force Hamid Karzai—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of International Trade.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, with due respect, we have been very clear on this. I really do not appreciate a question being raised about what our soldiers have been standing for. They have been standing for the protection of human rights. They have been standing for the protection of women. They have been standing for the protection of children. They have literally been giving their lives for that. That is why we are concerned about this.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's auto industry is on life support. The auto industry will only succeed when people start buying and leasing cars again. People buy and lease cars when they have jobs and access to credit.

Canadians are looking to the government for confidence in the industry and they are looking for credit. The government announced a loan guarantee facility in December. We are still waiting for it to become a reality. Waiting until May is not good enough.

When will the government show some real leadership on the issue and do its part to restore consumer confidence?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are moving ahead with the Canadian secured credit facility. That is a $12 billion program in our budget to support vehicle financing and equipment purchases. We have also increased the limit for the Business Development Bank, which in turn increases credit availability for small businesses so they can buy into fleets.

These are the things for which our government stands. We are proud of our budget and we think it will help the situation. The folks on the other side voted for it, and now they laugh.

They can laugh all they want, but these are serious issues for the people of Canada.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, nobody on this side is laughing.

Auto retail represents 20% of all retail sales in Canada. The industry says that there will be a dealership a day closing across Canada. Imagine, an average of 85 core jobs will be lost each and every day, touching every community in our country.

This could have been avoided if the minister had heeded the requests of the industry and provided a credit facility to spark sales and leasing sooner. Yet the Conservatives continue to drag their feet.

Why does the minister continue to stonewall consumers when they need credit the most?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, our budget was praised by the auto manufacturers. It was praised by the auto parts sector. It was praised by the auto dealers because they saw real action. They saw a government that knew what it was doing and was working toward a solution.

On the other side, we have a Liberal leader who says one thing in British Columbia and another in the House of Commons. We do not know where the Liberals stand on any of these issues. That is not leadership.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, “We must not miss an opportunity to lead, to confront a crisis that knows no borders”. Those are the words of President Obama.

The Americans have a government that is delivering for its people. Canadians are stuck with a government that has been absent, that has failed to provide leadership and take any action.

Will the Conservative government back the warranties for Canadians who own GM and Chrysler cars? The Americans got that assurance on Monday. When will the government step up to the plate and deliver the same for Canadians?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are examining the American situation. The Americans have not come up with any details.

The hon. member talks about leadership. There is no leadership on the other side. They Liberals remind me of that Seinfeld episode where the person knew how to take the car reservation, he just did not know what to do with the car reservation. On that side, they aspire to the leadership, but if they ever got it, they would not know what to do with it. That is not leadership.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is not a Seinfeld episode. This is a reality that Canadians are living day in and day out.

The auto sector is on life support and band-aid solutions will simply not work. The job losses across the country are increasing every day. To date, the government has done nothing to reach out to help those who are struggling.

Chrysler closed its third shift and my constituents in Brampton—Springdale lost their jobs in the thousands. Now thousands of others in my constituency are in limbo.

What will the government do to help?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as was indicated, we are working in concert with the Ontario government, the Dalton McGuinty government. We are working in concert with the Obama administration. He praised Canada's leadership when he made his speech to the people of the United States of America on Monday.

We are leading. We are showing the way. At times, the Obama administration has taken our lead. At other times, we have had those discussions and we are working in concert with it.

That is the kind of collaborative leadership that we show. On the other side, we have a multitude of voices: no actual policy, sound and fury, signifying nothing.