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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

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the story today is not in Bonn but right here in Ottawa. This afternoon I presented the automobile industry with regulatory standards limiting exhaust emissions. These standards reflect both the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the fuel economy standards in the United States. That is the story today. The Bloc should support our efforts and objectives regarding industry and the environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the story today is also in Bonn where the government is doing nothing. That is the reality.

It is certainly true that we need to take the particular situation of each country into account. That means we also need to take Quebec’s situation into account. Its manufacturers reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 24% between 1990 and 2006 but that might not count for anything if the current international reference year is dropped.

Will the government offer credits to companies that have reduced their greenhouse gases since 1990 so that they can trade them on the carbon exchange, or will it favour the oil industry to the detriment of Quebec’s manufacturing industry?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, everything is always partisan with the Bloc.

It is hard to take the Bloc members seriously. In terms of peculiarities, their peculiarity in the House of Commons is that they signed a coalition document in December binding themselves to a North American cap and trade. Two months later, they support in this House a private member's bill that is entirely inconsistent with a North American cap and trade regime.

How can anybody take seriously what comes from that end of the House of Commons?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has left local Service Canada employees alone with the EI crisis. The posting for more citizen service agents started in March 2008. One year later and still many new employees have not been hired.

People need help to get through this EI crisis. Why is the Conservative government not supporting Service Canada and hiring new employees? What is it waiting for?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we fully understand the difficulty that Canadians are going through at this difficult economic time. That is why this government will do what it needs to do to ensure the help is there when they need it. Our minister has announced $60 million that will be applied specifically to ensure the resources are there to have the benefits flow as quickly as possible. We are very thankful that our employees at Service Canada are doing their utmost to ensure that happens.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are not even able to fill the positions posted in 2008 and they think they are making a difference today. The Conservatives refused to act even though they knew the economic crisis was coming and many people would be thrown onto employment insurance.

After more than a year, many citizen service agent positions have still not been filled. How can we believe what the Conservatives say?

After a year of inaction, can we expect more of the same when it comes to hiring new employees to process employment insurance applications?

Will workers also have to wait another year before getting help? Will workers who need employment insurance get the necessary assistance immediately?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I will say once again that in view of the fact that a lot more people have applied for employment insurance, we have instituted special measures to accelerate the processing of applications: we have invested $60 million, hired more resources, among other things, and made changes so that people who have to fill out a form can do so electronically to speed up the process.

It is the same for people who benefit from work sharing and who, instead of having to fill out a form every two weeks, will only have to do so if there is a change.

We are definitely acting.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, another week, another group of Canadian workers let down by the government.

ACE Aviation owns 75% of Air Canada and claims the recession has left it with zero dollars for the debt-ridden pension fund of Air Canada's employees. Not only does ACE Aviation have $388 million in cash reserves, but in 2007 it paid its CEO $47 million in bonuses. Where is the fairness for Air Canada workers?

When will the government stop allowing big corporations to hide behind the recession and start standing up to protect the pensions of hard-working Canadians?

Air CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, obviously, we are tremendously concerned about the workers at Air Canada. Air Canada provides important civil aviation services across the country and indeed in every part of the world.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance is currently looking at the pension liabilities of federally regulated pensions. That is obviously a central part of the challenge that Air Canada is facing. I know the member for Macleod will do a great job and that he will be responding in very short order.

Air CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is cold comfort for Air Canada workers.

Air Canada has the money to pay that former CEO millions of dollars in bonuses, but not enough for employee pension funds. This is a simple matter of priorities for ACE, and more important, for the government.

We know whose side we are on. Whose side is the government on, the CEO with the millions of dollars in bonuses, or the workers who will lose their pensions that they have been counting on for dignity in their retirement?

Air CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, unequivocally this government stands on the side of hard-working Canadians, Canadians who work hard, who play by the rules, who want to be able to count on their pension plans for a stable retirement. The government is currently reviewing this important issue and will be reporting back in very short order.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, for several days now, the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie has been rewriting the dictionary of synonyms and finding all manner of names to call the members from Quebec who do not think the same way as he.

His behaviour does nothing to improve the image of politicians, and we could very easily do without it.

Yesterday, the Bloc leader was even contradicted by the Quebec finance minister and the government of Quebec, when they clearly explained that the Quebec tax was not harmonized.

Can my colleague, the honourable Minister of Public Works and Government Services, at last show him how open federalism applies in this case?

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

3 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I see some reactions, but I would like to read two things said by the Quebec finance minister yesterday in the Quebec National Assembly: “I expect, Mr. Speaker, to completely harmonize things here as in Ontario and then to obtain the $2.6 billion in compensation.” She went on to add “We are going to propose (to the federal Minister of Finance) the adoption of exactly the same agreement as he signed with Ontario—”

Contrary to what the Bloc Québécois is saying, or the hon. member for Outremont, the Quebec sales tax is not harmonized, as the Ontario one will be. We prefer to be at the service of the population rather than to be token spectators, because there is nothing token about representing Quebec.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

April 1st, 2009 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to the Auditor General's report, the Conservative government's delay in filling vacancies on the IRB has resulted in a record refugee backlog. Since the Conservatives took office, we have witnessed a 50% decrease in finalized claims, an increase in processing times, long delays in rendering decisions, and thousands of lives being negatively affected.

Why did the minister ignore the recommendations of the IRB? Why did he fail to reappoint over 50% of the qualified individuals whose terms have now expired?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, in point of fact, this government took a dramatic departure from the kind of patronage system that the Liberals had for appointments to the IRB. We gave to the IRB the responsibility for pre-screening candidates through an exhaustive process of exams and interviews before recommending them to the government. Consequently, appointments slowed down for a certain period of time, but I am pleased to announce to the House we are now operating at nearly 95% occupancy on the IRB.

There are other reasons for the backlog, including the one-third increase in refugee claims last year. We need to address that as well.

Montreal Airport AuthorityOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Montreal airport authority has made the unilateral decision to alter the way taxi services to and from the Montreal Dorval airport are being managed. The Montreal taxi industry is unanimously opposed to the approach taken by the airport authority.

Will the minister impose a moratorium on the bidding process and bring to the table his departmental officials, the airport authority and representatives of the Montreal taxi industry, in order to break this impasse?

Montreal Airport AuthorityOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Canada's airports operate independently and at arm's length from the government. The member has raised a concern with respect to the airport authority in the city of Montreal. I would be very happy to sit with him after question period to learn more about that concern and to take it back to the relevant authority.

FinanceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the president of Visa Canada has his way, everyday consumers and small business are going to be further fleeced with yet higher fees. Yesterday in Toronto, the president of Visa called on the government to leave consumers open to gouging and rip-offs. It is time the government took bold action to regulate the credit and debit market and tell Visa that fleecing consumers during the recession is off limits.

Whose side is the government on, the side of hard-working Canadians and small business, or the side of credit card companies like Visa?

FinanceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that brings to mind the question whose side is that hon. member on, because we actually put in a number of suggestions in the budget that we are willing to do to protect consumers. That hon. member voted against the budget. We want to require a minimum grace period on new purchases made on credit cards. He and his party voted against it. As a matter of fact, they never even read it.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, only hours ago the Minister of the Environment made an announcement relating to the automotive industry that advances both our industrial and environmental agendas.

Today, 27% of Canada's carbon emissions come from transportation. Can the minister advise the House on how he intends to regulate those emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I advised the House of the names of three distinguished Canadians who have taken on leadership responsibilities in the working groups under the clean energy dialogue.

Today I can advise the House that Canada has become the first federal authority in North America to impose tailpipe emission regulations for carbon emissions from vehicles beginning in 2011.

Our carbon emissions approach will be harmonized completely with the approach being followed by the Americans. This is continental leadership, environmental leadership, making our industry more competitive and fulfilling our obligation with respect to the environment.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Independent

Bill Casey Independent Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, in my prebudget submission, the mayor of Truro, the mayor of Colchester County, and the province of Nova Scotia all highlighted the Truro civic centre as a high priority for stimulation money. The province, municipality and the communities have all provided their contributions. On March 12, I raised this issue in the House of Commons about the federal contribution. Since then, similar projects have been announced. I wonder if the minister could let Truro know when it might expect an answer on its application for the civic centre?

InfrastructureOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the representation the member opposite made to me on this yesterday.

Last week we met with the Minister of National Defence and with representatives of the Nova Scotia government. Step by step we are identifying priorities and moving forward. I would be very happy to take his project to the table.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, I have asked all members of Parliament for advice and suggestions on infrastructure projects in their ridings and I appreciate that the member has come forward with one.

The House resumed from March 26 consideration of the motion that Bill C-311, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Climate Change Accountability ActPrivate Members' Business

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. It being 3:02 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, March 31, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-311 under private members' business.

Call in the members.