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House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was officers.

Topics

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians with family members in Sri Lanka are desperately worried about their safety. Today we learned that a hospital was shelled, victimizing hundreds, and that hundreds more cannot be rescued from the war zone by the Red Cross.

What action will the government take to ensure the safe evacuation of the affected population and the delivery of much needed aid?

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the government is very concerned about the impact on the civilians in Sri Lanka. We know families and friends of many Canadian Tamils are being affected. That is why we are calling for a ceasefire so humanitarian aid can have access and can be delivered to those who are facing such a devastating situation.

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend in Sri Lanka, artillery fire reportedly killed nearly 400 civilians and wounded 1,100 more. Tamil Canadians in my riding, with family members in the war zone, are desperately concerned about their safety. They want the government to do everything possible to stop this slaughter.

Will the immigration minister fast-track family class applications for those trying to escape the violence and join their families in Canada?

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, we all share the terrible anxiety of Canadians of Tamil origin who see what is happening in Sri Lanka. That is why our government is not only increasing aid but calling for a ceasefire. Also, our immigration officials at our Colombo mission are expediting the processing of family class reunification applications for Sri Lankan nationals.

There are some logistical difficulties because it is difficult for people to come from the affected areas to Colombo for interviews, but our officials are doing everything they possibly can to expedite the processing of these applications.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, as Quebec prepares to create a carbon exchange, we learn from a document obtained through access to information that the lack of any federal legislation on the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions has harmful economic effects on the natural resource sector. The lack of any guidelines hampers research and development investments in the area of renewable green energies.

Will the Prime Minister wake up at last and put in place some real and absolute greenhouse gas emission targets? This is an economic issue too.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has already indicated on a number of occasions its intention to do exactly what the Leader of the Bloc Québécois has called for, but since the visit by President Obama it is clear that we are working along with the U.S. government in setting targets and creating a regulatory system for greenhouse gas emissions for the economy of the entire continent.

I feel that will be the best solution.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is wrong. The Prime Minister is not referring to absolute reduction targets, but rather to intensity targets. They are not at all the same. Not at all the same, and he knows that very well , but he keeps on changing reality.

He is the one who spoke of a socialist plot when discussing the 2002 Kyoto protocol. Recently he has even appointed people to a research council who deny this scientific reality,and one person who has spoken out against Kyoto.

Will he put an end to this I don't care attitude, which essentially backs the oil and gas sector at the expense of the manufacturing and forestry sectors, when these have made efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is always interesting to see the Bloc Québécois leader again attacking Alberta and Ontario in asking a question about the environment. That is part of the Bloc's very nature. It does not seek solutions, it simply seeks to pit Canadians against each other.

As for us, we are working with the provincial governments and the U.S. government to reach some real solutions for our planet.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should listen to the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, who is highly critical of the government’s attempts to fight greenhouse gases.

The reductions in greenhouse gas emissions forecasted in his climate change plan are being overestimated. Canada is not complying with the provisions that require it to make real reductions in greenhouse gases. In short, the government is taking refuge in all kinds of excuses.

How can the minister still say that only small changes are needed to his plan when we have proof today that it is nothing more than a masquerade designed to protect the oil companies?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. Contrary to the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals, we have clear objectives and a clear strategy for fighting climate change. They are to help protect the environment and promote economic prosperity, readjust our priorities from time to time, regularly and with a view to the long term, and develop and implement green technologies.

The Bloc should support our efforts and stop being so partisan about this.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is not an environmental strategy we have here but an environmental tragedy. That is the reality.

After the partisan appointments to key positions in research organizations and major deficiencies in the green infrastructure programs, now the Conservatives are ignoring an act of Parliament out of pure ideology.

How can the minister expect to have any credibility on the international scene when, in addition to reneging on our signature of the Kyoto protocol, he fails to abide by acts of Parliament?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, before criticizing anything, the hon. member should at least take a look at what is happening on the ground with the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Instead, he just stays in his living room.

Over the last few weeks, I have had discussions with our colleagues in the G8 and took part in a preparatory meeting in Washington for a summit with President Obama on energy and climate change. We should work together with the international community of the UN in Copenhagen.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we asked the Conservative government to explain why the $4 billion in infrastructure money promised in the budget is still languishing in the treasury. We got an answer from the Minister of National Revenue after question period. He said that it was the provinces' fault. He said, “Make no mistake: the delay is not our fault. We are in a position to start tomorrow morning. Quebec just has to pick its projects.”

Is that the government's reason for the delays?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are working with our provincial and municipal partners to identify projects across the country. We will spend the money on those projects this fiscal year. That is part of our economic action plan. It is somewhat ironic to see the NDP supporting these projects now, when it voted against them in the budget.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, but the infrastructure money was promised in January and the communities are still waiting for news. Meanwhile, the revenue minister goes around blaming the provinces as the cause of the delay. That is clearly not the case.

The cities and the provinces submitted lists of shovel-ready projects on schedule, but now they are faced with all kinds of delays and denials from the government. That is the real story.

If what I am saying is not true, then how much of the $4 billion has actually been invested and is flowing? How many jobs are there? Where are the projects?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, projects are being identified across the country in collaboration with our provincial and municipal partners. These projects will be undertaken this year as laid out in our economic action plan, but I have to say, it is no thanks to the NDP, which voted against all of these projects when it decided to vote against the budget before even reading it.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the money is not flowing. We just heard it from the Prime Minister. That is what the cities are saying, that is what the provinces are saying, and that sure is what the workers are saying who had hoped to get some work this summer as a result of all the promises we heard from the government.

Last fall, the Prime Minister was denying the recession. He has never been keen about taking these kinds of actions. The foot-dragging is obvious. He only moved when it looked like he would lose his own job. Meanwhile the NDP proposed that the money be transferred using the model of the gas tax. If that had been done, the money would be in the hands of municipalities today and people would be put to work. It is not too late. Do it now. Flow the gas tax--

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Meanwhile, Mr. Speaker, the only thing the NDP actually did was vote against the projects when we brought forward the funds in the House of Commons. That is what the NDP did, and if we followed the NDP, we would still be having this ridiculous coalition with no policies.

Instead, what we are going to have are projects rolling out across this country that are going to be for the long-term benefit of this country.

National DefenceOral Questions

May 12th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General just tabled a report with some troubling information regarding National Defence. It is saying it was unable to get enough accurate information to senior managers in time for them to decide how to spend surplus money within their department budget.

We will permanently lose $300 million made available to the department and the minister, who said they are desperately needed funds for our troops. Why is it so?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member kindly for his question. In fact, I did meet with the Auditor General yesterday. There are issues that we have to deal with in terms of accounting, and I thank her. We will have an opportunity to look through all the recommendations, as we always do.

However, I will tell the House what is a nice problem to have in the Department of National Defence these days, something that never happened during that member's time in government: We have enough money now, with the Canada first defence strategy, to purchase the necessary equipment, to support the men and women in uniform who are doing important work. That never happened during a decade of darkness when he was in government.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was the same Auditor General who said the department has “a collection of plans, not an integrated corporate business plan”, to carry out the new defence policies. Not bad for that.

Yesterday, the Minister of National Defence said that there was no truth to the rumour that the Chinooks would be based out of Petawawa. That must be true, because we will probably never see them. Something else is true, however. He should listen to the President of the Treasury Board because this is a bilingualism issue. The minister should do something about problems with language services in Borden. Francophone soldiers are not getting emergency or health services in their language.

Why is the minister treating francophone soldiers like second-class citizens?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member read the report. I have done the same.

I said we will be looking at these important recommendations. Acting as we always do across government when these recommendations from the Auditor General arrive, we of course immediately turn our attention to addressing these concerns.

With respect to Bagotville, with respect to the issues related to the helicopters, these are recommendations. These are not things we have acted upon as yet. These are recommendations that happen across government, in every department, before they even reach the desk of the minister. Very often they are late. That is what has happened in this instance. There have been no decisions made concerning relocation of equipment.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government wants to create 190,000 jobs. The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is supposed to create 63,000 jobs, or about one-third.

Can the minister explain to the House how he intends to reach that goal, even though he decided not to ask the provinces and municipalities how many jobs their projects will create on his one-page form?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we listened to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. It released a report from Informetrica last October that highlighted the importance and the benefits of making investments in the construction of roads, bridges, sewers and public transit. It said that if we were to invest $12 billion of federal money to support infrastructure and then ask the provinces and the municipalities to join us, we could create between 300,000 and 400,000 jobs. That is exactly what we are doing.