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House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Canadian International Development AgencyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about emergency relief funds. We are talking about long-term development resources, the kinds that lift people and nations out of poverty.

These countries and their ambassadors were not consulted prior to this announcement. They confirmed this forcefully in front of the committee.

Would the government consider consulting with them now as a group and provide them with at least the chance to fight for the future of their own people?

Canadian International Development AgencyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity personally to meet with representatives of about 10 of these nations. I know that the minister has had the same opportunity.

Canada, and Canada's government, will make its decisions about what it is going to be doing with respect to Africa. We are absolutely prepared to sit and meet with these people.

However, the continuation of the myth that we have cut aid when in fact we have doubled aid to Africa is deeply regrettable. I would ask all members of the opposition to rethink this policy. It is doing a damage to our reputation. We have doubled the amount.

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information SystemOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the WHMIS regulatory authority coordinates intergovernmental efforts and will be asked to play a major role in the implementation of new UN standards.

Workers rely on the system to protect them from hazardous materials at work, but the Conservatives want to cut the national authority's budget by $2.6 million.

Why is the government trying to hurt workers yet again by reducing funding to the organization that is responsible for their safety?

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information SystemOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we will continue to meet our commitments under the WHMIS program. I recognize that the hon. member may wish additional information. I am prepared to share that information with her.

Health Canada will continue to meet its obligations. As I said, the savings come from leveraging efficiencies in similar programs, such as chemical and product safety, and to ensure that worker safety is not compromised and in fact will be improved through these efficiencies. We will continue to meet our obligations.

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information SystemOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government is actually doing the opposite.

The minister's officials right now are working to have the global system of classification and labelling exclude dangerous workplace chemicals. This, plus the knee-capping of the national office of WHMIS, are an absolute disgrace and an affront to all workers in this country. Why would the government want to compromise workplace safety?

Will the government follow the European Union, adopt the entire list of hazardous materials and rescind its cuts?

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information SystemOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that we will continue to meet our commitments under the WHMIS program.

The savings come from leveraging efficiencies in similar programs, such as chemical and product safety, to ensure that workers' safety is not compromised and in fact will improve through these efficiencies.

Health Canada will continue to meet its obligations. I would be happy to provide additional information to my colleague on the questions that she has raised.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continue with their inconsistent and, quite frankly, baffling arguments against our government's economic action plan to protect the Canadian economy during the current global economic downturn.

On the one hand, they are angry that our government is spending money to protect the unemployed, the auto sector and working to keep taxes low. On the other hand, they are really angry that we are not spending to make unwarranted changes to EI.

Can the government try to explain the Liberals' hypocritical statements and constant contradictions?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, usually from my colleagues I expect nice questions, but that may very well be the most difficult question of the day to answer and I am not sure that I can do it.

I cannot explain the bizarre, illogical argument the Liberals are using that on the one hand we are spending too much and on the other hand we need to spend more.

We are doing what we said we would do in our economic action plan and that is providing help for all Canadians. Whether it is through support for our industries that are struggling, whether it is support for the unemployed, we have a common goal and that is to help Canadians.

Lobster FisheryOral Questions

May 29th, 2009 / 11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The minister is fully aware of the disastrous situation in the eastern Canadian lobster fishery.

Can the minister assure the House today that there will be a rationalization program for the eastern Canadian lobster fishing industry? Can the minister assure the House that the rationalization program will be publicly funded and the program will not be funded on the backs of local fishermen?

This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed now.

Lobster FisheryOral Questions

Noon

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is right that this is a serious issue. Our government is committed to the long-term success of the lobster fishery. We are working with all Atlantic provincial governments and Quebec, as well as industry associations and processor associations to help the industry during this difficult time.

At the heart of the problem is the very low price due to reduced demand. That is why last week we announced an investment of $10 million to improve marketing which should help that situation. The minister is having discussions with her colleagues and provincial counterparts for additional solutions.

International CooperationOral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's logic is nothing if not surprising. The Minister of International Cooperation says that she will hold consultations, but only after having revealed the strategic orientations of Canada's policy on international aid.

Does the minister not think that she is putting the cart before the horse? Would it not be better to start with the consultations and then determine the orientations?

International CooperationOral Questions

Noon

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question earlier, I made the point that Canada, and the Canadian government, will make its decisions in the best interests of Canada, Canadian taxpayers and the best interests of the world.

Having made those decisions, our doors are open. I have made a personal invitation to all of the nations that have been affected. I have had meetings with people, as has the minister. Our doors are open. We want to be cooperative with the people with whom we are involved in these issues.

Mining IndustryOral Questions

Noon

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to drop the ball when it comes to the mineral development of northern Ontario. Sudbury developed a unique partnership of academia, industry and the province to set up a centre of excellence in mining innovation. Through all of this the Conservatives were missing in action.

Now we learn that the Conservatives are investing in mining research in, of all places, Toronto. Sudbury is recognized as a mining innovation centre by everyone, it seems, except the government. Why has the government walked away on the research and innovation agenda of Sudbury and northern Ontario?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

Noon

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. This government has committed to communities across this country with our community adjustment fund. We have committed with the clean energy fund as well. We undertook the most extensive prebudget consultations in Canadian history.

In terms of the mining sector we have done a number of things. I met with folks from the mining industry last week and they congratulated us on extending the super flow-through shares for mineral exploration. We are working on exploration. We are working on research and development. We are working on developing the industry and supporting mining through this tough time.

The EconomyOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, for some time, the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues have been flip-flopping on the issue of taxation.

Earlier this week, The Toronto Star blasted the Liberal leader for his juvenile and illogical positions.

Now Alain Dubuc of the daily newspaper La Presse is criticizing the Liberal Party for its inconsistent positions.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary explain what the government is doing to deal with the global economic crisis?

The EconomyOral Questions

Noon

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, that is a very relevant and important question. The Liberal opposition has been doing 180s for the past week, and now it is time to see where they stand. Maybe the Liberal Party needs a GPS.

As my colleague said, we have read the Toronto Star and Alain Dubuc's piece in La Presse, and we feel certain that people understand the government's position. As Mr. Dubuc said, “The government has been subjected to unfair and, worse yet, senseless attacks”.

This is yet another reminder that partisan politics is the worst way to address—

The EconomyOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Today's question period is now over.

The hon. member for Wascana on a point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order arising from question period.

On at least two occasions in question period, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister used the expression “tar baby”. In addition to being a pejorative term, which might well prove to be unparliamentary, the parliamentary secretary might consider that there are many authorities in this country and in many others that consider the term racist.

While he may want to make his views known in strong and extreme terms, he also might want to take this occasion to withdraw that expression to make it absolutely clear that he was not implying any racist connections.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that hon. colleague is a man with whom I have had disagreements but for whom I have respect. On this occasion though, I cannot believe that he would attempt to inject that meaning into that expression. He clearly understands that my reference had absolutely nothing to do with the one that he implied. I have worked hard to represent people of all backgrounds and I have always done so in a spirit of tolerance.

My reference to the term “tar baby” was a common reference that refers to issues that stick to one. The leader of the Liberal Party has taken this position, it has stuck to him, and now he is having difficulty explaining himself on that issue.

For him or for his House leader to inject racial politics in order to distract from that is the worst kind of base politics. I would encourage them to apologize for it.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am going to recognize the hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I too want to rise on the same point of order coming out of question period.

I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister to at least understand how that term can be interpreted and why it should not be used. As recently as this past week, Mitt Romney, a former governor in the United States, used the term. He was admonished and he did apologize.

This is an example of perhaps the use of a term that the parliamentary secretary might not have intended to be used in a certain way. However, that can be interpreted and has been interpreted by many African Americans and others that it is a term that should not be used.

To benefit us all, I ask the parliamentary secretary to apologize and to not use the term in the future.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's point. I am perfectly prepared to assure him that is absolutely not what I was referring to. In fact, I have never even heard that term used in the context that he is suggesting.

If anybody is offended because of the way that someone else might have used the term, I can assure the member that was not my intention and never would be.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the interest of laying this issue to rest, I wonder if the parliamentary secretary would not more unequivocally follow the example set not only by former governor Mitt Romney in the United States, but also by Senator John McCain, both of whom on various occasions used those expressions. When it came to their attention that they were inappropriate, they withdrew and they apologized.

Will the parliamentary secretary do the same?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The matter has been dealt with and I do not believe it is necessary at this point for further interventions from the Chair.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 13 petitions.