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House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2007, both the RCMP and CSIS cleared Mr. Abdelrazik of any suspicion. However, according to a briefing note, Mr. Abdelrazik's name was put on the UN no-fly list at the request of the Bush administration.

Why does the federal government refuse to respect the rights of this citizen, and why does it oppose his return to Canada? Is it out of nostalgia for the Bush era?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is a procedure allowing Mr. Abdelrazik and his lawyer to ask that his name be removed from that list. We encourage this individual to avail himself of that option.

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives still refuse to help our broadcasters, both public and private, even though they are all going through a serious crisis at this time.

What is the minister doing in the meantime? He is twiddling his thumbs, as usual. If twiddling one's thumbs were an Olympic sport, he would win every category.

This crisis has already had disastrous consequences on the diversity of information sources, especially in the regions.

Will he continue to twiddle his thumbs, or will he do as we are doing, and try to find a solution for all of them right now?

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is false. As I have said here many times, there is definitely a crisis in the global economy, and this is having an impact on broadcasters on the ground here in Canada.

We got the job done. During the election campaign, we promised to invest $1.1 billion in CBC/Radio-Canada. That is what we did. We created the new Canada media fund, with $310 million for the broadcasting industries, to help them create Canadian content. We are getting the job done.

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, CBC Radio in Moncton and Saint John, along with other Atlantic Canadian cities, had to cut staff because of the Conservatives' decision not to give our public broadcaster bridge financing.

The Conservatives say they want to sit down with the private broadcasters to find solutions to their problems. Will the CBC be invited to those discussions so it can benefit from possible solutions and continue giving Atlantic Canadians, and all Canadians, the level of service they deserve?

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we made a very specific promise during the election campaign to maintain or increase funding for the CBC, and we kept our word.

When the Liberals had their opportunity, they made a promise to maintain or increase funding for the CBC, and what did they do? They cut funding to the CBC by $414 million. Not only that, but when the Liberals were in office, they cut 4,000 jobs at the CBC.

Our Conservative government respected our promises. Let us not forget, this Conservative government was elected in 2006 because the Liberals failed. We were elected in 2008 because we are getting the job done.

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, more taxpayers' money is being wasted.

Last week, we learned that the government had wasted $50,000 paying American consultants to do the work of staff of the Prime Minister's Office. Today, we learn that the government wasted more than $1 million to fund a public appointments commission that does not even exist.

A million dollars could have helped a lot of families in difficulty in this Conservative recession. How can the government justify this waste of money when so many Canadians desperately need help now?

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government came forward with a very qualified nominee to head a review board for public appointments. The opposition decided to play partisan games with that nomination. As such, our government was unable to fill that position.

We continue to make appointments based on merit, and the government is currently laying the groundwork for the eventual establishment of a public appointments commissioner. That is transparency.

Real transparency on that side would be for the Liberal leader to explain what he meant when he said, “We will have to raise taxes”.

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the commission that the Prime Minister created and then cancelled himself when Parliament would not let his top party bagman chair the commission.

If Joe Public got a job and then quit before doing any work, he would not be paid. Why is this any different? Plain and simple, this is another example of the Conservative government's ability to waste money.

One million dollars would provide some 3,000 EI payments for Canadians who could really use the help right now.

Why did the government spend taxpayers' dollars so irresponsibly?

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

In fact, Mr. Speaker, there are officials, three of them, within the secretariat in question who are in the process of establishing this important enhancement in the way that appointments are done.

That does not change the fact that the Liberal leader said, “We will have to raise taxes”. We have asked some very clear questions: Which taxes would he raise, how high would they go up, and who would have to pay?

I would invite the leader of the Liberal Party to rise to his feet and answer those questions.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, while this government is continuing to work towards a North American plan to reduce greenhouse gases with the United States, the Liberal Party, in Vancouver, celebrated the return of the green shift's carbon tax. It is back. Yes, it is true, the carbon tax is back.

Can the Minister of the Environment remind Canadians why they completely rejected this plan only seven months ago?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the rotating Liberal environmental plan of taxes, tiddlywink bills and incremental excrementalism has stopped again on taxes.

It is hard to believe, but the Liberal Party wants to impose a carbon tax on Canadians. This will damage investments, kill jobs, and raise prices.

Canadians have a government with a real environment plan, working with our allies internationally and also continentally. We will get the job done.

We will leave taxes and tiddlywinks to the Liberals.

AbitibiBowaterOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, last week I asked the Minister of Finance to take action to help seniors who were being kicked off their AbitibiBowater pensions. Eight hundred people are affected, some as old as 94.

He shrugged off their plight, saying they should take it up with the provincial government. That was both callous and wrong.

Federal legislation regulates bankruptcy and insolvency rules, and right now, employees are at the end of the line to get what they are owed in severance and retirement payments.

Will the minister now take action to change the rules to protect employees' benefits, or will he continue to side with the bankers and lenders at the expense of ordinary people?

AbitibiBowaterOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the point I made with the member last week was about pensions, that the majority of pensions in this country are subject to provincial regulation, which is the case in AbitibiBowater.

It has gone to court. There is a bankruptcy proceeding going on. I see that the judge today ruled in favour of the union with respect to certain collective agreements and the fact that they must be respected.

That is the role of the courts, applying the bankruptcy laws of Canada.

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Questions

May 4th, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Sun says today that another group of government employees is costing us a lot of money. Outrageous salaries, questionable bonuses and a mysterious allocation system mean that executives of the Business Development Bank of Canada earn more than the Prime Minister. The bank says that it has to pay these mandarins that much to keep them, but it refuses to reveal the exact figures.

How can the government tolerate such abuses when people are losing their pensions and 60% of people who lose their jobs do not even qualify for employment insurance?

Business Development Bank of CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member may have heard, of course the BDC has to roughly match private sector banks in terms of its remuneration. It has to match Treasury Board standards. The BDC continues and will continue to play an important role in assisting small and medium-sized enterprises with their loans. They oversee over $3 billion in loans right now.

We will certainly always review to make sure that it is consistent with Treasury Board guidelines.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

For too long, the wharves in eastern Quebec have been in such a state of disrepair that, during violent storms, fishers cannot dock and, for their own safety, are forced to wait out the storm in open waters. This situation has also affected the safety of the ferry service between Rimouski and Forestville.

After a 12-year wait, will the government acknowledge that it is high time to take action and invest in the reconstruction of the Rimouski wharf?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, our government did recognize the need for improvements to small craft harbours. That is why our economic action plan has set out an additional $200 million to make improvements to small craft harbours across the country.

I am not quite sure if Rimouski is on that list, but I will only be too happy to check.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the government adopt phase 2 of the Bloc's assistance plan, which recommends immediate action by investing $300 million in small craft harbours and renovation of its wharves?

That is another means of supporting the economy of regions in dire need of assistance.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, we are supporting the industry by upgrading a number of harbours across the country.

As I said to the hon. member, I am not sure if Rimouski is among those. I do not ever recall hearing from that member that there was a problem with Rimouski. However, we will definitely look into that.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, Pavel Kulisek is still in prison in Mexico, and the minister of state is still blaming and berating others for his government's failure to help Mr. Kulisek. His family and friends feel abandoned by the government.

Why is it that the minister appears to favour interests on a commercial basis with other countries over human and consular rights? When are we going to get some action from the minister on a Canadian wrongly accused?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the members of the House that we are actively monitoring this case. We are liaising with the Mexican authorities to express Canada's interest in this case, and in his case, obviously, to seek at the same time the assurances that Mr. Kulisek's right to due process is respected.

As we know, consular officials regularly visit him. As a matter of fact, our ambassador to Mexico has done so on at least two occasions over the course of the last month.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister intervening for the minister of state, but we would like to get a clear answer.

First that minister blamed a journalist and then blamed Mr. Kulisek's lawyer. Last week, when asked repeatedly which aspects of this case had been misrepresented to the public by W-FIVE, the minister could not come up with one single example, not one.

Now that he has run out of other people to blame, will the minister sit down, look at the evidence, and finally come to the defence of a Canadian who has been so clearly and wrongly imprisoned? More important, when is Ron Burgundy going to stand up for Canadians wrongly accused in Mexico?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are actually standing up for this Canadian. As I mentioned before, consular officials have been there, and the ambassador has gone there. My parliamentary secretary has actually been there and visited with this individual and has spoken with him. We are on this file and we are following it actively.

Canadian Flag PinsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the role of a minister of the Crown is to take responsibility for the contracts and the decisions of his department. However, for a week, we have had this minister running through the spectacle of dodging a simple question as to why a Canadian company was frozen out of a contract and the maple leaf was then outsourced to China.

First he blamed the gift shop. Then he blamed the WTO and he blamed the Speaker. It is like he is running through Tory Rolodex of excuses.

Here is the question: If he is not willing to take responsibility for his department, why does he not step aside and let someone else do it?