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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentence.

Topics

Forest IndustryOral 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, what the Prime Minister said in the document mentioned by my colleague is very clear and not at all like what my colleague said yesterday. We could possibly make this document public and pursue the issue now. He could see for himself that his comments do not really reflect the letter and what the lawyers think.

Forest IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the minister also table the letter the lawyers sent to the tribunal?

The minister does not want to answer the question because he knows very well that no reasonable client would contradict in court the lawyers he is paying to defend him.

Why is the government sabotaging the work its lawyers are doing in London if not to justify its own inaction regarding the crisis in the forest industry?

Forest IndustryOral 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, I would say as well that we asked the question. We will determine, of course, whether we can legally give the letter he mentioned to the public and the members of the House. As soon as we get an opinion, I hope we will be able to table the letter.

Government AssetsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is counting on more than $2 billion from the sale of government assets. Despite our repeated requests, the minister has been unable to say what assets he is going to sell or he is hiding something.

Crown corporations are not the same as Buckingham Palace silverware.

What is he hiding? What public assets is he going to let go at fire sale prices?

Government AssetsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if that hon. member had read page 209 of the budget, she would realize that we decided, since it had been 15 years since we had done an assessment of government assets, that we would review the assets of the Government of Canada, and that is prudent. We are reviewing assets in four different departments, Indian and northern affairs, finance, transport and infrastructure as well as natural resources.

There is no fire sale intended. We are analyzing what the value of those assets are, and that is prudent fiscal management.

Government AssetsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has made a commitment to $2.3 billion in this fiscal year alone. To do that, it has to know the assets. We have asked and have not had an answer.

One of three things is happening. First, the Minister of Finance really does not know what to sell and will miss his deficit numbers again. Second, the minister knows what he is planning to sell, but he is hiding this information from Canadians. Third, to meet his $2.3 billion commitment this year, he will treat crown corporations like Rideau Hall silverware and flog them at fire sale prices. Which is it?

Government AssetsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, maybe it is number four. Maybe it is prudent fiscal management of Canadian dollars.

Let me quote President Obama:

—in the midst of this enormous economic crisis, I think Canada has shown itself to be a pretty good manager of the financial system in the economy...that's important for us to take note of.

Everyone recognizes that prudent fiscal management is very important, even the President to the south.

Royal Canadian MintOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Speaking of prudence, Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Transport, confronted with an unaccountable discrepancy in the Mint's inventory, said, “I refuse to rule anything out” when asked if this was a case of shoddy accounting or theft, which is Incredible.

Again, in order to restore confidence in the Mint's security system, how long has he known about the missing gold? What has he done about it? When did he advise the Minister of Finance about the loss?

Royal Canadian MintOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, as soon as I found out, I was on the phone to the CEO of the Mint, Mr. Ian Bennett. He assured me that an internal audit, a very fulsome audit, was taking place. It started in March and will be completed within two weeks. It will be totally public.

I would encourage my hon. colleague not to speculate on the outcome of that audit.

Royal Canadian MintOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not that difficult. We do not need to wait two weeks. He can do a lot better than that. He could put in a call to the board of directors. After all, seven of the nine members are Conservative appointments, five of them are big contributors to their campaigns. In fact, the chairman was a big contributor to the two campaigns of the Minister of Finance's leadership runs in the province.

What is the government trying to hide? Surely, the Conservatives must have their phone numbers. Surely, they are still on good terms. Are they trying to hide the fact that they are botching the mandate?

Royal Canadian MintOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I am sure I would get the same comments from the CEO of the Mint as I would from any of the board members, which would be, do not speculate on the audit. It will be completed and it will be public.

My hon. colleague should just wait and not speculate on the outcome.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as members of the House are aware, Saturday, June 6 marks the 65th anniversary of D-Day. We must all take time to commemorate the 15,000 Canadian troops who stormed Juno Beach, fighting valiantly in a battle that would signal the beginning of the end of World War II.

This moment and many more in our military history is a source of pride among Canadians. It is said that the greatest gift we can give our veterans is a gift of remembrance.

Would the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell the House what efforts are being made to remember the sacrifices of over one million Canadians who served in the second world war?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, sadly and tragically, the World War II generation is passing. The average age of a second world war veteran is 86.

I am proud to announce that our government will provide the necessary new funds to thememoryproject.com to create a permanent electronic database of first-hand stories of World War II veterans.

Working with veterans' associations across Canada, we will meet veterans where they live and record forever their stories of sacrifice and courage, gallantry and struggle, triumph and tragedy: their words, their stories, our history, available forever online for generations of Canadians to witness.

We are acting now to collect these memories while we can, because we must never forget.

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has consistently demonstrated poor judgment. She endangered the lives of Canadians who are waiting for cancer tests by hiding the leak at Chalk River and allowing the isotopes crisis to worsen. The only good decision she could make would be to resign. Even in that she is a failure.

The minister’s incompetence has put lives in danger. She can still do the right thing without the agreement of the Prime Minister. She should resign immediately.

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I have to admit that I am surprised how the hon. member has characterized it.

This government has done much in terms of ensuring there is sufficient funding for AECL to deal with these matters. This government is encouraging AECL and CNSC to do proactive disclosure on websites so people can understand what is going on.

We have taken much action on the matter and it is coming to fruition. Globally we are being recognized as taking leadership on a fragile global medical isotope situation.

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is also that government that does not seem to understand the impact of losing secret nuclear documents for almost a week.

Canadians learned that the government dumped almost $2 billion into Chalk River and all we received was a shut down reactor and no isotopes. There was also classified information about AECL, the Government of Ontario and private companies, information that will surely have a negative impact on the government's planned fire sale of AECL.

Will the Prime Minister do his job and stop the privatization of AECL until the damage of the government's incompetence is fully understood?

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, I announced that we would be restructuring Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, which has been welcomed by a variety of people, not only in terms of workers and employees but in terms of people who are interested in investing collectively in our Canadian nuclear industry.

Indeed, we believe in the Canadian nuclear industry. There are 30,000 jobs now. We want to build more. We want to do more. However, clearly we know that the NDP is not interested in doing that at all because it votes against everything that is beneficial to the worker in Canada.

Quebec NationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that, for the federalist parties in Ottawa, the recognition of the Quebec nation means little. They would not let the Charter of the French Language apply to federally regulated businesses in Quebec and refuse to address the $8.8 billion owed to Quebec in outstanding issues.

If the recognition of the Quebec nation means anything to the federal government, when will it take concrete action aimed at treating Quebec fairly?

Quebec NationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, we are making effective, appropriate investments. We recognized the Quebec nation because we want Quebec to be part of a united Canada, and because we respect the differences that exist in our country and our heritage.

We are investing money and we are being respectful. We are always happy to work with our partners from coast to coast to coast.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question about harmonizing the GST. I could ask the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, but she is clearly not in the loop, so I will ask the Minister of Finance.

The government has harmonized the tax with the Maritimes and Ontario. Why has it not yet reached an agreement with Quebec?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

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, I am happy to tell you that we have gotten along very well with the Government of Quebec about harmonizing the tax. One day, there will be an agreement, and we will work with the Government of Quebec, but we are certainly not going to negotiate with the Bloc Québécois.

TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, trade protectionism is never a good strategy, especially in the middle of a recession. Canadian firms are losing out on billions of dollars worth of bids in an increasingly protectionist United States due to buy American policies. Individual U.S. states are discriminating against Canadian companies in favour of local suppliers.

How can Canadians trust the Conservative government to negotiate any deal of substance with the U.S., given its abysmal track record on trade issues, especially on softwood lumber?

TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to welcome my colleague, finally, to the fight on this issue.

We have been engaged with this for a number of weeks now at every conceivable level, the diplomatic level through our embassy, myself with the U.S. trade representative and the secretary of commerce and other colleagues in terms of their responsibilities. We have business organizations on both sides of the border that are taking this issue both to Congress and to the administration. I have met with the chairman of the ways and means committee. Municipalities are engaged now as are governors.

We are going to win this, but it is going to take some time.

TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, basically what he is saying it is everybody else's fault. It is never the Conservatives'.

After seeing no leadership and no action from the Conservative government, Canadian cities like Halton Hills are taking matters into their own hands. They are now shutting out suppliers from countries like the U.S. that restrict Canadian manufacturers. A similar resolution will go before the Federation of Canadian Municipalities this Saturday. We are spiralling toward a trade war with our largest trading partner.

When will the Conservative government show some leadership, secure real access to the U.S. market and protect Canadian jobs?

TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend is not only hopelessly inaccurate on this file; he is way behind on it. Halton Hills, in fact, has not shut down goods coming into its area. There is a resolution coming to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which is taking place this week. We have been engaged on this. I and a number of my colleagues will be speaking there. This is an important issue.

What we need is a coordinated effort. We have seen that across many fronts, including the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the chambers of commerce and a variety of others. What we do not need is uninformed fragmentation. We need to work together on this to achieve our goals.