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House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our free trade negotiations with the European Union offer significant opportunities for all Canadians. Everyone understands that we are trying to obtain the same cultural exemption that we ask for in all our trade agreements. We are convinced that the 27 member states of the European Union will also be seeking their own cultural exemptions.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to government contracts issued by Quebec and the municipalities, we need to demand the same rules and exemptions that govern all EU members.

Will the Minister of International Trade ensure that the same provisions that exist within the European Union also apply to the future free trade agreement between Canada and Europe?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in Canadian history, the provinces and territories are at the negotiating table to conclude a free trade agreement with the European Union. They have the power to defend their access to government contracts. We are proud to be working with the provinces and territories towards a free trade agreement that will create jobs for all Canadians, including Quebeckers.

Canadian Council on LearningOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to choose ignorance over information. The changes to the long form census were the culmination of a series of ideological attacks on evidence gathering, like the decision to kill the Canadian Council on Learning. At a time when Canadians face demographic challenges that can only be solved by investing in education, the government cancelled the very agency that was producing the road map to a more educated Canada.

Why did the Conservative government abandon an organization that provides such critical information and leadership to Canadians?

Canadian Council on LearningOral Questions

2:40 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, the Canadian Council on Learning was provided with one-time funding of $85 million in 2004. It has always been clear that this funding would expire after five years. In fact, the funding was extended for one year.

We are committed to value for taxpayer dollars and understand the need for stronger learning and labour market information systems, and that is where the government is proceeding.

Canadian Council on LearningOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, killing the CCL is just rotten economics. We need to know how Canada's education system is doing so we can prepare for the new economy.

At $17 million, the CCL was a bargain. The government is going to spend an extra $35 million to get less information on the long form census. More spending, less information, how does that work? The president of the CCL will keep working without a salary because he, like many others, understands the importance of the CCL.

Why does the government insist on entering the new information age with no information at all?

Canadian Council on LearningOral Questions

2:40 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 are committed to having the most educated and the most skilled workforce. It is vital to our economic recovery and success. That is why we have taken unprecedented action through the Canada economic action plan. We have introduced new and improved grant programs. Students do not have to pay back as much. In fact, close to 280,000 students are benefiting from that. Last year, over 140,000 more benefited than under the old Liberal system.

We are looking at our education system in a positive way.

National DefenceOral Questions

October 21st, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, last spring, in the House, the Minister of National Defence said, “This next generation fighter, again, will be an open, competitive, transparent process—”.

But this week, an assistant deputy minister at National Defence said that there was never meant to be a competition, and that it was impossible to purchase fighter jets through a bidding process.

Who was telling the truth to Parliament?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let me bring the member up to speed. There was a competition. In fact, Canada, under the former Liberal government, participated in an extensive, rigorous, U.S.-led competition between 1997 and 2001. There were two bidders at that time and Lockheed Martin won. It was in fact the Liberal government of the day that signed the joint strike fighter program in 2002, following an extensive competition for the F-35 Lightning.

Why do the members opposite, why does the Liberal Party, always want to take the force out of the air force?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister's ADM made it very clear to me this week that the past government did not decide this in advance, that in fact the competition was not settled and we were not part of it.

The biggest borrowing government in Canadian history was warned about the huge financial gamble it was taking on the untendered $16 billion fighter jet contract. Why has a government, which is adding $170 billion to our national debt, not learned from its gross fiscal mismanagement? Why does it oppose a fair and open competition when it knows it can have one?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

I repeat for the hon. member, Mr. Speaker, that there was a competition. In fact, he was a member of the government that held the competition, so he ought to know that.

What is really ironic despite the publication of a Canada first defence strategy back in May 2008, where it clearly outlines the intent to follow the path set in place by the Liberal government to purchase 65 next generation fighter aircraft, the Liberals did not ask a single question on this until the spring of 2010.

Welcome on board. We will get new fighter aircraft because the Canadian Forces deserve the best protection in the best planes in the world.

Sealing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to take principled stands internationally while defending the interests of Canadians. This includes the important issue of the seal hunt.

Could the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans inform the House on the latest developments at the European General Court on this important issue?

Sealing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the European General Court confirmed that European markets would remain open to Canadian seal products pending further resolution of an Inuit-led court challenge.

Our government welcomes this news and will continue to stand with the Inuit and with all Canadian sealers to defend this legitimate industry against the misinformation campaign of radical animal rights groups and some Liberals.

This position may not always be popular, but it certainly is the right thing to do.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government just does not get it. Despite its talking points, Canada is no longer the leading OECD economy. Unemployment remains alarmingly high. Consumer confidence is taking a nose dive. The Bank of Canada itself is warning that things are worse than the finance minister claimed just last week in his economic update. The PBO now confirms that the government's obsession with tax cuts and austerity plans just will not work.

This is no time to declare mission accomplished. Will the government finally get serious about a middle-class recovery and start creating jobs?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in fact, we are concerned about the jobs of Canadians. That is why we put in place Canada's economic action plan.

We have told the people in the House time and time again how it has actually worked. I would love to repeat the number, and that is 420,000 net new jobs.

We have the lowest deficit in the G7. Our deficit for this year is actually lower than we had originally projected. Since July, as I say, there have been 420,000 new jobs, but the Liberals, in all of their blustering and raising taxes as they would, would kill 400,000 jobs.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, could he stop patting himself on the back and look at the facts? According to the figures that he himself provided today, it will take us at least five years to bring our unemployment rate down to a level as low as Germany's. The difference is that Germany has a vision for the future.

Instead of following its policy of blindly cutting taxes, which, by definition, helps only the most profitable businesses, why does the government not reinstate programs like the eco-energy program, which they cancelled out of the blue? Why not leave something constructive for future generations, instead of leaving the largest deficit in our history?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is certainly a lot of mistakes in that question. It is not the largest deficit in history. In fact, the Liberals' deficit in the 1990s in real dollars, for those who understand real dollars, was three times what we are dealing with.

We have a plan to pay down that deficit. Nowhere in that plan do we even consider downloading that deficit on to the backs of the provinces like we saw the Liberals do when they offloaded $25 billion on to the provinces. We will not do that.

Quebec BridgeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a Delcan study published last year, vital parts of the Quebec Bridge structure are rusting. The bridge is in such poor shape that it may very well need to be closed down completely for safety reasons.

What is the government waiting for to reclaim the Quebec Bridge from CN in order to repair it as quickly as possible?

Quebec BridgeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, CN is responsible for the bridges on which it runs. We continue to work with the provinces and with proponents on infrastructure projects right across Canada.

However, I think I understand the problem when it comes to infrastructure and the Bloc members. The problem is we are working with a program called building Canada and whenever we do that, they are always against it.

Quebec BridgeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister could have said that he is “neither for nor against” or “on the contrary” and it would have been more clear than what he just said to us. Nearly six months ago, a motion passed in the House ordered the government to accept its responsibility. The Minister of Transport needs to reclaim the Quebec bridge and finish the work as quickly as possible. Then, at the end of it all, we will see who is going to pick up the tab: Transport Canada or CN.

What is the government waiting for to keep its promise to repair the Quebec Bridge?

Quebec BridgeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is not our bridge, but we continue to work with CN. All railways and all bridges have to be safe. They are inspected regularly and repairs that are necessary to ensure they are maintained in a safe manner are always in place.

As far as the future of bridges is concerned, whether it is the bridges in and around Montreal, the highway bridges, other bridges throughout Quebec and across Canada, often they are part of plans on which we work together with the provinces to enhance the repairs and rehabilitation. However, these bridges are always safe and that is never in dispute.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, can the government tell us how it can be in Canada's interests to lose a military base that is important not only to us as a country, but also to our NATO partners? How can it be in Canada's interest to lose access to the economic capital of the Arab world? Why does the government continue to confuse principles with government incompetence?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that the Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke with his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates and they both agreed that the broader Canadian-UAE relationship should not be put at risk due to recent events.

The Government of Canada does not comment on operational matters concerning the deployment of Canadian Forces abroad. The Government of Canada is fully capable of supporting its military commitments in Afghanistan.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the answer of the parliamentary secretary does not deal with the fundamental question. The government has stood on many occasions and talked about Canada's national interests.

As an opposition, we simply have to ask how it can possibly be in our national interest to lose access to a military base that has been important for our mission in Afghanistan, important to us and important to our allies in NATO. How can it possibly be in our national interest for us to have committed such a gaff in the negotiations that in fact we have lost ground with what is surely the economic hub of the Middle East? That is what the government has allowed to happen.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the Government of Canada is fully capable of supporting its military commitment in Afghanistan. The Government of Canada always chooses arrangements that are in the best interest of Canada and the best value to Canadians. What the UAE was offering was not in the best interest of Canada.