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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was restitution.

Topics

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, Onex's VP, Nigel Wright, is taking temporary leave from leading the company's defence, aerospace and energy units to become the Prime Minister's chief of staff.

In just 18 months he is obligated to return to overseeing multi-billion dollar defence procurement files, among other unspecified responsibilities.

Will the Prime Minister make public all of the terms and conditions under which Mr. Wright will be released by Onex and the terms and conditions of his employment and post-employment as chief of staff to the Prime Minister?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are so fortunate in Canada that outstanding individuals, like Nigel Wright, are willing to come to their nation's capital and serve the public.

Mr. Wright has sought and has followed the direction of the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and will continue to do so. He will respect all the rules in place, not just with ethics and with accountability, but all the other acts that all ministerial staff are required to do. He will continue to do that and he will provide great service to this government and, through it, to all Canadians.

Ministerial ResponsibilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the same time, the Conservatives are trying to avoid an inquiry into their information censoring process.

The information commissioner is studying the possibility of illegal interference in eight departments, including the department of the former minister of Public Works.

Will the government shed some light on its information censoring process and make the emails, briefing notes and other Public Works documents fully public? They are relevant to this inquiry and currently being held back by the government.

Ministerial ResponsibilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me say to my friend opposite that this government has fought hard, this party, the Conservative Party, has fought hard to expand the access to information system because Canadians have an important right to know how their government operates and in whose interests it operates.

The now Minister of Natural Resources has asked the Information Commissioner to review this entire matter and we look forward to her independent judgment.

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, over 60,000 Quebec citizens came together last Saturday to show their support for the construction of a multi-purpose arena intended specifically to attract the Olympic Games, a professional hockey team and various cultural events. The organizer of the blue march demonstration, Mario Roy, used the opportunity to appeal to the federal government and ask it to take action on this issue.

Will the Prime Minister finally heed the call of the people of Quebec City, who were very vocal about their desire for an arena, and will he do his part by contributing to its funding?

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there are requests for new infrastructure across Canada, both for the CFL and the NHL. Our position has always been clear. While we are huge fans of professional sports, funding for sports facilities must come from the private sector. The federal government's role, if indeed it has one, would be to show fairness across the country, that is, when expenditures are reasonable and affordable.

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems that the Prime Minister is always available to meet with businesspeople and lobbyists. Will the Prime Minister also be available regarding the multi-purpose arena and willing to add to his agenda a meeting with the mayor of Quebec City, Régis Labeaume, who has been calling for such a meeting for quite some time?

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, I am aware of the fact that the mayor wants to meet with the Prime Minister. The minister responsible for the Quebec City region would be the appropriate person to make the necessary arrangements for a meeting when the time is right. It was that minister and her colleagues in the Quebec City region who were able to take action on the airport, PEPS, the Musée de la civilisation and the exhibition centre.

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, while people in Quebec City are waiting for a federal contribution to build a multi-purpose arena, the minister responsible for the region of Quebec is making excuses. Now she is saying that Ottawa will not make a decision until 2015, the year the host city will be selected for the 2022 Games. Mayor Labeaume needs an answer by December 31.

Does the minister realize that her hesitation to fund the multi-purpose arena is jeopardizing Quebec City's Olympic bid?

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as we have said a number of times, the government has received the report from Ernst & Young commissioned by Équipe Québec. This report is still under review, but we have commented on it.

First, Mayor Labeaume indicated that he would like to make a decision on the Olympic bid by the end of the year. For the rest, the Prime Minister has been clear: he would like the private sector to contribute its fair share. I would like to point out to my Bloc colleague that on the weekend, the Parti Québécois' Pauline Marois also called on the private sector to contribute.

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives like talking about fairness, so we will give them an example.

The minister claims that we have to wait for Quebec City to win its bid to host the Games before the federal government will agree to invest. We therefore have to wait five years to get an answer. However, Toronto received $500 million from the federal government in 2001 to boost its bid for the 2008 Olympic Games. There was no requirement that it be selected by the IOC. If it is good for Toronto, then why is it not good for Quebec City?

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the truth behind what the hon. member is saying is that funding was granted at the time to revitalize and clean up the shoreline, not for Olympic facilities.

TaxationOral Questions

October 4th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Frank Rainville is a senior in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, who told me about how his bills for basic utilities have gone up by $20 a month just this past month because of the government's HST. He asked me how he could cope with heating bills when he has to turn the thermostat on because it is cold up there. The fact is that heating bills are going up all across the country and working families are struggling right now.

Will the Prime Minister show some leadership, join with us and work to take the federal sales tax off home heating fuel now?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP, this government has been focused on reducing the tax burden for hard-working Canadians since the very day we took office. Every single time the Minister of Finance has stood up with proposals to cut taxes for working families, New Democratic Party members have stood up and voted against them. When we cut the GST by 2%, which is a 40% reduction, the NDP voted against it. When we sought to cut taxes by some $3,000 for the average Canadian family, the NDP stood up against it.

I welcome the NDP members aboard the tax-cutting train, but they are too late. The train has left the station.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, instead of giving subsidies to the big oil companies, the NDP is proposing that ordinary Canadians be exempt from paying federal tax on their heating bills and that the eco-energy for home retrofit program be reinstated to create jobs.

The recovery is stalled. People still need help.

Will the government work with us or will it once again fail the people and the environment?

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are always happy to work with our friends in the New Democratic Party when it comes to cutting taxes for Canadian families, but they arrive once the train has left the station. It is our government that has cut taxes for the average Canadian family by some $3,000 per year since we took office. If the member opposite is so concerned about tax on the heating fuel, maybe he should travel to Halifax and talk to the provincial NDP government there, which has raised taxes on the HST. Maybe he should visit Halifax.

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP government in Halifax just took the sales tax off home heating fuel.

The fact is the government does nothing for home heating and for hard-working families. But look at what the Conservatives can come up with: $1 billion for a predatory corporation known as Vale. This is $1 billion for a Brazilian giant that broke its promises to Canadians, laid off hundreds of people, attacked workers' pensions and even used scabs for months to fuel a year-long strike. For 16 months, the Prime Minister would not lift a finger for the communities that were being attacked by Vale, but now he has $1 billion to help it recoup its profits. Job well done, boys. When will they put a stop to it? When will they take action?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Export Development Corporation is an arm's-length corporation that seeks to assist Canadian companies and workers in exporting products. The Vale loan is designed to facilitate an expansion of a nickel processing facility in Newfoundland and some other projects in Ontario, and as well, to facilitate the purchase of equipment manufactured by Canadian workers, to be used in projects abroad. We think these are all good things for the Canadian economy.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, when members of the PMO announced the new chief of staff will be a corporate executive, Nigel Wright, they failed to mention that his appointment was only a temporary leave. The media had to confirm that fact in a September 24 communication with Onex. The PMO also failed to mention that Mr. Wright had close ties with Lockheed Martin since at least September 2009 in a partnership to sell military aircraft to the U.S. government. How could Mr. Wright possibly serve as chief of staff given his plans to return to work with his corporate clients?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright has not even started his first day as chief of staff and the Liberals are already planning for his departure. Let me say that he will follow and respect all the rules that apply to ministerial staff. He will disclose everything as required by the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. He will recuse himself on all matters directed by the commissioner. This is the high standard that this Conservative government set when we brought in the Federal Accountability Act, the toughest ethics reform that the Liberals complained went way too far just four and a half years ago. He will follow all the rules and we will ensure that ethics and accountability remain the hallmark of this government.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, then the government should be open and transparent and release the information.

Onex says that Mr. Wright heads up its aerospace, defence and energy portfolios, and states that he will return in 18 to 24 months.

How can the Prime Minister have a chief of staff who will be perpetually facing conflicts of interest with departments as important as industry, national defence, natural resources, public works and finance, just to name a few? Whatever happened to the cooling-off periods?

Will the government release the employment agreement, with all the terms and conditions, or will it wait until a committee has forced it to do so?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, by raising this kind of argument, I guess what the Liberal Party is now saying is that anyone who has been successful in the private sector, who has been successful in tackling issues of the economy, should not come and give his or her talents and skills to the people of Canada. That is very regrettable.

Mr. Wright will follow all of the high ethical standards that are contained in the Federal Accountability Act. He will disclose everything that is requested of him by the independent, arm's-length Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. He will follow all the conflict of interest rules and recuse himself whenever necessary. That is the high standard that the Prime Minister has set on ethics and accountability.

Ministerial ResponsibilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 3, the Minister of Natural Resources told a committee that ministers are personally responsible for the actions of their employees. Just imagine what happens when it is something that affects them personally.

My question is simple. Was the Minister of Natural Resources aware that his assistant, Sébastien Togneri, had an access to information request concerning asbestos, a delicate subject in his region, that he attempted to interfere with?

Ministerial ResponsibilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is this government and this party that fought very hard to expand the access to information system in this country.

We put literally dozens of new government agencies under that access to information law, and we are very proud of that.

It is very important that public servants make all ATIP decisions. Political staff should not attempt to override these decisions.

Mr. Togneri has offered his resignation. The minister has done the responsible thing and accepted it.

Ministerial ResponsibilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, ministerial responsibility also consists of answering questions about his department.

It has been said that information is the cornerstone of a democracy and that without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, incompetent or corrupt governance can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy. Who said that? The current Prime Minister of Canada.

Will the Prime Minister heed his own words and ask for the resignation of the Minister of Natural Resources.