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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

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, those of us on this side of the House do not need any lectures on ethics and accountability from a member of the previous Liberal government.

The high standards that the Prime Minister has put in place for his ministers is appropriate and is important. The now Minister of Natural Resources has accepted the resignation of the staff member.

The whole of that matter has been referred to an independent Information Commissioner. All the files that will be required in the investigation have been forwarded by the department. We look forward to co-operating fully with that study.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 2,000 delegates of the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités adopted a resolution calling for the extension of the deadlines for infrastructure programs. Without this extension, a number of projects that have already begun will not be able to be completed, and this will result in losses and will be a waste for municipalities.

Will the federal government finally listen to the call from the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités and the real Bernard Généreux, and push back the deadlines?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we had a great meeting of transport and infrastructure ministers in Halifax late last week. All governments from across Canada were represented.

There is a lot of good news out there. Nova Scotia says that 98 out of 100 of its projects are going to get done on time. British Columbia says that they will almost all get done. Saskatchewan is hoping for a late frost and it thinks all of them will get done. Alberta is of the same mind. Quebec wants to extend on the Preco projects the deadline of December 31 that it imposed on itself. We are going to be reasonable and are working with Quebec to discuss how we can make things happen in Quebec as well.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that the review of the projects would be “fair and reasonable”. The case-by-case approach breeds uncertainty and stalls investments. What these municipalities want is for the government to respect the financial commitments it has already made.

Can the Prime Minister dispel these doubts and tell us that his “fair and reasonable” approach will ensure that all approved projects will be completed, without penalty, regardless of the deadlines?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course, we are good for the full commitment that we made, as we are hoping they are good for the commitment they made as well.

Listen to this quote:

In just over 18 months, the Government of Canada, in partnership and cooperation with provinces, territories and municipalities, has exceeded the expectations of Canada's public works community in successfully rolling-out billions of dollars in stimulus spending under its Economic Action Plan.

That comes from who? It comes from Darwin Durnie, the president of the Canadian Public Works Association. We are getting it done, and we are exceeding expectations.

Ministerial ResponsibilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources did not allow his assistant, Sébastien Togneri, to testify in committee, invoking ministerial responsibility and stating that “ministers [are responsible]...for the actions of their subordinates.” His assistant has acknowledged making serious mistakes in relation to the Access to Information Act and has resigned.

If “ministerial responsibility” is not merely a principle used to avoid accountability, will the minister be consistent and resign?

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, the Minister of Natural Resources accepted the resignation of one of his assistants. The entire file has been given to the information commissioner. The commissioner will study it and we will await her conclusions.

Ministerial ResponsibilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Prime Minister's spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, said that Mr. Togneri was responsible to his minister for his actions. Period. In short, minister's staff are accountable to their ministers but the minister is not accountable to the public when it comes to mistakes made in his name by his staff.

Will the Minister of Natural Resources abide by his own definition of ministerial responsibility and resign?

Ministerial ResponsibilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, by accepting the resignation I think the minister has demonstrated that he does accept responsibility in this regard.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know the government uses fear and buzzwords to paper over waste and dismiss accountability. It invoked the word “security” to bury hundreds of millions splurged on gazebos, in-suite snacks, a steamship, fiddlers and more. Now it is to defend blowing millions to build and drain lakes for 72 hours of meetings on fiscal restraint, as if fake or drained lakes somehow protect world leaders.

I ask the minister, when he drained the lake in Muskoka, did he at least recycle? Did he use it to fill the lake in Toronto?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, that is a member who never gets his facts right, especially when it comes to numbers. In fact, the number that he indicated was totally false.

The amount of money spent in order to prepare the ground for RCMP accommodations was $144,000. That was well spent, and I am prepared to show the Auditor General exactly how that money was spent on behalf of the RCMP.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts and let us look at the numbers.

From an order paper question pried from the government, the cost of the drained lake was $4.1 million for “licence for use of location/fit up”. Let us continue on that. If we look at the same minister who told the House a prison bill would cost $90 million when the real cost exposed by the PBO was $10 billion to $13 billion, that is not a little wrong, that is people-riding-dinosaurs wrong.

I say to the minister, we cannot trust your numbers. Put all the summit receipts on the table and let taxpayers see just how badly you wasted their money.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would remind the hon. member for Ajax—Pickering that it is nice to address the minister, but he is supposed to address the Chair.

The Minister of Public Safety has the floor.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I have never indicated that the total cost would be $90 million. The appropriation for this year was $90 million. That member has again misconstrued the facts.

I have indicated that the cost would be $2 billion over five years. I have been consistent on that figure. When the individual indicated that it would be $10 billion to $13 billion, he also indicated he did not have any numbers to justify that. In fact, our numbers are that it will be $2 billion over five years.

LighthousesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious when it comes to wasting money that the Conservative government knows no limits. Waste, not safety, is the name of the game.

While the government was telling lighthouse keepers in Newfoundland and Labrador they were no longer needed, it was spending money on a fake lighthouse and a fake lake. There is nothing fake about the danger people face when working and travelling on the ocean. To suggest an automated lighthouse can replace people shows a government that is out of touch. People do not have mechanical failures.

When will the government wake up and make public safety a priority?

LighthousesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Coast Guard's number one priority is mariners' safety. The Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has agreed to undertake a review of the additional services that are provided by lightkeepers on both coasts of the country. We are confident that the committee's work will be very invaluable.

The Canadian Coast Guard encourages all those interested, including the lightkeepers themselves, to participate in this review.

LighthousesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is only the minister and the government who are asking for a review. It is not only in Newfoundland and Labrador where the current government is playing with people's lives. The International Ship-Owners Alliance of Canada has said the government must stop any move to automate lighthouses.

So, while the government spent $138,000 on digital pens for the G8 summit, it ignores safety concerns of the marine industry.

How can the government waste money on building a fake lake and a landlocked lighthouse 20 kilometres from the summit site but turn its back on safety provided by real lighthouses?

LighthousesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our accomplishments at the G8 and the G20 summits. Canada is leading the global economic recovery as well as the international efforts to aid developing nations.

As we have said from the beginning, these were legitimate expenses. The majority of them were for security purposes. There were approximately 20,000 security personnel on the ground during the summits. The violence and destruction that occurred proved the need to ensure that those who attended the summits were protected.

The EconomyOral Questions

October 4th, 2010 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week Canadians were shocked to learn that the Liberal Party supported a wild expansion of the EI program that would lead to $7 billion in new costs to the Canadian economy. This came after the Liberal leader said clearly to all Canadians that the proposal was a bad economic policy.

Thankfully, this government will press on with its sound economic policies while the Liberal coalition keeps spinning its wheels.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry please update this House on how our sound economic policies are creating real jobs for Canadians?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the ministers of industry and natural resources, today, celebrated with Pratt & Whitney the grand opening of its new global flight test operations facility in Quebec.

Canada's open and attractive free enterprise environment was recently ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the best place in the G7 to do business this year and over the next four years.

The benefits of our economic plan are being realized right now, today, in Mirabel, Quebec, where this new plant will employ 250 people at peak production. This comes on top of news that, since June 2009, Canada has created an incredible—

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to the Canada Revenue Agency's latest report card, every dollar invested in its employees yields a return of $4 to the government.

Unfortunately, the same report also talks about the job cuts planned for the unit that fights tax evasion.

The government wants to cut 200 positions over the next three years, even though the scourge of tax evasion is undermining our economy.

How can the government justify cutting jobs in the unit responsible for recovering money from those guilty of tax evasion?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is taking very aggressive action, both domestically and internationally, to recover money owed to hard-working, law-abiding Canadians. In fact, under this government, CRA has uncovered 10 times the amount of unpaid taxes in the year 2009 compared with the previous government's record in the year 2005.

We are very proud of the work we are doing, and we will continue to do it.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, does the government understand that tax havens are a problem, that tax evasion is a serious crime?

We know that billions are sent offshore to the sunny Caribbean to hide underneath beach blankets and avoid Canadian taxes.

The current government's solution is to reduce the number of investigators at CRA who are looking for tax cheats.

How can the government justify cutting jobs at Canada Revenue Agency? Why is it making law-abiding tax-paying Canadians foot the bill for these tax cheats?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, in the year 2009, over $1 billion was uncovered in unpaid taxes. Almost 3,000 involuntary disclosures were received with over $138 million in unpaid tax revenue identified, and just five months into this fiscal year we have already surpassed last year's disclosures.

We are taking this very seriously, unlike previous governments.