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House of Commons Hansard #97 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pope.

Topics

PovertyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, we did our homework. I went online and could not even find a generator that cost $9,000, let alone a power cord.

Food bank usage is up almost 30% in two years. These are our neighbours who have run out of options. They cannot afford food. Meanwhile, Canadians watch as the Conservatives blow $8,700 on a power cord and buy fancy china at nearly $1,000 per setting.

How can the government spend thousands on fancy plates when almost one million Canadians have empty plates?

PovertyOral 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 have taken a number of actions to help those who need help. For those who are working, we have helped with the working income tax benefit to make work pay and help low-income Canadians over the welfare wall. It helped nearly 900,000 in the first year.

What we have not done is balance our books on the backs of those who are most needy. We did not cut social transfers as the Liberal Party did. It cut transfers by $25 billion, affecting every segment of society and those living in poverty the most.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, food bank use in Canada has increased by 28% in the past two years. The Conservative government claims it no longer has any money to help the one million people living in poverty, yet for the G8, it threw money down the drain. According to recent documents, the government spent $8,704 on a single extension cord for a generator.

Can the minister justify this Conservative wastefulness and this complete disrespect for taxpayers?

Government PrioritiesOral 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, every action we have taken is to help Canadians and their families become independent, to help them contribute to the economy and the community. We have made unprecedented investments in training to get Canadians back to work. In 2009-10 we invested more than $4 billion in training, helping over 1.2 million Canadians.

We have taken every action we can to help those who need help most. An average family of four has $3,000 more in its pocket to help it out than was the case during the previous Liberal government.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is why food bank use has increased by 28%. Unless the extension cord I mentioned covered the 240 km between Toronto and Huntsville, that expenditure was wasteful and showed complete incompetence. The Conservatives wasted nearly $9,000 on a single extension cord, they bought plates and forks that cost nearly $1,000 per person, and they handed out gifts to the dignitaries and their spouses as though they were kings and queens.

How can the minister justify these royal expenditures when so many Canadians are suffering?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:45 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 member is focusing on specific items when she should be focusing on the big picture, by cutting taxes to Canadians so they can have more money in their pockets.

The working income tax benefit, which has helped a number of people over the welfare wall, is in fact supported by one of her colleagues.

Here is what the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour had to say, “I support very much the direction on the WITB. I think...the working income tax benefit is a very positive thing”.

The then minister of children and youth services had this to say, “I was happy to see...initiatives that will directly improve the quality of life and the standard of living for kids living in poverty”.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we learned yesterday evening, the current Bloc Québécois justice critic said that in 1993, he was given an envelope containing $10,000 in cash. Instead of going straight to the police, the hon. member instead chose to keep mum for 17 years. Such heedlessness makes him an unsuitable justice critic. The leader of the Bloc Québécois should demand his resignation immediately.

In the meantime, could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue remind the Bloc leader and the hon. member of the rules we put in place to reform political party financing?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 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 would also like to remind my colleague that our government has passed the harshest anti-corruption legislation in the history of Canada. We have given more teeth to lobbying legislation, we have implemented measures to protect informants, and secret contributions to political candidates have finally been prohibited thanks to our Prime Minister.

Quebeckers know they can count on the Conservative government to ensure that our federal institutions are protected from attempts to corrupt them.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about ethics. When Jim Prentice stepped down as minister, he said two things: that he had talked to the ethics commissioner about his job at CIBC and that he would be leaving the House on December 31.

Since then, the commissioner has been absolutely clear that Jim Prentice never talked to her about CIBC. Yesterday, he resigned immediately after the commissioner contradicted him. Mr. Prentice brokered a golden private sector opportunity for himself when he was minister and chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

Does the Prime Minister realize the conflict of interest that Jim Prentice has gotten his government into?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, all of us in this place have worked with Jim Prentice for many years. Jim Prentice has probably been one of the most well-respected individuals to serve in this and the previous Parliament. He has made an outstanding contribution to public service.

We appreciate the fact that a career came calling and he has moved on elsewhere. We wish him very well on that. We know him to be a man of high integrity. We know he consulted with the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, three years ago an Ottawa businessman testified about political interference in the awarding of contracts under then-minister Michael Fortier. Two weeks later, the Conservative Party launched a political vendetta against this whistleblower. It brought in a failed Conservative candidate to act as a crown prosecutor. Bureaucrats were ordered not to take notes at their meetings. The government's lawyer admitted that there was political pressure coming from high up. It stinks of a political hit.

Why are the Conservatives attacking whistleblowers instead of cleaning up the mess they have created over at Public Works?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, our government brought in the toughest anti-corruption legislation in Canadian history. The Federal Accountability Act introduced tough new reporting requirements for lobbyists and created a commissioner of lobbying. We expanded those rules to include parliamentarians. We created ironclad protection for whistleblowers with the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. Secret donations to political candidates are now banned for the first time in Canadian history. We strengthened the power of the Ethics Commissioner by creating a new agent of Parliament and bringing into force the new Conflict of Interest Act.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, businessman Joseph Broccolini confirmed he paid for access to the former minister of public works, who is now the Minister of Natural Resources. He admits he attended a Conservative Party fundraiser in a restaurant belonging to an associate of the Rizzuto family in order to get more information from the minister about a major project.

Will the government admit that Joseph Broccolini's actions paid off, because he won two major contracts worth a total of $600 million?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I know two things. First, I know that the well-respected public service appeared before committee and confirmed that there was never any political interference in the awarding of contracts. That speaks very well.

Second, I know that Mr. Broccolini has made substantial donations to political parties, contributions so high they would not be allowed today. They were made on June 2 and November 30, 2005, and they were made to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, Joseph Broccolini is surprised that the contract for a third building in Gatineau was not publicized. It seems that this $300 million untendered contract was designed especially for Multivesco, another company whose executives made contributions to the Conservative Party.

Does the government realize that Joseph Broccolini's testimony confirms that this contract was tailor-made for a major Conservative Party backer?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the acquisitions related to Broccolini and Multivesco, a fairness monitor oversaw the entire process of these acquisitions and has tabled reports that are available online. In her summary report, the fairness monitor says that “the process was conducted in a fair manner”. She goes on to say that the decisions were “made objectively, free from personal favouritism and political interference” and encompass “the elements of openness, competitiveness, transparency and compliance”.

JusticeOral Questions

November 16th, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government should be both embarrassed and ashamed that it is spending more money on ads to victims of crime than on supporting the victims themselves. Last week, along with the Winnipeg North candidate Kevin Lamoureux, I highlighted the fact that the Conservatives are spending $6 million on an ad campaign, after having lapsed $4 million last year for the victims of crime initiative. This duplicity is an insult to victims.

When will the Conservative government stop misleading Canadians with taxpayers' money?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I hope the member pointed out that she gutted our bill on conditional sentencing. But I want to be fair about this. I was in Manitoba just this past weekend and I pointed out that her colleagues unanimously voted against our drug bill, which would crack down on drug dealers. Her colleagues in the House, not to be outdone, have opposed us at every opportunity. Now they are obsessed with the names of bills. That is their priority. I was happy to tell this to Manitobans when I was there on the weekend.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this is about integrity. The Conservative government's self-serving ads promote legislation that has not even been passed, thanks to prorogation.

Will the Conservatives admit that they are responsible for delaying their own crime bills, that they have failed to deliver funds to victims, and that they have put their own interests before the public interest? How can they find $6 million for bogus advertising while victims need counselling, program supports, and access to justice?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there is certainly nothing more impressive than the zeal and interest of a convert.

Inasmuch as we know this is only going to last another 13 days, until the byelections are over in Manitoba, I am calling on the House leaders to get together and let us get all of these bills passed this afternoon by unanimous consent.

PovertyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, in spite of what the parliamentary secretary or the minister says, on a typical day this year a record 870,000 people needed a food bank to get by.

Of that number, one out of five has a job but still needs a food bank to put dinner on the table. Others lose their jobs, run out of EI, and fall back on inadequate social assistance, creating another sad statistic. Food bank use in this country has grown by 25%. This is unacceptable.

Will the government stop writing off almost a million people and finally adopt a real poverty plan?

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 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 have taken a number of initiatives to address poverty, and many of them included housing.

We have provided funding for the housing of seniors, persons with disabilities, and aboriginals. Sad to say, the member and his party voted against each and every one of these initiatives.

If the member really believes in addressing poverty, he should get behind these initiatives and support these actions.

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, obviously he misses the point, the fact that more people are using food banks.

The growth in the number of food bank users reflects a long-standing problem that worsened with the recession. The situation will continue to deteriorate with the end of the economic stimulus program, new spending cuts and the government's refusal to come up with a plan to address poverty in our communities.

When will the government realize it must act and put in place a real plan to eradicate poverty?

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 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 have taken action on a number of fronts. We have enhanced the national child tax benefit. We provided an extra five weeks of EI, helping 500,000 Canadians to date. We have provided 5 to 20 weeks of EI to 190,000 unemployed long-tenured workers. We have made record investments in affordable housing, increasing housing for seniors, persons with disabilities, and aboriginals.

The member and that party opposed each and every one of these initiatives. How can those members get up in the House and say we are not taking action?

Privacy and Personal InformationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Conservative government is committed to protecting privacy and personal information. We continue to take action to fill in the gaps left by previous Liberal governments that did not put the interests of Canadians first.

All Canadians were outraged to learn, for example, that the personal information contained in tax returns was not being properly protected by a contractor.

Can the Minister of Public Works and Government Services tell the House what measures the government is taking to correct this security breach?