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House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was review.

Topics

HydroelectricityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is a proposal that, as I understand it, has been submitted to PPP Canada Inc., a federal crown corporation responsible for fostering and giving advice with respect to public-private partnerships in Canada, which is a good deal for Canadian taxpayers.

Newfoundland and Labrador has made a proposal that will be reviewed by the agency in the normal way, at arm's-length from government. Quebec is welcomed to put in proposals as well. In fact, there is a recent proposal for a public-private partnership in Quebec that I recently approved, and I look forward to that announcement.

HydroelectricityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, it would be extremely unfair for Hydro-Québec to face competition on the U.S. market from electricity subsidized by the federal government with Quebeckers' money. The Conservative government cannot hide behind PPP Canada. The federal government funds the agency, appoints its board and determines its mandate.

Does it not make sense for Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to pay for their own electric facilities, as Quebec has always done?

HydroelectricityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I cannot comment on the particulars of any particular proposal because I do not know the particulars in any particular proposal.

If the Government of Quebec wants to make an application for a public-private partnership, it can do so. If Nova Scotia wants to, it can. If Manitoba wants to, it can. In fact, many have.

I welcome everyone who feels they have a good idea for a public-private partnership to go to the PPP Canada Inc. website and follow the procedure.

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is good to hear the CEO of the TD Bank, Ed Clark, say what the NDP has been saying for years: that Canada's tax system is unfair. “The shape of the economic recovery will not leave Canadians equally well off”, he said. Since the banks are the big beneficiaries of the Conservatives' tax cuts, Mr. Clark sure knows what he is talking about.

Is it not time that the Conservatives took the advice of their friends at the TD Bank and tackled this unfair tax system that is leaving too many people worse off?

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I listen, with interest, to the remarks of various bankers from time to time. I listened to the advice, and certainly the comments, of the chief economist of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, who had this to say. He said, “our economic performance was better than any other industrial nation”, which just goes to prove that sometimes the banks get it right.

I do not agree with the comment about tax relief. We have removed over one million low-income Canadians from the tax rolls. I do not understand why, every time we reduce taxes for low income Canadians, the NDP votes against it.

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government cannot escape the reality that seniors poverty is rising again. Therefore, what does the government do? It tries to sneak in a change that will hurt seniors. Hearing the minister today, putting this mean policy on hold just does not cut it.

The fact is the Conservatives are wasting billions on useless corporate tax cuts, single-sourced jet fighter contracts and fake lakes. Why do they not change their priorities and raise the guaranteed income supplement to guarantee that no Canadian senior lives in poverty? That is the priority.

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is Canada has one of the very lowest rates of seniors poverty in the entire world, thanks to many of the measures that our government has brought in over the last few years, such as pension income splitting, raising the age credit, allowing people who are collecting the guaranteed income supplement to work and not get those dollars clawed back.

The unfortunate aspect of all this is the NDP members voted against every one of those measures to help lift seniors out of poverty. Shame on them.

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the number of seniors living in poverty increased by 25% between 2007 and 2008, and the situation is getting worse because of the recession.

By changing the law, the government is putting people in a bind. These pensioners count on the guaranteed income supplement. It is not fair to penalize them for using their own savings.

Why give big corporations $5 billion in tax breaks? Why not help our seniors instead, at a fraction of the cost?

TaxationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we have put an end to this policy. I have instructed my officials to get in touch with the people affected by this change and reassess their applications in keeping with the old policy.

But if members really want to do something for seniors, they should support our initiatives, such as pension income splitting and all the other things we have done for seniors, which the member voted against.

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

November 26th, 2010 / 11:30 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there are very serious and legitimate concerns that a leak from the government resulted in a stock sale of Taseko Mines Limited, which benefited a few connected insiders at the expense of many honest investors. So far the Conservatives have brushed off these concerns as speculation. That is not leadership. That is ignoring the facts.

Will the Conservatives do the right thing and launch an investigation into this matter?

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is making some allegations based on speculation. She has obviously already come to conclusions and I would encourage her to table with the House any of the information that she has on this file that would lead her to those conclusions.

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, a secret cabinet decision was made to block Taseko's purchase of a controversial mine. In a few hours on October 14, 30 million shares of Taseko traded hands. That was 10 times the normal amount and it wiped out hundreds of millions of dollars. That does not sound like a coincidence. That sounds like a leak.

As a result, we formally requested the RCMP to undertake an investigation into this very serious matter. How can the Conservatives stand in the House and ignore the facts? How can they deny these very serious allegations?

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the cabinet was not even sitting on October 14. That was during a constituency week and members of Parliament, including ministers, by and large, were in their ridings.

The member opposite is speculating as to what the facts may be. If she has facts that she would like to table in the House after question period, I would encourage her to do so.

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the leaked information on the Taseko Mines, these are the facts. Two weeks before the government's decision to block the development of the mine was made public, shares in the company took a nosedive. It is no coincidence. Cabinet meets and Taseko Mines shares plummet by 40%, two weeks before this government's decision to block the development of the mine is made public.

While average investors lose their shirts, others smell like roses, selling their shares and making millions of dollars. The government has known about this for six weeks. What is it waiting for to call for an RCMP investigation?

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, a publicly available report was released some months before this, an environmental assessment in this regard. It was a scathing report that said that this project would do irreparable harm to the environment. This government accepted that report. It did the right thing for the environment.

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP is saying that the Conservative government has not called for an investigation. The government is hiding something, as it did in the Public Works renovation contract issue.

We are not waiting for the government. My colleague, the hon. member for Ajax—Pickering, on behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, has formally asked the RCMP to investigate possible insider trading at Taseko Mines involving the Conservative government.

In fact, the real question is: who is the Conservative government trying to protect? Former colleagues, departmental staff, Conservative cronies, people here who know things? Who?

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member for Ajax—Pickering has in the past made wild accusations against Canadians. He has been hauled before the courts and has been forced to retract his unsubstantiated allegations. He has even been forced to stand in the House and apologize to the victims of his slander.

The member opposite is coming to some wild conclusions. If he has any evidence, I encourage him to put it before the House.

CopyrightOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Assembly of Quebec and a large coalition of artists, creators, authors, performers and even the Union des consommateurs are calling for the Conservative government to make extensive changes to the Copyright Act.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages listen to this request from Quebec and Canada and amend his bill, which is designed mainly for big distributors, so that it adequately protects our creator's rights?

CopyrightOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. This government will not support the iPod tax or the digital tax that the Bloc, the NDP and the Liberals put forward. They have put this forward despite the fact that many Canadians, from a broad spectrum right across society, have indicated that this is a bad idea.

Graham Henderson from the Canadian music recording industry said, “I don't think that's the solution. I don't think creators benefit from that...I don't think consumers are going to benefit from that. No one will”.

Why do those members support this ridiculous position?

CopyrightOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, some Canadian musicians have now joined Quebec artists in asking the Conservative government to impose a levy on MP3 players. The logic is simple: without the work of artists, MP3 players are worthless. The House approved a Bloc Québécois motion to authorize the collection of royalties to compensate artists for their creative work.

Why, exactly, is the government refusing to compensate artists fairly?

CopyrightOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as we have noted before, the opposition coalition has never seen a tax it did not like. In fact it has never seen one it would not hike. We know that for a fact.

Loreena McKennitt, Juno Award winning singer-songwriter said, “I would oppose the iTax. I would rather have a strict and predictable business model in which to conduct my business.

We can have that today. By unanimous consent, we could pass the copyright reforms today. Let us pass Bill C-32.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry is preparing to open wireless spectrum auctions to foreign carriers. The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology examined this issue last spring and arrived at the conclusion that foreign ownership of telecommunications companies would not increase competition and would only jeopardize Quebec and Canadian content broadcasting.

Will the minister realize that authorizing foreign takeovers of telecommunications companies will open the doors to mergers and acquisitions in this sector and will not increase competition?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about the spectrum auction. Radio frequency spectrum is critical for growth and innovation in the wireless sector and the economy, as a whole.

The policy of this government has always been clear. We are very much in favour of more competition. That is why we set aside spectrum during the previous auction to allow new entrants to compete. New entrants mean more competition. More competition means lower prices, better quality and more services for Canadians.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, workers in the telecommunications sector are very worried about this government's stubborn resolve to relax restrictions on foreign ownership in the telecommunications industry.

When will this government admit that increasing foreign ownership of Quebec and Canadian broadcasters will mean fewer jobs and less protection for our culture?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, our government has a record of standing up for greater competition. We have removed the restrictions on foreign ownership of Canadian satellites.

There are considerable advantages to foreign investment, including increased competition on the international playing field due to enhanced investment and economies of scale. This will allow firms to access foreign capital and know-how and invest in new and advanced technologies. These measures solidify our commitment to consumers.