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House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member need not listen just to me. This is what the president of the industry association said about this:

To say that by cancelling the current process and starting from scratch would somehow result in a greater number of jobs for our industry and without penalties is not only a stretch but it is completely misleading.

That is what Claude Lajeunesse said and he is right. We are on the side of Canadian workers. We are on the side of men and women in uniform. Those members are not.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has always refused to move forward with measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, claiming that it was waiting for the new U.S. regulations and that it would go from there. Now we learn that the Conservative government may be reluctant to model its measures on those of our American neighbour.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, not only is he far from being an environmental leader but, by refusing to adopt the already less stringent U.S. measures, he is not even doing the minimum required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 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 would have my colleague from the Bloc Québécois know that the government is working very closely with the United States government and President Obama. We are harmonizing regulations on transportation and we will find equivalents in other cases. It is absolutely necessary to work together with our partners to reduce greenhouse gases. We already have regulations for the major emitters as far as coal-based electricity production is concerned. Canada was the first country in the world to say it would do that.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reason the Conservative government is no longer interested in following the U.S. lead on climate change is quite simple: the new regulations on clean fuel would harm the oil sands industry.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his priority is not to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but to protect the interests of the oil industry?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 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, our priorities are to fight climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and around the world. That is why we are working with President Obama. We will harmonize certain areas, such as transportation and we will have equivalent, if not stronger, measures. We want all the big countries and major emitters to work on this. We will continue to work hard to come up with a comprehensive agreement.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, against the advice of Environment Canada officials, the Conservative government lobbied intensely to ensure that certain provisions of the American Energy Independence and Security Act, passed in 2007, would not apply to the oil sands. The Conservative government was afraid that the American legislation would hurt exports of dirty oil to the United States.

Do these revelations not prove, once again, that this government has but one political motivation: to protect the interests of Alberta oil companies?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, our interest is always to protect Canadian interests and protect Canadian jobs. The member opposite knows full well that there are 120,000 direct and indirect jobs associated with oil sands development.

We are well aware of the environmental challenges in developing the oil sands. We will work with the industry and those folks who are interested in working with us to ensure that it is done properly.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, such an attitude on the part of the government does not bode well for the Cancun summit. While the European Union and the African Union have both announced their positions, we are still waiting to hear where the Conservative government stands.

Does the minister realize that if he goes to Cancun without a road map, he will be regarded not as an environment minister, but rather as a lobbyist for big oil?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 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, a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is an absolute target. We are working with the United States and the Obama administration to harmonize the transportation sector. We will continue working with them to reach equivalent status.

AfghanistanOral Questions

November 29th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, documents obtained by CBC clearly show that Canada arrested child soldiers in Afghanistan and transferred them to the Afghan secret service, the infamous NDS. The government knows perfectly well that the NDS practices torture.

Why did Canada transfer child soldiers to the NDS torturers? How many children were arrested? How many children were transferred? How many children were tortured?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our military men and women have always behaved honourably in Afghanistan. As we know, over three years ago, the inadequate detainee transfer agreement inherited from the Liberals was replaced with a new and improved agreement. Under this improved agreement, Taliban prisoners transferred by Canada are detained in a limited number of Afghan facilities in order to make it easier for us to conduct follow-up and monitoring.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a duty to protect children from torture, not simply wash its hands and walk away. The Conservatives may have silenced the other two parties about torture and mistreatment in Afghanistan, but the NDP will not be silenced.

International law is clear: Canada cannot treat child soldiers like any other insurgent. However, Canada did not hand over child soldiers to a civilian authority like UNICEF. They were handed over to the notorious NDS.

Why was Canada transferring children to the notorious NDS and how long has the minister known about it?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have always said that when there is credible evidence of abuse, the Canadian Forces and our diplomats act with utmost integrity.

As a result of the supplementary transfer arrangements put in place by our government, we have full and unrestricted access to the detention facilities where Taliban prisoners transferred by the Canadian Forces are held.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, these are children and international law is clear.

As recently as April of this year, a UN report cited the use of harsh interrogation methods and forced confessions of guilt on children by the very people we were handing them over to. The transfer of children to the NDS was Canadian policy until recently, and yet the Conservative government has been telling Canadians, as we just heard, that the detainee problem was fixed in 2007.

Why was this allowed to happen? How can the government justify handing over children to the NDS?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if my hon. colleague took a couple of minutes to read the supplementary arrangement, he would note that the arrangement also specifies that the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has the same unrestricted access.

This, of course, is the same question and we respond in the same manner. When there is credible evidence of abuse, the Canadian Forces and our diplomats will act.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the world comes together in Cancun to combat climate change, we learn more about the dinosaur tactics of the Conservatives.

Canadian embassy officials lobbied on behalf of the Conservatives to have American environmental standards remove all mention of the oil sands. The same diplomats dismissed Environment Canada's position to clean up the oil sands as “simply nutty”, with the priority being “the oil keeps a-flowing”.

Why are the Conservatives trying to sabotage legislation in the U.S.? Have they not done enough damage here?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, is the member opposite and her party taking the position that the oil sands are not a strategic resource for Canada for decades to come? We know full well that they are. That is one of the reasons that we are working with the industry and with the provinces to ensure they are developed in an environmentally safe manner.

We will continue to do that and we will continue to look after the environment in that way.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, during this time, in Canada, there have been even more delays and more deception by the government. The Conservatives are claiming that they are going to implement measures equivalent to American standards; however, the minister wants to force Canada to wait until every American state has implemented its new standards before taking action.

Why is the government working with the American Tea Party to take Canada's environmental policy hostage?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 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, we strongly support harmonization wherever that is possible. In the transportation sector we have done that with cars and with light trucks. We will be moving forward in other areas of transportation.

In the guidelines that will be published and become effective in January, there will be a phasing in over three years. However, they are just that, guidelines

We support strong regulation and we will bring in equivalent regulations to ensure that we reduce greenhouse gases in concert with our American allies by the same 2017 absolute reduction.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives were forced to admit that they secretly changed pension rules that stripped up to 1.5 million lower income Canadian seniors of their GIS benefits. To pay for their deficit spending, they were secretly gutting public pensions.

Now, having been caught, the minister says that the government's decision is on temporary hold pending further review. It will not, however, suspend it. It is still very much on the table.

On behalf of the 1.5 million lower income Canadian senior citizens who receive GIS, why a review, why leave seniors wondering and why not a permanent repeal of this injustice to our seniors?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in the House last week, I was very disturbed to learn of this situation and I immediately instructed officials to put this issue on hold while we did a thorough comprehensive review of it.

I also instructed officials to ensure they contacted all Canadians who would be directly affected by this, which, I would point out, is not the number that the hon. member has been stating. It is much lower.

We are contacting Canadian seniors directly to re-evaluate their eligibility based on the old policies because we want to ensure we are doing the right thing for seniors.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, first it was income trusts, then it was Nortel pensioners and now it is every low income senior in the country, 1.5 million Canadians who draw on the GIS benefit.

The minister says that her department will now contact people who are affected by her cash grab. Already affected? What is she saying? Did Canadian seniors lose GIS benefits in 2010 from secret rules approved that were made to apply retroactively against their 2009 income? Is that what she is implying?

How can 1.5 million lower income Canadian seniors be expected to live and act within rules when the rules are kept secret and applied retroactively to circumstances a year before the policy was even enacted?

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the hon. member either does not understand the policy or is deliberately trying to scare Canadians. That is irresponsible.

If the member will let me speak, I will assure him, the House and Canadians, particularly our seniors who helped build this country, that the vast majority of seniors will not be affected by this. Those who are, we are contacting to ensure they are treated fairly and that their applications are reviewed according to the old policy. We want to ensure we treat them fairly, unlike what the Liberal member is trying to do with his fear-mongering.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, information from reliable sources indicates that Canada transferred Afghan children to the Afghan intelligence service.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us, yes or no, whether Canada transferred children to the Afghan intelligence service?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, the hon. member knows that there is a system in place. There is an arrangement, and the government improved this arrangement, which obviously allows for the transfer of these Afghan prisoners. It also allows the authorities in place, as well as the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, to visit and have unrestricted access to these individuals.