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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.

Topics

HydroelectricityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. member is referring to an application for a project that is at PPP Canada Inc.

PPP Canada Inc. is arm's length from government. It is a crown corporation. It assesses each application on its merits. It does not take direction from the government on its assessment of applications, including this one, which I understand is from Newfoundland and Labrador.

HydroelectricityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact that Hydro One revenues are not treated the same way as Hydro-Québec revenues proves that flexible federalism is bad for Quebec. Hydro-Québec's revenues are included in the equalization formula, but some of Ontario company Hydro One's revenues are excluded on the grounds that the company simply transmits electricity.

How can the government treat revenues generated by identical activities differently? Is that what it means by flexible federalism?

HydroelectricityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the difference is that Hydro One only does transmission work. That is the difference between the two systems.

That said, with respect to the question raised by the member, Quebec also, with others, has made applications for P3 projects at PPP Canada Inc. So have other provinces. It is a very good mechanism for financing important public infrastructure in our country.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, comments by the Minister of International Trade about negotiations between Canada and the European Union are creating uncertainty about his true determination to defend the cultural exemption that Quebec is calling for. The minister has a casual attitude toward all this and says he is not really concerned about a possible Lithuanian culture invasion.

Instead of downplaying something that is so important to Quebec, would the minister not be better off committing to strongly defending the cultural exemption as proposed by the Government of Quebec?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as always, we intend to defend the interests of cultural communities, with a cultural exemption for industries in Canada, in the negotiations with the European Union. Nonetheless, the greatest benefit coming out of this agreement is economic growth to the tune of $12 billion a year. This is a huge opportunity for all workers in Canada and Quebec. We are pleased to provide such an opportunity to Quebeckers.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, access to government contracts is a key issue in the discussions with the European Union. The European Union already has exceptions to allow member countries to protect their government contracts. Defence, public monopolies and disadvantaged regions are protected.

Can the minister assure us that the exemptions that apply to members of the European Union will apply to Quebec and Canada?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, this time, for the first time in Canadian history and in the history of such free trade negotiations, the provinces and territories are at the negotiating table. We are able to defend these interests at the table during these negotiations, and things are going quite well. We are pleased with the progress of the negotiations, and we are sure we will have a free trade agreement with the European Union by the end of 2011.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the most junior assistant to the most junior minister must go through a cooling-off period before going to the private sector. However, the new chief of staff for the big boss is being given special treatment by the Prime Minister and exempted from this requirement. This shows a total lack of judgment on the part of the Prime Minister. Mr. Wright will keep one foot in the private sector and the other in the Prime Minister's Office.

Why is the Prime Minister creating this blatant conflict of interest at the highest level of his own office?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright has sought and followed all of the advice of the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. He will continue to do that. He will respect all the rules that apply to ministerial staff and recuse himself when necessary.

We should be celebrating that someone successful in the private sector is prepared to put aside a career and come to Ottawa to make a contribution to Canada. Is that not good?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the so-called wall is as thin as a piece of paper. Nigel Wright has interests in Cineplex cinemas and in Indigo bookstores. When they talk about copyright next week, will he really plug his ears?

He has interests in private health care companies. Will he leave the room when they discuss the future of health care? Everyone knows the answer. No he will not.

Why is the Prime Minister treating Canadians like a bunch of fools?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there were so many things in the preamble to that question, but I can say this. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner recently appeared before a parliamentary committee. She reported that she has been very vigilant on conflict of interest issues, and I can confirm that Mr. Wright has sought and will continue to follow the direction of the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, Nigel Wright's appointment as the Prime Minister's temporary chief of staff keeps raising more and more ethical questions. How does a guy who makes auto parts deal with General Motors? How does a guy who manufactures plastic bottles deal with regulating BPA? How does a guy with interests in four private health care companies deal with the health file? No answers have been forthcoming.

Is the Prime Minister blind to these conflicts or is it just another case of him making the rules?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I say to the member for Malpeque that I am very happy to debate ethical issues with him any time, any day, any place.

Let me say this. Mr. Wright has sought the counsel and advice of the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. He is complying with all of the direction that she has set. Under this government we made that office legislatively independent. That Ethics Commissioner does not work directly for the Prime Minister.

Those are the high ethical standards that this government has exhibited since we took office and brought in the Federal Accountability Act, the act that finally cleaned up the ethical mess that we found from the previous Liberal government.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Mr. Wright said the reason for his special deal is that he wants to keep his stock options. In fact, he would not consider public service if he had to give up his stock options the way a minister or senior political staffers do. Bringing private sector experience into politics is one thing, but when somebody makes a commitment to the public service, he or she needs to fully commit.

Why are the Conservatives letting Mr. Wright set one foot in the PMO while his other foot is firmly rooted in corporate boardrooms? Where was the Prime Minister's judgment?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it was this government, as its first priority, that brought in the Federal Accountability Act, some of the toughest ethics reforms we have seen in Canadian history. We are always reaching to do better on ethical grounds. That is why Mr. Wright has consulted with the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. He is following all of that advice and will continue to do so.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's immigrant communities are lining up to voice their support for Bill C-49, our crackdown on human smuggling bill. The Liberals and the NDP, on the other hand, have not made their positions on this bill clear. Last week the Liberals said they would take time to speak with the experts, and the NDP claimed that it did not want to be soft on crime.

I want to know if the opposition parties are going to support this important piece of legislation or if they are going to allow human smugglers to think they can treat Canada as their doormat.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak for the opposition but I do know what Canadians think. The vast majority of Canadians say that they expect this Parliament to take firm action to stop smugglers from targeting Canada and treating this country like a doormat, from undermining the fairness and integrity of our immigration system.

I would like to say to my opposition colleagues that we all have a responsibility to maintain public support for our immigration and refugee protection systems, support that has been undermined by the targeting of Canada by the smugglers. Bill C-49 represents a strong but fair and reasonable effort to crack down on the smugglers and we expect the opposition to support that bill.

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the premier of B.C. has just stepped down because of the failed HST, but we all know that the HST was imposed by the Conservative government. I want to ask the Prime Minister, when will his government listen to the people of B.C. and take responsibility for its failure on the HST?

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, provincial taxation is, of course, a provincial responsibility and the decisions are made by the provinces themselves.

Some of the Atlantic provinces made a decision 12 or 13 years ago on that subject, and Ontario and British Columbia made a decision more recently. These are choices for the provincial governments themselves.

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is way too late for that kind of line.

Everybody knows the premier of British Columbia just resigned because of the failure of the HST, a fiasco caused by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance.

The question is very straightforward. Are they willing to take responsibility and admit that they, too, failed the people of British Columbia?

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we wish Premier Gordon Campbell well in his retirement.

All across British Columbia, the phone lines are buzzing. The Minister of Transport has been getting all kinds of email wanting him to run for premier of British Columbia. I need all members to stand with me and say to him, “We need to keep you here in Ottawa”. We need to keep him in the federal cabinet.

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

November 3rd, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in an interview last weekend, the minister responsible for the Quebec City region was not able to commit to meeting the December 31 deadline set by Mayor Labeaume concerning the multi-use arena in Quebec City. However, she says she is “working” on the file.

How can the minister claim to be moving the arena project forward when she cannot meet the mayor's deadline or set up a simple meeting between the mayor and the Prime Minister?

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the various stakeholders in the Quebec City region know full well how much this file means to my colleagues and me. As we have said, while we are all huge fans of professional sports, this is primarily a matter for the private sector.

As for the mayor's deadline, we continue to work in close collaboration with elected officials from the Quebec City region. That said, the federal government also has its own deadlines.

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the minister that we are talking about a multi-use arena.

Quebec City and the Government of Quebec have already committed to funding it. They are waiting for the federal government to commit, as Quebec has done, to funding 45% of the construction costs. An answer is expected by December 31.

What is the Conservative government waiting for to announce that it will do its part and fund 45% of the construction costs of Quebec City's multi-use arena?

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, of course we all understand that it is a multi-use arena. That said, as we have stated, if the government were to contribute to a project of this size, it would do so in a fair and affordable manner throughout the country.