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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

Government SpendingOral Questions

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

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, last week the public accounts were released.

What a tale of out-of-control spending they tell: $3 billion more on professional and special services since the Conservatives became government; $9.5 million more on cabinet since 2007; and $2.5 million more on the Prime Minister's office.

At a time when Canadians have had to make hard economic choices, their government chose more spending on press releases, management consultants and cabinet. When will this borrow and spend government get its reckless spending under control?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that there were unprecedented demands on the government, especially last year, whether we are talking about the Olympics, the unprecedented nature of the H1N1 epidemic, or the G8 and G20, a number of things that do not occur on a usual basis.

It is unfortunate that the opposition does not reflect on the fact that all government operational spending is now frozen for three years, all ministerial and MP salaries are frozen for three years, and all ministerial budgets for next year have been reduced by $11 million. It is too bad the member did not mention that.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, what we are told is that the increases for the PMO are for communication, yet the Prime Minister has not had a single public meeting since taking office.

Instead of giving fiscal updates to the House of Commons, he wasted $250,000 to hold two closed press conferences. The PBO now estimates that the Conservatives have added $210 billion to the national debt. With all due respect to drunken sailors, this government is spending like one.

When will the Conservatives stop wasting hard-earned taxpayers' money?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I just found today an area where we could cut some wasteful government spending.

We have learned today that a member of the Liberal caucus has spent $700,000 over the last three years, despite the fact that he was suspended from the Senate three years ago. That is $700,000 of taxpayers' money for travelling and office expenses to keep a senator who has been suspended and has not worked for one minute. Maybe the Liberal caucus could look into that.

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, do you know what foreign takeovers have meant to my community?

Two of Canada's most profitable companies, Inco and Falconbridge, were taken over by international mining giants. Hundreds of jobs were lost. Pensions were attacked. Wages were cut. Workers were forced into the longest strike in history. That is how Xstrata's and Vale's takeovers worked.

How is that a net benefit to Sudbury?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the recession has been hard on a number of communities, including Sudbury. That is why this government has approved many different infrastructure projects for the city of Sudbury, working with municipal officials. We have also deployed the community action fund for the city of Sudbury to make sure that we can grow new jobs, new opportunities in new areas as well as some of the tried and trusted areas where Sudbury has a competitive advantage.

We care about these issues. We care about the people who are affected by them. That is why we have acted through the economic action plan, and those members voted against it every single time.

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservative government rubber-stamped Xstrata's takeover of Falconbridge, we had a world-class copper and zinc refining capacity in Ontario. What happened after the takeover? We lost 1,000 jobs in Timmins. The copper refinery was shut down. The ore was shipped out to other jurisdictions. That is how Xstrata's takeover has worked, so God help the people of Saskatchewan if they are looking to the Tories for help with potash.

Where was the net benefit to the people of Timmins when the government sold them out?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know where the hon. member was when the mining industry needed some help to defeat a bill that would have hobbled them on world markets. He was not in his seat defending the interests of his community or the mining sector. He was not defending the interests of his rural constituents when it came to the long gun registry.

He has a lot to answer for. We have nothing to answer for.

TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, in this time of continuing economic uncertainty, our Conservative government is continually striving to create jobs, boost trade and open new markets for Canadian workers. We stand in contrast to the Liberal-led coalition that continually promotes policies that kill Canadian jobs, such as their support of Bill C-300 or their promise to cancel the purchase of F-35s.

Could the Minister of International Trade update this House on Canada's ambitious free trade agenda and how it will benefit Canada's economy?

TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our government is clearly focused on the economy, on creating jobs and growth for the benefit of Canadian workers and Canadian families. An important way to do that is through securing access in foreign markets.

The predecessor Liberal government in 13 long years only did three small free trade agreements, all of which we are now upgrading. In contrast, in four years we have already delivered eight new free trade agreements and are in talks with 50 other countries, including the cornerstone, a free trade agreement with the European Union which stands to deliver an annual boost of $12 billion to Canada's economy, in fact creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous prosperity for Canadians and millions in growth. It is great for Canada.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, Giselle from Lanark sent me an email. She wrote:

It will take more than 10 minutes per photo to download because...yes...yes...I'm still on Dial-up. Hard to believe in this day and age that being 110km from our great capital...I don't even have access to High Speed yet...Even cell phones and BBerrys don't get the signal.

Can you imagine...can you do something for me

Why is it that the Prime Minister ordered that millions of dollars be spent to track 9,000 propaganda signs by GPS but cannot find the money to help Giselle?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this government has acted to bridge the gap between rural and urban Canadians when it comes to broadband. We have, as part of our economic action plan, a $225 million fund to ensure that we can help bridge that gap.

Where were those hon. members then? Where were they looking out for those kinds of issues? Where was the hon. member when the long gun registry vote occurred in the House? He was voting against his rural constituents in favour of the Toronto elites. We will not do that to rural Canada.

ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, the Conservative government promised to speed up the processing of applications for permanent residence in the context of the special Quebec-Haiti humanitarian sponsorship program. Yet as of October 16, 2010, only 18 Haitians had come to Quebec.

How does the immigration minister explain the fact that, despite his promise to cut red tape, now, 10 months later, only 18 Haitians have come to Quebec through that special program?

ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, our government is proud of how it responded to the crisis in Haiti, including in the area of immigration. We are going to grant temporary status to all Haitians who were in Canada at the time of the earthquake. We have sped up the processing of family sponsorship applications. Over 2,000 have been completed. It is true that the Quebec government created its own program. We just began receiving applications from people who went through the Quebec program. I have no control over the Quebec procedures.

Steel IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me tell you what foreign takeovers have meant to my community. U.S. Steel took over Stelco. The result? It shut down the blast furnace and now no steel is being made; 800 jobs were slashed; the remaining employees are being threatened with a lockout; and the workers who put the value into this company have been abandoned by both the foreign owners and the government.

Due diligence has to happen at the front end. Taking U.S. Steel to court after the fact did not save jobs and it did not save production. How is that a net benefit for Hamilton?

Steel IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct. We are the first government in the history of the Investment Canada Act to actually take a company to court to enforce the undertakings that it promised with the government and the people of Canada. We did that. No one else has done that. Certainly the Liberals when they were in power never did that.

The hon. member neglects all the other great things we have done for the Hamilton area when it comes to investing in new jobs, investing in research, investing in new opportunities for Hamilton. We have done that and every single time the member stood in her place and voted against the interests of Hamilton.

CopyrightOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to modernizing our copyright laws to protect Canadian jobs and ensure we remain a leader in today's digital economy. Unfortunately, the only proposal that has been brought forward by the coalition partners is a new tax that would make Canadians pay every time they purchased an iPod, an MP3 player, computer, any device that plays music.

Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell the House what our position is on this tax on consumers?

CopyrightOral Questions

3 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, last summer when the Minister of Industry and I went across the country and had consultations and got ideas for our new copyright legislation, we listened to a lot of great ideas that led to our balanced and responsible copyright reform.

What we have rejected is what the coalition opposite is proposing which is a brand new $75 tax on every iPod, iPhone, cell phone, BlackBerry, laptop computer in the country, which would hurt consumers, hurt students, hurt young Canadians in a way that is absolutely counterintuitive to having modern copyright legislation. Making it more expensive for Canadians to consume Canadian culture goes counter to the interests of Canada's cultural communities. It punishes consumers and hurts Canadians.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, 700,000 Canadians in our rural areas do not have access to high-speed Internet. Northern Ontario is particularly affected. Students cannot do their homework and businesses cannot compete with their counterparts in major cities. The Conservatives are leaving northern Ontario behind, as though only big cities belonged in the 21st century.

When will they invest in our rural areas and in equality, and ensure access to high-speed Internet service for all Canadians?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we announced subsidies for Internet infrastructure. Part of our economic action plan supports Canadians living in rural areas.

Again, the hon. member cannot lose the responsibility for voting against the interests of his constituency when it came to the long gun registry. That is when voters in his riding wanted him to stand in his place and reflect rural values, and he failed miserably.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Mircea Geoana, President of the Senate of Romania.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

On the occasion of Veterans' Week, I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the ladies' gallery of Canadian war veterans, peacekeepers and a retired member of the military, namely Mr. Domonic Patafie, a veteran of the second world war; Mr. Dave Jones, a veteran of the Korean War; Mr. Alfie Bojalil, a peacekeeping veteran; and Major Dee Brasseur, a retired senior officer of the Canadian Forces.