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House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fraud.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not have to make a commitment to use the Canadian public health care system. That is what I have always used.

Funds were booked for public health care back in the 1990s and the Liberal government slashed those out of the budget. The fact of the matter is, this is the government that funded public health care, increased the transfers 30%, and we are the ones who are going to protect and defend the system against these health care cutters.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. I know it is Wednesday, but hon. members could calm down so we can hear the questions and responses.

The hon. member for Beauséjour.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is scared to tell the truth. He says that the purchase of the F-35s has been in the works for a long time, but his own colleagues are saying the complete opposite. He says that only the F-35 meets our needs, but we now know that is not true. He said that there would be a Canadian competition, but there was not. He said that there had been an internal review, but they did not even have the information they needed to conduct one. He claims that there is a set price, but, once again, his senior officials are saying the opposite.

When will the minister tell the truth to Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Beauséjour and welcome him back from his celebrity tour.

Here is the truth. The truth is that the cancellation of the F-35 purchase could cost this country up to $1 billion. The truth is the member opposite is a member of a party that knows well about the cancellation of contracts. The cancellation of the EH-101 helicopter contract cost the country $1 billion. As a result, the Canadian Forces are still flying up to 45-year-old helicopters. That is older than he or I.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, everything the minister has said about the F-35 has turned out to be false. The F-35 is not the only aircraft that can meet Canada's needs. There was no Canadian competition under any government. There was no exhaustive internal study. In fact, he did not even bother to ask for the information to compare. Most shockingly, he now complains that the price is fixed, when the colonel in charge of the program says the price will go up.

Why does the minister not dig himself out of his foxhole and for once come clean with Canadians on this transaction?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should know that Canada has already invested $168 million in the F-35 program. How would he know that? He was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence when it happened under his government.

But let us take it out of the realm of parliamentary rhetoric. Let us listen to Gilles Labbé, president and chief executive officer of Héroux-Devtek, a company in Montreal. This program will give Canadian companies access to opportunities on partner fees valued at around $12 billion. He says this is an outstanding opportunity for the Canadian aerospace industry.

Why does the hon. member not come back to his original position and support this purchase?

Waterfront ProtectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, with heavy rain pounding eastern Quebec and causing flooding that is accelerating shoreline erosion, many municipalities on the Gaspé peninsula have declared a state of emergency. In 1997, the federal government abolished the shoreline protection program, which helped people living along the shore who suffered major losses due to shoreline erosion.

Given the emergency situation in eastern Quebec, will the Prime Minister restore the shoreline protection program to help people in the areas affected by the flooding?

Waterfront ProtectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we express our sympathy to the families and the businesses affected by the flooding. I applaud the first responders for their efforts. The government stands with Canadians when disaster strikes, and all requests for assistance will be handled under the agreements currently in effect.

Waterfront ProtectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the Prime Minister that in addition to these agreements, there was a program that was abolished; I am asking him to restore that program. As well, in August 2007, when Rivière-au-Renard in the Gaspé was flooded, the Conservative government introduced an extraordinary measure, over and above the agreement with Quebec, whereby businesses and companies could receive financial assistance through the CED program.

Will the Prime Minister allow businesses, companies and not-for-profit organizations to receive this financial assistance without having to meet the usual criteria for CED funding, as in 2007?

Waterfront ProtectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, what is happening to the people in the Gaspé is terrible. Our department is always very aware of what is happening in all the regions of Quebec. As the Prime Minister said, there are public safety programs. The Province of Quebec has primary responsibility. We congratulate the first responders and we are monitoring the situation very closely.

Marine InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, this fall, eastern Quebec was rocked by high tides, resulting in major damage. Unfortunately, this is happening more frequently, yet the federal government is refusing to invest in reinforcing marine infrastructure. For example, people who use the Rimouski wharf are asking that breakwaters be built in order to make the area safer.

When will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans understand that her government's lack of action is putting both boats and the people using these docks in danger?

Marine InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, we inherited a massive backlog of needed work at our small craft harbours. Wharves were rotting and fishers were not getting the facilities they needed to work safely.

That is why, under our economic action plan, we invested and work has now been completed or is under way at 270 harbours across the country. We are getting the job done for fishers.

Marine InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the pounding rain, violent wind and high tides that are slamming eastern Quebec are causing floods and significant property damage. Rivers are overflowing, Gaspé has declared a state of emergency, and highway 132 is closed in multiple places. I myself have seen the numerous wharves that have been seriously damaged, notably in Carleton-sur-Mer in the Baie-des-Chaleurs.

Can the Minister of Fisheries at least commit to quickly repairing any wharves under her jurisdiction that were damaged by the extreme weather we have been experiencing?

Marine InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, we have invested heavily in small craft harbours across the country. There has been some damage done in the recent storms, and my department is currently assessing the damage and will respond accordingly.

If the Bloc wants us to invest money in small craft harbours, it should support the budget that does that.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is more evidence today of the government's failure to create quality jobs in Canada. Stats Canada says that productivity is stagnating and the Conservatives' short-sighted economic policy has created mostly precarious part-time work.

Billions that should have been targeted towards creating well-paid jobs was wasted on across-the-board giveaways to banks and oil companies.

Just today we found out that more than 1,000 jobs will be lost at Electrolux. What a mess.

With the loss of 1,000 jobs at Electrolux, when are we going to see a manufacturing job strategy for this country?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the economy and jobs remain our number one priority. We realize there are still significant challenges out there, but that should not blind anyone in the House to the performance of the Canadian economy. Since the height of the recession, this economy has created 450,000 new jobs, more jobs than were actually lost during the recession. We are the only advanced country in the world to do that.

I would encourage the NDP and others to cease voting against the job creation measures that this government has been bringing forward.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

December 15th, 2010 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives keep claiming that corporate tax cuts make us more competitive, but these numbers prove that they are wrong.

They hand out gifts to their friends in the oil industry and on Bay Street, while small and medium-sized businesses are struggling. They are at the mercy of the credit card companies.

The Competition Bureau confirms that the government's voluntary code has not protected Canadian businesses.

Will the government finally impose mandatory rules to truly protect Canadian SMEs from credit card companies?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, based on the first part of the NDP leader's question, I presume he thinks that tax hikes for employers and job creators will create jobs. That is ridiculous. One of the reasons for Canada's exceptional job creation record is that we lowered taxes not only for companies, but also for families and individuals.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is the government that added the HST to the cost of small business.

The Conservatives' voluntary credit card code simply is not working. The Competition Bureau tells us today that merchants pay $5 billion a year in hidden credit card charges. I have been talking with some of these businesses and they are fed up.

The finance minister goes cap in hand to the big banks and asks for help; they tell him no and he just accepts it.

Under the Conservatives, credit card companies continue to gouge small businesses.

When will the Conservatives have the political courage to impose tough, mandatory rules to actually protect Canadian small businesses?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, working with the small business communities and others, this government has created rules for credit card companies that, of course, the NDP voted against.

I would like to return to the NDP leader's comment on the sales tax. This is the government that lowered the federal sales tax by two percentage points, from 7% to 6% to 5%, against the opposition of the NDP and its coalition partners.

What did we see in Nova Scotia? As soon as an NDP government took office, up went the sales tax by two percentage points, and it would be exactly the same thing here if those members ever got their chance.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation has had serious allegations raised against her on a question of privilege alleging that she knowingly misled the House in her responses to questions concerning the cuts to KAIROS' funding. After the admission by her former parliamentary secretary and submissions by other members, a reasonable person might well conclude that a prima facie case of contempt has been made.

Will she stand following question period today and respond to those allegations?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right. The response that Canadians deserve is what we are doing with international assistance.

The government is choosing to make its international assistance more effective and more focused. We want to ensure that we have value for our aid dollars, which means keeping children and mothers alive, more food, more education and better health for those in developing countries. This is what Canadians want and this is what we are delivering.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation is facing very serious allegations that she did not tell the truth to the House, mistruths which were repeated by the minister both in the House and in response to order paper questions that she is also now evading. However, the evidence paints a more disturbing picture. Clearly there were others at the cabinet level who contributed to the decision to de-fund KAIROS.

How are Canadians to trust a government and a Prime Minister who knowingly hide the truth from them? What does that say about their moral character?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. Canadians can trust this government because under this Prime Minister we led the world to improve the health of mothers and children. We are going to save the lives of infants who never had a chance in developing countries. We are making sure that those who are now facing floods in Pakistan and earthquakes in various countries are getting the food, water and medical help they need. In fact, we are leaders when it comes to making sure that development and aid are effective.