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House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offence.

Topics

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned yesterday, our government puts farmers first. We have taken action for livestock producers by giving them more time to pay their loans. Livestock producers now have breathing room to seize market opportunities and to get black ink on the bottom line. We have given tax deferrals for producers in these areas to help them manage their breeding stock.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, this government puts farmers first only when it comes to debt. That is when it puts them first.

A headline in The Globe and Mail reads in part, “Canada slips from agricultural superpower status”. It is no wonder. While the United States supports farmers with billions, Canadian farmers are being forced to live off loans. While the government is squandering billions of borrowed money on fake lakes and billboards, Ontario farmers' incomes fall.

When will the government get its priorities straight and support farmers in Canada?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I am so glad the member agrees that we put farmers first.

We are delivering significant programming to our farmers. Since 2007, we have delivered $6.8 billion to our farm sector through key and critical programs such as agri-invest, agri-stability, agri-insurance and agri-recovery. Just to give an example, when we speak about agri-invest, $650 million has been paid out. This is in addition to $600 million that has gone into farmers' bank accounts.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada’s military ombudsman is extremely frustrated. He is troubled that grieving families often do not get the support needed and that the federal government does not have a policy to take care of these families. The ombudsman is very disappointed by the Minister of National Defence's evasive answers and refusal to act.

When will the government take concrete action for the well-being of military personnel, starting by giving family members standing at boards of inquiry convened into the death of a military loved one?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the minister appreciates the ombudsman's ongoing advocacy on behalf of the families of deceased Canadian Forces members. We share those concerns and consider the care and compassionate treatment of CF personnel and families to be of the utmost importance.

The minister has met with the ombudsman. He has responded to him several times. He responded to the ombudsman's letter of December 1 yesterday and provided a status report on the number of initiatives that we are considering for the families of fallen members. In addition, he has designated a senior officer to be a direct point of contact with the families.

We will continue to do everything we can to treat the family members in the best way possible. If we can find a way to do it better, we will.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, we do hope that this ombudsman will keep his job.

While the government is telling us that it is allocating all possible resources to veterans, Pascal Lacoste, a soldier who served in the Royal 22nd Regiment, testified in committee that he was treated condescendingly and that his requests for care were refused repeatedly.

Does the minister think it is normal that this former soldier is still waiting for services he is entitled to?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that I cannot speak about a specific case here in the House. But the Minister of Veterans Affairs is making all sorts of changes in order to be able to fully respond to our veterans as quickly as possible. By introducing a new bill, we are in the process of granting additional services to our veterans, particularly injured soldiers returning from Afghanistan, our modern-era veterans.

Government SpendingOral Questions

December 3rd, 2010 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Public Accounts of Canada for 2010, the federal government has spent nearly $8.2 billion on external professional services. The use of such services has grown by 132% over the past decade. The use of private companies has several negative effects. In addition to being more expensive, this phenomenon compounds the shortage of specialized labour within the government and, in many sectors, it ultimately reduces competition.

Before asking Canadians to tighten their belts, should the government not start by limiting its use of consulting services, which will give taxpayers value for their money?

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, since 2006, spending on temporary workers has been consistently below 1% of personnel costs. It was even lower in 2009 and 2010.

The majority of temporary workers are hired for contracts of less than 36 weeks, and only 78 extensions were given to contracts beyond 48 weeks.

Quebec Construction IndustryOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government should read another sheet.

The federal government is a key player in the construction industry in Quebec. Consider for example the Federal Bridge Corporation Limited and the ports of Montreal and Quebec City. However, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars it has spent, the federal government has not developed a strategy to address collusion and corruption since the litany of revelations were made concerning the ties between the construction industry and organized crime.

How can the government turn a blind eye to the corruption?

Quebec Construction IndustryOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely ridiculous.

We have bills before Parliament right now that would get rid of house arrest for very serious crimes and would crack down on white collar crime.

The problem is that, as soon as one of these bills is introduced, about 10 seconds later people in the Bloc say they are going to oppose it. The members should keep their concern to themselves.

We are taking action on these issues over on this side of the House.

Air IndiaOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Justice.

Judge Major, in his report on the Air India bombing, found two things: first of all, that there was substantial negligence on the part of several government agencies with respect to the investigation; and second of all, that the families signed waivers with respect to that without the government disclosing to them the full extent of the government's own negligence.

I wonder if the minister can give us an assurance, a real assurance that in fact the government, in reaching a settlement with the families with respect to the compensation issue, will take those two points, which are really quite critical, fully into account?

Air IndiaOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, meaningful solutions to complex problems take time and great effort.

This government has done what no previous government has done, recognizing this as an attack on Canadians that should never have happened. We are committed to fixing the security gaps that allowed this terrible act of terror to occur in the first place.

Air IndiaOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, here is the problem. These recommendations have not just been made by Justice Major for six months, they have been made over five years, ranging from O'Connor to Brown to Iacobucci to Kennedy to the public safety committee, and yet the government continually, again and again, ignores those recommendations.

Whether or not it is Mr. Almalki, Mr. Nureddin, Mr. El Maati, Mr. Arar or Canadian citizens tortured abroad, whether or not it is the families of Air India or the family of Mr. Dziekanski, why is the government doing nothing? Why is it refusing to act on these recommendations?

Air IndiaOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, because of the low priority justice issues have within the Liberal Party, I can understand how the hon. member would have missed this.

However, we have introduced a bill that specifically targets mega-trials, which was one of the major recommendations of that particular inquiry.

It is interesting that the member raises this question on the Air India inquiry, and I want to know why he did not do it, why did his party not do it? We are the only ones who took action on this. We are proud of that. Why did they not do anything about it when they had the chance?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. has enacted the Bioterrorism Act to protect that country's drinking water systems from terrorist attack. The act requires water utilities to conduct assessments of their vulnerability to attack.

A British security expert has confirmed that Canada's drinking water systems are not protected from the threat of attack. What is more, the RCMP lacks the money to apply the suspicious incident reporting system to the water sector.

Why has the government fallen down on such a vital issue?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:40 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, obviously we take these issues incredibly seriously. This government has worked very hard with respect to combatting terrorism.

Domestically we have been fortunate that we have not had a major incident since Air India. Obviously, we want to ensure that the health and safety of Canadians are protected, not just in terms of setting high standards, but in terms of being concerned about what people might do to cause harm to Canadians.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the minister that it has been almost a decade since 9/11. Since then, the U.S. has passed the Bioterrorism Act and the British have protected their entire drinking water network with sophisticated 21st century technology. Canadian municipalities, on the other hand, do not have safe water plans. Most have not even done risk assessments for their drinking water systems.

Does the government know which municipalities have protected their systems from terrorist attack, yes or no?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:40 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, this government has continued to follow the strong policies that the previous Liberal government followed from 2001 to 2006.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians across the country are growing more and more concerned with the Liberal leader's plan to attack Canadian job creators with a punishing new tax increase that would kill jobs and kill economic growth. Experts have noted that the Liberal tax hike plan would kill over 400,000 new jobs, and people in my community are worried about the Liberal plan too.

The Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce has stated that it is gravely concerned, noting that it would have a negative impact on many of our local businesses.

Can the parliamentary secretary please update this House on our government's record on jobs and on taxes?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend is right. In fact, the Liberals want to dramatically hike taxes on job creators. It is a proven fact that it would kill almost 400,000 jobs in this country.

Our government is focused on keeping taxes low and creating jobs. November's job growth gains prove that, once again, our economic action plan is working, with five straight quarters of steady economic growth. Since July 2009, this country has created 440,000 net new jobs. That is good news.

Air TransportationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, this government is driving billions of dollars in business away from Canadian airports to the United States. The government is charging millions in rent and excessive security charges.

We can go to any American airport on the border, like Buffalo or Plattsburg, and find a parking lot full of Canadian licence plates. Millions of Canadians flew out of American airports last year. That is business that should have been going to Canadian airports.

Why will this government not help the Canadian aviation industry? Why is it content to drive away business from Canada to the United States?

Air TransportationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we know exactly what the NDP wants to do with this country. It wants to close our borders, shut down Canada and stop Canada's government from creating jobs. Airports are no different.

We have one of the most competitive airport industries in the world. As far as airports and the economy go, we are going to take no lessons from the NDP.

Let me be clear, Canada has created 441,000 new jobs over the past five straight quarters. Canada is one of the world leaders as far as economies go, and we are going to take no lessons from the NDP.

Air TransportationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I do not think those guys take lessons from anyone, but they should.

Our airports should not be used as cash cows. The government's taxes now account for up to 70% of the total fare. The Conservative government is taking $3 billion more out of airports than it is putting into them. Canadian travellers deserve better.

The government should be standing up for Canadian travellers, our local economies and our aviation industry. Instead, because of high taxes, levies and security charges, it is driving business south of the border.

Why does the government not get on board and help the Canadian aviation industry compete?

Air TransportationOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to ensuring that our airports stay viable and the industry continues to be that way. The industry has been deregulated at our airports from an economic point of view. The users should make certain that they have the appropriate airport security in place as they go through our airports and that the rents are appropriate so that the taxpayer is not overly burdened by this.

We have a system in place that is actually doing that and is in the best interests of the Canadian passenger and the public.