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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was documents.

Topics

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, 18 years ago, Quebec signed an agreement not to harmonize the GST with its sales tax, but to collect both taxes. This arrangement is completely different from what was done with the other provinces.

If Quebec wants an agreement like that concluded with the other provinces, which honours the spirit of our obligations to the other provinces, we are prepared to look at it. We are holding discussions in good faith.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is saying that Quebec has not harmonized its tax with the GST. In the 2006 budget, the Conservatives said that Quebec did so. In one of these instances, they were not telling the truth, to put it mildly

Quebec has resolved all the issues that were raised. Why not provide compensation? Is collecting the tax the real problem? The Prime Minister should say so clearly.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the GST and the QST are two separate taxes. They are collected by Quebec. This is not the situation in the other provinces.

If Quebec wants a harmonization agreement like the ones signed with the other provinces, we will continue to negotiate with Quebec in good faith on this.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to revisiting the issue of Quebec's collecting the GST, the government wants to strip Quebeckers of another financial tool by establishing a single securities commission. Although participation would be voluntary, in reality it would mean the disappearance of the Autorité des marchés financiers and the transfer of Quebec's regulatory authority to Ontario.

Why is the Conservative government attacking Quebec's economic and financial autonomy?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, participation in the Canadian securities commission is voluntary. Only those provinces that wish to participate will be included. That means Ontario, British Columbia and a number of others, but not Quebec. It is up to Quebec to decide.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to undermining Quebec's autonomy, it seems already that the creation of a single securities commission will be a very expensive bureaucratic monster. You have to be totally out of touch with reality to want to waste $161 million in these times of record deficits.

Is the government's real objective to force all AMF stakeholders and users to do business with English voice mail in Toronto, to trump unanimous resolutions by the Quebec's National Assembly, in short, to dismantle Montreal's financial hub?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are at a stage where we want better international regulation. In terms of our financial sector, we are looking to improve regulations in Canada.

This is a provincial jurisdiction. It is up to Ontario and British Columbia, not Quebec, to decide if they wish to collaborate with the federal government in this matter. The Quebec government can only make decisions for Quebec.

Prorogation of the HouseOral Questions

March 18th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister was on this side of the House in the opposition, he used to state, with considerable conviction, that the prime minister, any prime minister, had a moral obligation to respect the will of the House.

Yesterday, the House expressed itself very clearly in stating that the Prime Minister shall not seek a prorogation of beyond seven days from the Government General without the express support, through a resolution, of the House of Commons.

Will the Prime Minister respect the will of the House?

Prorogation of the HouseOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I gather it has been the will of the House to replace the government with an unelected coalition. If that is indeed the will of the House, the members know they have to get a mandate from the people of Canada and they cannot tinker with the House rules to work around that reality.

When we speak about the will of the House, I understand pretty clearly from this question period that the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois want to end the ten percenter program outside of our own ridings. Is this also a position of the House that the NDP is prepared to endorse?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just informed us that he will not respect the will of the House.

Yesterday, I asked the Prime Minister if his government's position was that contraception does not save lives. He refused to respond. The Federation of Medical Women of Canada has a clear position on this issue. The World Health Organization, USAID and Action Canada for Population and Development have all said that contraception saves lives.

Does the Prime Minister agree?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government's position is clear. I believe the minister answered this question. The government is looking to work with G8 countries to save lives, to save mothers and children throughout the world. We are not closing the door on any option, including contraception. However, we do not wish to debate abortion in this place or elsewhere.

Once again, I ask the leader of the NDP to join with the other parties and endorse the end of the ten percenter program outside our ridings.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, what we have learned now is that the government will leave its options open.

I want to ask an extremely clear question of the Prime Minister so Canadians as well as the other countries coming to the G8 summit can know where Canada is going to stand.

Does the Prime Minister agree with the broad sweep of opinion that is extremely clear, that contraception saves lives? The initiative to put the health of women and children into the forefront in these discussions is something we applaud, but it is extremely important the Prime Minister answer this question.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think I have pretty clearly answered the question. I do not think I could be clearer.

On the other hand, the leader of the NDP talks about respecting the will of the House. My question is this. Does he respect the votes that his own party casts in the House of Commons? His own party voted a couple of days ago to abolish the ten percenter program for mailings outside of our own ridings. The other three parties apparently support that. Does the leader of the NDP still support that or not?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, less than a year ago, the government made a formal commitment to support voluntary family planning at the G8.

Why does it now want to block access to contraception for African women?

Why are the Conservatives so obsessed with trying to push these George Bush-like doctrines on the world's poor?

Does this government believe in the benefits of contraception?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, let me again be very clear and reiterate that at the G8 the leaders will discuss maternal and child health. In fact, as I have articulated, there are no doors being closed even including contraception. There will be fulsome discussion and they will chart a way forward to help save the lives of mothers and children.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is doublespeak. Every year, 1,500,000 women die because they do not have access to family planning services.

The government is giving in to the religious extremist lobbies at the expense of African women.

Maternal and reproductive health is a human right. Contraceptives are essential to the health of African mothers. The use of condoms in Africa could mean the difference between life and death.

Can the Prime Minister explain to Canadians why he is against this simple, proven method of preventing STDs?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, again, I do not know how to be more clear. I thank the member for adding some more information that will be taken into consideration by all the G8 leaders. In fact, as I said, they will discuss this and they will chart the way forward to help mothers and children and to save their lives.

For the member, we do have the facts. We know that most of the women and children who are now dying are occurring in Africa and in Southeast Asia. That is the problem we want to—

International CooperationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Vancouver South.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, according to a lawyer for Amnesty International, Mr. Iacobucci will simply be providing a second opinion that could possibly take two years. Britain has stopped all detainee transfers. It is concerned about torture right now.

The Conservative government continues to transfer detainees to possible torture. Why? Why will it not call a public inquiry and end this sordid spectacle?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I see the Liberal Party is back on message. No one wants to jeopardize public safety or national security and nobody wants any information released that might jeopardize the men and women who serve us in Afghanistan.

Therefore, I call on the hon. member to put confidence in Mr. Iacobucci. Let him do his job and support the work he is about to do.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government may have forgotten, but people remember that months ago the International Criminal Court prosecutor in The Hague initiated a preliminary investigation into the conduct of the Canadian government with regard to torture. Yet the government continues to transfer detainees to a serious and substantial risk of torture. The prosecutor may commence a full criminal investigation. A public inquiry may persuade the prosecutor to not commence a full criminal investigation.

Why not do the right thing and call a public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, a public inquiry is not necessary and, as the hon. member knows, public inquiries take a great deal of time. We want a more expeditious process to assist in this matter. We all want to protect public safety in our country.

I ask the hon. member to put confidence in Mr. Iacobucci. He deserves it and he should have the support of all hon. members.

AgriFood IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, for more than a year the Conservative government has hurt Quebec's agrifood industry with its 98% Canadian content standard for labelling products as “Made in Canada”.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, who himself recognizes that the standard has had negative repercussions on processing, is undertaking a second completely useless consultation. Yet he had promised to press the real Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to address the agrifood industry's concerns.

Is this an acknowledgment of powerlessness by the Minister of State?

AgriFood IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker. It is the action of a minister who is listening to what people are saying about the problems they are facing. I met with representatives from the association of processors and I spoke with a number of people who explained to me that applying the 98% standard was creating problems for them.

We agreed to keep this standard. Now, we will be talking with them about excluding certain products linked to food preservation such as salt, sugar and spices. That will be clear for consumers, and it will also allow processors to resolve their problems.

AgriFood IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the least we can say is that the minister engages in passive listening. He claims that he wants to consult with people, yet he has already decided what will be done. He does not need to hold another consultation to find out what the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food showed two years ago, namely that the consensus is to set the standard at 85%.

Will the real Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food stop wasting the agri-food sector's time and money, face facts and change the disputed standard, as producers, processors and consumers are demanding?