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House of Commons Hansard #19 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

Canada Pension PlanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are differences of opinion with respect to how one can improve the Canada pension plan and how one can involve the private sector.

The member opposite and her party seem to think they have a monopoly on the only thing that will work. The Canadian Labour Congress does not agree with the Liberals. The Ontario Federation of Labour does not agree with them. I spoke with them in Toronto on Saturday and they have a rather different idea.

I suggest that the official opposition stops acting as if it has a monopoly on the truth.

Canada Pension PlanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are looking for action not more talk.

Sick and disabled Canadians urgently need changes to the bankruptcy act to salvage their benefits. That was proven in spades by a court decision this past weekend that left 12,000 Canadian pensioners, 400 long-term disability recipients and 7,000 other former Nortel employees completely vulnerable.

Will the government agree today to move by unanimous consent to amend the bankruptcy act to help these desperate sick Canadians?

Canada Pension PlanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should be aware, this government is already reviewing the provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. We are asking Canadians for their input as well through the process that the Minister of Finance has set up.

What we will not do is adopt the policies of the Liberals across the aisle based on their taxapalooza conference of the past weekend where they want to tax everything and anything. That is not good for pensioners, not good for seniors and not good for the people of Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the Liberal spenders conference this past weekend, all the Liberals did was talk about higher taxes. They talked about a GST hike. They discussed reviving the carbon tax. They now have an official plan to raise job-killing business taxes.

Would the Minister of Finance tell the House how raising taxes harms Canada's economy.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we have a jobs and growth budget. Members on the other side of the House are proposing job-killing tax increases for Canadians.

I know the Liberals do not like listening to Canadians but perhaps they will listen to the Liberal finance critic who said that deeper business cuts are the “primary means of achieving the investment, the rising living standards and the jobs, jobs, jobs that we all want for ourselves and our children”.

The budget is pro-jobs. Raising taxes is against jobs. Canada needs jobs, especially our small and medium-sized businesses.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, veteran diplomat, Robert Fowler, described the Conservative government's foreign policy as “small-minded and mean-spirited”. He criticized Canada's declining participation in UN peacekeeping missions and our inaction in Africa.

Our absence from the Democratic Republic of Congo underscores Mr. Fowler's honest assessment. More than five million lives have been lost to violence in the Congo and mass rape is commonplace.

Will the government confirm reports that we will assist in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, where the government does happen to agree with Robert Fowler when he says that “the Liberals don't stand for much in the way of principle and will endorse anything and everything which might return them to power”.

With regard to my colleague's question, the government is proud to stand with strong democracies and against those groups and states that embrace tyranny, hate and terror.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2003, Canada was asked to lead the peacekeeping mission in the Congo but we chose Kandahar instead. The conflict in the Congo has worsened since. Just this week, evidence of another massacre was discovered.

Canadian involvement in the Congo will require a multifaceted approach to support peacekeeping, to end the violence against women and involve them in peace-building and to stem the trade of conflict minerals that sustain these atrocities.

Will we learn from the mistakes of Rwanda and commit to supporting peace-building and peacekeeping in the Congo, yes or no?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all members can be extremely proud of the work being done by the men and women in uniform in Afghanistan, as they can be with the work they did in Haiti and the work in Africa in the past.

Currently I can tell my hon. friend that future deployments of the Canadian Forces will be decided upon by the government in consultation with our capabilities, of course, and with senior leadership in the Canadian Forces.

Until the year 2011, we know that the primary commitment to the world is to continue our work in Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

March 29th, 2010 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the documents pertaining to the torture of Afghan detainees were censored inconsistently. For example, details of a prisoner revolt were removed from one document but not from another. Apparently, the concept of security is malleable enough to enable the government to hide politically sensitive information.

To restore public confidence, will the government turn over all of the documents in their original form to the parliamentary committee so that it can start by reviewing them in camera?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government has made a large number of documents available, most recently this past Thursday. The documents were disclosed for different purposes over an extended period of time. Despite the best efforts of those involved, there will occasionally be inconsistencies. However, we addressed those, and are taking it one step further with the appointment of Mr. Justice Iacobucci.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, who likes to control everything, lacks credibility. If he is capable of making sure that information as harmless as the cost of government advertising during the Olympic Games is not made public, imagine what he can do when his government is accused of violating the Geneva convention.

Does the government acknowledge that it has no credibility when it comes to transparency?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government has made documents available. It is cooperating in every way, consistent, though, with public safety and national security.

We have made that v very clear and the hon. member should support the process in place.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, last week the minister ignored the concerns of major farm organizations that called his agristability program a failure. Now, Canada's major farm paper, The Western Producer, in its editorial states:

Budget misses the mark in helping ag. sector.

It adds:

For the first time in 31 budgets, the March 4 version contained no additional money for agriculture.

With the livestock sector in crisis, why does the minister continue to ignore advice by and for farmers?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, working with the provinces and territories, we always put farmers first when we are building toward our new programs. We constantly look at the existing programs to ensure they are hitting the target and serving the best interests of farmers out there. We want to ensure they are bankable and predictable, and we are getting that job done.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth than the minister's words. Now, with the livestock sector is in turmoil, the minister even failed to gain a new nickel in the budget. Worse, the minister's own plans and priority document shows major cuts. Business risk management, forecast spending through 2013 is slashed by $1.4 billion.

How can any farmer in this country believe anything the minister has to say when his own department undercut his rhetoric that he just blew forth here a minute ago?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, discounting that rant, let me read a couple of quotations. Brad Wildeman, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said:

These measures address a real threat to the long term profitability of the Canadian cattle industry.

Jacques Laforge, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said:

The Government of Canada has really stepped up to the plate. This announcement confirms they heard dairy and beef producers' requests for assistance--

The Canadian Meat Council said:

Canada’s meat processing industry praised the announcement in the 2010 Federal Budget of initiatives that will ensure a more competitive cattle sector.

They all get it. Why did that member not read that page?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, in opposition, the Conservatives promised to end the cover-ups and scandals that we saw from the Liberals. Now that they are in government, it is clear that they did not really mean it. Today, we hear that yet another Conservative political staff person blocked information from being released.

From the Afghanistan cover-up to expensive self-promoting ads, the government thwarts accountability, claiming all decisions about releasing documents are made by non-political public servants. If it is really hands-off, why are its fingerprints all over this censorship?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the reporter was given the information that he asked for once the advertising campaign was complete and the costs were known at that point.

We do make sure we make every effort to ensure that Canadians receive the information they ask for. We want that information to be complete, accurate and provided in a timely manner. We will be using this example to modify our procedures as we go forward.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, access to information is about transparency and accountability, not sanitizing or covering up embarrassing facts. Conservative political staff have admitted that the PMO chastises ministers' offices when unfavourable information is released.

In light of that, will the Minister of Human Resources verify reports that her staff simply did “what ministers' offices are expected to do by the PMO”, or will she follow the cabinet's past practice, deny responsibility and let the interference continue?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in response to a media call, not an ATI request, the reporter was provided with the information he asked for once the ad campaign was complete and all the costs were known. That was exactly what he asked for. We complied with that. We will be looking at this example to see if there are lessons to be learned going forward.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable to Canadians that unelected senators can hold terms of up to 45 years. Our Conservative government has always been committed to reforming the Senate. To that hopeful end, could the Minister of State for Democratic Reform update the House on the government's commitment to Senate reform?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, we agree with Canadians that it is time that the Senate reflect the values of the 21st century. That is why, in our 2010 throne speech, we have outlined our plans to reform the Senate. They include non-renewable term limits and a direct input for Canadians into who will become their senators in the future. It is time that the opposition parties get on board with our reforms.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on April 9, we will mark the end of an era, remembering the passing of John Babcock and paying tribute to his comrades who gave their lives in World War I. Veterans who came home in 1918 were welcomed back as heroes. They built the Canada we know today.

Modern veterans face huge and new challenges. They want a part in building tomorrow's Canada, but the Conservatives are failing them.

When will the government commit to the care and benefits these soldiers deserve and are calling for themselves?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his sensitivity to this issue.

I would remind the House that a number of events will take place over the next two weeks to honour the contributions of those involved in the first world war. As we know, 650,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were involved in the war, and 68,000 of them paid the ultimate price by giving their lives.

A special event is scheduled for April 9. A commemorative ceremony will take place at the National War Memorial here in Ottawa. All Canadians are invited to share their thoughts by signing the Book of Reflection over the next few days.