This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal plan is to raise taxes on job creators, on Canadian business, on Canadian consumers, with the GST. It is very clear the Liberal Party wants to raise taxes on everything.

We strongly support competitive tax rates. We want Canada to be a bright light when it comes to new investment, so that there are more jobs, so that there is more opportunity. That is why this government's economic plan is working.

We have a fragile recovery setting in, and the worst thing that we could do would be to raise taxes, as the leader of the Liberal Party has argued.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister does is borrow money to cut taxes for big businesses. Even these people are getting uncomfortable. They are saying enough is enough.

Why is the Prime Minister stubbornly sticking with his choices? Why increase employment taxes by $19 billion, while reducing corporate taxes by $60 billion? This does not make any sense.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. It looks like the coalition that was going to see the Liberal leader be prime minister now has a new face. It is the face of the leader of the New Democratic Party, who now seems to be the puppeteer for the Liberal Party.

Let us be very clear. Let me quote another good senior economist:

I am very sympathetic to a lower corporate tax rate. I think it would get a big bang for the buck, in terms of stimulating growth and productivity and all of those good things.

If only the Liberal leader would have let the member for Markham—Unionville speak at his thinking, spending, taxing conference, maybe there would have been better policy.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office recently warned political staff to stop meddling in access to information requests.

Two weeks later, the office of the Minister of Human Resources obstructed an information request about a $5 million advertising campaign during the Olympics. The media had a simple question. Department officials had the answer. The minister's office intervened and hid the truth.

Is the minister embarrassed by the waste of taxpayers' money, or does she not believe that Canadians deserve the truth?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the reporter was provided with the information that he requested once the campaign was complete and all the costs were in and accurate.

We do strive always to be open and transparent. We certainly are doing our processes to ensure that Canadians do receive the information they ask for in a timely way and that that information is both accurate and complete. We will be taking a look at this example and taking it into consideration to see how we can improve our processes in the future.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it was three weeks later. Either the Prime Minister was not sincere in his edict to ensure access to information or his minister is ignoring him.

There is a pattern of political interference in the denial of access to information requests by the Conservative government, so much so that the Information Commissioner is now investigating.

What new measures will the Prime Minister take to ensure access to information for Canadians, or is he where the problem begins?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we always strive to be open and transparent, but we do want to make sure that when Canadians request information from us, the information they receive is timely and accurate, and it is important that it be complete. That is why we are going to use this example to see what lessons can be learned from it for the future.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about openness and transparency.

The torture documents that were dumped in Parliament last Thursday show that the government is actually concealing information from Parliament, not for national security but to protect itself from embarrassment. Torture is a stark reality in Afghan jails. The government is hiding the ugly truth about torture and who knew what and when.

When will the government stop trying to shield itself from embarrassment and call a public inquiry so that Canadians can learn the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it completely wrong, but it is good to see that they are back on message in the Liberal Party with their number one concern.

That being said, we put a process in place. We have appointed the hon. Justice Frank Iacobucci to have a look at the documents, to check this over. This is a process that should have the support of all hon. members. I am surprised that the hon. member is not supporting this process.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the documents dumped in Parliament last week, there is at least one document that appears twice. In one instance, a paragraph is blacked out; in the other, it is not. Clearly this process is random, arbitrary and driven by the politics of cover-up.

When will Canadians learn who in government knew what and when? When will the government have the courage to be decent and honest 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, the hon. member does not have confidence in the public servants who looked at these documents. These are individuals who have no other interests than public safety and the safety and security of the men and women who serve in Afghanistan, but we have gone beyond that and we have appointed Mr. Frank Iacobucci to have a look at these. This is a step in the right direction.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the G8 foreign affairs ministers will focus on the nuclear threat posed by Iran and North Korea. Canada is not very credible on this subject, given that it is more interested in selling its CANDU reactors than addressing security issues. Canada recently entered into an agreement with India, which has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Does the minister realize that he might be able to speak with more authority if his government were more vigilant when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question, but I must say one thing.

Canada is committed to promoting international peace and security by working to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Canada's policy is rooted in its support of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation on Nuclear Weapons.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, while those living in the Arctic are wondering what their future holds, it is disappointing that three of the five members at the Arctic summit, including Canada, have not signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Should the government not begin by unconditionally signing this declaration and urging its partners to do likewise in order to come to a lasting agreement about the Arctic?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, northerners do play a fundamental role in Canada's Arctic sovereignty strategy. The Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke with territorial leaders and leaders of Arctic indigenous organizations before the summit. Today's meeting is specifically for those states that share a coastline with the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic Council chair and our Minister of Foreign Affairs will debrief other interested parties after the conference.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is afraid that two-tier triage for refugees according to their country of origin will penalize certain persecuted groups from countries that are deemed safe. Homosexuals and women could be the first victims of the Conservative government's proposed reform.

What measures will be put in place so that refugees who could suffer genital mutilation, forced marriage or persecution because of their sexual orientation are not deported?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question.

Tomorrow, I will table a bill in the House that proposes balanced reforms of the asylum system. We want to improve this system in order to protect victims of persecution much more quickly and address the issue of unfounded refugee claims.

All the reforms will comply with our international legal obligations and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Everyone will be able to apply to the IRB for refugee status. The reforms will be balanced.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that the selection system must take claimants' individual circumstances into consideration. The appeal division, which has never been put in place by the Liberals or the Conservatives, would ensure that every case is examined on its own merits.

Does the minister understand that he needs to put in place a real appeal division, not some watered-down mechanism?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, it is odd. For a year, I have been encouraging the opposition parties to come up with ways of carrying out balanced reforms and improving the asylum system. But we have not received any suggestions from the Bloc Québécois.

The reforms I am going to propose tomorrow will comply fully with all our legal and moral obligations. I just announced that as part of its reforms, Canada will accept 2,500 more refugees from around the world—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

March 29th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, on World Water Day, the National Post ran an editorial advising Canada to leave the door open to bulk water exports. The editorial echoed the view of the Montreal Economic Institute, the right-wing think tank founded by the member for Beauce.

The previous Liberal government took major steps to protect Canada's freshwater from export, including amending the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act. Why has the Conservative government not acted in any way to protect against the possibility of future exports of this vital Canadian resource?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my hon. colleague back from the thinking, taxing and spending conference he took part in on the weekend. I am given to believe, from what I read in the newspaper, that when that many Liberals get together it is, undoubtedly, a taxing experience, and so it seems.

The hon. member knows that we are opposed to any bulk water exports, and our position on that is quite clear. There is an extensive layer of provincial regulations in place right now that deal with this issue. I would encourage my friend to be supportive of the government's efforts.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was at another conference this weekend, a conference calling on the federal government to bring in a national water strategy.

The Minister of the Environment is blowing with the wind. In its 2008 throne speech, the Conservative government promised to introduce a bill to prohibit major water diversions. The current provincial policies were already in place at the time, so the minister cannot use those policies as an excuse for his government's flip-flop.

Why is the Conservative government refusing to protect the national interest?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I hope my hon. friend is not now proposing a tax on water. I know the Liberals would tax everything else that is possible.

Why did my hon. colleague not appear to be supportive this past weekend of the regulations that this government has brought in to deal with the discharge of municipal sewage into our natural water system? We have been pursuing these regulations for a generation in this country. They would apply to some 4,000 municipal waste water facilities across the country. I ask my hon. colleague to support these efforts.

Canada Pension PlanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we can now add former Bank of Canada governor, David Dodge, to the growing list of those calling for the creation of a supplemental Canada pension plan. Mr. Dodge and other experts know that if we fail to take action to fix the shortcomings of our pension system, seniors and governments will all pay a hefty price.

Despite the Prime Minister's long held view that the CPP should be abolished, will the Conservatives listen to the experts and immediately create a supplemental Canada pension plan to help Canadians prepare for retirement?