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 #5 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue to look for ways to improve government efficiency. This is an approach that will pay off. If a government leaves positions vacant then some people will want to fill them whether or not they are needed.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the matter of the torture of detainees in Afghanistan, the questions have been the same all along. What did the Prime Minister know, when did he know it and who else was in the know?

Members know very clearly that his national security advisor knew quite a bit, enough to write a contingency plan to be used if reports of torture ever became public. It was a spin document, nothing more.

Rather than planning how to spin the media, why did the Prime Minister not simply stop the transfers?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP should know that this matter was thoroughly aired months ago. Senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs made absolutely clear that they were continuing to work on transfer arrangements with the Afghan government, up to and leading to completion of a new and enhanced transfer agreement.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister wants to evade his responsibilities. That is why he suspended Parliament for two months. That is why he is trying to create a diversion by appointing a former judge. The truth is clear: the government knew the facts well before they were made public. Transfers to the Afghan DNS continue to take place.

Why? Is it because information obtained by torture is useful to the government or to someone else? Why?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, the facts clearly show that the military and diplomats, and all Canadian personnel, conducted themselves in an extraordinary manner and have always respected our international obligations.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister can try to hide behind a judge, he can try to ignore the orders of the House of Commons, he can try to hide behind bureaucrats, but here are the facts. His national security advisor, who I assume gives him updates on a regular basis, was aware of the problems. The Red Cross had raised the problems. Many other people had raised the problems. Yet the government continues to transfer detainees to the Afghan authorities right now.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his government knew about the torture from the beginning, that it was done to gather intelligence and that rendition is still the policy of his government?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, without any evidence, the allegations, the accusations just keep going further into the stratosphere.

The truth of the matter is Canadian diplomats, Canadian military personnel have at all times respected Canada's international obligations. They work in a very difficult situation to effect prisoner transfer, to effect the military and other developmental operations. They deserve our support and our praise.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, according to the government, Mr. Iacobucci will decide what affects national security. That is far too narrow.

Will he also report on references to torture, rendition and outsourcing of torture? Will he look at whether the government had a deliberate policy of rendition? Will he report the who, what and where of anything relating to torture? Will any of this be part of the Iacobucci terms of reference?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, I can assure the House that the committee and the House will continue to receive all legally available documents. I point out again that any redactions, any advice with respect to these are given by non-partisan, independent public servants. In that regard, Mr. Justice Iacobucci will have full range to have a look at all these documents and advise on them. That should have the support of all hon. members.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, why the delay of the terms of reference?

The Minister of Justice has said that Mr. Iacobucci will report to him, but why does he not report directly to Parliament and to Canadians? When will this work even begin?

If the government cannot give us such basic information, how can we expect it to give Mr. Iacobucci an appropriate mandate? How can we expect to get the full truth when the government promises only half measures?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Justice Iacobucci has a proper mandate. He will undertake an independent, comprehensive, proper review of all the documents at issue.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know the government knew about allegations of torture and was ready with a spin for when they surfaced. It would not tell us whether there was a policy of rendition, outsourcing of torture and interrogation. More allegations are coming forth every day.

Why will the government not end this sorry saga of hide and spin and call a public inquiry? The Prime Minister should try a new strategy: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have the feeling that nothing will satisfy the hon. gentleman. He does not trust the government. He does not trust public servants. He does not trust our men and women who serve in Afghanistan. I am not quite sure, he may or may not trust Mr. Iacobucci. However, we have complete confidence in Mr. Iacobucci and the public servants who advise on these matters.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, on this sorry scandal, the government is in damage control. It is making up answers as it goes. It is not telling Canadians the truth. It has lost all credibility. New allegations are emerging every day.

When will it take this seriously and call a full public inquiry that everyone, except the Prime Minister, now believes is necessary?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, one thing for sure is the hon. member is making up his facts as he goes along. The unsubstantiated allegations get more and more outlandish every day.

We are taking a responsible approach on this. We get the advice of non-partisan public servants with respect to the release of documents. Now we will be ably assisted by Mr. Iacobucci on this matter.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

March 9th, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government announced plans to eliminate 245 positions, 90% of which are currently vacant. This move is an attempt to hide the government's real plan for fighting the deficit. In the budget, the Conservatives recycled an old Liberal strategy by announcing that they intend to take $19 billion from the employment insurance fund between 2011 and 2015 to pad the federal treasury.

Does the minister agree that it is appalling to filch money from the pockets of unemployed workers while her government carries on giving all kinds of gifts to oil companies and the rich?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is correct: the Liberals cut a lot of transfers to those in need. That is not our way of doing things. We will figure out how the government can get the job done more efficiently. We will continue to use this approach. We will not do what the Liberals did while they were in power.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, seasonal workers in two Canadian regions will be denied employment insurance benefits if the government does not take action. Transitional measures are due to expire on April 10. These measures have already been renewed several times.

Will the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development turn these transitional measures into permanent measures to prolong benefits for workers in the regions that were penalized when the map of economic regions was changed in 2000?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would like to remind the Bloc members that, over the past few months, we have implemented no fewer than six new measures to help workers who have lost their jobs. We have also made a huge investment of $4 billion to support the economy and ensure that work on projects across Canada begins in the next few weeks and months.

Every time we have implemented measures to help workers, the Bloc has voted against us.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, by cutting funding for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, the Conservative government is threatening the activities of two major research centres in Quebec, one at UQAM and the other at the Université de Sherbrooke. To cut funding for scientists working in this field is to deny the existence of climate change, as the member for Beauce did quite proudly.

Why is the Conservative government sabotaging Quebec's efforts in the field of climate sciences?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences was created in 2000 with $110 million in public funding until 2011. We are not closing the foundation. We have extended its mandate until 2012. The foundation will still be able to report to the government on the work it has done with public funding. That is a great deal of money.

Climate change research is very important, but we have to ensure that funding is allocated efficiently.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, to save $10 million a year, the government is cutting climate research. That is the reality. Yet the government does not hesitate to hand out $3.2 billion in tax goodies to western oil companies while massively subsidizing carbon capture and the nuclear power production needed for tar sands development.

Is this not proof that this government answers to the oil companies, at the expense of Quebec's needs?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we are not closing the foundation, and the Bloc should support our efforts.

With the Copenhagen accord, our government is committed to fighting climate change. That is why we are taking real steps to meet those targets.

The Copenhagen accord is the first international agreement that includes major emitters. It is a pleasure to tell the House of Commons today that 104 nations have ratified the accord, which represents 80% of global emissions. Like the Bloc, the whole world supports the accord.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2009, the Conservatives falsely promised to consult with Canadians about pensions and report on their findings in 90 days. In budget 2010, they promised again to consult about pensions and report on their findings in 90 days. All talk and no action.

Several provinces and the Liberal Party have made concrete proposals, like the supplementary Canada pension plan.

Specifically, what is wrong with the supplementary CPP proposal, and why not right now?

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is one of the few people in Canada who believes she has the sole correct answer on a very important issue for Canadians about retirement income.

In fact, last year consultations were conducted and, as a result of those consultations, we brought in regulations protecting pensioners by requiring companies to fully fund pension benefits on plan termination and certain other measures that arose out of those specific consultations dealing with those specific issues.

Now, working with the provinces and the territories, which I gather the member opposite is against, but working with other governments in Canada we will do these public consultations and then the--