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House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite knows or ought to know that there are certain principles with respect to harmonization. One of them is that one actually has to harmonize the tax. This is key. I will come back to that. One has to harmonize the tax.

We are prepared to continue that discussion with the Government of Quebec, as we had previously with the Government of Ontario and the Government of British Columbia, and with other provinces that may be interested.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shell-shocked this morning to learn of the government's late-night decision to kill the ecoEnergy retrofit program for homeowners. Up until yesterday, the government was training energy auditors and even announced more money for the program in its budget.

Hundreds of small energy efficiency companies are now scrambling in the face of inevitable layoffs. At a time when we should be enhancing these programs, why are these Reform-Conservatives punishing Canadians who want to do the right thing and putting thousands of clean energy jobs at risk?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, ensuring the program operates within its existing budget demonstrates the prudent fiscal management Canadians have come to expect from this government. This government's commitment to energy efficiency is clear. After launching the program in 2007, we expanded its budget under the EEP, allowing thousands more Canadians to take part.

While we are reviewing the program, Canadians will continue to undertake renovations and benefit from a grant, generating a further decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a desperate attempt to find the money it needs to make up for the waste of the past 50 months, the Conservatives are cutting Canada's top energy efficiency program.

Will they tell us that the Minister of the Environment took the money for his own projects, like last time? How can the regressive Conservative regime punish the citizens who want to do what is right? How can they be willing to sacrifice thousands of jobs in green industry?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, this program has seen unprecedented demand. It has been successful. A lot of money will continue to be invested over the next year. It is very ironic that a Liberal would talk here about waste. If he really wants to talk about waste, there was a spenders' conference in Montreal this past weekend. I would focus on that if I were him.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government believes that, to the greatest extent possible, each Canadian's vote should carry equal weight. Unfortunately, the current formula has penalized the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and my home province of British Columbia. These three provinces do not have the number of seats in the House of Commons that they deserve.

Could the Minister of State for Democratic Reform tell the Liberal leader, wherever he is, what our government is doing to address this under-representation?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, this morning I introduced a democratic representation bill. This bill demonstrates our government's commitment to ensure fairness for faster growing provinces while protecting the seat counts of the other provinces. Our government's bill would ensure that Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are closer to representation by population, as promised in our 2010 throne speech.

This is very good for Canada.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

April 1st, 2010 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, perhaps we could try this a third time. The government announced in its budget 80 million new dollars to continue the popular ecoEnergy home energy retrofit program. Yet today, day one of the budget year, we learn that the government is set to pull the plug on billions of dollars worth of job creation, retrofit expenditures and energy savings for home retrofits. The result: higher energy costs, increased pollution and greenhouse gases.

Billions of dollars have been given to subsidize coal-fired power and tar sands but nothing for homeowners. Is this the government's concept of a green energy future?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, if she is so happy about the $80 million in the last budget, I wonder why she voted against it. Her party always voted against that program.

Fortunately, a lot of money will be flowing for Canadians in the next coming year, and it is certainly not thanks to the NDP.

FisheriesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, sea lice is a serious problem for west coast salmon. Around the world, fish farms have been identified as a major source of sea lice infestations.

The government has launched an inquiry but by the time the recommendations come out it may be too late to protect our wild salmon.

Will the minister admit that there is a problem, do the right thing and start addressing the sea lice problem immediately, or will she allow the Pacific west coast salmon to go the way of the Atlantic cod?

FisheriesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, our government supports a sustainable aquaculture industry. This industry contributes over a billion dollars a year to our economy and employs over 15,000 people.

We are also concerned about our wild fishery. That is why our Prime Minister appointed Justice Cohen to investigate the declines in sockeye salmon. Justice Cohen will investigate all potential reasons for the decline, including the effects of aquaculture.

I look forward to receiving this report and I am sure the hon. member does too.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a senior Canadian official, Afghanistan's national security directorate, the agency responsible for managing detainees, is riddled with structural problems. In other words, even though the protocol for the transfer of detainees that was amended in 2007 is still in place, the Afghan partner to which detainees are being transferred is not to be trusted.

Does the government realize that by continuing to transfer detainees, it is systematically violating Geneva conventions?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, the question is an empty one. As Mr. Anderson stated yesterday before committee, the rigid monitoring scheme put in place by this government has been effective and there is not a problem today. Our troops and our officials have been doing an exceptional job under very difficult circumstances in Afghanistan and they should be praised, not tainted.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my interpretation of Mr. Anderson's testimony differs from that of the parliamentary secretary. Mr. Anderson revealed that the Afghan agency to which the army is handing over detainees is not trustworthy. That is the first thing he said. The organization responds to tribal pressure and is rife with secrecy and corruption.

Do these new revelations not prove that the government must turn over uncensored versions of all of the documents to the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan, as requested several times over the past few months, not the 6,000 pages of censored documents that it tabled this morning, so that we can find out the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, here is what the witness actually said yesterday, “The 2007 arrangement I think would be recognized across the board by most officials as a vast improvement over the original transfer arrangement”. He went on to talk about there not being a problem right now as far as transferring detainees, because we have a much more rigid oversight mechanism in place.

Brigadier General Denis Thompson went on to talk about the valuable information that was received from the NDS in the fight against terrorism.

So, we are making improvements. These are vast improvements over the situation we saw when we went there in 2006.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday at the environment committee, Dr. David Schindler, Canada's foremost water scientist, again provided incontrovertible evidence that oil sands operations are polluting the Athabasca River.

Why was it necessary for a lone scientist to spearhead this research that was so clearly in the public interest and therefore the government's responsibility? Where was Environment Canada?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would not agree that the allegations were incontrovertible but they certainly were serious allegations.

I can assure the hon. member that the Government of Canada and Environment Canada rigorously administer all of our environmental laws relative to regulations relating to the oil sands.

Let us be perfectly clear. We continue to support development of the oil sands in an environmentally responsible manner. We will continue to work with the Alberta government to ensure that it is developed in a responsible manner and that we live up to our objective to be a clean energy superpower.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has had time to look at Dr. Schindler's work.

Dr. Schindler presented his findings to the committee last May. How does the minister reconcile Dr. Schindler's findings with section 36 of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits dumping toxic substances into Canadian waterways?

Will the minister live up to his responsibilities for once and press charges under section 36?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I have read and examined Mr. Schindler's report with some care. I have had discussions with our officials about it and we will continue to pursue it.

With respect to the Fisheries Act, Environment Canada, along with the regulatory agencies of the Government of Alberta, continue to ensure that the highest possible environmental standards are pursued relative to emissions relative to the Athabasca River.

I did not take Mr. Schindler's allegations to relate to emissions but rather to airborne emissions as opposed to Fisheries Act issues.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government chose to have military trucks procured out of Texas, throwing hundreds of workers out of jobs in Chatham, Ontario.

Now we hear that Canada Post is planning to buy thousands of vehicles from Turkey rather than the Windsor made minivans because it says that it is obliged to under NAFTA and WTO.

The problem with that excuse is that it is not true. In fact, in the midst of an economic recession when Canadian-made alternatives are available, it is unacceptable, short-sighted and inappropriate to use taxpayer money this way.

Will the minister insist that Canada Post procure Canadian-made vehicles? Taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize--

Canada PostOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of State.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague might be interested in the facts. The facts are that these are Ford Motor Company vehicles that will be maintained, retrofitted and serviced in Canada.

It is a great news story for the Ford dealers right across the country as they are purchased through those Ford dealers.

Hibernia ProjectOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic accord promised that Newfoundland and Labrador, not the federal government, would be the principal beneficiary of offshore oil and gas development, including the Hibernia project.

Canada took an 8.5% share in Hibernia to help kickstart the project while Newfoundland and Labrador gave tax and royalty concessions. Now the federal government has more than recouped its investment, plus over $1 billion in dividends and, until recently, received 80% of all government revenues from Hibernia.

To redress this imbalance, will the Prime Minister negotiate the transfer of the federal stake in Hibernia to Newfoundland and Labrador as it has requested?

Hibernia ProjectOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is a matter that can be discussed as we go forward with respect to the disposition of assets. It is an issue and, as we have said in budgets, the government is looking at various assets owned by the government as to whether they still serve the purpose that was felt was needed or that they suited at the time they were acquired.

International AidOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the world was shocked by the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti this past January.

In one of the most tragic events, we witnessed one nation move with lightening speed to answer the call, and that was Canada. The Canadian government was one of the first countries to respond with an immediate influx of $5 million. We quickly followed that up with an additional $80 million to the UN and Red Cross.

Could the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs comment on Canada's latest contribution to the effort in Haiti?