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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was allegations.

Topics

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, having spent numerous years in retail sales, I know that when Canadians pull into a station to gas up, they want to know that what is calculated on the pumps is exactly what is in their tanks.

Our government has always remained committed to standing up for Canadian consumers. From product safety legislation to the lowering of the GST, the government has made major advances in the best interests of consumers.

Could the parliamentary secretary today please inform the House what is being done to further protect Canadian consumers?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I can. Consumers must be confident in the accuracy of measurement-based transactions such as filling up their tanks at the gas pumps, since this directly affects the health of our economy.

That is why today the Minister of Industry brought forward legislation to ensure Canadians are getting what they pay for. The fairness at the pumps act will make retailers more accountable for the accuracy of their pumps and other measuring devices through mandatory inspections and fines.

While the opposition continues to propose increasing taxes to consumers, our government is working to ensure Canadians are getting what they pay for at the gas pumps.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's culture of secrecy is well established. The new independent member learned her lesson so well in cabinet that she apparently decided to hide her money in Belize.

If these allegations are true, if the former Conservative minister did evade taxes, that is a very serious crime. That tarnishes not only the government, but all members in the House.

My question is simple: can the Prime Minister tell the House if he is aware of his former minister's tax evasion activities?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member says, “if these allegations are true”. I do not know whether they are true. The Prime Minister does not know whether they are true, and the member opposite does not know whether they are true.

That is why the Prime Minister did the right thing and referred this matter to the RCMP. They are the ones who conduct an independent review. They are the ones who can launch an investigation if they choose. It is their responsibility.

The member opposite is a distinguished lawyer. For him to stand in this place and come to conclusions based on media reports is quite outrageous.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

It is that government, Mr. Speaker, that threw the former minister out of the cabinet and threw her out of its caucus. That was their responsibility and their responsibility is to tell us why.

Not since the former Liberal Prime Minister had his fleet of ships under the flag of a foreign land has a member of this House been implicated in a scheme to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. That is an insult to all taxpayers in this country and all citizens of this country.

Why can the Prime Minister not stand in his place and tell us this is an unethical practice, one that he will condemn under any circumstances?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, serious allegations were brought forward to the attention of the Prime Minister. He did the right thing. He immediately said, “I can't be the judge. I can't be the jury. I can't be the executioner”. He referred the matter to the relevant authorities so that they can conduct an independent review. That was appropriate. That was ethical. The Prime Minister did the right thing.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Information Commissioner is criticizing the Conservative government's lack of transparency. Half a dozen or so departments have received a failing grade and the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is hiding the truth behind the Afghan detainee situation, has been placed on red alert. The Commissioner finds that the Prime Minister's control over the entire machinery of government is causing many delays that are inconsistent with the law.

When will this government obey the law and when will it agree to be accountable?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we thank the Information Commissioner for her advice. The government has processed most requests for information within 30 days. We are working on improving those results.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer maintains that Parliament does not have the necessary information to properly monitor the government's spending as set out in the recent budget. Kevin Page complains that the government is refusing to provide him with a fiscal framework and risk analyses.

Why this blatant lack of transparency and why is this government refusing to give Kevin Page the information he has requested?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is a wonderful question coming from that hon. member. It is your purview, Mr. Speaker, that provides the funding for this officer of the House of Commons who provides critique. I would suggest perhaps it is time for the Parliamentary Budget Officer to go back and ask the Liberal Party what happened to the $57 billion that was paid by employees and employers in this country. We would like to find that money.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, for two years, Noah Kirkman has been held in the United States by a county judge who refuses to send this 12-year-old boy back to his family here in Canada. Calgary Child Services has not declared Mr. Kirkman, Mrs. Kirkman or Noah's grandparents, for that matter, unfit to look after him. For two years, Noah has been bounced back and forth between several foster parents and schools, yet this outrageous judicial detention of a Canadian citizen continues. This case flies in the face of the Hague Convention on returning children to their countries of origin. Can the minister explain when he is prepared to act and how long this travesty will continue?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, consular officials abroad and in Ottawa have been providing consular assistance to the Kirkman family since October 15, 2008. This particular case is in front of the courts. Consular officials abroad and here in Ottawa have respected and will respect the court orders concerning the minor child. If ordered by the court, consular officials abroad and in Ottawa are ready to assist in the child's return to Canada.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the government has waited two years. Calgary Child Services is no longer in a position to determine what is in the best interest of young Noah. The young boy must immediately be returned to his family. Noah's family needs the government's help to put an end to this charade.

Why have the Conservative government and the hon. member been refusing for two years to help the family and bring young Noah back to Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to note that the child protection agency is responsible for the protection of minor children. Under international law, this is the court in the U.S.A. As the current matter is in front of the courts, we will abide by the court rules. We will continue abiding by the court rules and if ordered by the court, consular officials abroad and in Ottawa are ready to assist in the child's return to Canada.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government's spin on its decision to scrap plans for a Canadian HIV vaccine facility has come unspun. Today the health committee heard more conflicting accounts of how the decision was made, some of it disturbing and implying political interference. We have lost a vital public resource, and Winnipeg, by all accounts the winning bid, will lose a projected 70 high-paying scientific jobs plus spinoffs. Canada's proud HIV research reputation has nose-dived.

Will the government now give us the real reasons for all this damage?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, the money is still on the table and we will continue to work with the Gates Foundation to ensure that the money is invested to develop a safe and effective vaccine. As well, an independent study was commissioned by the Gates Foundation that concluded that the facility is unnecessary.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, throughout all this obfuscation, one thing is clear. The government's sudden reversal is a blow to Winnipeg, a blow to Canada, and a blow to the people whose lives depend on a breakthrough in vaccine development.

Will the government at least guarantee that the $88 million set aside for the vaccine production facility will be invested in Canada, will be used for the acceleration of HIV vaccine development, will be used toward discovery research, will enhance Winnipeg and Canada's world-renowned research capacity in AIDS, will support dual capacities and will, in fact, keep sites—

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. Minister of Health.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, the money is still on the table. In addition to refusing to accept the truth as an answer, the wild goose chase by members opposite has now taken the unfortunate turn of questioning the credibility of public health officials.

Once again, we will continue to act on the basis of science and the best interests of taxpayers, regardless of the motivation of those members who want to imply the worst about the hard-working, dedicated officials in order to serve their own political ambitions.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, another day, another new tax proposed by the opposition. First it was a carbon tax, then a GST hike, then a job-killing business tax, and now it is a tax on iPods and MP3 players. It is unbelievable.

Yesterday the Liberals joined forces with the NDP and the Bloc to support a new tax that would force consumers to pay up to $75 on any new audio recording devices. Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell the House our government's position regarding this new tax on Canadians?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, in the vote last night, the Bloc Québécois, the NDP and the Liberals got together and voted in favour of a new tax of up to $75 for every iPod, every BlackBerry, every cellphone, every computer, and every PVR in this country. It is bad for consumers and it is bad for creators.

There is nobody in full sobriety who can say that it will help musicians, the music industry, the television industry or the movie industry, by making it more expensive for consumers to purchase the products on which they will receive their Canadian content. However, that is what they did. They want higher taxes on consumers. We believe in standing up for taxpayers and standing—

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Wascana.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

April 15th, 2010 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is encouraging to know that the Minister of Indian Affairs is again meeting with representatives at First Nations University, including the new and highly regarded president. Shauneen Pete is a symbol of the change that is happening at FNUC, fixing what was wrong before and securing a better, sustainable future.

The minister knows a one-time federal financial commitment just to August does not constitute a solution. It is a step, but a small one. Is the minister at work on a long-term financial plan to extend permanently beyond August?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, of course, we have never stopped meeting with representatives of First Nations University. We are always interested in improving outcomes for first nation and aboriginal learners across the country.

We have already put on the table that there is $3 million available, but it is a proposal-driven thing. There actually has to be a proposal coming in. When I met again today with the officials, I encouraged them to get that proposal in. We are eager to see that and we are eager to work with them on that. That is sitting there ready to be processed, but we need a proposal.

While they are working hard on the long-term needs of that institution, it sure was not helped by this member and the work that he did not do when he was finance minister.

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, an international consensus is emerging. Yesterday, the Minister of Finance indicated that Canada was dissenting, and told his G20 colleagues that he did not see the benefit of taxing financial institutions.

Is the minister aware that, in 2009, the after-tax profit of Canadian chartered banks was $15.6 billion and that in the first quarter of 2010 their after-tax profit totalled $5.3 billion? Why is the government so afraid of Bay Street?