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House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was products.

Topics

(Return tabled)

Question No. 87Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

With respect to the Enabling Accessibility Fund, since March 2009 to present: (a) how many applications were successful and received funding under this program, and how many were rejected; (b) with respect to successful applications, what was the location and value of each project, broken down by provincial and federal electoral district; (c) what is the total cost of administering the program thus far; (d) how much funding is left; (e) how many major projects under this program will go or went to expand existing centres; (f) what is the value of the successful major projects' applications that went towards (i) the construction of new centres, (ii) the expanding of existing centres; (g) how many of the successful Small Projects Enabling Accessibility Funding applications went towards (i) renovating buildings, (ii) modifying vehicles, (iii) making information and communications more accessible; and (h) what is the value of the successful Small Projects Enabling Accessibility Funding applications that went towards (i) renovating buildings, (ii) modifying vehicles, (iii) making information and communication more accessible?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

April 16th, 2010 / 12:10 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That in relation to Bill C-2, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Colombia and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the second reading stage of the bill;

and fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day designated for the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a point of order. The minister knows full well that the Canada-Colombia agreement is a bad agreement.

The Bloc Québécois wonders why he is fast-tracking a bad agreement.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I want to inform the House that there are 30 minutes for questions. If the member has a question or comment on this motion, he can use that time.

The motion is moved, so we can start the debate.

If members who are interested in asking questions could stand, I could get an idea as to how to allocate the time accordingly. We will try to keep questions to about one minute and responses to about one minute to accommodate as many members as possible.

The hon. member for Wascana.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is a bit of a surprise on a Friday afternoon. Would the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons or the minister of trade be so kind as to explain why the government believes this extraordinary measure is appropriate in these circumstances?

If this dubious motion were to pass, could the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons give the House any indication when the day, which is referred to in the motion, would in fact be allocated by the government?

Also, could we have a specific confirmation from the minister of trade that the amendment to this legislation, which was discussed earlier in the debate, as proposed by the hon. member for Kings—Hants, will in fact be accepted by the government at committee stage of this bill?

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will take those three questions in reverse.

First, in terms of the motion proposed by the member for Kings—Hants, as I have indicated previously to the House, that is acceptable to the government and we will treat it accordingly.

Second, the date proposed for the debate to continue under this motion would be Monday after this coming weekend.

Why do we need a motion like this? The purpose of the House, the purpose of our parliamentary system is to give an opportunity to allow views on issues to be aired. We allow for full and proper debate. We often trouble ourselves with what does represent a full and proper debate.

In the House, through the previous session and the current session, a total of 89 members from the opposition parties have spoken to the bill. There has been considerable debate. In particular, I point out that the New Democratic Party members, who have taken the lead, have delivered 38 speeches in opposition. They actually have 37 members of Parliament, so there has been an awful lot of opportunity for them to let their views be heard.

Similarly the Bloc Québécois members have spoken 35 times and they have a total of 48 members. Therefore, there has been—

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what the minister said. But what people need to understand is that the Conservative Party chose to prorogue the House. The Conservatives are the ones who put an end to the debate. If they had not prorogued the House, the debate likely would have ended.

I have a problem with the fact that the Liberals are in lockstep with the Conservatives on this issue. We do not need a time allocation motion, but time to debate a bad bill.

The Canada-Colombia agreement is a bad agreement. All members need the opportunity to speak to this bill and explain to Quebeckers and Canadians that this is a bad agreement both for Canada and for Colombia.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises the issue that because of the prorogation, there is an opportunity for all the speakers to speak again. It is all the same members of the House. It is the same Parliament. The technicality on which the member relies on for that argument is not one that we are talking about here. We are talking about the spirit and the intent of allowing a full and fair debate, a full exploration of the issues.

In this situation there have been 35 speeches by 48 Bloc members. We have had 38 speeches from the NDP members, with 37 members from that party. Clearly these two parties, which fiercely oppose the bill, views have been heard and they have been heard thoroughly.

I do not know at this point in time if there are any new novel arguments or new novel points to be made. It is in circumstances like this where there is a clear intention to delay and obstruct a bill like this that a motion like this—

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Questions, the hon. member for Vancouver East.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is one little novel question, and that is the election that is coming up in Colombia. I am sure it is just a coincidence that the government is now trying to ram through the bill just before the election. It is sort of an interference in that election process that it wants to have this deal signed and delivered for its friends in Colombia.

On this side of the House, the NDP members, and we know our colleagues in the Bloc, oppose this deal. It is a bad deal for the people of Colombia.

Notwithstanding the fact that there has been debate on the bill, why is the government now trying to ram it through at this time just before the election in Colombia? Is there some kind of deal that it made with that government to try to get the bill through? Is that what the government has tried to do?

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the deal that was made was a free trade deal, which was signed some years ago. It has been debated in Parliament for literally years now and it is an agreement that we would like to see passed.

However, clearly there is absolutely no relationship whatsoever to any electoral events in Colombia. There is every indication that whomever might win any upcoming election would still be strongly supportive of any free trade agreement. In fact, I know my hon. friend is quite familiar with the procedures of the House. We will still have to face committee, report stage, third reading and if we get through that process here, then it has to go through the exact same process—

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I too am opposed to what I would describe as the government muzzling us on Bill C-2. The government is trying to shove down our throats an agreement that has to be debated before it can be adopted.

It is somewhat ironic that the government is trying today to muzzle us when the Prime Minister promised, during the election campaign, that there would be a full debate on all international agreements signed by Canada. Now he wants to block debate on these issues.

My question is for the minister. How can he try to muzzle us when, across the border in the United States, parliamentarians are slowing down and trying to find out more about the impact such a free trade agreement might have on such things as human rights and the environment?

How can the minister, who goes on about harmonization with the United States every chance he gets, try to muzzle us today when across the border they are doing everything they can to slow down the adoption of a U.S.-Colombia agreement?

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, I paid attention when President Barack Obama delivered the state of the union address. The message he gave was quite the opposite of what our friend represents. He actually indicated the importance of moving forward on free trade with Colombia, notwithstanding that this was not a position traditionally held by his party.

Clearly there is a broadening consensus, whether it be in Europe, the United States or here in Canada, that a free trade agreement and the implementation of that agreement with Colombia would be a positive thing, economically for the people of our countries as well as for the people of Colombia. That is why we are moving forward with it.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister some pretty simple questions. They have to do with the annual review of human rights both in Canada and Colombia, which has been grafted on to the tree of the bill, I suppose, making it more palatable to many.

First, does he think that takes away a lot of the concern there might have been with respect to the bill? Second, why was it not contemplated in the first place? Third, in the future will the government graft such automatic reviews in any bilateral agreements that it undertakes?

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, on the proposed amendment from the member for Kings—Hants, that is one of the reasons why we need to get this to committee. That amendment cannot be put until we are at committee and past second reading here. To the extent there are some who look to rely on that for certainty and reassurance, this will happen once we get to that stage.

With respect to the amendment as we have heard it and have had it proposed, it should be clear that this government is quite satisfied with the progress Colombia has been making on human rights. I have not heard any critics credibly say that the free trade agreement we have proposed, the free trade agreement that has been signed with Colombia, would adversely affect human rights. They simply say there are reasons why we would not want to do it, and this is a chance to shine a spotlight on human rights in Colombia. In fact, most agree that it would improve the situation of those living in Colombia.

As far as our government is concerned, the parallel labour accord and the parallel environmental accord are sufficient. However, we do not have an objection and we are quite happy to support the amendment that has been proposed by the Liberal Party and the member for Kings—Hants.

We do not think it is necessary to have it in every free trade agreement. We understand there are special concerns and circumstances that have arisen in this case, which need to be addressed. That is why we have agreed to it in this circumstance.

We believe our general standard practice of the labour accords and the environmental accords have been sufficient to address the concerns with most of the countries we enter into free trade agreements.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of questions. I think it is telling that the minister has suggested this is somehow novel. I do not think there is anything novel about this. The government seems to be shutting down debate. When did it come up with this idea? Why did he not share this procedural parlour trick with everyone? If it was something he is doing in good stead to get his legislation through, fine, but he should not pretend that this is anything but the government trying to ram something through and limit the debate.

As was suggested earlier, this place shut down for an awfully long time. It was the government's decision to prorogue Parliament. The minister will know this. Even before he was the minister of his current portfolio, he was in cabinet. He knows that prorogation means a reset on the legislation. It is not credible for the minister to say that while the government prorogued, everyone knew the positions on this particular bill and we should just have what we had before and bring it forward. That is not how it works in our system.

When Parliament has prorogued, it means that all legislation has to be brought back, and it means that we go through the procedure and process of debate again. He claimed that he knows that the opposition is against the bill and that is grounds to limit debate. I would like him to go back to when he was in opposition and to credibly stand by those comments.

The government should not be in a position where it can limit debate like it is doing now. Mr. Speaker, let me finish. We have 30 minutes.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. In fairness, we do have a 30-minute debate here, but there are other members who wish to ask questions. I will go to the Minister of International Trade.

Bill C-2—Time Allocation MotionCanada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party has a very interesting concept of the idea of limiting debate. The NDP has 37 members in the House. The NDP has delivered 38 speeches in opposition to this. I do not see how, under any conceivable notion, one would see limiting debate to one further day as an unreasonable limitation of their right to speak.

I can understand why the NDP members have difficulty coming to positions in caucus when that is their view of insufficient debate. However, the one thing we do know is that they never have difficulty coming to a position on free trade agreements. They have opposed every single one that has ever come along.

Our job as a government is to allow full debate to occur. That has happened, but it is also to get some work done here, get some results and get the free trade agreement in place so that we can improve the working conditions for Canadians, improve our economy and create jobs and opportunity for Canadians and Colombians.

We want to make progress forward in a world where free trade is indeed the wave of economic growth in the future and not look back to the days of protectionism in the past that the NDP yearns for. Well, guess what; it is a better world today. We trade all around the world. Jobs are created all around the world and everybody has a higher standard of living as a result. That will be the case here in Canada and in Colombia after this agreement.