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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Foreign AidOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister can help us. The problem is that all of our troops are now concentrated mainly in Kandahar because they played an important role in that region for a long time.

Can the minister assure us that, after March 30, 2011, Canada's civilian presence will remain not only in Kabul but also in the Kandahar region? That is an important issue.

Foreign AidOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I told my colleague just now. I would suggest he check the Speech from the Throne, in which we indicated that post-2011, Canada would continue its diplomatic mission in Kandahar and Afghanistan. We will also maintain development assistance as well as CIDA involvement.

InfrastructureOral Questions

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

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, with over 8,000 trucks and 68,000 travellers crossing the border between Detroit and Windsor every day and more than $500 million of trade daily, the Detroit River international crossing is the most important infrastructure project for Canada's economic security and future prosperity.

Our government has said since 2007 that we are committed to building a new bridge in the region. Would the Minister of Transport please inform the House of the major step our government took today with respect to this crossing?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Essex for his great work on this important issue. There have been discussions about this bridge for some 20 years and today this government took a big step forward to make it a reality.

We announced that we will work with the state of Michigan on a credit and financing regime that would allow it to leverage federal funding. This will help get this bridge built. It will help create literally thousands of jobs in Windsor and Essex county and all of southwestern Ontario. It will help our manufacturing sector in southern Ontario and southern Quebec, which is a key driver of the Canadian economy. We are going to get this job done.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it seems that if one has good Conservative credentials and knows the secret handshake, doors open, officials jump and illegal is just a sick bird. What red tape, they say. Rahim wants an answer by Friday, or at least before tea time.

We all know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport is just a patsy in all this, an expendable fall guy who we expect will take the fall.

I want to know when the Prime Minister will take responsibility for his ministers running roughshod over the Federal Accountability Act, the very centrepiece legislation of the government's agenda?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I deeply resent the comments made by the member of the New Democratic Party about the hard-working member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca. As part of Canada's economic action plan, we have all been working hard, but perhaps no one has worked harder on our economic action plan and creating jobs than the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it took 13 years for the Liberals to get this corrupt and arrogant, but the virus seems to have mutated. The Conservatives have succumbed in less than four years.

Rahim Jaffer lied to Parliament but a lie by omission by the government is just as offensive.

Why did the Conservatives let Rahim Jaffer skulk around the corridors of power for a year and a half without telling anybody that he was lobbying them illegally? Why did they keep taking meetings with him and giving him privileged access and services without telling him to stop? Does anybody over there even know the difference between right and wrong, or has the virus consumed that too?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member got a standing ovation from at least one of his colleagues. It is quite colourful language he is using.

Let me be very clear. As a result of any of the meetings or letters that Mr. Jaffer may have sent, no government money flowed. No contracts existed.

I can tell the member about someone who has had privileged access to this minister and privileged access to government money. It has been the work that I have been able to do with the member for Winnipeg Centre to the benefit of helping his constituents. That is privileged access that is working for the people in his riding.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry acknowledged that failing to put a price on carbon is stalling the growth of the green technology industry. The minister may not like it, but if we want to develop a clean energy economy, we need a carbon exchange.

Now that he has acknowledged the truth, will the Minister of Industry persuade his Environment counterpart that a Montreal carbon exchange must be created as soon as possible to support the growth of green technologies?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as the member well knows, we have a strong harmonized approach with the United States and it is a continental approach that may include our cap and trade system. However, we all want to know how the Bloc's investment in the oil sands is going.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is justifying its failure to act by saying that it plans to follow in the United States' footsteps. That little game has been going on since 2006. The government has failed to deliver on its promise to regulate for four years now. The situation has become even more worrisome now that the Obama plan is bogged down in the U.S. Senate.

Instead of waiting for a hypothetical American plan, will the government develop a regulatory framework for a carbon exchange in Montreal?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am glad he acknowledged that we have a harmonized approach with the United States. It is a continental approach.

We are already seeing greenhouse gas emissions going down. In the last report they went down 2.1%.

Now that is a major change from what happened under the Liberals' leadership. In fact, it was the Liberal leader who said that they made a mess on the environment.

Well, that is not happening under this government. We are getting it done on the environment.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, for more than six months the government blocked the Parliamentary Budget Officer from getting basic information on the Conservatives' plans to build prison cities.

Information that should have been turned over in a day was buried, hidden. The office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer had to build statistical models and dedicate a third of the office for half a year to figure out costs the government was hiding.

Now under threat of a Parliamentary Budget Officer report days away, the government tosses out numbers, but only for one bill with no supporting facts.

Will the minister stop stonewalling and turn over all costs to the Parliamentary Budget Officer?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Liberals, our priority is public safety.

The Liberals have shown that they have a fundamentally different view on what it means to be tough on crime. They believe it is citizens who should be locked up in their own homes while dangerous criminals are out on the streets. That is not the position of our party. We stand with victims. We stand with the rights of Canadians. We are prepared to pay to send dangerous criminals to jail.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives believe in failed Republican policies. We believe in evidence.

The Conservatives cut 41% from the victims of crime initiative. They slashed, by more than half, spending on crime prevention. They fired the victims ombudsman who said that their plan was unbalanced and would not work. They are now trying to force Parliament to vote in the dark.

The minister says he knows the costs but will not tell. He refuses to co-operate with the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The Speaker has just ruled that denying such information is an attack on democracy.

Will the minister turn over all costs to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, yes or no? It is a simple question.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about evidence.

We know that the Liberal Party stole $40 million. The Liberals have come back with $1 million. They have still stolen $39 million. That is clear evidence. We know that. Where is the money?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. Some members are suggesting that they continue their discussion outside. I agree. We are in question period now. The hon. member for Vancouver--Kingsway has the floor.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the public safety minister told Canadians that the cost of ending two-for-one sentencing credits and longer sentences would be $90 million. Now he admits the federal government's share will be $2 billion, with billions more downloaded to the provinces to deal with the influx of prisoners.

Can the minister explain how his own estimate of the bill's cost ballooned by 2,000% overnight? And, have the provinces been made aware of the crushing financial burden the Conservatives are imposing upon them?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, what we do know is that members of the NDP do not care about the cost to victims. They never stand up for victims. They will stand up for Taliban soldiers. They will stand up for dangerous criminals. They will stand up for people who in fact come into this country illegally. But do they ever talk about Canadian victims who are victims of dangerous criminals? Never.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the $2 billion price tag is for only one of the Conservatives' misguided bills. They have even more planned that will cost billions more.

Instead of spending billions to lock up more Canadians for longer, the government should make investments that will make communities safer, like increased funding for front-line mental health services, crime prevention and youth diversion programs which are proven to reduce the crime rate.

Why is the government planning to waste billions of dollars on punishment that does not help victims, but spends little on the practical measures that will actually make Canadians safer?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, one of the biggest proponents of Bill C-25, ending the two-for-one credit, was the NDP justice minister in Manitoba. I would suggest that the member listen to the NDP justice minister in Manitoba because at least that is one New Democrat who actually cares about victims, unlike the caucus over on the other side.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the filing deadline nears, Canadians appreciate the over 100 tax cuts from our Conservative government since 2006. However, they are also reminded of the Liberal leader and his key spokespeople who have all shockingly complained about tax cuts and demanded that Canadians pay higher taxes. The Liberal finance critic even warned that the era of tax cuts is over. We all know what that means: massive Liberal personal and business tax hikes.

Could the finance minister remind Canadians how much our government has lowered their taxes?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I certainly can, and I thank the member for Burlington for that excellent question.

While the Liberals scheme about tax hikes, we are lowering taxes, keeping more money in the pockets of Canadians where it belongs. In fact, since coming to office, we have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years. We have removed over a million Canadians completely from the tax rolls. We have cut taxes in every way that the federal government collects them. This year alone, over 16 million Canadians have already filed and we have already issued over $16 billion in tax refunds to Canadians.

Food Mail ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, almost nothing is more critical to the survival of one's own self and one's family than food. Yet the government frightened some people in Canada's Arctic on budget day by saying it was going to change the food mail program that people depend on, and the government did not even say what it was going to change it to. The government has left northerners anxious for almost two months about the fate of their food.

Now we hear that Canada Post has been told it will not be involved at all in the future.

Would the minister explain the mechanics of the new plan for delivering food to worried and vulnerable people in the Arctic?