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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebeckers.

Topics

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, what he is quoting is not even a study.

The federal government is lying about cost savings with a single regulator. The Quebec finance minister has said that maintaining a new entity and operating regional centres would not cost less. The federal government has also wasted more than $300 million on its administrative monster.

Why are Quebec members refusing to admit that the dismantling of the AMF is a waste of human and financial resources, and that it is harmful to Quebec?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is because we need to do a better job to protect investors. We need to do a better job on enforcement.

The hon. member should look at what happened to the victims of Earl Jones in Quebec. Look what the Earl Jones committee says. It says, “We...support the idea of a single national regulatory body overseeing financial organizations...”. That is what the OECD says as well.

If we want to protect investors, if we want to enforce regulations, we need a large, strong investigative branch across Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the risks of an oil spill in Canada, can the Prime Minister tell us what action the government has taken since the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico?

What have they done to strengthen Canadian rules and standards? What have they done to reassess the risks?

Or is the government going to say that everything is all right and that, despite the disaster, it will never happen in Canada?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the National Energy Board is responsible for regulating the industry and it has a very good record. I am certain that it will apply what it has learned from the events in the U.S. to make improvements.

The National Energy Board has an excellent record in terms of regulating these things. We do not have the kind of environmental catastrophe we see in the United States. Quite frankly, I am shocked to hear some of the opposition members suggesting we would copy American regulations. We are doing it right in this country. We have confidence in the National Energy Board.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just contradicted his own minister.

Let us look at the National Energy Board for a minute. This is an industry-friendly body that very recently gave in to pressure from the big oil companies to relax the regulations, to loosen the regulations on drilling in the Beaufort Sea. Essentially the companies now get to decide what technologies they use, what systems they bring forward, what plans they have. There is no regulation of any serious nature left.

Can the Prime Minister explain to Canadians what the Conservatives are doing to toughen up the rules, not loosen them?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, I am fascinated that a series of disgraceful events in the United States is used as a platform to attack a Canadian regulator, a Canadian regulator that has an excellent record, a Canadian regulator that responds to these situations and that will continue to improve the situation here in Canada. We are very proud of the job our regulator and this country are doing. We have nothing to learn from the United States.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Chevron is charging ahead with drilling one of the deepest wells ever off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Now the environmental assessment for that Chevron drilling says that the risk of a blowout is about 1 in 3,600. That number was calculated before the BP blowout and it was based on the relative infrequency of any of these catastrophes up until now. I can of course understand the Conservatives do not like environmental assessments and that is why they want the NEB to do the work, but what has the government done to update the risk of these massive drilling projects?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the record of the National Energy Board as a regulator is stellar. Of course the National Energy Board, as a consequence of this action, a consequence of its ongoing work, will continually examine the regulatory environment and see if improvements have to be made. But to try to turn this, as the NDP is doing and the opposition is doing, into an attack on Canada, into an attack on a Canadian regulator, is without any foundation in fact.

PensionsOral Questions

May 11th, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the government has a clear path before it on pensions, but it continues to mount unnecessary obstacles. Fifteen months ago, it promised to move forward with changes to federal pensions by the end of 2009, but it has done nothing but talk.

Meanwhile, the provinces and territories are ready to move forward with a plan for a supplementary Canada pension plan. Will the Conservatives finally accept this proposal and get Canadian pensioners the help they need before the summer arrives?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are listening to Canadians and so are seven other provincial and territorial governments in Canada. We agreed as finance ministers that we would listen carefully, consult carefully.

The first rule has to be with respect to the Canada pension plan, a remarkable success story as a public pension plan, that we do no harm. We are making sure, first of all, that we do no harm. We are co-operating with the provinces and territories. The federation is working well on pension reform.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, since the Conservatives are unwilling to work proactively on this, there is something even easier for them to do. Right now in the Senate there is a bill that would immediately help thousands of pensioners who rely on long-term disability pension benefits, many of which have disappeared because of bankruptcies. The Conservatives could allow quick passage of the bill and it could be law by the end of the week. What is stopping them? Why do they not want to help thousands of pensioners?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the hon. member that this is a complex issue but we are seized of the issue. We are carefully studying the issue with our friends in the provinces and the territories. As the Minister of Finance has realized, there are several bills in this place. Some of them are relevant, and some have some problems with them. We are studying all of these bills and we will do the best thing for the people of Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals believe in competitive corporate tax rates, but not when these tax cuts would increase public debt. The crisis in Europe has shown everyone what can happen when public debt gets out of control.

Why do the Conservatives insist on cutting corporate taxes, when this will increase our public debt by $20 billion in four years?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have been working hard. in co-operation with most of the provinces and territories. to reduce the federal corporate tax, which was a little above 22% when our government came to office, to about 15% by 2012. We asked the provinces to move in the same direction to get their corporate taxes, those that have them, down to about 10% in the same time frame. It looks like the majority of the provinces will be there.

This is an incredible opportunity to brand our country as a country that does business taxes at about 25%. Overall, it adds to our advantage with respect to financial institutions. This is Canada's moment to take these kinds of steps to improve our standard of living.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the middle of the 1990s, Jean Chrétien inherited a $42 billion Conservative deficit and an overall government debt burden equal to that of Greece. He and Paul Martin massively paid down debt, delaying tax cuts until the books were balanced.

Why, in the middle of a global debt crisis, do Conservatives insist on corporate tax cuts paid for with borrowed money?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Finance has the floor.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I was living in Canada in the middle of the 1990s and I was in a provincial government then. I know how the former prime minister balanced the budget: on the backs of nurses, teachers, school children and people needing social services in the provinces. That is the Liberal way but that is not our way.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's refusal to fund abortions abroad is jeopardizing the health of women, particularly in Africa, where nearly 5.6 million unsafe abortions are carried out every year. According to the prestigious scientific journal The Lancet, 50% of maternal deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa.

When will this government admit that its backwards ideology is jeopardizing women's health?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as I have told the House and all Canadians, the Canadian G8 initiative is about saving the lives of mothers and children. Over 350,000 women will die giving birth. We can address this by ensuring they have trained health attendants at the delivery and the proper antibiotics, vaccinations and a clean environment,.

Those are all things that all G8 countries know we can do. They are inexpensive. That is why we will make a difference with Canada hosting the G8 this year.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, John Kirton, the director of the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto, has criticized the fact that with just seven weeks to go until the G8, the Conservative government's signature campaign, maternal health, is so vague that there are doubts it will ever be meaningful. No funding target has been set, and no structure for the funding has been made public.

Does this not prove that the government has completely discredited itself by isolating itself on the abortion issue?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the G8 countries all agree, as do many other experts, that Canada's interventions are good and relate well to the MDGs. They say that the Canadian strategy is well-grounded and that it is the right way to go. These experts are the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, the Canadian Nurses Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, UNICEF Canada and the Canadian Association of Midwives. They all support Canada's initiative.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, in terms of administration of justice, the Conservatives do not understand that the rights of citizens in the legal system must come before the right of justices to impose their unilingualism. By insisting that it is not important for Supreme Court justices to be bilingual, they are defending the careers of unilingual candidates instead of citizens' rights.

Does the Minister of Justice realize how ludicrous it is to defend the careers of unilingual anglophones instead of the right of citizens to use the official language of their choice?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely ridiculous. I did answer that question yesterday.

What has not been answered is the Bloc's problem with standing up and fighting crime in this country. We have introduced legislation to crack down on drug dealers, individuals who traffic in children and white collar criminals. What is its problem? Why is it impossible for the Bloc to stand up for victims and law-abiding citizens? Could he answer that question?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not the one answering the questions here.

Numerous support positions at the Supreme Court require bilingualism. If a receptionist working at the Supreme Court has to be bilingual, why do the justices sitting on the bench of the highest court of a supposedly bilingual country not have to understand French as well? Should they not follow the example set by, say, the Governor General, the current Prime Minister and by you, Mr. Speaker?