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House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was indian.

Topics

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Quebec's National Assembly reaffirmed the right of women to freedom of choice and is asking the Conservative government to not cut funding to groups that support the right to abortion.

Instead of listening to the religious fundamentalists in its party, when will the Conservative government start listening to Quebec, which reaffirmed the right of women to freedom of choice?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has clearly indicated, the government has no intention of supporting any changes in the current legislation on that issue. In fact, we encourage all parties in the House to support our efforts at the G8 to save the lives of mothers and children. We know what the tools are. We know that we can prevent their deaths. In fact, we want to save more lives with our international assistance.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives seem to be leading us once more into a parliamentary showdown. We all remember that famous manual for Conservative MPs to disrupt committees with every kind of step to obstruct debate and prevent the appropriate discussion at the level of the committees.

However, now we have the outright refusal by the Conservatives to allow those who know what went on and may have been active in preventing the truth from coming out, even to come before the committee. They are material witnesses.

Why is the Prime Minister concealing the truth from Canadians?

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our precedents and practices are very clear. It is ministers and the ministry at large who are responsible to the House and to its committees, not their staff members. The staff members are responsible to the ministers and the members for whom they work.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives just do not get it. They are not a majority government. They might want all of the power, but they do not have it. Members of Parliament have the right and the duty to uncover the truth. That is our job. That applies to torture in Afghanistan, and the ruling about the documents was crystal clear on the subject. That also applies to political interference with access to information.

Why is the Prime Minister trying to hide the truth by hiding the employees who implement these directives?

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader mentioned a majority government. Would a majority government force opposition party staffers to appear before parliamentary committees? Of course not. Ministers are answerable to the House of Commons, and our employees are answerable to us.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, if we really believed that, the Minister of Labour would have been the one fired, not one of her staff.

Political interference has gone on for far too long, and when it comes to limiting access to information, it simply should not be allowed to happen. To get to the truth, if the MPs decide they need to hear from Ryan Sparrow, Dimitri Soudas, Kenzie Potter or anybody else, then they all need to realize that they are not above the law. They cannot just say no.

What will the Prime Minister do next to prevent us from getting to the truth, prorogue Parliament again?

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Quite simply, Mr. Speaker, when there is a question about conduct in a minister's office, the committee obviously can call ministers and the ministers will answer those questions.

Offshore DrillingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, BP assured the American government that it had all the precautions in place to prevent a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. That did not turn out too well, did it?

Oil continues spewing into the Gulf and it has been suggested that this will not stop until a relief well is finished in August, five months too late.

What specific plans does the government have to ensure this devastation does not occur in Canada?

Offshore DrillingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, Canada has very strict offshore drilling regulations. Canada's regulator, the National Energy Board, is keeping a close eye on what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico to understand the situation better and improve existing technology in Canada. One thing is certain: no offshore drilling will take place unless we are certain that workers will be safe and the environment will be protected.

Offshore DrillingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, when asked what the government's plan was for a potential oil spill cleanup in the Arctic, the Prime Minister said that the National Energy Board would handle everything. However, the most immediate threat of oil spills this summer could come drifting into Canadian Arctic waters from drilling in the American Beaufort Sea and foreign drilling in adjacent Greenland waters. These are not under the jurisdiction of NEB, but the Canadian Coast Guard.

The government to date has not been able to confirm it has any cleanup plans. Again, what is the government's specific plan to clean up a foreign oil spill should one drift into the Canadian Arctic?

Offshore DrillingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear: there are no permits for offshore drilling in the Beaufort Sea or the Arctic. One thing is clear: no drilling will take place unless this government is certain that workers will be safe and the environment will be protected. We will continue to require that companies that want to drill use the best technologies in the world.

Offshore DrillingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that the oil tankers being proposed to carry crude oil to B.C.'s Pacific north coast inland waters would be four times larger than the Exxon Valdez, meaning that any spill could be four times more catastrophic than the Alaskan coast spill in 1989?

Does the minister understand the potential risks and why the tanker ban is so vitally important, or does he believe that technology makes a spill impossible, like some thought in the Gulf of Mexico?

Offshore DrillingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, there is a moratorium in British Columbia and no tankers are allowed into the Inside Passage. That will not change. Decisions are always made with environmental protection and worker safety in mind. Companies have to submit action plans and emergency plans and use the best technology available.

Offshore DrillingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government has been all over the map on the north coast tanker ban. We have had yeses, noes and confusion , but the prevailing Conservative wisdom seems to be that there is no tanker ban. In fact, the former natural resources minister said, “There has never been a moratorium on oil tankers...”. He is wrong. A ban has been in place since 1972.

Could we get a straight answer? Let us try again. Does the government support a permanent tanker ban on the inland waters, yes or no?

Offshore DrillingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think the member took a rather different position when she was minister of the environment in British Columbia, as most people in British Colombia will know.

The government has no plans to reopen the 1988 exclusion zone on tankers travelling between Alaska and Washington. That was put in by a Conservative government and we strongly support it.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance was so short of arguments regarding the hostile takeover of securities that, 10 days ago, he had reached the point of calling socialists those who condemn his project, including Power Corporation. However, the list of socialists is getting longer and now includes: Industrial Alliance, the Canam Group, Transcontinental, and the former president of Bombardier Transport.

When will the minister abandon his unspeakable plan of creating a federal securities commission?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I always say, our intention is to move forward with the provincial and territorial governments that are prepared to cooperate on this issue. We will respect the provinces' jurisdiction in this regard. Participation is on a voluntary basis. It is a decision that rests with the government of Quebec and the other provinces.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, André Pratte, the editor-in-chief of La Presse, condemned the expulsion, the expropriation of Quebec and the provinces from a jurisdiction that they have held for decades. In his opinion, this is one the most centralist measures ever taken and a serious violation of the respect for provinces. He even talked about “predatory federalism”.

Will the minister drop his partisan plan, which would deprive the Quebec nation of a major financial leverage, at the benefit of Toronto?

Bunch of predators!

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, one thing is clear. In the world of capital markets regulation, there are more and more complex products being sold or sought to be sold to investors.

We know that investors and ordinary Canadians need protection in Canada and they need better protection than is provided by 13 separate regulators with 13 separate sets of rules. That is one of the reasons that we are proposing a Canadian securities regulator.

Members should look at the Earl Jones situation in Quebec and listen to what Joey Davis said. He said, “We support the idea of a single national regulatory body overseeing financial organizations....”

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

May 25th, 2010 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government wants to prevent ministerial staffers from appearing before parliamentary committees, by using the pretext that ministers will testify themselves and account for their own actions.

The government is not credible, considering that several ministers have recently refused to appear before committees. For example, let us take the case of the Minister of Natural Resources, who refused to appear before the Standing Committee on Governmental Operations and Estimates.

Will the Prime Minister admit that this new scheme has only one purpose, which is to prevent Parliament from doing its work?

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, quite to the contrary. As the member ought to know, if he does not already know, in the cases that he cites, the ministers have already proactively provided all of the information that was requested and, in fact, they went beyond that.

This is really a question about ministerial responsibility and that is where this government stands. We have always stood for accountability and we will continue to do so. It is the responsibility of ministers to answer questions both in this chamber and at committee and that is what they will continue to do.

Rather than the opposition invoking the tyranny of the majority and attacking and demeaning our staff--

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the ruling issued on April 27 by the Speaker of the House, one would have expected the Prime Minister to understand the role of Parliament, which is to make the government accountable. By preventing political staffers from testifying, the government is creating a new category of citizens.

Will the government admit that this is tantamount to saying that Parliament will no longer have access to those people who are closest to power and who, oddly enough, will no longer be accountable to it?

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member well knows, it is the responsibility of this government to be held to account and we and our ministers are held to account, and that is what we will continue to do. The ministers will appear at committee and answer the questions that are put to them.