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House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was forces.

Topics

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

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

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, this is another example of the Minister of Natural Resources's ridiculous behaviour; he even refuses to respond in the House. They have prorogued Parliament twice, given committee chairs a guidebook on obstruction, intimidated witnesses and refused to produce documents, and now the Conservatives are not allowing ministerial staff to appear before Parliamentary committees.

Does this series of events not prove that the Conservative government has no intention of being held accountable for its administration?

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the opposite. In fact I would think that the opposition would be applauding our ministers' attempts to testify in committee at every opportunity. We believe in ministerial responsibility. We believe in ministerial accountability.

As I was saying before I was so rudely cut off by the 35-second rule, the ultimate double standard was conducted today at the government operations committee when the Liberals filibustered that committee to prevent the member for Scarborough—Rouge River from testifying against the accusations that he was committing lobbying as a member of Parliament.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow when the Prime Minister addresses Canadian municipalities, will he be addressing their number one concern, how to pay for billions of dollars in new infrastructure that federal government waste water rules make necessary?

Nearly 1,000 Canadian communities will need upgrades to protect the environment and Canadians' health at a cost of $13 billion. The government has made the rules, but it has said nothing about how it will help municipalities meet the new challenges.

Will the Prime Minister show up with real help for Canadian cities and towns or just more propaganda?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his question. Mr. Speaker, do you know how many days it has been since the infrastructure critic asked me a question? It has been 175 long days.

What have we done in those 175 days? We have announced $100 million to help the great city of Hamilton increase its capacity to make water safe. I have met with Peggy Nash several times about projects that affect her former constituents.

We have created a lot of jobs, a lot of hope and a lot of opportunity. We are going to continue to do just that.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, of course the minister opposite forgets to say that he forgot to come to work for 100 days, and that is why we could not talk to him. He also forgets to say that we asked for briefings from his ministry 11 times, and he said no every single time because he is afraid to answer questions.

We do not need more empty propaganda. What we do need is a long-term cost-shared funding strategy. Municipalities were staring down a deficit of infrastructure needs of $123 billion before the government made its new rules.

Why does the government insist on cutting corporate taxes over the next two years—

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. Minister of Transport.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is 2010. We do not believe that municipalities should be dumping raw sewage into our lakes, our rivers and our oceans.

This government is going to take action to phase these regulations in over the next 20 or 30 years. We are going to ensure we stand up and protect our water, something the previous Liberal government failed to do.

I hope the people of Parkdale—High Park will watch who is fighting for them. It is certainly not the members on that side of the House.

Budget Implementation LegislationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' everything but the kitchen sink budget is yet another giant step away from the promise of transparency that those supposed reformists rode in on.

This Trojan horse is stuffed with all sorts of measures the government does not have the courage to present to Canadians as stand-alone bills. It is an abuse of power taken straight from the Liberal playbook, and it is an abuse of the trust of Canadians.

If the government has nothing to hide, why is it burying so many nefarious initiatives in one omnibus bill?

Budget Implementation LegislationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what type of initiatives she thinks we are trying to hide.

Would it be the $500 million in transfer protection payments to the provinces? Would it be funding for organizations like Genome Canada, Pathways to Education Canada, or nefarious groups like the Rick Hansen Foundation? Would it be important reforms to protect federally regulated pensions and much more?

We presented a budget. I know the NDP members decided to vote against it before they even read it. We want Canadian families to get these benefits right away, and that is why we are working hard on their behalf.

Budget Implementation LegislationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I guess the minister's selective memory of what is in the budget is to be expected since it is over 880 pages long. In fact, that is my whole point.

Here are just a few of the items that should never have been in the budget. It gives the Minister of the Environment the power to eviscerate environmental assessments. It authorizes the fire sale of AECL with no checks or balances. It begins the deregulation of Canada Post. It puts the final stamp of approval on the government's theft of $57 billion from the EI account, money that belongs to workers.

These provisions have no place in the budget bill. Will the government support the deletion of these sections and, if it must, reintroduce them as stand-alone bills?

Budget Implementation LegislationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, no, we will not.

The all-party House of Commons finance committee, chaired by the member for Edmonton—Leduc, who is doing a great job by the way, gave great scrutiny to this important piece of job-creating legislation, and the committee passed this budget bill without amendment. That is a committee that we have a minority on.

It shows there is all-party support for this great bill. Let us start creating more jobs. Let us start creating more opportunity. Let us get on with our economic action plan.

Human RightsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently Canadians were rightly shocked to hear of the sentencing in Malawi of a same-sex couple to 14 years of hard labour.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs please inform the House what actions the government is taking to address this serious abuse of human rights?

Human RightsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada has clearly spoken out against human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation, both at home, as well as around the world. We strongly condemn the blatant violation of human rights, and of the promotion of freedom and the rule of law. Democracy is an integral part, as we know, of our foreign policy. Canada will continue to encourage its partners, including Malawi, to respect human rights and ensure equal protection under the law without discrimination.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, after an employee complained of bad-tasting bottled water, tests by a private lab in Montreal found bacterial counts in Canadian bottled water to be more than 100 times the U.S. limit.

Then we found out that Health Canada does not have enforceable standards for bacteria in bottled water, while the U.S. does.

We know that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has few inspectors inspecting water bottling plants and that the government does not have a record of what its inspectors are doing.

Why was it necessary to have a private lab test bottled water on a whim to know we have a problem? Where was Health Canada? And why are we so behind the U.S. on this vital consumer safety issue?

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have established high standards to ensure that bottled water sold in Canada does not pose a health and safety risk to Canadians. These standards include requirements for microbiological quality, composition, and product labelling as well. We continue to work with CFIA to ensure the safety of bottled water sold in Canada, and will take any actions required should the health and safety of Canadians be at risk.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

May 27th, 2010 / 3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the New York Times and UNICEF have added their voices to those Amnesty International and others to demand that Omar Khadr be treated as a child soldier.

Anthony Lake of UNICEF is even warning that the trial of Omar Khadr, who was arrested when he was 15, could set a dangerous international precedent for other child soldiers.

How can the government explain its stubbornness in ignoring treaties on the rights of children and refusing to repatriate Omar Khadr, the last westerner in Guantanamo?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of my colleague, I would like to remind members of the House that Mr. Khadr has been accused and the allegations against him include the tragic death of an American soldier. The American government is in charge of this file and the Americans will conduct the legal proceedings.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Enterprise, Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy Incorporated and Minister Responsible for Trade of Saskatchewan.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to ask the government House leader about the government's intentions regarding the parliamentary agenda in the days going forward.

Second, does the government have any new information or policies that it wishes to announce similar to the policy the government House leader announced earlier this week, to the effect that it would no longer allow political staffers of ministers to appear before committees when duly called by committees in accordance with the ruling laid out by the Speaker not that long ago on the Afghan detainee documents and the supremacy of Parliament? I am wondering if the government has more surprises on the policy front with regard to government accountability to Parliament through its committees, and the supremacy of Parliament and its committees in requiring persons, including ministers and political staffers and public servants, to appear.

I wonder if the government House leader would also address the issue of one of his members who was invited to appear before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on a reference sent to it by the House of Commons regarding the breach of privilege of the member for Mount Royal and an NDP member by ten percenters sent into their ridings by a Conservative member. When the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs duly requested or invited that Conservative member to appear, the member declined to appear because, as a member of Parliament, under the rules of Parliament, he does not have to appear unless the House itself orders him to appear.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

My first question, Mr. Speaker, would be to the Chair.

I am just wondering whether I would have equal time with the member.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

A minister can have more; it depends how long his description of the business is going to be. We do not have time limits on this question or answer. The minister is well aware of that, I believe.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am also well aware of the rules, and the rules for the Thursday question require a very succinct question about the upcoming agenda of the government, and the government House leader is supposed to be bound by those same rules as I understand them. On this side of the House at least, we always want to respect the rules of the House of Commons.

To be very brief in my response, I think I have answered that question repeatedly. We will not allow our political staff to be dragged before standing committees where the opposition coalition holds a majority of members and be subjected to the type of abuse we have seen. On behalf of those staff, I would point out that anyone who wants to research this issue can find it in the Hansard of the standing committees. Many of those meetings were televised. Members can see the type of abuse that opposition members of Parliament subjected those staff members to. Many of these staff members are very young people, oftentimes in their mid to late twenties. To be subjected to that type of abuse is completely shameful. It is intolerable and unacceptable. Our ministers will assume their responsibilities yet again and will be appearing at committees when there are questions to be asked of their departments and their staff. So I hope I have put that to rest.

On another issue I have raised a couple of times in question period, when it has come up, is the absolute hypocrisy of the Liberal Party in asking these types of questions of staff members and yet filibustering the government operations committee to prevent their own member of Parliament, the MP for Scarborough—Rouge River, from testifying and answering valid questions about his connection with a law firm that advertised on its website that the member could make “valuable contributions to [its] clients includ[ing] acting for foreign and offshore organizations in obtaining operating licenses, securing regulatory and governmental approvals for mergers and acquisitions, reviewing policies and conduct of Canadian Security Intelligence Services”—I repeat, “Security Intelligence Services”, Mr. Speaker—[and] advising bodies on international issues regarding cross border tax collection”. And it goes on and on about the services the member could provide in the form of lobbying. Yet the member was prevented from testifying today by the Liberal members on that committee, who wanted to filibuster.

This is a member of Parliament and it is the same standing committee that is supposedly looking into the alleged lobbying issues of a former member of Parliament, who has appeared at that committee and testified. At least he had the courage to do that, which is more than the member for Scarborough—Rouge River has done.

On the issue we are supposed to be discussing, the agenda looking forward to the next week of the House of Commons, today we will resume the debate on the report stage motions on Bill C-9, Jobs and Economic Growth Act. As we heard in question period, that is the much anticipated budget bill of the government.

This evening in committee of the whole, we will consider the estimates for the Department of National Defence.

Tomorrow will be an allotted day.

Next week, if necessary, we will continue the debate on Bill C-9, followed by debate on Bill C-23, Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act. We will have as backup bills, Bill C-10, Constitution Act, 2010 (Senate term limits) and Bill S-2, Protecting Victims From Sex Offenders Act.

As I mentioned in reply to the Thursday question last week, Monday, May 31 has been designated as the day to consider the main estimates of the Department of Natural Resources in committee of the whole.

Finally, Tuesday, June 1, shall be an allotted day.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to six petitions.