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House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Public SafetyStatements By Members

May 31st, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's incompetence has already run up a staggering $1.1 billion tab for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits.

Earlier this year the government budgeted security costs at $179 million. That figure has since been eclipsed by this Conservative boondoggle.

How could the Conservatives not anticipate that changing the location on the fly, to the heart of Canada's largest city, would lead to uncontrollable security costs and countless lost work hours for those closed businesses within the security perimeter?

Canadian taxpayers now have to fork out $1.1 billion, more than $100 per family, for just 72 hours of meetings. By comparison, the G20 summit in Britain cost only $30 million.

The Conservatives preach fiscal restraint to justify their crippling funding cuts to Canadian environmental programs, international aid and women's groups. They say they have no money for early learning, EI, pension reform and other real problems affecting Canadians.

The hypocrisy is both breathtaking and obscene.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week is an important one for those of us who have long opposed the long gun registry.

Tomorrow, the public safety committee will start clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-391, which would end this registry.

However, Liberal MPs such as the member for Ajax—Pickering, as well as the NDP justice critic, have hinted that they are ready to play political games by introducing amendments to Bill C-391 that would actually keep the long gun registry.

It has been well known for some time that the Liberal leader's plan is to force his rural MPs to support this boondoggle. What is not so well known is that the NDP leader and his justice critic have hinted that they too will move amendments to keep the long gun registry, a move that may surprise the 12 NDP MPs who supported Bill C-391.

It is time for NDP MPs who voted against keeping the long gun registry to speak up. Their voters deserve to be heard.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are happy that we are sponsoring the G8 and G20 summits, but the government's planning of this has been a mess. It shifted the location, its agenda has antagonized world leaders, and now security costs have gone through the roof. Every time the government tries to explain this, its explanations get more and more farcical.

Will the Prime Minister accept responsibility for this fiasco, and will he give Canadians an honest accounting of how these security costs have spiralled out of control?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me say very directly to the Leader of the Opposition that, regrettably, security costs money. This is not money we want to spend; this is money that security experts tell us we must spend.

There are literally tens of thousands of people who will be convening in our biggest city, Toronto. We have an important responsibility to keep these people, who are coming from right around the world, safe. It is not just the 30 leaders, it is the tens of thousands of people who join them. We are committed to doing just that.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they should have known that before they changed the venue. There is no summit in the history of the world that has cost as much as this one, and it is not just the security costs, it is the agenda.

Two world leaders came to Ottawa to beg the Prime Minister personally to put the environment and climate change on the agenda: the UN Secretary-General and the President of Mexico. The Prime Minister turned them down, so now Canadians are asking why this summit is costing us a billion dollars and the Canadian agenda will not even allow leaders to talk about what matters. How come?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, on the child and maternal health issue, the Prime Minister has shown great leadership.

Let me tell the House what the G20 will be discussing. They will be discussing something that is foreign to the leader of the Liberal Party: the economy and the need to create jobs.

The coordinated effort of the G20 has played an absolutely instrumental role in preventing what could have been a worldwide economic depression. That is why today, this government was so thrilled to see the first quarter results out for the Canadian economy. The Canadian economy grew by 6.1% under the leadership of the Prime Minister.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the economy grew because of the leadership of Canadians, not the Prime Minister.

No one is suggesting that the economy should not be discussed during the summit. It is possible to talk about both the environment and the economy. This is the only government that does not believe it is possible. And now it is spending $1 billion. Why not talk about both issues?

Will the Prime Minister at least put the environment on the agenda for the G20 and the G8?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has shown great leadership, as has the Minister of the Environment, on the important issues facing our planet. That is why Canada was an enthusiastic supporter of the Copenhagen accord, which is the next generation of environmental leadership that we are seeing.

However, with the G20 and the G8, one of their fundamental priorities is the economy and what we can do to instill more jobs, more hope and more opportunity. That is the kind of leadership the Prime Minister is providing to Canadians, and as host, when he welcomes the world, he will be able to sell the Canadian success story, something that even the leader of the Liberal Party should be proud of.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, conservative costs for the G20 have ballooned into a billion dollar boondoggle. Canadians understand the need for security. What they do not understand is why it is costing hard-working Canadian taxpayers over a billion bucks of their money when the Conservatives told them it would only cost $179 million.

Canadians have to live within their budgets. Why can the Conservatives not live within theirs? How can the Conservatives claim any credibility at a conference focused on fiscal restraint when they cannot even manage the budget for the conference?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear to the Liberal Party that all the costs have been fully budgeted for and the government is on target.

Let me also say this. This is an important opportunity for Canada to provide leadership on the world stage. These are not funds that we want to spend on security. These are funds that we have to spend. These are funds that our security experts tell us we must spend, and I can say very directly that at the Hokkaido summit held in Japan, the security costs were in excess of $1.5 billion. So, regrettably, the costs of security are not insubstantial.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives just do not get it. They are completely out of touch with Canadians. One billion dollars can buy 500 MRI machines or 340,000 hip or knee surgeries. It would pay for 17,000 public health nurses. These are the priorities for Canadians. Why are they not the priorities for the Conservative government?

Why did the Conservatives not plan properly for the G20 conference, and who over there is going to stand up and take responsibility for this waste and incompetence?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this party and this government need no lectures from a Liberal when it comes to waste and incompetence. We saw in the years that the Liberal Party was in power more than enough of that.

Let me say this. None of us are pleased with the amount that security costs, but we are listening to the experts. These are not funds that we would like to spend. These are funds that we have to spend.

We will be hosting not just 30 world leaders but literally tens of thousands of leaders from around the world. We must do our part to ensure that they are kept safe.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government broke its own law by withholding a report from the Commissioner of Firearms showing that police forces are using the gun registry more than ever before. According to the law, the Conservative government had until last October 22 to table the report. It did not release the report until November 4, which was two days after the vote on Bill C-391 to eliminate the gun registry.

Why did the government wait so long to table the Commissioner of Firearms' report?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has his facts wrong. The RCMP has confirmed that the force submitted its firearms report on October 9, 2009, and that the report was, in fact, tabled according to the rules.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Suzanne Hurtubise, had to take her minister to task about the deadline for tabling the report.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he is willing to do anything, even break one of his own laws, to hide information that might interfere with his firearms registry agenda?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the member has his facts wrong. The RCMP has confirmed that the force submitted its firearms report on October 9, 2009, and that the report was, in fact, tabled according to the rules.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, a broad coalition of Quebec stakeholders is urging the government to maintain the gun registry. The National Assembly, police forces, families of victims of crime, public health experts and many others want the government to keep long gun control in place.

Why does this government want to eliminate the gun registry despite the fact that it saves lives and that stakeholders in Quebec agree it is a good thing?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. While we support the licensing and registration of prohibited weapons, we do not support the wasteful long gun registry. It is time to end the criminalization of our hunters and outdoor enthusiasts once and for all. Police Chief Hanson from Calgary has called the long gun registry a placebo and said that it creates a false sense of security.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is so short of arguments to justify its ideology that its spokesperson, Senator Boisvenu, has resorted to talking about the large number of deer that cause accidents and single mothers who do not teach their sons about hunting. He even bemoaned the fact that it does not occur to 14- to 18-year-olds to buy guns. That is appalling! The fact is that in 2009, over 7,000 long guns were confiscated for public safety reasons.

Why is the government bent on eliminating a registry that saves lives?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite does not trust us, maybe she would believe the Leader of the Opposition who said:

No sensible Canadian thinks the problem is the shotgun on the barn door. No sensible Canadian thinks the problem is the target shooter or the legitimate licensed gun owner. The problem is those handguns.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' $1 billion boondoggle on the G8 and the G20 is still upsetting Canadians and Torontonians, in particular. The rather weak defence from the Minister of Public Safety this weekend was that the government could have saved a lot of money if it had called in the army, but it was afraid, get this, of Liberal propaganda. It was afraid of Liberal propaganda, so it is spending all this money.

Why will the Prime Minister and the government not simply admit they have mismanaged this project?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. Let me say this very directly to the leader of the fourth party, regrettably security costs money. This is not money that we want to spend. This is money that security experts tell us we must spend.

There will be literally tens of thousands of people from around the world, in addition to the 30 world leaders who will be visiting Canada. We must ensure that they are kept safe. Some of these individuals have significant security risks and we want to ensure that they, the people of Muskoka and the people of Toronto, are kept safe.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is an easy way to get to the bottom of this and to test the claim of the minister, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has agreed to look into these costs.

The government needs to provide him with all of the documents and all of the figures so that he can do this. We are currently debating the very estimates that provide the funding for this whole project.

Will the government provide those documents and all of those figures to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, so that we can have the information and his analysis when it comes time to cast those votes?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very direct to the leader of the NDP. We certainly welcome the important work of the Auditor General. We welcome the review of the Parliamentary Budget Officer on the summits' security bill.

Maternal and Child HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I guess we can expect those documents within a couple of days and we will look forward to that.

The Prime Minister said that he wanted to make improving women's health the main focus of his G8 presidency. With just four weeks to go before the summit, Canada has still not announced any funds. Rumour has it that the government is planning on spending only $1 billion over five years.

Can the Prime Minister explain why he is prepared to spend as much on a three-day conference as he is on five—