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House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environmental.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if people believe what they read on the Sun law firm website, I can tell them there is no line in the Liberal Party. It is just one common room where one can act as a member of Parliament and a lobbyist at the same time.

I want to know from the Liberal Party which foreign and offshore organizations are being helped to obtain operating licences. How is the Liberal member securing regulatory government approval for mergers and acquisitions? Which clients is the Liberal member asking to review the policies of CSIS? Is the Liberal MP for Scarborough—Rouge River providing foreign and offshore organizations with information about CSIS?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, let us get some facts. The government will use anything to cover up its actions by attacking opposition members. A Conservative member is being accused by one of the largest financial companies in Canada of participating in a multi-million-dollar fraud. There is not a word from the Prime Minister, not a word, yet on secret allegations from an amateur investigator, she is finished, out of cabinet and out of caucus.

Where is the line? In one case, the Prime Minister ignores guidelines. In a second, he kicks her out. Why does the Prime Minister put political expediency first?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we in the House are debating important issues like lobbying reform this week. We want to raise the bar on the registration of lobbyists and increase lobby registration, but the Liberal Party is fighting us. It does not want us to include MPs in that lobbying reform.

We all wonder what the Liberals have to hide. Now, we learn that the Liberal leader is condoning his own Liberal members of Parliament acting as paid lobbyists for foreign organizations. The leader of the Liberal Party should ensure that all Liberal MPs who are acting as paid lobbyists for special interests put their information on the table. Be honest with Canadians.

PovertyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, this recession has hurt Canadians. Now we know how bad it is, thanks to a report released by the Citizens for Public Justice and its partners, including World Vision. It is deeply troubling. The national poverty rate has increased from 9.2% to 11.7%. Child poverty has increased from 9.5% to 12%. That is an increase of 160,000 children in poverty.

One in four Canadian workers earning less than $10 an hour have lost their jobs. Almost half of those unemployed still do not get any benefits. As many as half a million have exhausted their benefits and it has not hit rock bottom yet. What does the minister say to Canadians still reeling from the recession?

PovertyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we have done a number of things to help those who are unemployed and those who need more income. We have introduced the working income tax benefit to make work pay and to help low-income Canadians over the welfare wall.

Here is what the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour had to say:

I support very much the direction on the WITB. I think improving the working income tax benefit is a very positive thing.

We put about $3,000 in the hands of every average Canadian by our tax reductions. It is something this member should support.

PovertyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is either ignorant or ignoring those who are hurting. There has been an increase in welfare caseloads in every province. They are up 20% in B.C., 23% in Ontario and 43% in Alberta.

The cost of living is outstripping inflation. Food costs are up. Debt load is up. Bankruptcies are up. Food bank usage increased 18% last year. Millions of Canadians have received no help from the government but may be expected to bear the brunt of the government's ballooning deficit.

How can the government pat itself on the back when more and more Canadians are living in substandard housing and lining up with their children at food banks?

PovertyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we have invested billions of dollars in housing for seniors and housing for those with a disability. We have helped those who are homeless. We have added $1.9 billion over five years for them. We have enhanced the national child tax benefit, the child tax benefit itself.

Here is what Deb Matthews, then the Ontario minister of children and youth services, had to say:

...I was happy to see...initiatives that will directly improve the quality of life and the standard of living for kids living in poverty. The increase to the WITB will directly help low-income families. Thank you for that.... The increase in the CCTB is also appreciated.

A number of initiatives to help those—

PovertyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Kitchener Centre.

LobbyingOral Questions

May 6th, 2010 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the President of the Treasury Board told Canadians that our Conservative government will require lobbyists to tell Canadians about their meetings with parliamentarians. However, Liberals quickly backed away from this proposal, leaving Canadians wondering what the Liberals have to hide.

Our government created tough lobbying rules through the Federal Accountability Act, but the Liberals fought those changes at every step. Can the President of the Treasury Board please tell the House why the Liberal Party is once again opposing greater transparency for Canadians?

LobbyingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, it is a known fact that former Liberal ministers would meet regularly with secret Liberal lobbyists. Now that the Liberals are no longer in government, those secret meetings with lobbyists still continue. Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, they continue behind those curtains just beyond your thoughtful, watchful eyes. They continue in the office of the Leader of the Opposition.

The Liberals think Canadians do not have a right to know. We think Canadians have a right to know. We would like to know what is going on behind those curtains, what is going on behind the doors of the opposition leader's office that they do not want Canadians to know about.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the rising cost of prescription drugs has had adverse effects on the health of Canadians. We have been waiting for a pharmacare program for 50 years. The provinces and territories want to see such a program implemented. This represents not only excellent social policy, but also excellent fiscal policy. We will actually save money.

When will the government listen to Canadians and groups that work in health care, and introduce a pharmacare program?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should know, our partners in the provinces and the territories are responsible for deciding which drugs are publicly reimbursed. That is why we have increased the federal transfers to the provinces and territories each year by 6%.

Our leadership and commitment to working with the provinces and territories continue to better our health care system and to make it more efficient.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, more stonewalling from the government, but the fact of the matter is that a national pharmacare program would save the government money.

This party claims to be the party of fiscal responsibility and it claims to be a party that cares about the interests of Canadians. It refuses to show federal leadership for a pharmacare program that would save the government money and help Canadians. Why?

When will the government put the interests of Canadians ahead of those of pharmaceutical companies and its own ideologies?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, again, the hon. member should know that the provinces and territories deliver health care, which is why our government has increased transfers to the provinces and territories each and every year by 6%, so that they decide which products will be publicly covered through their health care systems.

Nuclear DisarmamentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said that she was ready to “support efforts to realize the goal of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone in the Middle East”. Her statement applies to both Iran and Israel.

Does the Conservative government agree that an international conference to create a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East should be held as soon as possible?

Nuclear DisarmamentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, Canada is indeed a champion of non-proliferation, but unilateral declarations are quite unworkable.

I think as we proceed with the discussions at the United Nations over the coming weeks, this may be a topic of discussion.

Nuclear DisarmamentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, at the G8 conference of senior officials on security, the Minister of Foreign Affairs specifically targeted Iran and called for stronger nuclear non-proliferation provisions. That is fine, but my question is not just about Iran.

Does the government intend to support Hillary Clinton's ambitious objective to create a nuclear-weapons-free zone across the Middle East?

Nuclear DisarmamentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, Canada works with the Americans and with all nations that support the concept of non-proliferation. We are committed to promoting international peace and security by preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in any part of the world.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Justice.

The minister will know that the United States government has responded to his request after the Supreme Court ruling with respect to making sure evidence received as a result of the CSIS investigation and interrogation of Mr. Khadr was not used at the trial. The Americans have refused it.

I would like to ask the Minister of Justice, specifically the minister, and the minister needs to respond to this. It is a basic matter of justice. It affects the rights of a Canadian citizen.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the member's question, but the fact of the matter remains that Canada's position regarding Mr. Khadr has not changed. Mr. Khadr faces very serious charges, including murder. The Obama administration has opted to send Omar Khadr to a military commission, and we are letting that process proceed and unfold.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we want a clear answer from the minister responsible for justice in Canada, not the parliamentary secretary's robotic responses.

How is justice being served for this Canadian citizen? Why is the Minister of Justice refusing to answer questions about the rights of a Canadian citizen? What is he doing over there?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, perhaps he should ask his question of someone else as he does not like to hear my answer.

The fact of the matter is that the government's position has not changed. Mr. Khadr faces very serious charges, and we will await what is happening at Guantanamo Bay before we make any kind of decision.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Afghanistan committee was told by CSIS that it was in partnership with the notorious NDS in Afghanistan and that it had received information from the NDS it could not use because of the methods by which it was obtained. It knows what we all know but what the government refuses to admit, that the NDS tortures people in its custody.

When will the government stop the cover-up, live up to our obligations of international law and stop transferring detainees to the NDS?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, CSIS agents are bound by the same human rights standards as all Canadian personnel in Afghanistan, and this government has been clear that we do not condone the use of torture for any purpose.

However, what does concern me today is the revelation of the Liberal member's lobbying on behalf of foreign organizations for information related to CSIS. I think that member should stand and explain exactly what information that individual is sharing with foreign organizations.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we also heard from the respected international organization Human Rights Watch, whose senior legal counsel said Canada's practice of obtaining diplomatic assurances from the Afghan government, even with monitoring of transferred detainees, was not enough to comply with our international human rights obligations. She also said, “NDS torture and ill-treatment of detainees in its custody has been well known for years” and that it most often occurs within the first 72 hours of custody.

When is the government going to call an independent judicial inquiry to get at the truth and satisfy Canadians that we can do the right thing in the future?