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House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Eliminating Entitlements for PrisonersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is quite evident, once again, that the Liberals care more about prisoners than they do about taxpayers or Canadian victims of crime.

Instead of listening to prisoners, I would suggest that hon. members listen to people like Sharon Rosenfeldt, the mother of one of Clifford Olson's victims, or the almost 15,000 Canadians who signed the Canadian taxpayers' petition supporting our bill.

The hon. member's comments were offensive to Canadians right across this country, and offensive to victims of crime. I suggest he withdraw them, with shame.

FinanceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the first six months of this year, the five major banks are already looking at giving in excess of $5 billion in bonuses to their executives. Where is that money coming from? Well, there are still no limits on ATM fees and the percentage over the prime rate charged for mortgages and credit cards is higher than ever. In addition, since taking office, the Conservatives have cut taxes on banks by more than $1.3 billion.

Instead of standing up for the banks all over the place, why do they not start by standing up for Canadians?

FinanceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in fact, we do stand up for Canadians. We put forth a budget implementation act that seems to be getting stalled by the Liberals and the NDP members, who seem to vote against everything we put forward.

Speaking of taxes, we have reduced taxes for every Canadian. The average family in this country is paying $3,000 less in taxes a year, and the NDP votes against that. They have the audacity to stand and criticize our government because we are not doing enough for Canadians. Everything we try to do, they vote against.

FinanceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a fundamental question of priorities and fairness. Talking about tax increases, tell people in Ontario and B.C. that the HST the Conservatives have just imposed on them is not a new tax.

During this crisis, our banks have made over $16 billion in profits, and heavily indebted Canadians are paying higher and higher rates on their record borrowing. How is that balanced? How is that fair? Five billion dollars in bonuses have been paid, and there has been no attempt to regulate credit card rates or ATM fees. They are not financial geniuses, our banks, but quasi-monopolies being given a free ride at the public's expense.

FinanceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure why I would answer that question anyway. He would probably stand like he did yesterday and call me a liar.

Let me talk about what this government has done. We heard the announcement that GDP growth in the first quarter was 6.1%. That is good news. All they can do is complain about what this government is doing. This government is doing what Canadians want it to do, and that is leaving more of their money in their own pockets.

First NationsOral Questions

June 2nd, 2010 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, because of the threat of forest fires, 1,300 Atikamekw from Wemotaci are still displaced. It will be difficult for them to return to their reserve as there are serious problems with respect to the safety and supply of food and drinking water, access to electricity and social and psychological resources. It is unacceptable that no senior Indian and Northern Affairs official is yet on site to support this hard-hit community.

What is the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development waiting for to send a senior official to the scene, rather than passively waiting for requests, as he has done so far?

First NationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. Not only are we working closely with the Province of Quebec, which has control of the evacuation situation and the moving of people out of harm's way, but early this week, on Monday of this week, my regional director was in the region, meeting with chiefs and the local officials. My senior staff members have been talking to the chief and leaders in the community. We are working hand in hand with the provincial government to ensure that this very desperate situation is handled as best as possible. Hopefully, the rains we had last night will allow us to get those people back in the communities very soon.

First NationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the victims need the support of the federal authorities. The community has been displaced and everyone is nervous and unsettled, and the minister is not talking. He must act quickly and support the band chief. That is what they want.

Will the minister promise to support the Wemotaci community and its chief as they move forward, especially by declaring their territory a disaster area?

First NationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I did see that article in the paper. Of course, declaring an area a disaster area is an American way of dealing with a disaster. We do not do that in Canada.

We work with our provincial partners, who have emergency preparedness plans in place that kicked in the moment this forest fire started. This fire moved 24 kilometres in 24 hours, the plan kicked in, and people were evacuated to safety as they should be. The plan worked perfectly well.

I have already offered through the regional director general, my senior staff, and I will say this again publicly, all the help that we can extend to the chief and council. We will make sure that we do all that is necessary to protect them and the community.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to CGA-Canada, Canadian families are the most indebted families in the world. The report concluded that a 2% rise in interest rates will result in a 10% drop in discretionary spending.

Interest rates rose yesterday and the government still refuses to help families by facilitating access to education and by making seniors' care more affordable.

Why does it continue running up the deficit by lowering taxes for large corporations?

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there was a study released last week that showed that if we increased corporate taxes, as the Liberals want us to do, it would cost 233,000 jobs.

The other thing they want to do is to raise the GST. That is 162,000 lost jobs.

As I said before, we have reduced taxes to Canadians in over 100 ways. We are leaving more of their money in their pockets to enable them to spend how they want.

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, those two cases that the member just gave are things we will not do.

Let me tell the House one case that is true. The Conservatives are committed to raising EI premiums. A report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said that it will cost over 200,000 jobs. That is the job number that is right, based on tax increases they are committed to.

Why will the member not acknowledge that instead of talking about fictitious tax increases that we will never do?

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, speaking of fiction, the Liberals are on the record as saying they wanted to raise corporate taxes. Everyone knows that. I think they publicized it and put out a press release to that point. We are just explaining how that would impact Canadians.

That would be their burden if they would like to get rid of 233,000 jobs. We have cut taxes to all Canadians to help them grow the economy.

However, we should not talk about the EI fund. That disappeared when the member was in government. It is gone.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Indian Army officials attending the G20 summit, Winnie Mandela, George Galloway and the 60 delegates to the Union francophone des aveugles have been given no real information about why they are barred from coming to Canada.

Then there are 200,000 visitors who cannot come to celebrate special occasions such as family weddings. There are no clear criteria, guidelines or standards for entry. That is arbitrary and unacceptable.

When will we have fairness for visa applicants?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly sure what the question is.

I can say that sections 34 and 35 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act outline grounds of inadmissibility for foreign nationals seeking to come to Canada, which involve serious criminality, involvement in organized crime, or terrorism, including raising money for terrorist organizations such as Hamas, for example.

But the government committed last week to reviewing the grounds of inadmissibility to ensure that they are not applied in an unreasonably broad fashion. If the member has submissions to make in that respect, I would be happy to receive them.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, potential visitors are rejected without any explanation of what they need to do to qualify. To make matters worse, there is no right of appeal.

Countries such as Australia and England have a clear appeals process. We lose millions of tourist dollars, and this unfair policy gives Canada a bad reputation.

With summer tourist season upon us, when will the Conservatives fix the problem and give the right of appeal to these visitors?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, in point of fact, there is a right of appeal for people who obtain a negative admissibility decision by an officer of the CBSA at the port of entry, which is where the decision is made. They can seek an appeal of that inadmissibility finding at the immigration division of the IRB.

As it relates to visitors' visas, I agree with the member. We would like to be able to have fewer visa impositions than we do on the 145 countries from which we require visas, but that will only be possible if we have sensible and balanced refugee reform. I hope the member will join us in that respect.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal member for Ajax—Pickering introduced a motion at committee that would circumvent the House of Commons by trying to prevent Bill C-391 from coming to a vote. This is the latest game of that member, who told a newspaper last fall:

I don't think it's the business of parliament to step in and get rid of [the long gun registry].

I wonder if the constituents in the eight Liberal and 12 NDP ridings whose MPs supported the bill at second reading would agree.

Could the parliamentary secretary please update the House on this issue?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her hard work to scrap the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry.

Yesterday, in a dazzling display of Liberal arrogance, the Liberal leader's spokesman, the member for Ajax—Pickering, introduced a motion at committee to reject the bill that would finally end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. In doing so, the message is clear: For the Liberal leader and the member for Ajax--Pickering the voices of constituents do not matter and the votes of Liberal MPs who supported Bill C-391 at second reading do not count.

When it comes to the long gun registry, one either votes to keep it or votes to scrap it. It is that simple.

First Nations UniversityOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, after about a dozen enquiries from this side of the House and a tremendous amount of effort on the part of First Nations University, the government is now offering some financial certainty for one coming year. That is welcome, but it is not sufficient.

First Nations University has corrected its situation and has earned the support of the provincial government, the University of Regina, the Regina and District and Saskatchewan Chambers of Commerce, the Canadian Association of University Teachers and others.

When does the minister expect to be in a position to make a long-term financial commitment to First Nations University?

First Nations UniversityOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to make an announcement this morning. I will explain to the member for Wascana that when we make announcements on this side of the House we do not just cut a blank cheque, mail it in, and hope something good happens with it.

We have put conditions on this. There are several milestones that have to be met over the next year. The reason for that is because in 2005, when we inherited this file from the member opposite, it was such a mess that it has taken the hard work of Chief Guy Lonechild and many others to try to dig us out of it.

I think we are on the cusp of a very good time for First Nations University.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that anthrax was secretly produced during the second world war on Grosse Île in Montmagny. When the project ended, the anthrax produced was dumped into the St. Lawrence River. Since anthrax spores can survive for about a hundred years and because people are worried, biologists would like more information about this disposal in order to investigate.

Can the Minister of the Environment tell us precisely where in the St.Lawrence the leftover anthrax was dumped?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I will get back to the member with the specifics on that.

The member well knows that this government is committed to clean water for all Canadians. Our plan includes investments in monitoring science cleanup problems as well as building partnerships for protecting fresh water for all Canadians.

We need the member's support. We need support from all members of this Parliament to clean up the mess created by the previous Liberal government.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Dr. Yahya Mahfoodh Al Manthri, chairman of the State Council of the Sultanate of Oman.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear! Hear!