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House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was spam.

Topics

International TradeOral Questions

September 27th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, UNESCO has adopted the principle of cultural exception, whereby cultural products are excluded from free trade commitments. The Minister of International Trade has not been very reassuring regarding his government's desire to maintain the principle of cultural exception in the Canada-European Union free trade agreement.

Can the government assure us that it is making cultural exceptions a priority, because any compromise in that regard could give the United States the pretext to dispute our cultural protection measures?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, in this time of economic uncertainty the government is working to open new doors for Canadian businesses and to help create jobs in Canada.

In particular, the comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union has the potential to boost the Canadian economy by $12 billion. The provinces and territories are participating directly in the negotiations in areas that fall in whole or in part under their jurisdiction.

Canada and the EU had a positive and productive fourth round of negotiations in July. Canada will conduct its negotiations at the negotiating table, not in—

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, within the European Union, internal regulations allow countries to protect their government procurement and exceptions already exist in the areas of security and energy.

Does the government plan to demand that the same exceptions apply to the future free trade agreement between Canada and Europe?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Again, Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the hon. member's interest in this subject.

The free trade agreement with the European Union is an extremely important agreement. It is also a modern agreement, a very comprehensive agreement that we have signed with the European Union.

The point is very clear. The provinces and the municipalities are involved in the negotiations. However, we will conduct the negotiations at the negotiating table, not on the floor of Parliament or on the front pages of newspapers or magazines.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, six weeks ago, the town of Stanstead asked for a three-month extension to complete the Pat Burns arena. As of today, Stanstead has received no answer.

How can the government continue to threaten communities like Stanstead, saying it will hold back the millions of dollars promised by the Prime Minister himself?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have said repeatedly in the House, since I took over a portfolio that was in excellent shape, that we have been fair and reasonable going into this. We have been helping to re-scope projects. We have been helping to identify other projects that some municipalities want into. We will continue to be fair and reasonable, working with proponents of projects as I identify particular problems along the way.

However, we have six months to go until the March 31 deadline. In the meantime, project after project is coming in. Many times they are coming in below budget and ahead of schedule.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not an answer. Six weeks ago the town of Stanstead asked for a three month extension to complete the Pat Burns arena. As of today, Stanstead has received no answer.

If funding for the Pat Burns arena, announced by the Prime Minister himself, is in jeopardy, then how can Canadians believe any of the commitments made in today's report?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, nothing is in jeopardy. The important thing is there are six months yet to go before the deadline, so there is lots of time.

We are very interested to hear about particular projects like this. Provincial ministers are busy gathering data from across the country, sharing it with me over the next week or two so we can get a good picture of this.

My department is talking to individual project proponents to ensure that if there are any details out there, any problems out there, we want to know about them. Information like this is in the system. We are well aware of it.

However, there are six months to go. There is nothing in jeopardy. The people there should be very confident that this project will get built.

CensusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not understand why this government is attacking the census. Why jeopardize a valuable tool that allows us to make informed decisions? By partially backtracking when faced with the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, the government is admitting it was wrong. What is more, the solution it is proposing in order to comply with the Official Languages Act is improvised and inadequate.

Why do they want a less useful, more expensive census that plunges us into darkness?

CensusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is not so. As I already said, we have added two questions to the short form census in order to better protect both official languages.

We have been open. We have been reasonable. We have been honest. We have tried to find a reasonable balance between the coercion that the opposition loves to enforce on Canadians and getting the useful and usable data without having those threats of jail time and massive fines against our fellow Canadian citizens.

That is why we are fair and reasonable.

CensusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, did I hear the Minister of Industry say that he had been honest?

The government should not fight the consensus on this. The census is important for bilingualism, but it is also crucial for the economy.

If the Conservatives go forward, our central bank will have poor data on which to base its policies. This is no way to make Canada work. If the government goes forward, small businesses across the country will lose access to vital data that allows them to plan and grow. We may as well blindfold them.

Is the government willing to jeopardize Canada's economic foundation by refusing—

CensusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Industry.

CensusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear for the record. We still have the mandatory short form census. We still have the mandatory labour force survey, which goes to the economic information that the hon. member thinks is important and is indeed important. That is why it is still mandatory.

However, we do not think it is wise or fair or reasonable to threaten our fellow Canadian citizens with jail time or fines to fill out the 40 page form.

If the hon. member wants to talk about honesty, the one honest thing that has come out on the other side is that his leader is a tax and spend Liberal and he is proud of it.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, today our government gave Canadians an update on the progress we have made in protecting our economy by implementing Canada's economic action plan. Today we released the sixth report to Canadians. Even Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has praised the thoroughness of reports saying, “It really puts Canada almost at the forefront in fiscal transparency and stimulus”.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance inform parliamentarians on what was reported in this latest update on Canada's economic action plan?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his role in helping the economic action plan to be rolled out.

Today we had more good news that the economic action plan is indeed working. The finance minister shared some facts and figures with us: 97% of the job-creating infrastructure projects are either under way or completed and $22 billion in federal stimulus is being injected into the economy this fiscal year. We have the lowest tax level in 50 years.

More good news is, as I said before, there are $3,000 more in the pocket of a family of four.

CensusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, eliminating the mandatory long form census questionnaire shows that the government is not very concerned with finding solutions to Canadians' problems. Today, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada is in court in an attempt to reinstate the long form. The data collected are necessary to ensure that linguistic minorities receive the services that meet their needs.

When will the government acknowledge that it made a mistake and reinstate the long form questionnaire?

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we added two questions to the short form census to better protect the two official languages. We are using a fair and reasonable approach to striking the best balance between collecting necessary data and protecting Canadians' right to privacy. Our government will find the right balance for this and all situations.

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, is this how we are going to get the census back, one court case at a time? Nunavut Tunngavik worries it will be impossible to decide where to best spend scarce housing dollars. The Métis National Council says the mandatory census is the only way the federal government can collect information on Métis.

Without reliable information, first nations, Métis, and Inuit underfunding will just get worse.

Will the government reverse its decision, or does every group in Canada have to protect its rights with individual court cases?

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is not inclined to take my word for it, the member should take the word of the Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada, who said that the voluntary long form survey will provide useful and usable data for most users.

That is why we have a fair balance between our need for this information and our means of collecting it. We will collect these data without forcing upon our fellow Canadians the threats of jail time and massive fines.

The hon. member might be satisfied and happy with that kind of society; we are not.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, first the government took over Rights & Democracy by manufacturing a crisis and stacking the board of directors, and now a former Conservative candidate has just been hired. The president of the organization, a former Canadian Alliance organizer and candidate himself, will be making the announcement soon.

Does the government simply see Rights & Democracy as a haven for Conservatives who appoint and hire other Conservatives?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Rights & Democracy is an arm's-length organization, which, although government funded, is not run by the Government of Canada. Our government is committed to Rights & Democracy and to working with the president, Mr. Gérard Latulippe, to secure the organization's future. The president will be expected to deliver positive results on the governance and stewardship of the organization. He is also expected to resolve internal issues in collaboration with all the stakeholders.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Rights & Democracy is an organization created by the government. It is supposed to be independent. But last year, the Conservatives took over, appointing their friends and imposing a radical ideological shift in favour of Israel.

When will this government stop diverting government resources for its own partisan and ideological purposes?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member is a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Recently she and her colleagues on that committee submitted a report to the government. The government is studying that report and will respond to it. But let me again point out that Rights & Democracy is an arm's-length organization, not a government one.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, veterans are still waiting. They have served this country with distinction all over the world and they have paid a heavy price for the dangerous work they do.

We have asked five times if the proposed changes are going to be retroactive to 2006, but we have yet to receive an answer in the House. We have to assume that the answer is no, unless the minister can tell us otherwise right now.