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House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member is referring to Norway. Norway, upon consultation with Canadian authorities, has decided to defer its purchase to be in sync and in line with the Canadian strategy.

The bottom line is that our action to purchase this plane has opened the door for Canadian aerospace industrial partners to gain priority access to the F-35 program, to jobs and opportunities and to be part of building 5,000 planes, not 65 planes. Members do not have to take my word for it. Experts in the industry, including the president of Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, have said--

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Beauséjour.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, that was not the question.

The price of the fighter planes keeps going up, but the Conservatives still want to give Lockheed Martin a blank cheque.

Other partners in the project are starting to back away. Norway is hesitating, and the Netherlands, too. British Conservatives are not sure, and even the United States will be buying fewer planes.

Why are all of these governments protecting their taxpayers while the Conservatives are forcing Canadians to pay for an untendered contract with borrowed money?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I believe that we are actually getting a discount on the planes.

Here is what Claude Lajeunesse said. He is the president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. Here is what he said yesterday: “We are calling on political leaders from all parties to support the government's decision. We do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past, because they will surely be more costly than ever before for our industry, for our military, and ultimately, for the nation”.

When are the Liberals going to end their political games and stand up for Canadian industry and stand up for Canadian jobs?

InfrastructureOral Questions

September 29th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec Treasury Board President, Michelle Courchesne, is forecasting a shortfall of $200 million if Ottawa refuses to extend its deadline and carries out its threats to withdraw funding for any infrastructure projects not completed by March 31, 2011. Projects are well under way, but things are reaching the boiling point; everyone wants to have their projects done by March 31. As a result, certain materials are becoming scarce and labour costs are increasing.

Why not simply extend the deadline, as everyone is calling for? Why is the Prime Minister insisting on this point? It would not cost him a penny more.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, regarding the deadline, the government and our ministers have already been quite clear, saying that we will be reasonable in order to ensure that those projects are completed. We have another six months before the end of this fiscal year and we want to see these projects completed if possible. We are still in a recovery period and it is critical that governments work together to complete the projects as quickly as possible. We are working with our partners in that regard.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the Conservative government insists on maintaining the March 31, 2011, deadline, this will leave the Quebec government and the municipalities facing a shortfall of $200 million. But perhaps this is exactly what the Prime Minister wants: to pass part of the bill on to Quebeckers?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, clearly, this government will be reasonable in order to make sure these projects are completed. What is unreasonable is the Bloc Québécois' position. The Bloc voted against all of these projects for the people of Quebec and Canada. The Bloc has taken a completely irresponsible position during this global recession.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister should clarify what he means by “reasonable”.

The deadlines for the infrastructure work are threatening a number of projects. In East Angus and Martinville in the Eastern Townships for example, projects approved under the PRECO program cannot be completed on time simply because no contractors are available to bid on them.

Why are the Conservatives stubbornly and ideologically insisting that work on sewers and water mains be completed by December 31?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are being fair and reasonable.

In fact, when the Preco program was put together specifically with Quebec, the Government of Quebec insisted on a December 31 deadline. I do not know why that was. We said that March 31 was what it was for the country, but if Quebec wanted to do it by December 31, we would work with it to do that. Now it wants to change that deadline.

Of course, we will continue to work with Quebec and other provinces to be fair and reasonable. By all means, if the December 31 deadline the Quebec government itself put in place needs to be changed, well, we did not put it there. We are going to be fair and reasonable with the people of Quebec to make sure that those projects get done.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, a number of projects funded by the infrastructure stimulus fund risk going down the drain on March 31 if the federal government is not more flexible. That is the case for the Monique-Corriveau library in Sainte-Foy, the pool in McMasterville and the 2-22 Ste-Catherine complex in Montreal.

The Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités is holding a convention that starts tomorrow in Quebec City. Why does the federal government not take this opportunity to announce that it is pushing back the deadline for the infrastructure projects? Let the government take action.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think we know now why the Bloc members are all worked up. I think there is a meeting tomorrow that they want to do something at. There is a little political work going on here.

Here is what we do when we are in government. I have been working with a minister of the Quebec government. He has been working with me saying that he hopes to get information on the number of projects, the status of those projects. He promises to share those numbers with us, in the government, within the next few days. We look forward to this. Working together will allow us to make good decisions.

Yesterday, when I was in Montreal, I spoke to Premier Charest. I told the premier, “We will be fair and reasonable, Premier. Don't worry about it. We are working with you. I am working with your minister”.

That is what we do when we are fair and reasonable, unlike the opposition.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government has made a string of bad decisions.

Thanks to G20 spending, the Conservatives will have enough bug spray and glow sticks to dance around in the dark for years. And with the support of the Liberals, they have cut billions of dollars in taxes for the largest profitable corporations and major banks, while throwing crumbs to seniors and the unemployed.

When will the Prime Minister realize that he is making bad decisions for ordinary people.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government is very proud of its record of reducing taxes not just for corporations but also for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as reducing the GST and personal income taxes for consumers. The truth is that the NDP voted against such benefits and reduced taxes for our citizens.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the banks do not need big tax cuts to give bonuses to their executives. Not only that, the strategy is not working.

The Canadian economy is now descending faster than the American economy, so this whole approach is not working for Canadians.

The Conservatives are still barrelling ahead with their tax cuts to their friends in the big banks, who do not need them. At the same time, they are gutting the census data that businesses say they need to launch a real middle class recovery for everybody.

It is not just the NDP saying this. Quebec and Ontario are saying it, too. When are we going to see action to fix this?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. The Canadian economy is performing well above the rest of the advanced countries in the world, in part because of the stable, low tax environment that this government has created, not just for business, but also for seniors, consumers, and ordinary working families.

When it comes to cutting taxes for ordinary working families, I wish the NDP would vote for those things instead of against them.

CensusOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, instead of giving pennies to the seniors who could stimulate the economy if they got some real help to get lifted out of poverty, what does the government do? It gives billions to banks.

With regard to the census, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Ontario, Mark Carney, the FCM and the first nations want it reinstated.

In its letter to the Minister of Industry, the Government of Quebec stated that an optional questionnaire has a lower response rate than mandatory questionnaire. The Conservatives have made a mistake. Will they correct it?

CensusOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is clear. The long form will be distributed to more households and we are encouraging people to fill it out.

In this era, we do not threaten people with sanctions if they are reluctant to disclose information about their private lives. We do things differently; we treat people like adults in the 21st century.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have disclosed, after being forced to do so, only about 15% of the total bill for the G8 and G20 summits. There was wasteful, excessive spending at a summit that was supposed to be about containing spending; this at a time when Canadians are worried about their cost of living, when seniors are worried about money, when students are struggling with high debt, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians are out of work.

Why did the Conservatives think they could go on a spending spree with taxpayers' money? Who authorized these expenditures and who is responsible?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the accomplishments of the G8 and G20 summits. Canada is leading the global economic recovery as well as international efforts to aid developing countries.

These were legitimate expenses, the majority of which were for security. There were approximately 20,000 security personnel on the ground during the summits. The violence and destruction that occurred proved the need to ensure that those who attended the summits were protected.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, we now know the Conservatives spent $200 million on things like rent-a-car, rent-a-fence, and rent-a-lake. Canadians are still waiting to hear about the over $1 billion more that was spent for the 72-hour meeting; this at a time when Canadians are struggling to make ends meet.

Why is the Conservative government not open, transparent, and accountable for the hundreds of millions, over $1 billion, it spent? When will Canadians see the receipts? What are the Conservatives trying to hide?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, from the outset I said that the Auditor General was welcome to go through the books. Indeed, the Auditor General has said she will be reviewing summit expenses, and we look forward to seeing her report.

The Liberals should stop trying to score political points on the back of Canada's international reputation. They did it regarding our efforts at the UN Security Council, and they are doing it again on the G8 and G20 summits.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, this party does not need a lesson from the member on standing up for Canadians abroad or maintaining our international reputation.

The Conservative government spent 40 times more on security than the U.S. did at the Pittsburgh G20 summit. Incredibly, the Minister of Public Safety approved a $27.5 million RCMP command centre that could have been bought for $3 million. Instead, it was rented for $1.5 million, incurred another $24 million in operational costs, and then, after just 72 hours, cost another $2 million to tear down.

Would the minister not agree that this high-priced farce is a threat to Canada's economic security?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, if the member is going to use facts and figures, he should use the correct ones. This was a $2.2 million lease for a 24-month period, and it was a competitive lease.

The Liberals should stop trying to score political points on the back of Canada's international reputation and on the backs of the police officers who were providing the security at these summits.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the recent facts. The minister authorized $27 million on a command centre that stood in Barrie for just 72 hours. Just a few hours ago, this minister told reporters he was not even aware of it. Talk about ministerial irresponsibility.

If the minister wants to talk about police, that kind of money could have been used to purchase 400 police cruisers, or to hire 225 RCMP front-line officers. It is enough to run the entire Barrie Police Service for over nine months.

Canadians cannot afford the government's egregious waste. How can this Conservative government be so incompetent? How can it be so derelict with taxpayers' money?