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House of Commons Hansard #32 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.

Topics

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly, after 132 days the Minister of Foreign Affairs does not get it either, that pork barrel boondoggles do not come in under budget.

The Auditor General does not approve them. They set up a slush fund with the three amigos: the mayor, the hotel manager and the minister. They blew through $50 million, often in untendered contracts, with no oversight.

I am asking again, the Auditor General said the rules were broken, will he stand up and commit to a full investigation of this rogue minister? Unless we fix the rules, this will happen again and again under his watch.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to correct the record for my friend opposite. None of the three individuals he mentioned approved any of the 32 projects. I did.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it took the President of the Treasury Board 131 days to stand up and respond to our questions. However, since he merely spouted a few silly comments, we were left less than satisfied, especially knowing that the Auditor General said that the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka was the one responsible, that he disobeyed the rules and that he concealed information during the investigation.

Is that why the President of the Treasury Board is seeking revenge and cutting the Auditor General's funding?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government fully co-operated with the Auditor General. Sheila Fraser did an outstanding job for Canadians. She reviewed the 32 projects where every single dollar has been accounted for. Every single dollar went for public infrastructure. Every single project came in on or under budget. The fund itself was under spent.

With respect to the Auditor General, the Auditor General saw the leadership that the President of the Treasury Board was taking to try to rein in government spending and offered to voluntarily participate. That is leadership.

Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, we look forward to you participating too.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister told us that all 308 ridings received infrastructure funding. But, clearly, being friends with the minister makes it much easier to get in on that slush fund. The mayor of Huntsville should know: 18,000 residents, $30 million.

Now that we know that the minister is able, or was able, to rise and speak, can he tell us if all ridings received a media centre that was never used by the media and a campus that is not being used by any students or are lucky enough to have a minister who never answers any questions?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would command the member to review the committee hearings on infrastructure where he will see the NDP member for Winnipeg Centre being quoted as saying, “I believe the money was fairly well distributed. NDP ridings did fairly well”, and I agree.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am addressing my questions regarding official languages and the commissioner's report to the Prime Minister. In his report, the commissioner clearly states, “Five years after amendments were made to the Official Languages Act, the Government of Canada has still not affirmed, loudly and clearly, that full and proactive compliance with part VII of the Act is a priority.”

When will the government clearly affirm that part VII and improving the situation of minority communities are still priorities for the Canadian government?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, here is a quotation from the report: “[Our government] systematically consults official language communities through working groups and federal councils, and when developing co-operation agreements with provinces and territories.”

This government is well aware of the needs of official language communities and it takes those needs into account during the development and implementation of these programs. These are achievements. These are results. This is a Conservative government.

Canada PostOral Questions

October 19th, 2011 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned yesterday that Canada Post is going ahead with cuts to work hours in post offices in Quebec that are unfair and disproportionate compared to the rest of the country. We are talking about 53% in Quebec, while the average in other provinces is 4% to 8%. As though that were not enough, in the market assessment criteria, Canada Post was suddenly much more interested in the political affiliation of the riding in which the post office is located.

Is this 53% cut the Conservative Party's response to the fact that it was rejected by the vast majority of Quebeckers?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the member's question.

The fact is that everyone who has a permanent job with Canada Post will continue to do so. There is some fluctuation in operations. This year there has been a reduction in postal demand in Quebec, but that just goes with the territory of a shifting market. Canada Post makes decisions based on its own operations. The government does not get involved.

The member should support the good work that Canada Post is doing.

Small BusinessOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate Small Business Week, the situation of small businesses in the country is alarming. According to Industry Canada's most recent newsletter, funding for small business has levelled off since the Conservatives came to power. Business owners have to work extremely hard, but this government prefers to give enormous tax cuts to corporations, even though we know such cuts are ineffective.

Will this government listen to the NDP and lower the tax rate for small businesses?

Small BusinessOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, I like hearing the NDP advocating tax cuts. The hon. member's argument is a bit awkward because, at the same time, some of his colleagues are advocating more government spending, bigger government and a larger debt. Instead of stimulating the economy, they want to give it a sedative by spending money that we do not have. The important thing for small businesses is that we have cut their tax rate to 11% so they can keep more money in their pockets and do what they have to do best: create jobs.

Small BusinessOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to see the government simply tossing quarters here and there for small businesses.

Let us look at something else. Under this government, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young entrepreneurs to get funding, yet small businesses are responsible for creating 60% to 70% of jobs. This situation is unsustainable, especially knowing that the youth unemployment rate is at a worrisome level.

Will this government finally introduce a job creation tax credit, as the NDP has been asking for?

Small BusinessOral Questions

3 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the hon. member that I was in Montreal yesterday with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, which provides $15,000 loans to young entrepreneurs who want to start a business and create wealth.

By giving that foundation a contribution of $20 million in the last budget, we have enabled 1,000 young entrepreneurs across the country to create their own jobs, as well as jobs for other Canadians. That is what it means to support young entrepreneurs.

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the government introduced the historic marketing freedom for grain farmers act. This legislation will allow farmers in my riding to market their wheat and barley to any buyer of their choice, just like farmers in eastern Canada. This is legislation that farmers want and expect to see passed by Parliament and it will modernize research in the grain sector in western Canada.

Would the Minister of Agriculture please tell the House what positive change the bill would bring to research and development in western Canada?

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as a farmer, my friend and colleague from Vegreville—Wainwright knows the value of innovation and research to the farm sector. That is why the government has been proud to partner with industry, academia, the provinces and so on to put forward a good, solid research-based scientific funding initiative.

We will continue to do that under that marketing freedom for grain farmers act, with a voluntary point of sale check off, which will keep the funding flowing for those great entities like the Canadian International Grains Institute, the Western Grains Research Foundation and the Malt Barley Technical Centre.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, it has become obvious to all Nova Scotians that in the case of the MV Miner it is not just the rotting carcass of the abandoned freighter that has been cut loose by the government, but the Province of Nova Scotia finds itself cut adrift as well.

Premier Dexter says that he cannot get an answer from Ottawa, so I will give the minister an opportunity to respond today.

Will the minister state clearly here today whether he believes the responsibility to remove that ship lies solely with the Province of Nova Scotia? It is a very simple question. Is the Province of Nova Scotia solely responsible for the removal of that wreck?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the premier has already had some discussions with the minister of this government. We gave him the answer we gave here in the House. Transport Canada's role is to ensure that Canada's waterways provide safe navigation, free of ship source pollution. We have determined that the MV Miner is not polluting the marine environment and is not a threat to navigation. That is provincial jurisdiction, and we will continue to work with the province.

PensionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the last five years, many workers across Canada have seen their pensions drastically reduced because their employers went out of business. Yesterday, I tabled Bill C-331, my pension protection act, which is designed to give pensions priority at the time of bankruptcies. At the present time pensioners must wait behind junk bondholders and bank investments. This is done before they can get their pensions, their deferred wages. This is clearly wrong.

Will the government work with New Democrats to give pensioners the protection they need?

PensionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I wish the New Democrats would have worked with us when we moved legislation to protect those pensions to which he referred. In fact, in 2009 they voted against protecting pensions by requiring companies to fully fund pension benefits on planned termination. We also ensured that pensions would be stable for those seniors and we gave pensioners more negotiating powers in their own pensions. The NDP voted against all of those pieces in that legislation.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the national shipbuilding strategy will result in the creation of thousands of new jobs and billions in economic growth in the cities and communities all across Canada. This is an arm's-length process, independent from the government.

The leader of the official opposition is calling, at this late stage, for the government to politically intervene and provide the contract to all three shipyards that submitted bids.

Could the minister please respond to this call?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, our government made the historic decision to build our ships for the navy and coast guard right in Canada and that will result in the creation of 15,000 jobs annually for the next 30 years.

The decision to have two Canadian shipyards build our large ships was made in consultation with the shipyards themselves. The national shipbuilding strategy was designed to generate a competitive environment that would result in the best value for taxpayers.

I am also happy to inform the House that I met with the fairness monitor yesterday. He has submitted his final reports and has said that the decisions were made objectively, free from personal favouritism and political influence and encompass the elements of openness, competitiveness, transparency and compliance.

Search and RescueOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canada has one of the worst search and rescue response times in the world. A recent incident off Bell Island, Newfoundland showed just how bad it was.

After emergency flares were fired in the area, the Coast Guard called in a provincial ferry, full of passengers, to help the search and rescue effort. It then took the Canadian Coast Guard vessel over three hours to arrive on the scene.

This is not about a limo service from a fishing lodge; this is about human lives. How long would the minister be prepared to wait in icy water before being rescued?

Search and RescueOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well that the search and rescue system is made up of a network of potential responders that includes the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard auxiliary, the Canadian Forces and any vessel of opportunity. Any vessel within the vicinity of a search and rescue call can be asked to assist.

When the flares are discharged, the CCG will treat it as a matter of distress. If the member would like to be constructive, he would help us to take this message back to the public so that lives are not put at unnecessary risk.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the recognition of Quebec as a nation, the three parties recognized in this House unanimously approved the appointment of a unilingual anglophone judge to the Supreme Court, demonstrating their lack of concern for the French language. In addition to being criticized by the public, this choice was also rejected by the Barreau du Québec, which asks the parliamentary committee tasked with examining these recommendations not to appoint the unilingual judge.

Will the Minister of Justice tell Quebeckers that he respects their language and that, as a result, his government will reconsider its decision to appoint a unilingual anglophone judge?