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House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was grain.

Topics

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, ACOA serves four provinces in Atlantic Canada, and 100 of the 800 positions at the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency are being eliminated, the latest victims of the government's approach to job 100.

Since 2006, Conservatives have cut ACOA's budget by a whopping 30%. ACOA is vital to economic development and job creation in Atlantic Canada, and cutting it will kill jobs.

Why are the Conservatives jeopardizing the future of our region with these reckless cuts to ACOA, which helps job creation?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, these are not reckless cuts. This is streamlining the operation to give better service and better programs to Atlantic Canadians out of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

These 42 positions that will be eliminated will not take away from the services being provided to entrepreneurs and communities in Atlantic Canada, nor will they take away from the extraordinary opportunities that we got yesterday out of the Conservative government's naval strategy.

Port of ChurchillOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we witnessed a bizarre spectacle in the House when the NDP member for Churchill spoke out against the positive announcements our government made for the Port of Churchill in her riding.

Unlike that member, our government understands the importance of the Port of Churchill as a valuable asset. Despite the NDP, the Port of Churchill will remain the Prairies-Arctic gateway to the world.

Would the Minister of Agriculture please outline the help that the NDP member for Churchill is opposed to her constituents receiving?

Port of ChurchillOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Brandon—Souris is supportive of the actions our government continues to take to help northern Manitoba.

This government will continue to support Churchill. Building on the $38 million this government committed in previous budgets, we at Agriculture Canada will provide $5 million per year, for the next five years, to incent more than just Wheat Board grains moving up the railway to Churchill. That is a great initiative. Transport Canada will provide an additional $4 million, over three years, to strengthen the infrastructure at the port.

The people of Churchill are hoping that their NDP member does not vote no again.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian index of well-being, published by the University of Waterloo, shows increasing inequality in Canada under this government. The benefits of economic growth are not evenly distributed. The top 1% of income earners benefited from 30% of the economic growth and Canadian families have a higher level of debt than ever before.

Why are the Conservatives offering such generous tax breaks to the banks, while leaving Canadian families to fend for themselves?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP opposition, we believe the best social program is a job. Canadian families want jobs, not higher taxes that kill jobs, like the $10 billion tax increase that was in the NDP platform in the last election.

We have created about 650,000 net new jobs in Canada since the end of the recession, 90% being full-time jobs and almost 80% in the private sector. Those jobs support employment in our country which supports the quality of life of Canadian families.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again, that is cold Conservative comfort for Canadians. It is not much of an answer.

The Conservatives' stubborn insistence on slashing taxes for profitable corporations is just another gift to wealthy CEOs and shareholders. It increases inequality and does nothing to help the 99%. Experts keep telling the government that there is no economic logic to such a policy.

Will the minister please explain to struggling Canadian families why CEOs come before them?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, would the NDP please explain to the Canadian people why it voted against the working income tax benefit to help people get off social assistance and get jobs in this country?

This is a very important social reform in our budget that the NDP voted against. It is a reform that is looked upon by experts across this country as the most important initiative that has been taken in Canada to help people get off welfare and social assistance, and get jobs to support their families.

The NDP members come here and rail against corporations. They do not care about the poor people in this country. When we actually bring something to this House, they vote against it.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American government should be congratulated for going after offshore tax dodgers. However, our own government's feeble attempt pales by comparison. Unfortunately, thousands of law-abiding Canadians are now being unnecessarily harassed by the IRS using laws intended to catch U.S. tax cheats.

Has the government negotiated a true amnesty to protect law-abiding Canadians?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is the sovereign right of the U.S. government to impose tax rules on American citizens. This is a question where it is unfair to some with dual citizenship because they have had no income earned in the United States for a long time, many of whom were unaware of their obligation to file tax returns in the United States, and there are some penalties that can be attached.

We have had discussions with the American treasury authorities. We have heard already from the American ambassador in Canada on the subject and from the treasury in the United States to the effect that they are looking at being more reasonable with respect to the punitive penalties that are possible by the IRS under the legislation. We see some progress there.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians who have not received any income or had any assets in the United States for years are suddenly being threatened with enormous fines for not filing their tax returns. Consider the case of a woman who has been living and working in Canada since 1968 who might have to pay $70,000. Several of the Canadians in question are seniors and their retirement incomes are now in jeopardy.

Will the government negotiate a tax return amnesty for these Canadian citizens?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said a moment ago to the member opposite, it is the right of Canada to impose tax obligations on our citizens. It is the right of the United States to do the same thing. These are people who are American citizens and they choose to maintain their American citizenship. If they do that, they are subject to some rules.

The difficulty is, as the member has mentioned, many of these individuals have not lived in the United States, have not filed in the United States, have not earned any income in the United States, and were unaware of their obligation. It is for those people that we are trying to get some co-operation, leniency quite frankly, with respect to penalties from the American authorities. As I said a moment ago, we are making some progress.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the prestigious journal Nature announced the discovery of an Arctic ozone hole 18 days ago. Journalists sought interviews with the Environment Canada co-author on that paper, Dr. Tarasick. An email from the environment minister's spokesperson told a well-respected science reporter that an interview could not be granted.

Will the government finally let Dr. Tarasick speak freely and ensure that scientists are never muzzled again?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times in the House, our government is very proud of the scientists at Environment Canada and the work they do.

Our government has taken concrete action over and over again to protect Canada's environment. We have protected record amounts of parkland. We have assessed hundreds of new and existing substances for potential risks to human health through chemical management. We have developed a new air quality management system to reduce the costs of the environment.

We are focused on delivering tangible results, including the area of ozone management.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, the House is well aware of the cuts the government has made to Atlantic Canada: first search and rescue, second Service Canada, third DFO and now ACOA. The shocking news is even worse. ACOA has become a dumping ground for a number of failed Conservative candidates and to make room for this bunch, it is firing hard-working employees at ACOA.

Why the cushy jobs for failed Conservative candidates and pink slips for hard-working maritimers?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, I would have thought the hon. member would know better. ACOA is not—

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The member for Sydney—Victoria has asked a question and the House wants to hear the answer.

The hon. minister of state.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that ACOA has in no way taken part in the hiring of any persons other than ACOA employees. I want to reiterate that the positions that have been eliminated will not affect the level of services to Atlantic Canadians from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Do I need—

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Unfortunately, the minister is out of time.

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

G8 SummitOral Questions

October 20th, 2011 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the President of Treasury Board has quite the sense of humour. Today, he talked about open government. He was very open with the G8 funds—he turned on the taps for the projects of his friends, the mayor of Huntsville and the hotel manager. Unfortunately, as is often the case with the Conservative government, there is a double standard. It was not as open during the Auditor General's investigation.

He is clearly not forthcoming with the public when he refuses to explain himself. But now, with these announcements, will he finally post the documents he kept from us on the Open Government website, www.open.gc.ca?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite speaks about the sense of humour of the President of the Treasury Board. That is rather interesting.

Infrastructure Canada co-operated fully with the auditor general. The auditor general did a thorough review of this issue. She made a number of observations and recommendations, which this government completely accepted, on how we could be even more open and more transparent to the House of Commons.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has a credibility problem. Asking a Muskoka maverick to sell open government is like asking Homer Simpson to promote nuclear safety. It is now 133 days since he went AWOL from accountability and it is contagious. We now know he runs from the media when he does presentations.

What part of openness includes hiding documents from the auditor general or running a slush fund from a BlackBerry? When will the government get open with the Canadian people and hold this rogue minister accountable?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we approved some 23,000 infrastructure programs in every corner of the country. We gave every province its full per capita share. We worked with NDP, Liberal and Conservative governments from coast to coast to coast. We were able to deliver a lot of new jobs. In doing so, on 32 of those 23,000 projects, the auditor general levelled some serious observations. We fully accepted those observations, and we will do an even better job next time.

International Co-operationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, this summer the world faced the worst humanitarian crisis 60 years. In East Africa, 30 million people are impacted by conflict, drought and famine. The government has been responding to help meet the needs of the victims and refugees.

The Minister of International Co-operation travelled to the region and witnessed the tragic effects of this crisis. Could the minister please update the House on the government's response to this crisis?