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House of Commons Hansard #35 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was board.

Topics

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, $2 billion in shipbuilding contracts have yet to be awarded. The Davie shipyard is in the process of restarting operations. Thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Quebec City area are at stake, and other shipyards in the country are in the same situation. Last week, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse was strangely silent on this topic. Shipyards that did not receive contracts are waiting.

My question is simple: when will this government start the bidding process for granting the $2 billion?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this is a national strategy that helps regions in all parts of the country.

There are expected to be 15,000 jobs created. That is just in direct jobs. We should look at the indirect opportunities for the manufacturing sector and shipyards across the country. The member has to remember that it is not just Davie, there are shipyards in every region of this country that will benefit from this strategy.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, when the government kills the Canadian Wheat Board single desk, it could also kill Canada's brand in global grain markets.

Private companies will no doubt try to gather up the Wheat Board's $6 billion in annual sales to enhance shareholder value for their owners, not for farmers. Then major foreign grain corporations are likely to come calling with takeover bids.

Why does the government think farmers are better off with all key decisions about Canadian grain being made in Minneapolis, Chicago or Kansas City?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the one thing I can guarantee to the member for Wascana is that if we accept the status quo and stay where we are, that is exactly what will happen, a doomsday scenario.

What we are doing is moving ahead with marketing freedom for western Canadian farmers. They will now have the ability to choose whom they market through. They are the ones, the stewards of the land, who guarantee the quality and consistency of supply. They will continue to do that. The line companies, whether they are an American, British or European multinational or a Canadian multinational like Viterra, which is global in scope, will continue to market that top-quality grain produced by our farmers.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, a year ago the government was forced to reverse itself on potash. The government was originally in favour of selling off the industry, but flipped.

In the wake of that confusion, the government promised a new set of takeover rules, greater clarity on net benefit, more transparency, enforceable conditions, a precise definition of strategic asset, but nothing has been produced so far.

If a big U.S. grain corporation decides to go after, say, Viterra, does the government plan to declare the Canadian grain business a strategic asset?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian farming sector across the board is a tremendous Canadian asset. We have seen growth in canola, in special crops—

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. There is far too much conversation going on during the answers to the questions being posed. Let us let the minister answer the question.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, if the member for Wascana and his party had any answers for farmers, they might have actually elected a couple over there. That did not happen. That is why this government is very strong and very solid with Canadian farmers and with the Canadian farm sector, coast to coast to coast. We will continue to do that.

We know the great work that Canadian farmers do. We know it is global in scope. We know that our processors can step up and produce as well using that quality as a basis. We will continue to support Canadian farmers, in spite of those Liberals.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, the government is gutting science from DFO. This comes at a time when a dreaded virus has been found in B.C. salmon stocks, a virus which wiped out 70% of farmed stocks in Chile. Science is needed more than ever to ensure the health and conservation of our fish stocks.

Why does the government insist on putting Canada's fish stocks and our growing aquaculture industry at even greater risk by slashing science from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, nothing is further from the truth. The DFO and this government have made huge investments in science over the course of the last number of years, since 2006, some $30 million, as an example, including upgrades to 13 laboratories in sites across the country and $36 million to construct those new science vessels.

In terms of the ISA, the ISA issue on the west coast is concerning. However, at this time, there have been no reported findings that at all make this finding conclusive.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government's ongoing incompetence in trade negotiations is once again on display. After failing to obtain an exemption to buy American rules and opening the door to Europe's big pharma, now we learn that while Conservatives pretend to deal with border thickening, Canadians will now be charged every time they cross the U.S. border.

What is the government's explanation for its latest failure at the bargaining table?

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, the passage of the three new free trade agreements with the U.S., which include Colombia, Panama and Korea, is a clear recognition, which we applaud, by the U.S. lawmakers that free and open trade is the best way to create jobs and economic growth.

We are, however, disappointed that the bill includes the removal of the $5.50 tax exemption on air and sea passengers, not on all passengers, arriving to the United States from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. We would hope the Americans recognize the error of their ways and that free and open trade is the way out of this economic depression, not into it.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that Canadians breathed a sigh of relief when they heard that confidence from the parliamentary secretary.

When it comes to defending the interests of Canadians, Conservatives have shown they cannot be trusted: the IRS pursuing law-abiding Canadians, the EU trade deal that lays us open to big pharma, buy America provisions that make a mockery of trade reciprocity, and now a surcharge on Canadians travelling to the U.S.

When will the government abandon the platitudes and empty promises and get to work protecting the interests of Canadians?

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, we have been very clear that free, fair and open trade is good for Canadians and is good for the rest of the world.

I wish the NDP member from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour and his colleagues would just once in this place stand on their feet, support Canadian business, support Canadian workers and vote for free trade agreements, because it will help. It will provide jobs and opportunity.

You might want to listen to your own rhetoric sometime.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The member knows to direct comments to the Chair, not directly to his colleagues.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, many experts have warned that tax-free savings accounts will not help poor seniors who have little income to save. The wealthy seniors can salt away hundreds of thousands in TFSAs and still receive the guaranteed income supplement.

New Democrats proposed a better plan to increase the GIS and raise every senior out of poverty, but those Conservatives refused. They ignored those in need and instead chose another subsidy for their friends.

When will they ever get their priorities straight?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the NDP does not like lower taxes, does not like the tax-free savings account, voted against the tax-free savings account and voted against lower taxes. However, Canadians like the tax-free savings account, and I will tell members how much they like it. There were 6.7 million tax-free savings accounts in Canada as of the end of December. That is a lot of rich friends.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, a tax expert has confirmed that under the current rules, a senior could have up to $1 million in a TFSA and still be entitled to the guaranteed income supplement, a pension that is meant for seniors living below the poverty line.

Instead of helping seniors in need, TFSAs will redirect $4 billion to the richest seniors.

Is that really the government's solution to helping less fortunate seniors live in dignity?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I encourage the member opposite to have a look at the law with respect to the tax-free savings account and also the facts. In the tax-free savings account legislation, which her party voted against, we ensured protection for modest-and low-income Canadians. That was to ensure they could afford the tax-free savings account. As I say, 6.7 million accounts were opened, three-quarters of them by individuals in the two lowest tax brackets.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister will be representing Canada at the upcoming APEC, Commonwealth and G20 summits to help deal with today's global economic challenges and to promote Canada's economy, the NDP is busy talking down the Canadian economy. In a period of global economic turbulence, the NDP wants to impose more and more taxes on Canadians: a $10 billion tax hike on businesses, a GST hike, a personal income tax hike, a new tax on everyday financial transactions, and the list goes on and on.

Could the Minister of Finance explain how our government is taking a leadership role on the world stage in response to today's global economic challenges?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

We are representing Canada proudly, Mr. Speaker, by leading by example, including the strongest financial system in the world, the lowest debt to GDP ratio in the G7, the best job growth in the G7, the best place to invest in the G7. We are leading with the next phase of Canada's economic action plan and lowering taxes to create jobs. We are leading with a prudent plan to return to balanced budgets and surpluses. Now it is time for European leaders to act quickly with strong, decisive and united leadership.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats are proud to stand with the people of Libya and people across the entire Arab region as they demand rights that Canadians hold to be universal. Canada has a key role to play in fostering democratic development.

In 2008 Conservatives promised to create a democratic development institute. Why has the government broken this promise just when the centre is needed most of all?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the key element of the foreign policy of this government is promotion of democracy. That is what we are doing in Libya. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was there.

With Mr. Gadhafi gone, we are looking at helping Libya set up a constitution and move forward with the promotion of democracy. That remains the key element of foreign policy for this government.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has proudly supported Libyans in their efforts to end the tyranny of the Gadhafi regime. Support for disarmament and reconstruction is essential, but we have the skills, resources and expertise to do much more. Protecting human rights is a key goal of the UN support mission in Libya and an essential part of the transition to democracy.

Is the government prepared to work with the UN and offer its support for the independent monitoring of human rights in Libya?