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House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let me say again that we are not muzzling scientists. They speak to the responsible media all the time, and they speak to and will brief environment critics on the other side of the House.

As my colleague should know, Canada has banned ozone-depleting chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons. I was proud today to announce, with my colleague the Minister of Health , the renewal and the refunding of Canada's world-renowned chemicals management plan.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, at a time of belt-tightening, the arrogance of Conservative ministers is downright audacious.

The defence minister took a $16,000 taxi ride in a helicopter, while search and rescue resources are at the breaking point, and the Treasury Board minister blew $50 million on gazebos and gravy, so it is not surprising that the foreign affairs minister would buy 10,000 gold-embossed business cards.

However, why would the Treasury Board minister allow him to remove the word “Canada” from his cards?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can correct the member opposite in three categories. One, I did not order 10,000 business cards. Two, there is no gold on my business card; it is not real gold. Three, the word “Canada” is on my business card.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is now 116 days and counting since the President of the Treasury Board went AWOL, and he still has not explained how he broke all the rules for spending, which leads us to the project in the Lake of Bays.

He actually showed up in town with a cheque for $4.5 million, despite having no signed deal and no business plan. No wonder the town councillors told him they did not want to have anything to do with him. We cannot hand out taxpayers' money from the trunk of a car.

Would the minister stand in this House and explain such tawdry behaviour?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the tone of that question is deeply disappointing, especially from that member. The minister did no such thing.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is those kinds of answers that show the government's contempt for Canadians and accountability, and it is the Lake of Bays project that shows the minister's irresponsible attitude toward taxpayer spending.

He promoted a scheme that had no business plan, no viability study, no idea of costs or even a construction plan, yet he was willing to throw millions at a project that even the town did not want to have anything to do with.

Why did the Muskoka minister use taxpayers' money to feather his own political bed? Would he stand in this House and explain himself?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let us put some facts on the record: no funding was given to the project that the member opposite speaks of.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Franklin border crossing in my riding has been closed since April. Yet the Americans have increased patrols on their side of the border. The government claims that the economy is a priority, but cuts at the crossing in Franklin show the complete opposite. In addition to customs officers and business people, workers have also lost their jobs. As a result, the local economy and the security of neighbouring communities are in jeopardy.

Will the government rethink its decision and invest in security and people's jobs?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we share border concerns with the U.S. and we collaborate with the U.S. We want to ensure that we have a safe and secure border to make sure that criminals are not coming in but that fair trade and the movement of individuals and businesses is happening.

We are watching taxpayers' dollars when it comes to the amalgamation of administration. We are very proud of two things: the way we watch over our borders as well as taxpayers' dollars.

G8 SummitOral Questions

October 3rd, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of watching over our borders, this government wasted $50 million, and now we know what that money was used for. It went towards building a media centre that the media themselves never used. It went towards building a university campus that still has no students All the towns had to do was go to the minister's constituency office and fill out a form. The President of the Treasury Board does not seem to understand that value for money is not defined as getting himself re-elected.

Will he rise and explain this wasteful spending?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, later on today we will be voting on a resolution put forward by the NDP calling for greater investment in municipal infrastructure. Thirty-two projects received funding. That was to repave the runway of an airport in North Bay, far from the member opposite's constituency, repaving provincial highways and supporting a municipal public works project. Each of these created jobs and each of these came in on time and on budget, or even under budget, and is going to support local infrastructure in that region.

I would think the member opposite would want to be supportive of these types of important investments.

St. Laurence SeawayOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, constituents of Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry and all Canadians are concerned about the possibility of a work stoppage on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The effects of a shutdown could be devastating to our economic recovery.

Because the seaway plays such a vital role in the economic stability of Canada, could the Minister of Labour give the House an update on the status of the current labour negotiations at the St. Lawrence Seaway?

St. Laurence SeawayOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, our government remains focused on the economic recovery and, of course, financial security for all Canadians.

The best deal that the parties can come to on their own is the best one that they will get. That is why I am very pleased to tell Canadians in the House today that the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada have signed a tentative agreement.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, a Conservative member of Parliament said that his government was in the process of successfully modifying its approach to the abortion issue. On Friday, another Conservative MP said exactly the same thing.

Is this government changing women's rights against their will or is the Prime Minister unable to control his caucus?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we will admit that this issue stirs up passions. Nevertheless, the government is not reopening the debate.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly reassured by the minister's response. Three Conservative MPs are trying in a roundabout way to reopen the debate on abortion. In Canada, abortion has been legal for decades. Clearly, some Conservative MPs do not accept that, even though a majority of Canadians do.

Can the Prime Minister assure us that he will not allow a private member's bill on abortion to be introduced?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the position of this government is clear. While there are understandable passions and feelings on all sides of the House on all sides of the issue, our government's position is clear: we will not be reopening this issue.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, once again the government just cannot get its story straight. Last week the justice minister stood in the House and pretended to know nothing about a Conservative bill repealing the speech provisions in the Canadian Human Rights Act, but on Friday the Conservative member for Westlock—St. Paul introduced such a bill.

Either the government is opposed to laws banning hate speech or the Prime Minister has lost control of his caucus. Which is it?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, all members are entitled to enter private members' bills, and they will be debated and looked at by all members of the House. If the NDP has a different rule, let us hear what it is.

We have been very clear. I was asked about the government's priorities and I indicated very clearly that we were going to go after drug dealers, the people who bring drugs into this country, and we are going after those individuals who sexually molest children. I would hope that for once this would get the support of the NDP.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, while families struggle and Canada slides back into recession, the government is becoming distracted by its own caucus members.

First it was abortion and now it is hate speech. What other out-of-touch issues does the government have up its sleeve?

Why is the government pushing divisive and extreme private members' bills? Is it that the Prime Minister cannot control the extremist members of his caucus, or is it that he is encouraging them?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our government's priorities have been quite clear. Our focus is on the economy. In fact, later today the members opposite will have an opportunity to support our low-tax plan for jobs and growth by voting in favour of a ways and means motion that is going to help advance that economic agenda.

It is not surprising that Conservative members on their own would bring forward private members' bills that would combat crime, take on criminals, seek to help the economy and remove barriers to trade. Those are all sensible things for Conservatives to do.

We hope that the opposition will see the wisdom in fighting crime and helping our economy as well.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canada's search and rescue response time is one of the worst in the world.

The government's lack of funding is to blame. Response time between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. is 30 minutes, but if a vessel is in trouble outside of banker's hours, it must wait up to two hours before search and rescue is off the ground. Seconds equal lives.

Clearly the government has again confused the sprawling oceans with the Ottawa River.

Why does the Minister of National Defence refuse to address this issue and describe the substandard service as “optimal and effective”?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let me describe Canada's search and rescue territory. It actually covers 18 million square kilometres of land and sea, an area greater than the size of continental Europe.

Here are a few facts for the member. Each year the Canadian Forces and the Coast Guard respond to over 8,000 incidents, tasking military aircraft or ships for 1,100 cases, saving on average 1,200 lives annually and assisting some 20,000 people.

Search and rescue is a no-fail mission. I am very proud of our SAR techs, members of the Canadian Forces who each and every day perform heroics on behalf of Canadians.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of National Defence treats our search and rescue as his personal limousine service, inadequate funding to search and rescue has resulted in one of the slowest response times in the world.

The government closed Maritime rescue centres in St. John's and Quebec, and it claims that its increase to military funding will make up for it. Last time I checked, an overpriced stealth fighter jet was not useful for rescues at sea.

Why does the government believe that only three Cormorant search and rescue helicopters are sufficient to patrol an area the size of Europe?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's inflamed and insulting rhetoric does nothing to elevate the debate on this subject. Everyone feels the loss when individuals find themselves in peril.

A lot of factors come into play. In 2010, 103 Squadron, based in Gander, had an average response time of under 20 minutes during the 30-minute posture and under 51 minutes when it came to the evening posture. They work hard each and every day to save lives.

We support them in their work. We support them with their equipment. The member opposite should—