This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities made a false comparison. The Autoroute 25 Bridge was completely new infrastructure in a location where there had never been a bridge before. The Champlain Bridge, on the other hand, is an existing vital artery for a city of four million people, the second-largest city in Canada and the gateway to the Maritimes.

From now on, hundreds of thousands of workers will have to pay to cross when crossing is currently free. Why?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, this bridge is a major asset for the country, and the commitment that the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities made today to build a new bridge is excellent news. The manner in which we will proceed with our partners and the private sector will ensure that the construction does not result in additional costs to taxpayers. That is what he is seeking.

The government's preferred option to ensure viable infrastructure for future generations currently involves tolls and a public-private partnership.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is funny. Every time I hear the Conservatives talking about a public-private partnership, I get the impression that they really mean a partnership that will line the pockets of the private sector or one that will make the public pay.

Hundreds of thousands of people will pay out of their own pockets for a toll bridge when it costs nothing to cross the existing bridge. The government needs to tell the public why.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, the mayor of Montreal said:

In 2011, the development of any road infrastructure must provide sustainable and effective solutions in terms of mass transit. I also argued in favour of implementing a toll system in order to fund the bridge and speed up its construction.

I could also quote Michel Leblanc, Françoise Bertrand, the Conseil du patronat du Québec and others. We understand that the NDP does not do business with the private sector; perhaps it hates doing so. But we want to keep our promises and ensure that sustainable infrastructure is built for Canada's future generations.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no bridge and no plan. All we have is an announcement. There is a difference. The problem we see is that the Government of Quebec was not there for the announcement, and if there is a public transit aspect, it is absolutely essential to have the full co-operation of the Province of Quebec.

How does the Prime Minister explain this off-the-cuff announcement, which has nothing to do with a real plan or a real bridge?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities made a very important announcement for the greater Montreal area. This is crucial to this region's economy. I have seen very positive reactions from the mayor of Montreal, the president of the Conseil du patronat du Québec and the president of the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec.

We will work with our partners in the public and private sectors to get the new bridge built.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, given the Prime Minister's notorious commitment to consulting this House, to transparency, and to openness, I wonder if the Prime Minister could give us his assurance today that, before any agreement with the United States on perimeter security is signed, the agreement will be tabled in this House and open to parliamentary scrutiny and debate.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the actions of the government are always open to scrutiny and debate. Because the opposition loses the debate does not mean we did not have a debate.

The government is still in discussions with the United States. However, unlike the other parties, we think it is critical to the Canadian economy that we have trade with the U.S., we secure access to our market, and we ensure our mutual security.

I know the NDP is against that and the Liberal Party has no position on it, but these are critical things for Canadians.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear an answer to the second question. Perhaps I could hear an answer to this one.

Could the Prime Minister explain why he would be signing this deal when the Obama administration is actively promoting buy America, which is in effect anti-Canada; when we are about to be hit with a ports tax in the United States, which again discriminates directly against Canadian economic interests; and when we still have not resolved the food labelling issue?

Why would the Prime Minister be signing this deal when all these issues are still very much on the table?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, some of the things the leader said in his preamble are not correct. In terms of the specific negotiations with the United States, we do not have an agreement yet, but we continue to work on it.

Only a former leader of the NDP would say that when we face American protectionism, the solution to that is to cut our own access off to the American market.

President of the Treasury BoardOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is now 118 days since the President of the Treasury Board vanished in plain sight, and little wonder. He ran a homemade paper trail through his constituency office, conveniently beyond the reach of the Auditor General.

The Information Commissioner says that she is worried about the use of private emails to cover the tracks of ministers. The government is a black hole of accountability and the President of the Treasury Board is at the centre of this hole.

Will he stand up in the House today and explain why the Auditor General was misled?

President of the Treasury BoardOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General had full access to all of the information pertaining to 32 public infrastructure projects that all benefited municipalities, provincial and community infrastructure. She came forward and made some observations on how we could do a better job to be even more transparent to Parliament, and we have completely accepted her good advice.

President of the Treasury BoardOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, if it were that simple the President of the Treasury Board would not need his big brother to stand up for him in the schoolyard every day.

This is about accountability. Accountable ministers do not try to pull a fast one on the Auditor General. Accountable ministers do not tell mayors to keep their mouths shut until they get their stories straight. Accountable ministers stand up in the House of Commons and explain themselves.

The Prime Minister knew the ethical lapses of the Muskoka minister. Why did he put the minister in charge of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money?

President of the Treasury BoardOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, here are the facts: 32 projects were supported by Infrastructure Canada; 32 projects were built; 32 projects came in on time and on budget; 32 projects all in the public sector are now at the disposal and benefit of the province, the community and municipalities in that region.

President of the Treasury BoardOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if only the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka were capable of defending himself.

We have learned that the mayor of Huntsville is clearly embarrassed by the email exchange between him and the President of the Treasury Board.

Can the minister stand and explain to us how these emails prove that the Prime Minister's Office was involved? How they prove that the minister wanted to block a spending review? Does the President of the Treasury Board agree with the mayor of Huntsville that Bell Canada stocks will go up when politicians like him learn to use the telephone to hide their unsavoury activities?

President of the Treasury BoardOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak to the issue involving the mayor of Huntsville.

This government expanded the access to information laws. We tried to bring more light and more accountability to public corporations like the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Wheat Board. The first time in Canadian history a party stood up and voted to bring the cloak of darkness back on a public corporation and it was the NDP that did that with the Canadian Wheat Board.

President of the Treasury BoardOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs must be starting to get really tired of standing and answering questions about his neighbour's emails.

The mayor of Huntsville learned his lesson: if you are planning some funny business, make sure you cover your tracks. The Information Commissioner is justifiably worried about that statement and the fact that the minister is determined to cover his tracks.

Does the President of the Treasury Board believe that he, too, needs to learn how to better hide the truth?

President of the Treasury BoardOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I never get tired of answering questions from the New Democratic Party in the House. It is always a great privilege to serve Canadians.

It was this government that expanded the access to information laws. There are access to information laws at the provincial and municipal levels. The fact that all of these email exchanges were released shows just how open and transparent things are.

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the United States is planning to impose a special tariff on Canadian businesses. This time, an extra $140 will be charged on each container carrying goods from British Columbia when cargo ships dock in the United States. This news came to light on the eve of the announcement of a co-operation agreement between the two countries.

Will the government stand up to our American neighbour and refuse this latest attack on our trade interests?

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, any new tax is a bad idea as it raises costs on consumers.

Canada's ports and railways are competing fairly. The Asia-Pacific gateway initiative that the member refers to is working as intended.

We will defend Canada's competitive advantage wherever it is threatened. I have made this clear to FMC Commissioner Lidinsky as well as to my USTR counterpart Ambassador Kirk.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, first the U.S. slapped protectionist buy American provisions into the American jobs act. Now the Conservatives claim to be “monitoring the situation” while the U.S. moves forward with a punitive $140 tariff on goods coming through B.C. ports. Seventy-five billion dollars worth of annual trade and 130,000 jobs are at stake.

Why is the Minister of International Trade letting the Americans run roughshod over Canadian trade interests? When will the minister start doing his job?

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage that member to visit my part of the country to see what is actually going on there.

While the member opposite engages in unhelpful rhetoric, both my parliamentary secretary as well as the chairman of the international trade committee are on the ground in Washington, D.C. today raising this very issue with their counterparts.

Unlike the member opposite, we will continue to promote Canada's competitive advantage and aggressively pursue the elimination of trade barriers.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are cutting border services to sign a $1 billion perimeter security deal with the U.S.

From softwood lumber to the buy American act, every time the Conservatives negotiate a deal across the border, Canadians lose out, on jobs, the environment, natural resources and privacy.

The government has a proven track record of being very bad negotiators. How can Canadians trust the government? What is on the table this time?

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, on May 2 Canadians gave the government a very strong mandate to focus on economic growth and the creation of jobs. Our focus is on removing trade barriers, not erecting new ones. I wish the member would join us as we stand up for Canadians.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

October 5th, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government did not get a mandate to give away our sovereignty. Canadians do not agree with that.

According to reports, Canadian officials are heading to Washington this weekend to beg for the U.S. government to hold a public signing ceremony for the deal. The Conservatives cannot even negotiate a signing ceremony, but claim they can negotiate a good deal for Canadians.

Concerns have been raised repeatedly about protecting the privacy of Canadians and also the thickening of our border, yet the government is more worried about a photo op with Barack Obama. Why will the government not come clean on its secret security deal?