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House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have ongoing discussions with our neighbours to the south on this and other issues that are important to the Arctic.

Obviously, this government will always stand up for Canadian sovereignty and fight for what is right. We have an incredibly important responsibility to ensure that our environment is protected and nowhere is that responsibility more important than in the Arctic, which has a very fragile ecosystem.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador were surprised this morning to find out that they have something new in common with British Columbia. These provinces are now also being threatened by the Conservative government. If they do not accept the government's deal on the RCMP, the RCMP will be pulled off the streets.

When will the Conservatives get back to the negotiating table and stop ambushing provinces with take it or leave it offers?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, all of the provinces that have contract policing know that the date for renewing the contract is March 2012. Everyone knows that. That is when the 20-year agreement comes to an end.

On September 9 the B.C. government, which is leading all of the other provinces that have not signed, said it would send us its proposals to consider. I am waiting. I have not heard from that government.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport's duty, his responsibility, is to ensure that the existing Champlain Bridge is safe. Experts have released damning and troubling reports. The government is hiding the truth about the real state of the Champlain Bridge.

What would the government prefer to do? Table all of the audit reports and the certificate of compliance to prove that the bridge is safe, or one day defend itself in court for criminal negligence? Even the engineers think that we should prepare for the worst.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member for Bourassa is not one to lecture us about safety. I would remind the House that we have invested $359 million to make the Champlain Bridge safer, including $159 million in budget 2011, which the member for Bourassa voted against. That is not an impressive safety record.

I would like to share what the president of la Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, Ms. Bertrand, had to say about our government. She said, “After announcing an agreement on the harmonization of the GST and the QST last week, now we have a commitment on the Champlain Bridge...This is excellent news for Quebec's economy and we are proud to see the demands of the business community being heard.”

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the member's information, in 1999, 2000 and 2001, we worked on repairing the Champlain Bridge and also invested money in it. There is a bit too much asbestos in his riding and he is insulating himself. There will be a new Champlain Bridge, but there is a problem with the existing one. We want to know whether it is safe. We are not looking for quotes about how happy people are. We are happy about the new Champlain Bridge, but it will take 10 years to build. If the existing bridge collapses in the meantime, it will be a case of criminal negligence. It is a matter of safety.

We want to know why the government refuses to table the inspection reports.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is complete nonsense. They may very well have made investments, as they said, which were too little, but we have made massive investments—$359 million, including $159 million in the 2011 budget—and the member voted against them. Frankly, that says it all. If they care about safety, that makes no sense.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

October 6th, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, Majeed Uddin Ahmed, a Canadian citizen, together with his wife and their two Canadian children, ages five and one and a half, have been arrested and incarcerated in Saudi Arabia's notorious Dhaban prison for two weeks. One of the children is sick and requires medical care.

From the beginning, the minister was made aware of this situation. The family in Canada has been advised that it will have to wait until next week for news as officials have told them, “It is not in our route of travel”.

When will the minister order her officials to change their travel plans and bring these kids home?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, we are in fact aware of reports of this family being detained in Saudi Arabia. Canadian officials have been working, and will continue to work, with local authorities to receive formal confirmation of the family's present situation.

In addition, consular officials are seeking, if there is confirmation of the family's detention, to have consular access with the family. We are in constant daily contact with the family here in Canada and we will continue to work for the well-being of this family.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is finally responding to NDP pressure to build a new Champlain Bridge. We barely had time to celebrate—

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. Is there a problem with the translation?

The hon. member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, we hope the bridge will not be built in Muskoka.

We barely had time to celebrate before we learned that families will be the ones footing the bill. Why is the government taking money from families instead of making their lives more affordable? Can the government tell us how much each family must pay to cross the bridge?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is an odd question.

I have an article here written by Louis-Gilles Francoeur on December 23, 2005. This article says that in a hotel in Montreal North in December 2005, the member for Outremont, then the environment and sustainable development minister, openly said he was in favour of extending Highway 25 and the bridge, a project that included tolls. Some people began to call it the Mulcair Bridge .

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport is saying that there will be a toll on the Champlain Bridge but that the bridge will not cost taxpayers a penny. Let us be clear, it is families that will pay. The municipalities of Montreal's south shore are wondering why their residents will be the only ones footing the bill. Families are also wondering why they are being punished.

It is currently free to cross the bridge. Why should families have to pay?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, this is an odd question because the member for Brossard—La Prairie has also publicly stated that he is open to a toll system. I do not understand this double standard.

Everyone is happy about the bridge. They should be looking at this in a positive light and stop casting a shadow on this wonderful news. There will finally be a new Champlain Bridge that will be sustainable for future generations and affordable for Canadian taxpayers. That is what is important.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's vague announcement is going to hurt Montreal families right in their pocketbooks. First, it decided to ding commuters every time they go to work; then, it saddles taxpayers with a cost overrun we know will come from these risky private ventures.

Could the minister tell this House who will own the bridge? Does he even know how much these tolls will cost? Will the government have any say? Or will the new bridge become a cash cow for some private company?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I just stated what the member for Brossard—La Prairie said and I will quote him. He said, “In terms of tolls, it's still to be seen. Like we've always said, we're open. With regard to the Champlain Bridge's replacement, we're not dismissing the idea of tolls”.

What is the problem today?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will also try to build bridges.

The Champlain Bridge construction project contains no plans for public transit. The minister says that that is a provincial responsibility, but if this bridge is 100% federal, as he likes to remind everyone, why are there no plans for federal-provincial coordination of public transit? That is important. So, the federal government is going to spend $5 billion on the bridge, while, at the same time, further down the same road, the provincial government is spending $3 billion on the Turcot project.

Will the Conservatives work in partnership with Quebec for more public transit, or is $8 billion going to be spent to wind up with the same congestion problems? Talk about short-sightedness.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, one thing is clear: everyone seems to agree that a toll system is a viable solution for Canadian taxpayers. Finally, a new bridge will be built.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has been very clear. We have taken the first step. We know where we are headed. We know that this viable infrastructure will be there for future generations. Yes, consultations will be held with the mayors in question and with the province in order to maximize this investment. That is how we will move forward.

Let us be clear: this viable infrastructure will serve future generations and will be affordable for Canadian taxpayers.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, while our Conservative government is focused on helping create jobs and growing the economy with lower taxes, the NDP is demanding higher taxes. The NDP has clearly stated in its platform it wants to slap a huge $10 billion-a-year job killing tax hike on Canadian employers. Lower taxes, not higher taxes, create jobs. Even the NDP Manitoba government understands that.

Could the Minister of State for Finance inform the House why the government and the NDP are--

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will have to stop the member there. He is out of time.

The hon. Minister of State for Finance.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the federal NDP needs to listen to its Manitoba cousins who agree that lowering taxes for businesses and Canadians actually helps create jobs. The Manitoba NDP government actually cut business taxes seven times in the last seven years. The Manitoba NDP finance minister said that if the federal government reduces corporate taxes, it will make a difference for their businesses, and they would be very happy with that.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, last year Health Canada's expert panel on caffeinated drinks recommended the minister better regulate energy drinks. However, instead of adopting the panel's recommendation to curb caffeine levels, she announced the caffeine content could be over twice the acceptable level.

Why will the minister not respect these expert guidelines to protect our children's health? Why is the Minister of Health siding with the industry instead of telling it to stop marketing to children? Why is the minister doing this?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, we decided to take a balanced approach regarding energy drinks. It would give the parents and individuals like her more information. They can use the information to make an informed decision.

We looked at all the recommendations carefully and I believe we have a plan that is balanced. It would put the health of Canadians first by giving them the information they need to make informed choices for themselves.