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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

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did the government ignore the expert panel's recommendations on energy drinks, but on top of that, it is going to take years to implement the changes that it is proposing. In other words, companies will have two years before they have to adjust to the new labelling rules. I do not find these regulations particularly energetic or very beneficial for our adolescents.

Why did the government give in to the interests of the industry and bring forward such a weak plan?

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, as I stated earlier, we carefully looked at all the recommendations coming from the expert panel, as well as a number of other sources. I believe that we have put a plan forward that is balanced. It would put the health and safety of Canadians first and it allows Canadians to make an informed choice for themselves as well as for their families. This is a balanced approach.

As a mom, I know that it is important for me to have the information to make decisions for myself as well as my child. The proposed changes today allow me to do that.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, government scientists are being muzzled. They have to ask the minister for permission to speak to the media. Media coverage of climate change has decreased by 80%. Is that the government's real target? There are not enough statistics on the impact of the oil sands on greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

If the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers can exchange emails with Environment Canada scientists, why can the scientists not talk to Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the assumptions being made in that question are pure nonsense.

We have Environment Canada scientists available to talk to the media regularly and we make no apologies for finding more cost-effective ways to protect the environment.

We do have a plan to address climate change and mitigation with regard to meeting our Cancun and Copenhagen obligations, as well as adaptation, particularly with regard to the Canadian north.

We have a plan, and I am delighted that the commissioner for the environment acknowledges it.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, industry has a cozy relationship with government communications as well. Oil lobbyists got government help to explain why oil sands emissions data were left out. “I appreciate the help on this, an important issue for industry...”, writes one lobbyist in a thank-you note to the Conservatives.

Mr. Speaker, this is important for all Canadians. When will the government stop muzzling its scientists so that all Canadians can hear from them, not just the Conservatives' oil lobbyist friends?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our government is prepared, and certainly Environment Canada is prepared, to communicate with all levels of Canadian society, whether it be in industry, whether it be non-governmental organizations, or indeed members of the opposition.

If my hon. colleague has any questions that she would like clarified with the department, I invite her to make contact with my office and I will arrange such a briefing.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the Minister of the Environment insisted that Dr. David Tarasick was free to talk to the media about the Arctic ozone hole article he co-authored. I have a copy of an article written by a journalist on the subject on October 3, 2011, that clearly states that Dr. Tarasick was not allowed to discuss the paper.

Can the minister explain why the government blocked this interview from taking place?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as one of my colleagues just reminded me, one should not believe everything one reads or hears in the media.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mauril Bélanger

You should know.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The Minister of the Environment has the floor.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

As I said several times this week, Canadians do owe a debt of gratitude to scientists like Dr. Tarasick and the other scientists who participated in this international report, and who regularly contribute to the greater knowledge of not only ozone but of all of the sciences of the environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the Minister of the Environment said to this House, “We do not muzzle our scientists”. However, I have in my hands a copy of the email exchange between a reporter and the environment minister's spokesperson, which unequivocally states, “An interview cannot be granted”.

Can the minister please explain how his statement is inconsistent with the actions taken by his office?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I also said on Tuesday that Environment Canada scientists are regularly available to speak with responsible journalists, depending on their availability.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

I would suggest that Dr. Tarasick will be available, again depending on his availability, to speak to representatives of the media.

JusticeOral Questions

October 6th, 2011 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 2005 Canada made the historic decision to allow same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, the Conservatives are now trying to erode this right by intervening in an Ontario case to oppose recognition of a same-sex civil partnership from the U.K.

The Ontario government has agreed to recognize this partnership under Canadian law, but the Conservative government is opposing the guarantee of full protection of the law to this couple under the Divorce Act.

Why is the Minister of Justice intervening in this case to deny equal protection of the law for all same-sex couples?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it wrong. We have been very clear that we are not reopening the issue, but it is a legal dispute over definitions.

As the matter is before the court, I look forward to the decision of the court.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government knows full well it is intervening in the case, not standing back from the case. The government claims it does not want to reopen the same-sex marriage debate, but that is exactly what it is doing by disputing the definition of a civil partnership. Conservatives are saying straight couples who move to Canada have more rights than same-sex couples.

Will the minister agree to respect gay and lesbian rights and stop opposing full legal recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions from other jurisdictions?

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we respect the rights of all individuals and we have been very clear about that. We have done nothing to reopen that debate. We respect the decision by Parliament, but it is a question of definitions, and that is being argued before the courts. We are intervenors, as are a number of other individuals and organizations, and I look forward to the court's decision.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Palestinian Authority is unilaterally seeking to become a full member of the United Nations General Assembly. Many people fear that this unilateral action will hinder the negotiations for peace in the region.

The application is for full membership at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is only exacerbating the situation.

Would the Minister of Foreign Affairs please share with the House the government's view on this problematic move by the Palestinian Authority?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are disappointed with the decision of UNESCO's executive body and urge all members of UNESCO to reject this unilateral action. The long-standing position of the Government of Canada is that we support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the solution must be negotiated at the negotiating table between both parties. That position has not changed.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Digby, Nova Scotia resident Philip Halliday has been in a Spanish prison for almost two years awaiting a trial date so that he can clear his name. He needs treatment for liver disease and cysts on his kidneys, but is not getting it. Friends and family are worried about his deteriorating health and the fact that no trial date has been set. They wonder why the government is doing nothing to ensure Mr. Halliday receives a fair and speedy trial or proper health care.

Can the minister explain why the government continues to abandon Canadians in dire straits abroad?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member is well aware that the American government has agreed that Omar Khadr will return to Canada. We will respect the agreement between Omar Khadr and the U.S. government.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!