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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

Service CanadaOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that during the global recession, we added workers to handle the increased volume of employment insurance claims, and we even improved standards. As a result, over 80% of people received their first employment insurance payment within four weeks, compared to 10 weeks under the Liberals.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to the issue of the Champlain Bridge. We will talk about the safety of the current bridge another time, but I want to come back to the issue of the new bridge. There is talk of a public-private partnership, a PPP. Unlike the NDP, we are in agreement with that and we will not change our minds.

The issue of timelines is crucial. Environmental assessments take at least three years. A Mohawk cemetery has been discovered. Very serious negotiations will be needed. There is talk of expropriation and a development plan, and we have yet to touch on public transit.

The people of Montreal and the south shore want timelines. Will the government table timelines?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right—building a bridge like this will take time. Luckily, our government has had confirmation that the Champlain Bridge is safe, and we are working to keep it that way. We are taking the necessary measures to maintain that safety. If the safety of the Champlain Bridge was so important to the opposition parties, they should have supported our budget last March since it included this investment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the Minister of the Environment stated unequivocally that we do not muzzle our scientists. Yesterday, we were told that Environment Canada scientist Dr. Tarasick was available to speak to responsible media, but the minister's office has denied access to the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and The Gazette.

If Environment Canada's ozone scientists are not being muzzled, why have these newspapers been denied access? Does the minister not consider these news organizations to be responsible media?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we certainly are proud of the work of our scientists and the contributions they make to protecting Canada's environment. Ministers speak for the government. That is why we give answers in question period.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, the Conservatives denied the request of the opposition members to hear His Excellency the Ambassador of Tunisia, who was in the room. The hon. member for Mississauga—Erindale said that the government would strenuously object. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the government's policies on the elections in Tunisia.

Since when does the government get to decide who the committees can hear from? Since when are public servants the only ones allowed to testify?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the members of the committee are free to do their work. That is up to them. I will leave those decisions to the members of that committee. While I am here, I would like to congratulate the hon. member on her new position as the foreign affairs critic for the official opposition. I am happy to work with her.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Sana Hassainia NDP Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the opposition members were willing to give up their allocated speaking time to hear the ambassador. By refusing to allow him to speak, the Conservatives are sending the wrong message to the Tunisians who want to participate in the democratic transition. Time is of the essence. They have an opportunity to elect a constituent assembly that will lead the country during the creation of a real democracy. Out of 28 countries that were asked to allow expatriates to vote, only Canada refused.

Will the minister commit today to giving Tunisians living in Canada the tools to participate in the democratic transition?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that Canadians who are also citizens of Tunisia are free to vote in Canada during the Tunisian elections, if they are eligible. The important thing is that Canada could not be part of a foreign constituency. However, there are more than a dozen countries that have participated in elections here in Canada, and Tunisia was free to do the same.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, since 2006 our government has committed itself to maintaining good relationships with the provinces and territories from coast to coast to coast. Our government has also made it clear that we are the only party that stands up for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Could the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs tell the House what our government is doing to deliver results to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?

[Member spoke in the Innu language]

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Peter Penashue ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time that the Innu language has been heard in this House.

While other parties play politics with the province, our government delivers results for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Whether we talk about Lower Churchill, fighting for the sealing industry, or of course scrapping the long gun registry, we are the ones delivering for the province.

Northern DevelopmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, an internal audit of CanNor has found that the agency has violated almost every financial management rule since its creation, including all the directives regarding expense control. Internal audits are not the friends of this government. It should be pointed out that the agency has had five chief financial officers since its creation.

Why is there total chaos at this agency, which is supposed to spearhead the government's strategy for the far north? Does this indicate how little importance the Prime Minister attaches to this strategy and this region?

Northern DevelopmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I also encourage the member opposite to visit the north, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, to see what is really happening on the ground, where we are investing in many development opportunities and opening mines during a global recession.

This is a draft audit and, as I stated yesterday, we take all audits very seriously. I look forward to receiving the final audit and we will address the issues based on the audit.

Canada Labour CodeOral Questions

Noon

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, harmonizing the language rights of workers in Quebec only makes sense and is a crucial step in recognizing the Quebec nation. Indeed, why should the employees of a chartered bank not enjoy the same rights as the employees of a credit union in Quebec? Other parties have tried to divide Quebeckers on this issue, but we in the NDP are building bridges between all communities. That is why I introduced a bill this week to amend the Canada Labour Code.

Will the Conservatives work with the NDP to harmonize the rights of Quebec employees working in businesses under federal jurisdiction with those of employees working for businesses under provincial jurisdiction?

Canada Labour CodeOral Questions

Noon

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I would like to congratulate him on his work.

The government is determined to continue to protect and promote our country's two official languages.

International TradeOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think it is safe to say that the government has undertaken one of the most ambitious expansions of its trade agenda in the last two decades. It is doing so because it understands that increased trade means increased demand for Canadian goods and services and increased economic growth. It also understands that over half of the Canadian economy and one in five Canadian workers depend on these trade agreements.

Because this file is so important, would the government update the House on its trade agenda?

International TradeOral Questions

Noon

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of International Trade was, at his request, before committee discussing the enormous benefits of our job creating, pro-trade plan.

Today, the minister will embark upon a trade mission to China, because we know that when Canadian businesses grow in this priority market, they create jobs and prosperity here at home.

Despite the NDP's opposition, we will continue to pursue our job creating, pro-trade, low-tax plan, a plan that created over 650,000 jobs since July 2009.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

October 7th, 2011 / noon

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all of us here, I would like to wish you, all my colleagues in the House of Commons and all Canadians a very happy Thanksgiving.

Here is one thing the Conservatives will never talk about with respect to the plan they have over there. Since they took power, 305,000 additional Canadians now use the food bank, which means that a total of 910,000 Canadians this Thanksgiving will need to rely on the charity of a food bank to have sustenance over this weekend, including many veterans.

Instead of dingwalling Parliament and using jets and slush funds to help themselves, when will the Conservatives introduce real policies to help the real poor in Canada?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

Noon

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the NDP member's concern for the poor would be a lot more credible if he would actually do something to help them.

Our government, in spite of the NDP, has introduced many measures to help the poor. To help them get over the welfare wall there is the working income tax benefit. We have lowered taxes, taking one million Canadians off the tax roll, leaving more money in their pockets to spend. We have increased the guaranteed income supplement for seniors, not once, but twice.

If it were up to the NDP, 14,000 affordable housing projects would not be under way to help Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

Noon

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment to continuously try to unravel the muzzling of government scientists.

I accept that the minister would never knowingly mislead this House but his answers do not accord with the facts.

I have an email here to a responsible journalist with Postmedia in which it states that “an interview cannot be granted” with the scientist in question.

I would urge the parliamentary secretary not to tell us that the minister speaks for all scientists. The reality is that, if the minister is not muzzling these scientists, and I accept that he is not, will he investigate who in the Government of Canada is muzzling these scientists?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

Noon

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I know the minister has addressed this issue on numerous occasions.

However, before I answer the question, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague at Finance on Canada's new job numbers. The global recovery remains fragile but this government is working hard right now to get Parliament to implement the next phase of our action plan.

I encourage my colleague across the aisle to vote in support of our budget measures, which include funding for climate change adaptation. And, ministers do speak for the government.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, during question period, I referred to the President of the Treasury Board as the miscreant minister from Muskoka. I have since been reminded what the definition of “miscreant” actually is. It means a wretch or a villain. Notwithstanding my feelings about the Muskoka slush fund, I do not believe the President of the Treasury Board is either a wretch or a villain. Therefore, I would like to withdraw the word “miscreant”, and I apologize for misusing that term.

While I have the floor, I wonder if the Minister of Foreign Affairs would like to correct the answer that he gave to my question when he pointed out that budget 2009 contained all the spending for the G8, whereas budget 2009 did not contain any reference to the G8 or the legacy fund. In fact, the President of the Treasury Board had to tell the mayor of Huntsville to hold off putting out a press release because it was not contained in the budget.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I appreciate the first part of the hon. member's point of order but, of course, the second part was not a point of order but a continuation of debate.

Committees of the HousePoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I was shocked by the glowing remarks from the parliamentary secretary about the appearance of the Minister of International Trade at committee yesterday because, in our most important marketplace, where we are being shut out by buy American, the chair of the committee would not allow questions to be put to the minister on the buy American file. That is not the way a committee is supposed to operate. The parliamentary secretary can be glowing but we should have the right to ask any questions we want.

Committees of the HousePoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

That is not a point of order but a continuation of debate. The member might like to take it up in a future question period or perhaps in committee where it seems to have occurred in the first place.