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House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-10.

Topics

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Yorkton—Melville for his great work on this issue.

Yesterday history was made in the House when members of Parliament passed Bill C-18, the historic marketing freedom for grain farmers act. Once Bill C-18 receives royal assent, western Canadian grain farmers will be able to determine where and when and to whom they sell their grain. They will finally have the choice of a voluntary Canadian wheat board or the open market.

Bill C-18 is now with the Senate. Senators know its swift passage will finally grant western Canadian grain farmers the marketing freedom they so richly deserve.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

November 29th, 2011 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's out-of-touch management has brought the RCMP to a crisis point. There was bullying of the provinces in contract negotiations, there were allegations of pervasive sexual harassment, and now there are questions about whether there are enough front-line officers to protect Canadians.

The RCMP's annual budget has doubled over the last decade. RCMP headquarters is bursting at the seams. Why has the growth in front-line officers not kept pace?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I might remind the member that it was our government that hired 1,800 new front-line RCMP officers and provided $400 million to provinces to recruit officers. The former Liberal government took the irresponsible step of shutting down the RCMP depot in Regina.

We are examining all government spending across the board, particularly in headquarters staff, to ensure taxpayers get the best value for their dollars, and the RCMP is no different in that respect.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the lines prepared for the minister do not conceal the reality. The government's plan includes cuts to the RCMP. This has been confirmed by the Auditor General. The government's aggressive approach has already forced the RCMP to make cuts to investigations into organized crime, drug traffickers and white-collar criminals. The government's plan for the RCMP does not make sense.

Why sacrifice the quality of police services in Canada? Why ask the RCMP to do more with less?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could repeat again that it was our government that hired 1,800 new front-line RCMP officers. We provided $400 million to provinces in terms of their responsibilities to hire and recruit officers; as I pointed out, it was the former Liberal government that shut down the RCMP training depot.

When we came into office, we went from 300 officers a year in terms of training to 1,800 a year. We are committed to front-line policing.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives' lack of transparency on spending reached a new low this week. When the media asked how much the Department of National Defence's HQ renovation would cost, the government responded by saying, “Go file an access to information request”.

Now we find out that this paranoid government had the number of $623 million all along but would not release it to the public, so I ask the minister this question: what could possibly be the justification for keeping this number secret?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, yes, in fact, the Department of National Defence and the public works department are collaborating to consolidate the workforce of national defence here in the nation's capital. We are moving forward with a plan to have those consolidated workforces go from 48 different buildings to 7 in the national capital. An independent third-party analysis has looked at this plan and has come back with the numbers. There will be a cost saving, a long-term ongoing savings, estimated at around $30 million a year. This is good news for taxpayers, and I know the member opposite will want to support it.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will deal with the issue of whether or not we are getting value for dollars afterwards, but right now I would like an answer to the question of why the government felt it was necessary to keep a number that it already had secret from the media, secret from the public and secret from this Parliament.

What is the justification for the secrecy?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for his question, albeit in a rant. I will answer the question again. This is a good move for the Department of National Defence. It will see us consolidate our headquarters at the Nortel campus, which was purchased, I again repeat, to save money. This was done looking at the spending levels that were recorded.

Where were they recorded? It was at a Senate hearing some nine months ago.

Where were they recorded? I spoke about this in transcript at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, of which the member opposite was a member.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, all of the available evidence, including evidence from the Department of Justice, shows that mandatory minimum sentences are excessive, ineffective, disproportionate, costly and do nothing but increase prison populations.

Will the Minister of Justice present to the House the evidence on which he based his decision to support mandatory minimum sentences?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, this matter has been the subject of extensive debate, not only in the House, but also in committee. All documents indicating the costs involved have been tabled. As we know, victims are the ones who bear the cost of crime. We are talking about a total cost of $99.6 billion, 83% of which is borne by the victims. We support the victims, while they support the criminals.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the justice for victims of terrorism act would give victims of terror a civil remedy against their terrorist perpetrators, but it would limit the remedy by immunizing the state perpetrator of terrorism, allowing the remedy to be used only against proxies or agents of the state sponsor.

Why is the government denying Canadians an effective remedy against states that support terrorist proxies or that commit the terrorist acts themselves?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I know the member has been working on this file for a long time, and we appreciate the support that he has provided in giving us advice.

We have proceeded in the way that we have in the bill because of the advice we received from various organizations. We believe that this is the most effective way to ensure that terrorists are held accountable and that victims have a remedy in situations where they would otherwise not have a remedy.

Aviation SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, 17 people died on March 12, 2009, when Cougar flight 491 went down after loss of oil pressure. Less than a year before, the same thing happened to an Australian helicopter, but Transport Canada failed to take action.

After the Newfoundland tragedy, the Transportation Safety Board recommended that all Cougars must be able to run dry for 30 minutes, but the Sikorsky still fails the test.

Why are we giving the Cougars a free pass at the risk of the lives of offshore workers?

Aviation SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this was a very tragic accident. My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

My department continues to work toward addressing the recommendations of the Transportation Safety Board. We will also continue working with our international partners to develop a coordinated approach that would help prevent these accidents from occurring in the future.

Aviation SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, families of the victims who died in a Cougar helicopter crash off Newfoundland want to know why the faulty Cougar gearbox was certified.

The minister will not answer. The sole survivor of the crash wants to make sure all helicopters in the air now can run dry for 30 minutes. The Transportation Safety Board agrees with that recommendation.

Why does the minister continue to allow these faulty, unsafe helicopters in the air? Why is the minister ignoring the safety of Canadians?

Aviation SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the safety of the public is very important to us.

We do not use these events to play politics. This is a very tragic accident. Our condolences go out to the victims and their families.

I can confirm that Transport Canada has received notification that the litigation against it relating to this accident has been discontinued.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all. That is exactly what we are going to do.

However, today the members from Western Arctic and Skeena—Bulkley Valley caved to pressure from their big city elite union bosses and showed up at the public safety committee to attempt to gut our legislation.

Could the Minister of Public Safety please comment on the action of these two members of Parliament?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am afraid that question has nothing to do with the administration of government. We will go on to the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra.

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government said it did not order public servants to replace the term “Government of Canada” with the Prime Minister's own name.

However, records show that is just not true. As one Industry Canada official noted in an email, he was forced to use the PM's name “as per our directive from PCO”.

This Soviet-style politicization of Canada's bureaucracy is unethical, and it breaks the government's own rules. Why force neutral public servants to do the Prime Minister's partisan bidding? Why cover it up?

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I have been called a lot of things, but never “Soviet-style”. This is a first for me.

I want to assure the hon. member that in fact there is no need for a directive that she seems to believe in, because it has been a long-standing practice across various governments. In fact, when the Liberals were in government, they used the term “Chrétien government”, “Martin government” and similar variations in official government communications.

The proof is in the pudding. This terminology is widely used by journalists and by the opposition parties. If the circumstances permit, those are the circumstances in which we would use that term.

PensionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government says it is still committed to improving the Canada pension plan and the Quebec pension plan because that is the favourite option of Canadians.

Unlike the government's pooled pension scheme, the CPP and QPP are inflation-proof, provide a guaranteed defined benefit, and cost less.

Canadians are not that concerned with voting records; what they want to know is whether the Minister of Finance will guarantee to the House that the CPP expansion is on the agenda for the upcoming December meeting of the federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers.

PensionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, in talks on the Canada pension plan with our partners, the provinces, we continue to discuss any enhancements that may be appropriate at this time, but I would remind the hon. member that there was consensus, unanimous support, among the federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers to pursue the framework for a pooled registered pension plan.

That is why we tabled it in this House. We continue discussions. We continue to develop the regulations around it to make an effective retirement plan for the 60% of Canadians in the workforce who do not have a pension plan right now.

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, small- and medium-sized businesses employ nearly half of all working Canadians.

Our Conservative government recognizes that when we create new opportunities abroad, we create jobs and prosperity for Canadian small businesses and their workers and families. That is why our government is moving forward on our job-creating pro-trade plan.

Can the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway tell the House about the recent report received from the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Advisory Board?

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Niagara West—Glanbrook for his hard work on behalf of businesses in his riding.

This morning I met with small and medium-sized business leaders and they strongly support our pro-trade plan.

Here is what the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Catherine Swift, had to say:

It is encouraging to see the government taking small-business issues into account when negotiating trade agreements.... The government’s pro-trade plan will benefit not only Canadian SMEs looking to expand into new markets like Europe but also the Canadian economy as a whole

This Conservative government is working hard--