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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fair.

Topics

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a serious flaw in the process that was used to appoint the Auditor General. The government announced that the position was a bilingual one and that official bilingualism was an essential qualification for the position. The Canada Gazette used the phrase “proficiency in both official languages”.

Why does the government keep insisting that there are no problems with the basic process used in this appointment?

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the process encouraged bilingual Canadians to apply and all candidates were considered. It was determined that the person selected had the best skills of all the candidates. And that is why Sheila Fraser, the former Auditor General, said, “He will be a very good auditor general. He is very capable, a very nice person and I think once parliamentarians get to know him, they will appreciate him.”

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not about the agreeability of the person in question; that really is not the issue. The issue is that the government set out in a written announcement with respect to the posting of a public position, an officer of Parliament, that the position required official bilingualism. It required a capacity in our two official languages in order to be able to hold the job. That was set out as a fundamental characteristic of the post.

The Conservatives then changed the rules at the end of the game. Since when is it fair or reasonable to do that? It is not. It is whimsical, arbitrary, capricious, and it is wrong. It is illegitimate, and the government should know it.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate to see the leader of the third party attacking an officer of Parliament who has been a faithful public servant, whose candidacy has been supported even by Mr. Victor Boudreau, the interim leader of the Liberal Party of New Brunswick.

I would remind the leader of the Liberal Party that when he was here as a member of Parliament for the NDP, Pierre Trudeau appointed Ken Dye as one of our greatest auditors general in modern Canadian history. Mr. Dye was a unilingual Canadian.

We do not believe that Canadians who do not have perfect fluency in both languages should be excluded from serving their country.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I still see a problem here. First, when the minister clearly states that I have attacked someone, he should know—and I am looking straight at him—that he is not telling the truth. We are not opposed to the individual in question. We are opposed to the government's position and how it made this choice. It broke its own rules with this process. The minister should see that there is a problem here. It creates a problem for the entire Canadian public service when the government changes the rules like that. That is the problem.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, if there is a problem here, it is the credibility of the leader of the Liberal Party. Professor Donald Savoie at the Université de Moncton said, and I quote, “What surprises me is that the leaders of the opposition parties immediately cried foul. If they had concerns, they should have voiced them when they were given the opportunity.”

All the Liberal members have refused to vote against Mr. Ferguson's appointment. We believe in equal opportunity and we do not want to exclude Canadians who are not perfectly—

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, Europe has been rocked by the threat of an economic disaster that could have significant repercussions in countries everywhere, including Canada. Canadians are afraid of losing their jobs, a record number of families are turning to food banks and there are record levels of inequality. Almost two million people are unemployed, but there is no real plan to create jobs that will sustain the economy.

My question is simple: when will this government finally take action to help these Canadian families?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as we have said over and over, we have a plan. The NDP voted against our plan. This plan will help the economy and our Canadian families. I am referring to phase two of Canada's economic action plan. I wonder why the NDP is refusing to vote with us to create jobs. We have created 650,000 jobs since July 2009.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that slow growth means fewer jobs for Canadians. Yesterday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said we should expect another 100,000 Canadians to lose their jobs next year. The Governor of the Bank of Canada said that the economy is slowing. These are individuals with more credibility than the government has.

The Conservatives are clearly taking Canada down the wrong track. When will the government admit it does not have a plan, adopt the sound economic suggestions of this side of the House, through the NDP, and act now to protect family-supporting jobs to avoid 100,000 more unemployed people?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I was at that meeting yesterday. I heard very clearly what the PBO had to say. I heard very clearly the other day what the Governor of the Bank of Canada had to say. It was very clear that the PBO said that he makes mistakes. Why did he say that? There was a report in The Globe and Mail recently which said very clearly that the PBO is less accurate many times over the government estimates, which are private sector, independent economists' estimates. The government is 9 times out of 15 more accurate.

We are going to stick with our low-tax agenda. We are going to help families. Whether or not those members vote for it, we are going to do the right thing.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about mistakes. From May 2008 to today, the Conservatives have created barely 250,000 jobs in this country. It is not the numbers they advance, not the bogus mistakes that they put forward.

Before the Conservatives start to celebrate, the reality is that over the same period of time, the labour market grew by 450,000 jobs. This means they are 200,000 jobs short from treading water, from standing still. That is very unfortunate for Canadian families.

Given that their numbers are bogus, given that they are going to lose another 100,000 jobs if they do not act, why do the Conservatives not get to work now so that Canadians can get back to work?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what we have to resist is that $10 billion tax hike the NDP has proposed that would kill jobs, that would negatively impact Canadian families. Let us not forget that the IMF and the OECD have been very clear that this is and will be the country in the next five years in the world to do business.

We are going to continue with the plan we have because that is giving us the advantage in the world. That is going to help Canadian families. We are not going to succumb to the punishment of the NDP on our Canadian families by voting for higher taxes and killing jobs.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, families are finding it harder to get ahead. Household debt is the highest it has ever been. The average Canadian family owes $1.49 for every dollar it earns.

The Conservatives have no plan. When will we see measures from the government that will help struggling Canadian families?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we clearly are concerned about Canadians overextending themselves. However, I have to ask myself, and I ask the NDP to respond to this eventually, why is that when we put as a priority of our government things like the financial literacy plan where we are setting up a financial literacy leader in the government to improve that situation, when we introduce credit card reforms, when we strengthen mortgage rules to protect Canadians who are buying a home and when we cut taxes and create things like the TFSA, which is an incredible advantage to Canadians, the NDP always votes against them?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is we voted against billions in corporate tax cuts. We voted against the inaction of the government.

Household debt has reached record levels and families continue to pay the price.

The problem is that instead of helping households make ends meet, the Conservative government continues to give large tax cuts to big business, which does not really create jobs. If that is their plan, it just does not work.

When will this government finally help families crushed by debt?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, our government's priority is primarily to meet the needs of our Canadian families. For that reason, we are anxiously watching current world events. We are hearing more and more that events affecting Europe and the United States may affect us also.

That is why we must continue with our plan to freeze taxes for families and maintain jobs. To that end, we must follow our plan to help employers create jobs for Canadian families.

G8 SummitOral Questions

November 3rd, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, before the committee yesterday, the President of the Treasury Board tried in vain to put out the fire that is raging regarding the G8 scandal.

The problem, however, is that his statements raised more questions than they answered. The hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka told us, for example, that without any intervention on his part, the 242 projects initially presented were somehow whittled down to 32, as if by magic. There is no paper trail of any kind on that.

Can the President of the Treasury Board finally explain to us what criteria he used to choose those 32 projects?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, yesterday two ministers and three deputy ministers spent two hours before committee and answered all the questions of the members of the committee.

The Auditor General has confirmed that all the money went to public infrastructure projects, and every penny is accounted for.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned yesterday why the President of the Treasury Board is never the one to answer in this House.

Let us review the facts. The President of the Treasury Board signed contribution agreements; he even created a nice homemade form. He met with local officials and helped select the projects. His constituency office even intervened to make sure those projects got money.

Does anyone still really believe that the President of the Treasury Board was not involved in this scandal?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, what the President of the Treasury Board did, what I did and what three deputy ministers did yesterday was respond to every question the members of Parliament on the public accounts committee had. The member opposite had the opportunity to ask those questions.

This has been thoroughly looked at. The Auditor General looked at it and came forward with some helpful observations. We fully accept that advice.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that yesterday the Muskoka minister presented a defence based on the claim that 242 pet projects magically became 32 pork projects, without any paper trail and without any involvement by him whatsoever.

However, on April 20, 2009, the town of Gravenhurst stated that it was told by the Muskoka minister to "remove the centennial project from the G8 fund and he would find the money elsewhere".

The committee asked him a direct question. Why did he not disclose his direct involvement in the selection of that project?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General spent considerable time looking at the issue. She came forward with a report. She made some very good recommendations to government on how we could be more open and more transparent to Parliament. We have completely accepted that advice.

Yesterday there were two hours' worth of hearings on the issue where every question was answered.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General said the rules were broken and the rules were broken by him. Therefore, if the government accepted the Auditor General's advice, he would be bounced out of his seat. That is a simple fact because the documents show he directly intervened and he told the committee otherwise. Either he has misled committee or he has a really bad memory.

Either way, what is that man doing in charge of $250 billion of taxpayer money?