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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was person.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the development phase of the F-35 program continues with our partners. The issues that are being talked about of recent date are being addressed as we speak. The U.S. is committed, as are other countries. We remain fixed on our choice. It is a good choice for our men and women, for the future, and for taxpayers in this country.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is simple. When it misleads Canadians, the government must take responsibility.

In April the Prime Minister said, “We are sheltered from research and development costs”. Today we learned that Canadians are on the hook for another $35 million to subsidize Lockheed Martin's R and D. Millions more, delay after delay, and there is no end in sight.

In this season of giving, will the associate minister give us the gift of accountability and acknowledge that he has been misleading the House?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I feel a sense of duty to point out to the member opposite that this is the Christmas season, not the silly season.

However, we are working with our allies and continue to work to reduce costs. A joint strike fighter partnership agreement ensures that we are guaranteed to pay the lowest possible price, the same price that the United States is paying. As well, our delivery will not be for years hence, at which point there will be a very fine price for us.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to defence and justice, this government does not know how to count. Their estimates for Bill C-10 are unbelievable. The government claims that the cost of its omnibus crime bill is $80 million over five years, but last March, it was estimated that the young offender provisions alone would cost 10 times more.

Are the Conservatives going to learn how to count before sending the bill to the provinces?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, in the summer, our government gave Canadians a gift. We introduced Bill C-10 in order to protect them, and all Canadians will benefit. The cost of crime is roughly $99.6 billion and 83% of that cost is absorbed by the victims. We stand by the victims. The members opposite stand by the accused. Merry Christmas.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has used or abused free speech with respect to justifying what has been characterized as reprehensible actions, but it has limited free speech with regard to the frequency of in camera committee meetings.

May I, in the spirit of the Christmas season, suggest to the government that it reverse priorities, namely, that it cease and desist from reprehensible actions and protect free speech and parliamentary democracy?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the fall session in which we have been delivering on the commitments that we made to Canadians at the same time as ensuring that debate occurred and decisions were made.

One of the things that we see when we compare Canada with other countries is we have a strong economy. If we look at the United States or at Europe, one of the problems is political gridlock. Decisions cannot get made.

Here in Canada we will continue to make decisions in the best interests of Canadians on the economy and on tackling crime. We will allow debate to occur, but we will not allow the political gridlock that the other parties want to see put in place here.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government started by refusing to disclose the cost of its crime bill, especially the cost that the provinces will have to cover. Then it refused to disclose the real cost of each fighter plane. Now, it is holding more in camera meetings.

Does the government not believe in transparency?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our government has an unprecedented commitment to transparency and openness reflected in the statutes that we have passed to ensure accountability.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, order. The hon. government House leader has the floor.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

However, the most important part of accountability is elections.

Canadians went to the last election, at the request of the opposition, to answer questions like: did they like our budget, did they like our economic action plan, did they like our tackling crime plan, did they want us to put them in place, and guess what? They gave us a strong mandate to do exactly those things. We are delivering on those commitments. We are doing what we told Canadians we would do.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil is one of the first political prisoners of the post-Mubarak era, convicted on trumped up charges of insulting the Egyptian military. He had his conviction upheld yesterday at an oft-postponed hearing, after he earlier rejected an offer of freedom in exchange for a confession for “his alleged criminality”.

Given that Nabil is now in the 115th day of a hunger strike in protest both of the injustice of the Egyptian military tribunal and the injustice of his conviction, what measures are being undertaken by the Canadian government to help secure his immediate release?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I share the member for Mount Royal's deep concern about this situation in Egypt.

When the member brought it to my attention, within a matter of hours we were in contact with the Egyptian ambassador. I met with him last week and expressed Canada's deep disappointment and real profound concern over the way this democracy activist had been treated. We demanded that this individual be let free and treated fairly in accordance with international standards of freedom and democracy.

As of yet, we have not had a positive response, and we will continue to look to ensure that justice is done in this case.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, the end of the year has been devastating for employment in Quebec: 150 workers at Resolute Forest Products in Kénogami have lost their jobs with Christmas just around the corner. And now, aluminum workers are fearing the worst. At Rio Tinto Alcan in Alma, workers voted to give their union a strike mandate in order to stop the company from outsourcing some jobs.

Will this government realize that Quebec and the rest of Canada are in the middle of an employment crisis? Will it finally come up with a real job creation plan?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite talks about job creation. The record and the facts speak for themselves.

Canada has the best job creation record of any country in the G7, of any major industrialized country in the world. This is verified outside Canada by international organizations. We are proud of the fact that Canadians have been able to create those jobs, helped by government policy over the course of time, since the end of the recession in July 2009.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not the only concern of workers in Kénogami. Really, it is the complete hemorrhage of the pulp and paper industry. Some 600 workers at White Birch Paper in Quebec City are without work, because the plant shut down. Pensioners from those plants will not be spared, for they will not be able to access their full pensions. These workers deserve to retire with dignity. The NDP bill would give them their full pensions.

Does this government plan to change the legislation to protect these workers' pension benefits?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, certainly we are concerned and empathetic with people who are in a situation where they are being laid off, especially at this time of year. That is why we have been working, along with the Minister of Industry who looks after this file, to make sure that we put in place protection for those pensions.

We actually brought forward legislation just last year to make sure those pensions were as fully funded as they could be in case there was a bankruptcy, as protection against bankruptcy.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, families in the Lower St. Lawrence and the Gaspé are concerned, and with good reason. Nearly 600 workers at four Cedrico lumber plants may lose their jobs because the company is experiencing financial difficulty. A thousand indirect jobs are also threatened.

This is yet more proof of the Conservative government's inaction, more proof that they are not doing anything to create or maintain jobs in the regions. I remember that, in 2008, at the height of the forestry and economic crises, the government gave $10 billion to the automotive industry while it gave only crumbs to the forestry industry.

What is this out-of-touch government waiting for to take action and revive the forestry industry in Quebec and in Canada?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government is aware of the problems communities and workers affected by the forestry crisis are experiencing, particularly at this time of year. That is why our government is continuing to support the workers and communities affected by the forestry crisis in Quebec and Canada. Thanks to our government, concrete initiatives have been put in place: $100 million to create jobs and increase economic activity, including $20 million for silvicultural work.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the holidays approach, the bad news about the economy keeps piling up. Every day, more plant closures and mass layoffs are being announced. We have now learned that, next year, the Canadian economy will slow markedly and the unemployment rate may reach 8%.

What is the government doing? It is sitting back and waiting. It is reducing employment insurance services. Why is this government abandoning Canadians? My Christmas wish is for those who will not have any presents under the tree this year.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member is getting her information. In fact, Canada's economy is expected to grow modestly next year. It is expected to grow as one of the strong economies in the G7. That is what the OECD, the IMF and the rating agencies say. Fitch, which just reconfirmed Canada's rating of AAA, said:

[T]he Canadian government's demonstrated ability to put forth a credible long-term fiscal consolidation plan provides critical support for the country's 'AAA' rating. The government's commitment to eliminate the federal budget deficit...puts Canada ahead of other peers rated 'AAA'.

We are doing relatively well.

SyriaOral Questions

December 15th, 2011 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as we already heard in the House today, the deteriorating situation in Syria and sanctions being imposed on Syria by the Arab League will have a significant impact on commercial air transport. Canadians wishing to leave Syria may therefore find it increasingly difficult to make air travel arrangements if the security situation continues to deteriorate.

Given the gravity of the situation, would the Minister of Foreign Affairs please tell this House about the steps we are taking to assist Canadians leaving Syria for the sake of their own safety?

SyriaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, since October, our government has been encouraging Canadians in Syria to voluntarily leave while commercial means are still available, but we are tremendously concerned about the deteriorating situation, the violence in Syria, so today we declared a voluntary evacuation of all Canadians.

As part of this declaration, we will provide facilitated services and specialized consular support. Our team in Damascus and our embassy is available to assist Canadians in Syria, their spouses and dependent children. We encourage them to get out as soon as possible.

This government, this House and the Canadian people stand behind the people of Syria at this time of need. We will do everything we can to ensure that they achieve the same democracy and freedom that is spreading around that region, and that we enjoy here in Canada.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, another example of the Conservatives' penny-wise and pound foolish management has come to light.

Despite just having signed a long-term lease, the government has decided to shut down the Coast Guard office in Inuvik, the office for the Beaufort Sea and the western Arctic Ocean. The Coast Guard workers have to move to Iqaluit on the other side of the country or lose their jobs. This means increased costs for relocation, as well as the disruption of the lives of these workers.

How can the government say that it is a good financial manager when it makes decisions like this?