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House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fair.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, the definition of “honourable” means possessed of high principles.

When General Natynczyk was questioned about his use of military aircraft, he went out into the lobby and responded fully to each and every question and, in the end, offered to reimburse Canadian taxpayers for any inappropriate use. That was the honourable thing to do.

The Minister of National Defence, on the other hand, hides from the press, misleads Canadians, and tries to blame the forces for his misdeeds.

Will the Minister of National Defence do the honourable thing, as General Natynczyk already did?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

I am not hiding, Mr. Speaker, I am right here. I have been answering questions on this repeatedly. I left my time off that I was spending with friends, which I paid for personally. I was called back to work and that is what happened.

Port of MontrealOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Prime Minister. In the case of the Port of Montreal, there is talk about pressure on the old Port of Montreal when the president was appointed. There is talk about the Rosdev Group, a property case that involved the dynamic duo of Housakos and Soudas. But here we are talking about the port's administration.

I would like the Prime Minister to tell me when he knew there was an RCMP investigation into the Port of Montreal case and whether he personally or the members of his office were questioned.

Port of MontrealOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would note that the board of directors of the Port of Montreal appoints a president. I understand my colleague’s question, but the news today, to our minds, is to point out that it is in fact the people on the board of directors who appoint the man or woman who will be president of the Port of Montreal. At present, the president is a woman. Certainly we are going to continue to work with them to make sure there is sound management of the Port of Montreal.

Port of MontrealOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reason Mr. Abdallah was not appointed president by the board of directors is that his predecessor, Michael Fortier, took a stand and prevented people like Mr. Housakos from attempting to infiltrate. That is what happened. Attempting to infiltrate is as serious as infiltrating. And Mr. Housakos was subsequently appointed as a senator.

Can the Prime Minister tell me about the security report before Mr. Housakos was appointed? Is he prepared to table that report? Was anything said at that time about Mr. Housakos' relationships with a lot of buddies?

Port of MontrealOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague has just said, Mr. Abdallah was not appointed president and CEO of the Port of Montreal. Today, that is what everyone is talking about. After voting as its mandate instructs it, the board of directors appointed a president. Today, someone else holds that position. We are going to continue working well with that board.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have always said that it was impossible to have a deal without the major emitters. China, India, Brazil and South Africa are finally prepared to address climate change but Canada is leaving the negotiating table and slamming the door. The government continues to attempt to sabotage the fight against climate change.

Why is the government putting so much effort into making Canada a laughingstock instead of acting as an environmental leader?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, yesterday my colleague opposite said, “I just hope the international community ignores Canada”.

Before she continues to denigrate our country, I would like to remind her of a few things. One, Canada has a world-leading clean energy technology sector. Two, there is strong action at home with our sector-by-sector regulatory approach that sees real action. Three, there is a commitment to an internationally binding agreement that has all major emitters around the table. That is real action. Shameful.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, they certainly have noticed us and they know that the gig is up. First the government said that it wanted a climate deal only if big emitters like China or India were involved. Now that China and India are at the table, the government has walked away from the negotiating table. Is it any wonder that the government is scaring off our trading partners and killing Canadian jobs.

Derailing Kyoto and sabotaging climate negotiation talks only hurts Canadian families. When will the government pay attention and stop shutting out families from high-paying clean energy jobs? Why is it letting Canada fall behind?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, if my colleague opposite would have those in the international community ignore Canada, this is what she would have them pay attention to: one, an NDP carbon tax that the NDP leadership candidates have put forward; two, an international agreement that only accounts for one-third of emissions. That is not action.

We have a strong action plan at home. We are proud of it. It is working. I hope NDP members get on board.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, every December, Service Canada staff members work overtime to process the spike in EI claims before the holidays.

First, the Conservatives cut front-line EI workers and now Conservative grinches are putting the kibosh on overtime.

This decision is a lump of coal for thousands of out of work families hoping for EI cheques before Christmas. These Canadians paid EI all their lives. Why is the government playing the grinch?

Will the minister rescind her decision and approve overtime for workers processing EI claims?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member really should stop her fear-mongering.

We are committed to getting EI benefits to Canadians just as quickly as possible. We have a long tradition of putting on extra resources for the traditional peak in demand at Christmastime.

We will continue the tradition this year of putting extra resources toward EI processing to make sure that Canadians get their benefits as quickly as possible.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, after cutting 1,000 positions at Service Canada, the Conservatives are now forbidding employees to work overtime to process employment insurance claims.

This is more bad news for the 75,000 Canadians who have lost their jobs since October. Not only do they no longer have a livelihood, but now they will not even receive their EI benefits before Christmas.

Why are the Conservatives absolutely refusing to implement measures to help these people?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong. He is wrong because we have a very long tradition of putting extra resources in EI processing for the season and just before Christmas so that Canadians get their benefits as quickly as possible. We will continue that tradition this year.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Toet Conservative Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about crime, which is why they gave our government a strong mandate to keep our streets and communities safe.

Anyone who has witnessed gang activity knows that those who produce, import and traffic illicit drugs are a major threat to the safety and security of Canada's cities. Police chiefs, fire chiefs and victims agree that those who engage in this kind of activity should receive sentences which reflect the serious nature of their crime.

Could the Minister of Justice please inform the House about what measures he is taking to ensure that Canadians can be confident in our justice system?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that the safe streets and communities act was passed by the House by a convincing majority of members.

The member is correct that violent gangs will produce, import and traffic drugs as part of their criminal enterprise, and that police, firefighters and victims have long called for tougher sentences for those who engage in this kind of activity.

Unfortunately, the opposition parties missed yet another opportunity to side with law-abiding Canadians, but I am going to reassure them we have an ambitious justice agenda. We are going to give them more opportunities in the future to side with victims and law-abiding Canadians.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the Prime Minister will sign off on a deal that will hand Canadians' private information over to U.S. Homeland Security. Exactly what information is still a secret; the government refuses to say.

Canadians have no idea if their privacy is being protected and they have good reason to worry. When the government negotiates with the Americans, Canadian families always lose.

Will the government finally reveal what information it is handing over to the Americans?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the privacy of Canadians is important to us. The United States will not end up with more information than is already accessible. This plan is about jobs and the economy.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs just said, without actually coming right out and saying it, is that the President of the United States will know before Canadians what private information the Americans will be given about them. There is concern about the deal being signed tomorrow because, when the government signs deals with the Americans, Canadians always lose.

Let us be clear: we are talking about movement across our borders, and the safety and privacy of Canadians.

What is in this agreement that the Conservatives refuse to tell Parliament?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the President of the United States issued a joint declaration in February. We have consulted Canadians extensively as we have worked with the U.S. to develop an action plan. This issue was discussed with Canadians during the recent federal election campaign.

AsbestosOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in 130 years, Quebec's asbestos mines are closed.

A majority of Quebec's civil society is now against public funding of the industry and against the export of asbestos.

Just when circumstances finally allow us to resolve the situation, the government is aggravating it by eliminating tariff barriers with India.

We have already exported enough disease to countries with inadequate standards.

Will this government finally bring in a transition plan to guarantee a future for the asbestos regions? Please, out of respect for those who no longer have jobs, will the Conservatives stop the broken record?

AsbestosOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, for over 30 years, the government has been supporting the safe use of chrysotile. Chrysotile can be used safely in a controlled environment that is properly regulated, either at the national or international level.

AsbestosOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is bad enough that the government will not ban asbestos, but do we have to be the number one cheerleader for the asbestos cartel? It is bad enough that Conservatives spend millions of dollars subsidizing the industry, but now they want India to take the tariff off this made in Canada epidemic so they can export their human misery duty-free.

It makes me wonder. They are always talking about siding with the victims. Why are they doing the asbestos cartel's dirty work? Why do Conservatives not stand up for the victims of asbestos both in this country and abroad?

AsbestosOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, my colleague made no mention of risk management. What we are saying is that, for 30 years, the government has supported the safe use of chrysotile. Recent scientific studies show that chrysotile can be used safely in a controlled environment that is properly regulated, either at the national or international level.

Ocean Choice InternationalOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, last week Ocean Choice International announced it is closing its plants in Port Union and in Marystown. Close to 500 people are directly affected and will lose their jobs permanently.

I have two questions for the government. First, what assistance will the federal government provide to help these families in need? Second, will the government assist the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in helping these devastated regions?