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House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parks.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, that was stunning. Let me try again.

The Canada health accord is up for mandatory review and the government has decided to bypass the elected House and, instead, ask unelected senators to do the review. It is undemocratic and irresponsible. Conservatives have refused to start public consultations on the next accord and are using their unaccountable Senate majority to bury the official review of the last accord.

Will the minister withdraw this request of the Senate and hand it over to the elected members of Parliament, where it belongs?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we have asked the Senate to look into this issue. The House health committee of elected representatives is certainly free to look into any matter it wishes. We have a minority on that committee.

One of the things that is important with respect to health care is that this government, instead of cutting health care by $25 billion like the previous government did, has increased health care spending by 30%. That is a great accomplishment of the federal government.

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, a report from the show Enquête uncovered the close ties between the Conservative Party and fundamentalist ministers, some of whom—as we saw in the program—are verging on hysteria. We learned that a number of evangelical leaders have privileged access to Conservative members and senators, and use that access to influence federal politics.

Is it not worrisome to see all these fundamentalist groups circling around the Conservative government, trying to change legislation to impose their religious values?

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian is entitled to be heard by our government. That is why our government is very proud to hold literally thousands of meetings with Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

In the last few months, I have had the pleasure to meet with Jewish groups, Muslim groups, Hindu groups and Sikh groups. I have had the pleasure to meet with Buddhist groups. And I want to tell you something remarkable: I have even met with a few Christian groups.

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the evangelical churches are the fringe of the Conservative Party. We have seen it a number of times in the Conservatives' many attempts to reopen the abortion debate here and on the international stage. Each time a bill is deemed to go against their religious doctrine, the Conservatives bustle about to get it rejected. We need only think of our bill on the right to die with dignity. Even the Conservative government's science policy is directed by a creationist minister.

When will the Conservatives understand that there needs to be a separation between church and state?

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I really do not know where to start with that question, but let me say this. As Canadians, people of faith, certainly have every right to be heard by their government. We respect their positions and their views. We think it is tremendously important in a pluralistic society like Canada to always reach out to people of different backgrounds, and we make no apologies for it.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates it will cost Canadian municipalities billions to conform to new waste water regulations. In fact, one in four waste water plants will need to be replaced. Where will the money come from?

Is the government preparing to download this cost onto municipal taxpayers? Is that how it will increase taxes on Canadians, by stealth? What will it be: corporate tax cuts for banks and oil companies, billions for prisons and bloated jet purchases, or clean water for Canadians? We know where Canadians stand.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member where the Conservative Party stands. To deal with exactly this type of problem and the needs right across the country, we doubled the amount of money that municipalities got through the gas tax. Then we made it permanent so they could make long-term plans.

There is up to $2 billion a year. From now on and from here on in, they can go into things like clean water, sewer treatment plants, green energy and other things. More than that, we have put a record amount of money into both short- and long-term funding for infrastructure, the type and amount of which the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has said is unprecedented.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the EPA, the U.S. environmental agency, announced that it was going to update its standards on drinking water to impose limits on at least 16 toxic materials and carcinogens found in water.

What is the government doing to tighten Canadian standards, given the growing scientific capacity to detect harmful substances in the water we drink? Why is the government dragging its feet?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the first question the hon. member asked was why Canada had raised the standard for drinking water right across the country. We did that. We put in the highest standards we possibly could because Canadians deserved it. They want to know they have clean drinking water. They want to know that the groundwater is protected through sewage treatment systems. We have put in the regulations through Health Canada and Environment Canada to ensure it stays that way.

We have done a tremendous job, from coast to coast, on improving our water systems and we will maintain that into the future.

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the negotiations on the agreement with Europe are going on behind closed doors. We already know that the Conservatives like to sell off Canadian interests at bargain-basement prices, and we are seeing the results. Softwood lumber? Botched. The agreement with Panama, that haven for tax evasion? Botched. The buy American agreement? Botched.

For the agreement with Europe, where are the impact studies on health systems, public procurement, supply management and the environment? Will he provide them to us as soon as possible, or is he going to botch another agreement?

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we are undertaking these negotiations because of the positive impact on Canadians and the Canadian economy.

A study was done in advance of these negotiations. It indicated there would be a benefit to the Canadian economy of $12 billion annually, a positive benefit. We continue to consult with Canadians across a broad range of sectors.

That is why, when we talk to any business group in Canada, almost any chamber of commerce, any groups of Canadians that come from Europe and recognize the tremendous ties we have and see the potential there, they realize this is a huge opportunity to create jobs and prosperity for Canadians from coast to coast.

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives said that before. The government has a reputation for not doing its homework. For softwood lumber, that cost Canadian $1.2 billion and 50,000 lost jobs and counting.

The demands of the E.U. multinationals are clear: changes to our laws to make it harder for affordable generic drugs to come on the market. This could cost $2.8 billion a year, taken out of our health care system.

The Conservatives have just never met a trading partner they were not happy to sell out to. Will the minister for once come clean with Canadians and let Canadians know how much he has given up at the table this time?

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we are in the process of negotiating and the issues the member addresses have not even been tackled yet. The negative results he talks about are simply not there.

We do know, though, that under the NDP we would not have a single free trade agreement with another country in the world, this for a country of 33 million people that is two-thirds dependent on trade internationally. Canadians understand that. They realize the NDP is misguided, living in the past and wants fortress Canada separate and apart from the world. That is not the Canadian way.

We will engage with the world, trade with the world and compete with the best in the world because Canadians can, and they do and they succeed. That is why Canada is successful today economically, ahead of all our competitors.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, while Canada is responsible for only 2% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, we as Canadians are determined to contribute toward alternatives like biofuels. We take very seriously our responsibility to do what we can to ensure a cleaner, greener future.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment please explain the next step in the government's biofuel strategy and why it is good news for both the environment and the economy?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our government is well on track toward meeting our targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 17% by 2020. Today the Minister of the Environment announced the next step in our government's ambitious plans by moving forward with our promise to mandate a 2% average renewable fuel content in diesel fuel and heating oil. Along with the 5% renewable fuel content and gasoline, this is equivalent to taking one million vehicles off the road. We are getting it done again.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday I hosted MPs and senators to learn the latest science regarding CCSVI from three of the leading physicians and researchers in North America. They came to advocate on behalf of Canadian MS patients who have been flocking to clinics around the world because they cannot get treated in Canada.

Will the minister show leadership and commit today to doing the science, that is, to collecting the evidence through clinical trials and a registry?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the difficulties and the heartbreak faced by many thousands of individual MS patients in our country. Our government is committed to moving forward as quickly as possible on the best available science. It is working with the MS Society, the MS clinics and the provinces and territories to ensure that all Canadians living with this disease receive scientifically valid information.

We have established a scientific expert working group to monitor and analyze the results from the seven MS Society-sponsored studies already under way in Canada and the U.S. When the experts advise in favour of clinical—

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Châteauguay—Saint-Constant.

SeniorsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Task Force on Financial Literacy, the federal government is saving billions of dollars at the expense of the least fortunate who do not claim the benefits to which they are entitled. As many as 160,000 people who are eligible for old age security and 150,000 who are eligible for the guaranteed income supplement are being cheated.

What is the government waiting for to simplify those programs, to make registration automatic, and to increase its efforts to reach these people in need?

SeniorsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, that is a very interesting question considering the Bloc voted against us putting in place a financial literacy task force to which she is now referring. It was in our last budget.

We set aside money for these individuals to go out and consult with all Canadians to find out the literacy level of Canadians, to find out how we may be able to help them, what level of education system we may be able to help to educate people to protect themselves and to plan for their future.

We welcome the Bloc, finally, to this serious issue.

Canada Border Services AgencyOral Questions

February 10th, 2011 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently we heard the border services office in Windsor, Canada's biggest border gateway, is being boarded up and shut down. We have learned that an impartial, independent study recommended that centralized CBS office stay in Windsor.

What possible explanation is there for it to be moved to a Conservative minister's riding? Well, there is only one answer, and that is shameless partisan political interference.

Will the minister table the study and explain his actions to the 100 people and families in Windsor and Essex county who are having their jobs ripped away?

Canada Border Services AgencyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the efficiency and security of our shared border remains our priority. This is an administrative shift. I am happy to put it into perspective for the member opposite.

CBSA has assured me that there will be absolutely no effect on any border crossing. They are confident there will be no job losses due to this merger. Taxpayers want to ensure that CBSA protects our borders effectively and efficiently.

I might add that there has never been more infrastructure put into the area of Windsor than by our government.

Canadian Coast GuardOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, there is no greater sacrifice Canadian citizens can make than when they put their duty ahead of their own safety in service to our country.

Could the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans inform the House of the latest steps taken by the Canadian Coast Guard to honour our Canadian heroes?

Canadian Coast GuardOral Questions

3 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to confirm for the House that this morning our government announced that seven new Hero Class Canadian Coast Guard vessels would be named in honour of fallen Canadian heroes. These red and white Coast Guard vessels, currently under construction in Halifax, are iconic symbols of safety, security and sacrifice.

It is a fitting tribute for our Canadian heroes who dedicated their own lives to protecting others.