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House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we have all been watching events in Egypt very closely as they unfold. We will always be strong supporters of freedom, democracy, justice and human rights. We have repeatedly urged the Egyptian people to move in that direction as they seek reforms that benefit their future.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reply is confusing. It is like the minister's position on the assets of the Ben Ali family. Even though the European Union and Switzerland are taking action to freeze the assets the Ben Ali family accumulated by pillaging the Tunisian people, the Conservative government is refusing to clearly state whether it intends to freeze these assets before they are transferred to tax havens.

Can the minister clearly tell us whether he intends to quickly freeze the assets of the Ben Ali family?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, we made it very clear that members of the Ben Ali family who have profited unfairly at the expense of the Tunisian people are not welcome in our country.

I can advise the member that we are working closely with our international partners to use every legal means in Canada to address this issue and we will continue to work very hard on it.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Canadian Heritage is once again being taken to task by the Commissioner of Official Languages for the length of time it takes to provide funding to organizations in francophone communities. The processing of funding applications is so chaotic that some organizations have had to use their credit cards to pay their employees. The commissioner says that these chronic delays have resulted in Canadian Heritage failing to fulfill its obligations to these communities.

What does the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages intend to do to correct this situation?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, and I have already spent time pointing out to my colleague that our government has already taken action. We have already initiated the necessary reforms to reassure all francophone and anglophone communities in Canada that receive funding from our government that the process has been fixed. We have already implemented the necessary measures.

In Mr. Fraser's report—the report mentioned by my colleague here in the House—the commissioner stated that he was satisfied with the steps taken by the government to improve the situation. This has been resolved.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, whether we are talking about the bilingualism of judges, the use of French as a language of work in federal institutions, or the use of French at the Vancouver Olympic Games, the bottom line is that, for this government, French is a second-class language.

What is the minister waiting for to rein in the Department of Canadian Heritage and remind it of its obligations to francophone communities?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, quite simply, that is utterly false. Our government takes its responsibilities in the area of official languages seriously. That is why we put in place our Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality, a real action plan, and increased by 20% funding for grassroots organizations that help new Canadians, whether they speak French or English, who are in a minority situation.

The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games were the most bilingual games in the history of the Olympics. They were a great success for all of Canada. We are very proud of our commitments, investments and policies that protect Canada's two official languages.

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us set the record straight. The Conservatives' short-sighted, ill-advised and reckless CRTC policy direction of 2006 by the former minister, and their conservative colleague from Beauce, created today's usage billing fiasco.

Here is some free advice for that minister. For the sake of consumers, competition, business and innovation, use section 12 of the Telecommunications Act and issue an order in council to rescind the CRTC decision on usage based billing.

Will that minister act?

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. Of course, the opposition party is new to this file. It just encountered this in the last 48 hours and started to try to raise money to fill its coffers for an election that nobody wants.

However, we are concentrating on jobs and opportunities for Canadians. We are concentrating on the economy. We want to make sure that the Internet is available for consumers, small businesses, innovators and creators. That is what we are all about. That is why we are reviewing this decision through that prism to make sure that Canada's best interests are maintained.

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

February 2nd, 2011 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, you have created that mess. Now fix it.

Yesterday the Minister of Industry was asked whether he would overturn the CRTC's decision that will allow Internet service providers to charge Canadians more, while also limiting competition. He replied that he would review the decision, not overturn it. Let me be crystal clear.

Will the minister invoke section 12 of the Telecommunications Act in order to ensure healthy competition for Canadian Internet users? Will he repair the damage he has caused since 2006?

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his point of view, but at the same time, of course we need to take action. We must protect consumers, innovators, and small and medium-sized businesses. That is what this government has always done.

That is what we have done. That is what we will do. We will always stand on the side of Canadians and consumers.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is giving our largest corporations billions of dollars in tax breaks while shutting the doors of Service Canada community offices throughout rural Canada. These centres are open every day and are a lifeline for those who need to access government information on a daily basis.

In Newfoundland, people are being told to go online or wait until a Service Canada employee visits the community, which may be two days a month.

I ask the minister, how can the government save money on the backs of rural Canadians and give billions in tax breaks to our largest corporations?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to providing Canadians with access to information and to the benefits and services to which they have a right. That is why we are actually improving the service to be delivered to her constituents.

Right now, the people who are there do not work for the government. They cannot offer very much in the way of information or service. So what we are doing is that we are putting in government employees there who will actually be able to provide services to these citizens, in terms of helping them get their old age security, or their CPP, or a social insurance number. We are going to make sure they get the service.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, sending people to the Internet when many rural Canadians do not have access to high-speed Internet is an insult. Expecting people to organize their lives to coincide with the schedule of a Service Canada employee who may get to the community, depending on the weather and, in my riding, on a ferry schedule, is completely unreasonable and inconsiderate. Hundreds of jobs will be lost throughout the country.

Why is it that the Prime Minister can find all the staff he needs to put up 10,000 signs worth $40 million but will not find the dollars to keep the people who provide these essential services?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I do wish the hon. member would stop fear-mongering and let her constituents know the real facts.

With this new outreach situation, what we are going to be doing is providing service that was not available in these communities before. We are going to have qualified government employees who will actually be able to accept and process the applications for old age security, for the guaranteed income supplement, for the Canada pension plan, for a social insurance number.

We want her constituents to have these services to be able to do it at home. Why does she not help us with that?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, as we know, the economy is our government's top priority. Canada's continued economic growth demonstrates that we are in fact on the right track. Investing in job creation and keeping taxes low for families and job creators are some of the priorities we are focusing on.

Conservative ministers and members of parliament have been very actively consulting with Canadians right across this country.

Would the President of the Treasury Board please tell us what the results of these consultations are to date.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, first, just for the record, if I may, and to put you at ease relative to a comment that just came from the other side of the House, we do not think, on this side of the House, that you were responsible for any messes. We just wanted to clarify that.

I can tell members that before the economic action plan was launched, we listened carefully to Canadians. We may not have done everything perfectly. We think we got it about right. We are the strongest economy in the G7. Over 400,000 jobs have been created. The average Canadian family pays $3,000 less in tax than before the plan was put in place.

We are continuing to listen. The Prime Minister has led, and so have MPs and ministers, on round tables. Over 150 them have taken place. We are listening to Canadians.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Americans started threatening that Canadians would require passports at the U.S. border, the previous Liberal government did nothing.

Now this administration is no better. Every time the Americans have pushed, the Conservatives have capitulated and rolled over. Meanwhile, the border keeps getting thicker and more expensive for travel and trade; Canadian jobs are being lost; and border communities are suffering.

Why is the Prime Minister keeping the latest border deal with the U.S. secret? Our sovereignty, security, personal privacy, and governance are at stake. Canadians deserve answers and accountability. Why won't they get it?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, the government must be doing something right because the Liberals do not like our talking to the Americans, and the NDP said we should talk faster.

We share the member's concern. We want to make sure that the border between our shared countries is accessible and that any road blocks are removed. We will continue to work very hard on that.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the sovereignty of our country is at stake.

The U.S. government's authorization of unrestricted use of Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa has put Canadian farmers at financial risk. They have already been shut out of key markets over GE flax and have had to pay the price.

Now our farmers, both conventional and organic, are threatened by the inevitable contamination of U.S. GE alfalfa.

Will the Prime Minister express these concerns to the U.S. president on Friday, or are the Conservatives too wrapped up in meeting with Monsanto's lobbyists to listen to the concerns of Canadian farmers?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, of course we have a separate rigorous situation that we put anything like this through here in Canada. We are sovereign in that respect.

We work with the Americans on a number of fronts, but we do make decisions differently when it comes to the applications of genetically modified situations.

I would also like to take this opportunity to assure the member opposite that we had a tremendous response in the European Union, talking about low level presence.

I know his bill is coming up for debate again next week. I certainly look forward to putting to rest a lot of the full moon logic that he bases his situations on.

CopyrightOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the example of the Quebec National Assembly, the Union des consommateurs, the Barreau du Québec and various groups of artists and artisans, including ADISQ and UDA, now the City of Montreal has also said that Bill C-32 should apply the principle of private copying and thereby guarantee that Quebec creators receive compensation in accordance with the value of their intellectual property. Contrary to the minister's scornful remark, it is not just a handful of musicians who oppose his bill.

When will the minister decide to make significant changes to his bill and give creators fair compensation?

CopyrightOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, each of the groups that the hon. member has just mentioned wants a bill that will make piracy illegal here in Canada. That is what they want.

Consultations were held with ADISQ, the Government of Quebec, the City of Quebec and Quebec artists. Everyone wants a bill and everyone has been hoping that Canada will apply the WIPO Internet treaties and make piracy illegal here in Canada. That is what we have done. No, we do not agree with the Bloc Québécois and its proposal to implement a new tax on iPods; however, we do want to protect our artists and creators by making piracy illegal in Canada.

Why is the Bloc Québécois against Quebec creators?

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the CRTC's recent decision to implement usage-based billing will have a devastating effect on Internet services for people and small businesses. The end of unlimited Internet packages will have a significant impact on access to new technology and on the competitiveness of businesses, especially those outside large centres.

Will the Minister of Industry demand that the CRTC reverse this decision and take consumers and the regions into account?

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, it is important to support consumers, innovators, and small and medium-sized businesses. Our policy encourages competitiveness and competition. This decision needs to be reconsidered. We announced this policy yesterday, and we will announce our decision at the end of the day, the week or the month.