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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to keep mum about the creation of a Canada-U.S. security perimeter. The public and parliamentarians are not getting any information. The government even refuses to confirm that talks are already under way. Yet this week we learned that a working group will be created to define the new common border policy.

Why is the government refusing to be transparent? What does it have to hide?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, ever since we came to power on this side of the House, our top priority has always been to defend the interests of Canada and Canadians and also, as everyone knows, to promote our exports and trade with the United States.

In that respect, I remind hon. members that nearly $1.6 billion worth of Canadian goods and services are traded across the U.S. border daily. This provides jobs in Canada. It obviously provides jobs in the United States. We are going to continue in that vein.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government claims, as it just did, to want to enhance border security and facilitate mobility. However, a number of border crossings in the Eastern Townships and the Montérégie area are going to be shut down or will cut back on services. The Minister of Public Safety is completely out of touch with reality. He did not even bother to respond to the letter I sent him on this.

How can the government negotiate an agreement with the United States when it is shirking its own responsibilities by cutting its border services?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Border Services Agency does an excellent job of ensuring that people and goods flow across our border and indeed prevent the entry of individuals and goods that are not welcome.

We look at each situation and make the determination as to how taxpayer money is best spent. I believe that CBSA has been doing an excellent job in accomplishing that goal.

TaxationOral Questions

February 3rd, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, almost 50% of businesses in Canada are owned by women entrepreneurs. Eight in 10 new jobs are generated by small business owners just like them.

The cost of doing business is on the rise, yet the Conservative government has raised payroll taxes on small businesses while cutting taxes for the richest corporations. Why is the government punishing women entrepreneurs when they are the ones creating the jobs?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing this government has done, it is to stand up for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

We are creating an entrepreneurial advantage here in Canada by reducing taxes, providing access to capital and reducing the red tape that his party piled up during its 13 years in government.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government just does not get it.

Women in business are worried about finding affordable child care, how they are going to pay for post-secondary education, and what will happen if a parent gets sick.

The Liberals have a plan to ease these burdens, so that women entrepreneurs can focus on growing their businesses and creating jobs.

Why then are Conservatives focused on unaffordable tax cuts for the richest and most profitable corporations while hard-working women are left to fend for themselves?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague pointed out, our government is supporting small business and entrepreneurs, male and female.

We have cut the tax rates for them. We have reduced red tape by 20% already. We are going to do more. It is called red tape, because it is all the complicated stuff that the Liberals brought in.

The other thing we have done is that for the first time we have made it possible for the self-employed to access, on a voluntary basis, EI special benefits so that if they become sick, if a member of their family needs their help, if they become pregnant, they will have access to those special benefits, just like anyone else. We are proud of that.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, nearly half of all small and medium-sized business owners are women. In Quebec, nearly two-thirds of these women entrepreneurs have children and three-quarters of them work over 40 hours a week. Support for post-secondary education for their children and support for informal caregivers are ways of lending a helping hand to these women entrepreneurs by lightening their load.

When will the Conservatives understand that our economic prosperity depends on our ability to support women entrepreneurs?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have done a great deal to help entrepreneurs, to help women who want to take part in the workforce. That is why we introduced special employment insurance benefits to give them access to sickness, compassionate care and maternity benefits. That is why we made it easier for them to access these funds. That is why are supporting them.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a very small consolation. Our small and medium-sized businesses cannot afford to lose any workers. The experts have been clear: we are about to face a shortage of skilled labour as more and more workers are getting ready to retire. Yet the unemployment rate among university-educated new Canadians is four times higher than among Canadian-born graduates.

When will the Conservatives do something to ensure that our economy can take full advantage of the expertise and knowledge of new Canadians?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have actually done more than the Liberals ever did to help new Canadians succeed in this country, for heaven's sake.

For 10 long years the Liberals froze the settlement fund that was intended to help newcomers get over the barriers of being new in Canada, of learning how to get to work. We increased that amount of money significantly. We are helping them get jobs.

Not only that, but we made happen the foreign credentials recognition and referral offices that allow newcomers to find out how to get a job, how to get qualified, how to get their credentials recognized before they even get here.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Federal Court upheld the minister's consideration of public safety in decisions under the International Transfer of Offenders Act, decisions that demonstrate our government's commitment to ensuring that safety and security are number one for our government.

Could the Minister of Public Safety give the House an update on legislation that would amend the act to further protect victims and law-abiding Canadians?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his hard work in this area.

Last spring we introduced Bill C-5, a bill that would ensure that the protection of our society is the paramount consideration when assessing requests for the transfer of international offenders.

However, today at the public safety committee, the opposition Liberal members and Bloc members, led by the NDP member for Vancouver Kingsway, gutted provisions of the bill that would make offenders more accountable. They succeeded in removing sections that protected victims, and they are clapping for that.

I wish the opposition members would start showing the same concerns for victims as they do for perpetrators of crime.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Monday Environment Canada reported that the government's current plans will fail to meet the emission reduction targets Canada promised under the Copenhagen accord. They will meet at best only one-quarter of what we committed to.

Conservatives promised new regulations for major industrial greenhouse gas emitters in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, but none of these promises has been met.

How does the minister intend to resolve this major gap in the government's own international targets?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would urge my hon. colleague to be more diligent and prudent in her research.

Our government is firmly on track to meet our greenhouse gas emission reductions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. We have taken action in the transportation sector, a sector that accounts for almost one-third of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. We will phase out dirty coal-fired electricity generating plants. We will then turn to other large emitters.

All polluters must participate in reaching Canada's targets.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I find that interesting, but in fact the Environment Canada report advises that the measures the minister is talking about have already been taken into account and that three-quarters of the measures are missing.

The minister has defended tar sands development as ethical oil, yet repeated reports, including those the government has commissioned, point to serious health and environmental impacts, especially for first nations.

Instead of trying to spruce up the tar sands' image, why does the government not listen to the experts and take action to clean them up?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would challenge my hon. colleague's research. Canada's oil sands are in fact an important economic resource and will be developed in a responsible and sustainable way to ensure Canada's role as a clean energy superpower.

Environment Canada monitors and conducts research on the impact of the oil sands on water and air. We enforce regulations and protect fish and the species at risk. Our ethical standards are matched by our vigilant environmental regulation of the oil sands.

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the discussions I had with the Minister of Finance regarding the budget policy and the Bloc's recommendations, we obviously spoke about tax harmonization. During those discussions, I learned that the tax treatment of financial services was enough of an irritant for him to block negotiations.

Can the Minister of Finance explain to us why Quebec's financial services tax policy is a problem for him? Why is he getting involved in this?

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the many challenges that have arisen over the course of discussions between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec. We have had good discussions and we will continue with these discussions, which are well under way.

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope that we will soon see results.

We know that the Government of Quebec uses tax policies to successfully combat tax evasion, for example, by taxing clothing and tobacco. However, it seems that Quebec's tax policy for these products is inconveniencing the Conservative government.

Can the Minister of Finance tell us what his problem is? Why does he take issue with Quebec's tax policies on contraband and tax evasion?

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our discussions on harmonization issues take place with other governments, not with opposition parties here.

We are continuing our discussions on this harmonization issue with the Government of Quebec. There has been some progress, but there is a long list of issues that need to be resolved and worked through, and that is what we are doing. I do not anticipate an early resolution.

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, the Conservative government bragged about giving instructions to the CRTC on how to manage Internet billing. Just recently, it had nothing to say about the CRTC decision. Then, the Conservatives said that they would review the decision. Now, they are thinking about reversing the decision if the CRTC does not do so.

Why not reverse that decision right now? Will they admit that they were wrong?

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the decision made by this commission is unacceptable. We said that it was important to protect consumers, innovators and small and medium-sized businesses.

We have been very consistent in that approach. I say to the hon. member this is our position. It is unacceptable that this decision stands, and we will reverse the decision, or the CRTC will reverse the decision.

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is important, but the Conservatives will not act now.

If we cannot go to Service Canada's 800 number, the government tells us to go online. Well, the government still has no plan to ensure broadband is available in rural communities. It lacks an open-government policy that would open all government spending to scrutiny by the public. Now it wants to stifle competition, restrict the openness of the Internet and have consumers pay more.

Does someone need to tweet the minister to tell him that he can reverse it right now?