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House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was labour.

Topics

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear. It is not complicated. If the same agreement is reached with Quebec as was reached with the other provinces, the issue will be resolved right away. The ball is now in Quebec's court.

We have always said that we are negotiating in good faith within the existing parameters, which have always been clearly set out. Once again, negotiations are well under way. We are negotiating with the Government of Quebec, not the Bloc Québécois.

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's finance minister deplores the injustice committed by the Conservative government against Quebeckers. I will cite another excerpt: “Quebec has set a good example. And what does it get in return? The same treatment from your government as those provinces that, 20 years later, have done nothing to harmonize their sales tax.” Quebec harmonized its sales tax before Ontario, before British Columbia, before New Brunswick, before Newfoundland and Labrador, before Nova Scotia; all these provinces have been compensated, but not Quebec.

What does the government want to do? Why is it picking on Quebec in this way? When will the Conservatives settle this matter?

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, negotiations between the governments of Quebec and Canada are going well. Over two months ago, the Government of Quebec promised to provide us with a technical document on sales tax harmonization, but it has not yet done so. We will continue to work with the Government of Quebec; however, at this point, the puck is in Quebec's zone.

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is throwing more pucks on the ice every week. The reality is that Quebec and Ottawa are not that far apart. The political will must be found to resolve this matter in time for the March budget. By refusing to give to Quebec what it has given Ontario and the other provinces, this Minister of Finance has lost all credibility.

Will the Prime Minister intervene, as he is being asked to do by Quebec's finance minister? Quebec is waiting for what it is owed. It is now Quebec's turn. Will the Conservatives understand that?

Harmonization of Sales TaxesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the negotiations are between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec. As I said, we wish to continue the discussions between the two parties. I have had some good discussions with the Quebec finance minister directly. However, the Quebec government must provide the technical document.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at the qualifications required to be appointed vice-chair of the CRTC: extensive knowledge of the legislative framework and mandate of CRTC; an understanding of the relevant global, societal, economic trends, stakeholder concerns, the government's policy agenda and how it relates to the CRTC; knowledge of the regulatory environment for broadcasting and telecommunications industries; knowledge of broad issues related to media convergence.

How does Mr. Pentefountas fit any of these criteria?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Pentefountas will bring a credible, outside, qualified, bilingual voice to the CRTC.

I hear NDP members laughing. It is funny. NDP members go out to the public and say that we need to raise the calibre and quality of debate in the House of Commons and what do they do? They name people in the House of Commons, smear their reputations and attack them personally. They have never met him.

The member for Vancouver East has never met Tom Pentefountas. She does not know him. She does not know anything about him. She gets up in the House of Commons and tries to attack him personally. He is a qualified person who will do a great job at the CRTC. We are proud to make this appointment.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there was a very clear vetting process for choosing the vice-chair of broadcast for the CRTC and Mr. Pentefountas failed on every count. If we look at the standards, he does not meet the qualifications. He does not have the quasi-judicial experience. He does not have the senior level management background with experience in broadcast and cultural policy. What he does have is a calling card that he is a good friend of the director of communications for the Prime Minister, Dimitri Soudas. This appointment stinks.

Would the minister explain why the government has broken the rules and politically tainted the quasi-judicial standing of the CRTC with this partisan appointment?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members smear Gwyn Morgan, attack Nigel Wright and attack Tom Pentefountas. These are outstanding people who will do a great job in the civil service. We need to draw good people into public life.

The member says that Tom Pentefountas does not have experience. Another way of saying that is that he has no conflicts of interest and is not wedded to any of the stakeholders who come before the CRTC who are dealing with important issues of convergence and copyright, and issues of digital transition. He does not have any of those conflicts of interest. He is a qualified, effective, bilingual, thoughtful person who will do a great job at the CRTC.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the contempt for due process is so obvious it is wafting off the benches.

The government has intervened and undermined again and again in the CRTC, but in the case of Pentefountas, it not only broke the vetting process, it did it with the direct intervention of the PMO. Now we have the political strings of the Prime Minister directly at the senior level of the CRTC.

Tom Pentefountas is not qualified for this post. He has no independent credible standing to oversee a body that deals with a $60 billion industry.

Why has the government undermined the CRTC and not followed the fair process in place to ensure an adequate candidate with a regulatory background?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay talks about undermining the CRTC. Last week, the member asked this government to interfere in two different CRTC decisions. He talks about the importance of the independence of the CRTC but he is asking this government to get more involved in the CRTC's daily affairs than ever before.

Tom Pentefountas will do an outstanding job.

When the member talks about credibility and representation, that is the member of Parliament who, in 2004, 2006 and 2008, ran telling his constituents that he would vote to abolish the long gun registry. He turned his back on his constituents and he dares get up in the House and actually attack other people's credibility? He has no legs to stand on. He has no credibility.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the human resources minister has told millions of working mothers like me that using child care services is a mistake and that daycare is an abdication of parenting. The minister lives in an era of Father Knows Best. The reality is that Canadian mothers know they must balance work and home life, not choose one over the other.

Why do the Conservatives not stop insulting mothers and give families a real choice: a child care policy that actually works for working mothers?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have done exactly that. We are the party that has offered choice to parents in terms of child care. We are the ones who say that if mothers want their children to go into institutional day care, that is great. If mom and dad want to stay home and raise their children, that is great, too. If granny or grandpa is available to help out, or a neighbour, that is great. However, that choice is a personal choice that should be made by the parents, not by the government. We believe the parents are the best ones to make the choice for their children.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, just because the government's child care payment has not solved the child care crisis does not mean it should attack working mothers. Over 70% of mothers with a child under two work full time. It is their choice to use child care or not, but the minister and the government are saying that the only choice is to stay home, that if parents choose child care they are somehow bad parents.

When will the Conservatives realize that it is 2011, not 1911, and give Canadian mothers a real choice and a real plan for early learning and child care?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned, we brought in the universal child care benefit of $100 a month for each child under the age of six so that parents could choose what best met their needs to raise their children. We will support whatever choice they make, unlike the Liberals who propose a universal day care system that will help only some.

Let us hear what some Liberals have said about it:

The last (Liberal) agreement saw some provinces rake in millions without creating one day-care space.... The Liberal plan is a cash cow for government while families are cash poor.

Who said that? It was said by the former deputy prime minister, Sheila Copps.

CaregiversOral Questions

February 7th, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the past year, one out of four Canadians has had to step into the role of caregiver for a loved one.

Nightmares like cancer, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis can affect anyone, at any age. The Health Charities Coalition of Canada is calling on the Conservatives to improve support for caregivers.

Did the Conservatives get the message?

CaregiversOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we do want to help families that are dealing with chronic and challenging illnesses that take a lot of support and attention. That is exactly why we expanded and made it easier for people to take compassionate care leave, to help their families and help friends cope with these difficult challenges.

Our party made it possible for the first time for those who are self-employed to access EI benefits for sickness and compassionate care.

We are the ones who are trying to help Canadians.

CaregiversOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is the minister who suggested that Canadians use their vacation leave to care for loved ones at home.

Cancer, diabetes, ALS, MS, Parkinson's disease, all Canadians are vulnerable to these terrible illnesses and their loved ones caring for them deserve our support.

What do the Conservatives have to say to the two million Canadian families caring for loved ones who are terribly ill? Are they going to say that the $6 billion corporate tax cut for the richest corporations each and every year is more important? Is that what they are telling those Canadians?

CaregiversOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has taken action to help families who are taking care of loved ones who are going through very challenging diseases and very challenging times.

We brought in and expanded the eligibility for compassionate care leave. As well, we have made it possible for the first time in Canadian history for those who are self-employed to take advantage of those EI benefits when they need to look after a loved one, whether that be a family member or someone close to them who wants that individual to look after him or her.

When it comes to the cost, it is a shame that the member opposite cannot remember that she actually voted for those funds she is talking about.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois believes that a security perimeter would be desirable to facilitate the movement of goods and people. However, we need to find a balance between security, trade and fundamental freedoms. These issues are much too important to be talked about behind closed doors.

Will the Conservative government show some transparency, reveal the mandate of the Canadian negotiators and commit to holding a debate and a vote on this issue in the House?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the Prime Minister and the President of the United States made a joint statement.

First and foremost, I want to assure the Bloc that this side of the House defends the interests of Canada and Canadians, even though the Bloc has no interest in that.

We must protect the sovereignty of our country and also move forward by developing new ways to increase trade, create jobs and protect our borders.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservative government is negotiating a secret security perimeter with our American neighbours that would facilitate the movement of goods and people, it is cutting services at border crossings in the Eastern Townships and the Montérégie area. Some border crossings have even been closed down. That makes no sense.

When will this government listen to reason and abandon its plan that jeopardizes public safety and the economic development of our regions?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question. We are obviously concerned about border crossings. We have listened to the agency that has provided us with various recommendations in terms of not only how to properly use taxpayer money but also to keep goods and services flowing efficiently across the border.

Nuclear SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has indicated its opposition to shipping radioactive waste on the St. Lawrence River. Completely ignoring the environmental risks, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has given Ontario's Bruce Power the go ahead to ship radioactive waste on the St. Lawrence. The government has shown that it can reverse the commission's decisions when it wants to, as we saw with Chalk River.

So, will the government use its discretion this time to cancel the permit that was given to Bruce Power?

Nuclear SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is an independent body that is responsible for ensuring safety in the nuclear sector. I have no doubt that the commission carefully considered and assessed Bruce Power's ability to carry out the shipment of generators while taking measures to protect the environment, the health and safety of Canadians, as well as our international obligations as a country.