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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is misleading Canadians once again. CFIB's Vice-President Corinne Pohlmann has said publicly, “corporate tax cuts are not in our top 11 [priorities]”.

More than 80% of CFIB members will not benefit from the Prime Minister's corporate tax cuts. Instead, small businesses want lower payroll taxes and they need help with training.

Why are the Conservatives giving away $6 billion to Canada's biggest, most profitable corporations while killing jobs and punishing small businesses with an $8 billion tax hike?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everybody here can do exactly what I did. He can talk to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and its president, Catherine Swift, who is absolutely on the record saying it is opposed to the tax hikes proposed by the Liberal Party on business, absolutely opposed.

There is not a single business organization, not a single credible voice in this country, that supports the tax hikes proposed by the Liberal Party.

Shipping Radioactive WasteOral Questions

February 9th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has admitted that the decision to authorize the shipping of radioactive waste on the St. Lawrence River was based on information provided by Bruce Power, the company involved in the project. So much for rigour and objectivity.

The Government of Quebec, the Bloc Québécois, the Parti Québécois, mayors and environmentalists are all opposed to shipping radioactive waste on the St. Lawrence River. How can the Conservative government go against this Quebec consensus?

Shipping Radioactive WasteOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, public hearings and an additional round of written submissions took place throughout the fall, and the Government of Quebec did not signal any concerns at that time.

I spoke to my colleague, Minister Arcand, this morning and I offered to have the commission give briefings to all the appropriate officials. I extend the same offer to members of the House of Commons. Perhaps they will finally understand the facts and stop manipulating perceptions, as the leader of the Bloc Québécois has done for too long.

Shipping Radioactive WasteOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Conservative government and this ineffable minister, all those opposed to shipping waste by water are waging a campaign of fear. The Bloc Québécois is waging a campaign of fear, the Government of Quebec is waging a campaign of fear, international experts are waging a campaign of fear, even American senators are waging a campaign of fear.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the only person who is comfortable with the idea of shipping radioactive waste on the St. Lawrence River is his minister? And that is not a comforting thought.

Shipping Radioactive WasteOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, for the Bloc Québécois, this is another issue they can use to divide the people. The Bloc does not care a fig about the integrity of a scientific institution, of a quasi-judicial body like the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Paragraph 48—I see that he has not read the decision—states that the exterior surface of the steam generators has a lower surface dose of radiation than a package of medical isotopes. Such packages are delivered in hospitals every day. Such deliveries are common.

I repeat that his so-called consensus does not exist. We deal with the Government of Quebec, and I will be happy to have the commission brief Quebec government officials so that they can thoroughly evaluate the decision.

Shipping Radioactive WasteOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources is trying to sound reassuring and is downplaying the risk of transporting nuclear waste on the St. Lawrence River by telling us that we are trying to instill fear in members of the public. But what the minister is not saying is that these generators, which are the size of 16 buses, would exceed by up to 50 times the international limits for the transport of radioactive waste.

How can the minister be so out of touch and maintain that this is not an issue?

Shipping Radioactive WasteOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, we have to look at the facts. Once again, I urge the hon. member to, first, read and, second, understand the report. Then, if she would like, she can attend a briefing session, which the commission will offer to all members of the House of Commons.

Once again, we are concerned that members' false perceptions of the facts will cause public panic. This is irresponsible of them.

Shipping Radioactive WasteOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources needs to remove his rose-coloured glasses and take into consideration the fact that the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes are the biggest storehouse of fresh water on the planet, that this is a highly urbanized area, and that those living there do not want to have to pay the price of a possible environmental disaster and Ontario's energy choices.

Does the minister realize that due diligence requires him to listen to the public, municipal mayors and the Government of Quebec, who do not want the St. Lawrence to be used for the shipment of radioactive waste?

Shipping Radioactive WasteOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I urge the environment critic to simply put on his glasses and read the report. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, a quasi-judicial body made up of scientists, based its decision on scientific evidence. Those are the facts. I have asked commission representatives to give a technical briefing to those who are interested, including members of the opposition. I hope that they will attend.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the proposed TSX merger and takeover has Canadians worried. Canadian companies need access to foreign capital, but not at the expense of our own capital markets.

Will the Prime Minister take steps to ensure that this is a merger of equals and not a takeover, that there is access for smaller firms and that regional interests are respected? After having so badly mismanaged securities regulation, will he ensure continued Canadian oversight by Canadian authorities of our stock markets?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure how the leader of the NDP can blame the federal government for securities regulation since right now it is regulated by the provinces, which is something we are trying to change.

The fact is this is a complex transaction. There is a law in place, the Investment Canada Act, that will look at these matters. The provinces themselves also have some approval processes. Until those things are done, I will not comment on this transaction.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we cannot trust the guarantees given by the financial community about this transaction. The TMX CEO said that he came to build the Toronto Stock Exchange, and now he is selling it.

Let us look at what happened in Montreal when the stock market merged with Toronto. The merger did not produce the expected results and the derivatives did not compensate Montreal for the financial exodus to Toronto.

Why would it be different with London?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, this is a complex transaction. There is a legal process in place, pursuant to the Investment Canada Act. The provinces are currently responsible for regulating these issues. They also have their own processes. It is not appropriate for the government to make a comment at this time.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are being told that we should trust the Minister of Industry on this, but we have seen that he cannot be trusted when it comes to making the right decisions on foreign investments. The Conservatives cannot tell the difference between beneficial investments and damaging takeovers. We are talking about a takeover, not a merger, despite the spin.

Will the Prime Minister commit to public hearings, to full transparency, so finally Canadians could have some role in making this decision themselves, not just leaving it to the Minister of Industry?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we live to see everything when we hear the leader of the NDP in a patriotic defence of Canadian stock markets.

There is a law in place. The minister and the government will follow the law. It is a complex matter and it will be adjudicated according to the laws of our country.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, discussions have been dragging on for months now between this government and the Government of Quebec concerning compensation for the harmonization of Quebec's sales tax. Depending on the day, the minister blows hot or cold, and sometimes both. Everything seems to be in place to sign an agreement, give or take a few commas, but the government continues to put up obstacles, to the detriment of Quebeckers.

What is the government waiting for to settle this matter?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I might remind the hon. member, who appears to be fairly new to this file, that harmonization is a provincial decision. The province has asked us to seriously consider it harmonizing its tax. The federal government is in negotiations with the Government of Quebec. Those continue in good faith. We look forward to a successful outcome.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the government understands what harmonization means.

It is a question of fairness. This has gone on long enough. I would hope that the minister is not playing political games with Quebeckers on such an important issue. I hope that he is not planning on buying Quebeckers with their own money by using the harmonization agreement to sugar-coat the next budget.

Will the minister commit to settling this matter once and for all and stop playing cat and mouse?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, we are negotiating in good faith, as I have said. Both parties are negotiating as we speak. There are a number of issues that remain unresolved, and that is disappointing.

We would like to see Quebec have the same opportunity of harmonization that other provinces have had. We look forward to those discussions being completed as soon as they possibly can, and perhaps have a successful outcome.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the cost of the megaprison agenda, Conservatives have said “just trust us” before. A bill that they said would cost $90 million was revealed by the Parliament Budget Officer to cost between $10 billion to $13 billion. Now they are hiding the costs of another 18 bills, breaking the laws of the House to bury billions in a California prison system that failed there and will not work here.

Before the Conservative lock and load on another failed Republican policy, why will they not come clean on these costs, put them on the table so Canadians can see just how they will gut the priorities of Canadian families?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, our government has been very clear that the cost in terms of the prisons has been $2 billion over five years. We have been very clear in that respect.

However, what I would like to know from that member is why he never considers the cost to victims of criminals who are out on the street, criminals who are dangerous to ordinary law-abiding citizens. That individual tours prisons and talks about the poor morale among prisoners, with never a word to the victims they victimized.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think it has been approximately two days since the Conservatives attacked me personally. That is quite a long time. However, that is what they do. When they are out of the truth, when it is long behind them, they resort to personal attacks because that is all they have.

However, it is not me who is saying this disastrous megaprison system will not work. It is the entire world. Britain is trying to undo the mess. The prime minister there recognized that it turned prisons into crime factories. In the United States, the father of megaprisons, Newt Gingrich, says that it is a complete disaster.

If every right-wing leader in the world says that the system is broke and it will not work, why is the Prime Minister standing alone?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, what I can only say is there is an individual who thinks it is all about him. We are actually concerned about the victims. We wonder why that individual consistently stands up against the interests of victims and always for the interests of prisoners.

We are concerned about the rehabilitation of prisoners, but we want to ensure that rehabilitation takes place without jeopardizing the safety of law-abiding Canadian citizens, men, women and children.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Montreal stock exchange was taken over by the Toronto stock exchange, Quebec set conditions, and one of those was that the AMF would have veto power over the possible transaction between the Toronto stock exchange and the London stock exchange. However, under the Minister of Finance's federal securities commission project, the decision to sell our stock exchange to the English falls to Toronto alone.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that the basic purpose behind his infamous securities commission project is to strip Quebec of its financial independence?