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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

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the number of Canadians that must travel to the United States is high, whether they live in a border town, visit family or go south for the winter. The Conservatives did nothing to keep Canadians from having to show a passport to get into the United States. Today the Prime Minister is discussing a secret agreement and does not want Canadians to know about it.

What surprises will Canadians be faced with when they cross the border? What can Canadians expect to have to disclose in order to cross the American border?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as you know, last Friday the Prime Minister and the President of the United States signed an agreement that will allow us to work better together in the years to come to secure our borders and to keep pursuing economic prosperity for both countries.

This is a start, and I would ask my colleague to wait patiently. We will continue to maintain our excellent relations with the United States, for the benefit of all Canadians.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the secret agreement between Canada and the United States threatens Canadians' privacy. Why put their information in danger? Canadians do not want to share details about their finances or daily lives with the Americans. The Conservatives do not want Statistics Canada to force Canadians to fill out the census.

Do they think that U.S. Homeland Security will balk at gathering personal and confidential information about Canadians?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thought that my colleague would have taken five minutes of his precious time to read the statement guaranteeing sovereignty as well as privacy.

I will be tabling the statement in a few moments. That way, he can read it.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' reckless plan for Coast Guard vessels is putting the people of B.C.'s coast at serious risk. Their plan to replace the Point Henry from Prince Rupert and the Point Race from Campbell River with so-called motor lifeboats must be thrown overboard.

How can the Conservatives justify their reckless cuts to the Coast Guard's lifesaving equipment? The new boats carry less than half the people, travel less than half the distance and can only stay on the water for less than a third of the time of the current ships.

Can the minister justify why she would even consider replacing these vital Coast Guard vessels with dinghies that simply will not do the job?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the Coast Guard's top priority is the safety of Canadians and our priority is also the safety of our very own crews.

The previous government let our Coast Guard rust out or left the vessels tied to the wharf because it could not pay for the fuel. Since then, we have made an historic investment in our fleet, including five new Coast Guard vessels that were built in Victoria for British Columbians, and these ships are very capable craft.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, one cannot last long in the cold waters of the North Atlantic.

The defence committee heard last week in Gander and St. John's that Canada's two-hour search and rescue response standard after business hours was unacceptable. One survivor of a sunken fishing boat described how two others drowned 15 minutes before a DND helicopter arrived, having left Gander an hour and 20 minutes after being tasked.

Does the government agree that a two-hour response standard, longer than anywhere else in the world, is acceptable or will it commit to improving response time for search and rescue in Canada?

Search and RescueOral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Cougar helicopter crash of 2009 was a terrible tragedy. I know, like the member opposite, that all members here remember the victims of that crash and their families.

The Transportation Safety Board has now released its study. I have had a chance to look at that, as I know my colleague has. The Minister of Transport has directed his officials to respond to recommendations.

However, with respect to the basing of Canadian Forces search and rescue assets, they are optimally located to provide the most rapid response to areas where historically, statistically, incidents occur. The government is committed, of course, to improving upon effective search and rescue. That is exactly what we are doing and those assets—

Search and RescueOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

JusticeOral Questions

February 9th, 2011 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, this Conservative government is committed to getting tough on crime and criminals. That is why our tough on crime agenda includes legislation to crack down on white collar crime and to protect the most vulnerable Canadians.

Can the Minister of Public Safety please update us on the status of Bill C-39, the early release for criminals and increasing offender accountability act?

JusticeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House that our government believes people convicted of serious crime should pay their debt to society. This includes white collar fraudsters who take money from Quebec seniors who have worked all their lives to simply enjoy their golden years.

We cannot understand why certain members opposite, the NDP and the member for Outremont in particular, would put criminals' interests ahead of their own constituents. That simply does not make sense to us. Our Conservative government remains committed to protecting victims.

TransportOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian authorities have no reliable way of tracking American oil tankers in the out-of-bounds exclusion zone off B.C.'s coast. In December, the Transport Minister incorrectly told the House that the zone is “closely monitored and strictly enforced”.

Not so. On average, an Alaskan tanker enters these prohibited waters every single day.

They have abandoned the 40-year policy banning tankers from B.C.'s northern inland waters and they are failing to defend the exclusion zone as well.

Why is the government putting B.C.'s coast at risk?

TransportOral Questions

3 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, what is interesting, of course, is that the daily oil tanker traffic into this well-patrolled and well-controlled zone is exactly the same number of tankers that came through when the Liberals were in charge of this file. It is exactly the same. Now the Liberals think they have an issue they can drag through the water to see what they can pick up.

The truth is that every ship that comes into Canadian waters has to report to the coast guard. Every vessel that comes through there is a double-hulled tanker. Every single one of them has to be inspected regularly. No tanker traffic is allowed on the inside passage.

These are the same rules that have been in place since the Liberals were in power. For some reason they are now dangling this one over the side hoping somebody will take the bait.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan has learned that the Canadian government has awarded a contract of $1 million a year to a warlord in order to ensure external security for Camp Nathan Smith. This is beginning to look a lot like a protection racket.

How could this government resort to such an unacceptable practice? Do similar contracts with other warlords exist?

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada does indeed have contracts with private firms in Afghanistan. The goal of these private firms is precisely to protect assets and personnel. These firms have signed the Montreux document that outlines standards and best practices.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the federal loan loss reserve program for aboriginal businesses is falling apart. The pilot program has only used $4.2 million of the $15 million set aside to be loaned out by the banks. Last week, the Assiniboine Credit Union withdrew from the program altogether.

This Conservative program was highly flawed from the start. It excluded aboriginal financial institutions that have been successfully lending money to aboriginal entrepreneurs for 20 years.

Will the government now admit its mistake and invite the aboriginal financial institutions to join this fund?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, improving access to capital is a cornerstone of our continued efforts to enhance the economic and business development prospects for aboriginal people across Canada. The loan loss reserve pilot program was created to address a gap in larger-scale commercial lending. This was an area that aboriginal financial institutions were generally not in.

The program is currently being reviewed by an independent third party. The preliminary results of the review will be used in program renewal and renovation.

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, the economy remains our government's top priority. Since July 2009, Canada's economy has created 460,000 new jobs. In order to sustain this growth, we need to continue supporting job-creating businesses.

Since our government was first elected, we have lowered the small business tax rate to 11%, raised the amount that small businesses can claim under this rate to $500,000 and raised the lifetime capital gains exemption to $750,000. This was particularly welcomed by the owners of family farms who wish to transition their businesses--

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I just got off the phone with CFIB's Catherine Swift and, boy, did the member for Kings—Hants ever get it wrong.

As members will recall, CFIB strongly supported our tax reductions for job creators in 2007. The member for Kings—Hants said they had changed their mind. In fact, just yesterday they reaffirmed their support for the tax reductions. The reason they did not feel they had to put them in their top 11 priorities is that, “They were already done three years ago. We didn't think they were threatened”.

She will be calling the member for Kings—Hants.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I wish to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Paul Okalik, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Statements by MembersPOINTS OF ORDEROral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I tried to deliver a statement today in the House on the very serious matter of the missing and murdered women in the downtown east side.

Apparently most of my statement was completely inaudible over the microphone because of mayhem by some members of the Bloc who I believe were probably reacting to a previous statement by the government side.

I certainly do not mind some objections being registered in the House. We are in a lively environment. However, when it renders another member inaudible, it is completely disrespectful and unacceptable.

We have certainly communicated our concern to the whip of the Bloc Québécois, but I am also raising it with you, Mr. Speaker, because I think it is important that all members be able to give their statements in a proper way. I think this is very much a part of statements and that, as Speaker, you need to be aware when a member becomes inaudible, because then what is the point of giving a statement?

I would like to draw this to your attention, Mr. Speaker, and hope that we can have better decorum.

Statements by MembersPOINTS OF ORDEROral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I simply want to corroborate what my NDP colleague is saying. We made the same observation. We are party to the problem. We are well aware of this and we talked about it amongst ourselves today. During statements by members, there is far too much noise and far too much movement in the House, and I invite you to reprimand us.

Statements by MembersPOINTS OF ORDEROral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Unfortunately, I am not a whip. At the same time, I must say there was a lot of noise today during statements by members and during oral question period.

But at the same time, I have to say that I could hear the hon. member for Vancouver East quite clearly despite the noise. I did yell “order” several times, and the noise level went down a bit and I could hear her. That is why I did not stand up and demand more silence.

I could hear what she was saying quite clearly. Whether that was on the microphone or whether it is because of the speakers behind me, I am not sure, but to me it was quite audible. Had it not been, I assure her I would have taken more steps.

I am sure the House leaders and whips, at their next meeting, could have a discussion about the noise level in the chamber. I know the whips are very effective at enforcing these kinds of matters.

We have a few other points of order arising out of question period.