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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservative.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Conservative Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

That is exactly what we are doing, Mr. Speaker.

The Conservative government is also investing money to make careers in trades more attractive and encourage more apprentices to complete their training.

We are providing assistance of up to $4,000 to apprentices under the apprenticeship incentive grant and the apprenticeship completion grant.

In 2010-11, our government allocated more than $38 million to the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, a national centre of expertise that offers information and resources for improving adult literacy and essential skills. We are doing what we said we would do. We are respecting the workings of Parliament.

Our government believes that the strength of the economy and the labour market depends on a skilled and educated workforce and that is why we are investing in post-secondary education. In 2010, more than 400,000 post-secondary students across Canada received loans and bursaries from the government. In 2009, we implemented a new Canada student grants program. In 2009, the government also implemented a new measure to help students who are having difficulty paying back their loans.

We know that many things can happen in the lives of Canadians, and the recent economic slowdown has created additional problems for the unemployed.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Clearly, the member has no intention of directing his comments to the motion at hand.

Perhaps I have to read it for him:

That this House condemn the government’s use of all the tactics and tools at its disposal to exercise unwarranted control over institutions that must remain independent of the government in order to aggressively push its conservative ideology, namely Parliament, by abusing the power to prorogue and belittling parliamentary committees—

That is what he is supposed to be directing his comments to. So far, he has not said one word that addresses this motion today.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

An hon. member

That is the wrong motion.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. I appreciate the point raised by the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona. He spoke to the intention of the hon. member. I would suggest that we do not know the intention of the hon. minister.

However, I would encourage members to speak to the motion before the House. I note that the motion is broad and has many components. I believe all hon. members know that it is the practice of the Chair to give the members speaking every opportunity to bring their speeches back to relevance and to the point of the business before the House.

The hon. minister of state.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Conservative Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not the ones who made it up, but the motion refers to Canada's economic action plan, so we are talking about Canada's economic action plan. We are often criticized for not using money wisely. We are showing this morning that Canadians' money is being invested for the good of Canadian society, to help people find jobs and to meet the government's commitments.

It can be difficult for members of certain groups, such as aboriginals, newcomers, persons with a disability, young people and older workers, to have access to labour market opportunities. We are therefore providing targeted support to a number of these groups, particularly for training and skills development.

As part of Canada's economic action plan, the federal government is investing $75 million over two years in the aboriginal skills and training strategic investment fund, in addition to extending the aboriginal skills and employment partnership program by—

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. Is the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona rising on the same point of order or another point of order?

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member said that the motion talked about the economic action plan. If he read the motion, he would see that there is absolutely not one word on that. The economic action plan is not even mentioned in this motion.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I thank the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.

Once again I would remind all hon. members to familiarize themselves with the business before the House and to make their comments relate to that. The Chair grants great latitude in terms of what can be related back to the business of the House. However, members' comments ought to relate to the matter before the House.

The hon. minister of state.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Conservative Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we have already said, we continue to use Canadian taxpayers' dollars wisely. For instance, we are investing $30 million in the opportunities fund for persons with disabilities, and that is just one example.

As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister has proven in recent days, all parties in the House of Commons have used the same tactics that we are being criticized for using. It was Conservative Party money, raised by Conservatives for Conservative advertising. As we know, rulings were handed down recently, which we plan to appeal. We have proven that all parties have used money to support local candidates.

Our government has always been very respectful of all government operations and we will continue respecting them. Proof of this lies in the significant economic success we have achieved: five consecutive quarters of growth in our markets, in the GDP and in Canada's economy. What Canadians want most is for our economy to continue to grow, despite some setbacks we have seen south of the border. We hope the U.S. economy improves. That is very important for us.

While the opposition is trying anything it can to trigger an unwanted election, on this side of the House, we are taking care of the economy, which is the top priority of Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just demonstrated that, after fostering a culture of secrecy by providing as little information as possible, this government developed a new strategy: dodging the issue. We have seen that the Conservative government does not really stick to this motion, but wanders off topic.

I would like to speak to him about the government's attitude, which is truly autocratic and undemocratic. Government employees were issued a directive at the end of last year to replace “Government of Canada” on all correspondence with the Prime Minister's name followed by the word “Government”. Speaking of autocracy, this makes me think of Louis XIV, who said, “L'État, c'est moi.” or “I am the State”.

What is going on? Have the Conservatives becomes so authoritarian, undemocratic and disconnected that they are not only giving speeches in the House that are not even related to the motion, but also withholding information and resorting to all sorts of wrongdoings? I would like to remind them that they are the ones who were charged by Elections Canada.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Conservative Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have before me the motion, which states:

...under the guise of promoting Canada’s Economic Action Plan...

The motion therefore refers to Canada's economic action plan. It is clearly written in the motion. We are being told that we have demonstrated various behaviours, and I truly hope that the hon. members who will come after me will be able to continue to demonstrate the quality of our government.

I would like to respond by saying that our government and the government representatives from Quebec who are currently in office have also seen what the party opposite has done over the past 20 years. Earlier, I heard the member for Québec speak. In 20 years, under different governments, her party has succeeded in having only four bills pass and receive royal assent, three to change the names of ridings and one to create a commemorative holiday.

The government's representatives are the ones that get results that affect people's salaries and their day-to-day lives and they will gladly continue to do so.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course prorogation has happened 105 times in the last 143 years. In fact, most sessions only last a year, and that is pretty much on par with what happened the last time. Thus Bloc members are trying to change the channel and we know that. We need to get back to what they are trying to change the channel from.

I do not know if many people in Quebec realize that the Bloc voted against Canada's economic action plan, the plan that is taking us out of the global recession. In fact, Bloc members voted against every improvement to roads in Quebec, against every job initiative that we have had in Quebec, and against repairs to bridges and all of the wonderful work that is going on in Quebec right now.

I would ask the member, is that why the Bloc is putting forward motions like this and playing mischief in Parliament? It makes sense to me, but I want him to be clear on that as well.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Conservative Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. It is obvious that the party opposite only wants to prove that Canada does not work well. This is the only thing members opposite have in mind. They are only here, in Ottawa, in order to isolate Quebec. We, Quebeckers, who represent Quebec within the government and make decisions, will never let them do what they want to do. Not only have they voted against each and every item of Canada's economic action plan, but they also credited themselves for the results of the economic action plan. When our government postponed the ending date of infrastructure projects from March 31 to October 31, they went to all the broadcasters and newspapers in the province of Quebec to give themselves credit for the results of a plan they voted against. After 20 years of misinformation, it is time to speak the truth to the people of Quebec.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to the motion presented by the hon. member for Joliette. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you and the staff especially for this opportunity because there were many Conservatives who wanted to speak to this motion because we see the mischief in the Bloc. We see that the Bloc members are trying to change the channel from their position of not supporting Quebeckers in Canada's economic action plan, not standing up for Quebeckers when they had the opportunity to do so.

I know the Bloc members are ashamed of that and they would like to go back and change the channel, but we are not going to let them. We are going to ensure that all Quebeckers realize that Bloc members, when they had the opportunity to do so, did not stand up to invest in Quebec. It was the Conservative members from Quebec who stood up for Quebeckers and I am proud to be part of a caucus that has those members in it.

It is a very clear and shameful attempt by Bloc members to play partisan games that actually do not benefit people, that do not benefit Canadians, and to avoid discussing the real issues.

The members are laughing and cackling while we have a global economic crisis. They are laughing and they are bringing forward mischief motions and not substantive motions.

We need to concentrate on the jobs of Quebeckers and Canadians. We need to concentrate on the economy of Canada. That is what we have been doing and it has been very successful.

Look at the other nations in the G20. We lead the way in the world today with our economy and we are proud of that. However, we have done that without the help of the Bloc, and we continue to do that without the help of the Bloc. It is important for Quebeckers and all Canadians to know that.

I am sure if we were to ask Canadians in every region of this country, in particular Quebec, which the Bloc members say they represent but we know they do not represent, it is the important issues such as the economy and protecting jobs that are important to Canadians and Quebeckers. Bloc members should be ashamed of themselves for their position in the past and, seemingly, their position today. While we are trying to concentrate on creating jobs, protecting jobs, they are concentrating on silly, political games that do not do anything for Canadians, that do not create jobs, that do not protect our economy.

However, this should not be a surprise to anyone. Just as we saw earlier this week with a similar motion from the Liberal Party, the opposition clearly is more concerned with motions that are outrageous in scope and in nature. This one is no different.

We heard the NDP members stand earlier and try to throw the minister off, which of course was unsuccessful. They also opposed Canada's economic action plan and I know they are trying to change the channel too. They are not going to get away with it. Canadians are not going to be fooled and this Conservative government is not going to let it go unnoticed. Now--

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the previous spokesman for the Conservative Party did not speak to the motion whatsoever. The member now is not speaking to the motion whatsoever. What do the Conservatives have to hide?

We have a very specific opposition day motion today. We are supposed to speak to it. What do government members have to hide? Why do they not want to speak to the motion? Why are they trying to change the channel? Let us speak to the motion.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, this accusation is very spurious at the most. I have been listening to the speeches. I have read the motion. They are on topic, talking about Canada's economic action plan and all of the other things that are in the motion. The members on this side of the House are speaking to that. If opposition members would just listen, they would realize that these are relevant.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the motion does, in fact, refer to “promoting Canada’s Economic Action Plan”. What we want the hon. member to tell us is why there were 80 events, costing taxpayers $250 million, to promote their economic action plan. During the last adjournment of the House, Conservatives toured all ridings.

Today, we are talking about the conduct of a government that thinks that the end justifies the means. When the Conservatives were in opposition, they denounced this kind of behaviour from the Liberal government. Now that they are ruling this country, they do exactly the same thing as the Liberals did. Remember the promises the Prime Minister made during the campaign. He was going to act differently, things were going to be different in Parliament and the government was going to work differently. This is what we are talking about today. So can someone explain to me why it was so urgent to hold 80 events at a cost of $250 million in a pre-election campaign? We know there is a 50% chance that elections will be called.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I have the motion in front of me and I have been listening to government members. The reality is the opposition party that presented this motion does not like to hear what the government has done on these issues because it is a good news story for the government. Members can debate that, but the rude interruptions by the Bloc and NDP members are not appropriate in the House. They should listen. If they want to debate, they should, but let us get on with it.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I have listened to the points of order raised surrounding relevance. It is the Chair's observation that there are several elements in today's motion before the House that touch on several topics. Some members are speaking to elements that are included in the motion. It would appear that some are speaking to elements they feel ought to be included in the motion, or ways that different elements of the motion could or should be interpreted.

I go back to a point I raised earlier, which is that it is the practice of the Chair to grant latitude to members in speaking their minds and respect the fact that they are to make their comments relevant to the matter before the House. It is not the practice of the Chair to micromanage every minute in terms of that issue. I trust that all hon. members will respect this practice in the House of Commons and make their comments relevant to the matter before us.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the intervention by government members who obviously see the bad attempts by the NDP and the Bloc to try to divert attention away from the wonderful things we have done for the Quebec and Canadian economies, for all the jobs we have created and will continue to create without their help. It is the Conservative members on this side of the House from Quebec who stand up for Quebeckers.

I am glad the Speaker sees clearly that members are trying to change the channel, but it is not going to work. Canadians need to know that when the Bloc Québécois and NDP had a chance to stand up to support Quebec's economy, they did not do so.

The people of Quebec know that and we need to make sure all Canadians know that when it comes time for them to stand up for the people of Quebec, the opposition members do not do so. I know Bloc members are ashamed of themselves because with this motion and others they are trying to change the channel. They are trying to make Quebeckers believe that they stand up for them when we know that they cannot do anything.

As was said by the minister earlier, they have done nothing since they have been here, except collect a big paycheque and provide no response, products or goods for the people of Quebec. It is this government that has carried out initiatives for roads and bridges. We have done a lot for the people of Quebec and we are not going to sit back and allow Bloc members to change the channel on the great accomplishments we have made.

We gave Quebec a seat at UNESCO. Did the Bloc do that? No, it did not. It was this Conservative government that did that. We recognized Quebec as a nation. Was it the Bloc and NDP that voted for that? No, it was the Conservatives who voted for and instituted that.

We have delivered on infrastructure priorities across Quebec and Bloc members have done nothing on that. They try to take the credit, but the reality is they cannot take it because Quebeckers are too smart. They know that it is the Conservative Prime Minister and government that stood up for the people of Quebec.

As I stated before the intervention by the NDP and the Bloc, our government will remain committed, no matter which position opposition members take, to Canada's full economic recovery. Nowhere is this more evident than through the unprecedented investments we have made through the economic action plan all across this country.

A year later, we can see the difference the plan is making for Canadians in every corner of the country through infrastructure investments that those members voted against, through income tax relief measures those members voted against and through funding for affordable housing. Can anyone believe that NDP members who stand and talk about affordable housing voted against it, just like the Bloc did? They should be ashamed of themselves. That is just a few examples of why they should be ashamed and why they are trying to change the channel today, just like the Liberals tried to do last week.

The economic action plan is providing extraordinary economic stimulus and we know that. We see the results. We can measure the results with other countries. It has been doing well at creating jobs in cities, towns and rural areas across Canada and, yes, in Quebec in particular, no thanks to the Bloc. Why did the Bloc vote against it? Why did it not stand up for Quebeckers when it had the chance?

We have committed over $10.75 billion across this country on over 6,300 infrastructure projects. We are keeping the economy rolling. We are keeping things going and on track and we are doing it without any thanks from the Bloc Québécois or the NDP, who are trying to change the channel.

As everyone will see in a few minutes, they will continuously try to change the channel because they are ashamed of their position on Canada's economic action plan.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

March 10th, 2011 / 11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the Conservative Party speech and noted that, again today, the government is still not willing to respect democratic rules. It considers this Parliament as somewhat of an obstacle that it must get around.

It uses euphemisms to avoid stating the truth. It referred to Canada's economic action plan and inferred that it was the core of the motion. We are not talking about Canada's economic action plan. We are talking about the $250 million used for a pre-election campaign during a parliamentary constituency week.

I would like the hon. member to explain in more detail his position on the use of public money for a pre-election campaign, which is what they did, and to talk more about the motion presented by the Bloc Québécois concerning this government's many scandals.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, again members are obviously trying to change the channel from the reality. They voted against the road improvements that we invested in Quebec. They voted against 900 projects and $30 million. They do not deliver the goods for Quebeckers.

They voted against all the bridge repairs that this government has been involved with in our partnership with the Quebec government and with municipalities right across Quebec. They voted against those initiatives. They voted against those partnerships because all they know how to do is divide and vote against legislation. They do not know how to pass bills.

They voted against freshwater investments and waste water investments. Why would they do that? Why would members of the NDP one day stand up and talk about all the wonderful things we could do with the environment and then when they have the chance they vote against it?

They voted against all our green infrastructure investments, the $1 billion on the green infrastructure fund. Both parties voted against that. They should be ashamed of themselves. They should quit trying to change the channel and deal with jobs and the economy.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I note that the hon. member is not answering the questions. I will continue to ask him questions pertaining to this motion because that is today's subject.

Yesterday, for the third time in one year, the Speaker ruled that this government had breached parliamentary privilege. I would like our Conservative colleague to tell us how he will avoid explaining to our audience at home yesterday's ruling by the Speaker to the effect that his party lacks transparency and does not respect democratic rules.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member asking me to explain, but more importantly, he should stand right now and explain why Bloc members voted against all our investments in Quebec: the upgrading of two drinking water centres in Baie-Comeau; the renovated Beauceville cultural and sports centre in Quebec. They voted against every infrastructure investment in Quebec. They are not standing up for the people of Quebec. They are not standing up for the economy and the jobs and for a better quality of life.

I invite the member to stand in his place right now and explain to the people of Quebec why he voted against every job that has been created. He voted against every one of the 430,000 jobs that have been created in this country and also every single one of them in Quebec. Bloc members do not stand up for Quebeckers. It is the Conservative members from Quebec who stand up for Quebeckers. This Conservative government will continue to do so, notwithstanding their position on this.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of GovernmentBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is full of it. When we think about the fact that the Conservative Party required the coalition with the Bloc for the first two budgets, the government actually cozied up with the Bloc to get its first two budgets passed.

It is unfair to characterize my colleague with not supporting everything in Quebec. That is just not true because the first two Conservative budgets would not have passed in the House of Commons had it not been for the government's coalition with the Bloc. It is a reality and the parliamentary secretary cannot run away from that.

Let us ask him a question about why is this coalition with the Bloc––