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House of Commons Hansard #147 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we will not tolerate anyone breaking the law.

We brought in tough reforms to make Canada's government more accountable. We believe in those reforms. We brought in the five-year ban on lobbying. When these allegations were brought to our attention, we immediately informed the authorities. That was the right thing to do.

Another right thing to do would be for the Leader of the Opposition to put aside his calls for the government to raise taxes by $6 billion and get behind our job-creating economic action plan contained in the budget.

EthicsOral Questions

March 23rd, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the problem is the Conservative government is on the edge of being found in contempt of Parliament. The RCMP is investigating the Prime Minister's former chief of staff. Four of the closest collaborators of the Prime Minister face accusations of election fraud.

After the contempt that this pattern reveals for Canadians and for their institutions, is it any wonder that the government will be rewarded with contempt in return?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is the leader of the Liberal Party who is showing contempt for Canadian voters. He does not accept the fundamental democratic principle that the person with the most votes wins elections. He wanted to establish a coalition government with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP and now the coalition is back again. That shows utter contempt for Canadians.

What should be the right thing for Canada is to get behind this low tax plan to create jobs, more hope and more opportunity.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Conservative government tabled a budget that ignores the needs of Quebeckers. This budget confirms what we have known for quite some time: the Conservatives have abandoned Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister realize that this bad budget, combined with his many affronts to democracy and his contempts of Parliament, confirm only one thing: Quebeckers can no longer have confidence in such a government?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Minister of Finance, presented a budget yesterday that is entirely in keeping with Quebeckers' aspirations and priorities: economic recovery, job creation, a rate of taxation acceptable to everyone. But what does the Bloc do every time we present a budget to support the Quebec economy? It does not support it and votes against it.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, what he has just said is not true. In 2007, we asked for $3.9 billion; we received $3.3 billion and supported it. Let him keep spreading lies.

This government is thumbing its nose at Canadians as well as at the House of Commons. It has spent millions of taxpayers' dollars on a pre-election campaign. It purposely presented a budget that would be unacceptable to all the opposition parties. The Prime Minister had the gall to say again yesterday that he does not want an election. For someone who does not want an election, he is sure behaving as though he does.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, by acting this way, he has lost the confidence of Quebeckers?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, for the past 20 years we have heard the same speeches and the same whining from the party of all talk and no action. What have they delivered for Quebec in the past 20 years? Nothing.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, we do not spend our days grovelling. We stand tall. The budget proves that the Conservative government could not care less about Quebec. There was nothing keeping it from compensating Quebec for harmonizing its taxes. As far as the Quebec government is concerned, everything is settled. The Conservatives are playing games. If the Prime Minister wanted to avoid an election, all he had to do was pay Quebec the $2.2 billion it is owed.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his indifference towards Quebec will trigger an election? As Quebec's finance minister said, Quebeckers will decide.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have had productive discussions with the Quebec government and with the finance minister about the HST. We hope to sign a deal soon. We will continue these discussions with the Quebec government.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, these games have been going on for 20 years. The Conservative government continues to help the wealthy: oil companies keep getting tax cuts, banks can keep on racking up fortunes that are sheltered in tax havens, yet the government still refuses to pay its debts to Quebec.

How can the Minister of Finance explain the fact that he is unable to treat Quebec fairly but that he is able to help his banking friends and the oil companies? Either he is incompetent or he is being disingenuous.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, they are going to show their true colours. The member was part of a PQ government. There are others in that group who were members of the PQ. They never once asked for this. They never stood up for Quebeckers; they simply kowtowed to industry.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government and every Canadian knew where we stood. We wanted to ensure that this budget would be addressing the needs of middle-class families and giving them a break.

The facts: too many people are out of work. Yesterday, the Conservatives presented a job-killing budget that sucks far more out of the economy than it puts back in. They missed their own job targets by more than 240,000 jobs, according to their own figures.

Why is the government putting the needs of Bay Street ahead of the needs of people who are out of work?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the leader of the fourth party had bothered to read the budget, he would know that more than 480,000 net new jobs have been created in this country. This is the best job creation record in the advanced economies of the world.

The IMF looks at Canada and says this is the best place to invest in the next five years. It looks at our financial systems and says this is not just the best financial system in the G7 or the G20, it is the best financial system in the world.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows he is not telling the truth because one of his own ministers was in the breakout room when we were studying the budget. He knows full well he is not telling the truth on whether we read the budget.

The Prime Minister knows very well that part-time employment is at a record level. There are 150,000 fewer full-time jobs than before the recession. He has abandoned the unemployed, yet banks and oil companies continue to get huge gifts.

Why does the Prime Minister prefer to have an election instead of helping middle-class Canadian families?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, once again, there is a tremendous benefit to reading the document. As I said yesterday, it is not that long a read. It is one of the shortest budgets in the last 20 years.

There is a wonderful chart in there that shows the job creation and it shows, contrary to what the member opposite says, that about 75% of those 480,000 jobs are full-time jobs in high paying industries.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister just proved my point, that the government has not replaced the full-time work that was lost in the recession, and the middle class is suffering as a result. Maybe he had better read his own document.

Now the government is preventing Canadians from investing in the best retirement savings plan: the Canada pension plan. The government wants to come up with its own scheme, so that Bay Street can get a slice. That is the government's plan.

I want to build a Canada where Canadians can retire in dignity. We proposed it. Canadians want it. Why would the government not deliver it?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, once again, the leader of the fourth party is demonstrating his uncanny ability not to let the facts interfere with his argument.

We have negotiations ongoing with the provincial governments, as the member opposite should know because he has been in this place long enough. He ought to know that the federal government cannot unilaterally alter the Canada pension plan. We share jurisdiction with the provinces. There are rules. They are constitutional. We need two-thirds of the provinces to agree, and two-thirds in terms of population. We are continuing to work with the provinces on modest improvements to the CPP.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on April 28, 2009, three months after Bruce Carson left the PMO, the former minister of the environment had a bilateral meeting in Washington with Steven Chu, the energy secretary. Eleven other people attended: seven American senior department officials were there with Dr. Chu; the Canadian ambassador, and two staff from Mr. Prentice's office; so was Bruce Carson, not the private citizen but as introduced as special adviser to Minister Prentice.

Would the Prime Minister explain why his former staff continued to enjoy privileged access at high level private discussions months after he was supposed to have left the government's employ?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been serious allegations raised around Mr. Carson. The matter has been correctly and immediately referred to the relevant authorities. We expect every single Canadian to obey the law. This is an important law. It's a law that is so important that we made it a matter of first priority to table it, pass it, and push through caucus. We believe that everyone who breaks the law should face the full force of the law.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, five months later the Conservatives sent Mr. Carson to yet another international climate change summit, this time as one of Canada's four official delegates. Mr. Carson was there as the representative of the Prime Minister.

However, Mr. Carson's day job was to advise the oil and gas industry on energy and climate change policy. Every Canadian knows this is a conflict of interest. The RCMP may now be investigating how Mr. Carson used his special access. However, the Prime Minister owes Canadians an explanation of why, when, and how Mr. Carson was given this kind of access in the first place.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is not unusual at these climate change negotiations to invite a variety of people representing industry, environmental groups, labour groups, first nations, Inuit or Métis people.

I remember, when I was minister of the environment, even inviting the member for Parkdale—High Park. The difference is that with these delegates we generally elect them to spend the whole time there and not go home halfway through the meeting.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, how do you spell cheat?

We will try again in French, to see if the member can give us an answer.

The Conservatives say that Bruce Carson left his position in February 2009. I hope everyone is keeping up with me so far. The problem is that Carson spent the rest of the year escorting Conservative ministers. In 2009, the American Department of Energy listed Carson as a special advisor to the Minister of the Environment, Jim Prentice, during a meeting. But Carson was such a good escort that in September, Prentice did not even attend the multilateral meeting at the American state department and Carson went without him.

So, when did he leave his position again?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would say to my friend from Bourassa that he has a rather interesting use of vocabulary and a different sense of the word than I would have thought, and certainly in relation to this file.

Here is what we know. Serious allegations were raised with the Prime Minister. He did the right and proper thing, and immediately referred the matter to the three relevant authorities. I hope they will do two things. I hope they will conduct an investigation into the matter. Second, I hope they will use the full strength of Canadian law on anyone who broke it.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me try something else.

The Conservatives created the Canadian School of Energy and Environment at the cost of $15 million, which is nothing to scoff at. Carson's biography on the school's website indicates that since joining CSEE, Carson has taken on several roles at the request of the Minister of the Environment, Jim Prentice, the former Minister of Natural Resources, and the current Minister of Natural Resources. Oops—the cat is out of the bag. Now Carson is talking about the Conservatives' Quebec lieutenant and the Minister of Labour.

Do these ministers feel the need to confess anything to the House or the RCMP? Can they tell us what is going on with their friend, Carson?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, these slanders and outrageous implications by the member for Bourassa will not create a single job. They will not help a single senior living in poverty. They will not help volunteer firefighters and they will not help health care workers.

That is what our budget does and the Liberal Party should get behind it. It is the right thing for Canadians.