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House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

Topics

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, a legacy of deceit, pork and cynicism. It sounds like the old Liberal sponsorship scandal, but it is the editorial pages commenting on the behaviour of the new Treasury Board President.

The member has abused the public trust and he must come clean. Will he explain to the House how he managed to divert $50 million from border infrastructure payments and put it into a private slush fund? Can he explain why the Auditor General was unable to find any evidence of oversight or documentation to explain this outrageous spending spree?

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where to begin with that question. Just about everything the member opposite said is not the case.

With respect to the G8 legacy fund, we supported 32 public infrastructure projects. Every single dollar is accounted for. To move expeditiously, the public service recommended using this fund so that we could use existing authorities to move quickly. I accepted that recommendation.

The Auditor General has suggested that we need greater transparency and greater accountability. There is no argument from me or from this government. We fully accept the great work that the Auditor General has done on this issue.

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not good enough that the member is hiding behind the verbosity as a member for Ottawa West—Nepean. If he cannot stand and explain this $50 million spending spree, then he has no business being at Treasury Board.

The government promised to do politics differently. Instead, we have the spectacle of three amigos divvying up pork barrel slush funds and he cannot stand in the House and produce any evidence or documentation that could have stopped this outrageous Muskoka gravy train.

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I encourage the member opposite to read the report of the Auditor General. He speaks about a committee of three people making decisions with respect to public infrastructure. In fact, that is not the case. None of the decisions with respect to the 32 projects was approved by that committee or any of the three individuals who served on it.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, when the Conservatives promised to do things differently from the Liberals, the Conservative platform said that they would “oblige public officials to create the records necessary to document their actions and decisions”. That is precisely what the former industry minister seemed to be desperately lacking with regard to the G8 spending scandal.

What changed between the time when he called for sound management of public money and 2010, when a slush fund was created to please the minister's friends in his riding?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the member opposite that in fact is not the case. There was a full and complete contribution agreement for each of the 32 public infrastructure projects that were accounted for. Each of the projects came in on budget and in each of the projects every dollar was accounted for.

The Auditor General has raised some concerns about the process in terms of the selection of public infrastructure projects. We certainly agree with her recommendations and will work to implement them in very short order.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, like magic, the concept of ministerial responsibility seems to have completely disappeared from the vocabulary of all Conservative ministers, especially when the time comes to explain misspending and poor management in a given department. On the other hand, they do not hesitate to take credit for the economic recovery, even though this government shamefully dragged its feet until it risked losing power.

Canadians want to know why they should have to pay the price of cuts to services when the government cannot seem to explain its wasteful G8 spending.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the government supported more than 28,000 public infrastructure projects in every part of the country. The Auditor General, in her last report in 2010, looked at that and gave the government an A.

With respect to the 32 projects in this one fund, she has recommended two areas where she thinks it could have been done better and the government has fully accepted that advice.

All of these infrastructure projects, like resurfacing the runway of an airport, building a community centre, resurfacing a provincial highway, are all good public infrastructure projects that will benefit the people of Canada for many years to come.

EmploymentOral Questions

June 13th, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the latest employment numbers show that, despite what the government is saying, the employment crisis is not over. There are still 1.4 million Canadians without work, plus hundreds of thousands working part-time because they cannot find anything better. Three out of five unemployed people will not receive any help.

Why is the minister refusing to support Canadian families that need help returning to the workforce?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we tried to do with our economic action plan. We believe that the best way to improve things for these people is to help them find work. To do that, they need to develop skills. That is why we have invested in training for 1,200 people through the economic action plan—to help them find work today and in the future. We have been successful and Friday's numbers prove that.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not good enough.

Last week the minister joked about the Wizard of Oz, but what is no joke is his failure to create jobs. Millions of Canadians are struggling. Hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts to profitable banks and big oil make no economic sense and create no jobs.

Instead of just leading Canadians down a yellow brick road, will the government step out from behind the curtain and tie corporate tax incentives to real job creation?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, when talking about real job creation, May saw 22,000 more Canadians working. I am not too sure why the opposition thinks that may be a negative. We have 560,000 more Canadians working today than we did in July of 2009.

However, that is no reason to stop. That is no reason to hold back this budget. We need to pass the budget quickly so we can continue to create jobs for Canadians.

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is no wonder our manufacturing sector has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. The government just does not get it.

Last week we saw more dismal trade numbers. In six years the government has managed to turn a $62 billion trade surplus into a $9 billion deficit. Every serious Canadian observer can see that this country has a trade crisis.

My question for the minister is this. What is his plan for addressing Canada's serious trade imbalance?

International TradeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, first, I congratulate the member on his election and welcome him to the House.

Also, I am pleased to see that he is engaging on the trade file. As he knows, trade is absolutely critical to building our economy. It is critical to creating jobs. It is critical to our long-term prosperity as a country. I would encourage him to get on side with this government as we seek to build that long-term security for our country.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is a return to the days when Canada was a mere hewer of wood and drawer of water, reliant on exports of raw resources for growth. Subsidies to big oil and tax cuts for the most profitable corporations have only helped drive up our dollar far beyond its real value. No wonder our exports are in real trouble.

When will the government replace its failed trade policies with targeted measures to boost exports and fix Canada's trade deficit?

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the best way to boost exports is to expand our trading relationships around the world.

Trade accounts for some 60% of our GDP. I am surprised the member does not know that. He should get onside with our government's plan to expand trading relationships, build our prosperity, create jobs and ensure that economic growth continues.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the forestry industry is the cornerstone of over 300 Canadian communities, a number of which are found in my riding of Pontiac. This industry is in crisis and, since 2005, close to 90,000 jobs have been lost in this industry across Canada. The government claims to be helping this industry, but it is not doing enough.

Why does this government insist on giving everything to the oil industry when our country's forestry industry is dying?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in the preceding questions, it was interesting to hear about international trade and open markets since the forestry industry's problem is clearly a matter of markets. Unfortunately, the United States construction industry has encountered major problems, which means that our Quebec and Canadian companies are not able to export as much lumber to the United States. As long as this market is not replaced by new markets, something we have been working on, it will be difficult for our companies to prosper.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last year when the then minister of industry blocked the sale of a potash corporation to BHP Billiton, he said that there was clearly a need to upgrade to update the Investment Canada Act, particularly with respect to an extremely important evaluation criteria called net benefit.

We have not heard a word for the past eight months. Foreign investors, Canadians, and I would dare say Parliament, would like to know where that clarity lies.

Will the government give us that clarity for which we have been waiting for eight months?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, foreign investment is key to the growth of the Canadian economy and our government will continue to encourage it. That being said, significant investments will continue to be reviewable under the Investment Canada Act.

I know the House committee was studying the Investment Canada Act before the opposition called an unnecessary election. I hope that study will continue so we can look at ways to improve the act so it works in the best interests of Canadians and our economy.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is some urgency. We know that TMX, which includes the Toronto stock exchange and other Canadian stock exchanges, could be sold this year, either to a foreign company, the London stock exchange, or to a Canadian company, the Maple Group.

There is an urgent need for clarity in this extremely important matter. We have been waiting for eight months. We do not have time to wait for another committee to meet this fall.

We need to know what the new net benefit rules are right now.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, foreign investment is key to the growth of the Canadian economy, and our government will continue to promote it.

That being said, significant investments will continue to be reviewable under the Investment Canada Act.

I know that the House committee was studying the Investment Canada Act before the opposition provoked an unnecessary election. I hope that this study will continue in committee so that we can look at ways to improve the act so that it continues to work in the best interests of Canada and our economy.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, despite the Canada Revenue Agency giving itself top grades on service to taxpayers, an internal audit found that these grades were in fact inflated by almost 20% and fell well below acceptable standards.

The Conservatives continue to pat themselves on the back, to mislead the public and hide their own incompetence. Could the minister please explain this lack of accountability to Canadian taxpayers who have the right to expect timely, respectful service?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to the fair and equitable tax treatment of all Canadians. An important example of this is our government's creation of the taxpayers bill of rights, along with the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman.

Internal auditing does take place in order to keep the agency accountable and to ensure that services to Canadians continue to improve.

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Union of Postal Employees has offered to accept the minister's request to suspend the strike as long as its contract is reinstated. Canada Post is refusing.

The strike drags on and mail delivery is reduced to three days a week. Will the minister push Canada Post to agree to reinstate the contract so we can end this strike and get everyone back to the bargaining table?