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House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Mortgage InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I really do not know where the hon. member gets her theoretical facts.

What has happened in Canada is that we have had a solid housing market. We have not had the kinds of difficulties, thank goodness, that the United States, Ireland and other countries have had.

Why is that so? It is because we have a well run system, because we have mortgages with recourse, because we reduced amortization periods. It is because we watch the system and when intervention is necessary, we intervene, as we have done three times in the last three years.

Mortgage InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation was doing a very good job of providing mortgage insurance, and even returned a profit to Canadians. Yet the government opened the door to U.S. insurers, then pushed to relax the rules so these insurers could offer riskier mortgages, which they did. They encouraged people to sign on to mortgages they could not afford.

Why is the government asking taxpayers to risk billions of dollars for these private companies when CMHC is a much more secure, more stable way of helping homebuyers? Why is that?

Mortgage InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thought the question was actually about the housing record. It appears that the member is just concerned that private enterprise could have anything to do with business in Canada.

We actually believe in private enterprise. We do not believe the public should take 100% of the risk in insured mortgages in Canada.

The other thing the hon. member might want to think about is that it is important to have competition in that sector, as it is in every other sector in our economy. Everybody in that sector, public or private, plays by the same rules, and we set the rules.

The SenateOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been promising for years to reform the Senate but he broke his promise to have an elected Senate and to limit senators' terms. His record is clear. Like the previous governments he has so often criticized, he appointed his friends to the upper chamber. How ironic that those he appointed no longer want to give up their privileges.

If the government's credibility is in doubt within its own caucus, how can it expect to have the support of this House?

The SenateOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, we believe that the Senate must change in order to reach its full potential as an accountable and democratic institution. The effectiveness and legitimacy of the Senate suffers because senators do not have a democratic mandate from Canadians and can serve terms as long as 45 years.

Our government received a strong mandate. We are committed to acting quickly on reforming the Senate, so that it better reflects the values of Canada and Canadians in the 21st century.

The SenateOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is time the government was clear with Canadians about the Prime Minister's Senate reform plans. We all know that no matter what we do, the changes will be complicated. Yet, the government's message is all over the map. Heck, the Prime Minister cannot even get his own senators on side with his plans.

My question is very simple. Why will the government not just support a straight-up referendum, asking Canadians, do they support abolishing the Senate, yes or no?

The SenateOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, our government received a strong mandate to reform the Senate and implement our plan to make it more accountable. We believe Senate reform is the best option to address Canadians' concerns about senators serving terms up to 45 years without a democratic mandate. We are committed to reforming the Senate, so that it better reflects the values of Canada and Canadians in the 21st century.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it has been almost two weeks now since the Auditor General criticized the former industry minister's misuse and waste of public funds to benefit his friends. Yet the former minister has still not apologized and has not provided details on the projects that were chosen. This is becoming a habit. He also has not provided details on his plan for budget cuts. We have found out about some of them: the 40% cuts at the Canada Mortgage and Housing corporation, the 20% cuts at Environment Canada and the millions of dollars in cuts at the Canada Revenue Agency.

When will the minister start acting like a real minister?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to describe some of these projects and what was done. There is an airport in North Bay. The government helped resurface the runway so that planes could land on it.

There is a provincial highway in that part of rural Ontario that was repaved. That is important. A community centre was also built. It is now available for the benefit of the people in that municipality, and I could go on.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 2011-12 main estimates will soon be examined in parliamentary committee. The President of the Treasury Board has agreed to testify, but only for one hour. But we think that it must have taken much more than an hour to set up his $50 million plan for the G8 summit to benefit his friends.

Could the minister himself, or his foreign affairs critic, explain why we are allowed only one hour to discuss the management of $250 billion?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, a question for me that has to do with my portfolio. I want to state to the House that I am looking forward to going to the government operations committee to defend our estimates. We have a strong mandate from the people of Canada to move ahead with the right kind of strategy, the right kind of agenda for Canada and Canadians, and we are darn proud of it.

EthicsOral Questions

June 20th, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was reading the 2011 ethical guide for cabinet ministers and I notice the government rewrote it to say that ministers must obey the law. I find it astonishing that ministers must be told that “Thou shall not collude nor conspire to create a coven of kleptocracy in Canada”.

The minister blew through $50 million without documentation. Did the Conservatives have to rewrite the rules so none of the other ministers were as cavalier with the public trust?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there was another change in the guide that jumped out at me. Civil servants are now told that even if the minister compels them, they are obliged to follow the rules. Was this why the member for Muskoka shut out the bureaucrats? How else could he have passed himself off as the Daddy Warbucks of cottage country?

How else could he have gotten the three amigos, the mayor, the hotel manager and the minister, to divvy up $50 million on outhouses, picnic tables and bike racks without documentation? How else could he have gotten away with it?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, try as the member might, he is not the member for Winnipeg North Centre.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

An hon. member

Never will be.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

And never will be. That is the real deal. I like the member for Winnipeg North Centre, and he is not the member for Winnipeg North Centre.

I am pleased to confirm to the House and to my friend opposite that none of the three individuals he mentioned approved any of the 32 projects.

G20 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government hopes that if it keeps piling on the paperwork, Toronto businesses will eventually forget about seeking G20 compensation and just quietly go away. Toronto businesses inside and around the G20 zone suffered millions in damages and they are not going away. It has now been a year without compensation and these folks are still suffering.

The minister claimed he is ready to move forward and expedite this, but after a year the question is, when?

G20 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I share the member opposite's concern. Many small businesses were really affected due to the security issues surrounding the holding of the summit in Toronto.

The member opposite raised this question two weeks ago and then again last week. I asked him if there were any specific businesses that I could specifically look into on his behalf. I am very prepared to do that. I think he and my colleague, our friend from Parkdale—High Park, have raised a legitimate concern about the adequacy of the funding and whether the rules are too strict, and I am certainly prepared to review that.

Privy Council OfficeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know the government's waste fighter-in-chief sprayed $50 million around his riding with no oversight and no paperwork. Now we learn that the department of the Prime Minister himself has been breaking the rules on hospitality expenses.

So if the President of the Treasury Board is the fox guarding the taxpayers' chicken coop and if the boss of the fox is himself breaking the rules as well, how can Canadians possibly believe that this crew will cut government fat fairly and competently?

Privy Council OfficeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, again, our government has cut spending on hospitality by more than 30% over the government that the member served in. To be clear, we put measures in place. In fact, they were put in place some time ago to make sure that any necessary spending on coffee or limited hospitality was approved beforehand.

We respect taxpayers' dollars on this side of the House, and we spend each and every dollar with due care.

Highway InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is staying silent on the messy issue of Montreal's south shore bridges.

The Mercier Bridge is blocked off, when it is not falling to pieces, much like the Champlain Bridge. People are having a heck of a time getting to work, and we are going to tell them an emergency committee needs to be struck because no one is talking. Montreal is being taken hostage by a lack of transparency, leadership and communication.

What is the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities doing for Montreal? Why is he not making the Champlain Bridge studies public? What does he have to hide?

Highway InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his interest in helping us improve the highway network in the greater Montreal area.

As always, respecting our partners' jurisdictions is immensely important for our government, whether our partners are at the municipal level, or at the provincial level, as is the case for provincial highways. The Quebec government and the federal government each own 50% of the Mercier Bridge. I will be pleased to continue working with my colleague to improve things for the people of Montreal.

Disaster AssistanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, for the second year in a row massive flooding is damaging Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Another five inches of rain fell this past weekend in places like Yellow Grass, Radville, Weyburn, Estevan and Roche Percee. Infrastructure has again been eroded and millions of acres of farmland will not get seeded again. The western premiers want a better national response to such disasters.

Could premiers Wall and Selinger be assured today that the federal government would support a new national disaster strategy with greater federal compensation and more investment in prevention in the first place?

Disaster AssistanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we do share concerns with the provinces that are experiencing flooding. Our government is committed to helping the provinces, whether it be Manitoba, Saskatchewan, or Quebec, to help mitigate the disaster and afterward. We are committed to supporting all provinces with any flooding situation.