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House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

Canada PostOral Questions

June 23rd, 2011 / 2:20 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Prime Minister likes padlocks. He locked the doors of Parliament when things were not going his way. He has locked the post office doors. He is punishing the workers who were trying to get better conditions while continuing to deliver the mail.

Why is the Prime Minister punishing the workers for the decisions made by his government and his obedient servants at Canada Post?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was the opposition that decided to padlock Parliament for months for an election. For that reason, the Canadian electorate decided to give this government a majority so that it can govern this country and act in the interests of the electorate.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government shut down the post office and is now trying to impose wages that are lower than the management was offering the workers.

The Prime Minister has rendered collective bargaining pointless in this country. He is signalling that if employers cannot get what they want at the bargaining table, never mind, Ottawa will legislate it for them. Why bother to bargain? It is a terrible precedent.

Will the Prime Minister at least remove the wage section from this bill and let an arbitrator decide on this particular important matter? It is only fair.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the wage rates, as set in the bill, are only fair. They reflect what we have negotiated with federal public servants.

However, we need to be absolutely clear on the difference here. The government, unlike the NDP, is not beholden to one of the parties at the table. The government represents the wider interest of the Canadian economy. This strike is bad for the economy and we will act.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the surface, the documents revealed by the Afghan detainee committee yesterday contain little new information.

After all this time and money, we are right back where we started. Torture and extrajudicial executions are not unusual in Afghan prisons, and Canada has handed prisoners over to these torturers.

Why does the government not do what is right and demand a public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our government is and has always been committed to handling Afghan Taliban prisoners in accordance with our international obligations. We have just been through a 12-month $12 million process where an unprecedented amount of information has been put before a number of parliamentarians of this place. It has been ruled upon by former members of the Supreme Court who have done an outstanding job for this country.

I think Canadians have a clear picture that our men and women in uniform fully accepted all our international obligations and have done a heck of a good job representing this country.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister is clearly grasping at straws here.

What the government spent $12 million on was trying to suppress the truth. Less than one-tenth of the documents were reviewed by the panel of ex-judges and less than half were even looked at by the back-room committee of MPs. For what? It was so the government could put this off for a year and now falsely pretend that judgment has been rendered.

Why did the Conservatives choose a process that hid the facts from Canadians and why not hold a public inquiry now?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I was, as I am sure many members in this place were, tremendously disappointed when the New Democratic Party refused to participate in this committee of parliamentarians.

Yesterday some 4,200 pieces of documentation on this important issue were released. We offered a briefing to all three of the opposition parties and let me say that I was even more disappointed that not one person from the New Democratic Party bothered to show up for that briefing to have this information explained.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

We would have come if we had been invited, Mr. Speaker.

With respect to the current postal dispute, I wonder if the Prime Minister would—

Canada PostOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canada PostOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I cannot even hear the question there is so much talking going on from that end of the chamber.

The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

They are an unruly bunch, Mr. Speaker, and there is not much we can do with them.

I wonder if the Prime Minister would recognize that one feature of the legislation that he is proposing is in a sense unprecedented. The way in which the arbitration process is set up is extremely interventionist. I wonder if the Prime Minister might consider, even at this late hour, some modification of the arbitration clauses in the legislation which might in fact provide us with the possibilities of a resolution of this conflict.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not accept that there is anything unprecedented here, but what I do stress is the fact that this is a dispute that has gone on for some time. It is increasingly damaging to a wide interest of the Canadian economy, small business, charities and ordinary working people. This is not acceptable and the government is acting to ensure that postal services resume for Canadians.

The SenateOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on another topic, the question of the Senate, the Prime Minister seems to be fixated on continuing with a proposal which has now aroused the opposition of the province of Ontario, as well as the province of Quebec, as well as former Premier Getty of his own province, who points out that having an elected Senate in Alberta with only six members in fact seriously discriminates against that province.

I wonder why the Prime Minister is persisting with a proposal that is unconstitutional, that is opposed by major provinces in the country and that does not have a hope of success?

The SenateOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, the election possibility raised in the legislation is an option for provinces. Some may choose to participate, some may not, but it is important in this day and age that we move forward with reform.

I know the Liberal Party will go to any lengths, including making completely false statements, to try to justify the status quo in the Senate of Canada and that is simply not acceptable to Canadians.

The SenateOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will take the Prime Minister's insulting comments they way he intended.

The reality is that it is not the Liberal Party; it is the Province of Ontario, the Province of Quebec and the other provinces. It is also the former Alberta premier, who clearly shows that this proposal discriminates against his own province.

The question remains. The Constitution protects the status of the Senate; not a party in the Parliament of Canada.

What does the Prime Minister have against the Constitution of Canada?

The SenateOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly clear that the changes proposed by this government fall under the constitutional authority of the Parliament of Canada, the federal Parliament.

It is very clear that the changes are within federal constitutional authority. I know that the Liberal Party, in both chambers, believes it is entitled to its entitlements, but we believe it is time to move forward with some reform.

AsbestosOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the finger is being pointed at Canada for its indefensible position on the Rotterdam convention.

Two days ago, the minister explained that Canada's position was justifiable since other countries were preventing chrysotile asbestos from being included on the list. A number of those countries have since changed their minds and now Canada stands alone.

Will this government explain once and for all why it is bent on refusing to add chrysotile to the Rotterdam convention?

AsbestosOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, for more than 30 years, the Government of Canada has been arguing for the safe and controlled use of chrysotile at home and abroad. What is more, recent scientific studies clearly confirm that the fibres can be used safely in a controlled environment. Our position on the convention reflects the position adopted in Canada.

AsbestosOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, former Conservative cabinet minister Chuck Strahl recently said that it was “logical and right” to list asbestos as dangerous.

Tuesday, the minister stood and told Canadians that there was no need for Canada to get up in opposition to the listing because other countries would do our dirty work for us. However, when India and Ukraine stepped away, Canada was left alone in the spotlight, defending what the world knows to be wrong.

Will the minister stop defending the asbestos lobby and realize that the time has come to do the right thing, to list asbestos as dangerous, as the world has come to agree?

AsbestosOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the International Trade Union Movement For Chrysotile represents hundreds of thousands of workers who have taken a position in favour of the safe use of chrysotile because they know recent scientific studies show that chrysotile can be used safely in a controlled environment.

AsbestosOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, India, which is the main importer of asbestos from Canada, has thrown its support behind adding chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam convention. India could thereby control the harmful effects of asbestos and guarantee that the risks associated with using this product are clearly identified.

Why is this government putting its energies into opposing a convention that could save lives instead of implementing a plan that would allow asbestos workers to move toward industries of the future?

AsbestosOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, for more than 30 years, the Government of Canada has been arguing for the safe and controlled use of chrysotile. According to recent scientific studies, this can be done in a controlled environment. Canada's position on the convention reflects the position adopted here in Canada.

AsbestosOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known. More people die from asbestos than from all other industrial causes combined, yet Canada continues to be one of the largest producers and exporters in the world.

Without exaggeration, we are exporting human misery on a monumental scale and yet we are taking active steps to ensure that companies do not even warn their customers, the third world and developing nations, where we are dumping hundreds of thousands of tonnes of asbestos. Conservatives do not think it should even have a warning label on it.

Our position is morally and ethically reprehensible. Do they not realize the black eye they are giving our country--

AsbestosOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Industry.