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House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

G8 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government provides infrastructure support to every province and territory and to all kinds of municipalities from coast to coast to coast.

The good news is that because of those infrastructure projects we saw economic growth, more jobs, more hope and more opportunity, which is why Canada is leading the world in the G7, why our economy is among the strongest of the industrialized nations and why the Minister of Finance was named the best minister of finance last year.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, Conservative ministers are developing quite a passion for the use of high-flying government jets. The Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Defence make particular liberal use of the jets. The Prime Minister says that everything is fine because he pays the paltry equivalent of a commercial airline ticket.

Why have the Conservatives abandoned their commitment to respect taxpayers dollars when it comes to jetting around the country?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, just to throw a few facts into the mix, the policy for the Prime Minister and all ministers requires that commercial travel be utilized for public business, the government aircraft being used when commercial travel is not available.

I would remind the member opposite that when it comes to the liberal use of this aircraft, the Conservative government has reduced the average annual spending of the ministers' Challenger flights by approximately 80% over the previous Liberal government.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is clear the Conservatives like to fly. Unlike them, few Canadians have the opportunity to fly to Boston to watch a hockey game or to Tim Hortons for a coffee. In the case of some ministers, travel by private jet has increased by 50%. We would prefer to see such an increase in the use of public transportation.

Can the government come up with a better excuse to justify this use than saying that the Liberals did worse?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there they go making things up. The reality is that the jets are used for government business. They are used when commercial flights are not available. We have reduced the amount of time in which the jets are being used. They are used for another very important purpose, which is for medevacs for the Canadian Forces. These were aircraft that were purchased in the 1980s. The most recent aircraft was purchased in the 1990s. These aircraft are part of a fleet of aircraft owned and operated by the government but operated under the auspices of the Canadian Forces.

Chief of the Defence StaffOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the cost of the Chief of the Defence Staff's recent taxpayer-funded trips to events such as football games, hockey games and the Calgary Stampede have shocked Canadians. The government is now planning significant cuts to the Canadian Forces.

Will the Conservative austerity plan only apply to soldiers, sailors and airmen and women and not to the brass? Why did the Minister of National Defence approve over $1 million of flights to be taken by the Chief of the Defence Staff?

Chief of the Defence StaffOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has outlined the rules under which ministers use government aircraft. I have spoken to the Chief of the Defence Staff. He understands what those expectations are and is certainly prepared to live according to those rules.

As members know, the Chief of the Defence Staff does fly very frequently on government business, but obviously where there are alternatives we will look into that usage.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that 1.4 million Canadians are out of work, which is 300,000 more unemployed Canadians than just three years ago. That does not include the Canadians who have given up on looking for work altogether.

With so many Canadians out of work, will the finance minister use the opportunity of the fall economic statement to introduce a real plan to create and save Canadian jobs?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I hope the member opposite and his party will support the budget measures that include the hiring tax credit for business in Canada. That would give 525,000 small businesses an opportunity to hire more people in Canada, which is important. We have put a limit on the rate of increase of the employment insurance payments by employers.

Our tax reductions introduced in 2007 continue. That helped create jobs. We have continuing infrastructure programs, plus work sharing. There is a lot of government activity in the economy today, and that is why we have 400,000 net new--

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Guelph.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the results of the plebiscite make it clear that farmers want the Canadian Wheat Board to stay. From the Regina Leader-Post in 2009, I quote:

Well, farmers have spoken. We recognize that, at this time and place, this is what farmers are asking for and we'll certainly work to make sure that the board delivers for them in the best way possible.

Who said that? It was the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

The law is clear, and farmers have spoken again. Why does he not honour the will of farmers, heed his own words and keep the Wheat Board?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, farmers in western Canada always love to hear someone from Ontario, which has a voluntary board, give them advice.

I will quote the CWB director for district 2: “It's a glorified survey. We've admitted that it's not binding. We accept that.”

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am from the prairies. The prairie grain farmers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta have indeed spoken. They want to retain the Canadian Wheat Board.

I appeal to the Prime Minister, who claims to be an MP from the prairies. Why will he not stand up for the pprairie farmers and guarantee that we will have the Canadian Wheat Board well into the future?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, it is interesting to have a question from a member who does not have, to my knowledge, a single farmer in his riding.

Let us talk about the facts. In this so-called plebiscite, not only did a significant portion vote against the Wheat Board, but it did not include those tens of thousands of farmers who have walked away from that institution.

The Wheat Board gets to pick its own voters. I guess if they could do that over there, the Liberal Party could even win an election in the west.

The fact of the matter is that western farmers voted for marketing freedom, and that is what they are going to get.

InfrastructureOral Questions

September 19th, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is planning to spend billions more on corporate tax giveaways, but it cannot find money to help address the crisis of crumbling infrastructure. Just this summer, Montrealers were shocked when a section of Highway 720 collapsed. Luckily, no one was injured.

It is long past time to act. Canadians are at risk. Why is the government now cutting back on infrastructure spending?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, never in the history of the country has a government invested more in infrastructure than this one. Most of the time, this MP's party voted against it, so it is very interesting to hear this now.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the government is cutting infrastructure spending.

The government has to stop shirking its responsibilities and start taking the necessary measures to help the greater Montreal area. Modernizing Montreal's infrastructure cannot wait. The city's economic future depends on it.

Will the government take this opportunity to promote sustainable development, carpooling and public transit?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, something that is very important to our government is respecting jurisdictions. My colleague should know that in Quebec, every decision to invest in infrastructure is the responsibility of the Government of Quebec, except for when it comes to the three bridges that are owned by the federal government. We will talk about that again later I am sure.

When the time comes to invest in Quebec's infrastructure, we will do so by respecting municipal priorities and the provincial government, as we do in every province in the country. And we will continue to do so.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government needs to prove that the economy is indeed its priority. The infrastructure problems in the greater Montreal area are having a major economic impact. The Champlain Bridge has reached the end of its life. Yet the government is looking for excuses not to replace it.

Will the government do its duty and protect the city's economy? This is a national issue. Will the government announce the construction of a new bridge immediately?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, since 2009, we have invested $379 million in Montreal bridges, mainly in the Champlain Bridge, to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and further enhance the safety of this infrastructure. The majority of the party opposite voted against this. It is interesting to hear what they have to say today.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we now know that, from 2008 to 2011, the people who were using the Mercier Bridge were in real danger even before the bridge closed this summer. This is not only an economic issue but also one of public safety. It is irresponsible to play with the safety of motorists, truckers and public transit users.

Will the government do the right thing today so that people can travel safely?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify. A total of $135 million has been invested in the federal part of the Mercier Bridge. Work that had been planned for several years was completed this summer. The Government of Quebec is continuing to do its work. The comments today pertain to the provincial part of the Mercier Bridge. We will continue to ensure that federal bridges in the Montreal area are in good condition and meet the needs of the population.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question relates to the serious and ongoing issue of anti-Semitism in the international community.

The Conservative government has been a global leader in combating anti-Semitism. It has, for example, been the first government anywhere in the world to announce that it would not participate in the commemoration of the Durban declaration.

My question to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism is the following: could he advise the House as to any other actions the government is taking to fight anti-Semitism?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank that member, as well as the member for Mount Royal and Mr. Silva, the former member for Davenport, for their leadership in the parliamentary coalition for combating anti-Semitism and their excellent work, as well as for helping us to coordinate the global summit of parliamentarians here in January, which led to the Ottawa Protocol.

I am pleased to announce that this evening the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I will, on behalf of Canada, be the first government in the world to sign the Ottawa Protocol, indicating that Canada will continue to take a leadership role in combating all forms of anti-Semitism, including the scourge of the new anti-Semitism, which seeks to target and vilify the collective Jews of the state of Israel.

We stand in solidarity with the Jewish people and their democratic state.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is no business case for abolishing the Canadian Wheat Board. It is an ideological crusade, plain and simple.

Now a clear majority of Canadian grain producers have voted to keep the single desk monopoly of the Wheat Board.

I argue that the minister is both duty bound and honour bound to uphold the democratic will of prairie grain producers and to respect the very act that defines his ministry, which guarantees a vote of prairie producers before the government interferes with their ability to market their grain.