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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

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the plebiscite that the Wheat Board undertook left out a glaring hole in the middle: the right for farmers to voluntarily choose where they should market their grain.

That is a right that we have campaigned on. May 2 saw a result, giving us the authority to move forward on that.

We certainly intend to do that and to give those farmers the right and the opportunity to market their commodities at a time, place and price that they see fit, the same as their cousins in Ontario.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, our American neighbours certainly see the benefit in the Canadian Wheat Board to Canadian farmers, because 13 times they have gone to the WTO and trade tribunals to complain that it is an unfair competitive advantage.

Now our Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board will do the Americans' dirty work for them.

My question is simple: what side is the minister on? Why is he standing up for the American agrifood giants and not standing up for Canadian grain producers, who benefit from the Canadian Wheat Board?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, let me quote one of the farmers from western Canada:

It is no accident that North Dakota has five pasta plants whereas Manitoba and Saskatchewan have none. We will continue to export jobs from the prairies unless entrepreneurs are given the chance to buy grain freely from farmers.

That is the crux of this. We saw the Australian model opening up their wheat board some three years ago. When I met with the Minister of Trade from Australia at the Cairns Group last week, he said that the only mistake they made was not doing it sooner.

We look to that model. It has been very positive for the farmers in Australia. We know the farmers in western Canada will follow that same model and have a much better chance of prosperity.

Member for Mississauga—ErindaleOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs serves a very important position which requires professionalism and discretion.

Recent events have become a distraction. There are unanswered questions about the parliamentary secretary's judgment and potential security concerns.

My question is, will the parliamentary secretary step aside from his responsibilities until the situation is investigated?

Member for Mississauga—ErindaleOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member for Mississauga—Erindale has denied any inappropriate behaviour. We, of course, have found no information to suggest otherwise.

Member for Mississauga—ErindaleOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, foreign affairs must be taken much more seriously. While the Minister of Foreign Affairs is looking after portraits of the Queen and his parliamentary secretary is looking after his personal life, who is looking after this country's foreign affairs? In the case of the parliamentary secretary, we have been told that an investigation took place behind closed doors and that the member did nothing wrong.

Could the opposition have a copy of the report that was produced?

Member for Mississauga—ErindaleOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am not entirely sure what this has to do with government business and I do not know what inquiries into people's personal lives have to do with the new tone of decorum.

The member for Mississauga—Erindale has been quite clear in his statement. He denied any inappropriate behaviour. There is no information to suggest otherwise.

QuebecOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, with his hand on his heart, the Minister of Industry promised that GST harmonization with Quebec would be resolved by September 15. It is now September 19 and the government has pulled the plug on the new unit in Bagotville, there is no more funding for the Saint-Rédempteur viaduct in Lévis, and we are still waiting for a new Champlain Bridge.

Why has the government written off Quebec? Is it because Quebeckers did not vote the right way, or is it the influence of the Prime Minister's new communications director? Why are they turning their backs on Quebeckers?

QuebecOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I think that question should go back to the member for Bourassa. Nothing happened for 10 years. That government created a fiscal imbalance and always refused the possibility of tax harmonization. We gave Quebec a seat at UNESCO, we resolved the fiscal imbalance that they created, and we recognized the Quebec nation. And there is more to come, unlike what the previous government did.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not understand how money allocated by Parliament to improve border infrastructure could have been used to build gazebos and washrooms that had nothing to do with the G8 summit. Even the Auditor General agrees that this matter is very troubling.

Since the Conservatives like to boast about accountability and claim to have nothing to hide, will they allow the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates to review how the funds were allocated?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in fact we have done more than that. We have had a review of this issue by the Auditor General. She came forward and made several recommendations on how we can be even more transparent to Parliament. We have accepted all those recommendations.

I would say to the member opposite that this is the same old type of tactic that Canadians rejected in the last election. Canadians want their parliamentarians and their government to be focused on jobs, economic growth and economic opportunity. That is exactly what this government will continue to focus on.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today Canadians learned that the Minister of the Environment has had second thoughts about regulating the oil sands industry. It turns out he needs more time to consult with the oil industry.

Will the minister explain to Canadians why he has decided to take his sweet time, when the government is already set to miss its own inadequate 2020 emissions targets by a whopping 75%?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my colleague's question.

We do have a plan, and our plan is working. As my colleague knows full well, we began with a sector-by-sector regulatory approach a year ago, starting with the transportation sector, which is the greatest emitter of greenhouse gases. I have just posted in Canada Gazette, part I, new regulations for the coal-fired electricity sector, and we will proceed sector by sector from here around the wheel of priorities.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government had nothing better to do this summer than to cut 800 jobs from Environment Canada. Those cuts were made in a sector of strategic importance to our economy, our social development and our future. They will have serious repercussions on Canadians.

What analyses were used to measure the impact of these cuts on Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I must correct the hon. member's numbers.

There has been a great deal of misreporting and uninformed comment on this issue. There is a great difference between 776 permanent employees who might be affected, 300 positions which will be declared surplus, and the much smaller actual number of employees who may eventually be separated from the department. None of the core services of Environment Canada will be compromised. The environment remains—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on September 16, the union representing Air Canada flight attendants served 72 hours' notice to strike, a strike that could take place at 12:01 Wednesday morning.

Because Air Canada plays such a vital role in the Canadian economy, could the Minister of Labour please give the House an update on the status of the labour negotiations at Air Canada?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in cases like this the best solution is always the one that parties reach themselves. To that effect, both officials and I have been engaged with the parties.

We have received strike notice, as the member said, and we are very concerned that a disruption of the air service will damage Canada's economic recovery. Canadians gave our government a very strong mandate with respect to the economic recovery, and they want us to focus on the economy. That is why, if there is a work stoppage, we will act to protect Canada's economy.

Service CanadaOral Questions

September 19th, 2011 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives intend to cut 120 Service Canada processing centres down to 22 over the next three years. The government's plan to shift jobs out of rural areas with high unemployment into urban centres makes no sense. Canada's economy remains fragile, while the government remains illogical. The Service Canada cuts will result in the loss of well-paying jobs in rural Canada, jobs we cannot afford to lose.

At a time when Canadians need their government most, why does the government continue to cut, cut, cut instead of focusing on jobs, jobs, jobs?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of aspects to that. During the global recession, the number of applications for employment insurance really spiked. To ensure Canadians got their EI payments in a timely manner, we hired additional temporary workers. Those workers knew that the jobs were temporary and so did their unions.

The good news is that thanks to our economic action plan, we are leading the world in job creation. There are not as many applications for EI, so we do not need those temporary workers anymore.

Therefore, we are honouring our commitment to taxpayers to use their dollars wisely.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have learned about these cuts to Service Canada, and we know that these jobs are very important in terms of speeding up the processing of employment insurance claims. We know there continues to be a backlog in many areas around Canada.

Therefore, will the minister explain to out-of-work Canadians why the Conservatives are making it harder to access a program that Canadians have paid into?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to ensure that Canadians do access the services to which they are entitled in an effective and efficient manner. We have a mandate from the Canadian people to ensure we provide our services efficiently. Up until now, it has been mostly done by paper. Therefore, we are trying to take a giant leap forward into the 21st century and we are automating a lot of this because it is a more responsive and responsible way to deal with things.

No Service Canada in-person services are being cut through this program because we want to ensure we are responsive to Canadians so they get their payments quickly, accurately and in a responsible way regarding their taxpayer dollars.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians from coast to coast were horrified when Kienan Hebert was abducted from his home in Sparwood in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia. No family should ever have to endure the kind of fear and uncertainty felt by the Hebert family when its son was taken from it. To the great joy and relief of everyone involved, Kienan was returned safely.

Our government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe and to protecting our must vulnerable. Would the Minister of Justice please inform the House on how the government is acting to strengthen Canada's justice system and keep Canadians safe?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia for his interest in this. We all join in wishing Kienan Hebert safety now that he is back with his family.

We have taken concrete steps to protect Canada's most vulnerable. We have raised the age of consent from 14 to 16, strengthening sentencing provisions for dangerous offenders. We believe those who commit violent crimes should serve sentences which reflect the severity of their crimes.

I am proud to be part of a government that puts victims first. Canadians know they can count on this government.

Waterfront TorontoOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago, the Governments of Canada, Ontario and Toronto jointly created and funded the agency Waterfront Toronto for the purpose, in part, of developing Toronto's Port Lands in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

Waterfront Toronto's plan is ready for implementation after rigorous consultation with the citizens of the city. Now the mayor of Toronto is seeking to take control of the agency and implement his own plan.

Could the Minister of Finance confirm his commitment to Waterfront Toronto and to sticking with its current plan for the Port Lands?