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House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was smugglers.

Topics

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, since the end of the recession, 600,000 jobs have been created here in Canada. Canadians gave us a strong mandate to protect and pursue Canada's economic recovery. While the opposition is calling for tax increases that would result in the loss of jobs and harm the economy, the government has a plan to keep taxes low and focus on job creation for Canadians and economic growth.

We know that irresponsible spending and out-of-control debt are the main problems other countries are facing today. That is why the demands of the opposition will not be met.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, I am going to have to respond to the spokesperson for the President of the Treasury Board. The reality is that the cuts to public services will be carried out by private consultants and will cost taxpayers $20 million. As we saw with the F-35s, the Conservatives do not really like the tendering process.

When the public interest is not consistent with their ideology, they forget about the public interest. Can the President of the Treasury Board explain to us why this contract was awarded without a tendering process?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false, and Treasury Board's involvement with the private sector is an integral part of our plan to ensure that Canada avoids the economic and financial problems that have heavily hit many of the other countries in the world. Once again, fortunately, 600,000 new jobs have been created since the end of the recession, thanks to the good work of the world's best minister of finance, as he was named last year.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are spending $90,000 a day for an outside consultant to plan cuts and that is their explanation. Canadians will not buy it. A day's pay for the consultant is more than a year's pay for front-line Service Canada workers. While Conservatives throw money away on high-priced consultants, they are forcing Canadians to accept cuts to the programs and services they rely on.

When will the government come clean on its cuts?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, under our government we have created about 600,000 net new jobs since the end of the recession which, as I said earlier, is the best record among the advanced economies. The opposition, on the other hand, is calling for higher taxes which would, of course, kill job creation in Canada and is the wrong way to go.

With respect to spending, we certainly are opposed to reckless spending. I think Canadians expect us to be prudent in the way we look at spending in Canada, so we are through the deficit reduction action plan. Private sector advice is valuable, important and essential and it is part of our task of appropriately—

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I will stop the minister there as his time has expired.

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, warning signs about a possible recession are everywhere and yet Conservatives want to cut the front-line workers that help Canadians who have lost their jobs. This is not the time to cut services at EI processing centres. When times are tough for Canadians, they deserve to have those services to help them.

When will the minister take the service part of Service Canada seriously and stop cutting workers at EI centres?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should get her facts correct. Front-line service at Service Canada will not be affected with the plan we are bringing in. What we are doing is taking the backroom operations where EI gets processed and making it more responsive to the needs of Canadians.

Right now, most of the processing is manual paperwork. We are in the 21st century. We need to automate that. We need to make sure that the services we are delivering are efficient, effective and responsive to Canadian needs. We are protecting front-line service delivery.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign, the Conservative slogan in Quebec was “Notre région au pouvoir”, or our region in power. The reality is that if you are not in power, the government will make cuts in your region. This summer, it announced that 600 jobs would be cut in employment insurance claim processing centres in Canada. These cuts will hurt the isolated rural regions of eastern Canada.

Why reduce employment insurance services when the ranks of the unemployed are swelling and the economic situation is deteriorating?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, during the global recession there was a large increase in the number of employment insurance claims. We responded by hiring a number of people to process the claims. We succeeded. Claimants received their benefits in a reasonable time. However, the good news is that more Canadians than before have found work and we no longer have to deal with so many claims. Therefore, we have adjusted our staff.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, when people lose their jobs, they do not receive free Internet access as a bonus. Not everyone can file their claims over the Internet.

It is interesting to note that two Service Canada centres that were opened in Conservative ridings in Nova Scotia will remain open. Meanwhile, bigger centres in opposition ridings will close.

Will the government stop favouring Conservative ridings and start serving Canadians fairly?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I just explained that some people were hired on a temporary basis. That was understood at the time by those people and the unions. The demand for employment insurance has decreased. Consequently, we have to reduce the number of employees and make sound use of taxpayers' money. That is what we are doing. I can assure the member that the service provided to the public will not be affected.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, if cuts are made to Canada's ozone monitoring network, we will lose a third of the world's resources to monitor the growing hole in the ozone layer.

This network has been collecting research data for 45 years. It is a key player in international efforts to protect the ozone layer.

How will this government explain to other countries that Canada is withdrawing from an important monitoring mechanism that is provided for in the Montreal Protocol?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague is aware, since we took power, Canada has created nearly 600,000 net new jobs.

I must say that while Nature is a worthy journal, the story to which she refers is completely without facts or science. We are not cutting any ozone-monitoring services or closing the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre, which Canada has hosted for years. However, we are optimizing and streamlining the way we monitor and measure ozone, making the best use of taxpayers' dollars.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister says he is not cutting jobs with ozone-related research and yesterday he told the House that cuts to Environment Canada will only affect “surplus” workers. It is hard to imagine where he is finding surplus when key programs like ozone monitoring are now often run by only one person.

Before we take his word on what a “surplus” worker is, will the minister tell the House what analysis his department has done that shows the actual impacts of these cuts?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how I can be much more clear. I have said we are not closing any of our ozone-monitoring services or closing the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre.

As we are doing across government, we at Environment Canada will be taking a close look at all of our spending through the next year, and the results of our deficit reduction action plan will be revealed in next year's budget.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, documents show that the Auditor General was misled on key facts surrounding the G8 spending. For example, who handled the intake of applications? It was Sondra Reid, the minister's constituency assistant. Who handled questions from municipalities? It was David Pearson, the minister's political right hand. Who secured the cash? It was Mr. Muskoka Moneybags himself, who bragged to mayors that he could secure money personally from the Prime Minister for a program that did not exist.

His fingerprints are all over this file. When will he take responsibility for this abuse of public trust?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would encourage the hon. member to abstain from making those types of derogatory comments.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is completely incorrect. The facts have not changed. The Auditor General looked at this recently and made some helpful observations about how we could move forward in a more transparent and clear way.

The Auditor General also made some observations with respect to the administration of this program.

However, here is the good news. The good news is every dollar is accounted for. All 22 projects came in on or under budget. In fact, the program itself was underspent by some $5 million.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite ongoing talks at Air Canada, the minister has leapt into the fray and indicated she would order flight attendants back to work, giving an unmistakable preference to management negotiators.

Clearly, the government is ready to use this opportunity to again undermine employee pension security, just as it did earlier this year. Pension security must be part of any plan to stimulate this economy.

Why is the government so eager to compromise the pension security of over 6,800 Air Canada workers?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, our labour minister has been front and centre in ensuring that whatever happens, the parties involved in this discussion continue their discussions. The pensions seem to be at the middle of it. We hope they can settle. However, it is very important that we ensure the economy is not negatively impacted. The pensions will be dealt with in due time.

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report on the G8 legacy fund said that no public servants were involved. We now know that is wrong. Employees of FedNor were involved. Clearly, somebody misled the Auditor General.

I have a motion at the government operations committee this afternoon calling for an investigation into this matter.

Will the government, which rode into power on the white horse of accountability, support my motion, or does it think now that it has a majority, accountability no longer matters?

G8 SummitOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, again the facts have not changed. This issue was thoroughly heard. The Auditor General had all the government information.

However, let me give members more good news on this.

Rehabilitating the airport in North Bay, fixing up the provincial highway and building a community centre that was used during the summit are all public infrastructure projects that added great value to the municipalities and were recommended by the municipalities themselves.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

September 20th, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respectfully ask the Minister of Industry if he was of sound mind when, on September 12, he said that the Conservatives broke their promise to Quebeckers to compensate the Quebec government with $2.2 billion by September 15 because the province is refusing to tax items such as books, baby feeding supplies and diapers.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, a joint press release was issued by the Province of Quebec and the Government of Canada. This shows that we have been negotiating on this issue in good faith from the outset. Things are moving forward and are going well, as the finance ministers for both Quebec and Canada have said. It is time to stop nitpicking and look at the result. It is on the way.

Those members over there were in power for 13 years and always said that the sales tax could not be harmonized. We get things done, and we will keep our promise.