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House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians are struggling just to get by, Conservative ministers are abusing private jet privileges and are using helicopters to pick them up from fishing trips.

Now we learn that the Minister of Foreign Affairs insists on having golden business cards, this despite the fact that using gold on business cards breaks Treasury Board rules because it is too expensive.

Why is the minister breaking government rules? Why is he giving taxpayers the gold finger?

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, when I arrived at Parliament this morning I was deeply disturbed when I realized that the President of the Treasury Board was not here to take this question.

I remember a time when the Liberal Party of Canada used to think big on foreign affairs. Its members would think about big issues around the world. When it came to Canada and domestic issues, they would think about big issues. Now they are returning to a time when they are dealing with $400 worth of business cards. That is exactly why Canadians have them sitting in the far corner.

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, it seems to be quite the quid pro quo going on over there. The Minister of Foreign Affairs gives the President of the Treasury Board a $50 million slush fund for his riding. Then the President of the Treasury Board lets the Minister of Foreign Affairs break the rules to get his golden business cards. It is a very expensive game of “you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours”.

When Canadians are struggling just to get by, why are Conservative ministers showering each other with gold? Why the golden showers?

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, yes, I sat down with the President of the Treasury Board and I said, “Have I got a deal for you. I'll give you $50 million worth of infrastructure funds if you will give me $400 worth of business cards”.

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, whether it is millions of dollars in a local slush fund, useless advertising or fancy business cards that are against the rules, this government will stop at nothing to promote itself.

In 2009, the former industry minister spent $20,000 on photography services in the national capital region alone. How is such outrageous spending on shameful self-promotion justified?

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if we compare the records of the current Minister of National Defence to those of his Liberal predecessor, we would find that the former Liberal minister of national defence used the Challenger significantly more than the frugal current Minister of National Defence has, but of course the Liberal minister was only the minister for 18 short months.

We are ensuring that taxpayers' dollars are spent wisely and well. We are focused on returning Canada to a balanced budget. We are focusing on jobs and economic growth. The good news is that plan is working. We have seen the creation of literally hundreds of thousands of net new jobs over the past two years.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

September 30th, 2011 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, for several years now 6,800 veterans who are disabled have been fighting the government over what is called SISIP benefit reduction. Two DND ombudsmen have said that this is unfair. The veterans committee, the Senate committee and the House all voted to change this practice.

Why is the government spending over half a million dollars of hard-earned money fighting these disabled veterans in court? Why does the government not stop the court proceedings, deal with these veterans and reach a comparable settlement?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, injured personnel in the Canadian Forces are covered by a long-term disability insurance plan similar to the RCMP and other public servants. As the member well knows, they are also eligible for a Veterans Affairs Canada disability award of up to $270,000 under the new veterans charter, as well as an accidental dismemberment benefit of up to $250,000 under the Canadian Forces accidental dismemberment insurance plan.

If the member opposite is referring to a matter that is now before the courts, it would not be appropriate for us to comment on that at this time.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in fairness to the hon. member, as he is new to the House it is quite possible that he does not understand what the SISIP benefit reduction is. It is a sinful, disgraceful act wherein disabled veterans get one aspect of an insurance policy clawed back from their regular benefits. That is why they have gone to court.

This court action can stop right now. All it takes is for the Prime Minister to nod his head and stop the court proceedings. He should stop taking these disabled veterans to court and stop Dingwalling this Parliament, as the Treasury Board president and the defence minister are doing, and deal with the disabled heroes of this country in a fair and proper manner.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite cares to review the real statistic, he will find that this government has done more for veterans and more for members of the Canadian Forces than any government in history.

The member's party voted against our missions in Afghanistan and Libya, voted against new equipment purchases under Canada's economic action plan, and questioned the minister's effort to do his duty by honouring the families of fallen soldiers during repatriation ceremonies. I would ask the member if he and his party have an ounce of support left for the Canadian Forces.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs thinks he can do whatever he wants. Today we learn that he broke the rules against having gold-plated business cards. Unfortunately, that is not the worst of it. There is not a word of French on these business cards.

When the minister travels, does he represent all Canadians or just those who speak English?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to send over a business card that is in both official languages.

It says, “Minister of Foreign Affairs, 125 Sussex Drive”. All the information is available in both French and English.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I sent him my card just as an example and actually it is in three languages because some of us also include a language for the visually challenged.

I wonder if the member might help with that because when the jet-setting Conservatives have their ministers--

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Conservative Nunavut, NU

Oh, come on.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

It's a question for the leader. That's a leadership question.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The least members could do is wait until the question has been asked before they try to answer it.

The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the members can make fun of people who have disabilities. Frankly, it is about example, and what this minister is saying is that it is better to have gold on a member's card than French.

Will he commit today to getting rid of his unilingual gold-plated card and actually represent this country the way it should be represented?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I have business cards in both official languages. I will give one to my colleague.

While I am up, let me congratulate the member opposite. Sunday will be a very big day in Ottawa Centre. The member for Ottawa Centre will be announcing his campaign for the leadership of the NDP. On behalf of all my constituents in Ottawa West—Nepean, I want to wish him the very best of luck .

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Treasury Board policy dictates that the minister must provide a detailed cost analysis for any policy, regulatory or legislative change that is introduced. Could the President of the Treasury Board table today the cost analysis done for the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board? If he cannot or will not provide that analysis, perhaps he would explain how he can dismantle a $6 billion-a-year corporation and throw the entire prairie agriculture economy into chaos without doing a cost-benefit analysis.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, at the root of all of this is marketing freedom for western Canadian farmers. We intend to deliver on that. Farmers have done the cost-benefit analysis farm gate by farm gate. They have voted with their air seeders and their trucks and have moved on to new commodities.

They have taken away market share from the wheats, durums and barleys in Canada. We know there is a global market demanding more of those products. If we look at the Australian model, it is producing up to 30% more of those commodities for a hungry world.

That is all the cost-benefit analysis that Canadian farmers need. They know they can step up and produce. I wish the member would get on board with them.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food wants to dismantle the largest and most successful grain marketing company in the world based on a whim. It is becoming a hallmark of the government to hide the true costs of its policies, whether it is the crime and punishment cost of prisons, or the true cost of the F-35 or, now, the real cost of dismantling the Wheat Board.

KPMG says that it will cost $500 million in closing costs alone, never mind the impact to the prairie rural agriculture economy.

How can the government justify indulging the notion and the whim of the minister, at such an extraordinary cost, to abolish the Wheat Board without even knowing the cost-benefit analysis?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I will give the member some homework this weekend. When he goes home to his riding in downtown Winnipeg, he should check with--oh, yes, there are no farmers there. Or, maybe when he goes on to his principal residence on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, he could check with--oh, they are not under the Wheat Board.

He does not have a clue what he is talking about.

HealthOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled in favour of InSite and against years of Conservative interference. The Supreme Court found that the government arbitrarily infringed on the rights of individuals to receive the treatment and help they so desperately need.

The government has an opportunity here to take off its ideological blinders and support a vital public service that has saved lives and given people hope. Will the government do that?

HealthOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, although we are disappointed with the Supreme Court of Canada's decision today, we will comply.

We believe that the system should be focused on preventing people from becoming drug addicts. A key pillar of the national anti-drug strategy is prevention and treatment for those with drug dependency. As part of our strategy, we have made significant investments to strengthen existing treatment efforts through the treatment action plan. We will be reviewing the court decision.

HealthOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is precisely what InSite does.

Since it opened in 2003 in my riding, fatal overdoses have dropped by over one-third. More people get treatment, as InSite is there to connect people with the services they need. Today, the people who use this service have had their voices heard. The Supreme Court agrees, health professionals agree and international health experts agree.

Will the Conservatives admit their failed approach and acknowledge that InSite protects public health and saves lives? Will they stop being the barrier to this very important service?