House of Commons Hansard #166 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-15.

Topics

Member for Mississauga—Brampton SouthStatements By Members

October 22nd, 2012 / 2:15 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, since her return from the summer, the member for Mississauga—Brampton South has given four statements but none highlighted events in her riding. She did not mention the United Achievers' Club Annual Scholarship and Recognition Awards held on September 15, or the Sikh community town hall meeting held on September 30.

Brampton Day, a celebration of all things local in Brampton, happened just one month ago. Again, nothing from the member.

Just yesterday, the Brampton Battalion hosted a special Olympics day. Players and fans bought red laces in support of the Special Olympics.

Why were none of those events worthy of celebrating in this House?

There are many wonderful community events happening in every riding all across Canada.

I encourage members to take this time to highlight the Canadians who help build our vibrant communities and not simply repeat fabrications cooked up in the Prime Minister's office.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have some wonderful news for my colleague from Trinity—Spadina.

According to “Canada's Emissions Trends” report, Canada's emissions in 2010 virtually stabilized while we saw a growth in our economy by 3.2%.

What does that mean? It means that our greenhouse gas emissions are lowering while our economy is growing. Our policies with regard to regulating the coal-fired electricity sector and the transportation sector and investing in clean energy technology and in climate change adaptation are seeing a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This is great news for our constituents.

However, what we will not do is take $21 billion out of the pockets of Canadians to see these things happen. We are getting the job done without taxing Canadians. Canada is in good hands.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in 2010, the Conservatives promised a clear and transparent foreign takeover review process.

That was two years ago, and Canadians and foreign investors are still thoroughly confused. At midnight last Friday, like a thief in the night, the Minister of Industry rejected Malaysian state-owned company Petronas's bid to take control of Progress Energy. But why?

What criteria did the minister use in deciding to reject Petronas's offer?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Petronas did propose a transaction. As Minister of Industry, I was not satisfied that the transaction would be a net benefit for Canada. Under the act, starting from that point, the company has 30 days to make additional representations. We are ready to welcome foreign investment that is in the best interests of the country.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that does not mean a thing. We still have no idea.

Is this the kind of transparency we are going to get? The criteria for evaluating foreign takeovers are not clear or transparent. Conservative ministers make multi-billion dollar decisions in the dead of the night. No wonder investors are left in the dark. It is not good for business and it is not good for the economy.

Without clear criteria, we do not know whether these decisions are influenced by cronyism or by partisan political purposes. The Conservatives promised reform of the Investment Canada Act, but have not delivered. Why can they not make the net benefit test clear for investors, for Canadians and for all to see?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, on Friday night, I announced, as the Minister of Industry, that I was not satisfied with the fact that the proposed transaction would be a net benefit for the country. Therefore, starting from that point, the company has 30 days to make additional representations. We all know we welcome foreign investment that is in the best interests of Canadians.

Canada Mortgage and Housing CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, speaking of lack of transparency, today we learned from The Globe and Mail that the Minister of Finance was moving toward the privatization of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Could the Minister of Finance inform the House, and, indeed, all Canadians, why he wants to dismantle a 60-year success story at the CMHC? It was just four years ago that private mortgage insurance schemes in the United States nearly sank the global economy. Why does the Minister of Finance now want to take Canada down the same road?

Canada Mortgage and Housing CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the fact is, despite what The Globe and Mail said, there are no plans to make that change at this time. Our government is focused on implementing economic action plan 2012 and if the opposition members had cared to read that, they would have seen that we had actually included action to improve the oversight at CMHC.

Canada Mortgage and Housing CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister says “at this time”.

If the minister goes forward with his plan to privatize the CMHC, thousands of homeowners and those who dream of buying their first home will suffer disastrous consequences. We saw the same thing happen in the United States: the privatization of Fannie May and Freddie Mac was a complete fiasco.

Are the Conservatives really following in the footsteps of one of the greatest economic failures of all time?

Canada Mortgage and Housing CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, as I said, there are no plans to do that at this time. However, we always need to recognize that we can strengthen oversight in our country. We have seen examples in other countries where there was a lack of oversight. That is why we have actually strengthened CMHC's role.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not surprising that he does not know, and it turns out Conservatives do not even know what was in their own budget. They are so used to making things up they just cannot stop themselves any more.

On Friday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that changes to the Navigable Waters Act were on page 282 of the budget. There is no mention of that on page 282 of the budget, only reckless plans to cut transportation.

Why would the Conservatives remove environmental protection for thousands of lakes and river, even though they never once mentioned it in their budget?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, this legislation has always been and remains about navigation and navigation only. The amendments would focus resources to ensure that this would still be the case. This would not affect the government's protection of the environment. In fact, I can list several pieces of legislation that do deal with the environment : the Canada Environmental Protection Act; the Federal Sustainability Act; the Fisheries Act; the Migratory Birds Convention Act; the Species at Risk Act. Shall I go on?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if theMinister of Industry could explain to us how Petronas will tell the government what is of net benefit if the government has not told it what is not of net benefit. If the government has had those conversations with Petronas, could it please tell the Canadian people?

This whole process is in the dark. It should be transparent.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the Liberal Party mentioned, the investor has the opportunity to make additional representations in the next 27 days.

I announced that I was not satisfied that the proposed investment would bring a net benefit to Canada.

As the member knows, we have the law. It is clear. There are factors under article 20, plus guidelines. As we all know, we welcome an investment that is in the best interests of our country.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the government regarding the Indian Act. A member opposite described this legislation as a colonial statute from Canada's past that has nothing to do with the present.

Will the government now tell us what it plans to do to ensure true equality between the Government of Canada and Canada's aboriginal populations? When will that day come?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, all parties in the House agree that the Indian Act has held back first nations for over 136 years.

What the Liberals are now proposing is more talk, more delays and more inaction.

What we are doing is taking concrete steps to improve education, access to safe drinking water, transparency for first nations governments and protecting the rights of women and children. Our approach is practical and is delivering results for first nations.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leakage of information, the sharing of information, the selling of information by Mr. Jeffrey Delisle to the Russians has been described by members of the government as the damage is astronomical, the damage is exceptionally grave, the damage is simply huge. This went undetected for 50 months.

When a breach of security of this kind happens, it is usually followed by a judicial inquiry. When will there be a judicial inquiry in the case of Jeffrey Delisle?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member, and certainly assure the House and all Canadians, that the Canadian Forces takes these issues very seriously, particularly, where sensitive information is involved.

The member will knows that the matter is still before the court and this individual is still facing sentencing. For that, we will not be discussing it in the House of Commons or publicly.

Mortgage LoansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, measures to tighten the rules on mortgage loans did not have the desired effect. Household debt continues to rise. And so the Minister of Finance's latest proposal is to privatize the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation?

The main goal of any private company is to make a profit, and not to help people find solutions to their housing problems.

Why privatize the CMHC when the housing sector is at risk? Why favour the private sector at the expense of the interests of Canadians?

Mortgage LoansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the suggestion of that hon. member is incorrect. There are no plans to privatize that at this point.

We have recognized that there are challenges and we have, on four different occasions, reduced the amortization period for homeowners. That is prudent, and we have actually seen the improvements in the market.

Canadians are investing in homes, but they are investing prudently.

Mortgage LoansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives denied changes to the Museum of Civilization, too, and look at what happened.

What the Conservatives are saying is that we need to get out of the business of providing confidence in the housing market. They say we need to abandon CMHC, the best tool middle-class Canadians have for ensuring stability in the housing market.

However, the example of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the United States shows what happens when we make private companies too big to fail.

If the privatized CMHC fails, who do the Conservatives think will pick up the pieces?

Mortgage LoansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that her party actually voted against strengthening the rules to protect CMHC. Opposition members stand in the House and criticize what we are doing to ensure we actually protect the savings or Canadians. We put in place improvements to our pensions, to pension plans for Canadians. They voted against that.

I am not sure what it would take to offer something that the opposition would actually vote in favour of that helps Canadians.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, housing is not the only area where the Conservatives are improvising. Three minutes before midnight on Friday, the Minister of Industry announced that he would not approve the Progress Energy Resources takeover.

Investors and analysts do not understand the reasons for this decision. They are calling for more transparency and clear criteria for determining what constitutes a net benefit.

When will the Conservatives finally do their homework and bring clarity to the process?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, section 20 of the act sets out the established criteria. We must take into account certain factors when evaluating whether or not a proposed transaction is of net benefit.

As for the transaction in question, I informed the investor that I was not convinced that it would be of net benefit to Canada. The investor has 30 days from the date of the decision to make additional proposals. Hence, as of today, it has 27 days.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, an arbitrary decision made behind closed doors at midnight on Friday is no way to run an economy. Canadians deserve better than that. Canadians are asking if the government is going to be as arbitrary on the CNOOC proposal to take over Nexen. Canadians want transparency and accountability on foreign takeover applications. The Conservatives are mismanaging multi-billion dollar issues. The Conservatives have broken promise after promise.

When will there be clarity and transparency on the foreign takeover review process?