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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

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member should know that article 20 in the law contains factors for evaluating net benefit.

As I said, I told the investor that I was not satisfied that the proposed transaction was going to provide net benefit for the country. The investor has 30 days from the decision to make additional representations.

Our government welcomes foreign investments that are in the best interest of the country.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, no answers, no clarity is no way to run an economy. Its mismanagement is making investors and the public lose confidence in the government. They can join the crowd.

The premier of B.C. has also lost confidence and is concerned now that Conservatives are looking at using the disallowance power of the federal government to revoke B.C. laws. This has not been invoked since 1943.

Is the government so out of touch that it thinks it can ram through northern gateway over B.C. objections? When will Conservatives start listening to the province, to first nations and to British Columbians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the northern gateway project is currently before an independent joint review panel, which will review it on the basis of independent science. We look forward to hearing its recommendations.

In the meantime, our government continues to enhance environmental protection, pipeline and maritime safety and aboriginal consultation.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative attacks on the Navigable Waters Protection Act are irresponsible. The quality of water and environment of millions of Canadians will be affected, as will the country's tourism industry. The Conservatives are endangering our wetlands, lakes and rivers. There are approximately 4,500 rivers in Quebec and over 31,000 lakes in Canada, but only 97 lakes and 62 rivers throughout the country will be protected from now on.

Why does the minister not think that the Dumoine, Bonaventure, Diable and Moisie rivers also deserve to be protected?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

October 22nd, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should read the legislation that she is talking about. The Navigable Waters Protection Act is not an environmental law. The changes that we are making to it will therefore not have any impact on the environment. Fortunately, there are laws that protect the environment: the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, the Species at Risk Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act will not have any impact on these laws or on the environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, instead of working for Canadians, this monster budget bill protects the oil pipelines and puts our pristine lakes and rivers at risk. These changes are not about transportation at all. They are about the Conservatives' refusal to protect the environment. They need to get their priorities straight and put the water back in the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Will the minister come to the committee and defend his decision to change a water protection act into a pipeline protection act?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, the member is making up acts. This act is dealing with navigation and has always been, and remains, about navigation and only navigation. It has nothing to do with the environment. There are other pieces of legislation that are focused on the environment. This one is focused on navigation.

I can help you navigate through the legislation if you wish.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order. I would remind all hon. members to direct their comments to the Chair rather than their colleagues.

The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know how budget cuts will affect the services they rely on. It is a sad day when the Parliamentary Budget Officer has to go to court because the Conservatives are hiding information.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has a mandate to provide analysis to Parliament on the planned spending of the government and the state of the nation's finances. Why are the Conservatives refusing to give the Parliamentary Budget Officer this information?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, we continue to give the budget officer information that falls within his mandate. We have done so in the past. We are doing so in the present. We will undoubtedly do so in the future. We continue to report to parliamentarians and Canadians using the normal means, including the quarterly reports, the estimates and the public accounts. We will continue to do so in the future as well.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is the point of voting on accountability legislation when we cannot enforce it?

On the very day that the Conservatives introduced another massive budget bill, they are refusing to take action and implement important recommendations that would allow Parliament to better monitor government spending. The unanimous recommendations of the parliamentary committee would have made the budget process clearer and easier to understand, but the government rejected those recommendations outright.

Why are the Conservatives opposed to the committee's recommendations? Why are they allergic to transparency?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, again, we overwhelmingly approved most of the recommendations. I believe 15 out of the 16 recommendations we either agree with or referred them to Parliament, as it is the purview of Parliament. We agree with the recommendation, for instance, that helps us trace the spending that is found in one set of estimates to actual departmental spending to make it easier for parliamentarians to understand the process by which these spending decisions are made. We will continue to find ways to report to Parliament.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in refusing to give information on spending cuts to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the government makes the truly ridiculous argument that the PBO's job is to examine levels rather than cuts in spending, as if he could examine the true level of spending without first knowing the cuts. It makes no sense. Why, given the central importance of MPs in scrutinizing the government's spending, is the government forcing the PBO to take it to court to get the information he needs to do his job?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I say again to another hon. member that we have co-operated with the budget officer in the past. We do so in the present as well and undoubtedly will do so in the future. As the hon. member knows, having been in this place for a number of years, we report to this place through the quarterly financial reports, through the estimates process, through other parliamentary means and we report to Canadians as a result of that as well. We will be proud to do so in the future as well.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, not only is the government opposing the Parliamentary Budget Officer on transparency, but it is also opposing the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, which presented a unanimous report in June on how to make the government more responsible and transparent.

Will the minister commit to supporting my motion for concurrence so that the House can move forward on this important matter?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, there is an echo in the chamber, but I am happy to answer the hon. member as well and indicate that we have agreed with and approved 15 out of the 16 recommendations either as government action or to go to a parliamentary committee, because it pertains to Parliament rather than the Government of Canada. We have agreed to making sure that on spending approvals and specific government programs, there is better traceability than now. These are reforms that we have done. When Liberals were in power, they did none of them.

Canada Mortgage and Housing CorporationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2006, the finance minister introduced to Canada U.S.-style 40-year mortgages with no downpayment. This failed policy helped lead to record Canadian consumer debt levels. Now the minister says he wants to privatize CMHC.

With record household debt and weakening housing prices, why would the Conservatives privatize the CMHC and give up a key federal lever in the housing market? Why do the Conservatives seem so intent on following failed U.S. economic policy?

Canada Mortgage and Housing CorporationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, speaking about failed Liberal policy, it was under the Liberal watch that the CMHC actually moved to 40-year mortgages. The Liberals sat and watched that happen. We are watching out for Canadians. We are helping Canadians. We are not intending to make any changes to CMHC, other than the ones they are planning on voting against, and those are to provide more oversight over CMHC.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, eight members of the Conservative cabinet, including the Prime Minister, have spouses whose investments are not held in blind trusts.

The ministers know that their better halves own shares in banks and oil companies that are directly affected by federal government decisions.

They could potentially profit from decisions made by their spouses. I highly doubt that all Conservative members of the House see nothing wrong with this.

Can the Conservatives admit that there is a problem and that this could result in conflicts of interest, or even insider trading?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, spouses disclose their assets to the Ethics Commissioner, in accordance with the rules, and follow the Commissioner's advice concerning potential conflicts of interest.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we would have hoped for a bit more courage from a government that talks about transparency and that always finds itself mired in scandals and perceived conflicts of interest.

This is not the Conservative government's only problem, as we can see in the case of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

After exceeding electoral financing limits by thousands of dollars, and having had to negotiate an unusual agreement with an airline company to avoid further violations of the Elections Act, the minister continues to refuse to rise in the House and provide a better explanation than, he did it once and he would never do it again.

Can the minister justify election campaign overspending and explain why his official agent was rewarded with a job?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there is an official representative who will answer all of Elections Canada's questions.

The minister's official agent will respond to all questions through Elections Canada. The hon. member across the way has not responded to the obvious questions that Canadians are posing to him. He gave not one, not two, but twenty-nine donations to the hard-line separatists, Québec solidaire. All we are asking is that he tell us his position on Québec solidaire's support for sovereignty. Is he a federalist, yes or no?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, we all enjoy that member's performances, but he is ignoring serious issues here.

The Prime Minister's own guide to accountable government states, “Ministers, ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries must avoid conflict of interest...and situations that have the potential to involve conflicts of interests”. Eight spouses of cabinet ministers hold portfolios of publicly traded securities. This gives the appearance of a possible conflict of interest.

Will the Conservative cabinet members do the right thing and disclose all family holdings?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said in this place today, spouses disclose their holdings to the Ethics Commissioner in accordance with the rules and follow any instructions from the Ethics Commissioner on potential conflicts of interest.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, we would like to see the government take some action itself before it is told what to do.

Here is another ethical problem that Conservatives are hiding from, a cabinet minster who won by 79 votes and clearly broke the election laws to do it and is now avoiding all accountability.

The Prime Minister promised to finally deal with the ethical mess that he inherited, but he has done the unthinkable and made it even worse. When will the Conservatives stop the blatant hypocrisy and start taking some responsibility?