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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was orders.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague is beating around the bush. I asked a very specific question. If she cannot answer, then the finance department representative should answer. If he does not wish to believe the Parliamentary Budget Officer, then he should answer the Chief Actuary of Canada.

Is his office wrong in stating that the cost of seniors' benefits will rise by 1% over more than 20 years and then decline afterwards? Is this figure correct? Yes or no? And if it is not, what figures does the finance department have? That is a specific question requiring a direct answer. The hon. member should stop beating around the bush.

PensionsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, the gentleman the member referred to is entitled to his opinion. We have the facts. We will take action to protect the old age security program not just for today's retirees, but also for future generations. It is very important to recognize that old age security will take a larger and larger bite out of the budget. It is very important to recognize that.

Magdalen Islands AirportOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Madam Speaker, this week, thousands of people in the Magdalen Islands were without power and heat for several days because of an ice storm. The resources needed to rebuild the network were rushed in by boat. This incident once again shows the need to extend the runway at the Magdalen Islands airport, something residents have been demanding for 25 years.

Will the minister take responsibility and ensure the safety of the people of the Magdalen Islands by giving them a runway that can easily accommodate air ambulances and cargo planes?

Magdalen Islands AirportOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, the airport's main runway adequately meets the current needs of airport users. For example, the main runway is currently able to accommodate fully loaded aircraft and heavy transports such as the C-130 Hercules. In passing, no official request to extend the runway has been received from the airlines serving the airport.

Magdalen Islands AirportOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Madam Speaker, the people of the Magdalen Islands, the Premier of Quebec and many others are calling for a runway that is up to standard.

The fact that very large aircraft cannot land at the airport puts the safety of Magdalen Islands residents at risk, but that is not the only issue. The Magdalen Islands have become a destination of choice for tens of thousands of tourists a year. Extending the runway would therefore also be beneficial from an economic standpoint.

If the safety of residents is not a convincing enough argument for the government, will it consider the economic development argument?

Magdalen Islands AirportOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, the hon. member is saying that the main runway is unable to accommodate large aircraft, when I just finished telling him that the main runway is in fact capable of accommodating the C-130 Hercules, which I believe is a fairly heavy aircraft.

It is also important to note that we have already made investments throughout the country to improve our air transportation industry, but this member and his party voted against them.

International TradeOral Questions

February 17th, 2012 / 11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, with one in five Canadian jobs linked to trade, deepening Canada's trade relationships around the world is key to protecting and strengthening the financial security of hard-working Canadians. No other government in Canada's history has been more committed to helping create jobs for Canadians by expanding access to foreign markets than this government.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the hard-working Minister of International Trade give the House an update on just one of the key prosperity creating initiatives that make up our government's broad and ambitious job creating pro-trade plan?

International TradeOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Richmond Hill for his hard work in support of our government's pro-trade plan.

Our government understands deeper trade and investment ties will benefit Canadians, creating more jobs, opportunities and economic growth. The Canada–Panama economic growth and prosperity act would eliminate the vast majority of tariffs between Canada and Panama, directly benefiting Canadian exporters and creating jobs for Canadian workers.

Our government is standing with businesses, workers and families and this agreement is further proof of our commitment. I would ask at this time for the support of the—

International TradeOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Charlottetown.

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Madam Speaker, I worked on this question last night on my computer, so I am a little concerned that the Minister of Public Safety may have tipped off the parliamentary secretary.

Last November I called on the government to come to the aid of Canadian municipalities, like Charlottetown, who need help with their municipal waste water infrastructure.

Yesterday the Government of Prince Edward Island and the City of Charlottetown announced their financial commitment to clean up the harbour. The federal government has said nothing of substance except that it might come to the table in 2014. Why the delay?

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, the reality is that in addition to rendering the gas tax fund permanent, we have made record infrastructure investments throughout the entire period of the economic action plan.

Municipalities were invited to set their priorities, provinces to back them, and then our government matched them with record funds in order to make major capital improvements right across the country. These municipalities and provinces had to make their decisions on what they wanted funded, and we came through.

They can continue to make decisions of that nature, because of the record transfers we are making every single year to both the provinces and the municipalities.

Language TrainingOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, the government is hiding a report that shows that privatizing the language training of public servants is irresponsible. Those expenditures are five times higher than they were five years ago, precisely because this government has been turning to the private sector.

Closing the Canada School of Public Service will put 190 employees out of work and, once again, Canadian taxpayers will pay the price. Turning to the private sector when public services cost less is not my idea of sound economic management.

Why does the government want to kill jobs and privatize a public service that was working well?

Language TrainingOral Questions

Noon

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Madam Speaker, our government remains committed to Canada's official languages.

Language training will continue to be provided to those who need it. The private sector, universities and colleges have the ability and the expertise to provide training to the public service at a lower cost to taxpayers. That is the same advice but at lower cost, exactly as Canadians expect.

We continue to search for savings right across government.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Madam Speaker, the reports coming out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are a cause for concern.

Since their last election last November, they have been trampling on the rights of their citizens. As we all know, the right to free assembly and the right to freedom of speech are basic democratic tenets in any stable democracy.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs please update this House on the happenings in the DRC in terms of democratic reform and respect for democratic principles and the rights of its citizens?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

Noon

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for this very important question.

We are deeply concerned about reports that the Congolese authorities have stopped peaceful public demonstrations planned by a number of churches to protest irregularities in last November's election. We call on the Congolese authorities to heed the advice of national and international election observers to improve the electoral process in that country. All parties must work together to ensure that the security situation does not further deteriorate.

We encourage all parties there to resolve their differences through peaceful means to strengthen the democratic values that are absolutely essential for a peaceful and prosperous society.

Asbestos IndustryOral Questions

Noon

NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Madam Speaker, years of research into asbestos has been manipulated. European businessmen who had investments in asbestos-derived products have received 16-year prison sentences. IARC has concluded with certainty that chrysotile fibre is carcinogenic. The asbestos industry has become a social outcast. This industry is going to fold.

Will the Minister of Industry understand that an exit plan is needed for the crisis in his region? Will he prove that Peter White, who worked for Brian Mulroney, was right when he said that the four Conservative ministers do not have any influence or visibility in this—

Asbestos IndustryOral Questions

Noon

NDP

Asbestos IndustryOral Questions

Noon

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Madam Speaker, for more than 30 years, Canada has been promoting the safe and controlled use of chrysotile nationally and internationally, and recent scientific journals report that chrysotile can be used safely in a controlled environment.

Procedure and House AffairsOral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Madam Speaker, since the government is asking us today to address the rules of the House and the committees, I would like to remind the House that the Bloc Québécois no longer sits on the committees and was recently excluded from an issue under review by the Board of Internal Economy. This shows a blatant lack of consideration and respect for the parliamentarians from the Bloc Québécois and 25% of the voters in Quebec.

Does the Chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs think that, in the name of democracy, the Bloc Québécois members, a parliamentary group, should be allowed to sit on committees, as is the case in the National Assembly of Quebec?

Procedure and House AffairsOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, I know that the item has been before the Board of Internal Economy, but, of course, because members of the House do not know what that is, we would not know the answer to this question until such time as it is referred to the procedure and House affairs committee.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order that arises out of question period.

Earlier today during question period, the Minister of Foreign Affairs made unfounded accusations insinuating that the New Democratic Party was responsible for a campaign to expose the details of the private life of the Minister of Public Safety. As we have said over the last number of days, we are not interested in any details of his private life. His public statements are troubling enough.

The House of Commons Information Services has confirmed that the IP addresses in question are public and could belong to any user from any political party or any member of the House administration and the parliamentary precinct. I understand that the Speaker's Office is now looking into the matter.

I would call on the minister to table in this House any evidence he may have to back up his unfounded claims. If he does not have such evidence, I would like him to immediately apologize and withdraw his statements unconditionally.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, the matter in question is indeed very troubling. It is troubling to all Canadians and certainly all members of Parliament. We are of course aware of media reports that indicate that the Internet address or the IP number that was used to post these deeply intrusive, regretful and I think very distasteful postings, quite frankly, were traced to a House of Commons address. That is a matter of great concern. Then there was the further suggestion that the same address had been utilized to strengthen Wikipedia postings in favour of the NDP, including the NDP leader's own description in Wikipedia.

From this, the inference of course has been drawn of whether or not this came from the New Democratic Party. Certainly, there is a prima facie suggestion of that. For that reason, I understand that the minister in question who has been affected by this is writing to the Speaker and to the House administration asking that the matter be looked into.

This is a very grave matter. Certainly, from all the media reports, the suggestions are that it is from the NDP. I am surprised at the NDP member's response today to say, “It is not us”, when all of the evidence is otherwise. I should hope that they would step forward and take responsibility, but I look forward to having the House administration and the Speaker look into this very serious matter.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, we have had the member for Hamilton Mountain raise this issue. We have the Speaker of course looking into it to determine and investigate who is behind this. Of course, as the member for Hamilton Mountain just mentioned, this could be any political party, any staffer. We do not know.

Given that the Minister of Foreign Affairs accused the NDP and also in his heckling accused a Liberal member wildly, without any basis, it is very clear that unless he has some evidence to present in the House of Commons, as the member for Hamilton Mountain just requested, backing up the wild claims he was making about the NDP and in his heckling of the Liberals, he should stand in the House now and immediately apologize and withdraw those statements unconditionally.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I want to assure members that the Speaker is indeed looking into this very serious matter. Unless there is something additional to add on the specifics of the comments made this morning, perhaps we should move on.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs on the same point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, let me be very clear: I made no such allegations against the Liberal Party of Canada.