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House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rail.

Topics

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have been saying all along, this particular issue is speculation at best. Sadly, the member for Wascana is exhibiting a severe case of premature interjection. I wish that he would keep his powder dry and work with us toward ensuring that farmers enjoy the right to sell their own products out from under the single desk of the Canadian Wheat Board.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Associate Minister of National Defence admitted that he had a road to Damascus experience upon his return from Washington. Apparently, we will no longer be getting 65 F-35s for $75 million each.

Now that plan A has been reduced to “if and when”, will the minister see the light, open the competition and convert to a fair and transparent process?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we remain committed to the joint strike fighter program. A budget has been identified and allocated. We are working the issues through. We will ensure that the men and women in uniform have the best resources available to them to do their jobs.

We will, in essence, make sure that we do what is best for our men and women in uniform as well as Canadian taxpayers.

Written QuestionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, how far will this government go to undermine our democracy?

On January 30, I submitted a written question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs about the office of religious freedom. I asked specific questions: who participated in the consultations on this subject in October 2011? Who in the department is responsible for this file?

The response I received was worthy of Kafka: nothing but hot air.

What else does the government have to hide?

Written QuestionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have not established the office of religious freedom yet, so it is very difficult to say who is working there.

What we have done is consulted broadly with Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and we have spoken to international religious leaders, defenders of religious liberty around the world, and got their opinion. We hope to come forward with an announcement in short order.

But let me tell members the basic concept. What we want to do is promote religious freedom, something that Canadians enjoy and hold dear, and make that a reality for everyone right around this world.

Written QuestionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, what I wanted to know was who was consulted.

The minister said that they held consultations. Why can they not provide basic information about those consultations? What are they hiding?

The Auditor General looked into a similar situation in 2004 and found that written questions were a fundamental part of our parliamentary system.

We are facing a similar situation today.

Why do we now have a Conservative minister attacking a fundamental part of our parliamentary system?

Written QuestionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to inform the member we have consulted Christians, Muslims, Hindus, people of the Jewish faith, Buddhists. We discussed with people around the world to get their counsel and advice, from the Aga Khan to the Vatican. We talked to a good number of Canadians to get their advice and input.

We will hopefully be coming forward in short order with an announcement on this important initiative. We believe, though, religious freedom is something that defines Canadians. It is a value, a right that everyone around the world should share. We look forward to promoting that, to continuing to promote that in the years to come.

SportOral Questions

March 13th, 2012 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government is proud to support Canadian athletes. We have supported the hosting of national and international sporting events, including the Canada Games and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and we look forward to hosting the Pan American and Parapan American Games in 2015. Soon our athletes will travel to London to take on the world at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Can the Minister of State for Sport please tell this House how our government is assisting our athletes as they train for this very prestigious event?

SportOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bramalea—Gore—Malton Ontario

Conservative

Bal Gosal ConservativeMinister of State (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Olympic and Paralympic athletes are a source of inspiration and great pride.

Since 2006, our government has increased funding to the national sports organizations by 20%. Today I am pleased to announce additional funding to assist athletes in 11 different sports that are identified as having medal potential in the Olympics.

This builds on our government's overall commitment to high performance athletes. Along with all Canadians, I look forward to cheering on our athletes competing in the summer Olympics.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, sweeping changes have been made at Library and Archives Canada in an effort to make its preservation criteria more rigid.

As we know, its mandate is to facilitate co-operation among the communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge.

In light of the priority given to certain documents lately, can the minister assure us that documents and works that have marked our history will not suffer the same fate as the Alfred Pellan paintings?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is why we made the commitment to this organization to protect our heritage. I know that the opposition has a number of questions on the table. I am pleased that Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act has passed, because the Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist is going to appear before the committee to answer these questions in detail and to underscore the fact that our government has made an unprecedented investment in a new building and programming in order to protect our heritage in the way that my colleague is talking about.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the banking ombudsman offers Canadians fair and independent dispute resolution when they have a complaint against their bank. However, the government's inaction has allowed two of the big banks to walk away from accountability. By allowing the banks to hire their own dispute resolution agency over the banking ombudsman, the government tilts the playing field in favour of the big banks.

How can the Conservative government claim to be on the side of consumers and small businesses when time after time it favours big banks and corporate interests?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, once again, let me repeat that currently all banks are required to have a consumer complaints procedure in place and have a third-party dispute-handling body. However, there is variation in procedures used. This is a concern to us and consumers.

To better protect consumers, we are forcing banks to belong to government-approved independent third-party bodies, we are establishing uniform regulatory standards for internal complaints procedures and we are giving the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada the authority to monitor and enforce compliance. We have passed legislation for this and are now finalizing regulations.

Unfortunately, the NDP voted against all of that.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, last night, the Liberals voted against our government's actions to keep our streets and communities safe. In particular, the Newfoundland MPs, once again, turned their backs on the island. When the Liberals from that province vote in this House, they either stand against important beneficial measures or they flip-flop on their commitments to their constituents.

Would the regional minister for Newfoundland and Labrador please tell the House how our government is making sure that we keep delivering results for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians?

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Peter Penashue ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, our government has taken real steps for my home province. We scrapped the wasteful, ineffective long gun registry, we are keeping streets safe, we are providing the historic loan guarantee and we are proceeding to realize the Mealy Mountains national park.

The Liberals flip-flop or vote against these measures. But who can blame them for being misguided? Their leader cannot even put the province on the map.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, after an unexplained transfer of $15,000 from his campaign budget to RMG and harassing calls asking for donations, former Conservative MP Bernard Généreux is in hot water once again. Le Soleil reports that he may have either tried to transfer money from a riding budget to the Conservative Party through the purchase of 200,000 sheets of paper or illegally contributed to party's funding by paying the bill himself months after his defeat. And yet, he was appointed to the Quebec Port Authority. Accordingly, is the propensity to transfer donations from a riding to the Conservative Party the type of skill the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities was talking about yesterday to justify these partisan appointments?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, those are false allegations. Those were legitimate expenses of the hon. member. In this case, the former MP paid much of the cost out of his own pocket.

I have here on hand an ad that proves that the hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup takes himself for Columbo. Instead of using the House of Commons budget to do his own work, he is using it to do the work of Elections Canada, despite the guidelines sent out by Elections Canada.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. In order to gain a $3 billion deal of sale of uranium yellow cake to China, we had to relax our regulatory requirements and reporting requirements.

As a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, we are required to verifiably ensure that no Canadian uranium ends up in nuclear weapons.

My question is: How will we do this, what reporting requirements exist and what was relaxed?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the House that Canada strongly supports the international convention and all of our legal obligations on nuclear non-proliferation.

The agreement we have with China is consistent with all of those agreements and ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place. This agreement will also help create badly needed jobs in Canada, and just as importantly will help China generate non-emission electricity, which will lead to less pollution and better air quality for people in China. We are very proud to play a part in that.

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order in hopes that you can shed some light on an issue arising out of committee proceedings today.

At this morning's meeting of Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, the committee went in camera to deal with an amendment and a motion that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister had moved during the public portion of today's meeting. My understanding of the rules is that all in camera meeting proceedings are deemed secret and that only decisions of the committee are printed in those minutes.

My party has sought advice from a committee clerk in the past and we have been clearly told that decisions taken by a committee during in camera sessions can only be publicly disclosed once the clerk of the committee has published the minutes. This is the explicit advice that we have received from a senior clerk of the most senior committee of the House of Commons.

I was alarmed today when I read a tweet from Kady O'Malley in which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister disclosed a decision of the committee prior to the minutes being published. The tweet appeared at 11:53 a.m., while the minutes were not posted until 1:10 p.m. today.

I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, given the clear advice that we have received from the senior clerk on the most senior committee of the House of Commons, if you could clarify the rules of in camera committee proceedings and if there is a breach, I would ask you to address it.

The Conservative party likes to use in camera to block Canadians from seeing what their elected representatives are doing. Conservatives use this tactic to kill studies and motions that are embarrassing to them. The use of in camera meetings by the Conservatives is a stain on our democracy. In typical fashion, the Conservatives are trying to have it both ways. They cannot on one hand use in camera to block Canadians from seeing what their elected representatives are doing, while at the same time breaking in camera rules when they see fit.

This is typical behaviour from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and shows how he lacks credibility. He accuses members of making unnamed robocalls, yet he has done worse. He sent out calls that were somewhat to impersonate the local MPP to cynically try to convince voters to vote for him.

I look forward to your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not know the matters of which the hon. member is complaining, but I do know that it is a well-established practice that issues of this nature are dealt with at the committee and by the committee.

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the statement just made by the member, he made an allegation which is fundamentally false. In fact, it is absolutely untrue what he indicated. I ask that he withdraw that, because he knows what he just said to be absolutely untrue.

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I thank hon. members for their interventions. I will draw their attention to page 149 of O'Brien and Bosc when dealing with issues that may arise from committee. It says:

Speakers have consistently ruled that, except in the most extreme situations, they will only hear questions of privilege arising from committee proceedings upon presentation of a report which directly deals with the matter and not as a question of privilege raised by an individual Member.

In the absence of a report from that committee, I do not know what the Speaker can do about what is alleged to have happened. However, if such a report does end up coming to the House then the Speaker will consider it then.

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, thank you for your clarification. I would like to inform the House that given your ruling, the Liberals will be scrumming after all in camera meetings to lift the veil of secrecy the Conservatives continue to drape over committees of this Parliament.

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, as one of those who pledges to uphold the rules of the House, as do other House officers and all members pledge, I find the statement of the hon. member of his intention to violate the rules of the House, and to make that statement on behalf of his entire party that this is their intention in practice in future at all committees, to be one that is very alarming. It may well come close to drawing the attention that you require, as Speaker, to intervene.