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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

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I will say that the hon. member goes to great lengths to try and make this question fall within the House rules of trenching on government business. I guess her implication is that Elections Canada somehow is not doing its job.

We actually believe that Elections Canada does its job. In this particular case, the comportment of the riding association and that of the candidate, the member for Vaughan, have been exemplary in following all the rules and requirements of Elections Canada.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night the government admitted that it knew about drug shortages six years ago. It also admitted that Health Canada had a similar mandate as the U.S. FDA to ensure access to a safe supply of necessary drugs. Yet in 2006, the FDA began a proactive drug shortages program with industry to anticipate, identify and manage shortages with mandatory reporting of sole-source producers.

Why did the minister wait so long to adopt the U.S. program, putting Canadians at risk with her wait and see approach?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, during last night's very important debate, the hon. member for Vancouver Centre seemed confused about what roles the federal government, the provinces, territories and industry play in this matter. I hope she is better informed now and will be able to truly work with us, as we have indicated that this is an issue on which we all need to work together.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, one day the Minister of Health said that having drug companies volunteer information about drug shortages has been effective, and then yesterday she told the House that the system failed to alert anyone of the forthcoming shortages at Sandoz until Health Canada officials stepped in. Which is it? Let us have some clarity. After all, the government's voluntary reporting system has failed and it is threatening the lives of thousands of Canadians across the country.

Instead of abdicating responsibility, will the minister implement a mandatory reporting system immediately?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are working with the industry and health stakeholders to ensure that Canadians are informed on potential and actual shortages, which I initiated last year.

Sandoz has the responsibility to ensure that its customers are informed of anticipated shortages as soon as it becomes aware of a potential problem. Yesterday, I received a letter from the company saying that it will meet my demands for more accountability and post information about drug shortages online. It said that it would give 90 days' notice of any other drug shortages that arise in the future.This is encouraging. I hope that Sandoz will live up to its commitment.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing how quickly the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board has attracted foreign multinational agribusinesses. The foreign takeover of Viterra would put 50% of Canadian grain handled under foreign control.

This industry was built by Canadian farmers and it is now threatened by foreign multinational corporations. How is that a net benefit for Canada's farmers? How does this help Canadian communities? Does the minister really think that multinational corporations are better handlers than Canadian grain farmers and handlers?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the potential takeover of anything is speculation at best at this point.

The only point the member makes that I agree with is that western Canadian farmers are better off. They are now out from under the single desk. They are able to market their own wheat, durum and barley at the time, place and price of their choosing. They look forward to doing that.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, this is precisely why we have the Investment Canada Act. According to Greg Pearlman of BMO Capital Markets, Viterra is a very unique asset with lots of elements that are not replicable. I think this is what is commonly known as a strategic asset.

Will the government commit to respecting clear criteria when determining what is a net benefit and what is a strategic asset and to conducting a quantitative analysis based on those criteria?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 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 said, any discussion at this point is pure speculation. Having said that, the Investment Canada Act is very clear. There is a process that will be followed should anything happen.

The main thing is that western Canadian farmers now finally enjoy the legal right to market their own commodities at the time, place and price of their choosing. They look forward to exercising that right starting August 1, 2012.

Copyright LegislationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, the government is taking artists to the cleaners on the copyright bill. Now the Conservatives want to make average Canadians criminals. With the new copyright legislation, anyone that breaks digital locks for any lawful purpose will be faced with the full force of the law.

We know the Conservatives love building jails and it seems they will have to fill them somehow. Is that why they are using the copyright bill to make everyday Canadian consumers criminals?

Copyright LegislationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is quite ridiculous. Our copyright legislation, Bill C-11, was adopted by this Parliament at the committee stage today, which I am very pleased about. It will put this country where it should be, which is at the leading edge of intellectual property law around the world. Our legislation has been supported by groups, individual citizens, consumer organizations, and creators across the country.

In fact, the Canadian Recording Industry Association backs our bill. The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network applauds our bill. The Canadian Film and Television Production Association said that it applauds this government's copyright reform as it goes in exactly the right direction.

Copyright LegislationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, being content with large corporations is fine, but we are talking about actors, authors and creators here. With their copyright reform, the Conservatives have demonstrated that they do not care one bit about creators and artists, either in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada. They are going to pass legislation that will deprive creators of $21 million, which is a lot of money.

With Bill C-11, the Conservatives are attacking the livelihood of Canadian creators. This is an attack on our cultural identity and an insult to our artists and the entire cultural industry. The Conservatives seem to believe that Canadian artists are spoiled kids. This contempt for artists—

Copyright LegislationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

Copyright LegislationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is completely ridiculous. The Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada said that theatre associations applaud the government for its copyright reform, that this bill is of vital interest to theatres and their employees, and that they applaud the government for this initiative.

The NDP is completely against this bill, which proves that our government listens to artists and creators. We introduced a bill that protects their interests.

The NDP is against this bill because the NDP's proposal for an iPod tax has been shot down by the Canadian public and by this government. The NDP wants to raise taxes. We say no. They are mad. We are glad.

SyriaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, reports indicate that today Syrian forces recaptured the northern town of Idlib from military defectors. Assad's thugs in the meantime are mining border areas, targeting civilians trying to flee the country. Problems in Syria are mounting. Violence is spiralling and the killing continues.

Could the foreign affairs minister give the House an update on this dire situation?

SyriaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we remain incredibly troubled by what we see going on in Syria today. I know my hon. colleague shares my concern about the growing humanitarian crisis taking place in Syria and neighbouring states. Refugees are beginning to flood into neighbouring states.

Yesterday I spoke with United Nations Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos to get briefed on her recent visits. UN observers will be documenting the human rights abuses to hold people accountable for them. We also welcomed today's decision by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to send help into Syria. We have been very clear that Assad must go. Canada is certainly prepared to help address this growing humanitarian crisis.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, today in committee, we learned that a Department of National Defence team is looking at alternatives to the F-35. The opposition has been asking about the Conservatives' apparent lack of a plan B for months. It seems that the Conservatives' plan for these planes is not going as well as the minister hoped it would.

Why did the government skip the tendering process for the country's largest military purchase ever, and why did it not have a plan B? Is the government just trying to distract the committee, or does it really have a team taking a serious look at alternatives to the F-35 fiasco?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our position has not changed. We remain committed to the joint strike fighter program. A budget has been allocated. A contract has not yet been signed. We will ensure that our air force has the aircraft necessary to do the job we ask it to do.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, enough; that story has run its course. Today, the associate minister has an opportunity to start again with the truth.

This morning in committee he acknowledged that there is a project planning team looking for alternatives to the F-35. Will the minister come clean with this House today and acknowledge that he is indeed backing out of the F-35 program, or is he stuck with his speaking notes?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have been clear. When the current aircraft come to the end of their useful life cycle, we will ensure that our men and women in uniform have the best equipment necessary to do the important job we ask of them. However, as I stated, a contract has not been signed for replacement aircraft at this time.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, yes he is stuck.

It appears the Conservatives are planning to bury sweeping changes to the Fisheries Act in the upcoming budget. The minister uses the word “modernize” but removing habitat protection from the Fisheries Act would set Canada back decades.

The minister must come clean. Is the minister planning to change section 35 of the Fisheries Act in the next budget? Is the plan to eliminate the protection of fish habitat in Canada and effectively gut the law, yes or no?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, there has been no decision made with regard to this issue. I will note that Canada is blessed with an abundant array of natural resources of which we should be proud and which we take seriously and responsibly to conserve and protect.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the lack of consultation is not going unnoticed.

On Friday, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans heard what provincial ministers think about his plan to change the fleet separation policy. It is pretty straightforward. Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island all oppose the proposed changes. Atlantic fishers and communities also oppose them. The fleet separation policy is essential to the survival of east coast fishers. Will the Conservatives commit to maintaining the fleet separation policy and protecting the coastal fishery?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the assumptions in the question are ridiculous. We are seeking the advice and views of fishermen. That is what we should be doing as a responsible government and it is what I will do as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Our government is not advancing any particular position other than to reaffirm our commitment to the economic health of fishermen and our communities.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

March 13th, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, last year we warned the government that foreign takeovers in the grain business would inevitably follow the destruction of the Canadian Wheat Board. Exactly that is now happening. Fifteen months after their frantic flip-flop on potash, the Conservatives have still not turned a wheel on their promise to clarify the rules.

How exactly do the Conservatives define net benefit? What constitutes a strategic asset? How will farmers be better off with control vested in Minneapolis, Decatur or Switzerland rather than Regina, Calgary or Winnipeg?