House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP, our government is focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

Unfortunately, major economic projects in Canada are currently subject to long delays in the regulatory process. We made it clear that we want to reform that. We want to improve it.

We are not going to weaken any of the environmental protections, but it is reasonable to expect that these projects can be approved in a timely fashion.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

April 2nd, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, responsible resource development is based on environmental assessments that respect constitutional rights. Only a full consultation will allow everyone to benefit from major projects. The Conservatives want to set Canada back decades. I know that this is the perfect recipe for years of legal disputes and battles. This approach is irresponsible.

Why is the government giving up on its legal obligations and ramming through these ill-conceived changes?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, our process will focus on four major areas to streamline the review process itself. We will make the review process more predictable and timely. We will reduce duplication and regulatory burden. We will strengthen environmental protection and we will enhance consultations with the aboriginal peoples.

Why are the member and his party opposite so opposed to timely reviews, protecting the environment and consulting with aboriginal Canadians?

Public Appointments CommissionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, hidden in the budget, the Conservatives dismantled a key part of their own Federal Accountability Act. After spending $1 million a year on the Public Appointments Commission, they have ditched any hope of merit-based appointments. Six years later, are they still mad that Gwyn Morgan did not get the nod from committee?

The Conservatives said that they had come here to change Ottawa but it is Ottawa that has changed them. Why did they break their promise, waste millions and embrace Liberal style patronage appointments? Why did they do that?

Public Appointments CommissionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, economic action plan 2012 is our plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. We are eliminating the Public Appointments Commission. Our government has significantly strengthened the public appointments system, including advertising appointments and conducting open selection processes for leadership and full-time positions. Appointments will continue to be made based on merit.

Public Appointments CommissionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is no wonder people are becoming increasingly cynical when they hear such answers.

Millions of dollars were wasted and, today, the government is abolishing a phoney commission that has not been used for many years. Today, we are saying goodbye to a transparent appointment process and welcoming new partisan appointments. The Conservatives have broken yet another promise. Merit is no longer important. Now, we have to rely on their good judgment. After all, the Conservatives already know who contributed to their election war chest.

Is that why they now want to abolish the Public Appointments Commission?

Public Appointments CommissionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, we tried to appoint a public appointments commissioner but it was the opposition that chose to play partisan games and prevented that appointment from happening. Despite this, we have made the public appointments process more open, transparent and equitable. Job positions are now posted online for everyone to see and appointments will continue to be made based on merit.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has eliminated the Canadian Environmental Network and the national round table, muzzled scientists, gutted Environment Canada and eliminated the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences. Now it aims to quash dissent from environmental charities and seize control of the research agenda at universities.

Does the Prime Minister think that it is appropriate in a democracy to eliminate the accountability that independent science brings and to silence dissent?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this budget demonstrates the Government of Canada's full commitment to a strong environmental agenda even as we take significant action to address fiscal issues and the deficit. We have renewed funding for a number of key environmental programs, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Species at Risk Act. We have renewed funding to clean up Lake Simcoe and Lake Winnipeg.

Under this budget, EC continues to have all of the resources it needs to protect the Canadian environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of the Environment said, of the Round Table on the Environment and the Economy:

It was created before the Internet, when there were few such sources of domestic, independent research and analysis on sustainable development. That is simply no longer the case. There are now any number of organizations and university based services that provide those services.

Very well. Could the minister name these organizations and services?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is quite correct in at least part of her quotation. I have expressed our government's appreciation and thanks to the round table for its service over the decades, but it was created a quarter century ago at a time, as my colleague reminded us, when there were very few and limited resources of policy advice on the environment and, in particular, those with regard to the environment and the economy.

Bell CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, for decades, Canadians paid the same rate across Canada to use a pay phone but then, just a few years ago, the charges doubled.

Seniors, low income and rural Canadians who do not have access to wireless services rely on pay phones to communicate.

Now, Bell is asking the government to allow it to increase the fees once again and again it wants to double them.

If this increase is accepted, the Conservatives' meagre GIS increase to seniors will be eaten by just one call a day.

Will the government finally stand up for consumers and reject this proposal?

Bell CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this government has taken unprecedented measures to ensure that all Canadians have access to quality services. Moreover, just two or three weeks ago, with the spectrum auction, we ensured that all Canadians will have access to quality wireless services, at a reasonable cost, wherever they may be in Canada.

I encourage the NDP to support the government's future initiatives to ensure that quality service is available in every region of the country.

Bell CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the giant telephone companies want to double the cost of using public telephones.

Pay phones are used mainly by low-income people and seniors, and those are the people who will feel the full weight of this increase.

Will the minister work with us to prevent this unjustified increase, or will he stand once again with his friends, the telecom giants?

Why do the Conservatives never stand up for low-income Canadians, the people who cannot afford cell phones, decent housing or food on their tables? On this issue, it seems no one is going to answer the call for the Conservatives.

Bell CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, the CRTC is responsible for the regulations. We all know it is independent of the government. Measures have been put in place by the government, however, including the community broadband programs and the spectrum auction announced a few weeks ago, with the goal of ensuring that all Canadians have access to high-quality, well-priced services, wherever they live.

Therefore, I encourage the hon. member to support the government in taking the necessary measures to ensure that these goals are reached.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and thankful that my constituent, Henk Tepper, was released from detention in Lebanon over the weekend and is now home in New Brunswick. I know first-hand how anxious and hopeful his family and home town were as they anticipated his return.

I want to thank the minister responsible for consular affairs and her team of dedicated officials for their tireless efforts to bring Henk home.

Could the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, Americas and Consular Affairs please provide the House with an update on the efforts in Mr. Tepper's case?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, in turn, I applaud my colleague for his unwavering and sincere care for Mr. Tepper and his family through this past difficult year. He truly is a credit to his riding.

I, too, am pleased that Mr. Henk Tepper has been released from detention and is safely home in Canada. Canadian officials worked very hard to help secure Mr. Tepper's release through diplomatic channels with dozens of representations to Lebanese officials. The Government of Canada also thanks our partners in Lebanon for their co-operation and responsiveness.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, for months, the government has been told that the amalgamation of the maritime rescue sub-centres in St. John's and Quebec with Halifax and Trenton is wrong.

Now, Jason Hamilton, a former employee of the rescue centre in Halifax has written to the Minister of National Defence saying, “I consider these cuts to be irresponsible and dangerous. I hold you personally responsible for the repercussions if this amalgamation is allowed to continue”.

Will the Minister of National Defence reverse this dangerous decision before there are losses of lives?

Search and RescueOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I think what my colleague is not getting is that this change does not affect the availability of search and rescue resources. They will be out there where they are needed to do their business. In fact, we think they will be able to respond better because all of the people making the decisions will be jointly working in the same location. We think it is a positive change and we are continuing on with it.

ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have appointed three unilingual anglophones to the Immigration and Refugee Board in Montreal and Ottawa. Not only is this an insult to francophones, but according to La Presse, these members have a claim acceptance rate that is 50% lower than that of their colleagues.

Is this just coincidence? Is this because they have a poor understanding of the files, or are these board members obeying the government's instructions to stop legitimate refugees from entering the country?

ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the IRB judges go through a very rigorous process. It is arm's-length, merit based and administered by professional, highly trained civil servants.

If the member is looking for numbers, there are currently 32 members in the refugee protection division; 21 are bilingual, 9 are unilingual French and 2 are unilingual English.

If the member is asking us to dispose of nine unilingual French speaking judges in Quebec, I would ask her to explain why to the House of Commons.

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Finance tabled Canada's economic action plan 2012, a plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. With Canada's economic plan 2012, we are working to secure Canada's economic successes now and for future generations.

Could the hard-working Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification please update the House on how our government's plan will help grow western Canada's economy?

The EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for Kelowna—Lake Country for giving me the opportunity to highlight one of the many great items in our economic action plan for 2012.

My department, WD, will soon be unveiling the details on the western innovation program. It will be known as WINN. WINN will provide financial support to small and medium enterprises in western Canada and it will assist them in bringing their innovative ideas to market.

Our government is focused and we are focused on what matters to Canadians. Our economic action plan 2012 will continue to get the job done in building a stronger west.

National Council of WelfareOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are cutting the National Council of Welfare, the most important source of information on poverty and welfare income in Canada.

Instead of solving the problem of poverty, the Conservatives are turning a blind eye, refusing to do anything about it. Most recently, the council advised that it would take less money to solve poverty than the government is spending to manage the symptoms.

Does the government not realize how important this information is? Why does it continually want to hide the facts?

National Council of WelfareOral Questions

3 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the best way to fight poverty is to ensure Canadians have a job, which is exactly what budget 2012 is doing.

With respect to the National Council of Welfare, we are putting our policy resources to best use and reducing duplication. Examples of high profile organizations, not for profit organizations that focus on this area are Campaign 2000 or Canada Without Poverty.

We are focused on ensuring that we reduce duplication and that we are effective, but we also want to ensure that everyone understands that we are focused on poverty. We want to ensure that individuals in the country are well served but, most important, we want to ensure Canadians have a job.