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House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was inequality.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said several times, the minister has repaid the inappropriate expenses and apologized. Our government requires that travel on government business be undertaken at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. Our government's travel expenses are 15% lower than the former Liberal government's.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, while his ministers are sipping $16 glasses of orange juice from the back of their limousines abroad, the government is pleading poverty at home. Coincidentally, $16 per day is almost exactly what the average old age pensioner is expected to live on everyday, that was until the Prime Minister attacked the pensioners.

The Prime Minister has effectively pulled $16 per day out of the pockets of low-income seniors and handed it to the CIDA minister to pay for her orange juice. Why has the Prime Minister launched an attack on seniors yet he ignores the out-of-control extravaganza of his—

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. government House leader.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the question from the hon. member is indeed surprising. That is an hon. member who made considerable violations of the rules of ethics in terms of her own expenses that she filed personally through the House of Commons, and that is a matter of public record, and she had her own problems when she was a minister.

The fact is we see a difference on this side in that we have attempted to have respect for taxpayer dollars throughout. That is why our travel expenses are lower. When it comes to hospitality, something she knows about, under our government the hospitality costs for ministers are one-third less than they were under the Liberal government.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, budget 2012 is Canada's environmental inaction plan. The government has gutted environmental regulations, put our waters and fisheries at risk and muzzled non-partisan scientists whose work contradicts the flawed ideology of the government. Instead of evidence-based decision making, cabinet will use ideology to overrule the National Energy Board.

Could the minister stand and explain why he is willing to risk the health, safety and in many cases the livelihood of Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that the resource development legislation will enhance environmental protection in a very significant way. We will invest an additional $165 million to improve maritime safety and pipeline safety. We will make sure that all tankers are double hulled, that there will be mandatory pilotage, that there will be aerial surveillance, and that there will be a 50% increase in the safety inspection of pipelines.

This government is committed to environmental protection.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the request of my colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has just written to the Department of National Defence asking for the documents required to establish the real cost of the F-35, this time based on a 36-year life cycle.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer is also recommending use of the $137 million per jet cost, as recommended and calculated by the Auditor General and the U.S. Congress.

Will the government comply with the request?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I am familiar with the costing assumptions that the Parliamentary Budget Officer makes. My office has already met with him to ask his advice.

As I said, we accept the recommendation and the conclusions of the Auditor General. We fully expect the Department of National Defence to table its updated cost estimates for the F-35. When that is done, we would welcome the Parliamentary Budget Officer to review them.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages can launch all the PR campaigns he wants to try to look like the champion of culture, but the facts speak for themselves.

In Montreal today, CBC/Radio-Canada employees are demonstrating to condemn the dirty deeds the Conservative government is perpetrating against our public broadcaster. The CBC has had to pinch pennies for years, and now the government is imposing another 10% cut.

Is that what this government means by investing in culture, yes or no?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the CBC has the necessary funding to fulfill its mandate under the Broadcasting Act. Second, and what is more, it has the necessary funding to pursue its 2015 plan.

As for artists, it was our government that increased funding to the Canada Council for the Arts by 20%, and our government that is protecting these investments more than any other government with budget 2012, which the hon. member voted against.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister likes to sing a pretty tune; too bad he does not like to pay the Canadian artists who write the songs.

The Conservatives' notion of promoting Canadian culture is to rob it from Canadians. They have mugged musicians to the tune of $20 million. They have knee-capped the CBC and Telefilm. They are closing CineRobotheque in Montreal and the NFB studios in Toronto.

How can the minister claim to support Canadian culture when he constantly takes a sledgehammer to its very foundations?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, Heather Ostertag, the former CEO of FACTOR, said that what is offered to Canadian artists is the “envy of the world”.

We have increased our funding to the Canada Council for the Arts by 20%, and protected that. CBC has enough money to deliver on its mandate in the Broadcasting Act and to deliver on its 2015 plan.

The hon. member opposite said that we are taking money away from artists. What utter nonsense. What he is talking about is the NDP proposal to amend our Copyright Act to impose a new tax on iPods, cellphones and BlackBerrys, punishing consumers, treating them like criminals and forcing them to pay higher taxes. It is utterly out of line and not in the interests of consumers or artists.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, not only are these senseless cuts putting our culture at risk, they also are putting the health of Canadians at risk.

While the minister is trying to cover the real impact of his cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency by saying front-line services will not be affected, the reality is the opposite. As we speak, CFIA inspectors are briefing staff about cuts to important inspection programs. In fact, they are cutting the oversight of meat products imported from the U.S.

Will the minister come clean and tell us which front-line CFIA programs are being cut?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned yesterday, our food safety system in Canada is superior. This was contained in a report on OECD countries.

Our cost-saving measures will not affect food safety. I want to remind the House, as I did yesterday, that in the last budget we tabled, we included an additional $50 million to improve food safety in Canada. The member voted against that. His colleagues voted against that. He will have a chance to redeem himself when we vote on the budget implementation bills.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's explanation does not add up. He cannot say that no services will be affected when he is cutting 10% of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's budget. The agency's management has informed its inspectors of the cuts to some of the inspection programs.

It seems as though the government learned nothing from the listeriosis crisis or Walkerton. Why put Canadians' lives at risk?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, what I said was that no cost-cutting measure will compromise food safety. In fact, we have hired more than 700 additional food inspection staff since 2006. I also said that it was the opposition who voted against allocating an additional $51 million for food safety in our most recent budget.

JusticeOral Questions

April 25th, 2012 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a woman, a mother and a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, I was absolutely horrified and saddened by the recent Ontario Court of Appeal ruling on prostitution.

Constituents in my riding of Scarborough Centre, and for that matter, Canadians right across our great country are very concerned about this ruling and the impact it will have on women, families and our communities.

Could the Minister of Justice please give the House an update with regard to the government's position on the Bedford prostitution challenge?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, after consideration of the ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal with regard to the Bedford prostitution challenge, I am pleased to inform the House that the Government of Canada will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

We believe that a binding national decision is required. Prostitution is harmful for society as it exploits Canada's most vulnerable people, especially women.

Canadians can continue to count on this government to protect those who are vulnerable to this kind of exploitation.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's claim that his sweeping changes to the Fisheries Act are all about farmers' ditches smelled rotten from the start. Internal documents show his department was working to “expedite the approval of large natural resource development proposals”. Yesterday he admitted the changes will benefit major industrial projects like the northern gateway pipeline.

When will the minister drop the fish tale and admit that he is selling out our fisheries to his big business buddies?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, again, the member opposite has his facts all wrong. In fact, we are focusing fish and fish habitat protection rules on Canadian fisheries, not on farmers and their fields.

This is not about paving the way for pipelines. It is about allowing cottage owners to build a dock, farmers to clean an irrigation ditch, and municipalities to repair their supports and conduct routine maintenance on ditches.

As a matter of fact, I have a quote from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which said, “These reforms will make it easier for governments to set clear, sensible priorities for protecting fish habitats. Currently the Fisheries Act applies the same protections to rivers and streams--”

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I will have to stop the minister there.

The hon. member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are not buying the minister's fish tale. The minister removed the word “habitat” from the legislation, despite his promises. Beyond his words, the thing that concerns us the most is his plan, which will destroy the fish habitats in our rivers, lakes and streams. This has nothing to do with flooded fields and everything to do with their obsession to build pipelines as quick as possible.

Why are ministers promoting the interests of corporations over the sustainable development of our resources?

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, that is two questions in a row where members had their facts entirely wrong.

As I said, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities said:

These reforms will make it easier for governments to set clear, sensible priorities for protecting fish habitats. Currently the Fisheries Act applies the same protections to rivers and streams as municipal drains and farmers' irrigation canals. That doesn't make sense.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised Canadians that he would not reopen the debate on abortion. Nevertheless, that is exactly what one of his Conservative members is going to do tomorrow in the House. Canadian women have been fighting for decades for this right.

Why is the Prime Minister not speaking out loudly and clearly against what his own party is trying to do here in the House?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows the rules with respect to private members' bills. That bill will be debated as all other private members' bills are debated in the House, in accordance with the rules of the House. I do not see why that should be a problem for the hon. member.