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House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Government PoliciesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the path that this government has chosen is the path of economic growth and long-term prosperity. Under the economic leadership of this government, we have seen the creation of some 700,000 net new jobs created from coast to coast to coast. We are focusing like a laser on job creation.

The very best social program for every Canadian is a job so that people can provide for themselves and their families. That is why the Canadian economy is performing so well that other countries around the world are looking at the strong leadership and strong public administration of this team.

Status of WomenOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' regressive priorities do not end with their budgetary choices. While 1.4 million Canadians are unemployed, yesterday, because of the Conservatives, the House was forced to debate women's right to choose. Canadian women will not sit back and allow their hard-earned rights to be attacked like that.

When will the Prime Minister tell his cabinet and his caucus that women's rights are not up for debate?

Status of WomenOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has always been very clear, before every election and since: we will not reopen this debate.

Status of WomenOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will not be fooled because the Conservatives did the exact opposite and reopened the debate last night in fact.

The Conservative manoeuvre to reopen the debate is not unfortunate, as the Prime Minister called it; it is hypocritical. During an election the Conservatives say one thing and in government they do exactly as they intended to do.

In our Canada, women's rights are human rights. They are not optional and they are not negotiable.

When will the Conservatives stop eroding women's equality in Canada?

Status of WomenOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was clear before the 2006 election, before the 2008 election, and before the 2011 election, and he is clear today, that the government and the Prime Minister have no intention of reopening the debate on this issue.

National DefenceOral Questions

April 27th, 2012 / 11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the cost of the F-35 continues to rise, the appropriateness of this aircraft for our defence needs and Arctic sovereignty is being called into question.

Colonel Paul Maillet, an aerospace engineer and expert in fighter jets, is wondering how to ensure that a single-engine, low-range, low-payload, low-manoeuvrability aircraft can operate effectively in the north.

Will the government launch a competitive bidding process in order to choose the plane that we truly need and get the best price?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that member sat around the cabinet table when the previous Liberal government spent hundreds of millions of dollars designing this aircraft. If he felt so strongly about it, why did he not speak up then?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that we never signed off on a competitive bidding process and that the government did not make any commitment.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that he was not aware that a letter had been sent by the government rejecting the Auditor General's conclusions. The Prime Minister said that he accepted those conclusions. So, we have ministers accepting the conclusions and departments rejecting them.

Why this abdication of ministerial responsibility? How can the minister not be aware that his department rejected the Auditor General's conclusions of its most expensive acquisition?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General, as an independent officer of this House, comes into departments to provide an audit. There is a good deal of back and forth while he and his office conduct that audit. At the end of the day, the Auditor General tabled his report before Parliament and this government has completely accepted the recommendations that he has come forward with.

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation seems to think that accountability can be done by forced installments.

First, the minister takes the gamble that the media will not find out about her inappropriate spending. Each time she is caught, she is forced to make an apology and pay back that particular line item. Canadians deserve to know the full extent of her extravagant ways. The minister clearly has no moral compass. Does she really believe that what is right is what she gets away with and what is wrong is what she gets caught doing?

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as we have said several times earlier this week, the minister in question has apologized and she has repaid all of the inappropriate expenses. More important is the fact that our government has reduced overall travel spending by ministers by over 15% from that of the previous Liberal government. We have also reduced hospitality expenses by $33 million from the previous government. Our government has always respected taxpayer dollars. We have done so in the past and we will do so in the future.

Office of the Inspector GeneralOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's budget bill shows yet another Conservative attack on independent oversight. This time on the Conservative chopping block is the CSIS inspector general. Scrapping the watchdog who keeps tabs on CSIS will not make the problems go away. Experts are concerned about this surprise move. Why are Conservatives so scared of independent oversight?

Office of the Inspector GeneralOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, currently there is duplicate oversight over CSIS. The responsibilities of the Office of the Inspector General will be merged into the Security Intelligence Review Committee. This decision will preserve all of the oversight and accountability over CSIS while reducing administrative costs, saving taxpayers $1 million a year. I know the NDP do not really like saving taxpayer dollars but we do.

Office of the Inspector GeneralOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have been unable to find a chair for the Security Intelligence Review Committee. The fact is that the inspector general did his job, and it is a known fact that with this government, those who discover the truth are at risk.

The inspector general uncovered major mistakes at CSIS, and that is the type of information that Canadians will no longer get in future if this government goes ahead with its irresponsible decision.

Why is the minister so afraid of accountability?

Office of the Inspector GeneralOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is incorrect. In fact, the services that are provided are duplicate in their oversight over CSIS, Again, this will save the taxpayers dollars and it will not affect the oversight that is provided over CSIS.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, also hidden in the budget bill is a full frontal assault on environmental protection. The bill would exempt many projects from examination, shut concerned citizens in groups out of pipeline reviews, give sweeping powers to the minister to green-light projects in spite of impacts, and much more.

Why is the minister hiding such significant changes in a 400-page budget bill? Is it because he knows that Canadians oppose this reckless attack on our environmental protection?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are modernizing the regulatory system and, if the member had come to the natural resources committee over the last year, she would be well aware that everyone is asking for that. Everyone is demanding that there be some improvements in the regulatory system. We want to enhance the opportunities for investments in resource development. We want to create the conditions for economic jobs and growth, particularly for aboriginal communities, and we want to protect the environment while we are doing it.

The NDP needs to get beyond its ideological blinders and come and join us to make this into a good project. We want responsible resource development in this country and we are going to see this through.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was at the finance committee because we were discussing the budget implementation act, not environmental regulations.

However, the Conservatives did not stop at cutting the Environmental Assessment Act, not when protections for fish habitat are standing in the way of higher profits for their friends. This bill dismantles decades of work to ensure industrial development does not destroy our fisheries.

The Conservatives did not campaign on gutting the Fisheries Act. We know Canadians did not ask for weaker protection for fish habitat. Therefore, will the minister tell us who lobbied him to gut the Fisheries Act? Who is he responding to?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:25 a.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, if the member would read through the measures in the budget implementation act, I think she would agree with me that the measures allow Fisheries and Oceans to focus its efforts in a practical, sensible way on managing threats to Canada's recreational, commercial and aboriginal fisheries to ensure their ongoing productivity and sustainability. The changes will provide greater certainty and consistency for stakeholders and will enhance partnership opportunities with the provinces and territories and conservation groups. All those are good things but, most important, we will have a focused, effective program that will conserve and protect Canada's fisheries for future generations.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, today the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy unveiled a report showing that Canadian companies are simply not prepared to deal with climate change.

The report is abundantly clear: the Conservatives' inaction on climate change is putting our economy at risk.

That explains why the Conservatives added a proposal to abolish the national round table to their omnibus budget bill. They simply do not like to hear the truth.

Why are the Conservatives trying to hide the facts by shooting the messenger?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am really glad the NDP finally cares about industry in this country and what it is doing. The NDP, over the last several months, has bashed industry with regard to its concern for our environment, including the Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. We are working closely with stakeholders to provide a balanced approach to protecting Canada's environment but all we hear from over there is rhetoric. I encourage the NDP to support our budgetary measures that support R and D in this country and support our environmental protection measures.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the parliamentary secretary brought up industry because it is not just the national round table that is calling on the government to take action on climate change; industry is echoing that call.

Three corporations have just withdrawn from a carbon capture and storage project that was receiving significant funding from this government. They say that this project is meaningless without stricter greenhouse gas emissions standards and more regulation from Ottawa.

Why is this government going through the back door and using the budget bill to cut environmental regulations?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, responsible resource development is key for Canadians if we want to have a strong economy and we want to have strong environmental protection in the future. I get tired of the no-development party over there because it criticizes everybody and praises no one.

For example, in Saskatchewan there has been successful sequestration for years. We have worked with the Saskatchewan government on the issue. The minister in Saskatchewan said, “I think the eyes of the world are focused on the success that Saskatchewan is having on clean coal and carbon sequestration, building on a decade of our work”.

Why does the opposition not get on board and actually celebrate the successes that we are having?

Employment EquityOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty hard to celebrate or praise a government whose budget I titled, “How low can you go”.

Ten years ago, it was recommended that the employment equity provisions for the federal worker contract program be strengthened through legislation, but now, instead of strengthening provisions, the Conservatives are using the budget bill to weaken them. Repealing progress on women's equality is becoming routine under the current government.

Does the Prime Minister think that employment equity is outdated?

Employment EquityOral Questions

11:30 a.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 Government of Canada is committed to promoting fair and inclusive workplaces free of discriminatory barriers. The amendment is to include the design and delivery of federal contractors programs. It is focused specifically on that subject matter. More important, modernizing the federal contractors program will reduce the administrative burden on small and medium-sized business contractors, a recommendation of the Red Tape Reduction Commission.