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House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the unemployed are not the only ones from whom the government is hiding something. Yesterday, after throwing his colleague under the bus, the Minister of the Environment said he was abolishing the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy because it is a thing of the past. Now we know that the Conservatives simply do not like the organization's objective research. Furthermore, the Conservatives cannot agree among themselves.

When will the Minister of the Environment be as forthcoming as his colleague was?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about who is throwing whom under buses.

My colleague travels abroad to lobby against Canadian jobs and responsible resource development. Her leader dismisses responsible resource development as a disease, playing one region of the country against another. Now he is saying that Ontario's forest industry is responsible and afflicted with this same disease.

I would think that the official opposition should get its own house in order and organize its incoherent policy stances before it criticizes this government.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I wish the minister was as coherent as his colleague was on Monday about the real reason for closing down the round table. The round table has something the Minister of the Environment does not have, and that is numbers.

We know the Conservative inaction on climate change will cost Canadians in the long run. How much will climate change cost us in the long run? Well, last night the minister did not have an answer, even though the round table has done that study and has those numbers.

I would like to ask the minister again: does the government have an estimate of the cost of climate change to Canada, yes or no?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague again for her question.

The government is acting. In fact, we are the first government in this country that has taken real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our sector-by-sector approach to reduce GHGs is working. It is leading to innovation, fuel efficiencies, new technologies and real reduction of GHGs.

There was a delay before our government came to power in 2006, of course. We only need to look to the previous Liberal government's decade of environmental lip service and inaction.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the government's priorities. How can we debate in this Parliament if it does not give us basic information? What are the numbers? What are the costs? These are simple questions, and the government has to start providing answers.

For instance, will the Prime Minister explain exactly how the Conservatives came up with their Kyoto cost estimate? Will they tell Canadians exactly how much it will cost to meet Canada's Copenhagen undertakings?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. Leader of the Opposition shows his fixation with carbon taxation, which is something this government has repeatedly said it will not impose on Canadians. We will not attack jobs. We will not threaten investment or our recovering economy.

With regard to the cost of inaction on climate change, those costs would run into many billions of dollars.

I would ask my colleague to familiarize himself with the Environment Canada website.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament have a responsibility to debate, study and analyze. To that end, we need answers, not the type of response we just heard.

What exactly are they afraid of? Why are they refusing to answer?

The Prime Minister's guide for ministers if very clear: “As a minister...you must answer all questions pertaining to your areas of responsibility...” We have just seen the opposite.

Here is a clear question that the Minister of the Environment continues to refuse to answer. Will the Prime Minister finally disclose which Environment Canada programs will be eliminated by the budget? We want the names of the programs.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government does not want to burden the Canadian economy. We are trying to make progress on the environment at the same time as we stimulate economic growth.

I think the leader of the NDP and ourselves are really on different wavelengths here. We are not interested in identifying which industries we are going to call diseases and shut down. Our government is interested in the growth of the Canadian economy while making environmental—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Kings—Hants.

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, has the public service provided the Minister of Finance with an estimate of how many dollars the government will save by raising the OAS age from 65 to 67, yes or no?

PensionsOral Questions

May 16th, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

Richmond B.C.

Conservative

Alice Wong ConservativeMinister of State (Seniors)

Mr. Speaker, there will be no reductions to seniors' pensions.

The opposition parties are missing the point. This is not about savings. Our changes will put old age security on a sustainable path so it will be there when Canadians need it. Changes made will be gradual, beginning in 2023 and coming into full effect in 2029.

We are also providing Canadians with the option to defer OAS and collect later at a higher rate, if they wish.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, while the minister responsible for EI continues to be evasive and refuses to say what the changes to EI will mean, Canadians are afraid of what will happen to them if they should suddenly lose their job in this fragile economy. She claims:

Canadians will be expected to take jobs appropriate to their skill level in their area.

However, she is deleting those very provisions from the current EI act. Can the minister reveal what specific criteria will be used to determine what she defines as their “local area” and “skill level” before the legislation is voted on?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, we all understand that any one Canadian unemployed is too many, but we are also facing unprecedented skills shortages. We need to make sure that we help people find those jobs. We need to help the unemployed connect with jobs that they are capable of taking part in.

There is a skills shortage; we have unemployed Canadians. We are not asking them to do anything more than apply for jobs that they are skilled to perform.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, in the recent budget, another sentence pertaining to employment insurance has many workers worried. These words suggest that the minister would take into account an individual’s past history with the EI program.

This will punish seasonal workers, parents who have already been on parental leave and anyone who has needed employment insurance in the past.

Why do the Conservatives want to cut or completely eliminate their benefits? Is “three strikes and you're out” the new program or will there be a two-tiered employment insurance program?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, employees and employers across this country contribute to unemployment insurance. It is there when people lose their jobs.

All Canadians expect to be temporarily unemployed. That is what EI is for. We also expect people to seek a job that is within their skill set. That is only fair and reasonable. We are also only asking those Canadians to seek that within reasonable distance of their own homes.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, opening up the Canadian market to foreign telecommunication companies will not help consumers; quite the opposite, in fact.

Last year, the public safety department issued a warning about this. Telecommunications systems are too strategic to be left in the hands of foreign companies.

The Minister of Industry is ignoring the recommendations of his colleague, the public safety minister. Once again, the Conservatives cannot agree.

Why do the Conservatives want to sneak these risky measures through by including them in this Trojan Horse?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Industry has indicated, our government has taken strong steps to benefit consumers and open up the market to competition, but I must stress that all carriers will continue to be subject to Canadians laws.

We will continue to ensure that Canadians can rely on telecommunications infrastructure that is safe and secure. That is essentially what the official from public safety indicated: that he was not in opposition to the auction that is occurring.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Trojan Horse budget bill conceals changes that would expose Canadians to new threats.

Conservatives are proposing changes that would allow full foreign ownership of Canadian telecom companies, even though, in contradiction to what the minister just said, public safety officials warn this would:

....pose a considerable risk to public safety and national security and would hinder the security and intelligence community's ability to fulfill their mandate...

Is the minister so eager to sell off our telecom sector that he is willing to ignore the safety and security of Canadians?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the member that he not let the CBC do his research for him.

The CBC reported half of the story, half of the memo. Yes, the official, as he should have done, indicated what possible concerns there were. He also indicated, and I note, “...I want to stress that Public Safety Canada's perspective is not in opposition to the 700 MHz auction”.

Perhaps he should read the entire letter, as opposed to simply relying on a CBC report.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is really lost in space when it comes to protecting the public and protecting jobs. The minister repeatedly claims the government is committed to RADARSAT, but the facts contradict him.

MDA was forced to lay off 100 employees because the government has refused to sign a contract, and even more high-tech jobs are in jeopardy.

Will the minister explain the gap between his words and his refusal to act?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are fully committed to the RADARSAT project. It is an important project, but we want to deliver it in the most cost-effective way. That is what we will do.

I would like to remind the member that for the first time we have launched a review of space and aerospace because we want to remain the leaders in this sector.

This is real action, not just talk.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister is so sure about the future of RADARSAT, will he allow the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to meet with representatives of MDA in public?

The RADARSAT program is essential to marine surveillance, disaster management and environmental monitoring. It was developed by Canada's leading scientists and engineers.

The Conservatives' empty rhetoric will not prevent job losses or stop the brain drain. How many high-level jobs need to be lost before the minister will do something about it?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. RADARSAT has existed for quite some time. Considerable funding for that program was included in budget 2010, but the NDP voted against that. If it were left up to them, there would be no RADARSAT.

We have said that we are committed to this project and we would deliver it in the most cost-effective way.

That being said, I would remind my hon. colleague that we have launched a review of our aerospace and space sectors, to be led by David Emerson. That work is under way. Why? Because we want to remain world leaders in this key sector.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, in August 2010, the MV Sun Sea brought 492 irregular migrants to Canada as part of an elaborate human smuggling operation.

Human smuggling is a terrible crime in which the most vulnerable are taken advantage of, often for the financial gain of criminals and terrorists.

Can the Minister of Public Safety please update the House on the status of efforts into investigating this matter?