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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservatives.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the member should know that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act permits foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada for reasons of criminality to apply for a temporary resident permit to overcome their criminality.

Every year department officials receive applications for such TRPs. Last year they issued some 11,000. About 7,000 of those were for foreign nationals with criminal records, about 900 people with serious criminal records.

Every foreign national who is inadmissible can make an application. Foreign nationals are all considered based on the same legal criteria by our highly trained, independent public servants.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are tired of this double standard. There is one set of rules for Canadians and a different set of rules for the Conservatives and their friends.

Canada refused entry to Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin, two activists from the group Code Pink. Their crime? They tried to submit a petition on peace to the United Nations. What a threat to our national security.

Why are progressive activists being banished by the Conservatives, while the notorious British criminal Conrad Black is welcomed with open arms?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, decisions regarding foreign nationals' entry into Canada are made independently by public servants based on well-established legal criteria. I therefore do not understand the NDP's position.

Is the NDP suggesting that we should adopt a policy whereby elected officials—politicians—make decisions regarding temporary residence applications, or is it their position that only those who receive NDP approval should be given permits? We uphold the law when it comes to considering applications—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Malpeque.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, a year in, the government is showing how tired and corrupt it really is: the CIDA minister who believes taxpayers are there only to support her lavish lifestyle; the Minister of Industry who believes industrial development is keeping the Ethics Commissioner's office at work, investigating himself three times; a Treasury Board minister, of gazebo fame; and the Minister of National Defence who has helicopters as his personal limousine, and of course the $9-billion fib.

How can the Prime Minister condone such a crew of tainted ministers? How can he condone that?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is a member of Parliament from the party of the sponsorship scandal, the party that spent far more on hospitality and travel than its successors in this Conservative government. It takes some courage for him to rise and even pose a question like that.

The fact is, this is a government that has held high standards and delivered high results for Canadians. It delivered economic success and prosperity at a time when countries all around the world, similar developed economies, have had real challenges. We are the only economy that has recovered at the rate that we have. Of all the jobs lost during the economic downturn, some 700,000 net new jobs were created during that downturn. We will continue to stay focused on the economy. That is what Canadians want.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the real success of this government is to have eliminated ethics and ministerial accountability.

What can we say about the Minister of National Defence, who uses a Cormorant as a personal taxi and hides the real costs of the F-35s from Canadians?

What about the Minister of Industry, who is at the top of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's most wanted list?

What about the Minister of International Cooperation, who had no intention of paying for her $16 orange juice before she was caught by the media?

Why does this Prime Minister set the bar so low?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal record on these matters of ethics and standards is very, very clear. It is one of the reasons why Canadians elected a Conservative government. It is one of the reasons that Canadians a year ago gave a majority mandate to this Conservative government.

This Conservative government has understood that what Canadians want to see are lower taxes and those tax dollars treated with respect, a focus on the economy, a focus on their jobs, their prosperity and the strength of their futures. That is what we see in the most recent budget: a focus again on the long-term economic prosperity and future opportunities for Canadians and subsequent generations of Canadians, their children and their children's children. That is what we are delivering.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is tainted by the largest electoral fraud scandal in our country's history. Canadians are realizing they cannot trust the government.

The government did not have the courage to campaign on gutting environmental regulations. It did not tell Canadians it would cut legislation that puts their health and safety at risk.

Can the minister please explain why he is killing 50 years of safeguards, and does he have the conviction to hive off environmental gutting from the budget?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that question was all over the yard, but I can assure my hon. colleague that while the previous Liberal government paid mere lip service to the environment, this government is getting things done. We are spending more money on water quality, on water monitoring, working with our international partners to reduce greenhouse gas—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for St. John's East.

National DefenceOral Questions

May 2nd, 2012 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Minister of National Defence told the public accounts committee that the cabinet was provided with the full $25 billion projected cost of the F-35 jets.

Will the minister now confirm that it was the cabinet that indeed had both figures, the full $25 billion figure and the $14.7 billion figure, and that it decided to use the smaller figure for public consumption, hiding $10 billion from Canadians? Are these the two sets of books that the Parliamentary Budget Officer was talking about?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

First, Mr. Speaker, let me say that this member is becoming quite adept at putting inaccurate information before the House of Commons. He does so quite regularly.

It should come as no surprise to him that the cabinet and the government have oversight and approval over major capital projects for the Department of National Defence, and in fact for the entire government. We have, as a principle, put in place a comprehensive response to the Auditor General's concerns that were raised over this procurement. This will have the oversight of independent individuals in the secretariat which will be overseen by the Department of Public Works and Government Services.

We are proceeding with a very important project that will see our Canadian skies and coastlines protected by the Canadian Forces for many years to come.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, we do not know how many books there were, but we know there were at least two columns, one for internal use and one for public consumption.

According to Deputy Minister Fonberg, the left-hand column was for decision-making, and the right-hand column was reported to the public.

Conservatives knew long before the last election what the real figures were, but they decided to keep them hidden from Canadians. When will this minister finally accept the entire report of the Auditor General on the F-35s and admit that they misled both Parliament and the public?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have, of course, been very clear throughout. We accept the recommendation of the Auditor General. We accept that report. We have responded to it in a very precise way with a plan forward to improve accountability and to improve transparency.

The reality is that these figures have been before the Canadian public. We have acquisition costs which are clear, maintenance costs, and of course operating costs. We have followed previous practices to ensure that those numbers were brought forward. We will continue to act upon the recommendations of the Auditor General.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, either they accept the findings of the Auditor General or they accept the findings of the Associate Minister of National Defence, but they cannot accept both.

The Conservatives lost control over the F-35 file a long time ago. They keep making things up as they go along. The Conservatives would have us believe that all the options are on the table for replacing the CF-18s, but the chief of the air staff has confirmed that the F-35 is still the government's choice.

Why are the Conservatives still being so duplicitous about the F-35s?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have already answered that question. Our government has clearly accepted the Auditor General's recommendation.

We continue to act on those recommendations. There is now a study being done by the public accounts committee. We have a secretariat in place that will provide oversight over this project in the future, greater transparency, and independent insights into this issue.

We continue to act upon that single recommendation as well as ensuring that the Canadian Forces have the proper equipment and investments, as we continue to provide this important protection for our country.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only thing coming clear here is that the government has our civil service caught up in its web of contradictions.

In 2010, DND wrote to Public Works saying that the F-35 is the only option. Public Works agreed. Yet, both departments came before committee yesterday saying that they were still analyzing their options. No decision has been made yet. However, the chief of the air staff contradicted both departments. He is fixed on the F-35.

Is the government misleading the chief of the air staff, or is it misleading Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, here is a shock for the member opposite. The Department of National Defence obviously receives recommendations from both members of the armed forces, in this case the chief of the air staff, as well as working very closely with our deputy minister and the civilian side of the department.

With respect to the replacement of the CF-18, we have received a very specific recommendation from the Auditor General. We have responded with a comprehensive response that goes beyond that recommendation.

This will provide the transparency, accountability and confidence that Canadians need.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, since 2006, our government has been delivering for Canadians.

We have kept our word on our election promises and have always acted in the best interest of Canadian families, seniors and all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

It was one year ago today that Canadians acknowledged the tireless effort of our government by giving us a strong mandate and a strong majority government.

Can the Minister of Finance please highlight some of the economic accomplishments we have experienced over the past year?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on the first anniversary of this Conservative majority government, Canada has the best fiscal position in the G7, the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7, the strongest job creation record in the G7, the best financial system in the world. It is the best place for business to invest, grow and create jobs, and has the highest credit rating in the world.

We will remain focused on jobs, the economy and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

National ParksOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, in last year's election campaign, the Conservatives did not announce a planned attack on our national parks.

Yesterday, they eliminated 1,600 jobs at Parks Canada. Today, we learned that they want to sell some parks and privatize the hot springs in Banff, Jasper and Radium. The discovery of these hot springs more than a century ago led to the creation of our first national park.

Why does the minister want to squander our national heritage?

National ParksOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, first of all, my hon. colleague has the numbers entirely wrong. They are exaggerated, and that will be corrected in coming days.

What Parks Canada is doing is ensuring cost-effective delivery of world-class services and visitor experience.

With regard to the Canadian Rockies hot springs, we have announced we will invite proposals to operate these hot springs because the private sector does it better. Parks Canada is not responsible for operating hotels, golf courses or swimming pools.

National ParksOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, on the campaign the Conservatives actually promised that the cuts would happen through attrition, and a year later they are chopping up jobs and selling off our parks.

Canada's national parks were founded on the principle that the public should have access to public spaces and our heritage sites, but Parks Canada, as we know, confirmed that a new private operator will determine access for Canadians, when we own it.

This is the same minister who also green-lighted the privatization of Jasper National Park.

First our glaciers, and now our hot springs. Which of our national treasures will the minister put up for sale next?

National ParksOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Parks Canada is in the business of protecting our natural spaces. In national parks where we have facilities like golf courses, swimming pools or hotels, these services are much better provided by the private sector and we will continue to operate exactly that way.