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House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think he thinks it is a joke when the government gets caught for abusing taxpayer dollars.

He needs to understand that we are not asking ministers to shack up at the Paradise Motel when they do travel. We are not asking them to travel like common people on the public transit. However, we do expect them to treat taxpayers with respect, just like the New Democratic government in Manitoba does.

I see ministers who get their limo and ride from the bottom of the Hill up to the top of the Hill every day, and that is five minutes. Those Conservatives might talk the talk about accountability, but when will they step out of their limousines and walk the walk?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that on this side of the House we are new world men and women.

What I would say for hon. member is that we are adhering to the guidelines, that we are in fact ensuring the guidelines are better. We want to do some changes. This could be one area of the changes.

The fact is the member stands in the House with righteous indignation, but his colleagues and his cohorts use cars and drivers. It is, in the right circumstances, the right thing to do. When will the member stop speaking out of both sides of his mouth?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food is about to begin his first ever official mission to a developed country. That country is Canada.

When the rapporteur on housing came to Canada, the result was a scathing report about third world conditions faced by first nations, Métis and Inuit in our country.

The fact is, for far too many of these communities, there is simply not enough food.

Will the minister do his job and agree to meet with the rapporteur to discuss this crisis in Canada?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

May 3rd, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to assist first nation communities across the country to expand their economic opportunities and realize their full potential. Through skills training and employment incentives, we have invested significantly in measures to ensure first nations have access to food, shelter and economic opportunity.

We accepted the UN rapporteur's request to come to Canada. Government officials will be meeting with the rapporteur, and we look forward to his report.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, with the help of public funding, the Conservatives have amassed a large volume of data about individual Canadians. It is all in their central database, the Conservative information management system known as CIMS, names, addresses, phone numbers, religion, ethnicity, political activity and on it goes.

The risk of abuse is enormous. Who in the government has access to CIMS and has that database ever been consulted when the government is responding to an access to information request, a grant application or an immigration file, yes or no?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member has asked a question that is out of order.

That being said, I want to give him occasion to rise and explain the activity of the Liberal member for Guelph who has been forced to admit, after—

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Gotcha. We gotcha.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, you can call the member to order whenever you wish.

He has been forced to admit that his activities in the last election deceived his voters by putting a false phone number and a false message in place. He is the one who is engaged in a robo scandal.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the duplicity of the government knows no bounds. While its ministers spend like royalty it looks for so-called efficiencies by surreptitiously cutting programs to the most sick and vulnerable.

Suicides in the Canadian Forces have almost doubled. The current government cut veteran suicide prevention programs and the specialists who treat post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD causes a lifetime of mental pain and suffering. Can the Minister of National Defence justify these callous cuts as easily as he defends his bloated perks?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, virtually all of what the member has just said is false. We are not reducing, but are in fact increasing, the support for the Canadian Forces members, veterans and their families, as we have done consistently since taking office. We are working toward doubling the number of mental health professionals available to members. We have opened joint personnel support units across the country. We continue to work with the civilian mental health care workers in associations across the country to see that they are able to help our reservists as well as our regular force members. We are very proud of what we have done. We will continue to make those investments.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism expressed support for mandatory bilingualism for officers of Parliament. He said, “Very good bill. I can tell you that, personally, I will support it—”.

However, two hours later, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages spoke out against the bill, which he deemed “unnecessary”. In committee this morning, he did not know if he was for or against it.

Given that his ministers cannot agree, will the Prime Minister provide assurances that the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism's opinion will prevail?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House that we will fulfill our responsible commitments with respect to official languages. As to the bill he mentioned, which I discussed this morning at the Standing Committee on Official Languages, the government has not yet made a decision.

However, I want to make it clear that it is our government, with our Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality, our appointments and our commitments, that will continue to protect and promote both French and English within the Government of Canada.

EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is important to take money laundering seriously.

However, the Minister of the Environment's accusations against environmental groups are insulting. This is an unsubstantiated attack against groups that have the support of millions of Canadians.

Accusing environmentalists of laundering money is simply a political vendetta. Revenue Canada is cutting its budget for the investigation of tax fraud but is going to spend more on attacking environmental groups.

Will the minister do the right thing and apologize?

EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members abandoned decorum and civility a couple of days ago. Now they have lost their sense of humour. The opposition members can whinge all they want but the fact of the matter is some charitable organizations have allegedly used funds from outside this country inappropriately in regard to their charitable status. They can call it money laundering, they can call it a financial shell game or they could call it three card monte.

EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, budgets are used to set priorities, and the Conservatives' priority is to waste millions of dollars harassing foundations while cutting the budgets for tax fraud investigations and the RCMP's proceeds of crime program.

The RCMP estimates that $5 billion to $15 billion is laundered in Canada each year by real criminals, not environmentalists.

When will this government stop attacking those who disagree with it and target the real criminals?

EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, almost everything my hon. colleague said is absolutely wrong. As I said, there have been allegations of inappropriate channelling of foreign funds through Canadian organizations that have charitable status. I am glad we caught the attention of the opposition, the general public and the charitable agencies so they can examine their practices and ensure they conform with their charitable status.

EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are harassing ecologists and slashing funding for oil spill protection and monitoring measures, but that does not solve the problem.

Yet another oil spill has appeared on British Columbia's northern coast. At one kilometre long and 60 metres wide, this catastrophic spill is threatening the community of Hartley Bay.

In 2003, the Conservatives were warned about the growing risk of oil spills. That oil spill appeared two days ago. Can the Conservatives tell us what they have done so far to clean up the mess?

EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

I would be delighted to, Mr. Speaker.

Environment Canada has been notified of the release of a small amount of oil from a Second World War warship sunk off the coast of British Columbia. The Canadian Coast Guard is the lead agency. Environment Canada's national ice service overflew the site to observe and to report on the release. It appears that this time the environmental impact will be minor as there appears to be less than one litre of oil on the surface. The leak is being patched by divers.

EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives promised the people of Hartley Bay two years ago to clean up this mess. They are not just failing to protect coastal communities, they are putting them at further risk, all the while cheerleading for raw export of pipelines and supertanker projects.

The government recklessly closed B.C.'s only oil spill response centre. Now it is gutting environmental laws for pipeline and fast-tracking of new threats. Why is the government putting the health and life of coastal communities at risk all in favour of their friends in the oil patch?

EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague clearly misunderstands the operational realities of the environmental emergencies office. Environment Canada staff are not first responders. They very seldom attend the site of a pollutant release. They do support the lead agency, be it municipal, provincial, a federal department, be it Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard or the National Energy Board. We will continue to do that. There will be no negative impact from the consolidation of our six offices to two.

Sealing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, members on this side of the House have stood in solidarity with Canadian sealers while opposition members have consistently sided with Hollywood activists who would not know a seal if it bit them.

What is the government's reaction to the Liberal senator's recent admonishment of the cultural significance and economic importance of this traditional hunt?

Sealing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is yet again another attack by a Liberal senator to try to undermine this safe, humane and sustainable hunt that is vital to coastal communities in northern and eastern Canada.

Members on this side of the House have been unequivocal in our support for the Canadian seal industry. We will not abandon this industry at the behest of opposition parties or irresponsible and out-of-touch animal rights activists. We will continue to put the livelihoods of hard-working Canadian families first.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Press Freedom Day, but on this day of all days, the Minister of Canadian Heritage's new code of conduct for CBC is forcing journalists to become the government's mouthpiece. That is not good.

The code requires employees to “Loyally [carry] out the lawful decisions of their leaders and [support] ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians”. Journalistic independence and freedom of the press be damned. This is serious. Journalists who sign on will have to obey the direct orders of the Prime Minister's Office.

How can the Minister of Canadian Heritage look us in the eye and justify that?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, perhaps my colleague should take a little time to research the facts before writing and asking questions like that. Maybe he should talk to CBC. The policy is an internal one. It has nothing to do with our government. CBC did not ask us for a policy. That decision was made internally.

If he does not believe me, he can write to Hubert Lacroix, CBC's president and CEO. It was not our choice; it was theirs.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, it actually gets worse. Not only do journalists have to swear an oath of loyalty but the chair of the board of the CBC now has to swear an oath of friendship to the minister. Is it really that hard for him to find a friend?

It is World Press Freedom Day today, and we have to remember that the CBC must remain at arm's-length to the government.

Why does the Minister of Canadian Heritage need to force the new chair of the board of the CBC to be his buddy?