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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

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, it is an utterly ridiculous question. It is an internal decision of the CBC. It has nothing to do with this government. Let us make better use of this time.

Joining us today in Ottawa are the recipients of this year's Governor General Performing Arts Awards. I am very proud to see that the members of Rush are with us in the House of Commons. We welcome them to our political limelight.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. minister should know that it is not up to him to point out guests in the gallery.

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

May 3rd, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, scorning the tradition of independence of journalists and the CBC is not enough for the Conservatives, who are also attacking parliamentary traditions.

When it comes to honouring one long-standing tradition—bilingual officers of Parliament—the Minister of Canadian Heritage could not care less.

Will the minister honour the French language and our parliamentary traditions? Will he support our bill on bilingual officers of Parliament and will he abide by the recommendations made by the Commissioner of Official Languages?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I am always surprised by how the NDP members like to talk out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to official languages.

During the election campaign, the NDP nominated unilingual anglophone candidates in francophone ridings in Quebec. At this time, the head of the Public Service Alliance of Canada is a unilingual anglophone. NDP members are always talking out of both sides of their mouths regarding official languages. Our Conservative government is protecting, promoting and investing in Canada's official languages.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, let us mention the Supreme Court justices.

Yesterday, the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism said that my bill on the bilingualism of officers of Parliament was a very good bill. A few minutes later, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages flatly rejected it. This morning, that same minister flip-flopped and now he has no idea what he wants.

There are two official languages in this country, and officers who serve Parliament should be able to speak both.

Are the Conservatives going to support Bill C-419 or not?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, there are two official languages in Canada, but as I was saying, the hon. member speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

The first time the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst was elected was under the leadership of Alexa McDonough, who did not speak French. He said she was bilingual enough to be the Prime Minister of Canada, but she could not deliver a speech in French.

To hear him tell members of the House of Commons that we do not respect the French fact in Canada is ridiculous.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, budget 2012 continued its war on the environment by scrapping 50 years of protections.

The environment commissioner recently said that, “public consultation has always been a "bedrock" of environmental policy” and “there will be a significant narrowing of public participation”. He also expressed concern about changes to the Fisheries Act.

Does the government have the courage to send these changes to the environment committee to be studied instead of burying them at the finance committee?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, there will be every opportunity for the opposition to participate in the finance committee on the debate. The rationale is to permit people with a direct interest in the infrastructure being proposed, which is consistent with the scope of the hearing, to be heard and express their views, as well as those with the expertise to bring something to the hearing so that it can be considered.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to the massive cuts ordered by this “hands-off”, “fend for yourself” and “good luck with that” government, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is preparing to put the onus for food labelling inspections on consumers themselves.

What will the government tell the mother of a celiac child when she contacts the CFIA's website to say that her child is sick because the gluten in his or her yogourt or ice cream was not properly labelled?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, we think that Canadians should be able to trust labels. The agency immediately acts to recall any mislabelled product that is a threat to human health.

When nutritional claims on labels are found not in compliance, CFIA works with the company to take corrective action.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, SNC-Lavalin will face its shareholders engulfed by scandal. Money laundering, fraud and corruption are among the shocking allegations facing the company.

A distinguished member of this House once said, “High ethical standards for Canadian enterprise are not up for negotiation”. Do members know who said that? It was the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Will the government be reviewing its business with SNC-Lavalin?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, these are very serious allegations being made against this company and the government will do everything it can to support this investigation.

Canada is party to a number of international agreements and we have strict laws for companies in Canada. Other governments expect Canadian companies to respect the rules both here in Canada and when operating abroad.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, problems are resurfacing at SNC-Lavalin. Questions were raised when the company built a prison for Gadhafi. Now we have learned that the problem could be much bigger. There is talk of millions of dollars in bribes to senior managers in North Africa. In addition, Swiss authorities were the first to take action.

My question is simple. Were the Conservatives asleep at the switch or did they have their heads buried in the sand?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, these are very serious allegations being made against this company and the government will do everything it can to support this investigation.

I will repeat again that other governments expect Canadian companies to respect the rules both here in Canada and when operating abroad.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last year, Canada was shocked to learn of the case of Shaima Jastaina, a Saudi citizen who was arrested for the simple act of driving a car. Saudi Arabia remains the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive, a routine act for most women in any democracy.

Today we have been informed that the 10 lashes sentence received by Ms. Jastaina has been dropped.

Would the parliamentary secretary please update this House on Canada's reaction to these latest developments?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Conservative

Susan Truppe ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, we are extremely pleased by reports that Shaima Jastaina's sentence has been dropped.

From the outset, Canada has fully supported the cause of Saudi women. In fact, during his trip to Saudi Arabia in March of this year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs raised this important issue with the Saudi foreign minister and the president of the Human Rights Commission.

We continue to call on Saudi authorities to review their position on the driving ban and implement the necessary reforms to ensure equality among all their citizens.

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the budget's language says to cut funding for research at NSERC but to protect industry collaborations, scholarships and discovery grants. However, there is not much left to cut at NSERC. So, the RTI grants will be cut, the source of funding to repair and purchase medium-sized equipment.

Researchers are furious. It is like sending a carpenter to work without a hammer.

Why did the minister force cuts to funding used to fix and buy needed equipment?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that this government has provided investments for science and technology, including equipment, at record levels. Never in the history of our country have scientists in Canada seen so much funding for research, for the buildings in which they work and for the equipment they use.

We have a brain gain because scientists around the world want to do their research here.

The real question is whether the opposition will vote for this kind of support in the budget.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are increasingly worried about the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing in the shale gas industry. Even though this is mainly a provincial matter, the minister has confirmed that the federal government has some responsibilities under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. That is exactly what the Conservatives want to eliminate by attacking environmental impact assessments in their budget.

Does the government realize that it has a duty to protect the public from the harmful effects of shale gas?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is false, absolutely false.

I would remind my colleague that the primary responsibility for shale gas rests with the provinces and territories except, as he said, where it might be found on federal land. We are continuing to accumulate data and the latest scientific information on this legitimate resource practice. We will continue to work with the provinces and territories.

National RevenueOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to the fair and equitable tax treatment of all Canadians. Our Minister of National Revenue has been working hard to ensure that Canadians are treated in a fair and respectful manner by CRA. It was this government that introduced the taxpayer bill of rights as well as the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman to provide Canadians with a clear statement of their service rights and a venue to voice concerns.

I understand that the minister has recently become aware of some troubling videos that do not meet our high expectations of CRA staff. I would ask her to inform this House of the steps she has taken to address this.

National RevenueOral Questions

3 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I was recently made aware of some very troubling videos that have been made using CRA resources. I find these videos totally disrespectful to Canadian taxpayers. This is certainly not how CRA officials are trained.

I have asked CRA senior management to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary measures immediately. I have also asked the Taxpayers' Ombudsman to review all CRA training videos and to ensure that they respect taxpayers' rights.

We demand professionalism from CRA employees and this type of behaviour is completely unacceptable.

FinanceOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week, the Minister of Finance said that government would not mandate the use of the banking ombudsman for dispute resolution. This goes against the clear best practices laid out by the World Bank and even G20 consumer protection finance principles that he signed. Instead, banks will be allowed to police themselves, leaving the ombudsman no choice but to close its doors. With this decision, the minister is creating a race to the bottom.

Why are the big banks being put ahead of consumers and small businesses? Will the minister reconsider his decision?

FinanceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is the requirement now that all federally regulated financial institutions, the banks, have a dispute resolution process. We passed legislation with respect to that. All of the banks do have a dispute resolution process and we are formulating the regulations. As the government, we will make the rules and we expect the banks to follow.

Freedom of the PressOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. According to UNESCO, it is a day to alert the public and make people more aware of this cause. And so, I am sounding the alarm. A new code of conduct has been imposed on CBC, requiring journalists to support ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians. If journalists fail to abide by this new code of conduct, they may be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including immediate dismissal. This reeks of totalitarianism.

How can the government justify the fact that it is secretly trying to make CBC the new Pravda? I am asking the government to allow CBC to maintain its independence. The government already has Sun TV News.