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House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fisheries.

Topics

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our focus, as we said back in March when we first tabled the budget, is on ensuring that we have jobs and growth for Canadians.

Canada's economic performance in what has been a very difficult time for the world remains superior to most other developed nations but we are in a very difficult international financial situation. That is why we need to take all the steps that are necessary, not just now but into the future. The government has been very clear in its plans before Parliament and those plans have been before Parliament for more than three months.

I know that the leader of the Liberal Party rejected all of this in the first minutes but we have been working hard and we are prepared to get this done.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I suppose that since the Prime Minister did not respond to a direct question, it means that he agrees that since he took power, his approach has become more and more like a dictatorship.

Since he is looking at the notes he just received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, once again giving him the substance for his response, I would like to ask the question again.

Can the Prime Minister deny that he has been corrupted by power?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our objective as a government is economic growth and job creation for Canadians.

Our performance remains superior to most other developed nations, but we are in a very difficult international financial situation and there is much to be done. In March, we submitted our proposals to Parliament, and three months later, the Conservative members are working very hard to get these measures passed.

I encourage the opposition members to also do their job and to work towards making these reforms actions a reality for the Canadian economy.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister speaks complacently to his record.

Let us look at the record. The government has increased its net debt by $117 billion, unemployment since 2006 is up from 6.4% to 7.3% and 300,000 manufacturing jobs down the table. Bill C-38 is an unprecedented assault on Parliament, a dumping on the provinces, a dumping on people and without precedent in the history of our Parliament in terms of its abuse and the way he has acceded power to himself.

That is some record. The Prime Minister has no right to boast to other countries about the Canadian record.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we have 750,000 net new jobs that have been created. On this side of the House, we have the lowest debt ratio in the G7, and by a country mile.

In terms of power and corruption, I notice that the man who said that he would never run for the permanent leadership of his party is now, apparently, prepared to accept it, which I guess proves, down in that corner of the House, lack of power can corrupt.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are asking us to vote—

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order.

The hon. member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

June 12th, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are asking us to vote blindly on a budget bill that will bring draconian changes to the Fisheries Act, but they refuse to answer any questions about the impact of those changes.

The minister told us that a temporary disruption of the fish habitat will be allowed.

Can the minister at least answer a simple question? How long is temporary? Is it two years, 10 years, 100 years? How long?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that we are making major improvements to the Fisheries Act. We are going to focus on fish and fish habitat and not on farmers' fields. We are making improvements to several conservation tools. We will allow a creation of new, clearer and accessible guidelines for Canadians to follow for projects in or near water. We will have partnerships with conservation groups, which so very important to the fisheries in this nation. These changes will allow regulations to be made that will prohibit the import, export and possession of live aquatic—

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, what the minister does not seem to get is that aquatic ecosystems are more complicated than PMO talking points. What is becoming increasingly clearer every day is that the budget bill would allow—

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has the floor.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, what is becoming increasingly clear is that the budget bill would allow levels of pollution that, while not affecting target fish, would devastate everything those fish need to survive, killing off fish-bearing lakes, rivers and streams. The Conservatives cannot even explain these consequences or even show that they understand them.

How can the minister ask members to vote on changes that have been so poorly explained and pose such a risk to our fisheries?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is an absolutely ridiculous fabrication. We are protecting fish and fish habitat. That is the primary focus of the Department of Fisheries.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities said:

When you first announced changes to the Fisheries Act earlier this spring, we welcomed a number of specific reforms that would make the Act work better for communities, by reducing duplication, streamlining processes for small, low-risk projects, and removing unnecessary and costly administrative burdens on municipalities.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, from dismantling fisheries protection to gutting public safety oversight, the Conservatives are still pressing ahead in their attempt to sneak through major changes disguised as a budget implementation bill. For example, clause 378 would delete the Office of the Inspector General of CSIS. For the Conservatives that is “strengthening oversight”. For Canadians, in plain language, it means less civilian oversight for Canada's spy agency.

Why are the Conservatives getting rid of oversight tools instead of strengthening them? Why is the minister so eager to shrug off his responsibility to oversee CSIS?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, what we are doing is eliminating $800,000 in administrative costs that do not contribute to oversight. We are ensuring that the agency responsible for the oversight of CSIS has the necessary power to do exactly that. What we are doing is eliminating needless administrative costs and ensuring that the independent function of SIRC continues.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is once again confusing the roles of the two oversight entities.

The inspector general makes sure that CSIS complies with the legislation and with its own policies and regulations. But the parliamentary secretary refers to the inspector general's role as a simple administrative expense, and the minister is taking the only tool that lets him keep an objective eye on the actions of CSIS and is throwing it out the window.

Is this decision driven by bad faith or by simple ignorance?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is rather odd that the NDP member would get up and say, “Somebody reporting to you should still continue because that person is somehow objective”. That individual reported to me. What we are ensuring is that the administrative costs for that function will be eliminated and we improve the objective and independent function of SIRC. That is exactly what we are doing.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, less transparency, less accountability: it seems to me that this contradicts their campaign platform.

The Auditor General's report on the F-35s was clear: the Conservatives knew what the total cost of the F-35s was, but they did not share that information with parliamentarians.

However, they want to wait until the fall to disclose their most recent cost estimate. Why should Canadians wait even longer to get straight answers about the F-35s? When will the Conservatives finally show some transparency?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the member knows that no money has actually been spent on the acquisition of new fighter aircraft for the Department of National Defence. We have responded to the Auditor General's concerns with a seven-point plan for the process to replace Canada's fighter jets.

In terms of the costs being tabled in Parliament, I have said repeatedly that we will not support the tabling of updated estimates by the Department of National Defence until they are independently validated and verified. We will ensure we take the time to get it right.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is the point of a seven-point plan if it is not respected?

Point 3 states: “These updates will be tabled within a maximum of 60 days from receipt of annual costing forecasts…”.

The forecasts were received in early May. So, the government has to disclose the costs in early July, not this fall.

The Conservatives have broken all the rules with the F-35s. Why, after accepting all the Auditor General's recommendations, are they deciding to break their promise at the first opportunity?