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House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was yea.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Conservative Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, later today the House will begin voting on legislation to implement economic action 2012. This important and necessary legislation takes long-term responsible steps to ensure Canada's finances are sustainable and support jobs and economic growth.

Around the world, Canadians see the negative economic and social consequences of countries that delay and defer necessary reforms. Canada simply cannot afford to delay action.

Could the Minister of Finance please underline for Canadians and the House the importance of Bill C-38 and economic action plan 2012?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, economic action plan 2012 is about taking responsible and necessary steps to keep Canada in a position of strength in the global economy today and into the future. It is about ensuring that there are more jobs, ensuring that we can help spur economic growth, ensuring that we have sound public finances and ensuring that we can get back to balanced budgets. This is responsible, necessary and will make Canada's economy stronger.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

June 13th, 2012 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives cannot seem to agree whether linguistic duality is important to them or not. Agents of Parliament must be able to communicate in both English and French. It is necessary if they are to provide oversight for over 300 members of Parliament. It is an important part of our tradition and it is something of which the New Democrats are very proud.

However, Conservatives continue to give official languages lip service. Canadians deserve to be served in the language of their choice. Will the Conservative government agree with our proposal to ensure that all officers of Parliament are bilingual?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, our engagement with regard to official languages is without precedent. Our road map for linguistic duality has gained praise. Actually, the New Democratic Party is talking out of both sides of its mouth on this subject.

The NDP has unilingual anglophone members of Parliament from majority francophone ridings. It has critics for official languages who are unilingual. In fact, two of its three deputy leaders in the House of Commons are unilingual anglophone.

If NDP members want to preach to others about bilingual standards, perhaps they ought to hold themselves to their own standards.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, we had to introduce Bill C-419 to ensure that our officers of Parliament are bilingual because the Conservatives appointed a unilingual anglophone Auditor General.

It should be fairly simple. In Canada, we have two official languages: French and English.

Although he is a Conservative, the hon. member for Beauce understands why this was important. However, some members of the Conservative caucus still do not get it.

Will the government vote in favour of Bill C-419, yes or no?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned, our policies, engagement and investments with regard to official languages are without precedent. With regard to the government's commitment when it comes to bills, we will continue to protect both official languages across the country and within the federal government.

It is the NDP that is two-faced on this issue with its unilingual anglophone members of Parliament in francophone ridings. They are the ones talking out of both sides of their mouths. We, the federal government, are responsibly representing both official languages in all our commitments.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage has decided that the Conservatives do not care about French culture in the Prairies.

We recently learned that the Franco-Manitoban newspaper La Liberté is in serious financial trouble. The minister says that there are no cuts, only changes. In reality, La Liberté will lose 50% of its funding under the publications assistance program.

If that is not a cut, what is it exactly?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the envelope has not been eliminated. Subsidies for this publication are based on a formula. The agreement remains intact. We made changes to the formula three years ago. Why has the member done nothing for francophones in her region in the past three years since we changed the formula?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, instead of insulting the opposition, I would like the minister to listen to the residents of Saint Boniface and the francophones from western Canada on this matter.

In fact, there is some concern even within his own caucus. None other than the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, who is all too familiar with the art of making cuts, wrote to the Minister of Canadian Heritage to implore him to reverse his decision.

The hon. member for Saint Boniface has said that La Liberté will be getting just 50% of the money it was allocated. She is concerned that the Conservatives are killing this newspaper.

Is that what the Conservative government wants its legacy to be?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is ridiculous. The investments are based on a formula. The decision was not made by the minister or the government. The investments are based on a formula that was designed and developed by the department three years ago. In future, changes to the formula will no doubt be considered, provided those changes will help us do things better.

Why does the NDP constantly vote against our official languages action plans and against our commitments to protect francophone publications outside Quebec? Why has the hon. member not done anything in years for the francophones in her riding?

EthicsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, while the member for Peterborough was under scrutiny, he told his constituents and local media that he would be coming forth with his records. Unfortunately, he has not fulfilled this promise. We all know the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister rightfully owes his constituents and Elections Canada an explanation, but they are not getting it.

Will the Prime Minister force his parliamentary secretary to step aside and take action toward reducing the cloud of Conservative corruption that hangs over the government?

EthicsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has already submitted his elections filings. It was almost four years ago. He has since fought a second election campaign and he has not heard anything from Elections Canada suggesting that there is a problem with any of the audited and verified filings that he has already submitted.

The real issue is that members of the Liberal Party, like their friends in the NDP, are voting against an economic action plan that has already helped to create 700,000 net new jobs, that is growing the economy, that will help us become one of the only countries in the world to balance our budget without raising taxes.

EthicsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the government has traded in its old ethics spokesperson and has a used one out for a test drive.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport gained experience at political polling while he owned 3D Contact and did work for some 24 Conservative candidates in the 2006 election.

Could the member explain to us how he paid $21,000 in during the pre-writ period and reported only $1,500 out during the election period? We have all seen this in and out scheme before.

EthicsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for yet another thoughtful and mature question here on the floor of the House of Commons.

The hon. member for Peterborough has followed all of the rules. He has submitted the documents. They have been audited and verified. He has not heard anything to the contrary from Elections Canada. He has conducted himself honourably in the House and on behalf of his constituents. That is something which not all members of the opposition can say for themselves.

VIA RailOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, a Conservative leak has revealed that drastic cuts to VIA Rail will be coming later this month. Conservatives are waiting until Parliament's summer break before letting Canadians know the truth. Travel from Toronto to Vancouver will be cut to only two trains a week. There will be cuts to services in southern Ontario and cuts to service from Halifax to Montreal.

Will the Conservative government make these cuts public before we vote on their Trojan Horse job-killing budget bill?

VIA RailOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, VIA Rail regularly reviews its operations and makes changes where they make sense. We continue to work with VIA Rail to ensure economically efficient passenger rail for Canadians.

We will be voting tonight. I wonder if the members across the way could ask themselves why they want to send billions of dollars over to Europe, to countries that do not manage their funds properly, and not focus on Canada.

VIA RailOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is just another empty answer. Yet it was a simple question. Will the Conservatives make the announcement before—

VIA RailOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

VIA RailOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order.

The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

VIA RailOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think this is a simple question. Will the Conservatives make the announcement before the House rises for the summer?

The service cuts that my colleague mentioned are not the only ones. Rail service between Montreal and Halifax will be offered only two days a week in the winter, instead of the current six possible departures. The trains that serve the people of Rimouski, Rivière-du-Loup and all of eastern Quebec are being cut. Not only does this sabotage a mode of transportation that is practical, environmentally friendly, safe and historic in Canada, but it will also undermine regional economies even more.

Are these cuts just another way to force the regions to pay for the Conservatives' ideological cuts?

VIA RailOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, this government has made unprecedented investments in VIA Rail, almost $1 billion since we have come to power. We have built infrastructure and we will focus on jobs and improve on service for passengers. From time to time, VIA does review its scheduling to ensure that taxpayers and passengers get the best service for their investment.

Again, I wish the NDP would look at the world view and instead of advocating for billions of dollars for Europe—

VIA RailOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Mississauga East—Cooksville.

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can count on our government to ensure that our streets and communities are kept safe and that our correctional system actually corrects criminal behaviour. Since being elected in 2006, we have taken strong action to do just that, from the Truth in Sentencing Act. to ending the faint hope clause, to eliminating record suspensions for serious criminals.

Would the Minister of Public Safety please give the House an update on how our government is improving victims' rights and strengthening offender accountability?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is fulfilling our promise to keep our streets and communities safe. Today, several measures from the Safe Streets and Communities Act have come into force, including enshrining the rights of victims to appear at parole hearings, ensuring our correctional system actually corrects behaviour by rewarding good behaviour and punishing the bad, and giving police officers the power to arrest offenders who appear to be violating their parole conditions. Shockingly, the NDP again voted against rights for victims.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

The minister is sensitive to bilingualism because he has learned that it is important to speak and understand both languages in the House. I have done exactly the same thing. Now officers of Parliament must be bilingual.

Does he agree that they should be bilingual when hired, when appointed by Parliament? Yes or no? That is what we want the minister to tell us.