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House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 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, let me state right off the top, it has never been the position of this government to interpret the mandate of the budget officer or the way he interprets his mandate. Indeed, we have echoes of that from opposition members. I recall the 2009 unanimous all-party committee report on the PBO that said, “The committee is of the opinion that the PBO's approach is inconsistent with the Act governing his position.”

This seems to be a general consensus in this House. We simply ask that the PBO do his job, and of course we will do our job through the regular means of reporting to Parliament.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a different minister made outrageous accusations, and frankly he has it wrong. The PBO has a legal opinion backing him up. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has a legal right to free and timely access to any financial or economic data.

The Conservatives have the nerve to accuse Kevin Page of breaking his legal mandate, even though it is the Conservatives who are breaking their own law by withholding information. If they actually believe their ridiculous accusations, will they repeat them outside this House and provide some examples?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 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, the hon. member is relying on lawyers. We are relying on an all party unanimous report from a committee of this Parliament that said that the Parliamentary Budget Officer's approach was inconsistent with the act governing his position. We are relying on that.

At the same time, we are fully reporting to this Parliament through the regular means, through the quarterly reports, through the public accounts and through other means that we have available to Parliament to report to parliamentarians and to the people of Canada on the plans of the budget, which are designed to grow jobs and opportunity for all Canadians.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party's 2006 plan clearly says that the plan is meant to ensure truth in budgeting. It announces the creation of a Parliamentary Budget Office that would be, and I quote, “independent” and that would demand timely and accurate information from federal departments and agencies.

So how is the Parliamentary Budget Officer overstepping his mandate?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Liberal Party noted, it was the Conservative government that established this office. We are more than familiar with this office's mandate. As usual, we will give all the information to parliamentarians through the regular means.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the trouble with what has taken place is that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has asked for information from departments and he has done so according to the act, which was passed by this House, with respect to giving him powers. The act, if I may say so, is consistent with the Conservative Party plan that it presented to people in 2006 in which it said that information from government departments will be given to the Parliamentary Budget Officer in a timely manner and in a timely manner that is also complete.

My question is again for the Prime Minister. How is this going beyond his powers?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, as the leader of the Liberal Party noted, it was in fact this party, this government, that established the parliamentary budget office, so this government is more than familiar with its intention in terms of the mandate it set up.

In terms of specific information, we give information to all parliamentarians on a complete and timely basis. There are a number of means through which we do that and we will continue to do so.

Federal ElectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, another feature of the Conservative plan of 2006 was that there would be something called fixed election dates. The fixed election date now is supposed to be sometime in the fall of 2015.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Is it still the government's plan to proceed with an election in the fall of 2015 when there are several provinces that have an election on the same date? If the Prime Minister is going to change the date could he tell us what he will change it to?

Federal ElectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I did not know the timing of the next election was still a subject in which the leader of the Liberal Party was keenly interested.

We have noted, as he has just noted, that the date in law for the next election currently conflicts with several provincial elections that will occur at the same time. We are talking to our friends in the provinces about how to resolve this. I can assure parliamentarians we will bring forward a proposal on this well before the next election.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the international community is once again accusing us of systematically obstructing environmental negotiations. The stone-age Conservative government has won yet another fossil of the day award.

Rather than working with our partners, the Conservatives are doing everything in their power to sabotage environmental agreements. A government can either participate and support sustainable development, or it can block progress.

Why not let those who are serious work, instead of blocking them?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the chemicals management plan, the air quality health index, Technology Development Canada, world leader in corporate social responsibility practices and green accounting practices pioneered here by Statistics Canada, this is the real track record of Canada. This is our environmental track record. We are world leaders in environmental stewardship. We should be taking pride in this instead of taking pride in awards that are presented by false organizations.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, how can the Conservatives be proud when the international community is calling us out for our inaction.

The last time I announced in the House that we had won the fossil of the year award, the Conservatives were foolish enough to applaud. Spoiler alert, it is not a good thing. We did it again. We won this dubious dishonour at the Earth Summit in Rio for watering down language aimed at protecting fisheries and oceans and trouncing on our environmental record with the Conservative Trojan Horse budget bill.

Will the Conservatives provide real action on environment both here and abroad?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, since the last Rio conference in 1992, Canada has doubled its amount of protected parkland in this country. We have cleaned up Lake Simcoe. We have invested in Lake Winnipeg. For the first time we are seeing the stabilization of growth in greenhouse gas emissions while our economy grows. Our government understands that we can have environmental stewardship and economic growth, a principle the NDP does not understand.

Our track record speaks for itself. Our environment is in good hands with the Conservative government. I hope the NDP will support our budgetary measures to continue this good work.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the last month has seen many major oil spills in Canada: a quarter of a million litre oil spill near Elk Point; a half million litre spill into the Red Deer River threatening the water supply; and nearly a million litres in northern Alberta. The Conservatives response has been to cut corners on reviewing the northern gateway pipeline.

British Columbians and all Canadians want strong rules that protect public health and the environment, and the NDP agrees with them.

Will the Conservatives now listen to reason, listen to Canadians and stop gutting environmental protection rules?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the Elk Point pipeline is under provincial jurisdiction.

Technology is improving steadily, making oil pipelines even safer. Our government is taking steps to enhance pipeline safety. We are doubling the number of audits, increasing the number of annual inspections by 50% and penalizing those who break our laws. The opposition parties opposed these measures.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, what the Conservatives have actually done is given cabinet special powers, allowing Conservative politicians to override experts and scientists. There are words for this, it is wrong.

The Conservatives are not only using their chainsaws on assessments, they are eviscerating the whole process. Over half of the pipeline companies inspected by the National Energy Board do not have adequate safety mechanisms in place.

The NDP believes that Canadian families deserve better.

Why is the government putting people's health and safety at risk? Why is it being so irresponsible?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

June 20th, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, we are increasing environmental protection. We are putting in over $165 million to improve maritime protection and pipeline protection.

Pipeline technology has improved over the last 50 years with increased sophistication of leak detection systems, pipeline inspection technology and improvements in pipeline coating technologies. Manufacturing quality control has improved pipeline quality. In addition to that, we are continuing to focus on protection of the environment. No project will go ahead unless it is safe for Canadians.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, if members believe that, I have a pipeline for sale.

British Columbians are very concerned about the closure of Coast Guard stations on our coast. They understand the Coast Guard is the front line of safety on the ocean but so far the Conservatives have been deaf to their concerns.

Conservative cuts will mean only two marine communication centres to monitor 27,000 kilometres of coastline and delay response times off Vancouver, the busiest port in the country.

Will the Conservatives listen to the people of British Columbia and reverse these risky Coast Guard cuts?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, the top priority of the Canadian Coast Guard is the safety of mariners.

Our government is committed to reducing the deficit and has found a fair, balanced and moderate savings to meet these goals. Canadians can be assured that the efficiencies planned will have no impact on the world-class rescue services that Canadians from coast to coast to coast have come to rely on.

Our government remains steadfast in supporting the Canadian Coast Guard and that is why we have made major investments in budget 2012 in fleet renewal.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister just does not get it. Perhaps if there were somebody in his caucus who could explain to him the seriousness of this, the minister would understand that these cuts are bad for the west coast.

Just like the HST, the Conservatives are imposing changes onto British Columbia without any consultation. The B.C. Conservative MPs end up saying one thing to their constituents while voting a different way here in Ottawa.

Does the minister agree that bureaucrats are responsible for these cuts or will he take responsibility for the decisions of DFO?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier in my previous answer to the member opposite, we are finding efficiencies within the Coast Guard and we are not putting anybody at risk, certainly not our mariners.

This is a top priority of the Canadian Coast Guard and it is something that Canadians want us to do: provide service and save Canadian tax dollars at the same time. We believe we are doing that. I, personally, would never put anybody at risk or in jeopardy through efficiencies gained.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Defence totally dismissed a request from the chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission regarding documents related to the suicide of Corporal Langridge. The corporal's family has a right to answers.

I served in the armed forces as a medical assistant. I saw first-hand how psychological distress can take its toll and how our troops are sometimes left on their own.

The minister loves talking about how much he supports the troops. Now he can prove it by handing over all the documents.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Military Police Complaints Commission, we are supporting it. We have, in fact, provided additional funding.

I have met with Mrs. Fynes on this very tragic case. What is unfortunate is that the member and members of the opposition continue to argue this case on the floor of the House of Commons rather than letting the Military Police Complaints Commission do its important work. We will continue to support that process.

In the meantime, we will continue to work toward doubling the number of mental health professionals that we have in the employment of the Canadian Forces. We will continue to support joint personal support units and make investments in the care and well-being of the members of the military and their families. However, the member and her caucus will vote against it.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence made quite a statement yesterday when he said that his own desire to keep information secret trumps the Fynes family's need for closure and the truth and the request from the chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission. What Corporal Langridge saw in Afghanistan was so traumatic--

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Telephone.

Oh, oh!