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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jordan.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I suppose that would count as sanctimonious claptrap.

The Conservative Party is not only attacking the environment, it is also attacking freedom of speech. That is the issue which is being drawn attention to by thousands of organizations across the country today.

The government has attacked charities. It has attacked individuals and institutions, like the environment commissioner. It has shut down institutions, like the round table, that disagree with it, for the only reason, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs said, that it disagrees with the government.

When will this culture of intimidation be finally brought to an end?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Perhaps you could ask some of his presumptive challengers to the Liberal leadership how they feel intimidated by the interim leader, Mr. Speaker.

This government stands for freedom of speech. We are providing more responses to access to information requests than any government in Canadian history.

With respect to charities' laws, we are seeking to ensure that registered charities simply follow the rules that already exist in the law and that require that they spend no more than 10% of their budgets on advocacy work. That is ensuring that the rule of law is respected.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure these new rules will apply directly to the Fraser Institute and the Manning Centre, just as they do to every charitable organization that works on environmental protection. I hope there will be legislation for everyone. That is what we want. This is not just an attack on the environment, it is an attack on freedom of speech.

Does the minister agree with the Minister of Foreign Affairs when he says that the only reason the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy was axed is that it gave advice that the government did not want to hear?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I will say again that the government has a responsibility to spend public money responsibly. That means that not all agencies that received subsidies in the past should receive them in future.

We need to have a prudent decline in public spending in order to achieve a balanced budget, so that Canadians can keep enjoying this government's tax cuts and the lower tax burden The opposition's position is always to spend more, increase the deficit and raise taxes, but the Conservatives do not believe in that approach.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, just this past weekend it became clear to the people living in Etobicoke Centre that it was not just the environmental groups that had to worry about a culture of intimidation, a culture that says that people are not free to speak their minds, not even free to go to court, a culture that attacks a court once it makes a decision.

Does the minister not realize that the phone calls made by the Conservative Party over the weekend were in fact a contempt of the judicial process and an attempt to close down and shut down democracy in Etobicoke Centre. That is exactly what happened.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. In fact, the defeated Liberal candidate in that riding has demonstrated that he has no shame, this time by fundraising based on false allegations that he retracted in court.

The Conservative Party, like every party, has a right to communicate directly with voters on issues of public concern. We will not allow the party of adscam, that still owes Canadian taxpayers a missing $40 million, to lecture anyone on public ethics.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Trojan Horse budget bill would hurt unemployed Canadians. There is no help for job creation, while EI changes hidden in the bill are drastic and far-reaching. The Conservatives are attacking communities that rely on seasonal industries like tourism, fishing and forestry. Parliamentarians are being forced to vote on these cuts without studying the implications.

Will the Conservatives start listening to Canadians concerned about these changes and stop ramming the bill through Parliament?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, will the NDP finally climb down off of its high horse and actually work with us to help Canadians get back to work faster? That is what they need.

We do have skills and labour shortages right across the country, which is a real contrast to a few years ago when we had job shortages. Now it is the other way around.

We want all those Canadians who do have skills and talents and can get out there and work to be better off working than they are on EI. We will help them to get those jobs and we wish the NDP would help us help them.

Government SpendingOral Questions

June 4th, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes, actually we do have a job shortage in this country.

However, it gets worse. The Conservative's secrecy is keeping the Parliamentary Budget Officer from doing his job. The PBO was created to help parliamentarians review the spending plans of government, but according to the PBO, “The government is refusing to provide plans to parliamentarians....The failure to disclose the requested information is unlawful”.

Will the Conservatives hand over the financial information the PBO is legally entitled to? Will they stop attacking the PBO and focus their laser on accountability--

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, we will continue to report to Parliament through the normal means, including the estimates process, quarterly financial reports and the public accounts.

As was clearly shown in Canada's economic action plan 2012, we have found fair, balanced and moderate savings measures to reduce the deficit. These savings represent about 2% of program spending.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are making massive cuts with the budget implementation act, but they refuse to say exactly where, when, how and why. They have decided to keep that information to themselves.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer does not have access to that information. Neither do government employees. And yet union representatives have clearly indicated that they would have no problem with Mr. Page being kept in the loop so that he can do his job.

Can the Conservatives give all the information to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, or will they once again find a pathetic reason to hide things from Canadians?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, we will continue to report to Parliament through the normal means, including the estimates process, quarterly financial reports and the public accounts process.

Economic action plan 2012 is our plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Over 750,000 net new jobs have been created since 2009 and 90% of these are full-time jobs. Part of that plan is returning to a balanced budget and we will continue to do so.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report notes that two fighter jets, in addition to the F-35s, were apparently considered to replace the CF-18s.

These two jets even satisfied the high-level mandatory capabilities, but, as if by magic, they disappeared from the Conservatives' radar and no documents were made public to confirm that they were actually considered by National Defence.

Can the Associate Minister of National Defence tell us what these two fighter jets are?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is taking action to ensure that due diligence, oversight and transparency are firmly embedded in the process to replace Canada's aging fighter jets. We are following a seven point action plan to fulfill and exceed the Auditor General's recommendation. This includes freezing acquisition funding and establishing a separate secretariat outside of the Department of National Defence to lead this project moving forward.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, with responses like that from our colleagues, it is no wonder the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is “tired of procurement problems”. She should join the club. It is big and we are getting jackets made.

We now know that at least two other mystery planes meet the high level requirements, come at a potentially lower cost and with guaranteed industrial benefits. Further proof that the fix was in.

At this time, will the government compare all the planes in an open competition?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to again emphasize that the government is delivering on its commitment to rebuild the Canadian Forces by acquiring strategic and tactical aircraft to transport supplies at home and abroad, modernizing the fleet of army vehicles to protect our personnel and ensuring their mobility on the battlefield.

The NDP should learn from our efforts to enable our men and women to not only do their jobs safely but also succeed at missions.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is growing dissent within the Conservative ranks.

After all the hullabaloo caused by the EI reforms, the elimination of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the omnibus budget bill, now the member for New Brunswick Southwest is expressing his concerns—shared by most people—about the lavish lifestyle of the Minister of International Cooperation.

When will the Prime Minister begin listening to the concerns of members of his own party, instead of pretending that nothing is going on, while he is holed up in his ivory tower?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we have answered this question several times.

All incremental costs that should not have been incurred, including transportation by car, have been reimbursed.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the Conservatives, expenses suddenly become appropriate or inappropriate only when someone is caught red-handed. Does that not seem strange?

After so many scandals and controversies, the minister nonetheless remains in charge of administering aid to the world's poorest countries. It is absolutely fascinating. Although she is clearly incapable of showing judgment in her own spending, we are supposed to trust her to manage Canada's international assistance.

Changes were made recently to expense claims for trips to Korea, Haiti and Africa.

What was the nature of those changes, when were those claims changed and, more importantly, why were they changed? Are there more scandals to hide?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I believe these questions have been answered several times here in this House.

We as a government have sought to ensure that ministers' expenses for travel and hospitality are significantly below those of our predecessors. That is, indeed the case. That is part of respecting taxpayer dollars, as our government is committed to doing. In the particular instance, all incremental costs that were inappropriate, of course, have been repaid and only appropriate expenses have been reimbursed.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, yet once again the Minister of International Cooperation has been caught altering her travel expenses. This is a pattern of obstruction and interference that dates back to 2006. If she were in the private sector, they would have given her a pink slip long ago. But the Prime Minister gives her the thumbs up.

Thankfully, the member for New Brunswick Southwest has had the courage to speak out against his party's contempt for the taxpayers.

I ask a simple question today. Is there anybody over there on the government benches, anybody else, who is offended by her misuse of taxpayer dollars? Is there anybody who will stand up for accountability? Just one, please?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I have said several times, our government is committed to ensuring taxpayer dollars are respected. That means, in the case of the particular minister, only appropriate costs have been reimbursed. Inappropriate costs that were expensed have all been repaid.

In terms of accountability, of course, the matter is quite simple. We stay clear to our commitments. The real question about accountability is that of this member who tells his electors one thing to get elected and then, on the gun registry, votes exactly the opposite way in this House.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, Lordy, Lordy, ask a simple little question about accountability and he starts dancing like the very devil in holy water.

When did it become okay to alter documents? When did it become okay for ministers to charge $5,000 for limos? And when did it become okay to mislead Parliament? We are talking about the latest round of public abuse.

The Conservatives obviously support everything she has done. My question is, if they are not going to fire her, will they bring in a third party audit so that we can find out why they continually change the travel claims of that luxurious minister? It is a simple question.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what answers that hon. member gives when he is trying to explain to his voters why he changes his position from what he says during an election to what he does in this House. I will take his explanation of it as that which he describes to the voters.

However, I can tell members that when it comes to ensuring that taxpayer dollars are treated with respect, that is what this government does. That is why, of course, in the case of the member in question, only appropriate expenses have been reimbursed.