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House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-37.

Topics

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:20 a.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 of last spring these credit cards are now only issued to certain ministerial staff who are required to undertake substantial travel in the course of their duties. All but two of the fees he references were delayed payments, which resulted in no cost to taxpayers whatsoever. With regard to uncollected debt, the individuals in question no longer work for the federal government. Our government took all available steps to recover the funds.

I should also point out that ministers' office budgets are down 16% compared to the last year of the Liberals' rule.

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the Conservatives do not follow the same rules as the rest of Canadians.

This scandal goes even further. When we asked questions about these amounts, a spokesperson for the Treasury Board was unable to tell us whether the money was used for personal expenses. All the Treasury Board told us was that these people were no longer employees.

When will they stop abusing the system? When will they recover the funds, remedy the problems and, finally, start to show some respect for taxpayers?

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government does not tolerate any misuse of taxpayers' dollars. The individuals in question are no longer employees of the federal government. The amount still outstanding is about $4,000. Our government has taken all steps necessary to recover these funds and credit cards are now only issued for necessary circumstances.

What Canadians would really like to know is when the NDP will repay the hundreds of thousands of dollars it illegally accepted from its big union bosses.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, foreign suitors are lining up at the oil patch like it is the iPhone store. Two years ago the Prime Minister promised greater transparency in foreign investment reviews. Now the government will not even disclose the details of the CNOOC-Nexen deal. When will the government set out a clear process like the Prime Minister promised?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the entire deal was put to the shareholders of this company. When it comes to the Government of Canada, Canadians can count on the government standing up for the best interests of Canadians. They can count on the government to follow the procedure set out by Parliament and they can count on the government to ensure that our national security is protected.

It is passing strange that a former Liberal cabinet minister would raise this when in 13 long years of Liberal government, it did not turn down a single foreign acquisition, not one in 13 long years. It does take chutzpah.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is easy to hide behind the Prime Minister's talking points, but the fact is that since 2010, this government has avoided clarifying the rules surrounding foreign acquisitions, and this is causing uncertainty.

The government gave itself the possibility to publicly disclose the reasons behind a refusal. Can it commit to disclosing the reasons if it determines that this transaction would represent a net benefit to Canada?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our government will follow exactly the same rules that the Liberal government used. For 13 long years, the Liberal government never said no to any commercial transaction. Our government will always act in the best interest of Canadians. This transaction will be carefully examined and the Investment Canada Act contains provisions to protect our national security. This government will always work in the best interest of our great country.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is bending over backwards to help his friends in the oil patch by scrapping environmental laws but abandoning moms on maternity leave. I heard from several moms this week who are the victims of the government's new EI clawback rules. They are wondering how they are going to afford Pablum and diapers. These moms are wondering why they are being squeezed while free-spending ministerial staffers can rack up thousands on government credit cards.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, basically what the working while on claim provision is saying is that those who work more will keep more of their earnings. That is what we want to happen. We want to encourage people to accept more work while they are on employment insurance. We know that when people take a part-time job they frequently move into a full-time job.

I would like to ask the opposition members why they vote against all these initiatives for unemployed individuals, whether it be the EI hiring tax credit, targeted initiatives for older workers, or helmets to hard hats. I would like to know why the opposition members continue to vote against these things that help the unemployed.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are hiding details of their reckless cuts and refusing to hand over important information to the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer. Under the Federal Accountability Act the government is required by law to share this information with the PBO. The PBO is supposed to help MPs and Canadians understand our nation's finances. The Conservatives are withholding information and hiding the real impact of these cuts on services and programs Canadians rely on.

What we and Canadians want to know is why are Conservatives running away from accountability?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:25 a.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 was clearly shown in Canada's economic action plan 2012, we have found fair, balanced and moderate savings measures to reduce the deficit. We will continue to report to Parliament through the normal means, including the estimates, quarterly financial reports and the public accounts. We will ensure that the Parliamentary Budget Officer and all Canadians have access to these documents.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the Federal Accountability Act is clear and they are not obeying it. The Parliamentary Budget Officer is clear: the government is hiding information. I quote, “...they’re not telling us where the axe is going to fall within federal departments.”

In my riding and across the country, people are worried about decreased services. What do the Conservatives do? They make up stories and insult Canadians' intelligence.

When will the Conservatives disclose the details the Parliamentary Budget Officer is asking for regarding service cuts, which the government is required to give him pursuant to the act?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:25 a.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 was clearly shown in Canada's economic action plan 2012, we found fair, balanced and moderate savings measures to reduce this deficit. Overall, the savings we found represent less than 2% of program spending. These savings will be implemented over a three-year period, so full savings will not be realized until the estimates of 2014-15. Over the coming weeks and months, departments will be informing unions and employees about specific changes and will communicate accordingly.

However, what Canadians would really like to know is when the NDP will repay the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it accepted illegally from its big union bosses.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence is one of the largest government departments, with expenditures of over $20 billion a year. Canadians have the right to know where their money is going and how it is being managed.

But the Conservatives have put in place a policy that affects the entire defence department and requires employees to withhold information that could be embarrassing to the government. The culture of secrecy is nothing new for the Conservatives, but it seems to have become the rule rather than the exception.

What are the Conservatives afraid of? What do they have to hide?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, to begin with, clearly what that member was just babbling about is completely false. What this is all about is that Department of National Defence officials must comply with rules about the classification of certain documents. The department's officials are informing employees of their obligation regarding the rules set out for the entire government by the Treasury Board.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about here is a department-wide directive instructing officials to reclassify and hide embarrassing information. This time they were caught with $2.1 billion in lapsed funds. This is not a matter of national security. This is about a minister hiding his own mismanagement from the light of day.

When will the Conservatives start practising the transparency they used to preach and stop treating this place like a mushroom shed?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the Department of National Defence is committed to openness and transparency. Officials work hard to assist the public in efforts to have access to information they request.

These decisions are made by officials, not politicians. There are government-wide policies from the Treasury Board Secretariat on the classification of documents to protect sensitive information and national security, as well as obligations under the Access to Information Act.

We take these responsibilities—

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Beaches—East York.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is an admission of the government's effort to hide from accountability. I will print and frame that one.

The minister and his department have been caught trying to hide embarrassing information and mismanagement as matters of national security. It is well past time for the Information Commissioner to investigate this issue.

Until then, maybe someone on that side could tell Canadians why the minister is working harder to hide his mismanagement than to fix it or, better yet, as Mike Holmes says, “Do it right the first time”.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, again, this is absolutely and totally false. This is a figment of his imagination. This is about a department trying to apply the government-wide policies from the Treasury Board Secretariat on the classification of documents. Again, these are decisions made by officials and not by politicians.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

September 21st, 2012 / 11:30 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are refusing to open the Nexen takeover to public consultation. Meanwhile, CSIS is warning that foreign companies tied to their local government could represent a threat to Canadian security.

With the Conservatives' refusal to have a transparent review, how can Canadians know the minister is taking this CSIS report into account?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, our government will always act in the best interest of Canadians. This transaction, of course, will be scrutinized very closely. The Investment Canada Act process has provisions to protect national security.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the arrogance of the Conservatives truly knows no bounds. They are so convinced that they have a monopoly on the truth, they are even refusing to listen to the concerns of our own spy agency.

Nexen is the target of a takeover by a state-owned corporation.

CSIS warns that some foreign companies that are linked to their government and investing in Canada may pose a danger, and the Conservatives shrug their shoulders.

What is it going to take to get the minister to finally make his consultations public?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the government will always act in the best interest of Canadians.

We need to be clear about the NDP position on foreign investment. The NDP has opposed every foreign investment transaction that has before the House. In the seven years that I have been an MP, the NDP has opposed every trade deal and every foreign investment transaction.

Forbes magazine has said that Canada is the best place in the world in which to invest because we have a strong economy. We have taken measures to create a business environment that is conducive to foreign investment. That is good for Canadian workers, good for Canadian families and good for Canadian companies.

AbortionOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is the last day of debate on a Conservative motion that will reopen the abortion debate, even though this issue should no longer be up for debate. Canadian women fought for decades for the right to choose, for the right to have control over our own bodies. The Conservatives want to take us back to the Middle Ages and take away women's rights.

Why does this government refuse to respect women's rights and especially women's right to choose?