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House of Commons Hansard #210 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regulation.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, if it were all tickety-boo, they would not be doing an expense audit on her now would they?

First the Conservatives said there was no audit, but then the media found out that there was. We also found out that last year, during the Conservative election, Senator Wallin racked up $25,000 in “other travel”. Was she stumping for the Conservative election machine and then using the Senate to stick the bill to the taxpayer? That is just not right; not when they are telling average Canadians that the cupboard is bare.

What steps will the Conservatives take to get taxpayers' money back from their cronies in the Senate?

EthicsOral 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 been quite clear for quite some time that we have asked the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration to ensure that the Senate's policies are being followed, are being adhered to, and corrective being taken if they are not. That is exactly why reviews have been taking place. It is because we asked for these reviews to take place, because we want to ensure that taxpayers' dollars are protected.

We want to ensure that when Senator Wallin is in Saskatchewan 168 days a year that she is there, and that is exactly the case, doing her work and representing the people in the community she has been sent to Ottawa to represent.

Canada Elections ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, last year the Conservatives voted for an NDP motion to clamp down on fraudulent calls. The motion called for more power to the Chief Electoral officer. That motion also said that legislation would be introduced in six months. However, here we are 11 months later, and while they drag their heels on making the law stronger, Conservatives are making thousands of deceitful robocalls. Is that why the government has delayed amending the Elections Act?

Canada Elections ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, as promised, we are looking at some reforms to our elections laws. A comprehensive proposal will be put forward in due course.

Canada Elections ActOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can we take them seriously when they are dragging their feet like that?

It has been nearly a year since the House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion to give more power to Elections Canada. Since that time, however, the Conservatives have been twiddling their thumbs.

Instead of following through, they have treated us to wonderfully creative tall tales about the NDP.

In short, they have done nothing to strengthen laws, and their party has even reoffended with more fraudulent calls.

What measures will the government put in place to end election fraud?

Canada Elections ActOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, as promised, we are looking at some reforms to our elections laws and they will be put forward in due course.

However, while we are talking about the laws, Canadians expect political parties to follow the law, unlike the NDP that took hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations from its big union bosses. Canadians expect political parties to follow those laws.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently officials were evasive when I asked how they were accounting for inflation in the shipbuilding contract. Now we learn that their assumed inflation rate is 2.7% versus an industry rate between 7% and 11%. This huge inflation gap shows gross financial incompetence by the government and would add at least $14 billion, or 56%, to the total cost of the ships.

Does this mean that we will get way fewer ships, a massive budget overrun, or both?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 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 government has allocated a budget for the procurement of new ships that, of course, will be built in Halifax and Vancouver by Canadian shipyards.

The cost estimates that the member is referring to come from military planners. Of course, they have the involvement of auditors and cost estimators and are overseen by the Treasury Board Secretariat.

However, let us not underestimate the importance of these projects moving forward. They will create 15,000 jobs across Canada and $2 billion in annual economic benefits for the next 30 years.

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance misled the House when he said that budget cuts will only affect “back-office operations” of the federal government. The Parliamentary Budget Officer exposed this Conservative conceit.

The Conservatives have cut search and rescue, food safety and pensions. Canadians trying to reach the federal government cannot get through and have to spend hours waiting on a phone line. In the meantime, the Conservatives spend recklessly on advertising and limos and waste billions on botched procurement.

Why do Canadians have to pay the price for Conservative financial incompetence?

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 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, I would like to correct the hon. member. I invite her to read the public accounts that are tabled before the chamber. I invite her to read the government estimates that are tabled from time to time and with regularity. They will indeed confirm that our budget is concentrated on reducing overhead and back office operations. That is what we promised the people of Canada. That is what we delivered on because we believe in growth, jobs and opportunity.

Government ServicesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise St-Denis Liberal Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are aware of the government's cuts to the federal public service.

Many have legitimate questions about access to government services.

Given the reduced number of public servants who can answer Canadians' questions in person now, does the government have any plans to divvy up its workforce across the regions to help people who do not have a computer or access to computer services?

Government ServicesOral Questions

2:40 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 2012 economic action plan is our plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

It is a plan for dealing with unemployment and creating more jobs in every region of the country.

We support this plan for Canadians, and every member of the House will support it if they want the same thing.

Public SafetyOral Questions

February 13th, 2013 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue talking about jobs because the Conservatives are allowing the police officer recruitment fund to run dry. The result is that police forces across the country are facing the prospect of laying off front-line officers. Street gang units in Quebec, for example, have made an important dent in organized crime, but the Conservatives are refusing to renew their funding.

How is that supposed to make our streets safer, especially when these squads have proven to be so important and effective?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that the member's party opposed that fund when we first proposed it.

Policing is a provincial and municipal matter. We will continue to work with the police to give them the tools they need in order to fight crime in their jurisdictions.

I might remind that member that when he was a member of the municipal council he talked about slashing $2 million from the budget of Esquimalt for the police directly.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives absolutely do not understand Quebec's reality, but that is nothing new.

However, that should not stop them from funding successful initiatives to fight organized crime and street gangs.

Joint forces are important in ensuring a safe environment for my constituents, but federal funding for those forces is expiring and, unfortunately, there is no expiry date for street gangs and the Mafia.

Will the Minister of Public Safety work with Quebec to find ways of funding these joint forces?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I find it very interesting, coming from those members, that they keep saying let us pay more for police, but when the police actually catch the criminals, they say let them out onto the street. It is a lot like trying to move water with a sieve. That is the criminal philosophy of the NDP.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the OECD revealed that many multinationals were using dubious strategies to pay less than 5% in tax.

Small businesses, on the other hand, have to pay tax of up to 30%.

Several OECD countries are taking this situation seriously and have conducted studies to determine how much money is being lost through tax evasion.

Why has the Minister of National Revenue not conducted any such studies?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we do aggressively pursue all the information we receive. It is an issue we do take very seriously. That is why our government has increased the number of CRA experts on this file by roughly 40% since the last year of the Liberal government.

Since 2006, we have audited thousands of cases and identified more than $4.5 billion in unpaid tax through our efforts in aggressive international tax planning. This is compared to just $174 million in the final year of the Liberals.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are quick to brag, but they are letting billions more go uncollected while they stand and congratulate themselves.

As yesterday's report by the OECD makes clear, unethical tax avoidance by multinational businesses is a serious problem and it is getting worse. The U.K., the U.S. and Australia are all taking action. They have studied the issue. They have developed estimates of just how much money they are losing.

Why will the Conservatives not get serious and do the same?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are very serious about this issue, and thanks to the efforts of this government Canada is now party to over 100 tax agreements, work that the OECD recently has praised. However, if the member opposite insists on comparisons, he should know that since 2006, Canada has obtained roughly twice the number of convictions for international tax evasion. We are tackling this problem.

SportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the sport of amateur wrestling has a rich Olympic tradition that thrives here in Canada thanks to medal-winning performances by the likes of Daniel Igali and female medallists Carol Huynh and Tonya Verbeek.

Don Ryan, the president of Wrestling Canada, and many others around the world, were surprised to hear that the IOC has announced that wrestling will not be included on the list of core sports for the 2020 Olympics. Athletes and fans from across the sport world have spoken out against this decision.

Will the Minister of State for Sport update the government's stance on this decision?

SportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bramalea—Gore—Malton Ontario

Conservative

Bal Gosal ConservativeMinister of State (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, many people were shocked by this decision, including Wrestling Canada's president Don Ryan, who was “deeply surprised by the recent recommendation”. The Canadian Olympic Committee says it is disappointing to potentially lose this important sport from the Canadian Olympic games roster in 2020, and Olympic medallist Carol Huynh says it is hard to think of the Olympic games without wrestling.

It is regrettable and disappointing to potentially lose this important sport from the Olympic program in 2020. However, our government will continue to support our wrestlers through our record level funding to amateur athletics as they prepare for the important upcoming events.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the Minister of Veterans' Affairs, we now know that the Conservatives' employment insurance reform was not based on any impact studies. Since they did not do their homework, we will give them some figures. This is called science.

In Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, 101,000 workers will be affected, 56,836 of whom have unstable employment status or work in seasonal industries. Tourism, retail, forestry and several other sectors will be affected.

The minister has impact studies on her reform. Can she table them in this House?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, research always has to be done when we consider making changes to any system. It is true that we conducted analyses, including analyses on the worker shortage and employers' need for temporary foreign workers.

What we are trying to do is help Canadians get back to work. However, if there is no work, employment insurance will be there for them.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Sana Hassainia NDP Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the only study the minister has is the study on the quotas for cuts she is imposing on her department.

Workers looking for jobs will have to leave the local businesses in Verchères—Les Patriotes and clog up the road system going to jobs that pay 30% less in Montreal. Productivity will drop at local businesses as invaluable expertise leaves.

Why does the minister want to weaken local businesses?