House of Commons Hansard #186 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was research.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that job creation is actually going down. The Canadian economy lost 29,000 private sector jobs last month. Alberta lost 14,000 jobs.

Private sector economists have warned us that low oil prices and slow growth will be with us throughout 2015, and that there is no reason to delay the budget. We need a budget now, with a plan for jobs and growth. Why is the Minister of Finance dithering and delaying?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Crowfoot Alberta

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, our government has a low-tax plan for jobs and growth for all sectors of the Canadian economy, and that plan is working. That plan will bring Canada to a balanced budget in 2015-16.

As we have stated, we will not bring forward the budget any earlier than April. While we are focusing on balancing the budget and creating jobs, the Liberal leader is pushing through a high-spend, high-tax plan that would see working families hurt and that would see unemployment rise.

We continue to look for ways that we can put money into the pockets of Canadians. Canadians know they are better off with this Conservative government.

The EconomyOral Questions

March 13th, 2015 / 11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, today's job report also shows that there are fewer jobs for young Canadians. In fact, there are 160,000 fewer jobs for young Canadians than in 2008.

Meanwhile, Canada has just set another new record for high levels of household debt. There is a connection between household debt and a weak job market for youth in Canada. Middle-class parents are taking on extra debt in order to help their adult children make ends meet.

When will the Conservatives actually understand the real challenges faced by middle-class families? When will they give them a real plan for jobs and growth?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Crowfoot Alberta

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, again, it is a bit rich, that question coming from the member. It brings to mind the following quote, “It took nine years of Conservative government to undo many of the counterproductive, interventionist policies of Liberal governments which had effectively rendered the Canadian economy incapable of moving forward”. I agree with that quote.

The same member who asked the question, the member for Kings—Hants, is the one who issued that statement.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that 50,000 more Canadians lost their jobs in February.

Meanwhile, household debt has reached record levels. On average, Canadians owe $1.66 for every dollar of disposable income. Middle-class families are suffering under the burden of their debts. They need help.

Where is the Conservatives' budget? Where is the plan to stimulate job creation and growth here in Canada?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Crowfoot Alberta

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, middle-class Canadians know that they are better off with this Conservative government. Median net worth of Canadian families has risen by a whopping 45% since we were elected. Thanks to the leadership of our Prime Minister, for the first time in Canadian history, middle-income earners are better off than Americans.

The member also knows that the vast majority of benefits from our new family tax breaks would go to low- and middle-income Canadians.

Canadians know they are better off with this Conservative government.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-51 will have a significant impact on Canadians' rights and freedoms. The evidence heard yesterday in committee was very clear.

According to well-known experts, such as lawyer Paul Champ and Professor Craig Forcese, Bill C-51 could open the door to secret detention. It is not surprising that Canadians are mobilizing and protests against Bill C-51 are expected to be held across Canada this Saturday.

How much longer will the government ignore Canadians' concerns?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

Roxanne James ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-51 actually has five components to it. The first one is information sharing.

We have changes to the passenger protect program, which would allow the airlines to stop people from boarding planes and travelling overseas.

Of course, there are areas with regard to lowering the threshold for tools that law enforcement agencies have been calling upon. In fact, we heard in committee that Commissioner Paulson of the RCMP felt that these tools that we would provide for national security agencies would be extremely helpful and would actually fill the gaps that have been identified by those very same agencies.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, even witnesses who, in theory, support the Conservatives have pointed out major flaws in this bill.

Ron Atkey, a former Conservative minister and the first chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, said yesterday in committee that it would be unfair to greatly expand the powers of CSIS so that it could conduct disruptive activities here or abroad, while leaving the watchdog frozen in time.

Why are the Conservatives still ignoring these serious concerns?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

Roxanne James ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing of greater priority to this government than the safety and security of Canadians. The national security agencies, the RCMP and CSIS, have identified gaps in our current legislation. Bill C-51 brings those common sense measures.

We actually heard as well yesterday from witnesses that we are in a new era of terrorism and that the threat is evolving, and we need to modernize the tools we have for our law enforcement and national security agencies. That is precisely what Bill C-51 is doing, and I wish, for once, that the NDP would actually support a common sense measure to tackle terrorism.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of common sense, we have had 12 witnesses appear before the public safety committee this week, witnesses from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and every single one of them has highlighted serious problems with Bill C-51. The bill is so bad that Canadians in over 50 towns and cities across the country will be rallying against it this Saturday. Just like the experts at committee, they are saying that the bill is excessive, unnecessary, and dangerous to our freedoms.

Why will the Minister of Public Safety or the Minister of Justice or anyone over there not start listening to Canadians and pull back on the bill?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

Roxanne James ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I was actually very pleased to see that the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations appeared at committee yesterday. He had some concerns, and I was very pleased to be able to respond to those concerns and explain how the bill would work with regard to information sharing.

Most people across Canada believe that if one branch of government comes across information pertinent to the national security of this country and the safety and security of our citizens that that branch of government should be able to relay that information to our national security agencies. That is precisely what Bill C-51 would do, and I was pleased to be able to answer those concerns.

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, this week we heard that the current Minister of Public Works passed over 160 proposals to fund one from a Conservative insider. What kind of message is the minister sending about the government?

When a community organization applies for a grant to the Government of Canada, it should not feel the need to do favours for the Conservative Party. It should be able to trust that the proposal will be considered fairly, based on its merits. Why did she pick this project in Markham ahead of all the others?

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I always believed that this particular project to improve accessibility for handicapped people at the Markham centre was worthy and was in the public interest. I accept the guidance provided by the commissioner to make sure that these programs are handled in a manner that is fair, accessible, and equitable for everyone involved.

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, ever since the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner released her damning report concerning the favouritism shown by the Minister of Public Works, we have been trying to get an explanation.

The government claims that the minister acted on her own and in good faith, and yet three ministers and two of the Prime Minister's close advisers intervened on behalf of a good friend of the Prime Minister to overturn a decision made by departmental officials.

Can the minister tell us if it is common for three ministers and two of the Prime Minister's advisers to get involved in awarding such a small grant?

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I always believed that this project to improve accessibility for handicapped people in the Markham Centre was worthy and in the public interest.

I accept the guidance provided by the commissioner to make sure that these grant programs are handled in a manner that is fair, accessible and effective for everyone involved.

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, as of a few months ago, Agop Evereklian is once again working for the Conservatives.

To refresh the memory of the House, this former chief of staff to Mayor Tremblay was found guilty of fraud in 2005. His judgment is so poor that the Prime Minister himself had to ask him to cut ties with a dubious campaign manager during the 2011 campaign.

How can the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec allow someone with such a dubious past in terms of ethics to be involved in distributing grants for the agency? Come on.

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec works with all regions of Quebec to promote economic development. I hope my colleague realizes that we have even helped his riding.

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to former Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, the Minister of Public Works blocked a grant promised by Lawrence Cannon in order to punish the Pontiac voters for voting the wrong way.

At the end of the day, it is the people who use the Jean Bosco centre, people with disabilities trying to enter the labour market, who are the victims of the Conservatives' pettiness in this case.

Will the Prime Minister explain what role his chief of staff played in all of this?

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, under our Conservative government, Patrick Brazeau is not in charge of grants. The NDP might want Patrick Brazeau to tell them what to do with taxpayers' money, but it does not work that way on this side of the House.

It is not surprising that the NDP and the Liberals would have to raise taxes, if they say yes every time Patrick Brazeau or someone else asks for money.

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, Senator Brazeau was credible enough for the Conservatives to appoint him to the Senate.

The director general of the Jean Bosco centre is disgusted with the pettiness of the Conservatives, who are using public funds to reward their friends and punish their adversaries, and I quote:

It is disgusting....Our clientele is disabled and already heavily burdened. People should not have to pay the consequences of such a scheme...

Can the Prime Minister explain why his chief of staff, Nigel Wright, got involved in this case?

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the application was rejected after both an internal and an external review. We have to decide between projects all the time.

What the New Democrats have just confirmed is that they believe that Patrick Brazeau should be in charge of grants and contributions. Maybe that is how they would run their government if they ever had the terrifying prospect of coming anywhere near taxpayers' money, but Canadians will never allow the NDP or the Liberals to do that, because they know that they will only pay more taxes and face more debt if that were to ever happen.

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Vic Toews wife now denies that she took a $1-million kickback from a first nations chief who was directly involved with her husband, the senior minister for Manitoba. She says it was no more than $50,000 tops, as if that makes it okay. I know it is peanuts on the scale of Conservative shenanigans. Mulroney's personal rogues would not even get out of bed for that kind of chump change.

Would the government not agree that it is time to tighten up on the post-employment rules for ministers and their spouses so that they cannot exploit the time they spent in public office for personal and private gain?

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this is a dispute between three individuals, none of which is the federal government. At the same time, when it comes to accountability, it is the NDP that owes Canadian taxpayers close to $5 million for illegal offices. That is $2.7 million for illegal offices and millions of dollars for illegal mailings, and they refuse to pay that money back.

When it comes to accountability, they have nothing to talk about. They took illegal money from unions. They have illegally taken money from Canadian taxpayers, and now they are refusing to even pay it back.

EthicsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, since 2011, 70% of funding under the enabling accessibility fund has been spent in Conservative ridings. Conservatives have been using a program designed to help those with disabilities as a political slush fund to reward their friends.

If that is not bad enough, now the Prime Minister himself ensured that a failed application was put on top of the pile, fast-tracked, and given over $1 million. It is like Duffy all over again.

There is one word for this bad behaviour; it is called corruption. How can he defend it?