November 27, 2006

CPC

Jim Flaherty

Conservative

Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the member, I am sure, has forgotten, and that must be why. He should look at page 67 of his fiscal update last year to see how he used net debt at that time.

On tax reduction, we will guarantee tax reductions each and every year going forward. About his purported tax reductions, I do not know if that was budget number one, or the budget that was done in the hotel room in Toronto with the NDP, or the wish list of last November.

The member should relax. He is going to hurt himself.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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LIB

Jean Lapierre

Liberal

Hon. Jean Lapierre (Outremont, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we know how this government has already spoiled our relations with China. In the past few days, the Minister of Finance has put out feelers about wanting to use harsh measures against certain foreign investment.

What legislative measures does he intend to introduce in this House to control certain foreign investment, and what type of investment?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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CPC

Jim Flaherty

Conservative

Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we are a trading nation. We are one of the great trading nations of the world and we intend to continue that practice. There are foreign investment reviews as the member opposite knows. There is concern from time to time, were it to happen, that a state controlled enterprise would be interested in acquiring assets in Canada. That is something that we would review in the normal course.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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LIB

Jean Lapierre

Liberal

Hon. Jean Lapierre (Outremont, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot act on impulse and decide on foreign investment to suit his mood.

Will he ask the House for certain specific power? He does not at this time have the power to use this type of control. Will he ask this House for such power?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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CPC

Jim Flaherty

Conservative

Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member opposite knows, the Minister of Industry has that power under the Foreign Investment Review Act to ensure the best interests of Canada and the net interests of Canada. It is important that we protect Canada and we protect Canada's assets in certain circumstances where foreign state controlled interests might be involved.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Economy
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CPC

Harold Albrecht

Conservative

Mr. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener—Conestoga, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health made a major announcement on Friday in regard to the fight against cancer in Canada. Pat Kelly, the national program director of the Campaign to Control Cancer, praised this announcement saying that the creation of the Canadian partnership against cancer was a good thing because the federal government had been missing in action in the war on cancer.

Could the Minister of Health share some details on why it was important to take action?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Tony Clement

Conservative

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Prime Minister indicated that there would be $260 million over the next five years to help coordinate the efforts of the cancer community to fight this terrible disease and save hundreds of thousands of Canadian lives over the next 30 years.

Here is what others have said about this particular proposal. Dr. Barbara Whylie, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, said, “Canada is taking action against cancer and we're excited”. The Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada, along with more than 55 other leading cancer organizations, applaud the federal government announcement. We are delivering and we are proud of it.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the CRTC is currently reviewing a proposal by Canadian private broadcasters to create a new viewer tax on television. This is unacceptable. This can slap an additional $7 to every cable bill in this country. Canadians will not get better service, will not get better choice, and will not get better Canadian content. They will just have an extra bill at the end of the day. In fact, they are going to get nothing, zilch.

Will the minister kill this crazy TV tax right now?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Broadcasting Industry
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CPC

Bev Oda

Conservative

Hon. Bev Oda (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the CRTC's deliberations are independent of the government. This minister will be monitoring those proceedings and we will act accordingly.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Broadcasting Industry
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, when it is a bad idea, it does not have to be monitored, it can be stopped. This TV tax is another Conservative cash grab from ordinary Canadians.

Speaking of letting working people down, when will the government announce a new CRTC chair? We know that it has met and interviewed candidates and I know one of those candidates, Mr. Perrin Beatty, seems like the perfect partisan match. This is the same Perrin Beatty who opposes the federal accountability act and the same Perrin Beatty who did nothing for our public broadcasters as Liberals removed millions from their coffers.

Will the minister admit that Mr. Beatty is going to be the new czar of the Conservative TV tax?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Broadcasting Industry
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CPC

Bev Oda

Conservative

Hon. Bev Oda (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the government believes in accountability and transparency. That is why we will allow the CRTC to do its job. That is why we wanted a proper appointments process, which the opposition parties did not support. We will, in an accountable manner, appoint a qualified CRTC chair as well as monitor the CRTC.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Broadcasting Industry
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LIB

Belinda Stronach

Liberal

Hon. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canada has world-class scientific research facilities, but the key federal program that has made that possible, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, runs out of cash today.

Since 1997 the CFI has leveraged more than $11 billion in research. There was nothing in the budget, nothing in the economic update, and the minister has even dropped the word “innovate” from the department.

Does the minister have a plan to continue the Canada Foundation for Innovation?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Research and Development
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CPC

Maxime Bernier

Conservative

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that my opposition colleague asked about that because it gives us the opportunity to say loud and clear in this House that this government believes in competitiveness. It believes in the mission of the organization she just mentioned. That is why we decided to conduct real consultations and, in the next budget, we will be allocating the necessary funds.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Research and Development
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LIB

Belinda Stronach

Liberal

Hon. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, that did not answer my question. It is not just the CFI that is at risk, but so is the community access program, a program that gives Internet access to the most remote communities in Canada.

Does the minister not know that if one does not have Internet access one is just out of the game? Research, innovation, education and Internet access, does the minister not understand the importance of these investments or does he just lack the clout at the cabinet table?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Research and Development
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CPC

Maxime Bernier

Conservative

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we believe in the community access program and that is why we have funding until the end of next year. That is a good program and we are able to defend this decision to achieve our goal.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Research and Development
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LIB

Raymond Simard

Liberal

Hon. Raymond Simard (Saint Boniface, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government has to do more than consult. The previous Liberal government took pride in being Canada's leader in innovation, information and learning. We made investments every year to expand research at our colleges and universities like Western and Fanshawe, and improve access to learning for all Canadians. However, that has all stopped now thanks to the government.

Why did the government kick the research community in the stomach by letting the Canada Foundation for Innovation starve to death?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Research and Development
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CPC

Maxime Bernier

Conservative

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Again, Mr. Speaker, it is all false. It is not true what my colleague is telling the House today. We believe in competitiveness. We believe in the right funding and we are going to act like that. That is why we are having consultations with the university community and the research community. We will have a program that will adapt to their needs.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Research and Development
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LIB

Raymond Simard

Liberal

Hon. Raymond Simard (Saint Boniface, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it seems that if you do not fit the Prime Minister's definition of a voter, he could not care less about you.

Take, for example, the community access program, which is very popular across the country. This program makes modern means of communication accessible to Canadians, particularly those living in rural areas.

The government has already disappointed Canadians with mean-spirited cuts to research and literacy. Will it once again attack thousands of Canadians by cutting the community access program?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Community Access Program
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CPC

Maxime Bernier

Conservative

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is strange that my opposition colleague should ask the question now, given that the program ended in September. The previous government decided to abolish this program. We brought it back, ensuring that it would be available for Canadians in the future.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Community Access Program
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BQ

Christiane Gagnon

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in a Zone Libre report on natural health products aired last Friday on Radio-Canada, Julia Hill, a director at Health Canada, reacted to journalist Luc Chartrand's revelations by saying, “I would need details to be able to launch an investigation immediately”.

Does the Minister of Health not understand that it is high time to present Health Canada with its responsibilities and to demand that the department do its job with respect to controlling the health products market, given that public health is at stake?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Health
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November 27, 2006