February 8, 2008

NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to sticking up for consumers, the Conservatives cannot be trusted. We saw it on ATM fees, on cellphone charges and on credit card rates.

Now we learn that at CRTC hearings, for two years the government failed to take action to protect consumers from cable company overcharge. We are talking about more than $1.2 billion owed to Canadians.

Would the government tell us why ordinary Canadians are overpaying for cable services and why the government has done diddly-squat to stop it?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Broadcasting Industry
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CPC

Colin Carrie

Conservative

Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the government has set forth a competition panel that will be looking at all the competition issues. It is an arm's length organization. We will be looking at all the different rates being charged across Canada.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Broadcasting Industry
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NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian television fund was not meant to be a hidden tax to consumers. We all remember last year's fiasco when Shaw and Vidéotron refused to live up to their obligations. In fact, they were forced to reverse themselves, despite the lack of leadership from the heritage minister.

Cable companies must live up to their obligations and they cannot do so by ripping off Canadians.

Why is the government letting cable companies pass the buck to consumers? Why is the government refusing to take action to protect Canadians from these cable company fee grabs? Why is the government not taking action?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Broadcasting Industry
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CPC

Jim Abbott

Conservative

Hon. Jim Abbott (Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the actions by our government and our minister on the issue of the cable funds.

We referred the issues to which she is referring to the CRTC, which is an arm's length organization and, as such, we are looking forward to its report when it is finalized.

The CRTC is going through hearings at this particular point and we are looking forward to the results of those hearings.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Broadcasting Industry
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LIB

David McGuinty

Liberal

Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, MDS Nordion testified at committee yesterday that it warned senior officials at the Department of Natural Resources about the isotope shortage on November 22. AECL emailed the department about the looming crisis on November 22.

The former chairman of AECL also said that he and the Minister of Natural Resources were advised that the reactor would not return to service as expected on November 22 and yet the minister insists that he only found out on December 3.

When will those two ministerial “isodopes” come clean and tell Canadians the truth?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
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CPC

David Anderson

Conservative

Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding his cute attempts at quips, in reality the timelines they were given yesterday were the same as the minister gave.

Actually, what Canadians should be shaking their head at is the lack of leadership from the opposition side. The opposition cannot continue to have it both ways.

One week members of the opposition say that we should have acted sooner and then the next week they say that we should not have acted at all. Canadians are tired of that. They are glad that we moved when we did. They are glad that Parliament supported that.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
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LIB

David McGuinty

Liberal

Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, a rope-a-dope answer from an “isodope” member.

MDS Nordion warned the Department of Natural Resources about the isotope shortage on November 22. The former chairman of AECL also said that he and the minister were warned on November 22.

The nuclear medicine industry were put in the picture on November 27. It is simply unbelievable that the Minister of Natural Resources did not know anything before December 3 and that the Minister of Health was not informed until December 5.

When will the Bobbsey Twins admit that they have been found out?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
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CPC

David Anderson

Conservative

Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, that is the same information that the minister gave. MDS Nordion pointed out, as the minister had, that right up until the end of November everyone expected that the reactor would start in early December. When we found out that was not the case, this government acted and it acted quickly, and it acted with the support of all of Parliament.

I would like to quote Mr. Malkoske from MDS Nordion when he said, “I think the government was doing what they could, frankly”.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
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LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on December 10, OPP superintendent, Dave Truax, announced that he would be forwarding the O'Brien investigation to the RCMP after its eight month probe revealed that O'Brien had allegedly negotiated with someone at the federal level to get Terry Kilrea a federal appointment.

Strangely, the very next day the OPP changed its mind.

Would the Prime Minister tell us whether the environment minister's chief of staff called the OPP the next day on December 11? A yes or a no answer, please.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Municipal Affairs
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CPC

Peter Van Loan

Conservative

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am puzzled by this question. I thought this was settled a long time ago but I guess there is nothing left for the Liberals in their barrel of questions.

It is clear that nothing was ever offered by anyone in this government. No post was ever provided and no patronage appointment was made. I know that upsets Liberals, who like to see those patronage appointments made, but none ever occurred. Then, God forbid, the police actually cleared the minister and confirmed that was the case, which really upsets them.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Municipal Affairs
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LIB

Judy Sgro

Liberal

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, some accountability. I am afraid that Mr. Kilrea was the one who turned down the bribe.

The OPP has evidence that suggests that the minister and O'Brien met during this period, that this bribe was on the table and that they discussed it at that meeting.

Let us try again to get a straight answer. Did the minister's chief of staff or others in his office make calls to the OPP after it was announced that it was handing over the case to the RCMP? A clear answer, if it is not yes, is it no, but give us a straight answer.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Municipal Affairs
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CPC

Peter Van Loan

Conservative

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the police made a pretty clear decision. Charges were laid but none were laid against anybody in this federal government. In fact, the OPP declared that there was nothing improper done by anybody in this government.

I do not know why they cannot accept that. It may not be good news to them but it is the truth and Canadians are proud of their government for behaving that way.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Municipal Affairs
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BQ

Réal Ménard

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Justice Mactavish took the government to task for failing to put safeguards in place to ensure that detainees transferred to Afghan authorities would not be tortured. Despite the claims of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, an agreement without concrete measures to ensure there is no torture is not worth a hill of beans.

Do Justice Mactavish's comments not prove that the government did not fulfill its responsibilities to ensure that once the detainees are transferred, they are not tortured?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Afghanistan
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CPC

Laurie Hawn

Conservative

Mr. Laurie Hawn (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we will reiterate the answers that we gave before. The judge did make it clear that the government had met all obligations to allow transfers to take place.

The arrangement that we put in place last May is still in place. The policy has not changed. It is still a good policy and it is still a good arrangement.

The decision will still be made on the ground by members of the Canadian Forces and other Canadian officials working in the area. They are the right ones to make it. We trust their judgment. The system is working. Why can they not accept that?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Afghanistan
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BQ

Réal Ménard

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, we know that the detainees are being kept somewhere, but the minister does not want to tell us any more than that.

Since we know there is no Canadian prison to accommodate the detainees and, according to the minister, there are no transfers, can someone tell us what happens to them? What happens to the detainees? That is what we want to know.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Afghanistan
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CPC

Laurie Hawn

Conservative

Mr. Laurie Hawn (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Canada is not in the business of building prisons in Afghanistan or in any other foreign country. We have a very good arrangement with the Afghan government and we are meeting all international obligations. The judge in Vancouver confirmed that and we accept her judgment.

We are going to get on with implementing the policy. That has never changed. The actual implementation will be up to the Canadians on the ground in Afghanistan. They are doing a great job. We respect them. We appreciate their great work and we wish the other parties would do the same.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Afghanistan
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BQ

Claude DeBellefeuille

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Claude DeBellefeuille (Beauharnois—Salaberry, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that MDS Nordion informed the Department of National Resources about the medical isotope crisis on November 22, 2007. If we are to believe the minister, before he found out about the emergency, MDS Nordion knew, the hospitals knew, the doctors knew. Everyone knew except him.

In a situation where, according to the minister, each day that passes further jeopardizes the lives of people in need of isotopes, how can he explain that he ignored the seriousness of the situation for more than 10 days?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Medical Isotopes
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CPC

David Anderson

Conservative

Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Liberal member, at least that opposition member was at the committee, so she would know full well that the timelines the minister gave and the ones that MDS Nordion gave were identical.

The reality is the opposition members cannot have it both ways. They cannot say to us one week that we should not have acted and then come back the next week and say that we did not act soon enough. It just makes no sense.

Canadians are thankful that this government showed leadership and acted and they are thankful that Parliament supported us in that decision.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Medical Isotopes
Permalink
BQ

Claude DeBellefeuille

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Claude DeBellefeuille (Beauharnois—Salaberry, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the minister is trying to put the blame on everyone but himself. With the Conservatives, it is always someone else's fault.

Will the minister admit that his vendetta with the president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission was an attempt to sideline anyone who does not see eye to eye with him on nuclear energy?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Medical Isotopes
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CPC

David Anderson

Conservative

Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, now the member is beginning to focus on the real issue here. The real issue was why the regulator was not willing to work with everyone else to protect the health of Canadians. One of the witnesses yesterday said:

There never was, and there does not exist, a substantive nuclear safety risk at the NRU reactor at Chalk River.... Parliament's swift actions averted imminent harm to patients and the well-being of Canadians. I remain proud of the way that was handled by Parliament.

I too am proud of the way that issue was handled by this Parliament.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Medical Isotopes
Permalink

February 8, 2008