March 23, 2011

LIB

Siobhan Coady

Liberal

Ms. Siobhan Coady (St. John's South—Mount Pearl, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I can tell him how they feel about the increases in payroll taxes.

Not only is the government slashing and burning funding for Atlantic Canada, now we also find out about more abuse of power. The Conservatives are under investigation by the Public Service Commission for stacking the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency with political appointments.

Is there no end to what the Conservative regime will do to reward its own? Has it no shame?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
Permalink
CPC

Rob Moore

Conservative

Hon. Rob Moore (Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I have a bit of news for the hon. member. We are the first government to commit stable funding to important ACOA programs such as the Atlantic innovation fund and the innovative communities fund. We are the first government to invest where her government failed.

When it came to Marine Atlantic, we delivered on this side of the House for Newfoundland and Labrador.

We are going to continue to deliver. We are going to support her constituents, even if she will not.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
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LIB

Alexandra Mendes

Liberal

Mrs. Alexandra Mendes (Brossard—La Prairie, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this government will never learn. What they do not like, they hide or deny.

Why is the minister refusing to table the reports on the diagnostic testing of the Champlain Bridge? We would at least be in a position to know exactly what is happening.

Will we choose to spend billions on fighter planes and megaprisons rather than investing in this bridge?

Will workers in the greater Montreal area have to swim to work?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Champlain Bridge
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CPC

Chuck Strahl

Conservative

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Champlain Bridge is very important to entrepreneurs and the people of Montreal and Canada. We have invested a great deal of money in this corridor because the bridge is very important. Furthermore, I spoke with the Quebec minister this morning, and we discussed the bridge's condition and its safety. The future is clear: we must have discussions with the Government of Quebec about the future of—

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Champlain Bridge
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Alexandra Mendes

Liberal

Mrs. Alexandra Mendes (Brossard—La Prairie, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am asking for the test results because he says the bridge is safe. I doubt that. The minister does not seem to have understood: this is the most important road infrastructure in the country. Unfortunately, he does not give a damn.

They will readily spend billions of dollars on fighter planes and megaprisons. But those who have to go home every night, and go back to work every morning, have to make do with their old bridge.

Enough of this nonsense. They must stop playing with people's safety. When will there be a new bridge?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Champlain Bridge
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CPC

Chuck Strahl

Conservative

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, of course we are not playing with people's safety. That is why when I spoke with the CEO of the federal bridge authority, when I talked to the engineers a month ago in Quebec, they said that the investments we have made in the bridge will keep it absolutely safe for the next 10 years.

At the end of the month or thereabouts, there will be a report given to us on options for the bridge. Everyone knows the bridge will need to be replaced in the long term, but what we cannot know without that option paper presented to us yet is if contains light rail, if it contains a rapid transit option, if it contains a bus option. Those options will be presented to us and, of course, we will make a decision working hand in hand with the Quebec government.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Champlain Bridge
Permalink
CPC

Bernard Généreux

Conservative

Mr. Bernard Généreux (Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the makeshift coalition led by the Liberal leader has finally found a pretext to reunite and try to take down the government. This time it is the budget. Any reason will do.

Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs tell us what this budget contains to help every region of Quebec?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
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CPC

Jean-Pierre Blackburn

Conservative

Hon. Jean-Pierre Blackburn (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for the great job he does and for his question.

Our budget clearly takes into account the everyday needs of Canadians. For example, a couple that has a child involved in arts activities will receive a tax credit. Volunteer firefighters will, too. As well, seniors who are not finding the guaranteed income supplement to be sufficient will receive an additional $600 per year. A number of measures have been added, without any tax increases. Our government is a responsible one.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
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NDP

Thomas Mulcair

New Democratic Party

Mr. Thomas Mulcair (Outremont, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, Canada is one of the richest countries in the world. Yet, we have hundreds of thousands of seniors living below the poverty line. When the NDP met with the minister and the Prime Minister, we reiterated the fact that this is a priority for our party. We find it unacceptable that we live in such a rich country, yet the seniors who built this country are left to live in poverty.

Why would the government rather trigger an election than help all of the seniors who are living below the poverty line?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
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CPC

Julian Fantino

Conservative

Hon. Julian Fantino (Minister of State (Seniors), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting low income seniors.

We are proud of the fact that our actions have played a part in cutting the low income rate among Canada's seniors from 21% in 1980 to 5.8% in 2008, one of the lowest rates in the world. We have increased guaranteed income supplement benefits, cut taxes for seniors, introduced pension income splitting and invested in seniors' housing.

We will keep working hard to deliver for seniors as demonstrated in our budget yesterday.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Mulcair

New Democratic Party

Mr. Thomas Mulcair (Outremont, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, we have to ask the Conservatives what kind of priority guides their thinking? Is this a tough on seniors policy? Is it more important for them to give even more money to the chartered banks than they received last year? They made $22 billion in profits and used half, $11 billion, for executive bonuses. Next year the Conservatives want to give a further $3 billion in corporate tax cuts. For every $1 they came up with for impoverished seniors, they found $10 for Canada's richest corporations.

Their proposal would leave hundreds of thousands of seniors below the poverty line, and in a country as rich as ours, that is just not acceptable.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
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CPC

Julian Fantino

Conservative

Hon. Julian Fantino (Minister of State (Seniors), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, that is coming from a party that has consistently voted against any seniors' help. It is shameful.

In our budget yesterday we elevated the poverty line for seniors. Across the country, 680,000 seniors will benefit from yesterday's budget submission.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
Permalink
BQ

Josée Beaudin

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Josée Beaudin (Saint-Lambert, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in a letter published in La Presse, the Minister of Transport continues to deny the facts. Although engineers have said that some sections of the Champlain Bridge could collapse, the minister continues to claim that the bridge is safe and that construction of a new bridge can wait.

Does the Minister of Transport realize that it is his indifference to the needs of Quebec that could trigger an election?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Champlain Bridge
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CPC

Chuck Strahl

Conservative

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Champlain Bridge is an extremely important bridge. That is why we are investing almost $400 million in it over the next 10 years to make sure it stays safe.

I am not an engineer. A good question to ask is: whom do we ask about this? We ask the engineers who inspect the bridge. We ask the CEO who oversees the bridge. We work with the provincial government, which works with us to make sure the bridge is safe.

Of course the bridge will have to be replaced in the longer term. However, Montrealers should know that the bridge is safe and will be safe. We will be working closely with the Quebec government to make a long-term plan for its replacement in the years to come.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Champlain Bridge
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BQ

Josée Beaudin

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Josée Beaudin (Saint-Lambert, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives managed to find the money needed to build a new bridge in Windsor, Ontario. They even advanced $550 million to help Michigan pay for its share. However, when the time comes to replace the busiest bridge in Canada, which is in Quebec, they cannot come up with the money. That is just wrong.

When will Quebec's needs get the same attention as the needs of Ontario and Michigan?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Champlain Bridge
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CPC

Chuck Strahl

Conservative

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

That was a good question, Mr. Speaker. How much money are we going to spend on the new Windsor bridge? We are going to spend zero taxpayer dollars. It is a P3 project. It will not have a single dollar in it.

Perhaps that is an option for the Champlain Bridge. The reason we are not saying that is because we are going to wait for the report to be tabled with me. When that report is tabled, options will be presented to us, including design ideas, whether it should include a railway, whether it should include rapid transit, whether it should include a bus route. There are lots of options. We are certainly not going to go into this willy-nilly.

While the bridge is safe, Montrealers should use it.

We will be working with the Quebec government to design an option.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Champlain Bridge
Permalink
LIB

Marcel Proulx

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on both sides of the Ottawa River, the Conservative budget delivered yesterday confirmed our worst fears. Our public servants are very astute and had already suspected that the Conservatives might make some cuts. Instead of strengthening our economic recovery, the Conservatives are spreading uncertainty regarding job security for thousands of families in the national capital region.

The Conservatives have a habit of getting rid of public servants who are doing their jobs, but do they not think that they are going a little too far?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
Permalink
CPC

Stockwell Day

Conservative

Hon. Stockwell Day (President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as we said yesterday, about 11,000 people leave the public service every year. My colleague mentioned that jobs are sometimes eliminated from the public service, but it was the Liberals who did that. They eliminated many public service jobs 10 years ago. It was very strange.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
Permalink
LIB

Marcel Proulx

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we have seen the Conservatives are very keen on firing public servants who do not follow their ideology. This is getting a bit much.

On both sides of the Ottawa River, tens of thousands of families did not sleep well last night after the Conservative budget confirmed that over 20,000 jobs would be slashed from our hard-working, dedicated public service.

Why are Conservatives revving up the chainsaw and threatening our cherished public services?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Budget
Permalink

March 23, 2011