House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Government Programs
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

Order, please. The hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about accountability.

In October of last year a letter was written on behalf of the present Prime Minister to Joyce Carter of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It states that “a Conservative government would immediately extend Veterans Independence Program services to the widows of all Second World War and Korean War veterans” regardless of time of death.

My question is quite simple. When are these widows going to see the VIP extension?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
B.C.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, one of the things the new minister did as soon as he was appointed was to make certain that there was an inquiry and a review done on comprehensive health care. That is under way as we speak.

While this review is being completed, the government has already allocated an extra $352 million for Veterans Affairs this year, more than the Liberals did last year. This new funding includes $250 million for enhanced benefits and services to veterans.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a very simple question.

Harold Shea of Halifax, an 83 year old war veteran, died the other day. We lose approximately 24,000 second world war and Korean war veterans every year in this country. They want to make sure, before they pass on, that their spouses are well taken care of by that government or any government.

Once again, this was a promise by the Prime Minister to a woman in Cape Breton who is representing thousands of widows in this country. This being Veterans Week, when will the government honour its promise and extend the veterans independence program to all widows of all veterans in this country?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
B.C.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not have to take a backseat to this member or any other member of the House when it comes to veterans issues. I have been fighting strongly for veterans for many, many years. The minister feels very strongly toward veterans. The Prime Minister has made it very clear how he feels about veterans.

We are moving as quickly as we can. I would ask for the cooperation of the opposition members in putting together a bill of rights and an ombudsman so that these kinds of issues can be addressed very, very quickly, without delay.

Homelessness
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, it is appalling that the federal government is ignoring Canada's homeless. To date, the Minister of Human Resources has refused to indicate if the supporting communities partnership initiative for the homeless will be extended.

Does the minister think that if she says it is being reviewed long enough the homelessness problem will just disappear?

Homelessness
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the issue of the homeless is very important to the government. That is why one of our earliest actions was to renew the SCPI program, with $135 million, and in August we made available $37 million more.

After seven years of no changes in that program, we think we must review it and look for opportunities to improve it so that we can make it even better and more responsive.

That is $135 million for SCPI and that is not peanuts.

Homelessness
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House will not accept that the SCPI program is wasteful or inefficient, as the minister said.

Earlier this year, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities told the finance committee that SCPI has been particularly effective in combating homelessness and asked that it be extended for five years. Despite a $13 billion surplus, the Conservative government would not extend the SCPI program.

There are approximately 150,000 homeless people in Canada every year. Will the minister stop making excuses and extend the program today?

Homelessness
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as we have seen with so many programs that were put in place by the previous government, they need to be reviewed. We owe that to Canadian taxpayers.

There was a former Liberal minister of CMHC who said that improvements needed to be made. We are going to deliver programs for the homeless at least as good as SCPI, and I hope better.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

October 27th, 2006 / 11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has failed to announce its plan for an estimated 200,000 undocumented workers in Canada and it refuses to grant them amnesty. Instead of addressing how to use the immigration system to better benefit the Canadian economy, the government is clueless.

Will the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration explain why he continues to ignore the plight of those workers? Why is he throwing them out and slamming the door?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we have tremendous sympathy for anyone who wants to come to Canada for a better life. This is a great country, but I think it is only right that people who want to get here come here legally. We already have 800,000 people waiting in line to come here legally.

Here is the real question. If the member cares so much for immigrants, why did she vote against the $307 million in new settlement funding that we announced in the budget?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer shows he is totally clueless. These workers bolster the Canadian economy. In addition, many of them have children who are Canadian-born and have a legal right to remain in Canada.

This is an urgent issue. The minister has the ability to act on behalf of these families. Will he now recognize the complexities of this issue and ensure that the families of Canadian-born children remain in Canada? Or is he going to throw Canadian citizens out of the country?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's new-found interest in undocumented workers, but I point out that when the Liberals were on the government side, they deported over 100,000 undocumented people in a very few years.

I think it is time for the former government to own up to its failure on all kinds of immigration issues, including its failure to provide settlement funding, something that we announced in the budget.

The Liberals froze settlement funding and penalized immigrants. We have provided $307 million in new funding because we care about newcomers.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the measures put in place by the government on May 11 to help female immigrants who are victims of abuse, Amnesty International still denounces the working conditions of domestic helpers, who are quite simply being treated like slaves.

In 2003, the United Nations adopted a convention to ensure better protection for all migrant workers. What is Canada waiting for to sign it?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we have great concern for migrant workers, workers of all kinds. We have rules in place regarding labour conditions and we work with the provinces to ensure that those standards are met.

Whenever that is in question, I of course urge the provinces to move very quickly to address these issues. I point out, by the way, that Quebec is a leader in ensuring that labour standards are met when it comes to migrant workers.