House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate that the women of Canada made their decision when they elected this new Conservative government and put it into power.

Members opposite have said that women are economically disadvantaged and that it is time for action. Canadian women agree with them, which is why they voted last January 23. We will act and we will deliver.

Social Housing
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, CMHC already has more than $4 billion in surpluses that the Minister of Finance refuses to use, and in addition, he is announcing further cuts of $45 million from the funds available for programs.

Rather than cutting $45 million, would it not have been better for the government to use all of CMHC's revenues to build new, affordable social housing? Building instead of cutting?

Social Housing
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, CMHC, through its mandate, spends over $2 billion each year on low income housing. We are very proud of that. This year we added $1.4 billion in affordable housing right across the country, including on and off reserve.

Human Resources and Social Development
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that the government would slash funding for literacy but it has.

We should not be surprised that it does not hold learning in high regard. It was its national campaign chair, Doug Finley, who said that one does not need a high IQ to join the Tory caucus.

The minister obviously fails to comprehend her duty to our most vulnerable citizens.

Why does the minority government insist on being so meanspirited when it is sitting on a $13 billion surplus?

Human Resources and Social Development
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are spending over $80 million a year on literacy programs for adults, which is something to be proud of. What we are learning to do is refocus on the federal jurisdiction.

I find it curious that the member opposite is defending the position of sponsoring post-secondary education when it was his government that cut $4 billion from PSE.

Human Resources and Social Development
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minority government should be using any savings to expand literacy, not slash it.

We have been down this road before. In 1992 another Conservative government cut the same program by 20%. It took a Liberal government to restore it. Once again we see the regressive Conservatives turning back the clock.

When will they restore full funding to literacy programs? What have they got against reading and writing?

Human Resources and Social Development
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Yes, Mr. Speaker, for us it is very important to have a well educated and literate workforce, which is why we are investing $80 million in literacy. We are also investing a billion dollars in PSE infrastructure. We are providing major incentives for apprenticeships and for apprenticeship employees.

We are investing in Canada's future. They destroyed it.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, without valid reason and without consulting the communities affected, the far-right government did away with the Canada court challenges program. This program has made it possible over the years for francophones all across Canada to get schools and services in their language. They succeeded in having their rights respected. For example, without this program, the Montfort hospital would have closed by now.

How can the government turn the clock back 30 years, brushing the Official Languages Act aside and slashing minority rights in our country. It is shameful.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, it is important that every taxpayer dollar is spent effectively, responsibly and accountably. We believe it is inappropriate that government pass legislation that is unconstitutional, which is why we are making the choice not to do that.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in other words, they do not give a damn about minorities.

Last November, the ultra-Conservatives voted in favour of Bill S-3. It enabled communities to go to the courts if the government failed to meet its obligations.

Yesterday, however, in doing away with the court challenges program, the Conservative extremists deprived communities of the means to defend themselves and have their rights upheld. The Conservatives are taking away with one hand what they give with the other.

Why did they cut this program? Is it because they think they are above the law or is it just because they simply do not give a damn about the various communities?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day we think it is important to have laws that are constitutional. Instead of giving grants out to Liberal Party lawyers, we think politicians should accept their responsibility and deal with any issues that are before Parliament to ensure they are constitutional.

We have to say that things like health care, education and ensuring our seniors feel safe in their communities are also priorities and they did not receive enough attention from the former Liberal government.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the ghosts of the Liberal Party were being haunted again yesterday, the Government of Canada was continuing to work on behalf of all Canadians.

The western hemisphere initiative concerns many Canadians. Would the Prime Minister please comment on the decision by the United States legislators to extend the deadline of new identification measures at the Canada-U.S. border for 17 months?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we understand there will be a vote tomorrow in the House of Representatives to extend this implementation, as my hon. colleague has just mentioned. We do not know how that vote will go but we are optimistic.

I will remind members that it was our Prime Minister who led the charge on this initiative a number of months ago. We are very pleased with the progress. We hope the vote tomorrow is a positive one.

Government Surplus
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, despite its own demands of previous governments to debate how windfall surpluses should be spent, the government hypocritically spent $13 billion on debt repayment yesterday.

Government Surplus
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!