House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

Canada Post
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House and all Canadians that the government is strongly committed to rural Canada and that we will take any and all means necessary to ensure the quality of rural mail delivery and to ensure that quality continues from coast to coast to coast.

I met recently with the chairman of the board and with the president of Canada Post to ensure that message was clearly understood.

Maher Arar
Oral Questions

September 28th, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the commissioner of the RCMP finally apologized to the Arar family. The House has apologized to the Arar family and yet all we hear from the Conservative government is an old cliched line about this being an injustice.

Injustice is a grave understatement. What happened to Mr. Arar is unconscionable and it is unbelievable that the Prime Minister has not yet apologized on behalf of all Canadians.

How much longer does Maher Arar and his family have to wait for an apology from the Prime Minister?

Maher Arar
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, right from the outset the Prime Minister has indicated clearly his regrets that the Arar family went through this awful time of injustice under the previous administration.

Opposition members are asking us to follow the recommendations of Mr. O'Connor and so we are doing that. He says:

If the Government of Canada chooses to negotiate with Mr. Arar--

--and we are--

--negotiated arrangements can be more creative than a mere damage award. A compensation agreement could involve anything from an apology to an offer of employment or assistance in obtaining employment.

We will follow the directions of Justice O'Connor.

Maher Arar
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is exactly that legalistic approach that Justice O'Connor recommended against. Maybe the minister should read the rest of the report.

I believe the Prime Minister does want to apologize and say that he is sorry but the lawyers will not let him do it. They are following this negotiation plan of using the apology as a negotiating chip.

It is very clear that the government is responsible to Mr. Arar for compensation. The government should take the apology out of that negotiation stage, make it unconditional and do it now.

Maher Arar
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we want to do what is right for Mr. Arar and his family. We want to follow Justice O'Connor's approach. Justice O'Connor did take a legal approach to this and we appreciate that.

We are taking all 23 recommendations. We are taking the recommendation that the justice has given us related to the apology. Now the NDP members, and perhaps others, are saying that they want to pick and choose which recommendations we should follow.

We are following all the recommendations, including looking at the question of an apology and the question of compensation for Mr. Arar. We respect him enough to do that within the context of his lawyers and the government lawyers following this.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the Prime Minister and his wife are reading from different pages these days.

This week the Prime Minister took money away from programs that help people learn to read. This morning his wife was out on the streets of Ottawa raising money for literacy programs.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Oakville has the floor and members will want to hear the question.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, we agree that we should applaud her efforts.

However, now that the Prime Minister's wife has publicly demonstrated the error of her husband's government's ways, will the Prime Minister immediately restore funding to literacy programs?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, hypocrisy has a new spelling. It is L-i-b-e-r-a-l.

In 1995 the previous Liberal government froze settlement funding, money that was used to help new Canadians become literate.

In budget 2006, Canada's new government put $307 million of new money into these programs. Why did the Liberals vote against it?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, on International Literacy Day, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development praised the adult learning and literacy program. Today, the President of the Treasury Board, who cut the money, said that helping adults learn to read was a waste of money. He said that Canada was wasting money on trying to do repair work after the fact.

Will the Prime Minister promise today to spend less time with his Treasury Board president and spend a little more time listening to his wife?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I said absolutely no such thing. What I did hear a member opposite on the front benches of the Liberal Party say was that in his party he faced bigotry and discrimination as a new Canadian.

Why has not one member of the Liberal Party stood up for the comments made by the member for Eglinton—Lawrence?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the meanspirited cuts announced this week by the Conservative government may appeal to its social conservative friends but they hurt so many other Canadians, especially women and aboriginal peoples.

The Prime Minister has cut 39% of the operating budget from Status of Women Canada and the court challenges program.

During the election the Prime Minister signed a pledge to uphold Canada's commitments to women. Is drastically slashing their budget his idea of upholding a commitment?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, again we see the party opposite, the former Liberal government that did nothing, continuing to talk and use inaccurate information. In fact, the Liberals talk while we act and we have acted in seven months.

We have delivered on child care with $100 a month and new spaces coming next year. We have delivered on justice to uphold the safety of communities and women. We have also introduced guidelines for human trafficking so that victims are no longer treated as victims but are supported.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in addition to cuts to funding for women, the Prime Minister has also eliminated the first nations and Inuit tobacco control strategy. This is yet another addition to a long list of decisions by the government to cut funding for aboriginal peoples.

First the Conservatives cancelled Kelowna and then they opposed the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people. It is a trend so disturbing that the grand chief of the Assembly of First Nations characterized it as discriminatory.

Why has the Minister of Health cut a program that saves the lives of first nations, Inuit and Métis people?