House of Commons Hansard #152 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada and the U.S.A. have a mutual legal assistance treaty with Mexico which provides for the assistance of one country to another in obtaining evidence for the investigation of crimes when requested.

However, assistance must be requested. Canada, like the U.S., can respond to a request for assistance from Mexico in a criminal investigation under that treaty but both the U.S. and Canada require a request.

We are prepared to work with the Mexicans on this and on any other file involving Canadians and we have told them so.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the national inventory on greenhouse gas emissions, Canada ranks with Belarus for living up to its obligations for reporting to the United Nations.

In an e-mail I just received this morning, the UN confirms, “We have not received the submission of Canada's 2007 inventory due on April 15”.

Australia and the U.S., the Prime Minister's role models, have sent in their reports.

How many more international embarrassments will we need to suffer under the Prime Minister? Why has the government not lived up to its obligations to the UN and sent in this report?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the member is correct to the extent that Canada is a little bit embarrassed on the world scene because of the record of 13 years of inaction on the environment and the fact that we had to see greenhouse gases rise to 35% or more above our Kyoto targets under the Liberals, notwithstanding the fact that they entered into a treaty saying that we would reduce them by 5%.

Our government is changing that. We have brought forward a plan that, for the first time in Canadian history, will result in mandatory standards and actual reductions in greenhouse gases. The Liberals were big on reports and international agreements. We are big on actually delivering results to improve the health and environment of Canadians.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, is this not interesting? The international agreement that I am talking about is the one a Conservative government signed in 1992. On accountability on international agreements, its own government signed it.

Where is the report? I have information that the report is ready but that it is being sat on by the government, not by the public servants who prepared it. Why is the government hiding this report? Why is it not coming clean with Canadians on where we are with greenhouse gas emissions? Why will the minister not tell us the truth and come clean? Where is this--

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

The hon. government House leader.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I will tell the House where we are going with greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are doing down, and that is our policy and our plan. It is the first time a government has ever brought forward a plan but obviously that will not be reflected in the disclosure because it is a new plan. Unfortunately, the disclosure will still reflect the unfortunate track record of a previous Liberal government that did absolutely nothing on the environment.

When they see disclosure in the future, they will see things moving in the right direction and they will see greenhouse gases going down.

Passport Canada
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, record numbers of calls are coming into my Vancouver office from constituents having to cancel, sometimes at great expense, business trips and family reunions abroad after waiting months in vain for their passports.

Another story in the Vancouver Sun today points out that repeated attempts to contact the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Public Safety and the CEO of Passport Canada to explain this mess have led to no comment.

Who is in charge over there? Who is responsible for this bungling? Will someone please fix it?

Passport Canada
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, through several measures, Passport Canada is now able to output 20,000 passports per day, an increase of 40% over last fall's capacity. However, Canadians continue to apply for passports at an unprecedented rate, at about 18,000 applications per day.

Passport Canada is now able to cope with the demand and address its backlog. The situation is improving and, if the current demand continues, most of the service channels will be normal by the end of the summer.

Passport Canada
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, 13 months and the Conservatives are still not getting the job done.

On February 13, the foreign affairs minister told this House that 500 new passport employees had been hired. Two months later, he admitted that they still had not actually been put on the job. Here we are three months later and they are not getting the job done.

Worse than the minister's incompetence is the fact that he does not think he needs to be accountable for this mess. When will the minister--

Passport Canada
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Passport Canada
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure the hon. member that those 500 officers are now fully working. That is why we have been able to increase our capacity by 40% by addressing 20,000 passports per day. As I stated, we expect this backlog to be over by the end of the summer.

Immigration and Refugee Board
Oral Questions

May 11th, 2007 / 11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minority Conservative government is dragging its feet on filling vacancies on the Immigration and Refugee Board as more refugee cases become statistics in the swelling backlog.

The minister has personally claimed that she is filling positions but the fact is that there simply are not enough judges to handle the overload of casework.

When will the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration fill the 60 vacancies on the IRB and get to work on reducing the backlog?

Immigration and Refugee Board
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the minister commissioned an independent report that has come through with a number of recommendations that the minister has accepted. Part of that is requiring a new process that is more efficient and transparent and that will get positions filled quicker.

One of the aspects of the report indicates that those who go to the position will need to write an exam and pass the exam to qualify. We will ensure that appropriate people are appointed in due course and expeditiously.

Immigration and Refugee Board
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, under the Liberal government there were only five vacancies on the board. Under the Conservatives the number has grown to 60.

When he resigned last month, the former IRB chairman said that he had left the minister with 80 qualified candidates to choose from. He also said that the backlog was “growing at a rate of 1,000 a month on the refugee side”.

In her attempts to stack the IRB with hand-picked right-wing appointees, the minister has made a mess of Canada's refugee system.

When will she take immediate steps to resolve the crisis?

Immigration and Refugee Board
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, in the past, the previous Liberal government appointed friends, family members and those who were not able to pass the test. What we will do is ensure that those who are actually appointed are qualified. Everyone will be required to write an exam and actually pass the exam before they are appointed.