House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ontario.

Topics

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is not only completely false, it is exactly the opposite of what this government is doing.

Under the previous government we had 800,000 people, approaching a million, sitting on a waiting list for six years while vital jobs went unfilled in this country. That is unacceptable to Canada and unfair to immigrants.

We are cutting the landing fee in half. We are getting the system reformed so that immigrants are treated fairly and get to this country as quickly as they do in our competing countries that are letting in immigrants a lot more quickly than we are. We need them. That is what we are doing.

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, the government snuck changes to the immigration system into the budget and it hoped Canadians would not notice but they did notice. They noticed that the minister will be able to cherry-pick from the queue, not reduce the queue, and keep families that applied in good faith from ever being reunited.

Will the government separate the new immigration regulations from the budget and allow Parliament and Canadians the chance to debate these radical and unwelcome changes?

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, over the course of their tenure in government, the Liberals allowed the backlog to balloon from 50,000 to over 800,000.

Now, because people must wait five to six years to get here, we are losing much needed talent to other countries. We need that talent here. We need to ensure our systems are streamlined so we can get the people we need to fill the jobs so businesses can stay in business.

I appreciate the support of the Liberals in our budget.

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the sudden change in the immigration policy raises the question of its application in the province of Quebec. It is not clear whether the new powers the minister wants to assume are compatible with Quebec's immigration policy.

Can the minister explain, in a concrete manner, how her new discretionary powers will affect immigration management in Quebec?

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is quite simple: the amendments we have proposed will have no impact on the immigration agreement between Quebec and Canada.

Seal Hunters
Oral Questions

March 31st, 2008 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by offering my sincere condolences to the families of the four seal hunters who were lost at sea, and to all of the people of the Magdalen Islands. This is the worst tragedy the Magdalen Islanders have experienced in 15 years. Many questions remain unanswered with respect to the Coast Guard's involvement in this incident. The Coast Guard has not yet commented on the tragedy.

Will the Prime Minister launch an in-depth public inquiry into all of the issues surrounding this terrible tragedy?

Seal Hunters
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. The Magdalen Islands tragedy was indeed terrible. I am sure that the victims and their families are in the thoughts and prayers of all members of this House.

In the days to come, there will be a number of investigations, and these investigations will all be public.

Seal Hunters
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Prime Minister to clarify the answer he just gave me. I know that the reports will be made public. However, I would like to know if there will be public hearings so that everyone involved in the industry and the seal hunt can talk about what happened.

Will this inquiry be truly public?

Seal Hunters
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I expect there to be a number of investigations, including a Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation, a Canadian Coast Guard investigation, and a Fisheries and Oceans Canada investigation by an independent party. There may also be an investigation by the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board. I believe that all results of those investigations will be made public.

Seal Hunters
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Magdalen Islanders and the family of the man who was not found are very disappointed in the Canadian Coast Guard's lack of compassion. The Coast Guard did not even inform the missing sailor's family members that the search for him had been called off. They found out about it in the media. The Canadian Coast Guard did not contact the family before making that hasty decision.

Does the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans think that process and that lack of compassion were appropriate?

Seal Hunters
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, let me also add my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and to the people of the Magdalen Islands generally.

Let me say to the hon. member that when a decision is made by the central coordinating agency to end a search, it is probably the most difficult decision anyone could make, but there comes a point in time, especially when we look at the conditions involved, when decisions must be made.

As the member knows, searches will continue, but the thing is, it is not an easy decision for anybody to make.

Seal Hunters
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to Radio-Canada, the grieving families will have to pay to have the bodies of the dead sailors returned to them.

Can the minister promise that the federal government will cover the cost of transporting the bodies from Halifax to the Magdalen Islands?

Seal Hunters
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the member and the families involved that they will not need to pay the costs of having the bodies returned.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the items the NATO meeting in Bucharest will be looking at is extending the war in Afghanistan.

The Manley report stated two essential conditions: more troops in Kandahar and an increase in our airlift capabilities.

My question is simple: if, at the end of this meeting, NATO has not met these conditions, will the Prime Minister state that we must withdraw our troops from Afghanistan?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Yes, Mr. Speaker, but I have the utmost confidence our conditions will be met in the coming weeks. Discussions are being held and equipment is being provided. I am very optimistic Canada will fulfill its obligations in Afghanistan.