House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was review.

Topics

Food Banks
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, while seniors and families in my riding of Welland go hungry, the government is spending millions of dollars on treating their friends to rounds of golf and massages at high-end spas, right when folks are struggling the most to make ends meet.

A record 870,000 Canadians are using food banks, 80,000 for the first time. Over the past two years, food bank usage has risen by more than 25%, and 31% of food banks do not have enough food to meet that need.

This winter I will join with community members by participating in the Port Colborne-Wainfleet food bank diet challenge, committing to live off a food bank diet for three days. Organized by Lori Kleinsmith and her team at Bridges Community Health Centre of Port Colborne, this challenge is meant to bring awareness to the desperate situation that so many are facing in my riding.

I applaud the Bridges Community Health Centre's youth health promotion team for organizing this important initiative, because in a country like Canada, no one should go hungry.

Korean Peninsula
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, our government and, indeed, all Canadians are committed to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Canada reiterates its firm support for the Republic of Korea and urges North Korea to abide by the Korean armistice agreement.

We once again extend our condolences to the families of those who were killed and injured as a result of an unprovoked attack by North Korea earlier this week. Canada will continue to condemn all acts of aggression by North Korea in violation of international law.

Recently, Canada announced the termination of all official bilateral contacts between the Government of Canada and the North Korean regime, with the exception of those necessary to address regional security concerns, human rights and the humanitarian situation in North Korea.

Our government will continue to vigorously defend the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law around the world.

Michel Drucker
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Michel Drucker, an iconic French television personality and a long-time admirer of Quebec, was made an officer of the Ordre national du Québec.

Michel Drucker has done a lot for Quebec in France, and has done even more for our artists. He has helped launch many of their careers in Europe. As he has said himself, “Quebec artists have always amazed me; they are unique.”

A knight since 2001, Quebec has now made Michel Drucker an officer. He considers Quebec to be his second country. Few individuals from outside the country have received such honours.

Mr. Drucker, my Bloc Québécois colleagues and I are proud to offer you our sincere congratulations on these huge honours, and we, along with all Quebeckers, are proud to share this great friendship.

Sergei Magnitsky
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in memory and in tribute to the heroic Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history and paid for it with his life. While his story is one of great moral courage, his saga shines a spotlight on the pervasive culture of corruption and impunity implicating senior government officials in Russia today. Tragically, Magnitsky is but the latest in a list of Russian heroes who lost their lives standing up for principle, truth and the rule of law.

Although the world was outraged at the case of Sergei, who was tortured and who died in prison, corrupt Russian officials were never brought to justice and were even rewarded.

Accordingly, we must call upon Russia to bring the perpetrators to justice; stand in solidarity with Russian human rights defenders; deny entry to Russian officials implicated in this criminality; and remember and honour the heroic sacrifice of Sergei Magnitsky. We can do no less.

Conservative Candidate for Vaughan
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the past several weeks, members of the Liberal Party have attacked and denigrated the character and integrity of Julian Fantino, the former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police and now Conservative candidate in Vaughan.

This is Liberal hypocrisy at its finest, given that it was revealed today that both the Liberal leader and his chief of staff, Peter Donolo, personally tried to recruit Mr. Fantino to run for them. The Liberals wanted Julian Fantino to be their candidate in Vaughan. He was their first choice. In fact, after he said no, the Liberal leader told a radio host in Halifax this morning that his party went to several other people before finally settling on Tony Genco, its fourth or fifth choice.

It is only fair for the people of Vaughan to know that Mr. Fantino was not only the Conservatives' first choice but he was also the Liberals' first choice.

Pensions
Oral Questions

November 26th, 2010 / 11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, we have uncovered a Conservative directive that will drastically cut pension incomes for up to 1.5 million lower income Canadian seniors. Effective May 17, 2010, seniors who make an emergency withdrawal from a registered retirement income fund, as they try to cope with unexpected emergencies such as medical costs and urgent home repair, will lose government pension benefits as a result.

Will the minister now confirm to the House that this is indeed her new and, up until now, secret pension policy for seniors, and, if they have not done so already, will her cabinet colleagues force her to rescind the policy?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I was very concerned by what was reported this morning and that is why I have instructed departmental officials to immediately put a hold on this policy while we review it completely. I have also instructed officials to contact those individuals affected directly so that their applications can be reviewed and evaluated for eligibility under the old policy.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, review is not reversal. There has been no notice, no consultation, no information and no compassion. The minister now says that it is brand new information. Allow me to table letters the minister signed to senior citizens across Canada informing them of this policy just recently. Now she says that she will review it.

Well, 1.5 million lower income Canadians have just been told that all is on the table when it comes to pension income.

Will the minister, or at least her cabinet colleagues, not just review this policy but reverse it and table changes to the Old Age Security Act to prevent it from ever happening again?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has done more than any previous government, including the hon. member's party when it was government, to support seniors. That is why we are taking steps immediately to put this policy on hold. We want to ensure we are treating seniors fairly, which is why my officials have been instructed to contact the individuals affected directly and to immediately re-evaluate their applications and their eligibility according to the original policy.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, seniors deserve a pension system they can trust, not another double-cross like income trusts.

The Conservatives did it all right. They did it to seniors. They did it in the Senate when it came to Nortel pensioners.

How can the Conservatives look at 1.5 million senior citizens at a time when we are moving more and more into seniors' poverty, 25% more. What are the Conservatives going to do? They are going to do a review. They stuck it to 1.5 million pensioners in this country and all they are going to do is review it. They must act immediately to change the OAS Act.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to helping seniors, it is our government that brought in pension income splitting. The Liberals voted against that. We are the ones who brought forward increases to the age credit. The Liberals voted against that. These are programs that would leave more money in seniors' pockets.

On this other issue, we will be immediately contacting the individuals affected to ensure their applications can be reviewed under the old policy. No change there. However, we are supporting seniors to ensure they have more money in their pockets, not voting against those initiatives as the Liberals have done consistently.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, seniors and retirees deserve something better than backroom cuts made on the sly. The Minister of Finance is colluding with the Prime Minister to make the most vulnerable seniors in our society pay for his fiscal incompetence.

Would he be doing this if his parents depended on the guaranteed income supplement?

Why is the Minister of Finance not trimming fat from the Prime Minister's Office instead of taxing registered retirement income funds?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to help seniors. And that is what we have been doing since we formed the government nearly five years ago. When I learned of this situation, I instructed my officials to immediately put this policy on hold so that we can study it thoroughly.

I also asked them to communicate with the affected individuals to reassess their applications based on the previous policy.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not helping our seniors.

In a few weeks, disabled Nortel retirees will lose their homes because the Prime Minister refused to pass Bill S-216. In a few months, other retirees will desperately be awaiting a cheque that will never come. But the Prime Minister could not care less. He is plunging these people into despair by making them pay for his government's excesses.

If he can waste $300 million on an internal row between his ministers, could he have the decency to not hit our parents and grandparents with hidden taxes?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I think every member of Parliament and senator recognizes and sympathizes with the difficult situation facing Nortel pensioners and long-term disability recipients.

Unfortunately, in the committee studying two private member's bills on these issues, witness after witness has said that neither bill would actually help former employees of Nortel. In fact, many witnesses have pointed out that these bills would lead to more bankruptcies and could have a significant negative impact on the pensions of other Canadians.