House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the conclusions of Kevin Page, our Parliamentary Budget Officer are clear: the government's projections are ridiculous. Drastic measures are necessary.

The Bloc Québécois is proposing a surtax on the bonuses of business leaders, a surtax on taxpayers who earn over $150,000, and the elimination of the tax havens that help the banks get richer and make the government poorer.

Will the government finally listen to reason and act responsibly, as proposed by the Bloc Québécois?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad that the member does not agree with the opinions of the best economists in Quebec: economists from Desjardins Group, from the National Bank of Canada in Montreal, and from the Laurentian Bank, also in Montreal.

The best economists in Canada have offered their views, all 15 of them, and that is what we accepted. It is on page 33 of the budget. The hon. member is welcome to read the names, and so is Mr. Page.

Haiti
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Immigration invoked the Privacy Act to refuse to comment on the case of Ms. Hippolyte and her sister, who were refused entry into Canada. The minister said he would not comment publicly on the case unless he had a statement signed by the person in question authorizing him to do so.

That has been done. This morning I sent the minister the written authorizations from Ms. Hippolyte and her sister.

Will the minister explain now why this person was refused entry or is he going to wriggle out of it like his Conservative colleague from Beauport—Limoilou and plead impotence?

Haiti
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the visa officers in our public service make more than 800,000 decisions a year on visa applications. This is the first time I have ever heard anyone say that these decisions are politicized.

The visa officer is this case was not convinced that the applicant would return to Haiti after her stay in Canada. The information on the application was neither complete nor consistent.

Haiti
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government still promised to speed up the processing of applications from Haiti. Nearly 2,000 applications are waiting to be processed in Ottawa, and only the visas of permanent residents have been delivered.

Will we need to obtain a written authorization from each applicant to get answers out of the immigration minister?

Haiti
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, we announced special measures for sponsorship applications for Haitian citizens with relatives in Canada. We have added resources to help speed up the processing of these files. Several hundred decisions have already been made.

We are doing all we can, but we cannot simply eliminate the entire process for ensuring that people are eligible to come to Canada. We are working with the Government of Quebec and the Haitian community to speed up processing of the files of people who qualify to come here.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

March 11th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development met this morning with Chief Lonechild of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. The chief no doubt informed the minister about the decisive action he has taken to fix the problems at First Nations University.

Chief Lonechild has worked sincerely and successfully with a new interim board of governors and CEO, with faculty and students, with the University of Regina and Premier Wall's provincial government. A strong remedial plan is in fact in place. Will the federal minister now support that plan?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I did meet with the First Nations University delegation today. I repeated our position that the current funding formula for First Nations University ends as of March 31. Of course, we will continue to help aboriginal students directly through our post-secondary programming and institutions through our Indian student support program.

Unfortunately, however, repeated and ongoing efforts over the past several years did not bring about the change in accountability that Canadian taxpayers expect and aboriginal students deserve. It is time to focus our attention on those aboriginal students themselves and ensure we have more and continued success for them going forward.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, if the minister does not reach the March 31 deadline, if certainty is not achieved by then, First Nations University will begin to disintegrate and faculty, staff, and students will need to go elsewhere. Sadly for hundreds of young aboriginal students, there is no elsewhere. Their dream of post-secondary education will simply be over.

Surely the minister will not visit upon these innocent young people the past sins of others. Will the minister ensure the problems are fixed and multi-year federal funding is in place on time?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon
B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member wants to look at the past sins of others, he should start by getting up in the morning and looking in the mirror.

If he had taken action when he was still the finance minister for the former Liberal government, then perhaps we would not be in this position today. However, he did not take action.

After repeated efforts, time and again, we ended up where we had forensic audits, trips to the commercial crime unit. The last chief financial officer is talking about trips to Las Vegas, trips to Hawaii. Now $400,000 is missing from students' scholarship funds and we do not know where it is.

It is time to be accountable to taxpayers and to students and get this fixed.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a colleague has already noted, ministers are awfully quick to take credit, including names and logos on cheques, when doling out taxpayer money. However, they are awfully quick to blame the public service when it comes to massive waste, such as $1,000 light bulbs. Which is it?

I know the minister is new to the job, but will she acknowledge that the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is in fact responsible for decisions taken at the Department of Public Works?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, these particular expenditures are offensive to taxpayers. While this contract is awarded and managed by the public service, and competitively awarded, I do feel these expenditures have to be reviewed.

For that reason, I have asked the public service to bring in a third party external adviser to take a look at them.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister has still not accepted responsibility and is blaming the public service, whereas it was ministerial responsibility that tried to prevent disclosure only a few weeks ago of information on this, or we do not know, a very similar file.

Someone knew something. Someone tried to hide it. How do Canadian taxpayers know they will get any real information on how their taxpayer dollars could have been so badly wasted and who benefited?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers will know because I have said today that we will bring in a third party external auditor to take a look at all of these expenditures.

I have asked the deputy minister to review these expenditures, in particular, for value to taxpayer dollars.

Persons with Disabilities
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has a strong record when it comes to supporting Canadians of all abilities.

Through investments such as the historic registered disabilities plan and the enabling accessibility fund, our government is committed to the full inclusion of Canadians with disabilities. Canada was also one of the first countries to sign on to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007.

Could the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development please update us as to the status of ratification of this important convention?