House of Commons Hansard #35 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was investment.

Topics

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is an absolutely ridiculous comment by the Bloc. To be fair, we have heard a lot of those coming from the Bloc.

Bilingualism is very important. Legal competence is important.

I can tell the hon. member about the particular bill he talks about. This bill just makes no sense. As retired Supreme Court Justice John Major said, “If they want to sacrifice competency for linguistics, well, it's just a mistake”.

Persons with Disabilities
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect the government to account for what is clearly political interference with the enabling accessibility fund. The minister has never explained why approximately 90% of all funding went to Conservative MPs' ridings. Remember, we are talking about a fund for the disabled. It is supposed to be for all disabled Canadians, but clearly it is not.

Could the minister start by explaining how one single Conservative riding, one riding, received more projects than the provinces and territories of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and the Northwest Territories combined?

Persons with Disabilities
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the enabling accessibility fund, as we are of many other things we have done to help the disabled. This program allowed over 300 more facilities to become accessible, including Iona Church in the member's riding.

These projects have taken place across the country and have built on what we are doing to make federal buildings more accessible. We have extended this program for the next three years so we can make even more buildings accessible to those who need to get into them and have the right to and deserve to.

Persons with Disabilities
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not even care enough about the disabled to have an accessible riding office after six years in office.

This Conservative slush fund is an insult to Canadians with disabilities, who are more likely to face barriers to success and are more likely to live in poverty. They deserve better than this. This culture of deceit abandons millions of Canadians who need help. It is inexplicable and it is offensive.

Here is an easy question. How could it be that 26 individual Conservative ridings each received more projects than the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Persons with Disabilities
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us be honest. We brought in the enabling accessibility fund. We have extended it. We brought in the funds to make federal buildings accessible.

Prior to our becoming government, for 13 long years the Liberals ran not one but two offices for disability issues, and neither one of those national head offices was accessible. Our government changed that. We made both of them accessible. Not only that, we made them into one and it has become a showpiece for how businesses can learn to adapt their facilities to help the disabled, but the member voted against that.

Workplace Safety
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is failing Canadian workers. Worse, it is actually endangering workers' safety.

A report released yesterday showed that while the provinces have cut the number of disabling workplace injuries by 25%, the number of serious injuries in federal workplaces like Canada Post and the trucking industry has increased. It is no coincidence that those rates rose at the same time the government cut the number of workplace inspectors.

Will the minister commit to hiring more workplace inspectors to protect Canadian workers?

Workplace Safety
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we have received the report, and officials in the department are currently reviewing it.

As the member opposite is aware, the health and safety of Canadians is the top priority of this government. That is why I want to talk today about the National Day of Mourning, which has not been mentioned yet in question period today. I want to extend, on behalf of the government, our sympathies to the families and friends who have lost loved ones on the job.

I know very well that no words can take away their sorrow, and the best way to pay tribute to those we remember today is to continue to strive for safer and healthier workplaces.

Workplace Safety
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the best way to pay tribute is with real action.

On this National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured at work, the flag of Parliament is flying at half-mast. The minister and other members attended the national ceremony, and some have said some touching things, but Canadian workers need much more than words and symbols. They need action from the government.

I ask again, will the government commit to enforcing health and safety protections, hiring more labour affairs officers, and setting concrete targets for reducing workplace injuries?

Workplace Safety
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as is known, any federally regulated workplace is expected to adhere to occupational health and safety codes as set out in the Canada Labour Code. It is no different from anywhere else in the country, and that is what we expect.

The labour program works with employees and employers to better put in place occupational health and safety standards. But, quite frankly, given the fact that every time this government proposes anything in the House, that party votes against it, I doubt it would vote for anything to help workers in general.

Arctic Sovereignty
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are rightfully proud of our beautiful Arctic, the true north strong and free. Our government made a commitment to protect our sovereignty in the Arctic.

Could the Minister of National Defence tell us what our government is doing to protect our ability to operate and protect our most northern territory?

Arctic Sovereignty
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Operation Nunalivut 10, the Canadian Forces' annual exercise in the high Arctic, was just completed.

Our Arctic Response Company Group and the Canadian Rangers tested new equipment and themselves as they demonstrated their capability in safeguarding our high Arctic.

During the exercise our search and rescue team saved the life of an Australian, Tom Smitheringale, from an ice floe, and we saw our CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft land for the first time on a gravel airstrip near Alert. A navy dive team conducted its longest underwater Arctic dive. The SAR techs parachuted in. Our troops trekked further north than ever before on the Arctic Ocean.

What an expedition. Great work—

Arctic Sovereignty
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Ajax—Pickering.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, by 2012, Conservative prison spending will be up 238%. That is the Conservatives' number, and it does not include billions in new bills.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer is working to expose the true cost, but in a culture of deceit the government is blocking him.

The PBO had to dedicate more than six months to getting hidden government facts, basic facts like projected prison population which should have been handed over in a day. These are not cabinet confidences, they are Conservative secrets, embarrassing truths about a government chasing disastrous failed Republican plans to build prison cities.

How about some truth in budgeting? Where are the numbers?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the protection of Canadians must come first. Part of keeping our communities safe is keeping dangerous criminals behind bars.

We understand that the Liberal Party is opposed to keeping dangerous criminals behind bars. That is not our position. That is not the position of Canadians.

We understand the cost to victims, and we are prepared to work on behalf of victims.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 24, the House of Commons passed, at report stage, the Bloc Québécois bill that would eliminate the unpaid two-week waiting period that the government imposes on all workers who apply for employment insurance. This bill cannot be passed unless the government gives it the royal recommendation.

Will the government abide by the will of this House and grant a royal recommendation to eliminate the employment insurance waiting period?