House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fisheries.

Topics

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government clearly lacks vision when it comes to immigration. Parents and grandparents have been waiting for years to join their families in Canada. Instead of examining all options to reunite family members living apart, the government has decided to limit the number of applications. That is unacceptable.

Why is this government insisting on imposing a limit on the number of claimants rather than searching for real solutions for family reunification?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question, but it is a little premature at this point. A study is taking place at citizenship and immigration and it will take place over the next number of weeks. We are looking at all options, bringing in a number of witnesses.

In this country, over the last six years in government, we have averaged 254,000 new immigrants coming to this country to be settled. That is 14% higher than the previous administration. I do not think we need to take any advice, or at least any lectures, from the opposition on what it is to become a Canadian.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to families, the government just does not get it. Parents and grandparents are a vital support for families in Canada, not a burden on the system as some Conservatives suggest. Elderly family members provide child care and the family support that new Canadians need to enter the workforce. Since the government has failed to establish a national child care system, help from older relatives is more important than ever.

Why does the minister refuse to recognize the important contributions that immigrant seniors make to our communities?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, there is not an immigration minister on this side of the House who has not stood up and ensured that we are up and working hard for seniors in this country. When we look at the averages over the last number of years, we are accepting new Canadians whether they are young or old.

What I would appreciate, while we are working through this process at the citizenship and immigration committee and while the minister is making the determination on how we deal with backlogs, that members would participate in a way that is meaningful and is helpful, rather than just sitting on the other side of the House and criticizing.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week our government delivered on a long-standing promise to farmers by introducing the marketing freedom for grain farmers act. Unfortunately, factions allied with the old Canadian Wheat Board guard are working to destroy the rural economy of the Prairies by opposing our bill. The actions being taken by these people and CWB chair Allen Oberg are disrupting what farmers need most, market certainty.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board explain how our government is improving the entire grain supply chain?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the marketing freedom for grain farmers act takes direct action to improve rail access for farmers and to provide market certainty.

First, the bill would guarantee farmers' rights to producer cars under the Canadian Grain Commission. Second, our government is implementing the rail freight service review. We are appointing a facilitator to improve those commercial relationships. Most important, this legislation would allow farmers the freedom to make their own shipping and marketing decisions.

Unfortunately, there are organizations in western Canada that have stood in the way of progress for years. It is no surprise they would be taking action and standing once again against the best interests of western Canadian producers.

However, our government is bringing marketing freedom to western Canadian farmers whether the opposition likes that or not.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to plead the case of a lady who has been waiting two months for her employment insurance. She has been diagnosed with cancer. She is physically and emotionally exhausted, and now she is broke. Yesterday, she spent three hours phoning the Service Canada 800 number, only to get busy signals. When she finally got through, the agent told her that the office workload was unbearable.

I am sure the minister will commit to looking into this specific case. However, does she not see that the 600 jobs she is carving out of the Service Canada EI processing centres is making a bad situation impossible?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey
Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the government sympathizes with that mother who is diligently fighting with cancer. Each case is assessed based on the current legislation and the payment of benefits. These will be evaluated for each individual situation.

Our government is currently reviewing the legislation to ensure the needs of Canadians are properly met under the program. We are modernizing, and there will be no Service Canada offices closing and no impact on in-person services offered.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, Goulard Lumber in Sturgeon Falls is losing its Quebec-based customers, who are now buying cheaper lumber from Maine. Why? Because the black liquor subsidy from the U.S. government lets them undercut the price of Canadian producers.

Like other companies across Canada, Goulard Lumber is not getting a fair deal from a government that worships free trade. When will the government adopt a forestry strategy that puts Canadians first and supports our communities?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that our focus is the Canadian economy and creating jobs and economic growth. That is why we have taken unprecedented investments to support Canada's forestry industry. It has created results. More than 13,000 jobs have been created in the forestry sector. We have a 600% increase, for example, in softwood exports to China alone.

Our government is going to continue to support the forestry sector across Canada. It is an important part of continuing the economic growth that we have in this country.

International Trade
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that our government's top priority remains completing the economic recovery and creating jobs. With one in five Canadian jobs dependent on trade, a trade agreement with the European Union has the potential to benefit Canada enormously. These benefits include a 20% boost in bilateral trade, almost 80,000 new jobs, and an extra $1,000 for the average Canadian family.

Could the parliamentary secretary please give the House an update on the status of our trade negotiations with the European Union?

International Trade
Oral Questions

Noon

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Etobicoke Centre for his support for our job-creating pro-trade plan.

Yesterday we announced the wrap-up of the ninth round of the comprehensive economic trade agreement with the European Union. The benefits from this trade agreement will be substantial. The hon. member mentioned them all: a 20% boost in bilateral trade, 80,000 new jobs, and nearly $1,000 on average per Canadian family.

As we have done throughout negotiations, our government will continue to vigorously defend Canadian interests to ensure that this agreement--

International Trade
Oral Questions

Noon

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

Human Rights
Oral Questions

Noon

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the urgency of getting the Commonwealth to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. Remember, in 41 of 54 member states, being gay is still illegal. The Prime Minister of Britain and the Australian foreign minister have now spoken out strongly saying this issue must be on the agenda for the Commonwealth heads of government meeting.

Will the minister now make the same clear commitment and ensure that these basic human rights are a priority at the Commonwealth meetings next week in Perth?

Human Rights
Oral Questions

Noon

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, human rights will be front and centre at the Commonwealth summit next week in Perth, Australia. We will be considering the adoption of the report by the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, on which Senator Hugh Segal assisted, with nine other leaders in the Commonwealth.

The rights of gays and lesbians are tremendously important. It is completely unacceptable that homosexuality continues to be criminalized in a majority of Commonwealth countries. We will certainly take that issue to the summit.