House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was suicide.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, just reannouncing their failed or misguided policies is not good enough.

Canadians are worried. Canadians are crying out for immediate action, and they want the creation of decent jobs. The government is squandering billions of dollars on fruitless corporate tax giveaways, but Canadian wages are falling in real terms, partly because of the government's failure to protect the manufacturing sector.

When will the government realize that stale reannouncements and photo ops will not save its misguided austerity strategy?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, there are many quotes that I could use from observers around the world in reaction to a question like that which is all about fear and negativity.

Let me quote Forbes magazine, and I know the NDP do not often read this, “Canada ranks No. 1 in our annual look at the Best Countries for Business”. It goes on to say, “Canada moves up from No. 4 in last year’s ranking thanks to its improved tax standing”.

Suicide Prevention
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be a very strong consensus developing in the House and in the debate, which I am sure the Prime Minister has been following today, on the issue of creating a credible national strategy to prevent suicide, which is higher in Canada than it is in most of our neighbouring countries.

The resolution is quite specific. It calls for the creation of a new fund and for the creation of a national strategy. I wonder if the Prime Minister could tell us what specific action he plans to take in response to the discussions and the vote that is coming today.

Suicide Prevention
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is obviously a very important issue. Far too many Canadian households are affected by the anguish of a suicide. As many members will know, we on this side of the House had the suicide of one of our former colleagues. We understand well the pain that this causes.

The government has taken important initiatives, such as the setting up of the Mental Health Commission and specific programs to help with suicide prevention in communities across the country. Obviously, we will look at any specific ideas to see how we can improve on this particular national health problem.

Suicide Prevention
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we were hoping for a more specific answer, but we will try again.

The government clearly has a responsibility towards our country's veterans. Between 1972 and 2006, 500 former soldiers took their own lives.

What will the Prime Minister do to ensure that there is not the same level of suicide and tragedy among the new wave of young men returning from difficult battles in Afghanistan?

Suicide Prevention
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all suicides are a tragedy for our families, and we want to prevent this from happening to our soldiers and our veterans. This is a very serious concern. We have doubled our support in this regard, but we are always prepared to look at how we can improve our performance.

Suicide Prevention
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

In the same vein, Mr. Speaker, we have the situation affecting the other large group of Canadians for whom the federal government has a very clear constitutional responsibility and that of course is the aboriginal population of the country.

The rate of suicide among young aboriginals has skyrocketed. It is high right across the board in community after community. We cannot take any pride in what is taking place. Clear action does have to be taken.

I would like to again ask the Prime Minister. Could he please take us through the measures which the government plans to take to ensure that we are leading the way in this question and not falling--

Suicide Prevention
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Suicide Prevention
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am reluctant to speak for a minister on this but I can certainly inform the House that we are well aware of this fact. That is why we do have programs that specifically look at this phenomenon in aboriginal communities and try to decide how to deal with it. Obviously, this is a complex phenomenon.

One of the things we want to do besides tackling that program directly is to ensure that we create hope and opportunity in those communities. In many parts of the country where those communities are located there is unprecedented economic opportunity and we want to ensure young aboriginal people participate in those opportunities.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

October 4th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of National Defence was jetting around in the Challenger, the Prime Minister was keeping him out of the loop on Afghanistan.

When asked if he and the Prime Minister discussed the idea of a blue ribbon panel on the war, the minister said it was not put before cabinet and admitted, “I didn't know all of the specifics”. Canadians are being asked to swallow a lot from the minister, from his jet-setting lifestyle to his judgment on over-priced fighter jets.

How can Canadians trust the minister when the Prime Minister does not even trust him with important decisions?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the overblown rhetoric, the hyperventilating from the member opposite takes away from many of the serious issues that we do discuss. These are issues like suicide and issues that relate directly to the mission in Afghanistan.

I give him great assurance that this government takes those issues very seriously and we take the issue of public finance very seriously. We make the investments that are necessary in giving the men and women of our search and rescue the proper equipment. We will continue to act in a fiscally prudent and responsible way. I would give the member the opportunity to do the same.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I still have to come back to the disconnect between the Prime Minister and his own Minister of National Defence.

Particularly on Afghanistan, reacting to the Prime Minister's 2008 announcement that all troops would be out of Afghanistan by 2011, this minister said to a journalist, and I quote: “I don't know. I heard it the same time you heard it”.

How is it that our defence minister heard about a major change in military policy through the media? How are Canadians supposed to put their trust in him when even the Prime Minister does not?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, 2008 was quite a while ago. I am surprised the member is just hearing about this now. We have, of course, extended the mission in Afghanistan and transformed it to the important training mission.

I was in Washington on Friday meeting with the secretary of defence to discuss the important role that Canada is playing there and the important contributions that Canada is making to world peace and security. We have seen that in Libya with the leadership of Lieutenant General Charlie Bouchard and as we are seeing now in Kabul and those training bases in the north of the country. These are important contributions of which all Canadians can be extremely proud.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not trust his own Minister of National Defence. He did not update the minister on important decisions being made about the war in Afghanistan. Yesterday, we learned that he kept the minister in the dark about the mission.

How can Canadians trust the Minister of National Defence when the Prime Minister himself does not trust him?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the government, the Prime Minister, the cabinet and I always work closely together towards a common goal, be it in Afghanistan, in Libya or in other places around the world. This co-operation is necessary. I hope that she has the same kind of co-operation from the NDP leadership.