House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Employment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the holidays approach, the bad news about the economy keeps piling up. Every day, more plant closures and mass layoffs are being announced. We have now learned that, next year, the Canadian economy will slow markedly and the unemployment rate may reach 8%.

What is the government doing? It is sitting back and waiting. It is reducing employment insurance services. Why is this government abandoning Canadians? My Christmas wish is for those who will not have any presents under the tree this year.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member is getting her information. In fact, Canada's economy is expected to grow modestly next year. It is expected to grow as one of the strong economies in the G7. That is what the OECD, the IMF and the rating agencies say. Fitch, which just reconfirmed Canada's rating of AAA, said:

[T]he Canadian government's demonstrated ability to put forth a credible long-term fiscal consolidation plan provides critical support for the country's 'AAA' rating. The government's commitment to eliminate the federal budget deficit...puts Canada ahead of other peers rated 'AAA'.

We are doing relatively well.

Syria
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we already heard in the House today, the deteriorating situation in Syria and sanctions being imposed on Syria by the Arab League will have a significant impact on commercial air transport. Canadians wishing to leave Syria may therefore find it increasingly difficult to make air travel arrangements if the security situation continues to deteriorate.

Given the gravity of the situation, would the Minister of Foreign Affairs please tell this House about the steps we are taking to assist Canadians leaving Syria for the sake of their own safety?

Syria
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, since October, our government has been encouraging Canadians in Syria to voluntarily leave while commercial means are still available, but we are tremendously concerned about the deteriorating situation, the violence in Syria, so today we declared a voluntary evacuation of all Canadians.

As part of this declaration, we will provide facilitated services and specialized consular support. Our team in Damascus and our embassy is available to assist Canadians in Syria, their spouses and dependent children. We encourage them to get out as soon as possible.

This government, this House and the Canadian people stand behind the people of Syria at this time of need. We will do everything we can to ensure that they achieve the same democracy and freedom that is spreading around that region, and that we enjoy here in Canada.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, another example of the Conservatives' penny-wise and pound foolish management has come to light.

Despite just having signed a long-term lease, the government has decided to shut down the Coast Guard office in Inuvik, the office for the Beaufort Sea and the western Arctic Ocean. The Coast Guard workers have to move to Iqaluit on the other side of the country or lose their jobs. This means increased costs for relocation, as well as the disruption of the lives of these workers.

How can the government say that it is a good financial manager when it makes decisions like this?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, this consolidation will have no service impact to mariners relating to the provisions of safety, communications and navigational warnings to ships at sea. Mariners will get the same level of service that they are getting today.

Most of the impacted staff are not, in fact, residents of the north. The CCG will be working with them to address impacts of the consolidation.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, this poor management will mean that mariners in the western Arctic will have to rely on the Coast Guard office in Iqaluit, nearly 3,000 kilometres and three time zones away. This is at a time when marine traffic is expected to increase in the Beaufort Sea and on the Mackenzie River. Despite having signed a long-term lease and the increased costs of relocating staff, the government is blundering ahead with a move that puts mariners at risk.

Is this the government's plan for Arctic sovereignty--to reduce service for northerners to help a single budget line?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, with today's technology, it will have no impact on the safety and the concerns of mariners. In fact, concentrating all marine communications and traffic services into one Arctic centre allows for higher flexibility for the Coast Guard to respond to Arctic shipping demands.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Isabelle Morin Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this week that the Conservative government is absolutely incapable of managing the transport of dangerous goods. The facts are alarming: inspectors report problems, but there is no follow-up to ensure that the problems are fixed. A number of companies are operating with temporary permits—some of them for over 10 years. These problems are the same ones that were identified five years ago, but the government is not taking action.

When will the government address these dangerous problems?

Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.

Transport Canada accepts the recommendation made by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. We are taking the recommendations and conclusions of the audit very seriously. We will implement a rigorous action plan in order to correct this situation.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope that Santa will at least bring the Conservatives a new tape for the new year.

Every week, on average, there are two accidents involving the transportation of dangerous goods. But once again the Conservative government is not taking these risks seriously. Its inability to take action is endangering transportation workers, first responders and our communities.

How many more years will we have to wait for the government to fulfill its obligations?

Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, speaking of new tapes, I note that the hon. member has just asked exactly the same question as his colleague.

The program we implemented for the transportation of dangerous goods works very well. Over 30 million shipments of dangerous goods are carried out every year in Canada, and 99.9999% of them are carried out without incident. Our success rate is huge, but we will follow the recommendations to improve the situation.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians travelling abroad this holiday season should know they will be abandoned if they run into any problems. Their government will not speak up for them. Their government will not defend their rights. Just ask Philip Halliday, who has been in a Spanish prison for two years waiting to clear his name, or Hank Tepper, who has been in jail in Lebanon for the past nine months over a commercial dispute.

Why is the neo-conservative government doing nothing to help? Why has it abandoned Phillip and Hank? Why will it not bring them home for Christmas?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary—Nose Hill
Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, we have consular officials working in over 150 countries to assist Canadians when they are in distress abroad. For the member at this time of year to so wrongfully and unfairly smear them is just beyond belief. I ask the member to withdraw that kind of language.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, while the five-star Minister of National Defence jets around the world, staying in hotel rooms that cost $1,400 a night, Canadian families are struggling. There will be no champagne breakfast for Newfoundland and Labrador families hit hard by the loss of jobs.

As we head into Christmas and there is a massive backlog for employment insurance, will the government finally help ordinary families? Since taxpayers have to foot the bill for luxury hotels, will the government help ordinary families and ensure that parents do not have to tell their children there will not be a Santa this Christmas?