House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the future starts now. Premier McGuinty is not the only one calling on the federal government to take a positive approach. All of the provinces want to see a different attitude from the federal government when it comes to health and consulting with the provinces in general.

Why is the government intent on maintaining this unilateral federalism that does not benefit all of Canada?

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party is talking about our approach to federalism. When the Liberals were in power, they cut health transfers to the provinces by 30%. Under our government, health transfers have increased by over 30%. That is the Conservative difference.

Health
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the recent report of the Health Council of Canada cites lack of federal leadership for the failure to establish a national pharmaceutical strategy, which is a key goal of the 2004 health accord. Yet the budget makes no mention of this critical program.

The success of the health accord depends on collaboration between the federal and provincial governments.

Will the minister stop passing the buck to the provinces and tell this house what her government will do to establish a pharmaceutical strategy?

Health
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of affordable access to drugs as part of a quality health care system, and we work with the provinces and territories, who are responsible, by the way, for deciding which drugs are publicly covered.

That is why we have consistently increased transfers to the provinces and territories by over 30% since we formed government, so they can continue to meet the health care needs of their residents.

The Budget
Oral Questions

June 8th, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his latest budget, the Minister of Finance told Canadians to expect $17 billion in cuts. The problem is that he did not bother to tell us what specific areas will be affected by these cuts. Now people are worried, and rightfully so, that they will lose services and programs that are important to them.

Can the Minister of Finance tell us where the cuts will be made? Can he promise Canadians that the programs and services they rely on will not be cut?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the member has an opportunity, he should read pages 182 and 183 of the budget document that was tabled on Monday, which outline the process for the strategic and operating review, looking at the operating expenses of government and the Government of Canada, a large organization.

A review of the operating expenses has not been done in more than 15 years. It is high time it was accomplished in order to cut out some of the fat and unnecessary spending in government.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, people have the right to know where these cuts will be made, particularly if their safety and well-being will be affected.

We learned yesterday that cuts have already been made to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. What next? Food safety, public health, airport security?

People have cause to be worried.

Can the minister assure us that none of the other cuts will affect the safety and well-being of Canadians?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the process to be undertaken will commence soon. Chaired by my colleague, the President of the Treasury Board, a special committee of cabinet will do a careful review. The committee will not slash and burn, as the Liberal government did in 1995-96 with the provinces, the territories and individuals in Canada. We will maintain the transfer payments to the provinces and territories. We will maintain the transfer payments to individuals in Canada, to seniors, to persons with disabilities. However, we will look carefully at the cost of delivering government services and productivity in government at the operating--

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for New Westminster—Coquitlam.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night, while people around the world prepared for World Oceans Day, Canadians learned that their government was planning to slash funding for the protection and conservation of fisheries and oceans. These cuts ignore our responsibility to protect the world's longest coastline. Has the government forgotten when our fisheries were brought to the brink of disaster?

Will the minister see reason and commit to cancelling the planned cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, a strategic review is an opportunity for the department to assess the performance of all of its programs. It also allows us to ensure that we are responding to the priorities of Canadians and the strong mandate that Canadians gave us. We have a responsibility to taxpayers to spend their money prudently and where it will do the most good. We must ensure that government programs are efficient, effective and achieving the expected results for Canadians. We believe that DFO is at a critical period in developing its programs and policies to meet the needs of the new fisheries and oceans management for today and the future.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is making decisions that will compromise the safety of Quebeckers. We have learned that the government will be closing maritime search and rescue centres in Quebec in order to centralize operations in Halifax. And it is all in the name of saving money instead of saving lives.

Does the minister realize that these services that protect the public are more effective when they are provided in the region where they are needed?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, we received a strong mandate from Canadians to implement our budget proposals and deficit reduction measures. The decision to close the call centre will save taxpayer dollars without impacting the safety of people while, at the same time, still providing bilingual services. New communications technologies exist that now permit search and rescue call centre employees to provide the same high-quality service from a central call centre. Existing search and rescue helicopters and vessels will remain where they are currently based.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke said last February that Newfoundlanders should look after themselves when it came to search and rescue, Canadians were shocked. No one realized that this would actually become Conservative government policy.

Closing the maritime rescue sub-centre in St. John's will endanger people's lives. Will the minister commit to reversing this dangerous decision and show he is serious about the safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, of course, safety is a primary issue when it comes to Canadians and all of the services that we provide. This call centre reduction will in no way impact the safety of Canadians and, at the same time, will provide efficiencies as well as savings of Canadian taxpayers' money.