House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has made it clear that we will protect our seniors. We also intend to protect future generations. As I just said, the opposition wants to frighten seniors but our government will ensure that seniors are protected now and in the future.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's position seems to be, “We want to protect old age security and that is why we are cutting it”. That is the logic of what the Conservatives are saying. It is preposterous.

The Prime Minister, I am sure, understands that when qualifying for old age security at 65, that then qualifies people for the guaranteed income supplement. That then qualifies people for a provincial drug card, which then provides them access to municipal benefits and other provincial benefits. It also affects every private sector pension arrangement or retirement arrangement.

Does the Prime Minister not understand that in speculating about raising the age past 65 to 66 and 67, he is causing great difficulty for the most vulnerable citizens?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of the hon. member's question. This government has made it very clear that we will protect all of the benefits that go to seniors today. A senior will not lose a single penny, no one near retirement. What we are dealing with is people far off in the future who are very worried about their income security because they understand the pressures we are under. We are going to ensure the system protects them as well.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is basically saying, “We are going to protect the system by cutting access to it”. That is what he is saying. He cannot deny it.

He is not only dumping on the most vulnerable senior citizens, including women who are going to be qualifying for old age security who get their old age pensions, he is also dumping on the provinces, dumping on municipalities, creating a cascade of injustice because of a totally manufactured crisis on his side. It is a well known neo-conservative tactic that the Prime Minister is engaging in. I can tell him we are not going to put up with it and neither are the Canadian people. They will not accept it.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, even the Globe and Mail has said that the leader of the Liberal Party is fearmongering, and that is before all the nonsense we just heard.

The fact is it is very rich for a Liberal leader to talk about offloading costs to the provinces. That was the party that did record cuts. In order to balance the budget, it slashed education and health care funding to the provinces. This government has made sure that we are keeping our financial health, while preserving important transfers to our provinces—

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

February 1st, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect a just resolution to the Attawapiskat crisis, but the minister prefers to punish the community. It has been two months since he has cut off all the funding to the education system and to students. He has cut off the funding that is needed to actually prepare the site so the modular homes can be brought in. We have a technical team on the ground from De Beers that is waiting to bring this story to a conclusion, but the third party manager in Winnipeg is sitting on all the money.

Why is he treating this desperately poor community like a hostage?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, all of the statements that were just made are all basically fabrications. They do not reflect the truth. We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of the people of Attawapiskat.

In terms of the third party manager, that is a matter before the courts and it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is inappropriate that a man has decided to punish the most desperately poor community by cutting off funding to children who are in ramshackle portables. Meanwhile he has hired a third-party manager to sponge off their backs to the tune of $50,000, while the technical team from De Beers does not have a dime to prepare the homes. These are Canadian citizens. They should not be treated like a hostage population. He has to stand and explain his attack on this community.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, this is a very simple question. We have a manager in place and he wants to work with the first nations leadership in the community. He has asked for and not received the information he needs in order to pay the bills for which the member for Timmins is asking.

Government Services
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, either this government is incompetent, or it is on a mission to destroy people's quality of life. I think it might be both.

Unemployment is on the rise, the economy is foundering, the deficit is growing, banks and oil companies are paying less tax, and the government wants to slash haphazardly at services that help the most vulnerable members of our society without even considering the repercussions. The Conservatives need a reality check. Will this government commit to maintaining the services that are essential to our fellow citizens' well-being?

Government Services
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we always try to make sure that people get their benefits as quickly as possible. That can be hard sometimes, so that is why we are upgrading the system.

We want to verify the accuracy to ensure people can get the cheques they need, the ones they are entitled to, just as quickly as possible.

Government Services
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, they still have a lot of work to do.

I am glad that the minister brought up the subject of benefits because I have a little story to tell. A Montreal woman waited four months for her employment insurance application to be processed. That is much longer than the 28 days the Conservatives promise on their website. Frankly, that is disgraceful.

How many other families struggling with unemployment are suffering right now because they cannot count on receiving a cheque? In real life, nobody has four months' salary hidden in a sock or under a mattress at home.

What does the minister have to say to people who are wondering if they will ever get the benefits to which they are entitled?

Government Services
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are working as fast as we can to help people who have lost their jobs. In particularly difficult situations, members are welcome to contact me with the details so that we can find a solution as quickly as possible.

Airline Security
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, without any consultation, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities quietly changed identification requirements for security screening at airports. Airlines are now required to block transgendered Canadians from flying if their appearance does not match the gender shown on their ID. This is both discriminatory and a violation of Canadian mobility rights.

Will the minister now acknowledge and respect transgendered Canadians' rights and will the members opposite stop making light of this question and immediately rescind this regulation?