House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Food Inspection Agency
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, in a report on its ranking of countries, the OECD said, “Canada is one of the best-performing countries in the 2010 Food Safety Performance World Ranking study. Its overall grade was superior, earning it a place among the top-tier countries.”

Every time we have taken measures to enhance and improve our food safety system, the opposition has voted against those measures.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will be negatively impacted by the callous termination of the community access program, which in Guelph alone provided support for 34 public computers.

The cut will affect hundreds of thousands across Canada, especially in rural communities and particularly those most in need, who use these computers daily to look for jobs, access government websites or do research, because the cost of a computer or Internet access is not affordable for everyone.

Will the government please reverse its ill-conceived decision to terminate the community access program?

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the community access program was launched in 1995 and has successfully met its objectives.

The vast majority of Canadians are now connected to the Internet at home, while many more have access through their mobile devices. By this summer, more than 98% of Canadian households will have access to basic broadband service.

Federal funding will continue to support youth internships at community Internet sites, and this will provide young Canadians with vital skills and work experience needed to make a successful transition to the workplace, while contributing to job creation.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the government recently announced changes to the veterans independence program to provide for upfront grants for grass cuttings, snow removal, and housekeeping services.

My question for the minister is this: will these payments be subject to income tax?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse
Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear the hon. member acknowledge that 100,000 veterans are now going to benefit from a simple payment method, which will decrease the amount of paperwork for our veterans. Indeed, the same conditions will apply and our veterans will receive a payment twice a year, which will eliminate millions of transactions. We will continue to reduce paperwork for veterans.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's addiction to temporary foreign workers is bad for our communities and bad for our economy.

In order to pander to their large corporate friends, the Conservatives are moving to massively speed up the hiring of hundreds and thousands of temporary foreign workers. This makes no sense, especially since Canada's youth unemployment rate is a staggering 14%—

Employment
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Newton—North Delta has the floor.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's youth unemployment rate is a staggering 14%.

Why are the Conservatives exploiting foreign workers to drive down wages right here in Canada?

Employment
Oral Questions

April 26th, 2012 / 2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question is entirely false. The question itself is absolutely outrageous.

The reality is that there are large and acute growing labour shortages in many regions and industries in this country where employers actively seek to recruit Canadians to fill jobs that must be filled to do the necessary work, but qualified Canadians do not apply. When that happens, the businesses have a choice: either they go overseas to do their work, go out of business, or access people from abroad who must be paid at the prevailing Canadian regional wage. They are governed according to the same rules and protections as all Canadian workers.

That is not about exploitation; it is about opportunity both for overseas workers and Canadian industry.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Conservatives, the NDP is in favour of a fair system for foreign workers and our youth.

With the plan proposed by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, foreign workers will be paid 15% less than Canadians for equal work. The Conservatives want to exploit foreign workers, and this will lead to reduced wages for all Canadian workers.

Is this irresponsible and reckless measure part of the Conservatives' economic inaction plan for the 1.4 million Canadians who are unemployed?

Employment
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. The reality is that, even in Quebec, there are labour shortages in several industries and several regions.

The member raises a good question: why do we have a youth unemployment rate of 14% in an economy that has hundreds of thousands of jobs available? There is a labour shortage. It is clearly a problem.

Should we tell businesses to shut down and close their doors, or should we help them to attract people from abroad who are eager to come to Canada, to work and contribute to our economy and, yes, at the same wage level as Canadians?

Health
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I was pleased to hear the government announce reforms to the health care benefit packages received by asylum seekers. I know that many of my own hard-working, taxpaying constituents have raised concerns in past years about the inequality of such services. They have, in fact, pointed out occasionally that Canadian seniors did not have access to the generous benefits received by asylum seekers. Would the minister please explain to the House what these reforms are, exactly?

Health
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately many Canadians realized that there was a terrible inequality in that we were giving better health benefits to asylum seekers, including fake asylum seekers and illegal migrants who arrived in smuggling operations, than we were giving to hard-working, taxpaying Canadian citizens.

That is not right, which is why yesterday we announced changes to the interim federal health program for asylum claimants to say that the benefits they get will be no more generous than the health benefits that are available to taxpaying Canadian citizens. We want to indicate to asylum seekers that they will get essential care until their claim is rejected, in which case we expect them to respect our laws and leave Canada.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, a responsible government would not put the health and safety of its citizens at risk. The Conservative government chose to make massive cuts of $56 million to food inspection and $68 million to the Public Health Agency, thus compromising food safety and endangering Canadian lives. Three cabinet ministers in the current federal government were in Mr. Harris's Ontario cabinet when massive public health and environmental cuts caused the tragic Walkerton incident.

Surely they warned the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food against his dangerous decision. Why did he not listen?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, as I have mentioned already today, Canada is recognized around the world for having a superior food safety system. Our cost-saving measures do not reduce food safety. In fact, in this last budget we put aside $50 million to enhance our food safety system. The opposition has already voted against that $50 million, but the budget implementation bills will be in front of Parliament very shortly. They have the opportunity to now vote for this increased funding for food safety.