House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rail.

Topics

Statistics Canada
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives do not realize that Statistics Canada does not even have enough money to buy newspapers.

The organization's budget has been frozen for three years. Cuts to its operating budget will total $54 million, which led the chief statistician to comment that this will be a year of sacrifices.

The Conservatives like to control the numbers—that was evident in the F-35 file—but they cannot control the results of an objective survey. They want to cut Statistics Canada's budget in order to have more control over the message.

Statistics Canada
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we were given a strong economic mandate on May 2. What Canadians expect is responsible and effective management of public funds.

Statistics Canada, like all other government agencies, identified potential savings. Our job is to ensure that these efficiencies are realized while providing top-notch service to Canadians. The majority of Canadians support this mandate.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know the Conservatives do not like using evidence in decision making but chopping Statistics Canada will not make the inconvenient facts go away.

However, the government's reckless cuts are marching on. The Conservatives are now shutting down the joint emergency preparedness program and have cut all funding for training courses at the Canadian Emergency Management College. This will leave many local emergency workers without the training and critical equipment they need to respond to everything from earthquakes to chemical spills.

Why are the Conservatives making cuts that could spell disaster for small communities that rely on these programs to train their emergency preparedness workers?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, most emergencies in Canada are local in nature and are managed by municipalities at the provincial or territorial level. Public Safety Canada works with all of the local organizations in order to coordinate that.

We are not putting Canadians' safety at risk. Indeed, we continue to enhance it in various ways.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, we asked the government how much money it was going to save as a result of the proposed change to the old age security program.

The government is refusing to give us that information and is saying that the chief actuary will give members the information after the budget implementation bill is passed and not before.

Why is the government hiding this information about old age security? Canadians have the right to know.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that our government is going to ensure that there is an old age security program for future generations. That is exactly what we are doing. It is very important to understand that the population is aging. Right now, there are four workers contributing to the OAS for every retiree, but soon there will be only two. That is why we have to make changes.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is still no answer. Under the law, the government must tell MPs how much a bill will cost before a vote. Last year, the Conservatives were found in contempt of Parliament because they failed to do that and now they are doing it again.

Canadians know how much the changes in OAS will cost them personally. Why will the Conservatives not say how much the OAS changes will save the treasury? Is it because the numbers show that the experts are right, that there is no sustainability problem with OAS as it stands now and that we do not need to increase the age to 67?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked how much it would cost individuals. For anyone who is currently collecting old age security benefits and anyone who is near retirement, it will not cost them a cent. There will not be any change for them.

However, if we want to ensure that future generations have access to any OAS at all, we do need to make changes, and that is exactly what we will do. The Chief Actuary agrees with us and even the PBO agreed with us several months ago.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to the Commissioner of Official Languages, last year's staffing process for the position of Auditor General did not take into account the language requirements.

Candidates on the list—

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. I believe there is a technical problem with the interpretation.

Is that better?

Could the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier start over?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

May 1st, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, that appears to support my point very well.

According to the Commissioner of Official Languages, last year's staffing process for the position of Auditor General did not take into account the language requirements.

Candidates on the short list and the candidate who was eventually recommended were to be bilingual upon taking up the position, not become bilingual afterwards.

Will the Conservative government start the process over again and respect the law this time?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we will certainly protect the French fact throughout Canada, respect the Official Languages Act and always seek out candidates who have the qualities that are very important to Canada for positions and appointments.

We are talking about the Auditor General in this case. I am certain that the opposition is satisfied with the quality of his work to date. I am certain that the opposition will be satisfied with the process that we will continue to use to look for talented, bilingual men and women for important positions in Canada.

Canada Revenue Agency
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, new charges have been laid against three individuals, including a former Canada Revenue Agency team leader, for allegedly trying to extort money from restaurant owners.

Under the Conservatives, Revenue Canada's problems keep piling up. For the past few years, the RCMP has been investigating a number of allegations of corruption, kickbacks and so forth.

That is a bit rich for a law and order government.

Can the Conservatives explain to us how they are not responsible for this?

Canada Revenue Agency
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are responsible and that is why charges have been laid. This is a very serious issue and we will not tolerate this type of misconduct. This investigation, as the entire House knows, has been ongoing for some time and, yes, charges have now been laid.

As the member opposite should know, it would not be appropriate to comment on an RCMP investigation that is ongoing or on the court proceedings. However, I can assure the House that the integrity of our tax system will be upheld by this government.

Canada Revenue Agency
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the government has been asleep at the wheel. The Canada Revenue Agency now has hundreds of cases of serious misconduct, everything from the destruction of documents to corruption. Today we learned that three former CRA employees have been charged with extortion and threatening restaurant owners. Now that charges have been laid, would the minister explain how she let this happen under her government?