House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want old age security to be there for today's seniors and for future generations. We are changing the program to keep it sustainable. Nothing will change for people who are already receiving benefits. We will begin to gradually raise the retirement age in 2023 to ensure that the program remains available to all Canadians who need it.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, we understand that the minister is trying to justify the government's actions, but we would also like her to try to answer the question.

If the Conservatives are so bent on destroying old age security, they could have introduced a separate bill and taken the time to explain to MPs and seniors advocacy groups why they want to steal their money. At the very least they should have analyzed these changes thoroughly and publicly instead of hiding them in the middle of a 425-page bill. Old age security is too important a part of our social safety net to be sabotaged so negligently.

Does this government realize how irresponsible its approach is?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the old age security system is very important to us. It is one of the foundations of the social security system for our seniors. That is why we want to safeguard it, which means gradually increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67, starting in 2023. In addition, we are going to give seniors the choice of receiving more money if they want to wait longer for it. They will have that choice.

The Environment
Oral Questions

June 11th, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, this budget bill will allow mining and pipeline projects to move forward without proper consultation. The Conservatives are reducing the right to participate in environmental assessments, limiting that privilege to those directly affected. The minister refuses to clarify what that means.

Who is affected when a pipeline starts leaking? Is it just those who share the minister's opinion?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members need to quit making things up. The public is well aware that we are focusing on making the review process far more predictable and timely. They know that we are trying to reduce duplication and regulatory overlap. They know that we are working to strengthen environmental protection. They know that we are enhancing consultations with aboriginal people.

The NDP needs to get on side with us and support the bill, rather than trying to delay it and opposing it at every turn.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, as the Parliamentary Secretary knows, we only get one chance to do these projects right. Future generations are going to pay for today's mistakes. Instead of allowing a study of the bill, the Conservatives have rammed through sweeping changes to environmental protection. In one clause Conservatives create an entirely new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Now cabinet gets to overrule decisions from the National Energy Board. Politicians will decide, so there is no need for science or research or evidence.

Will the Conservatives stop their power grab and work with us to find a reasonable compromise?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, reasonable compromise was months of consultations prior to the budget coming down. It was 50 hours of consultations and hearings at the finance committee and 20 more hours of hearings at the special committee set up to study these very things. The critic herself chose not to attend most of those committee meetings after she had taken a slot on the committee, so she should not be giving us a lecture about listening to Canadians.

We have heard from Canadians. They support this budget. They want to go ahead with it. They want jobs and economic prosperity in our country, and we aim to provide that for them.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this weekend for the first time every Inuit publicly protested. They wanted to draw Canadians' attention to the high prices for food in Nunavut and across the north: $15 for a small bag of apples and the same for a 2-litre carton of milk.

After Conservatives replaced the food mail program with the nutrition north program, people saw their food budgets increase. Will the Conservatives admit the nutrition north program needs fixing and find a way to correct their mistakes?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Kenora
Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. Of course we are committed to providing northerners with safe, secure and healthy food choices at affordable prices at the point of purchase in their communities. In consultation with northerners, retailers and suppliers, we created an advisory board made up of northerners to take stakeholders' concerns and provide recommendations to the government as this program develops. We have northerners' concerns in mind, which is why we even support safe and secure traditional foods, and important items like baby food and formula are subsidized.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, that just does not cut it. The Conservatives have boasted for years about their northern strategy and have promised investments to promote social development in the north, but on one of the most fundamental aspects, food, their approach is failing Canadians who live in these remote communities.

The problem with nutrition north is that while subsidies were supposed to help food prices go down, consumers have no idea where the savings are. Will the Conservatives commit to making the program more transparent?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Kenora
Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, if the member actually had isolated and remote communities in her riding, as I do—more than 25—she would know that at the point of purchase, there are savings on many kinds of healthy food. Nutrition north is bringing fresh, healthy food to northern homes. The program allows for a new, market-driven model that is sustainable, efficient, cost-effective and transparent. It means bringing safe, secure and healthy food to northerners at affordable prices.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, last month, I met with the UN special rapporteur to discuss the outrageous and prohibitive food prices in communities like Kashechewan, Attawapiskat and Fort Albany. The health minister had a chance to show real leadership, but instead she led this embarrassing attack on the United Nations. The government knows to ship Timbits to Kandahar but has no idea about how to get fresh milk to Attawapiskat.

It is a simple question. Instead of attacking the United Nations, will the minister stand to admit that she has blown this file and that the government has no plan to help communities in the Far North?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Kenora
Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, northerners asked for a program that focused on healthy foods and traditional foods and on making them safe, secure and affordable at the point of purchase, which is a major renovation from the food mail program. We did consult--

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor. I would like to hear him finish the answer.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.