House of Commons Hansard #142 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

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the NDP for applauding me. I really appreciate it.

Would the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism tell the House why the NDP is wrong for thinking that failed asylum claimants deserve better health care coverage than Canadian taxpayers, including our seniors who fund these very same benefits?

Health
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. Canada and Canadians are proud of our tradition of humanitarian protection for refugees. We resettle one out of every ten resettled refugees worldwide. We are increasing the support we give them through the refugee assistance program. We are increasing the number of resettled refugees who we accept. However, when false asylum claimants come here and they have had the benefit of our fair and generous legal system and their claims are found to be unfounded, they should not be receiving taxpayer funded health care benefits that are better than those available to taxpaying Canadians.

Yes, we have a humanitarian obligation to protect people but we also need to treat all Canadians equally.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the more hearings there are before the Military Police Complaints Commission, the more examples we hear about inadequate assistance being provided by National Defence to soldiers and their families, as was the case with Corporal Langridge. The corporal admitted to having suicidal thoughts, but no one would help him. He should have been placed under preventive monitoring, but instead he was told to go back to work as though everything were fine.

Why does the minister refuse, despite these revelations, to submit all documents to the commission?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this is a very tragic case that is working its ways through the Military Police Complaints Commission, a process that we have not only funded through the regular budget but have given additional funding so the Fynes family could have independent counsel. There are issues, of course, of solicitor-client privilege that are well established by the courts, just as privilege here in the House of Commons is there to protect communications.

This case will be decided by the Military Police Complaints Commission in a fair and arm's-length process. It is unfortunate that members in this place have chosen to politicize this very tragic case.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister referred to solicitor-client privilege as justification for refusing to hand over all documents. He said that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled repeatedly on the issue of solicitor-client privilege.

Who is the client in this case? It is the Minister of National Defence himself.

The Supreme Court has never issued a ruling ordering a minister of the Crown to stop investigations that are in the public interest. So why is the minister hiding behind an excuse that simply does not hold water?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. Who ruled on this issue?

I will quote for the hon. member what Mr. Justice Binnie of the Supreme Court of Canada said in the blood case in 2008. He was crystal clear, to use the Leader of the Opposition's phrase, “Solicitor-client privilege is fundamental to the proper functioning of our legal system”. That is in fact the case.

While I am on my feet, I hope the House will allow me to express, on behalf of all members present and all Canadians, our prayers and thoughts for Matthew Schuman who was very critically injured in a shooting in Edmonton last week. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

National Defence
Oral Questions

June 18th, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister's own lawyers at the Military Policy Complaints Commission have admitted that the department is withholding documents and have said that it is not willing to give them up. However, it is the minister who is the client and it is up to him to waive the privilege and release the information. The Department of National Defence has delivered a board of inquiry report to Ms. Fynes that blamed her for her son's suicide.

Does the minister not feel any sense of accountability for this? Why does he continue to make excuses?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Well, Mr. Speaker, there he goes again talking about evidence in an ongoing hearing here on the floor of the House of Commons. He is a lawyer. He knows better. He knows that Parliament has been unequivocal in expressing its support for the Military Police Complaints Commission and its support for privilege, as have the courts. He knows this full well. This is interference on his part now. He is trying to drag this out under privilege here in the House of Commons. It is quite ironic, does everyone not think?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, this is what it has come to: a minister who is refusing to release legal documents and who denies the facts as they have been presented to the commission. He will not even admit that this family has been abused by the system, and now he is hiding behind a legal principle that he knows does not prevent him from releasing the information.

Has he no shame? Why can he not do the right thing in the interest of fairness?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Imagine, Mr. Speaker, hiding behind the Supreme Court of Canada in a long-held solicitor-client privilege precedent.

We have co-operated with the Military Police Complaints Commission. We have provided additional funding in this very tragic case. I have met personally with Ms. Sheila Fynes on this issue. This is a very tragic case involving an individual who took his own life.

What is very disturbing is that the hon. member and others seem prepared to make this matter political. He is becoming Parliament's ambulance chaser.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, health care workers in lab coats and ordinary Canadians are unified across Canada today denouncing the government's decision to strip refugees of much of their health benefits, including insulin and emergency surgery.

An Afghan man who worked for the Canadian military in Kandahar before resettling his family here in Canada as government sponsored refugees now says, “I need to decide if my kids should suffer hunger or let my wife go without her medicines”.

How can the government turn its back on the core Canadian values of compassion and caring?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the member has it all wrong. The reality is that, under our reformed interim federal health program, resettled refugees will receive the same comprehensive health insurance that all Canadian permanent residents receive from their provincial governments. What they will not receive are supplementary benefits that Canadians do not get.

Canadians have told us that they do not think they should be forced to pay through their taxes for supplementary benefits for refugees that Canadians, including low-income Canadians, do not get.

What is it that the member does not understand about basic fairness? Yes, all Canadians should get quality basic health care but we should not be choosing refugees alone to get taxpayer funded supplementary benefits, and we stand by that.

Privacy Rights
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, we learned over the weekend about microphones being installed to record conversations at Ottawa airport, as well as others. Canadians are right to be concerned about their own privacy.

My question is for the Minister of Public Safety. Before I ask the question, I would like to remind him that in no way am I on the side of any terrorist cell or child pornographer, so I will continue with it.

According to his statements earlier, the minister only read from his website but I would like him to answer specifically. Will he refer this issue to the privacy commissioner and to the proper parliamentary committee for scrutiny?

Privacy Rights
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the privacy rights of law-abiding Canadians are respected at all times. I would indicate that two years ago Justice Major completed the Air India report and made certain recommendations about protecting air travellers and the country of Canada. If the member wants the privacy commissioner to look at any practices inside the CBSA in this respect, I would invite him to make that request. I do not think CBSA has anything to hide.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, we cannot put a price on a human life. Today, the NDP is supporting the cause of thousands of doctors and refugees across the country who are condemning the Conservatives' irresponsible cuts to the refugee health program. These cuts are putting lives and public health at risk. Doctors are worried about the additional long-term costs.

Will the minister listen to the medical community and reverse these careless and dangerous cuts?