House of Commons Hansard #214 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was municipalities.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance fund is paid into by honest Canadian workers so it is there when they lose their job and cannot find a job in their region. A million and a half Canadians collect from that fund every year. It is the government's legal responsibility. The Auditor General and others will insist that we take all necessary steps to ensure that those who are entitled to the money are the ones who get the money. When people who are not entitled to the money get the money, the only losers are the unemployed and the workers who paid in, and we are determined to protect their interests.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that the Prime Minister has not denied that bigger bonuses will be going to the system managers thanks to the work of inspectors in the provinces, particularly provinces where the government is looking for so-called problems.

The question remains. These inspections are happening for no reason. Bonuses are being paid, and that is part of the government's agenda.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a legal responsibility to ensure that the employment insurance fund is being used by people who are truly unemployed. Unfortunately, every year, illegal or inappropriate payments are made. It is our responsibility to make sure that those who really are out of work receive their benefits. It is our responsibility to protect the workers who have paid into the fund for their protection.

Government Advertising
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the same time that we continue to read in the estimates with respect to the cuts that are being made in front line programs, in foreign aid programs, in foreign affairs budgets, we now see that the CIC is increasing its advertising budget by $4 million, the Department of Finance is increasing its advertising budget by nearly $7 million and the Department of Natural Resources is increasing its advertising budget by $4.5 million compared to the mains of last year.

How can the Prime Minister justify again this double standard where front line services are being cut but propaganda is being increased?

Government Advertising
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, those front line services are not being cut. What is being done is ensuring that the people of Canada are aware of the programs and services that are available to them. This Parliament votes billions of dollars every year of taxpayer money for the benefit of the people of Canada. It is up to us to ensure they are aware of the services and the programs they can use to better their own lives.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when I asked the Minister of Public Safety if he would meet with chiefs on the issue of first nations police funding, he told the House that he had already been doing so. Today, chiefs from Quebec and Labrador have confirmed that he has not met with a single one of these chiefs whose tripartite funding agreements expire March 31.

Therefore, let us try again with the minister. Will he meet with these chiefs who are here today, seeking assurance that their police services can continue to operate after March 31, and will he agree to negotiate new arrangements for stable, long-term funding for first nations policing, yes or no?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, policing is primarily a provincial responsibility. The federal government has long invested in first nations policing to help keep communities safe. In fact, I am having discussions with a number of chiefs this very afternoon on that very topic.

A funding decision itself will be made in the near future. Spending on first nations policing has increased substantially under this government, as opposed to the actions of that member when he was on municipal council, cutting policing in his own community.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Conservatives presented the cuts that will be in the next budget . VIA Rail will be cut by $290 million, Infrastructure Canada will be cut by $1.8 billion and the Canada Revenue Agency will have its budget cut at a time when basic tax services for Canadians are being slashed.

Which organization will see a budget increase? The Senate, of course.

Why are they giving more to their friends, who are under investigation, and cutting services provided to honest Canadians?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the matters referred to by the member opposite are budget matters. The budget is being prepared now. We are working hard to get it ready. I look forward to being able to announce the date for the budget in a while.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will see if get any accountability on that this year.

Let us continue with the estimates: $1.1 billion cut from infrastructure; Transport Canada cut almost 30%. However, at the same time, the unaccountable, unelected Senate actually increased.

The senior bureaucrat to the President of the Treasury Board is now saying she should have the right to vet PBO reports.

Why are Conservatives trying to seize power over the PBO? Why are they hiding from real fiscal accountability?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House look forward to the process that is entrain right now to get a non-partisan, credible person as the parliamentary budget officer.

I would only say that the deputy minister, the secretary to the Treasury Board, who the hon. member referred to, was doing her job to correct some inaccurate information that the Parliamentary Budget Officer was in fact purveying. Her job is to correct the record, to give the PBO the facts that he requires. That is a good exchange of information and points of view.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have decided to further diminish Canada's influence in the world. The estimates show that there will be hundreds of millions of dollars in cutbacks at CIDA and Foreign Affairs. The Conservatives will be terminating a peace and security program that operates in such places as Colombia, Haiti and the Congo.

Why are the Conservatives bent on getting rid of our tools for conflict prevention and peacekeeping, one of our best global investments?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to report to the House that Canada is meeting all of its international development commitments. We are spending significant amounts of money to help pull people out of poverty. Canadians can be tremendously proud of the leadership of this government, the leadership of the Prime Minister, particular on the newborn and child maternal health initiative, an initiative that is achieving some of the best results of any international development mechanism anywhere, and it all comes from Canadian leadership.

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the first anniversary of the deadly train crash in Burlington. An automatic braking system would have prevented this tragedy. The Transport Safety Board has been recommending this positive train control be made mandatory, just like in the United States.

Instead of making safety a priority, why is the Conservative government cutting VIA Rail's funding by more than half?

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our thoughts remain with the families of the victims who lost their lives. It is a shame that the opposition member is playing politics on the anniversary of this tragic accident.

Where there is a clear safety benefit, our government will not hesitate to take action. We are monitoring the implementation of positive train control in the United States, but it is currently experiencing technical challenges that will likely delay the implementation, and we are following that.