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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was columbia.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member actually believes the litany of things he has just said, I encourage him to go outside and say those things to the press. I ask him to have the guts to make those allegations outside this House, free from parliamentary immunity.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, rumours are flying outside of the House in the coffee chatter circuit. Rumours are flying around Ottawa about who will be the next immigration minister. The member for Beaches—East York and the member for Parkdale—High Park both have been rumoured to be the next minister of immigration.

The immigration department is directionless, as the current minister spends all her time in damage control. Liberal caucus unity is in disarray, as members openly campaign for the job.

When will the Prime Minister put an end to this uncertainty, put some order and discipline back into his own caucus, and appoint a new minister of immigration?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, the hon. member should spend a lot less time on the cocktail circuit and a whole lot more time working on behalf of his constituents and discharging his responsibilities as a member of Parliament.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign, the government announced that the parental leave issue had been resolved.

What is the explanation for the fact that what should have been a few formalities have not been finalized seven months later? This is not the best example of efficiency we have seen.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I previously stated in the House, I am not in the habit of negotiating with the opposition on a very serious matter.

We are in the midst of very sensitive negotiations, and we are hoping for a positive conclusion.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question of parental leave has dragged on for a long time and young parents in Quebec are the ones who are suffering.

How can he explain that seven months after a pre-election agreement in principle, we are still waiting? Will it take another election campaign to reach a resolution?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the same question deserves the same answer.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question will be coming up often because it never gets answered.

In the days following the end of this session of Parliament, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities will present its report on the amendments the government should make to the employment insurance system.

Does the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development intend to analyze this report as quickly as possible in order for this House to begin work on this necessary and urgent reform as soon as we return in January? He could draw inspiration from the bills the Bloc has already proposed to make changes in the system.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have already proposed suggestions. I am studying them right now. I still have great respect for the committees of this House and I will await the tabling of the subcommittee's report before making comments or talking about the conclusion.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not complicated. The question is just whether or not he will respond quickly to the report.

Every time we question the minister on the need for an in-depth review of EI, he talks about jobs that have been created and the health of the economy. Does the minister not understand that the people we are talking about are are facing factory closures, have seasonal work, and need to have improvements made to EI.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have said I am always open to suggestions that will improve the system. Still, over the past 10 years, in the current system, we have created 3 million jobs. Even in the first 9 months of this year—we have verified this—there were 39,000 new jobs in Quebec, as well. Across the country, the economy is working and working well, thanks to the system we already have in place.

Citizenship and ImmigrationsOral Question Period

December 13th, 2004 / 2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Forseth Conservative New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the immigration system is broken. It seems the minister has compassion for cases that might help her politically, yet the minister or the system cannot help real refugees.

The credibility of the minister is in shreds. The minister apparently had no compassion for the young lady whom I brought to her attention last week. She now has been deported, subsequently jailed and abused in Iran, just I like I warned her.

When will the minister protect real refugees instead of queue jumpers?

Citizenship and ImmigrationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a very proud record with regard to refugees. The hon. member also knows that the minister is not allowed to speak about individual cases in the House because it is against the privacy laws. Each case is always judged on its merits.

Citizenship and ImmigrationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gurmant Grewal Conservative Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister has shown her complete contempt for the hundreds of thousands of legitimate refugees and immigrants waiting in the immigration backlog. Rather than fast tracking skilled immigrants, the minister expedites the applications for strippers and campaign workers.

The minister should spend less time dishing out political favours and more time on fixing the visitor visa mess, cleaning up fraud at our overseas missions, and reducing family class waiting times.

When will she admit that the jig is up and resign?

Citizenship and ImmigrationsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the minister has said repeatedly that she is dealing with the Citizenship Act. The committee has dealt with it. We have talked about reviewing the whole refugee system in spite of the fact that we are proud of how we deal with refugees abroad.

We always listen to members in the House. The system needs fine tuning and it could be better. We are working with committees and with members from both sides of the House to do exactly that.

MarriageOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on CPAC the government House leader and a senior government minister took the position that civil servants, such as justices of the peace or marriage commissioners, should lose their jobs if they fail to take part in same sex marriages on the basis of religious or conscientious beliefs.

Is the minister's position the position of the Liberal government? Is the real agenda of the Liberal government to make the proposed marriage legislation an attack on religious and conscientious freedoms of ordinary citizens?

MarriageOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court, which is the decision we will follow, explicitly and manifestly protects freedom of religion in all its respects.

MarriageOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, is the minister's position that anyone who does not take part in the religious ceremony or performs a religious service on the basis of religious freedom will likely get fired? Will he take steps to ensure that these rights are protected and that no individuals will lose their job because they insist on their rights and freedoms?

MarriageOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court judgment was explicit that no religious official will be compelled to perform a same sex marriage. We will be working with our provincial counterparts to ensure that freedom of religion is fully protected.

Government ProgramsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, as everybody knows, accountability for how well we spend our citizens' money is very important. I understand Treasury Board will soon be considering an accountability framework for every government department. Will the minister ensure that the accountability frameworks include a gender based analysis to ensure we are delivering programs equally well for men and women?

Government ProgramsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members may know from the report I tabled with the budget, we are moving to a management accountability framework that is designed to hold deputies and senior executives accountable for results, not simply for processes. They will be judged according to their success on delivering on a range of indicators, including gender equity.

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been appalled by the Liberal government's sponsorship fund scandal. Now we are learning about the suspicious handling of the Liberals' millennium fund, including improper documentation and a potentially politicized approvals process.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Some $500,000 was earmarked for an internal audit of the millennium fund. Was the audit done? If so, where is it? If not, why not?

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I answered this question last week. In fact, the millennium program worked extremely well. It was run by a former deputy prime minister of the House, the Right Hon. Herb Gray, who served Canadians extraordinarily well through almost four decades of public service. As a tribute to this fine Canadian, I reject the premise of the hon. member's question.

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, without its promised internal audit or program review, there is no evidence that this program met its goals, no evidence that the money was properly spent, and no proof that this was anything more than another Liberal slush fund.

The Prime Minister has claimed that he will lead a more transparent and accountable government. Will the Deputy Prime Minister ask the Auditor General to look into the millennium fund or should we simply cut out this middle step and send it directly to Justice Gomery to sort out?

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, an independent millennium bureau actually oversaw the work of the program. It was led by the Right Hon. Herb Gray. The program worked well, supporting community based celebrations across Canada.

In fact, the program does not need to be reviewed now as it is over because the last millennium is over. If the hon. member was not aware of that, I am glad to inform him of that.

Through the millennium program the Government of Canada was proud to help Canadians from coast to coast to coast celebrate the closure of the last millennium at the dawn of an exciting new one.