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House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cards.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we need to look at the results of government policy over the past 10 years. The unemployment rate in Quebec, for example, dropped from 11.5% to 8.3%. This year, we have already created more jobs than in the past, including 59,000 in Quebec alone.

In my opinion, the best employment insurance is a job, employment. The government, which is creating numerous jobs, deserves to be congratulated.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

December 7th, 2004 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, following up on a motion by the Bloc Québécois, the mayors of municipalities affected by the closure of RCMP detachments in Quebec are asking the government to intervene and stop this.

Will the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness at last face up to her responsibilities and require the RCMP to continue to provide services in all these regional locations? It is a matter of serving the public. It is a matter of border safety. It is a matter of public safety.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP is concerned about public safety which is why, on a regular basis around the country, it makes decisions regarding redeployment in order to work in the most effective ways, particularly in the case of Quebec with the Sûreté du Québec. I think the hon. member is aware that the deployment of RCMP officers is an operational matter and that it would be inappropriate for me to intervene.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is being a bit hasty in shrugging off responsibility for these closures and service cutbacks. She seems not to recall the past mistakes in connection with the airports and national ports.

How can she just slough off this responsibility when we know that the RCMP plays an essential role in protecting our borders, fighting organized crime and providing security in Aboriginal communities?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP is aware of that fight against organized crime which is why, as I understand it, the force in Quebec made the operational decision to redeploy its officers so it could be more effective in that fight against organized crime.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration cannot keep hiding. Canadians need to know that we have a minister who is accountable and who plays by the rules.

However, today we learned that the minister accepted a donation that was funneled through one of her campaign workers. She knew that this was an illegal donation. She only returned it because she got caught.

When will the minister do the honourable thing and step down?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, a clerical error was made in the name of who received the receipt. Once that was brought to my attention, the receipt was cancelled and the cheque was returned.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government says that the sponsorship scandal was an administrative error too.

How many rules does the minister think she can break? Her own staff member was quoted today as acknowledging that two people donated money to the campaign but that just one received the receipt. That is against the law.

Will the minister finally be accountable? Will the minister do the right thing and resign?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, no, I will not.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, we learned from the media, not from the minister, of another case of the immigration minister sending her top aide to a strip club to discuss bringing more exotic dancers into the country. The minister appears more interested in strippers than in reducing family reunification waiting times or recognizing foreign academic credentials. She sends her senior adviser to spend more time doing business in strip clubs than visiting hospitals to discuss the shortage of doctors.

The immigration minister has no credibility left. When will she resign?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat probably the same answer I gave the hon. member last week. I am quite proud of my role as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. I continue to work hard on these cases. If there is an opportunity to work with the opposition members on moving forward into the 21st century with a new immigration system and on streamlining our refugee reform, I certainly welcome their help.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, while the immigration minister has been preoccupied with strippers, the waiting period for family reunification class has increased to over 53 months. The arbitrary rejection of spouses applying to join husbands or wives in Canada has been undermining families.

The minister's mismanagement of her department and her preferential treatment for strippers is compromising the credibility and integrity of the immigration system. When will the Prime Minister fire the minister?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on numerous occasions today and last week, given the job that the minister is doing in the immigration department, the restructuring, the opening of this country, working on resettlement and working on funding for English or French as a second language, I support the minister.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have just informed the Minister of Health about the existence of a flyer about Internet pharmacies advertising to doctors the following, “We are looking for licensed doctors living in Canada. Are you interested in making $100,000 to $135,000 U.S. per year for signing Internet prescriptions?”

Is enough not enough? When will the minister contact his provincial counterparts and tell them to put some order into this thing, along with the medical profession, or otherwise order it himself?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important question. I wrote to the provincial ministers several weeks ago. I believe that the College of Pharmacists and the College of Physicians and Surgeons across the country need to do their jobs. This is an absolutely unethical and unprofessional practice. It must stop; otherwise we will put a stop to it.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the subcommittee on the employment insurance fund has met with workers calling for more generous benefits and more flexible eligibility criteria. The Conservatives are merely calling for lower contributions. Yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development announced a 3¢ decrease in EI contributions.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Would the minister rather listen to the recommendations of the Conservatives, who want only a cut in contributions, or to the parliamentary subcommittee examining this matter, which knows what the workers, union representatives and employers want?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we listen to them both. Neither one is excluded. We are also awaiting the opinion of the Auditor General, who has said the system needs to be better balanced. We are taking action now because the economy is doing very well. As the hon. member is aware, there are far more Canadians contributing to the economy, even in his riding and his province.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Yesterday we learned in the other place that apparently the government has no intention of keeping its election promise and throne speech promise to provide 5,000 more troops for peacekeeping, at least not in the foreseeable future.

I ask the Minister of National Defence, why are the Liberals breaking this promise and do they intend to break the promise on the expansion of the reserves as well?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it clear that it intends to increase the regular forces by 5,000 and to increase the reserves by 3,000. We always made it clear that this would require additional funds for the department. The Prime Minister has made it clear that when the budget comes, we will be getting funds to enable us to do this.

The admiral, yesterday in his testimony, made it very clear that this cannot be done overnight. The hon. member will appreciate that. We are laying out a timeframe, the ministry is getting ready and we look forward to recruiting these people. This is a responsible way to go. We are increasing our armed forces to be a better source for Canada.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, as part of an election ploy, the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party promised to add 5,000 regulars and 3,000 reserves to the military. A few weeks ago the chief of defence staff said it would take the department five to six years to recruit the soldiers. Yesterday the vice chief reconfirmed this embarrassing timeframe and said that the military simply does not have the money to recruit, train, equip and house the soldiers.

Is the government prepared to break another election promise, or will it provide the funds needed to recruit the soldiers now?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the hon. member's question is similar to the one I gave last time. If he waits for the budget, he will see the funding and then he can make his decision as to whether an election promise has been broken or not.

I can assure hon. members in this House that the Prime Minister and I and other members on this side are working hard to improve our armed forces, and we will do that.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the last election the government said it would increase the military without having any idea how it could be done, how it would be used and how it would be funded. This weekend the Prime Minister told CNN, “We are going to be increasing our troop level substantially, both our regulars and reserves. We are in the process of getting that underway”. Yet the number two in the military said it just is not so. Who are we to believe?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the vice chief of the defence staff made it very clear that we are examining the way in which we can go about this. The Prime Minister himself made it very clear that this is an important priority for our government. We will be getting the funding and moving ahead on this. The military is very excited about this prospect. I hope the hon. members will be as excited as we go ahead and build a 21st century military that responds to the needs of Canadians.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just announced that he is doing a stopover in Libya to shake hands with President Gadhafi. President Gadhafi just announced that he is cancelling the scheduled visit of the group, Human Rights Watch, which was supposed to be there for three weeks to investigate ongoing human rights violations in Libya.

Will the Prime Minister be in Libya longer than he was in Sudan? When he is there, will he specifically ask President Gadhafi to lift the ban on Human Rights Watch so they can do their work?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister never misses an opportunity to promote human rights. He has respect for human rights on every trip that he involves himself in.

I am confident that when he goes to Libya, it will be precisely to strengthen the process in which Libya has been engaged over the last few years and where we have noticed an improvement.

This is precisely to strengthen the process in which Libya has engaged and where more needs to be done.