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House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, obviously the situation is unacceptable. I visited the community last Wednesday. I met with the chiefs and residents. We are taking actions that are necessary. We will fix the situation in Kashechewan.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister declared that medical benchmarks in five areas will soon be in place. We now know that benchmark targets are not going to be met. We also know that the minister's weasel words are not going to trick the Supreme Court. We know that the wait time crisis has occurred under the Liberal government and the Supreme Court will soon be forced to step in again while the government dithers.

Will the minister admit that the Liberal dithering on benchmarks is undermining the Canada Health Act and the entire health care system?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, obviously the member has consulted the oracle on eventual decisions of the Supreme Court. They would not be in line with any decisions that have been taken to date.

The Prime Minister met with his provincial colleagues last year. They negotiated a deal that invested another $41 billion in health care over 10 years. It includes an inflation clause within the deal.

Part of the commitment by the provincial governments is that we have benchmarks in five strategic areas. They have recommitted to that over the weekend. We will have those benchmarks for all Canadians.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government's policies are undermining the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Benchmarks are not a political issue; they are a medical issue. The medical profession knows how long patients can safely wait before risks begin to arise.

The Wait Time Alliance has produced an entire range of benchmarks in key areas. There is no reason why a complete set of benchmarks cannot be in place by December 31. There is enough evidence to implement all the promised benchmarks by the year's end.

Why then does the minister refuse to accept the advice of the medical community?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the minister is very happy with the advice from the Wait Time Alliance. He has met with representatives personally, as has the Prime Minister. I was present at that meeting. We are in discussions with the provincial governments, as agreed to last year, for evidence based benchmarks in all five areas that were designated as critical. We will achieve that by December 31.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

October 25th, 2005 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 1994, the government has taken $48 billion from the unemployed. Today, as it announces a measly $300 million for temporary pilot projects for all of Canada, it thinks the jobless have a reason to celebrate. They should not expect any thanks for doing such a thing.

Does the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development really think that a temporary measure of this kind will be enough to undo the injustice she and her government have caused to the unemployed?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the programs that we have put forward recently to address the needs of seasonal workers. The programs that the member opposite is referring to are the pilot programs. One in particular is the best 14 weeks, which I would like to announce is on track to being on October 30. In addition to that, we have made about $2.5 billion worth of annual improvements to the EI program to be responsive to the needs of Canadian workers.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should refrain from saying she is proud since the temporary measures proposed by the minister totally ignore the entire problem of access by young people and women to the system. Furthermore, these measures also continue to exclude nearly 55% of the unemployed who have paid their contributions. They also ignore older workers who have been victims of massive layoffs, as well as self-employed workers.

When will the minister realize that the system needs an overhaul, not a whole series of temporary measures that maintain the inequities I have described in the current system?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify what the member opposite has said. Those are not temporary measures. They are pilot programs which are used to evolve the EI program to be more responsive to the needs of Canadian workers. The EI program demonstrates that about 84% have access to the EI program for temporary income support when they need it.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the just released flight safety report into the Griffon helicopter crash that killed two pilots, the director of flight safety states the following, “It is strongly felt that the practicality of continuing to safely operate the CH-146 fleet with this damage intolerant tail rotor in field conditions in which the Canadian Forces normally operates is highly questionable”.

The Minister of National Defence assured this House last week that the Griffon helicopters were safe. Why is the minister needlessly endangering the lives of the Canadian pilots?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I suggested to hon. members in the House last week, and which is always the truth, the fortunate thing about these reports is it enables us to address these problems. That is exactly what has taken place. We have taken the measures that are necessary to ensure the safety of the Griffon fleet.

Hon. members should know that the helicopter is in use by 29 other militaries and 116 civilian operators around the world. None of those militaries and civilian operators want to put their personnel in harm's way. We do not either. We are working with the industry. We have a fix to this solution and we will make it work for our members.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been sitting on the Rescue 420 Final Accident report since June 24 of this year. Prior to the crash that killed Captains Sonosky and Mackenzie, there had been six tail rotor blade failures on the 412 Bell series of helicopters similar to the accident that killed those pilots. Yet with this knowledge, the minister has expanded the use of Griffon helicopters for search and rescue.

Why is the minister needlessly endangering the lives of Canadian pilots?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member knows, because she is familiar with the way in which the military works, that the minister does not order helicopters into the air. The air crews and forces that are responsible for operating those helicopters order them into the air, and they only order them into the air when they are safe and when they are doing the job that they are called upon to do.

It is totally erroneous to suggest to the House that they are being put out there needlessly and unsafely. They are not. That is not a correct assumption. Thank heavens we have these inspections and these safety boards which allow us to come to terms with accidents, and we will deal with them in the appropriate way.

Seasonal WorkersOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, workers in seasonal industries have been calling on our government for help in coping with cyclical unemployment. I know that the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development will soon be announcing measures that will increase our government's support to seasonal workers in the regions most affected by this situation. It is regrettable that the Conservatives are showing their disdain for seasonal workers by publicly downplaying the impact of these new measures.

Can the minister reassure the seasonal workers on how important this issue is to the government?

Seasonal WorkersOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that we are on track to begin the EI pilot program to address the needs of seasonal workers, the best 14 weeks pilot program, on October 30.

This is a good program. It was designed to respond to the special needs of seasonal workers and those with sporadic work conditions. It shows how we are evolving the EI program to be more responsive to the needs of seasonal workers and Canadian workers. In fact, we have made improvements of over $2.5 billion annually in recent years.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government seems to think that it is entitled to break its own rules whenever it is in its interest to do so. Last year the President of the Treasury Board made an announcement for a new merit based appointment process for CEOs, directors and chairs of Crown corporations. Yet we learned yesterday that in the process to seek a new chair for the Mint, it did not follow its own selection criteria. This is just another example of how the government fails to follow its own process. It is the same old games from the government.

When will the government stop trying to make new rules when it will not even play by its own rules?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the chair elect of the Mint has been before the parliamentary committee. He has answered all the questions that have been put to him. A little more politeness and decorum on the part of certain committee members would have been appreciated by him and I believe by the public. However, this has followed the process as set out by the rules.

Queensway Carleton HospitalOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Queensway Carleton Hospital sits on NCC land and the Liberals are charging it rent. Worse yet, the Prime Minister is planning a multimillion dollar rent hike.

There is good news, though, this week. Ontario Liberal health minister, George Smitherman, signed our petition to oppose the Prime Minister's rent hike.

Provincial Liberals oppose the Prime Minister's rent hike, so does the NDP, and the Conservatives are leading the way to stop the rent hike from happening at all.

Why will the Prime Minister not back down and give the hospital its land for $1?

Queensway Carleton HospitalOral Questions

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member knows that this question has been debated many times. The reality is I am a little uncertain what the policy is of the members on that side of the House. Are they saying the government should not expect fair market value for the agreements it enters into? Is that the position they are putting forward on the part of their party?

The reality is a policy has been in place, which is replicated in governments across the country, that when we make a commercial arrangement with an organization, it pays the commercial price.

Canada Council for the ArtsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Arts Coalition, which represents a broad range of artists and organizations, is calling on the Liberal government to increase annual funding for the Canada Council for the Arts to $300 million, an increase equivalent to $5 per person.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage intend to grant the coalition's request? This would represent an increase in the income of artists, crafts people and cultural workers, thereby minimally improving the miserable and precarious conditions in which many of them live.

Canada Council for the ArtsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I want to go back a bit. In its latest budget, the government allocated $950 million, almost $1 billion, or $125 million over five years, to the Canada Council for the Arts. This is the largest investment ever by any government in the history of Canada.

The Canada Council will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2006-07. We intend to assume our responsibilities. In the meantime, I will remind my hon. colleague that his party voted against the budget, and therefore against artists and the arts.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to the World Health Organization, the risk of pandemic influenza is a serious one. We have heard reports of avian flu infecting birds in Asia and Europe.

Canada and the Prime Minister have shown leadership in this area by organizing an international meeting to address global pandemic planning. Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health please inform the House about the objectives of this very important conference?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has the honour and the privilege to host an international meeting of some 30 countries, health ministers, technical experts and five world organizations representing all areas of the globe, to look at how we can cooperate to prevent or deal with a potential or eventual pandemic in Canada.

Canada takes its role of working internationally to such a high extent that the Prime Minister addressed the group this morning. We want to replicate internationally what we have been able to do within Canada.

Within Canada we work collaboratively with the provinces to ensure that we are the best prepared country.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Independent

Bev Desjarlais Independent Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister was the finance minister the northern allowance tax credit for most of northern Manitoba was cut in half in an arbitrary decision that made no sense. The allowance for Grand Rapids was cut completely. Communities in Quebec as far south as Winnipeg receive a full northern allowance.

At a time when increased fuel costs are having grave impacts for all Canadians, those in remote and northern areas are hit even harder.

Will the government now move to right a wrongful decision and implement the full tax credit?

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member probably knows, the decision with respect to the northern allowance a number of years ago was based upon an independent analysis that was undertaken at the time to remove a whole variety of inconsistencies and anomalies in the law that existed then. The new regime was based upon recommendations of the task force.

The preference of the government going forward is to try to reduce the tax burden of Canadians generally and thereby improve the disposable incomes of all the citizens of our country.