This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the break week, Canada's new government got down to work, rolled up its sleeves, worked constructively with opposition colleagues in the House and rebuilt the federal accountability act back into the toughest anti-corruption law in Canadian history.

Unlike the Liberal Senate, which took almost six months to bring forward its amendments to the act, Canada's new government only took a week to respond.

The government has indicated that it will reject many of the amendments from the Senate. Could the President of the Treasury Board tell the House why he is rejecting those amendments?

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that, unlike the unelected Liberal Senate, I believe that the House of Commons has acted responsibly in considering the federal accountability act. I believe that the member for Vancouver Quadra, the Bloc member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean and the NDP member for Winnipeg Centre have all acted responsibly in giving expeditious consideration to this important piece of legislation.

I will tell members why we are not accepting the unelected Liberal Senate's amendments. We do not believe in doubling the donation limit from $1,000 to $2,000. We do not believe in increasing secrecy by not including the Canadian Wheat Board. We do not believe that Liberal political staffers should have unequal access to the public service over--

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Trinity—Spadina.

PovertyOral Questions

November 20th, 2006 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is National Child Day, when every child around the world has the right to be heard, but apparently not in Canada, because I do not think the Prime Minister is listening.

One out of every two Canadian working families thinks they are just one or two paycheques away from being poor. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing. People are fearful about the future of their kids. Some are even losing hope. I want to ask the Prime Minister, how much child poverty is he willing to accept?

PovertyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that children are the future of this country. That is why we have to invest in them.

That is why we have to make sure that the needs of different families are recognized. Because not all families are the same, that is why we delivered the universal child care benefit. That is why we are assisting families with the workers investment tax benefits. That is why we took so many thousands of people off the tax roll with the last budget. We are going to help alleviate poverty in this country.

PovertyOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was in Calgary last week and saw thousands of homeless people, many turning to crack and crystal meth to meet their most basic needs. There were thousands of people sleeping in shelters and on the streets of one of Canada's richest cities.

Today a new report indicates that half of all Canadians fear that they are but a paycheque or two away from poverty. The Liberals destroyed the social safety net. The Conservatives have done nothing to fix it. Why does the government continue to give billions of dollars to big oil based in Calgary and nothing to the homeless and the poor?

PovertyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has his facts all wrong. One of the earliest moves of Canada's new government was to extend the national homelessness initiative. With full funding from previous years, we carried it through in exactly the same format and process as before. Also, Canada's new government added $37 million in assistance to the homeless that the previous government did not even bother to spend.

We are taking real action: promises made, promises kept.

Government PoliciesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minority Conservative government backtracked on a commitment to protect the young child supplement portion of the Canada child tax benefit and, get this, it also cancelled the summer youth program.

The Conservatives cancelled Canada's youth international internship program. They are also pondering the cancellation of Canada's millennium scholarship. They voted against making RESPs tax deductible. They have reduced investment in post-secondary education by $2.7 billion.

It is no wonder that Canadians are alarmed. How can the Conservative government justify its reckless behaviour that risks the future of our--

Government PoliciesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Government PoliciesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the list of errors in that delivery was so long I could not even begin to get through it all in 35 seconds.

The Liberals talk about investing in youth. The previous Liberal government cut $4 billion out of post-secondary education.

We instead have invested a billion dollars in infrastructure for post-secondary education and $185 million to help students with textbook tax credits, scholarships and bursaries. We are also investing over $2 billion in apprenticeships to help students learn something other than at university and college and to help them contribute to the workforce, in a way the previous government never did.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(b) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 60 petitions.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development regarding the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Norman Doyle Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in relation to the supplementary estimates 2006-07.

Bill C-2--Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among all the political parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, with respect to the motion concerning amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-2, after no more than two days of debate, or when no member rises to speak, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion shall be put without further debate or amendment; and if any amendment is under consideration that contains more than one proposition, the Speaker be given the authority to divide the amendment for the purposes of voting, after consultation with the parties.

Bill C-2--Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?

Bill C-2--Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill C-2--Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Automobile IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present a few petitions from Canadians across the country who are calling upon the Government of Canada for a new automotive trade policy. They are asking the government to cancel negotiations for a free trade agreement with Korea, which would worsen the one-way flood of automotive products into our market. Second, they are asking the government to develop a new automotive trade policy that would require Korea and other offshore markets to purchase equivalent volumes of finished vehicles and auto parts from North America as a condition of their continued access to our market.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 94, 96 and 100.

Question No. 94Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

With respect to programs and spending administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, within the riding of Surrey North: (a) what is the total annual budget of CMHC spending in 2006; (b) what is the projected budget for 2007; (c) how many CMHC funded housing units for singles and families currently exist; and (d) how many CMHC funded housing units for singles and families are planned for the remainder of 2006 and 2007?

Question No. 94Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, with respect to programs and spending administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, within the riding of Surrey North, CMHC currently administers 681 units, representing current annual funding of some $600,000. There may be additional units receiving ongoing federal assistance under federal-provincial programs administered by the province of British Columbia. The province has the lead role for these units and does not report subsidies by project to CMHC.

Under federal housing renovation programs, some $47,000 has been committed for 11 units in the riding between January 1, 2006 and October 31, 2006. CMHC is unable to provide a forecast of how many more units and dollars will be committed by year-end 2006 or 2007, since this will depend on the number of applications received and approved, as well as the availability of funding in 2007-08.

British Columbia Housing administers the Canada-British Columbia affordable housing program agreement. According to information provided by BC Housing, there have not been any commitments under this program in the riding of Surrey North to date. It should be noted that BC Housing is not required to provide forecasts of units planned by riding to CMHC.

Question No. 96Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

With regard to the $45 million funding cuts over the next two years to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, announced in September 2006: (a) from specifically where within CMHC does the government plan on cutting this funding; (b) when will these cuts take place; and (c) will the government provide a detailed timeline for these cuts?

Question No. 96Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the $45 million in efficiency savings will come from the assisted housing programs line in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's, CMHC’s, 2006-07 main estimates and the equivalent line in CMHC's 2007-08 main estimates, when approved. The assisted housing programs budget line primarily supports funding for some 633,000 existing social housing units and the affordable housing initiative.

Efficiency savings apply to social housing that is funded and administered by CMHC through a number of existing agreements. The efficiency savings result from lower than forecast mortgage interest rates and inflation.

Social housing is funded through long term federal subsidies. Social housing expenses usually include a mortgage cost component which may vary as mortgage interest rates increase or decrease over time. Non-mortgage expenses increase or decrease over time due to inflation. At the social housing project level, the cost of CMHC’s assistance can also increase or decrease accordingly.

Assumptions regarding increases or decreases in expenses are factored into CMHC annual program budget costs and the corporation's main estimates. If mortgage interest rates and inflation were to go up, the cost of CMHC housing subsidies would go up. If mortgage rates or inflation were to decrease, CMHC subsidy costs would go down.

Final social housing costs for 2006-07 and 2007-08 are expected to be lower due to lower than assumed interest rates on social housing renewals and inflation. The efficiency savings devoted to expenditure review will be $30 million in 2006-07 and $15 million in 2007-08. The timeline for the realization of the savings is relatively constant over the two fiscal periods.

Existing funding contracts with provinces, territories and third-sector housing providers, e.g., non-profits and housing co-operatives, continue to be fully honoured as federal funding will be sufficient based on the terms of these contracts. There is no impact on low income tenants of the social housing in question since they will continue to pay the same level of subsidized rent.

Question No. 100Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

With regard to the government's plans for child care: (a) how many spaces will be created by the end of March 2007 from the $650 million that was transfered to the provinces and territories to create child care spaces; (b) what kind of phase-out plan will be implemented to deal with the loss of those funds on April 1, 2007; (c) what is the timeline for launching the $250 million child care spaces initiative; and (d) how many child care spaces will be created from the $1.6 billion universal child care benefit?

Question No. 100Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the Government of Canada is recognizing the diverse needs of Canadian families through Canada’s universal child care plan, a plan that is providing universal support for all parents of young children. The plan is composed of two key elements: the universal child care benefit and the child care spaces initiative.

As per budget 2006, the Government of Canada has provided $650 million in 2006-07 to all provinces and territories, distributed on an equal per capita basis. This funding provides provinces and territories with transitional funding as the bilateral agreements for early learning and child care that were reached under the previous government are phased out. In order to assist them in adjusting to this new federal approach, provinces and territories have flexibility to use this funding as they see fit for early learning and child care.

Provinces and territories are committed to clear accountability to Canadians and already report on their annual activities and expenditures related to early learning and child care. Provinces and territories will continue this practice and include information on this funding and how it has been used for the creation of child care spaces in their annual public reports.

In response to (b), in February 2006, all provinces and territories received notification that the bilateral agreements for early learning and child care that were reached under the previous government would be phased out as of March 31, 2007. This provided all provinces and territories with more than 14 months’ notice to adjust to the change in federal approach.

Only three jurisdictions, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec, had signed bilateral funding agreements with the previous federal government. Those agreements had a clause allowing either party to terminate them with 12 months’ notice. The Government of Canada provided those jurisdictions with formal written notice invoking the termination clause of their funding agreements. For the remaining jurisdictions, the Government of Canada provided notification of the federal intention to provide one year of transitional funding for 2006-07.

As per budget 2006, the Government of Canada has provided provinces and territories with $650 million in 2006-07, distributed on an equal per capita basis, to assist them in adjusting to the new federal approach to child care.

In response to (c), the Government of Canada recognizes that the availability of child care is a challenge faced by many Canadian parents. That is why, as set out in budget 2006, the federal government will be investing $250 million per year, beginning in fiscal 2007-08, to support the creation of child care spaces across the country.

In response to (d), through the universal child care benefit, UCCB, the Government of Canada is providing universal support to all families with young children through an income benefit of $100 per month, up to $1,200 a year, for each child under the age of six. Beginning with the first payment in July, approximately two million children and their families are benefiting from this new initiative each month.

The intent of this initiative is not to create child care spaces, but rather to provide all families with support that they can use to provide their children with the kind of care they choose. For example, families could use this benefit to offset part of the cost of child care fees or part time preschool programs, or for occasional care by a friend or neighbour. By providing a universal benefit, the federal government is recognizing the diversity of family needs and preferences when it comes to caring for their children.