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House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debate.

Topics

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

I am trying to work the question through, Mr. Speaker. The commissioner has submitted a letter of resignation. That has already taken place.

The questions posed by my friend, the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, are good ones. They are some of the ones that we have raised ourselves. I appreciate his input on that committee. I think he will also recognize that when Justice O'Connor tabled the report, we took immediate action.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is more. All the ministers who handled the Arar affair have said that the commissioner did not inform them of the error his subordinates had made. They have all said that this information could have helped the government in its decision making. I believe that, too.

How could the minister have confidence in an official who hid essential information from the minister he reported to? Did the minister want to send the message that he prefers to be kept in the dark, or does he have another reason that he would like to conceal from us?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether my friend, the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, was here a few minutes ago, when the Prime Minister read a letter stating that the commissioner had resigned. He no longer holds that position.

The member asked good questions, because it is true that former ministers never asked the commissioner or other officials questions. Why? Those are good questions.

Status of WomenOral Questions

December 6th, 2006 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when we were questioning the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women about cuts to Status of Women's administration budget, she said, and I quote: "—money saved in administration is going...to help women in the community. For greater clarity, that means an additional $5 million allocated to projects for women".

We do not believe the minister was telling the truth because the budgets for women's programs have not increased. If she really did add $5 million, can she tell us where she put it? Perhaps she can tell us which programs she hid the money in.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, she is quite correct.

An additional $5 million will be going directly to women.

We have $10.8 million in the women's program. There is $5 million at Status of Women no longer being used for administrative purposes and is available now directly for women's groups. That is $5 million for women at Status of Women to help organizations help women directly in the community.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the day of remembrance for the École Polytechnique tragedy and a day of action on violence against women.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women promise not to take the senseless step of cutting Status of Women's research branch and its independent research fund?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, we will utilize the money in a way that will help women. We know the facts. In fact, conditional sentences are used in sexual assault cases more often than in any other cases of violent crime. That is why this government put forward legislation to put an end to conditional sentences for sexual offenders.

This is a time to remember, but this is also a time for action. We ask members in this House to support us and act on behalf of all women. We have $5 million more available, action and resources now available.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, 17 years ago, on December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine killed 14 women at École Polytechnique. In 1995, the Liberal government adopted legislation to create the firearms registry. The Conservative government, led by its extreme right-wing ideology, decided to do away with that registry.

Why does this government refuse to listen to the families and loved ones of the victims of this tragic event, which we will never forget?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I fully agree with my hon. colleague regarding the sentiment felt today, on this truly very sad anniversary. Nevertheless, I do not agree with her remarks concerning the firearms registry. That registry still exists. We are going to strengthen the registry and establish a more effective system. It is not true that we abandoned the registry. It still exists.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the measures taken concerning the firearms registry by this minority government, with its extreme right-wing ideology, are likely to make the registry obsolete within a few years. Its decision regarding the firearms registry goes against Canadian values.

Nancy Burrows, of the Fédération des femmes du Québec, is calling on this government to reverse its decision. She said that the registry had considerably reduced the number of violent crimes committed against women.

Will the Prime Minister, who still refuses to meet with Hayder Kadhim, finally listen to these requests?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are responding to these calls and we have been responding, first to the calls of the Auditor General to make sure that the programs that are being financed by our taxpayers are actually effective.

Certain elements of the firearms registry have proven not to be effective and, as a matter fact, have proven to be a huge waste of money.

Just as my friend and hon. colleague is able to quote from certain individuals, we have a long list of police officials, victims, victims organizations and also relatives of people who have been tragically slain by firearms in an illegal way who have encouraged us to continue the course that we are on.

Violence against WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, today we commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Canadian women are far more likely than men to be the victims of violent offences, but the government has put at risk the funding to shelters to aid women fleeing abusive relationships by not extending the national homelessness initiative.

How many shelters will be forced to close their doors when the Minister of Human Resources padlocks the national homelessness initiative?

Violence against WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I really do not understand why the hon. member keeps trying to scaremonger people about the situation. The facts of the situation are that we extended the national homelessness initiative with funding right through March 31, 2007. Not only that, but we also added to that $37 million in August. That is $37 million that the previous government did not see fit to spend on this issue.

Violence against WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the meanspirited government cut the Status of Women's budget by 40% and funding cuts have affected the North End Women's Resource Centre in Manitoba, the Hope Mission Women's Centre in Alberta, the Nova Vita Women's Shelter in Ontario and many more throughout the country.

How can the government say it supports campaigns to eradicate violence against women when it has pulled the rug out from under their organizations?

Violence against WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I want to make the record accurate. This government has acted: $6 million for shelters in first nations communities; $7 million in permanent annual funding toward the family violence initiative through the Public Health Agency of Canada; $5 million to the Sisters in Spirit to end racial and sexual violence; plus the $5 million from administration directly to women.

In fact, it was the party of the member opposite that cut the funding to women's programs three times and the funding to the Status of Women five times.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the new Leader of the Opposition has recently been talking about a Marshall plan for Afghanistan.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs please tell the House what type of reconstruction plan is in place in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, in fact many have suggested there should be a Marshall plan for Afghanistan.

I point out that last January, Canada, as a major contributor to the Afghanistan Compact which sets goals for stabilizing Afghanistan, strengthening governance and reducing poverty, which is the equivalent of a Marshall plan, recognizing that long term state building is ultimately the key to sustainable peace and security, pledged approximately $100 million annually to development assistance in Afghanistan to year 2011. This makes it the single largest recipient of Canadian bilateral aid.

We are making progress. There are 150,000 Afghan women now with access to Canadian microcredit and 5,000 rural development projects. Progress is being made for the people of Afghanistan.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, so far the vast majority of postings to Afghanistan have been for six months. Now the Vandoos from Quebec have been posted for nine months rather than six.

This poorly planned mission initiated by the Liberals is placing undue hardships on our military families. Will the minister please tell soldiers and their families whether future deployments will be for six months, for nine months, or will they be longer? Military families need to know. They need to be able to plan. What will it be?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, what we intend to do is try to ensure that soldiers who are in harm's way in the battle group or in the PRT will not go there a second time. To do that we have to adjust sometimes the lengths of the tours, but the tours of the fighting troops will be six months.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, not only are we sending them for a longer deployment, we also cut their pay if they are injured in battle. This is shameful. The minister promised almost three months ago that he would address this matter. He promised it again in the House a few weeks later.

Why has this problem not been fixed? When will the minister ensure that every wounded soldier when returned to Canada will not have a pay cut?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I addressed this earlier and I said our government will stand by our soldiers and make sure that they get all that is due them.

By the way, nobody is cut by pay. That is a misleading piece of information. We will be addressing the issue of so-called wounded pay very quickly.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, in glaring contrast with the no directives Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food issues a directive a day to a non-government agency.

Not only has the minister put gag orders on board members, he has now directed the Wheat Board on two occasions to take down its website containing an analysis of the discredited task force.

The Prime Minister may believe this is the dark ages where he can use a big stick, but this is the 21st century, the information age. Why is the government suppressing information?

Will the minister just allow the board to do its job for farmers?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, speaking of information, I am interested in why the members opposite do not want access to information on the Canadian Wheat Board.

The deputy information commissioner said:

I know the concern expressed by the representatives of the Canadian Wheat Board had, at their foundation, a belief that becoming subject to access rendered them incapable of effectively carrying out their mandate. I am here to tell you that is absolutely wrong.

What are they hiding over there? Why do they not want access to information so farmers can find out what is really going on at the Canadian Wheat Board?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

What is really going on, Mr. Speaker, is that minister is trying to destroy the board and take income from farmers.

The minister's attack on the Wheat Board has nothing to do with what farmers want. It has everything to do with the Prime Minister's ideology.

To fire a CEO without cause, a man well respected around the world and $6 billion of grain marketed to some 70 countries, is unconscionable. He has 33 years of experience.

Canada's international reputation is being destroyed. Is the minister not concerned about our markets? Will the Prime Minister not just rein in his minister from his crazy actions?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, mostly I am concerned about the decibel level over there.

What we saw just before question period is the leader of the Liberal Party saying that he is going to keep the Canadian Wheat Board exactly the way it is no matter what farmers say.

It is interesting. The CFA says we should have a plebiscite. The barley growers say we should have a plebiscite. The ag producers' association of Saskatchewan says let us have a plebiscite. The wheat growers say let us have a plebiscite.

We are listening to farmers. We are consulting with farmers. We are going to have a plebiscite. Why is the only person in here who thinks we will not listen to farmers the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada?