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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendments.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of the Environment once again refused to meet with the environment committee. Time and again she has claimed that the opposition is obstructing the review of Canada's most important environmental law when it is actually her who is obstructing its review process.

The minister bails on Canadian mayors, picks fights with environmentalists, refuses to work with her colleagues and continues to duck the national press. The summer is almost upon us and with it what promises to be the worst smog season in our history.

When does the minister intend to roll up her sleeves and get down to some work around here?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, for 13 years the Liberals focused on programs of waste with no results. Their solution to the corner they backed themselves into on Kyoto was spending billions of dollars on international credits overseas in places like China and Russia.

We are going to invest money right here at home. We are introducing new pollution laws. We are banning toxins that cause cancer in Canadians. That means cleaner air, cleaner water and clean health for Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, never mind convincing Canadians that the Liberals were a disaster when it came to the environment. We all know that already. Never mind even convincing fellow parliamentarians, the minister cannot even convince her own staff that she actually cares about climate change, which is probably why her chief of staff quit yesterday. He was tired of pretending there was a climate change plan when he knew full well there was not.

At the parliamentary, provincial and international levels, the federal environment minister has failed. Does the minister even realize the harm she is doing? When will she realize she needs to do the right thing and resign?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, speaking of harm, what I am most concerned about on the environment file are the health issues in relation to pollution.

What the government has done in the first four months is introduce a new pollution law for base smelters. We have introduced a new pollution law to reduce sulphur and diesel. We have banned 10 tonnes of mercury out of our environment.

This week the Minister of Health and I have taken a huge step to protect the health of Canadians by being the first country in the world to prohibit any new products which contain a node toxin, which causes cancer in Canadians.

Canadians want us to protect their health. That is what we are doing.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, data from Statistics Canada indicates that 85% of spousal homicides occur in private residences and a shocking 71% of the firearms used in spousal homicides are, in fact, long guns.

Why is the Minister of Public Safety removing long guns from the firearm registry? Will the government listen to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and back down from a program that has the support of law enforcement, stakeholders and the Canadian public?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the tragic incidents to which my colleague refers would not have been not prevented by a firearm registry, which the Auditor General said, when it came to long guns, was a disaster and the information itself was doubtful.

We want to see crimes with firearms reduced. In the year 2003 there were 549 murders in Canada. Only two of those occurred with long guns that were registered. We have ways of reducing crimes with guns and we are going to pursue those.

A licence is still needed to possess a firearm. A police background check still has to be done to get that licence.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the misinformation being spread by the minister, the fact is the gun registry works.

Why is the minister continuing to ignore the advice of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Professional Police Association, victims' organizations, faith-based groups, social conservative groups and labour and community organizations? Do they not matter?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, a number of police associations and a number of chiefs of police have also said that we are doing the right thing in terms of getting rid of the long gun registry, which has not only been a distraction to police officers, it has costs hundreds of millions of dollars. This is money that we will direct toward more police officers in our communities, crime prevention programs, including programs that address prevention of violence, and border security against the illegal arms that come across the border.

The hon. member can talk about misinformation, but I quote the Auditor General when the Auditor General talks about the severe problems with the gun registry.

HealthOral Questions

June 20th, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me just tell the Prime Minister that, unlike the NDP, we, as Liberals, will never compromise our principles for 10 more seats. Thanks to the NDP--

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Brampton—Springdale has the floor to put her question. We will have a little order, please.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, being associated with sellouts is not something to cheer about, but let me get to my question.

Thanks to the NDP selling us out, we have a health minister who has put forward no plans to reduce wait times. Rather, we have ended up with a two tier health minister who has blown $25,000 of taxpayer money to hire a long-time Conservative crony, Gordon Haugh, despite the fact that Treasury Board guidelines say we cannot give government contracts to our friends.

When will the Prime Minister stop turning a blind eye to the minister's repeated conflicts of interest?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for adding to the annals of history when it comes to memorable quotes. That goes right with “I'm entitled to my entitlements”.

I want to assure members of the House that I hire people in whom I have confidence. I am pleased with the work the individual in question has done. It was all done according to the rules that were put into place by the former Liberal government. I am absolutely in 100% compliance with Treasury Board guidelines, proving once again that Liberal and research is oxymoronic.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is Tory accountability, big fat contracts for their Conservative cronies, breaking Treasury Board rules that they have themselves written.

Even third party groups, like the Canadian Health Coalition, are demanding that the minister of big pharma either sell his shares or resign. There is no action on the national pharmaceutical strategy and no bill on Internet pharmacies.

It is evident that the minister's every move is being coordinated by his personal friend, Gordon Haugh, the general manager of the Canadian International Pharmacists Association.

When will the Prime Minister do the right thing and demand action on health care from this minister?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, the allegations are absolutely untrue. I followed absolutely every Treasury Board guideline.

I would be happy to debate, with the hon. member, the record of this government any day of the week on the five months that we have been in power and on the 13 years of inaction on wait times, doubling wait times in this country, 13 years of inaction on cancer care, 13 years of inaction on proper pandemic planning and 13 years of inaction on protecting us from toxins.

We are acting on behalf of the people of Canada. We are proud of our record to date. The Liberals should be ashamed of their record of 13 years of inaction in health care.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Refugee Day. I remind the government that there is still no appeal division, which is a key component of the refugee determination system.

How can the government tolerate having a system established since June 2002 that still does not include an appeal division, when this seriously penalizes refugees who want to exercise their right to appeal unfavourable decisions? Is it not fair and reasonable that the government finally put the appeal division in place?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, Canada does have among the most generous rules in the world in accepting refugees.

I appreciate the opportunity to again affirm today that Canada is receiving 805 Karen refugees, people escaping the brutal regime in Burma, who have been in a refugee camp in Thailand for 10 years. They are coming to Canada. Private sponsorship groups will be there to accept them as well. This is great news.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, much remains to be done. Half the time, family reunification can take up to 13 months for the families of those who have already obtained permanent residency.

Could the government not ensure that reunification can take place within a more acceptable timeframe from a humane point of view?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we start in a very deep hole. After 13 years of Liberal inaction, we start with very long lineups. We have 800,000 people in that backlog. That is unacceptable. It is terrible what the former Liberal government did. We are working on it. I can guarantee we will make serious progress to help reunite people with their families.

Government of CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not think a $12 million surplus is anything to sneeze at.

Thousands of Canadians wanted to attend game six of the Stanley Cup in Edmonton on the weekend, but could not afford the tickets being sold outside, nor the airfare. It was interesting to see the Prime Minister, four PMO staffers and a group of Conservative MPs cram aboard a Challenger, jet off to Edmonton like they had won a sports fantasy contest.

What I do not understand is, given what is happening in the House, why did the Prime Minister not invite the NDP member for Winnipeg Centre to go along? He could have been the busboy.

Government of CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to attend the hockey game with many other Oiler fans. We are obviously all disappointed at the outcome of last night's game, but I think all Canadians, and particularly Edmontonians, can be proud that a team that finished in eighth place, that had its backup goalie in net, almost got the Stanley Cup. They deserve the applause of all members.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, for 13 years the Liberals dodged and dithered and ultimately did nothing to address aboriginal housing, education, health and matrimonial real property.

Could the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development please tell the House what he is doing to address the very important issues on matrimonial real property on reserves?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her work on this important subject. The government believes in action to protect aboriginal women, children and families.

Over the past 15 years there have been repeated calls for the federal government to enact matrimonial real property legislation to protect women on reserve. The Liberals would not act. Today, we did.

This morning I announced the appointment of a respected aboriginal woman, a former chief, Miss Wendy Grant-John, as my ministerial representative. She will head up the consultation process so legislation to project aboriginal women can be introduced in the House next spring.

HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, today in Vancouver the United Nations has brought together affordable housing advocates to stress the dire need for affordable housing in Canada and around the world.

The Conservative government has no plan for housing in Canada. The one-time payment will not put a dent in the housing crisis. Families are being evicted. People are forced to live on the streets. The need for decent housing only grows.

Will the minister commit today to funding a national housing strategy that would give all Canadians access to safe, affordable housing?

HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the minister has confirmed that she has reached an agreement with the province of British Columbia to transfer the administration of federal resources for existing social housing from CMHC to the Government of British Columbia.

The new agreement will better integrate social housing clients and make efficient use of tax dollars. Savings will be realized through streamlined administration and efficiencies. Under the terms of the new agreement, federal funding will continue to be used for low income housing.