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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was education.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 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, the latest iteration we have from the Liberal Party is a private member's bill that has no money either. It is just a continuation of more empty Liberal promises.

We intend to proceed with clear budgets, with accountability, with action, with results and with measurement. We will deal with the issues of aboriginal poverty that the Liberals did not address for 13 years, a 13 year record of shame and incompetence.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this morning, during a meeting of the Standing Committee on Human Resources and Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, the hon. Conservative member and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced he had a plan for permanently transferring unemployed people from the Atlantic provinces to Alberta. It is totally unacceptable for the government to make such comments, let alone think them.

My question is simple. How can the government justify such a radical policy by members of its caucus?

EmploymentOral 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, that is such a complete and utter distortion of truth on what was said in committee that it is hardly worth answering.

The reality is that this government has taken more steps in recent days to help Atlantic Canadians stay in their region, work in their region and to raise families in their region. That is the record of the Conservative government in the short time it has been in office, unlike the record opposite that left Atlantic Canadians with little choice but to seek employment in other regions.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely not what we heard. There was a concrete plan. The minister can try to present the facts in a better light, but the fact remains that this is not the first time such radical comments, about the region I represent, have been uttered by hon. members of the government. It is clear that this government does not understand anything about the Atlantic provinces. It is even more obvious that they do not want to understand anything.

The government's objective seems clear: it wants to drive Atlantic Canadians out of their regions. Is that the Prime Minister's hidden agenda for dealing with the Conservatives' defeatist attitude toward the Atlantic provinces?

EmploymentOral 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, I represent Atlantic Canadians as well. I grew up and live in that region. What a complete misstatement of fact. That is not a policy, nor was it even an utterance of a government member. That is a complete distortion, a complete myth and a complete misstatement of fact, which is not uncommon or unusual coming from Liberal members opposite.

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, groups that assist the homeless are waiting impatiently to find out what the government's position is on federal funding for the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative, which expires on March 31, 2007. This is a major source of funding that the homeless cannot live without.

The program will end in nine months. Can the Prime Minister tell the poorest and least fortunate whether or not he will extend the SCPI program beyond March 31, 2007?

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has demonstrated its support by confirming the extension of the national homelessness initiative from April 1, 2006 until March 31, 2007 and by allocating additional funds of $134 million, of which over $20 million is allocated to the province of Quebec.

Labour UnionsOral Questions

June 8th, 2006 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, over a month ago, the United Steelworkers of Canada wrote to the Minister of Labour to ask him to urge the Mexican labour minister to support unionist Napoleon Gomez, who was removed from his position as general secretary by the Mexican government, contrary to the basic rules governing freedom of association.

Instead of sending a simple acknowledgement, which is what he did, should the minister not intervene with his Mexican counterpart and remind him that, under NAFTA, the rights of workers must be respected, including freedom of association?

Labour UnionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I would urge my hon. colleague to exercise caution in her comments. In fact, the United Steelworkers of Canada believes that the Mexican government's action, when it relieved Mr. Gomez of his duties, was contrary to NAFTA under the International Labour Organization.

We in the Department of Labour are gathering information because we do not take such allegations lightly. We are in the process of confirming these pieces of information, which are completely contradictory depending on the sources. I would also encourage the member to be cautious since there will soon be an election in Mexico.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, today in the human resources committee the hon. member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca asked about the measures being taken to help EI recipients find work in Alberta. The department responded that they are not doing nearly enough. We now understand the true aim of the Conservatives' measly bus pass rebate: anything to get Atlantic Canadians, rural Quebeckers or northern Ontarians on the next train west.

The Prime Minister and the Conservatives have no plan for rural and remote regions, but we are not waving the white flag. Will the Prime Minister admit that he still believes that Atlantic Canada, in his words, suffers from a culture of defeat, and apologize?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague from Central Nova said, the presentation here is a gross distortion and a gross misrepresentation of what happened in committee this morning. I can assure the hon. member and the rest of the House that this government is looking at solutions for labour shortages in all parts of Canada. We are looking at a broad range of solutions for this.

VeteransOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians and Newfoundlanders volunteered to fight in the first world war. The battle of the Somme in 1916 became one of the biggest losses of life in Newfoundland's history. It was a battle that claimed hundreds of lives.

Newfoundland continues to honour these war heroes and this year marks the 90th anniversary of that historic day. Could the Minister of Veterans Affairs tell us how Canada is participating in remembrance services to commemorate those who fought for freedom?

VeteransOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Betty Hinton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, July 1 will mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in Beaumont-Hamel. During the first world war, on the morning of July 1, 1916, the soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, in an extraordinary display of bravery and determination, advanced over open ground at Beaumont-Hamel into a relentless barrage of artillery and machine gun fire. It lasted only 30 minutes. Just 68 of the 801 soldiers answered roll call the next day.

In marking this anniversary, overseas events at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial and other sites in France have been planned to honour the sacrifices and contributions of Newfoundlanders and Canadians who served in the first world war. The commemorative events in Canada will be focused in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Ottawa. Veterans Affairs Canada is working with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure that this anniversary of the Battle of the Somme is appropriately marked.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government talks about sovereignty for the north. However, the James Bay Cree continue to suffer as a result of contamination from abandoned radar bases. National Defence has abandoned these toxic disasters and the citizens of the north.

When will National Defence return to James Bay and assume responsibility for 50,000 barrels of PCBs at the bottom of northern rivers?

National DefenceOral Questions

3 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, the issue of contaminated sites is part of the legacy that the Liberal government has left for succeeding Canadian governments. There are extensive numbers of contaminated sites across northern Canada.

Seventy per cent of the contaminated sites in fact are within the jurisdiction of my department. We are working on this. We are mindful of the environmental mess that has been left behind by the previous government and we are addressing it.

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about 50,000 tonnes of military sludge sitting on the Winisk River. Thousands more barrels have already floated downriver.

I asked the former Liberal defence minister to help the people of our region and he could not run fast enough from his obligations, so now I am asking the government.

Will the government do the right thing? The province of Ontario is at the table. The Cree are at the table. That previous government over there was never at the table. Will the Conservative government do the right thing and clean up the mess that was left by the Department of Defence?

National DefenceOral Questions

3 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, neither I nor the Minister of National Defence are running from this issue. We are dealing with the issue. I had meetings dealing with this matter as recently as this morning.

We are on top of it. We will deal with it. We will continue to advise the House on the progress we make.

First World OutgamesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be a wave of panic and great uneasiness at the Prime Minister's Office these days.

July 29 will mark the opening of the first World Outgames, a major, inclusive event, where hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world will assemble.

My questions are straightforward.

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to attend the first World Outgames in Montreal this summer? Is he embarrassed? Is he afraid to be seen there? He can take someone along if he would like. Does he have something against the event? What is the problem?

First World OutgamesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Wellington—Halton Hills Ontario

Conservative

Michael Chong ConservativePresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, our government funds multi-sport international events in Canada. The Outgames in Montreal do not fall under the purview of that policy established by the former government, and therefore Sport Canada has not contributed funds to this event.

I suggest that the hon. member, if he wishes to support these games, can do so by attending these games himself in Montreal.

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, unlike past Liberal governments that believed a press release was actually a policy statement, I want to say that this government is making real progress on issues like agriculture.

The development of biofuels is a vital industry for the agriculture community and offers a new revenue opportunity for producers. I know that the Minister of Agriculture will soon be meeting with stakeholders to discuss biofuels. I wonder if he would like to update us on what he hopes to achieve at this important meeting.

AgricultureOral Questions

3 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, this is a follow-up from our federal-provincial meeting that we held a couple of weeks ago in Regina. On June 19 we will be bringing the industry leaders on biofuels here to Ottawa to discuss the biofuels strategy. We want to ensure that they are involved and that farmers are involved not only in the production of raw material for biofuels, but that they also have the opportunity to invest in the value added part of the industry.

At this meeting, we will be getting concrete ideas from industry leaders on how best to involve farmers and benefit rural communities in meeting our 2010 biofuels goal. Our biofuels strategy will be good for the environment and that is important, but just as important, it will be good for Canadian farmers.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Lü Congmin, Vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman of the China-Canada Legislative Association.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, as is usual on Thursday, I wonder if the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons can explain to the House his plan for the business of the House over the course of the next week or two. I wonder explicitly if he would be in a position today to indicate whether or not the government intends to seek any extension of the normal hours in the two weeks that are covered by that rule under our Standing Orders.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

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, today the House will continue with the Liberal opposition motion.

Tomorrow we are hoping to conclude the debate at second reading of Bill C-10, an act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms).

When Bill C-10 is completed, we will begin debate on second reading of Bill C-14, an act to amend the Citizenship Act. That will be followed by Bill C-5 on public health.

I have good news for the hon. member. As I promised to indicate to the House earlier this week, it is the intention of the government to move forward tomorrow pursuant to Standing Order 27(1) seeking to extend the hours of the House for the end of June.

We will continue with the business of the House as stated and we will have other bills, such as the bills on bridges and tunnels, the defence justice system, the Transport Act, and emergency management. We should be quite busy, but I am glad that we will have the time, and we hope to get through all of these.

Thursday will be another allotted day.