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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was americans.

Topics

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate that the women of Canada made their decision when they elected this new Conservative government and put it into power.

Members opposite have said that women are economically disadvantaged and that it is time for action. Canadian women agree with them, which is why they voted last January 23. We will act and we will deliver.

Social HousingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, CMHC already has more than $4 billion in surpluses that the Minister of Finance refuses to use, and in addition, he is announcing further cuts of $45 million from the funds available for programs.

Rather than cutting $45 million, would it not have been better for the government to use all of CMHC's revenues to build new, affordable social housing? Building instead of cutting?

Social HousingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, CMHC, through its mandate, spends over $2 billion each year on low income housing. We are very proud of that. This year we added $1.4 billion in affordable housing right across the country, including on and off reserve.

Human Resources and Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that the government would slash funding for literacy but it has.

We should not be surprised that it does not hold learning in high regard. It was its national campaign chair, Doug Finley, who said that one does not need a high IQ to join the Tory caucus.

The minister obviously fails to comprehend her duty to our most vulnerable citizens.

Why does the minority government insist on being so meanspirited when it is sitting on a $13 billion surplus?

Human Resources and Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are spending over $80 million a year on literacy programs for adults, which is something to be proud of. What we are learning to do is refocus on the federal jurisdiction.

I find it curious that the member opposite is defending the position of sponsoring post-secondary education when it was his government that cut $4 billion from PSE.

Human Resources and Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minority government should be using any savings to expand literacy, not slash it.

We have been down this road before. In 1992 another Conservative government cut the same program by 20%. It took a Liberal government to restore it. Once again we see the regressive Conservatives turning back the clock.

When will they restore full funding to literacy programs? What have they got against reading and writing?

Human Resources and Social DevelopmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Yes, Mr. Speaker, for us it is very important to have a well educated and literate workforce, which is why we are investing $80 million in literacy. We are also investing a billion dollars in PSE infrastructure. We are providing major incentives for apprenticeships and for apprenticeship employees.

We are investing in Canada's future. They destroyed it.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, without valid reason and without consulting the communities affected, the far-right government did away with the Canada court challenges program. This program has made it possible over the years for francophones all across Canada to get schools and services in their language. They succeeded in having their rights respected. For example, without this program, the Montfort hospital would have closed by now.

How can the government turn the clock back 30 years, brushing the Official Languages Act aside and slashing minority rights in our country. It is shameful.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, it is important that every taxpayer dollar is spent effectively, responsibly and accountably. We believe it is inappropriate that government pass legislation that is unconstitutional, which is why we are making the choice not to do that.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in other words, they do not give a damn about minorities.

Last November, the ultra-Conservatives voted in favour of Bill S-3. It enabled communities to go to the courts if the government failed to meet its obligations.

Yesterday, however, in doing away with the court challenges program, the Conservative extremists deprived communities of the means to defend themselves and have their rights upheld. The Conservatives are taking away with one hand what they give with the other.

Why did they cut this program? Is it because they think they are above the law or is it just because they simply do not give a damn about the various communities?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day we think it is important to have laws that are constitutional. Instead of giving grants out to Liberal Party lawyers, we think politicians should accept their responsibility and deal with any issues that are before Parliament to ensure they are constitutional.

We have to say that things like health care, education and ensuring our seniors feel safe in their communities are also priorities and they did not receive enough attention from the former Liberal government.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the ghosts of the Liberal Party were being haunted again yesterday, the Government of Canada was continuing to work on behalf of all Canadians.

The western hemisphere initiative concerns many Canadians. Would the Prime Minister please comment on the decision by the United States legislators to extend the deadline of new identification measures at the Canada-U.S. border for 17 months?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we understand there will be a vote tomorrow in the House of Representatives to extend this implementation, as my hon. colleague has just mentioned. We do not know how that vote will go but we are optimistic.

I will remind members that it was our Prime Minister who led the charge on this initiative a number of months ago. We are very pleased with the progress. We hope the vote tomorrow is a positive one.

Government SurplusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, despite its own demands of previous governments to debate how windfall surpluses should be spent, the government hypocritically spent $13 billion on debt repayment yesterday.

Government SurplusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Government SurplusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. Hon. members will not want to waste time in question period given the limited time. There is an outcry for more questions.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North has the floor to ask her question. We will hear the hon. member for Winnipeg North and no one else, please.

Government SurplusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I guess the Conservatives are proud of acting hypocritically, proud of breaking their promise to Canadians to consult, to debate and to have a dialogue on how surpluses should be spent. This is just another side of how arrogant and controlling the Conservatives and the Prime Minister really are.

At a time when Canadians are looking to politicians to keep their word, how can the government deny Canadians--

Government SurplusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I remind the member for Winnipeg North that it is a time for questions, not speeches. The time was stretched on that one.

We will have the hon. Minister of Finance give his 35 second maximum reply.

Government SurplusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the question was. I am sure the NDP is in favour of debt reduction. I am sure most hon. members are in favour of debt reduction. Debt reduction means we pay less interest. Canadians understand that. Many Canadians have mortgages. Many Canadians have credit cards.

We will pay about $650 million less in interest this year as a result of the reduction in the debt. That is money that can be used for social programs and other important priorities for Canada.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite having a $13 billion surplus, the government cut hundreds of millions of dollars from programs that help everyday Canadians. At the same time, it paid A.T. Kearney, an American consulting firm, a whopping $24 million for nine months of work and no value.

At a time of record surpluses, why is the Prime Minister willing to waste tens of millions of dollars on high priced consultants from Chicago and yet unwilling to consult everyday Canadians before axing their programs and sending out pink slips?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, as we are finding out in area after area after area, Liberal mismanagement has cost taxpayers a lot of money.

That contract was signed and delivered by the former Liberal government. It is an example of things that this government will not do.

What we will do is find billions of dollars in savings in our procurements so we can reduce taxes for Canadians, pay down our debt and give Canadians the services they need and deserve.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Montreal region is one of the worst victims of the ideological cuts of this government: draconian cuts to the Technology Partnerships Canada program, which is essential to the aerospace industry; killing of the CANtex program, which was the only hope of the textile and clothing industry; and the exclusion of Montreal from the future older worker adjustment program.

Why is Montreal being punished? Is it paying the price for not having elected any Conservative MPs?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, our government announced in the Speech from the Throne that our priorities would include accountability, transparency and the efficient use of taxpayer money.

Furthermore, in the last budget—the 2006 budget—the government promised to review programs and ensure that every dollar went toward producing real results for real Canadians, for taxpayers. That is what we promised and that is what we are doing.

Minister of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

September 26th, 2006 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

When will he make his unelected minister from Montreal seek democratic legitimacy?

When will he bring him out of his hideaway in the Senate so that Montrealers can judge this government's performance? Repentigny would be the first and best opportunity to test this government.

Minister of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member is now interested in Senate reform. The Senate tenure bill is now before the Senate and I encourage him to see that it gets passed.

The minister the hon. member is talking about is doing an excellent job, as is his parliamentary secretary. The member should be very pleased about that.