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House of Commons Hansard #99 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

2:45 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, indeed the Prime Minister made the announcement indicating that 17 pediatric hospitals across the country from Halifax to Vancouver are part of this important initiative to reduce wait times for Canadian kids requiring medical care.

We are investing taxpayers' money, $2.6 million, in a 15 month pilot project, the first pan-Canadian wait times information system to help kids who need surgery. We are acting. We are showing leadership. When the Liberals ran the government, they cut health care.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, public health advocates are worried about a wait times plan in Quebec that will have far reaching effects. The new legislation would create a new industry in Quebec: for profit hospitals being paid for by public money. The health minister must immediately take steps to protect our public medicare system. What action has he taken so far?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 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, as the Prime Minister indicated during the election campaign and as we have indicated as a government, we support the Canada Health Act and the principles of the Canada Health Act which include universal accessibility and universal coverage.

I had a conversation with my Quebec counterpart this morning. He is investigating the situation involving a Montreal clinic. I have every confidence that the Government of Quebec will support the Canada Health Act and universal accessibility.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, if this scheme is allowed to proceed in Quebec there is no doubt that the tide of privatization will sweep across Canada. The minister's actions speak volumes about the Conservatives intent on private health care. They are simply going to close their eyes.

Working families do not want the government subsidizing the privileged. Is this how the government is planning to reduce the wait time list, by privatizing it?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

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

No, Mr. Speaker. In fact, we are investing in the public health care system on behalf of the people of Canada to fix the mess that was there because of the Liberal government for the past 13 years.

That is what we are doing on this side of the House. We support the Canada Health Act. We support working with our counterparts including the Government of Quebec which is taking its responsibility seriously, which is more than I can say for the third party.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Defence was not forthcoming with Canadians about the nature of Canada's mission in Afghanistan.

Perhaps the Minister of Foreign Affairs can tell Canadians: Are we there to get retribution and revenge or are we there to destroy the Taliban and rebuild Afghanistan? Will the minister agree to our call for comprehensive parliamentary hearings on the mission to keep Canadians informed on an ongoing basis?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, of course we are there to help the people of Afghanistan. That is exactly what we are doing. We have in place an extensive network of NGOs working with Canadian officials on reconstruction, on efforts to elevate the people of Afghanistan in the areas of good governance, and in the areas of being able to provide more for their own in terms of education, policing, and building their own Afghan army capacity.

There has been ample debate here in this place. I am sure this will continue in parliamentary committees. We look forward to further debate and further discussion informing Canadians about the good work Canadians are doing in Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, on January 20 the Minister of National Defence said “this government will not allow Canadians to be killed without retribution”. Yesterday in the House he insisted that he was right. These kinds of statements hurt the reputation of Canadians internationally. They undermine our efforts in Afghanistan to win the hearts and minds of the population.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs not believe that his government needs to clearly reject the views of the Minister of National Defence on this very issue?

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 keeping with the Afghanistan compact that has now been in place just over a year, we are seeing economic development. We are seeing development that is making an enormous difference in the lives of Afghans.

We are seeing young girls in school for the first time in decades. We are seeing more women accessing microcredit. We are seeing roads built. We are seeing water put in place. We are seeing all sorts of economic development, coupled with the infrastructure that the Afghan people need.

There are a lot of naysayers on the other side. The member opposite was there recently and saw with his own eyes the progress that is being made.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to get the job done in Afghanistan when the government seems to be so unclear as to what the job is. Now we see an information strategy that is for five years. It goes right up to 2011. Will the job be done in 2011 or is there really no exit strategy at all?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I answered this question yesterday, but I will answer it again. The military produced a campaign plan based on the Afghanistan compact and upon government direction. The Afghanistan compact is five years, but in the plan it says specifically that it is committed to the end of February 2009 and that is it.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, yet again the defence minister seems to be the face of our role in Afghanistan. Therefore, why do we need information strategies? Why is the minister posting jobs for 80 image technicians in order to be able to explain to Canadians what we are doing there? When will the government join our call for full parliamentary hearings for all of the three d's of diplomacy, development and defence, so that Canadians can be part of defining our job there?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite will certainly not be one of our image consultants.

The military, as I said, has built a plan. It has also built a communications plan because soldiers, when they return to Canada, unbridled, tell Canadians about their experiences. So far their experiences are quite positive. They believe in the mission and they believe in what they are doing.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, just before the holidays, the Minister of International Trade said, in a lengthy interview, that we need to get rid of supply management because it hindered international negotiations at the WTO. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board said the opposite to farmers.

My question today is simple. Who is presenting this government's real position? Is it the Minister of International Trade, who wants to get rid of supply management, or is it the Minister of Agriculture, who says he wants to keep it?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and I have been fighting hard for supply management and for our agricultural sectors. We will continue to fight hard for our supply managed agricultural sectors.

I said that Canada was a trading economy and will always be a trading economy. There will be pressures in the future but we are going to fight in the meantime for our supply managed sectors.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is what the Minister of International Trade is saying today. However, in black and white in The Western Producer, just before the holidays, he said that the supply management system was putting the brakes on agricultural trade.

Is the real position of the government the one published in the December paper, or the one heard today out of the mouth of the minister? Farmers have the right to know who is telling the truth.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of International Trade was very clear, as was the Minister of Agriculture. This government is in favour of supply management. Just this past weekend, my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, reiterated the government's intention to support supply management loud and clear and this will continue to be the case.

Citizenship ActOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the current passport fiasco could have been avoided. In the last Parliament all parties recognized the urgency to update the current, archaic and discriminatory Citizenship Act that does not recognize people married in religious ceremonies abroad and considers their children illegitimate. Had it not been for the defeat of the previous government, Canadians would now have a new Citizenship Act.

Will the Conservatives keep their promise to update the Citizenship Act in line with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as they promised when they were in opposition?

Citizenship ActOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the interim policy on same sex marriage has been annulled and Parliament voted on that issue. That is the law of the land and we believe it should apply equally to everyone.

AgricultureOral Questions

January 30th, 2007 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to farmers, the Liberals simply did not do the job. Even their own task force on agriculture admits that all they were able to accomplish after years in office was “a growing disconnect between them and rural Canada”.

I know that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has his hands full with cleaning up this Liberal mess, but can he update the House with any new initiatives that the government has recently undertaken which provides much needed opportunities to our farmers and the agriculture sector as a whole?

AgricultureOral 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, it is true, there has been an awful lot of work to be done that was neglected by the last Liberal government. In the past month or so we have announced over $200 million for biofuels and another $130 million for biomass research.

A week ago in Winnipeg I announced an additional $134 million for agri-opportunities. That will take good ideas on agri-based products off the drawing board and into the marketplace faster. That will provide more markets for our corn, wheat and other products, and more important, it puts more dollars in the pockets of farmers.

It has been a long haul. We have had 13 years of neglect, but things are coming around.

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, after months of non-answers and evasiveness, federal homelessness funding was finally announced a mere 88 days before the previous programs were due to shut down with no commitment to when the new program will begin. Unfortunately, many homeless organizations like Street Help in Toronto are still facing phase-outs and shutdowns until the same program is re-announced under a new name and, I am sure, with much fanfare.

Why is this Conservative government so willing to leave homeless people out in the cold?

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the government is concerned about homelessness, which is why, on December 19, we announced the homelessness partnering strategy, $270 million over the next two years.

The member knows and I have spoken with her privately. I am concerned about the issue she has raised and we are seized with it. We are working on it and we will make an announcement in the near future.

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is all well and good, but the fact is, there will be money missing. There will be closures of homeless shelters. Outreach programs and homelessness prevention programs will shut down. The Conservative government is kicking dirt in the faces of people who cannot afford a home. That is not fair. That is not what ordinary Canadians want. They want their government to do something to help people who need it most.

Will the minister commit today to transitional funding that will ensure no homeless organizations will have to shut down?

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I have told members of the NDP caucus on a couple of occasions now that we are concerned about this issue. We are working on it.

I can tell the member that the government is committed to making sure that we always have places for homeless Canadians. We want to resolve the problem and I would hope the member would try to work with us to resolve this issue.