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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigration.

Topics

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, that member has the audacity and the nerve to stand up in the House to ask why the public appointments commissioner was not in place when it was that member and his party who killed that process. He should be ashamed of what he just said in the House.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, by 2011, 100% of Canada's net labour force growth will come from immigration. The minister in committee said that she requires more funding to fix the system. As a result, the government has broken its election promises on foreign credentials, allowed the application backlog to exceed 800,000, and short-changed Ontario $100 million in immigration funding.

In an era of surpluses, why does the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration have to make excuses for the government's unwillingness to make immigration a priority?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of our record on immigration, especially when we compare it to the one of the previous government. Those members left us with a bloated backlog of 800,000 people. We are working on that. In the meantime, we are delivering what they promised to deliver but did not deliver.

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office is now available in over 320 locations across Canada and three pilot projects around the world, not to mention a great website. We are getting the job done, but those members vote against every effort to do so.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government identified a former nuclear power executive at Pickering, Mr. Bob Strickert, as an independent expert who could verify that the research reactor at Chalk River is safe.

Can the government please confirm that Mr. Bob Strickert is the same person who serves as the executive vice-president of the Durham Conservative Party Riding Association?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated previously, we were very concerned. We went to great lengths to resume the production of medical isotopes. I approached my deputy minister and I advised her that we would like to have independent experts. The deputy minister provided those names.

We were happy that they went through extraordinary efforts last night to attend this Parliament to answer questions from all parties. We should be thanking all the people who came here, not laughing at them.

Tourist IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Chinese government announced successful negotiations with the U.S., which means Chinese tourists can officially visit the United States.

One hundred and thirty-four countries are now on China's approved destination list, but strangely, Canada is not. This failure will cost Canadian businesses millions of dollars. The previous Liberal government had reached an agreement in principle with the Chinese government to get this done.

Did the government intentionally ruin our relationship with China, or did it just bungle it?

Tourist IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeSecretary of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, it is kind of interesting that a member from a party that did not get the job done is all of a sudden so impatient with this process.

He will know very well that these negotiations take time. I can assure him and the House that we are continuing to have dialogue and bilateral talks on this and other issues. These will bear fruit with a little patience and sensibleness on the part of the opposition.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, veterans in the West Island of Montreal, including many from my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis, spent months collecting over 1,700 Christmas packages for members of the Canadian armed forces serving in Afghanistan. These Christmas packages have been ready and waiting since late October.

Earlier this week, these veterans were told a new policy no longer allowed these packages to be sent. Then, after the story appeared in the media, they were told that the packages might be sent some time later, just not in time for Christmas.

What specifically is the government doing to ensure these 1,700 packages reach our troops for Christmas?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, one of the first things we did was secure C-17 aircraft so we could get a lot of things to the Afghanistan theatre, something that party never did.

I should begin by saying that we greatly appreciate all of these packages that have been made available to Canadian troops in theatre. Naturally, we give priority to family.

I can assure the hon. member, and the rowdy crowd on the other side, that we will endeavour to get these packages to soldiers. We will do everything we can to ensure that they arrive there as soon as possible, and that has been communicated to them, not in a political partisan way.

Port InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the port infrastructure in the fisheries sector has been in a sorry state for a number of years now. Everyone, even the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, acknowledges that it will cost almost $500 million to rehabilitate the active wharves. The funding currently allocated is ridiculously insufficient.

How much new money will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans seek from his cabinet colleagues to deal with a situation that everyone is describing as catastrophic?

Port InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as I think I have told the hon. member, it is getting near Christmas, and I know he believes in Santa Claus. When the fat, jolly fellow comes to put toys in his stocking, I depend on another short, fat, jolly person to put money in my stocking and we will see what happens.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, on August 24, 2006, the Quebec government promised to provide $100 million over 10 years to the Lower North Shore council of mayors to open up the area between Kegaska and Vieux-Fort.

Since then the president of the Corporation de la route de la grande séduction has tried on several occasions to obtain funding from Ottawa for the extension of route 138, a priority project for the region and the Government of Quebec.

Can the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities tell us if the government intends to support the right of Lower North Shore citizens to a road link and to meet their expectations by providing the funding required to provide access to these communities.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago I was in Havre-Saint-Pierre and Baie-Comeau and I had the opportunity to meet with Mayor Jones who was pushing for this project.

As you know, the Government of Quebec took a cooperative approach to this matter. It is part of the road network but unfortunately we have not officially received an application.

I indicated to them that the new infrastructure program will provide $25 million each year to every province and territory. This is new funding. They could apply for that.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, everyone in this House knows that the people who feed us are the Canadian farmers. The pork producers of our country are having an extremely hard time. It is the worst crisis in their history. Bankruptcies and foreclosures are closing down even the most efficient producers and there is real misery raining down on hard-working families.

Will the Prime Minister instruct his Minister of Agriculture to bring forward an emergency federal package, above and beyond existing programs, to assist pork producers as they weather this crisis?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the last government in power, I have the full support of my Prime Minister as we move forward in addressing agricultural crises in this country.

I have had tremendous discussions with the pork sector and with the provinces. I have another federal-provincial call tomorrow afternoon. I am meeting with the pork producers tomorrow. We have put $600 million of new federal money only into play that will be delivered to this sector in January.

FinanceOral Questions

December 12th, 2007 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we approach Christmas, the NDP is saying, “Bah, humbug” to Canadians. While it likes to pretend it is the party of Bob Cratchit, the NDP really acts like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Can the Minister of Finance tell Canadians what is being delayed by the NDP's foot dragging on Bill C-28? Why the NDP lump of coal in Canadians' Christmas stockings?

FinanceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in Bill C-28 there are several very important initiatives for vulnerable Canadians and low income Canadians. One is the working income tax benefit, which can come into force January 1, just a couple of weeks from now, to help Canadians get over the welfare wall, to help them get to work. The other is the registered disability savings plan, which can also come into force January 1, to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society and their financial security in the future.

The NDP is talking the bill out. It is time for action. I encourage them to act in the true Christmas spirit.

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been estimated that one in ten Canadians suffer from a rare disorder, yet Canada is the only country in the developed world without an official definition for rare disorders or an orphan drug policy. This complicates patients accessing necessary medications and hinders needed medical and pharmaceutical research for these disorders.

My private member's motion M-426 addresses this problem. Why will the government not rectify the situation and respond to the needs of Canadians with rare disorders?

HealthOral Questions

3:05 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, on the contrary, this government was the first government to act decisively when it came to the Fabry's disease issue which was of particular concern in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We found a way to work with our provincial and territorial partners to get increased research dollars and increased supplies and medications for that particular disease.

I am working with the provinces and territories for a broader policy than that. If the Liberal Party wishes to press the Liberal premiers that exist in this country to work with us, that would be of great help to us.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, a unilingual francophone was turned down by Citizenship and Immigration Canada because she could not speak English. When the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages was questioned in committee, she said that it was possible for a unilingual francophone from another country to immigrate to Victoria, even if that person did not speak English. She even said that this was part of her action plan. But this is not what we are seeing with the decisions of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

I am tired of francophones being laughed at. Can the minister explain why unilingual francophones are being turned down by Canada?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, this case has just come to my attention and I do not have any of the details yet. I did, however, ask my officials to look into this right away.

I assure you that this government will respect Canada's two official languages.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has already been a week. Clearly the minister does not understand what it is like to be a Franco-Columbian. One of my francophone constituents wanted to hire a unilingual woman to take care of her children, but the woman was turned down by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The only reason in her file was that she did not speak English. As a minority francophone, I thought my country was inclusive and welcoming.

Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages explain to francophones how they will be able to survive if the government not only shirks its responsibilities, but also prevents us from growing?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this case has just come to my attention. I do not have any of the details yet.

I have instructed my officials to look into the matter further. I can assure Canadians that as a government we are committed to respecting both official languages in this country.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Liberals who never did anything and the Bloc who can never hope to do anything, our Conservative government is reducing greenhouse gases. We have set strict targets for biofuels, namely, 5% for gasoline by 2010 and 2% for diesel fuel and heating oil by 2012. Massive investments have been made in order to achieve this, particularly in corn based ethanol. Some people, however, are challenging its environmental benefits.

Can the Secretary of State (Agriculture) set the record straight?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his excellent question. Our targets will reduce greenhouse gases by four megatonnes a year, which is the equivalent of taking about a million vehicles off the road.

In order to achieve these targets, however, biofuels must be produced. Corn based ethanol is currently available. It reduces greenhouse gases and creates jobs for our farmers. This is why we have invested $1.5 billion in its production.

We are not stopping there. We have invested $500 million in the next generation of biofuels, which are even better for the planet. It is the next generation of Quebeckers and Canadians who will benefit from them, as a result of the actions of this Conservative government.