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House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

PassportsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member, going back some time in opposition, that it was this Conservative Party that had to call an emergency debate in the House in order to wake the previous government up to this issue with respect to the United States.

This past fall and winter we have hired approximately 500 new staff to help process over 21,000 applications that we receive every day.

PassportsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at no surprise to those MPs who listen to their constituents, the Auditor General said that the government had no plan to deal with the increase in applications for passports.

As constituency offices have learned, Passport Canada has been increasing its wait times. Advice last week of a 40 day wait is now a 60 day wait. The backlog is so great that we have received word today that Passport Canada is only now opening applications received December 29.

Why did the government have no plan in place to deal with this problem on its watch?

PassportsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has declared herself satisfied with the progress of the new government and the progress that we have made in the number of recommendations made by her in 2005.

I remind the hon. member that we have hired 500 new employees to help process approximately 21,000 passport applications that we receive every day. I also want to remind the hon. member that she participated in that emergency debate to call on the previous Liberal government to get its act together with respect to the western hemisphere travel initiative.

PassportsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. law says that passengers travelling by air must now have a passport, and soon car travellers will as well.

In 2005 same-day car travel from Canada to the U.S. exceeded 22 million. According to the government's own website, passport requirements for car travellers can occur at any time between now and 2009.

The government knows this is coming. It had no plan to deal with the current crisis. What is its plan to deal with the next one?

PassportsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that we have 500 new employees hired at Passport Canada to help process 21,000 new passport applications.

I note the hon. member did not respond to my request for her response as to why she participated in a debate, urging the previous Liberal government to get its act together, and now she has completely changed her mind or perhaps forgot she had done that.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General condemned the serious gaps that exist in the conservation and maintenance of our built heritage. This is particularly true of the Cap-aux-Diamants Redoubt located within the Citadel in Quebec City. The redoubt remains inaccessible to visitors due to the poor management of the building, which no longer meets safety standards. The most recent work was done in 1997.

Can the Minister of Public Works and Government Services tell us what restoration measures he plans to take to allow visitors to access this historic vestige of Quebec City's defensive system?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:55 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, I thank my hon. colleague for her question. I can assure her that our government is aware of the situation and that we are taking the appropriate action.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, after years of fighting, 300,000 Quebec women in the public sector have achieved pay equity. In the meantime, women working in the federal public service and the private sector are still waiting.

If the Minister of Status of Women is so concerned about equality, what is she waiting for to adopt pay equity legislation to provide justice for all women under her jurisdiction?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that the government is absolutely committed to equity of pay for people who are in the same occupation. This is a Conservative commitment and the member should not doubt our commitment to that.

We also believe very strongly that people should be hired on the basis of competence. We are very proud of our record in that regard.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, last week a senior DND official gave testimony at the defence committee that nothing had been done to implement the Conservative promises to 5 Wing Goose Bay. That is right, nothing, zilch, nada or, as we say in our part of the country, not a darned thing. He also said that Indian Affairs, not National Defence, is the lead department on northern and Arctic sovereignty.

Since the Minister of National Defence has washed his hands of the file, I ask the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development this. What are his plans for his base at 5 Wing Goose Bay?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I find this the height of hypocrisy. It was this member, a member of the Liberal Party, whose intention was to close the base in Goose Bay, who is asking these questions. It is our government that is maintaining Goose Bay. We will maintain it into the future and we will give it an operational requirement, not those people.

Quebec BridgeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Lévis, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches have been waiting for years for CN to go ahead with the restoration of the Quebec bridge, a Canadian heritage jewel, as CN is expected to do.

After the lack of Liberal action and the inability of the Bloc to take action, will the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities inform the House about the progress of its negotiations with CN?

Quebec BridgeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Canada' s new government is taking all possible steps to have CN fulfill its obligations and responsibilities. That is why, today, we filed a motion seeking a permanent injunction for damages against CN.

I hope that these legal proceedings will enable us to ensure that work on restoring the bridge is completed. As we have stated so many times, the federal Liberals did nothing; the Bloc cannot take action; we are taking action.

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, today thousands and thousands of workers in Windsor and Brampton will go home to their families uncertain about their future and uneasy about what to tell their families because in the next few weeks 2,000 of those workers will no longer have jobs and no plan by the government on how to deal with it.

For the first time in 18 years, Canada has an auto trade deficit. Again, no plan from the government on how to deal with it because Canada has no automotive sector strategy at all.

When will the government begin to take auto jobs and the loss of auto jobs seriously?

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the automobile sector is important to Canadian industry and to Ontario auto workers.

That being said, I can assure you that the restructuring currently taking place in the automotive sector seeks to improve the productivity of this industry's workers. I can also assure you that if workers are affected by this restructuring, they will receive appropriate federal assistance.

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is cold comfort for the families of the auto workers who are going to suffer from this inaction.

The Minister of Industry sits with the Minister of International Trade, the same minister who was a flip-flopping, floor-crossing minister. As a minister for the Liberal Party he promised an auto policy and never delivered it to the House, broken promise after broken promise that is costing Canadians jobs.

Today we saw 20% of Canada's workforce at DaimlerChrysler get laid off and fired. What I want to know is this. Why do the Minister of Industry and the Minister of International Trade want to finish the sector off? Why do they want to continue with the Korea trade pact that is going to kill this industry and ensure that we are not going to recover?

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member should check with his leader to ensure that they are on the same page when it comes to an automobile strategy.

The leader of that party was also the author of a 76-point green vision for Toronto when he promoted the idea of banning cars altogether in Toronto. In fact, his comprehensive car-free plan would have Torontonians now trading their cars for bicycles. This is a strategy for bicycles, not for the automobile sector.

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence knows a lot about hypocrisy and I say to him that if my question is not for him, then stand down, general. My question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

If he cannot remember what he promised the people of 5 Wing Goose Bay, I can send him a DVD. He promised a UAV squadron and a rapid reaction battalion for Goose Bay, perhaps the same battalion of rapid reaction he wanted to send to five other places across Canada.

I ask the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development who is now in charge of defending the north, will he honour the Goose Bay commitments made by his absent-minded colleague in the Department of National Defence?

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. We will have some order. The Minister of National Defence now has the floor. We will have order please.

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we will meet our commitments to the north. We will meet our commitments to Goose Bay, unlike the previous government which was planning to cut Goose Bay and eliminate all the jobs.

Senate Tenure LegislationOral Questions

February 14th, 2007 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are wondering who is leading the Liberal Party of Canada. There are persistent questions about the capabilities of the Liberal leader. We have seen him bow to the wishes of the extreme wing of his party and flip-flop on the Anti-terrorism Act.

We have seen him confused about why he sent soldiers to Afghanistan and every day we see his Senate colleagues ignore his will on the bill to limit senators' terms.

Could the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform update the House on the progress of this simple 66 word Senate reform bill?

Senate Tenure LegislationOral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the Liberal Party is more leaderless today than when it did not have a leader. The member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville says that he supports term limits for senators but he cannot get his own party to follow. Today marks the 260th day that the unelected and unaccountable Liberal senators continue their obstruction of the bill limiting senators' terms.

The fact is that every day the Senate sits, which by the way is three days a week, the bill comes up for debate and every single day the Liberal Party votes to adjourn debate. Canadians want their Parliament to function. The Liberal leader should call on his senators to stop their obstruction and get back to work.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its AbolitionOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, following consultations with colleagues from all political parties, I think you will find unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should designate August 23 as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its AbolitionOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?