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House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, a taxi costs $3 per kilometre.

On September 7, 2006, just before she went to a festival, she made an announcement in Toronto about social housing. Again, she spent $1,000 of taxpayers' money on limousines for two days and $300 to go from Pearson Airport to downtown Toronto.

How can this government justify the image of injustice projected by this waste of public funds?

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 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, the difference between our government and the previous government is the use of Challenger jets.

The biggest difference is that every time the Liberal ministers wanted to go anywhere, home for the weekend or otherwise, they were not getting into a car. They were getting on a Challenger jet for the occasion.

In fact, the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie had no trouble having the Challenger fly empty to Montreal to pick her up for a cabinet meeting, when there is a commercial flight maybe every hour. That is the real difference.

Air-India InquiryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the head of the Air-India inquiry is threatening to shut down the investigation. Can the Prime Minister respond to former Supreme Court Justice John Major's statement that he is receiving heavily censored documents and this practice will seriously hurt the progress of the inquiry?

Air-India InquiryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was a little surprised at today's story. Let me be clear. As I have instructed, it is my understanding that Justice Major has been given, unedited, all documents that related to the Air-India inquiry.

What is at issue in about 10% of the cases is a dispute about what, by law, can and cannot be made public. I have instructed my national security adviser to meet with people in the various departments to impose a non-restrictive interpretation of the law and to expedite resolution of this dispute as quickly as possible.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has refused the NDP request to set a time for a debate and a vote on whether or not to extend the mission in Afghanistan beyond 2009. Documents I have obtained through access to information show that the Chief of the Defence Staff is already way ahead of the government. The CDS has detailed plans going until 2011 for deployments.

Will the minister tell the members of the Canadian Forces and their families what General Hillier has planned for them?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have answered this question a number of times. The member again is confusing the military internal plan, which is based upon the Afghanistan compact, and government direction. If she reads the plan in detail, she will notice that the military acknowledge that they are committed to the end of February 2009. However, they plan beyond those dates because the Afghan compact goes until 2011.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government needs to come clean on this. Will the Royal Canadian Regiment be returned in February 2010? Will the PPCLI be returning in August 2009 for their third or fourth rotation? Will the Van Doos return for their third rotation in August 2010 as General Hillier's planning documents indicate?

It is hard to see where civilian oversight is taking place at DND. How can the military plan rotations that Parliament has not approved?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government has said that we are committed to the end of February 2009. No further decision has been made. The government, when it finds it appropriate, will make the decision on what happens if and when the events occur after 2009.

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government promised a child care program that was supposed to give parents some choice, but in over 12 months it has failed to deliver even one new child care space.

My municipal government has just reported a shortage of 9,000 spaces, and it is the same across the country. If parents in my constituency need a child care space, what choice is the government giving them?

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, this new government did of course deliver the universal child care benefit within five months of coming to power.

We did commit to creating spaces through the child care spaces initiative, starting in 2007-08, but I point to a quote from the former deputy prime minister, Sheila Copps, who said, “The last agreement saw some provinces rake in millions without creating one day-care space”. She was speaking of her own government.

What hypocrisy.

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Not surprisingly, Mr. Speaker, the government continues to boast about its measly $100 per month cheque, but parents are now receiving the notice of taxes due on this money. Single parents will have to pay the highest rate.

The former minister spent $750 on a limousine to deliver the first cheque, but now it is tax time and the government has come collecting. Will the current minister be spending hundreds of dollars on limousines to collect the tax from the Winnipeg family that received the initial cheque?

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the member should really direct that question to her own leader. It is her leader who said he would take back 100% of the universal child care benefit, something that today goes to 1.4 million families on behalf of 1.9 million children, for $10 billion over the next five years.

That is something the leader of the Liberal Party said he would take away from Canadian families. Shame on him.

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, while parents are receiving a notice of taxable income as a result of the Conservative plan, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development is announcing virtually nothing for families.

Parents are still waiting for the child care spaces promised by the Conservative government, but nothing has been delivered. Another promise broken by this government.

For the umpteenth time, can the minister tell us where these new child care spaces are that he promised in 2005? Where are they?

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I would just point out again that according to the deputy prime minister of the old Liberal government their party did not create one space in 13 years.

I say to the member again that we did make a commitment in 2007-08 to start delivering on these spaces. That of course will come on top of the $10 billion that will go to families over the next five years through the universal child care benefit.

We are delivering choice to Canadians, something the leader of the Liberal Party says he will take away from Canadian families. The Liberals should be embarrassed.

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the answer is clear. The government has not managed to give even one additional child care space to Canadian families.

Parents who need child care in Atlantic Canada and across the country must place their names on waiting lists for their child to have a space in daycare. They have no choice, because there are no spaces available. Some child care services even report that the situation is getting worse.

Will the minister admit that his government has made the situation worse for Canadian families? I would like to hear him admit it, once and for all.

Child CareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, what makes it worse is that the leader of the Liberal Party will go to 1.4 million families and say to them, “We are going to take away your choice in child care”. It is the Liberal way: our way or the highway.

This government will not put up with that. That is why we are here to support Canadian families with $10 billion over the next five years. We are delivering for Canadian families.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the past year, several thousands of workers have been laid off in the Eastern Townships and hundreds of them are workers 55 and older who are without work in my riding. This is the case for former employees of Olymel in Magog, the textile plants in Magog and soon others in Cowansville and Farnham.

What is the government waiting for to remedy the situation and set up a real program to help older workers who are victims of mass layoffs? Obviously, under the circumstances, the targeted initiative for older workers—the TIOW—is ill conceived and totally ineffective.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, whenever there is a layoff it is a tragedy for those involved. That is why this government has moved very quickly to put in place a number of different programs and measures to help them. Service Canada reaches out to these employers.

We have also moved forward with a targeted initiative for older workers, a program that members in the House supported initially. It is designed to make sure that people do have options once they are in that situation and that we do not just pension them off and cast them into the dustbin, like some other parties would have us do.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government keeps conducting studies. For a year now the Conservative government has been giving us the same speech as the previous government, saying that it is looking into the implementation of an income support program for older workers. It even set up another committee on January 23. In the meantime, older unemployed people and their families are paying the price. There is no need for a committee: the studies have been done and the needs are known.

Why does the minister not immediately implement an income support program for older workers, as his government promised to do in the last budget?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, to answer the member's question again, we have implemented a program for older workers with the targeted initiative for older workers. It is true that we have undertaken a study to look at this very important issue. It is a serious issue. But we have gone beyond that. We have also extended benefits in areas of high unemployment. We have extended the benefits so that they fill out the entire income year, the entire working year.

This government, in 13 months, has done more for workers and the unemployed than the previous government did in 13 years.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

February 19th, 2007 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Merasty Liberal Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I participated in a conference with survivors of the Ile-à-la-Crosse boarding school. They are frustrated that the Prime Minister will not honour his repeated promise to compensate them. Why? Because the Prime Minister was too negligent to check if the school qualified for the settlement and then proceeded to trample on their spirits.

A recent Meadow Lake Northern Pride editorial stated that “the Ile-à-la-Crosse survivors are victims of not only physical, sexual and emotional abuse...but also of the [Prime Minister's] negligence”.

The Prime Minister directly promised compensation in radio ads in my riding. When will he honour his agreement and his promise?

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 residential school agreement continues to work its way through the court system, with the anticipated date of completion being this fall.

The school that my friend refers to actually burned to the ground in 1905. There are no survivors from that school. There is an application process under the agreement, article 12 as I recall, by which survivors can apply for inclusion. I have met with the individuals to which my friend refers and have encouraged them to pursue that application, but I have warned them that they will not qualify.

Anti-terrorism ActOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the Air-India Victims Families Association, the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, and the Canadian Coalition Against Terror all called on parliamentarians to extend two crucial anti-terrorism provisions brought in by the former Liberal government.

Several prominent Liberals and a growing number of Liberal members of Parliament have stated their support for extending these measures.

Can the Minister of Public Safety explain to the House the importance of these measures for the safety of Canadians?

Anti-terrorism ActOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, up until 9/11 Canada had the tragic record of being the country that had the most citizens killed in a single terrorist attack. That was, of course, the horrendous Air-India bombing. Families have an opportunity to find out about what went on, but the Liberal leader wants to take away the very provision in the Anti-terrorism Act that would allow authorities to get to the bottom of this.

I am just asking, if he does not want to accept the advice of former deputy prime ministers of the Liberal Party, and if he does not want to accept the advice of the Supreme Court, which has upheld this as constitutional, can he find it in his heart to support us to leave this in place?

HomelessnessOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the wealthy are getting richer, many of Canada's low and middle income families are one paycheque away from homelessness.

We are spending less money on ensuring that people are not sleeping on the streets. The government will claim it cares about homelessness, but actions speak louder than words. Under the Conservative watch, $70 million has gone unspent. When will homeless organizations see this money? When will this money be spent on the people who really need it?