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House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was families.

Topics

Citizenship ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, in committee yesterday, the minister said that the numbers of lost Canadians who are unaware that their status is in jeopardy were exaggerated. She claims that the number is 450 but Statistics Canada figures show that the number is as high as 50,000. Canadians believe Statistics Canada versus the minister.

Will the minister admit that she has no plan to immediately restore the $20 million the government cut to get the much needed review of Canada's Citizenship Act back on track?

Citizenship ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, what I said at committee yesterday was that 450 people have identified themselves and registered with the department acknowledging that they may have some anomalies with their citizenship. Those are the ones who have identified themselves.

If the hon. member or, indeed, any other hon. member in the House is aware of any other cases where this information needs to be clarified or special action needs to be taken, I invite them to contact the department immediately so that we can accelerate the handling of those cases.

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Blair Wilson Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, last June, the human resource minister, rather than taking a cab, spent almost $12,000 on limos and swanky hotels to attend the World Urban Forum in Vancouver. She was said to be discussing, of all things, poverty. It is unbelievable.

To add insult to injury, as the minister was busy talking she was also ruthlessly cutting vital programs for the poor and homeless.

Now in immigration, the minister continues to turn her back on the plight of some 50,000, not 450, lost Canadians and hundreds of parents who are trying to complete foreign adoptions.

Why is the minister so loose with the public's money when it comes to her own expenses, but so meanspirited--

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. government House leader.

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 minister has been working very hard on behalf of Canadians and a lot more frugally than her predecessor Liberal ministers. In fact, her predecessors in the Liberal government spent seven and a half times as much as her on their personal expenses. It is unbelievable.

What is more, she is not like the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country who, after the 2004 election, was given a taxpayer funded trip to Kabul by the Liberal government.

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, it costs $45 a day for a government member to rent a car. However, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration preferred to spend $6,200 for a limousine with a uniformed driver.

When will the minister stop her excessive spending of taxpayers' money? And above all, when will she restore the $20 million she slashed from our immigration system?

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, there would be a lot more money to help out with the immigration system and immigration settlement if the minister's predecessors had not spent $247,308 in the last year of the Liberal government. That is $247,308 in travel expenses compared with $32,500 by the minister; seven and a half times as much. Now we know where all the money went.

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the high rolling immigration minister travels in style, spending $1,440 for a two night stay in Vancouver. Meanwhile, she drags her feet on the Citizenship Act overhaul, which is dead, the dual citizenship review, which is delayed, and plans for the creation of the foreign credentials agency are gathering dust.

Why is it so easy for the minister to spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars on herself while making Canadians fend for themselves?

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, there is one thing that Liberal ministers did and it is something they worked very hard at, and that was spending money.

In fact, in the first quarter of 2005, this minister's counterpart spent $96,000 on travel while this minister spent $10,000 on travel in the comparable quarter.

In the second quarter, the Liberal minister spent $61,410 in travel while this minister spent $10,243 in the comparable quarter.

While we are at it, in addition to that money the Liberals spent, perhaps the members of the Liberal Party could tell us where all that sponsorship money went.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Conservative government presented its first budget a little more than a year ago, providing Canadians with much needed tax relief, billions of dollars in tax relief, after 13 years of tax and grab, tax and spend, and tax and tax again Liberal governments.

Would the Minister of Finance please inform this House when he will present the next budget.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I invite Canadians to continue to consult about the budget at www.fin.gc.ca.

I am pleased to advise the House that the budget will be presented on Monday, March 19.

Canada Elections ActOral Questions

February 20th, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Privacy Commissioner has said:

I fail to understand how the disclosure of birth information in [Bill C-31] would contribute to protecting or improving the integrity of the electoral process.

--the only reason put forward...to justify sharing date of birth information...it enables candidates and MPs to direct messages to constituents....

Will the Prime Minister promise Canadians that in the upcoming election he will not put the interests of political parties ahead of the rights of Canadians?

Canada Elections ActOral Questions

2:45 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, when this matter was debated at committee an amendment was put forward by the opposition parties, supported by the Liberals and the Bloc, to include the birthdates on the lists that were being provided. That amendment was actually opposed by members of the Conservative government.

However, it is very important, for the integrity of legislation, that it not proceed on a multi-partisan basis and, on that basis, we chose to no longer oppose it when it came back to this House so we could maintain that multi-level party support.

Canada Elections ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, they can run but they cannot hide.

The electoral lists are not secure documents. Often, all it takes to activate a credit card is a name, address and date of birth. Now the Conservatives plan to give birthdate information to anyone who asks.

This big brother bill does nothing to protect the integrity of the voting system. All it takes is support from the government.

Will the Prime Minister take this matter seriously and scrap the peeping Tom clause in Bill C-31, yes or no?

Canada Elections ActOral Questions

2:45 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, as I indicated, while this amendment did not come from the government and the government opposed it at committee, we chose to no longer do that.

However, I should make it clear that in appearing before the committee on June 14, 2006, the Privacy Commissioner did agree that the measure would not be in contravention of the Privacy Act and that it was a matter for parliamentarians to decide, which they did.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, for five years at the United Nations, Canada has been central to the negotiation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted by the UN in December 2006.

Now Canada refuses to sign the convention.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, a coalition of disabled persons' groups, as well as respected national organizations, have urged the government to reconsider its position and participate in the March 30 signing ceremony.

Why is the government refusing to join leading countries from five continents in signing this convention?

Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesOral 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, as is so often the case, that is factually incorrect.

This government is continuing to consult with provinces and territories on this important matter. We have been participating in these discussions on the important UN convention to protect and promote the rights of the disabled from the very beginning.

The March 30 date, which looms large, is something we are working toward. We will continue to do something that party does not do, and that is exhibit flexible, inclusive federalism, which this Prime Minister has forwarded from the very beginning.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government seems to have it in for the UN. It has ignored the UN treaty on cluster bombs, the UN climate change treaty, the UN convention on the rights of disabled people and now this convention for disabled persons.

When will the Prime Minister stop taking dictation from the White House? Canadians want an independent foreign policy.

Would the minister tell us why he is embarrassing Canadians by refusing to sign this convention without hiding behind consultation. That happens before ratification.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesOral 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, I do not know quite what to say to that. As I mentioned, we are of course working toward the ratification of the UN convention on the rights of the disabled. We have been very involved in the process from the very beginning.

We are very active at the United Nations in all of the discussions. If the hon. member would just calm herself somewhat and be a little more helpful she would realize that this is something that will happen. We have not reached the date yet.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the former Liberal government negotiated $3.5 billion in agreements with the provinces for skills development and training but as soon as the government took office funding for the agreements suddenly dried up.

The former minister of human resources testified before the committee saying that the deals were truly and fully funded but the current minister has contradicted that.

Could the Prime Minister please tell the House which of his ministers has been misleading Parliament?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that the Liberals were always just on the cusp of accomplishing things but never quite succeeded. In 13 years they never quite got to the point where they delivered on these things.

However, the good news is that my friend, the finance minister, announced that we will have a budget soon. He will be saying a lot more about all of these matters soon. I would advise my friend to be patient.

The other good news is that we will not go back to the bad old days where the Liberals cut $25 billion out of the social safety net. We would never do that.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, what the minister seems to have forgotten is that he and the Prime Minister both voted for budget amendments that called for deeper cuts a decade ago than the balanced Liberal approach.

Today, while thousands of Canadians are losing their jobs in the auto sector, the government is ignoring older workers.

The PM told the Premier of Ontario that we would be fully funding the agreement for apprenticeship programs, literacy and workplace skills development but there is no funding.

Why did the Prime Minister break his word? Why did the former human resources minister mislead the House when she knew the Prime Minister had swiped the cash?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the member has it wrong again. The government has moved forward to provide an economy that is creating jobs.

Last month alone, under the leadership of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, the Canadian economy produced 89,000 jobs.

Right now we are enjoying one of the best economies in Canadian history. We are not just relying on Canada's excellent social safety net, made better by the Prime Minister, we are also relying on the excellent leadership of the finance minister to create this tremendous economy that is lifting so many Canadians out of poverty.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians who have lived for the most part in this country are in jeopardy of losing their citizenship because of a shortcoming in the Canadian Citizenship Act. Some of these individuals are senior citizens.

To reassure these citizens, can the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration tell us what will happen to them, given that there is no appeal process, if a negative decision deprives them of their citizenship?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is distorting the facts just a little bit, unintentionally I am sure.

Normally, anyone who is born in Canada is, without question, a Canadian citizen and will continue to be a Canadian citizen. Unfortunately, there have been a few cases in recent years where there have been anomalies of citizenship, usually caused by people not knowing what was required of them. A child may have been born across the border in the nearest U.S. hospital and the parents may have failed to register their child back here in Canada within a time limit.

We are working on those cases on an expedited basis. Each case is getting the attention it deserves.