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House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

North American Free Trade AgreementOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer some guidance. I researched the Adams Mine land titles and I could not find the name Gallo because of course it is a numbered company.

I did, however, find the name Mario Cortellucci, who is a very close friend of the Conservative Party. The Cortellucci clan has given $170,000 recently, including $50,000 to our present finance minister when he was running for provincial leadership, $10,000 to the health minister when he was running, and $60,000 to that party's coffers since 2004.

Would the minister phone up super Mario and ask him to help the government find out just who is going to stand to benefit from this massive hit on Canadian taxpayers?

North American Free Trade AgreementOral 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, I am not quite sure why the hon. member is trying to perpetuate another smear in the House but--

North American Free Trade AgreementOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

North American Free Trade AgreementOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. The Minister of International Trade has the floor and everyone wants to hear his answer. We will hear the minister now. The Minister of International Trade has the floor.

North American Free Trade AgreementOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Emerson Conservative Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Like I was saying, Mr. Speaker, if he wants to perpetuate a smear, he should do it outside the House where people have access to the justice system.

In the meantime, we will be pursuing aggressively this chapter 11 case and we will attempt to demonstrate that it has no merit.

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, first the chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board suddenly resigned. Then members of the advisory panel followed him. Now the IRB is raising the alarm about the government's interference, which is damaging its “hard won reputation”.

Why is the government manipulating the IRB to the point that qualified individuals are suddenly jumping ship? The IRB is hemorrhaging.

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Let us be clear, Mr. Speaker. The IRB selection process is very flawed and has been for quite some time. Under the current system, one person makes all the appointments and that is the chair. Prior to 2004 one person made it and it was the minister.

We are going to put in a valid system, one where both the minister and the chair work together to choose qualified, merit based candidates so we can clean up the mess the Liberals left.

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister made a mistake in her speech.

It is clear that the consultative committee makes suggestions to the chair. Nevertheless, we are not the only ones asking why the board is hemorrhaging.

The Canadian Council for Refugees, the Refugee Lawyers Association of Ontario and the Ontario Bar Association, among others, are also asking that question.

They want to know when the minister will fill the board's 52 vacant positions.

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the fact that there are vacancies is just one more example of why we need to fix it. The Liberals could not recruit people.

I am not the only one who believes there is a problem. Let me read a quote. The current chair of the IRB, Mr. Fleury, has said, “the Board could be an even more effective, efficient and ultimately fair tribunal”. That is the current chair speaking and I agree with him.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has broken his election promise to Canadians to establish a merit based appointment process for independent public institutions. This was provided for in the accountability act, but the government is going in the opposite direction: manipulated appointments to the IRB; ideological appointments to the reproductive technologies board; and, worst of all, stacking judicial advisory committees to give the government appointees a veto.

When will the Prime Minister live up to his promises to the Canadian people?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, our government is very proud of the Federal Accountability Act. We are moving very quickly to in fact fulfill all of our promises and all of the commitments placed in the legislation.

I can only hope that the members opposite will be a little more cooperative than before when they tried to sink the last candidate that we put forward for that position.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I and all colleagues here will be glad to see that appointment process set up soon. The government has no right to manipulate these independent public institutions to force through its political agenda.

When will the Prime Minister stop trying to fill these independent public institutions with his ideological soulmates? When?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party today raise the question of the Immigration and Refugee Board. That process is being reformed and it is being reformed according to a number of criteria that were suggested in a report by the executive director of the Public Appointments Commission to have a merit based process. That is exactly what we are doing.

All the squawking you hear from the Liberal Party, Mr. Speaker, is its attempt to keep the culture of entitlement from the grave. It is not going to work.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives were in opposition, they criticized the partisan appointments of immigration commissioners. In 2004, the process changed. Now that they are in power, these same Conservatives want to go back to the old ways of partisan appointments by stacking the selection committees for commissioners.

How does the government explain this about-face, except to say that they intend to make partisan appointments, ensuring they choose like-minded commissioners? They are taking the same approach with judges.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as I explained a moment ago, we are taking a balanced approach, one where the minister and the chair work together to appoint the members of the advisory panel so that there is true accountability. This is one of nine recommendations in the independent report that was commissioned. We are accepting all of them because we want a better system.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, how are we supposed to believe this report is independent?

The minister forgot to mention that one of the departing members of the selection committee, Nick Summers, claims that stacking a committee is a step backwards which opens up the commissioner appointment process to patronage.

How are we to belive that the minister is improving the system, when everyone is resigning, and some organizations, like the Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association and the Canadian Council for Refugees, are concerned about the recommendation that the minister appoint two of the seven members of the selection committee?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quoting a former candidate of a political party.

The recommendations we will follow for appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board were made by the former executive director of the Public Appointments Commission. He was a long-serving, non-partisan public servant.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, under the government, the one year land dispute in Caledonia has become Canada's longest running aboriginal occupation. The frequently absent federal negotiator, former Mulroney minister Barbara McDougall, has been unsuccessful in negotiating a resolution. The minister has said that patience is required. Patience in Caledonia has long since run out.

Now that it has been one year and nothing has been accomplished, will the minister show the necessary leadership and agree to personally meet with the parties involved?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 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 dispute is not one year old; it is in fact 200 years old. However, today, everyone who has been involved has acted responsibly in a positive and balanced way. I include Chief David General in that sense, the provincial negotiator, Jane Stewart, Barbara McDougall the federal negotiator and Allen MacNaughton the national chief.

The only hysterical voices are those of the Liberals. It shows Canadians again why they lack leadership and why they lack the ability to govern the country.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for Ottawa South made false and misleading statements about the dismissal of the former environment commissioner, Johanne Gélinas. He said to Canadian press in relation to her dismissal, “Political interference cannot be ruled out”.

Could the Minister of the Environment set the record straight about this misleading statement by the Liberal environment critic?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, at least someone in the House cares about the environment and is asking questions.

I want to wish the commissioner well in her new responsibilities. However, I should point out that in her own statement, on January 30, she said that the discussions between the Auditor General and herself were private and that there was no interference whatsoever from the Government of Canada or its representatives.

It is time the Liberal Party stopped being so negative. Here is what the Liberal member of Parliament for Halton said just a few weeks ago, “We're so far behind meeting our Kyoto commitments now that catch-up is impossible without shutting the country down”. It is time the Liberals started to support the clean air act so we can move forward on—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Victoria.

Student EmploymentOral Questions

February 28th, 2007 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, students are only asking for what is fair. We cannot force them to pay exorbitant tuition fees, causing them run up record debt, and take away their summer employment. The summer career placements program needs more, better-targeted funds—not a 50% cut. Applications from employers are already a month late and these cuts put hundreds of jobs across the country at risk.

When will the government admit its mistake and restore the funding for student employment?

Student EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are listening very carefully to people affected by the summer career placement program, but a couple of things are clear. First, in this economy there are many more jobs for young people than there used to be. Second, we know that three out of four of the recipients of those grants in the private sector claim they would have created those jobs in any event.

We are listening and I invite the member to stay tuned. We will have an announcement on this very soon and I think she will be pleased.

Student EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, all we ever hear is “stay tuned”. Meanwhile, the government is starving women's groups, adult literacy coalitions and now the non-profits, small businesses and summer camps that provide summer employment for students.

I heard last week that an inner city day came for immigrant and refugee children in Montreal is at risk of closing this summer.

In Victoria, it is programs at our NEED crisis line and women's transition house. Winnipeg, Hamilton and Vancouver are losing summer child care services.

Students in our communities just want some two-way accountability from the government. When will they get it?