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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was impaired.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Indian Affairs was given an opportunity to address the problem of the number of aboriginal children in care. He could have said that he would immediately examine the abysmal situation. He could have said that it was inexcusable. He could have pledged to find a solution for this blight on Canadian society. Instead he chose to blame the victim.

Could the minister explain why, instead of trying to rally support for a solution, he has decided that the status quo is acceptable?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 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, my friend goes too far. She knows perfectly well that I also stated yesterday that after I became the minister, this issue is one of the first on which I asked that an evaluation be conducted.

In addition, Phil Fontaine said yesterday, in the Ottawa Citizen:

It's not because we have a Conservative government in power that has caused us to take this action. This has been building up over a number of years...

There is ample responsibility to be shared. The number of children in care is too high. The effectiveness of the $416 million that the government currently spends needs to be studied. I indicated that will be done. It is being done.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, currently more aboriginal children are living away from their homes in care than at any time during the residential schools era. Yet this does not provide enough motivation for the Conservative government to act.

The minister chooses to nitpick at the details rather than confront the situation. The national chief, and I can quote him too, was right in calling the minister's comments unconscionable.

When will the minister stop the petty buck passing and when will he give the situation the attention it deserves? Children's lives depend on it.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 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, let us be clear on the facts. The number of first nation children in care is 9,000. It is not 27,000, which was the figure put forward yesterday.

The government is spending $416 million on this issue. In addition, there are 105 service agencies that deliver these services to first nation children. Seventy-five per cent of the kids receive their service from a first nation delivery agency.

In closing, I ask the member this. It is this government that has proposed an amendment to section 67 that would allow first nations to bring this complaint forward. That is a Conservative initiative. Does the member support it?

Child CareOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the child care issue is a good example of a provincial responsibility for which a limit on spending powers should apply.

Will the government agree that if it follows through on the recommendation to reinstate the Canada-wide plan for child care, it must allow Quebec to withdraw with full compensation and without conditions?

Child CareOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, upon being elected, the government moved immediately to ensure that parents across the country had more options when it came to child care. We immediately provided the universal child care benefit to families across the country, including in Quebec.

Under Quebec's $7 a day day care plan, our new universal child care benefit would buy 171 days of day care every year in Quebec.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

February 6th, 2007 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to funding post-secondary education, there is rare unanimity among the provincial governments and all the stakeholders to bring federal transfers back to the levels at which they were indexed to the cost of living in 1994.

The Prime Minister says he is seeking unanimity to resolve the fiscal imbalance. Well, here it is: he has unanimity for funding post-secondary education.

Accordingly, can he promise to resolve this issue quickly and out of respect for the unanimity of the stakeholders? In other words, will he transfer the $5.1 billion, including $1.2 billion for Quebec?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we had very constructive discussions with the finance ministers at Niagara-on-the-Lake and in Vancouver in December precisely with respect to this issue. The member is correct. There is a significant degree of agreement among the various governments in Canada that we must do more for post-secondary education in Canada, and we will.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the media reported that Canadian soldiers in Kandahar mistreated Afghan prisoners. Such accusations are troubling and require speedy action on the part of the government.

Will the government commit here and now to fully investigate these serious accusations and not to imitate the Liberals who did everything in their power to hide the reprehensible conduct of soldiers during the events in Somalia?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, there are two investigations going on and potentially a third. Whatever results we get from these investigations will be made public. We will get at the root of the matter, if there is something to get at.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is another problematic aspect concerning the Canadian mission in Afghanistan: following up on the prisoners Canada transfers to the Afghan authorities.

Can the Minister of National Defence tell us why Canada does not have an agreement similar to that signed by the Netherlands, which enables them not only to follow up on what happens to prisoners, but also to visit them once they are turned over to Afghan authorities?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we had an agreement signed in December 2005, which details the handling of prisoners. It also says that all rules of war must be followed. The Red Cross has reviewed this document. It has also reviewed our handling of prisoners. The president of the Red Cross said that we were doing outstanding work.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister responsible for Juno joyriding responded to a question regarding her $1,000 a day limousine habit by assuring the House that all guidelines were followed appropriately. Really?

Treasury Board guidelines are clear. They say explicitly that ministers are required to post on their respective departmental websites all travel expenses incurred. There are no limos there.

Why did the minister break Treasury Board guidelines? Why is she hiding her extravagant spending from Canadian taxpayers?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in carrying out my ministerial duties, I followed all the Treasury Board guidelines appropriately. I also personally covered the additional costs that were not related to ministerial duties. In fact, I will be looking into the website issue.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, coincidentally, today this year's Juno award finalists are going to be announced. Perhaps the minister will be nominated in the category most likely to abuse taxpayers' dollars and trying to cover it up, this while she was slashing millions of program dollars from the Status of Women, museums and the CTF.

Might the minister consider cutting her stretch limo budget a little bit, so that programs in her department might get some funding too?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I have clearly indicated that the guidelines were followed. Personal additional costs were covered by me. In fact, we do not want to be alluding to Liberals who previously did not cover personal expenses.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for killing the Wheat Board said it was a pleasure to fly to Washington to meet the U.S. secretary of agriculture.

When farmers desperately need income support, which hotel do members think the high flying agriculture minister checked himself into? It was no less than the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel, that would cost $540 a night, but one does get a complimentary shoeshine.

How does the minister justify this expense? How does he justify bringing along no less than four lucky Conservative staffers?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Shoes, shoes.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has the floor, not the Minister of Finance.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I can tell by the look of it that I should have taken advantage of that shoeshine at the hotel. I did not realize that it offered such a thing.

Of course we met with the secretary of agriculture in the United States, talking about important things like advancing to rule 2 to help our farmers by ensuring that the Americans reduce their domestic subsidy support. We have a lot of business to do with the Americans to get their agriculture policy in line with WTO regulations.

When it comes, though, to wasting money, the question I have for the member for Malpeque is, is he going to take personal responsibility to pay back the ad scam money that his party ripped off?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the results since he stayed at that luxury hotel.

We now know that Standard & Poor's has lowered the credit rating of the Canadian Wheat Board, naming the government as responsible. We know border fees and Canadian exports will increase in March. We know the Minister of International Trade has since acknowledged that supply management may be traded away.

The United States may be overjoyed, but Canadian taxpayers got the bill. Canadian farmers got the shaft. Americans got value for the minister's trip. Why did Canadians not get any value at all?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, when he was talking about Standard & Poor's, I thought he was talking about Liberal agricultural policy.

Of course, the government guarantees remain in place for the Canadian Wheat Board. We are confident that we are going to have a strong and viable Wheat Board moving forward. As a matter of fact, we say keep the Wheat Board, but give more choice to farmers. That is what we are saying.

It is interesting because we are asking them about barley. We are asking, “Do you want more freedom of choice?” This is what they say on that side of the House, and they do not care what farmers say and how they vote. “It is going to be business as usual. You have to deal with the Wheat Board whether you like it or not”. The Liberals are not listening to farmers now. They did not in the past and they will not in the future.

AirportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority announced earlier today that it has fully implemented restricted area identification cards in the 29 major airports across Canada. These cards use the latest technology, including iris scans and fingerprints, to identify employees entering restricted areas.

Can the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities inform the House how this will contribute to the increased security of our airports?

AirportsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have one of the safest and most secure air transportation systems in the world. We will continue to play a leading role in meeting and exceeding our international commitments and standards. This program is a world first and it showcases the substantive steps that we have taken as a government in ensuring the highest possible level of security in our transportation system.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, a new report released by the Conference Board is showing that Canadian cities have been abandoned for far too long. The report shows that after years of Liberal and now Conservative neglect, the needs of Canada's big cities are being ignored by the government. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is estimating the investment needs of cities with regard to infrastructure at $60 billion.

Will the finance minister take this report seriously? Will he respond to the needs of our cities and fix this infrastructure deficit in the budget?