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House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we want a forest industry that is strong, competitive and dynamic. Today we announced funding of $127.5 million so that those who depend on the forest industry can look to the future with confidence.

This initiative will help promote innovation, expand markets and combat pests, and will help address skills and adjustment issues, which are of concern to the industry.

The Liberals have never done anything. The Bloc will never be able to do anything. Our government is taking action.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, after years of failing to comply with the Official Languages Act, national defence, the CBC tells us, has given up and will do only the bare minimum to establish bilingualism. Away with the regulations. Our military leaders will no longer speak French. National defence is giving itself until 2012 to fine tune its new bare minimum plan—over forty years after passage of the Official Languages Act. Bilingual former senior officers are criticizing these changes.

How does the minister explain such an affront to our francophone military personnel?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat for the member what I said earlier. The plan is centred on results broadly promoted by policies and programs that are sound and more practical.

The plan is new and clear with specific objectives and activities whose effectiveness is measurable. I add that the plan was developed in cooperation with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, this answer is an insult to francophones.

The current situation is staggering at national defence: 89% of francophones are bilingual, as compared with only 11% of anglophones.

In specific terms, francophones are told there will be only a few bilingual units. They will have to get along in English. The anglophones are told there is no problem and they can go wherever they like.

Will the Minister of National Defence bring matters into line in his department and establish a bilingualism policy worthy of the men and women who are prepared to put their lives on the line for Canada?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the new model will enable military and civilian personnel of the Department of National Defence to be directed, trained, managed and supported in the official language of their choice, under the provisions of the Official Languages Act. Our government is firmly committed to defending the country’s two official languages.

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

February 8th, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, with massive layoffs pending at Chrysler, why has the government cancelled labour market partnership agreements that could have helped many of the 2,000 Chrysler workers and why is this Prime Minister, the first in 40 years, refusing to meet with the head of the CAW?

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the member should know that the government announced its intentions to strengthen labour market initiatives in “Advantage Canada”. We are in constant contact with our provincial partners on all of these issues.

We will certainly put in place all the measures necessary to ensure that we have the strongest possible economy, something that is already happening under the leadership of the Prime Minister.

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have a minister who is laissez-faire and a Prime Minister who does not care.

The Liberal government partnered with the auto industry to create thousands of new jobs. Canada's neo-Conservative government has done almost nothing and we are losing thousands of auto workers jobs.

Will the Prime Minister meet with the head of the CAW, take action, and reintroduce the previous government's auto strategy that was working and creating jobs here in Canada?

Automobile IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that we tabled the Advantage Canada plan, a plan that will enable the automobile industry and all other industries to enjoy competitive tax conditions.

We will continue to lower taxes, to limit paperwork and regulations interfering with the productivity of Canadian business in the automobile sector, and we are proud of what we are doing.

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women does not seem to understand her responsibilities. On the one hand, she is passing the ball to the CRTC on the issue of non-compliance with Canadian Television Fund rules, yet on the other hand, she herself called a meeting with the two protesting companies.

In addition, she is forgetting that under section 7 of the Broadcasting Act, she can recommend that the Conservative cabinet issue a direction to the CRTC on regulatory policy. The minister can therefore act today.

Why does she not act?

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the CRTC regulations require a contribution. I am certain that the CRTC will enforce the regulations.

We understand the seriousness of the situation. That is why the government has announced a grant of $200 million over two years. In response, the production industry said that the announcement sends a clear message to the industry and all Canadians that the government feels that Canadian production—

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, you will admit that it is rather discouraging to listen to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women. Do we or do we not have a Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women in this Conservative government? For the past year, she has taken a laissez-faire approach. The situation is urgent, and she does not even seem to realize it.

Production contracts are awarded in February. If the CRTC does not act this week, is the minister prepared to direct the CRTC to enforce the rules?

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, we have an independent organization that is responsible for regulating and monitoring the broadcasting and production industries. The CRTC is aware of the regulations. I am certain that the CRTC will act on behalf of all Canadians and the government.

If I might add, I spent 30 years understanding the cycle of production and broadcasting.

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are going to persist with these questions. The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women is washing her hands of the fate of television production as a result of the decision by Shaw and Vidéotron to suspend their contributions to the Canadian Television Fund. Worse still, she is now throwing the blame onto the CRTC.

How can the minister explain that one week she acts as a messenger for the offending companies, and the next week she says that the matter has nothing to do with her because it is strictly the responsibility of the CRTC?

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the responsibilities of the CRTC and we also understand the gravity of the situation.

I am certain that the CRTC will act on behalf of all Canadians and for the government. At the same time, we also intend to assume our responsibilities.

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that she is sending a very bad signal to the cable distribution companies that contribute to the fund by agreeing to discuss future scenarios with the offending companies, which, in the end, undermines the Canadian Television Fund.

What is she waiting for to remind Shaw and Vidéotron of their responsibilities? They should pay first and discuss later. It is that simple.

Broadcasting and TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I want to ensure that we have the information. I have met with every sector. I have met with the distributors. I have met with the artists. I have met with the producers. I have met with the writers. I have met with the broadcasters and I have also met with the Canadian Television Fund. We all understand the gravity of the situation and I know that the commission will also take on its responsibility.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a new Canadian this country offered me limitless opportunities and gave me immense pride. While I am qualified to be elected to the House by the people of Mississauga—Erindale, because of the deal the government signed to buy Boeing aircraft, I and countless other Canadians cannot work on the maintenance of these aircraft.

Why will the Prime Minister not defend Canadians like me against discriminatory U.S. laws like ITAR?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, at present there are no identifiable ITAR difficulties with respect to the C-17 procurement. We do, however, recognize and share the concerns of Canadian companies who have had difficulty with the ITAR policy. The Prime Minister and a number of our ministers have indicated our deep concern about this American policy.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour.

After 30 years of experience in the public sector, I can personally attest to the fact that secondhand smoke is a matter of concern for all Canadians, including federal employees who work in correctional services. This particular issue came to the forefront last week. I would like to know what the minister is doing to resolve this very important health and safety issue?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the matter of health and safety at work is the responsibility of my department by virtue of part II of the Canada Labour Code. In addition, the question of secondhand smoke in correctional facilities is something that concerns us. I have already been asked to authorize proceedings against the Correctional Service of Canada in that regard.

However, the good news is that proceedings will not be necessary, because the Correctional Service of Canada, the bargaining agent for correctional officers, and the labour program are going to work together to find a solution to this problem.

Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian organizations played a leadership role in drafting the new International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 13. Canada should have been the first country to ratify the convention.

But instead of ratifying this important convention, the government is dragging its heels. This is unbelievable.

Will the minister quit beating around the bush and act now to make Canada one of the first signatories to this historic document?

Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the government is already acting on behalf of disabled Canadians. Bill C-36 is right now before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. That piece of legislation will make it easier for people to qualify for CPP disability benefits.

I have also been in touch with many people in the disabled community to understand these issues better. We are going to move and take action to ensure that disabled Canadians have every chance to succeed in this country.

Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer the question. There is a pattern to the Conservatives. When they cut services, they act with irresponsible and reckless abandon. When it is something that will actually help people, it is denial, delay and dithering.

Half of the growing number of homeless in Canada's streets are Canadians with disabilities. So are nearly half of those who line up at food banks to simply survive. Canadians with disabilities are the poorest of citizens and yet the government delays and dithers. Will the government now start to do what it takes so that Canada is among the first to ratify this important UN covenant?