This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the way Canadian soldiers treat detainees in Afghanistan is a problem. The Minister of National Defence tried in vain to hide the truth by referring to an alleged agreement with the Red Cross. The minister was out of luck when the Red Cross denied this agreement and he had to retract his comments. By all accounts, the minister's situation is not improving. In fact, things keep getting worse.

Does the minister not think that the only honourable solution is for him to step down?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister was clear. He clarified things. Access to detainees is the responsibility of the Afghan independent human rights commission. Nonetheless, I am concerned by the fact that the opposition seems only to be interested in the detainees. For example, the Bloc has asked questions about the detainees 17 times, but only asked once about the soldiers.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a highly important matter and that is why we ask so many questions. We have not received an answer from this government.

The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons came to the rescue of the Minister of National Defence by saying that a million dollars has been given to the Afghan independent human rights commission to supervise the transfer of detainees. What the leader did not say is that this million dollars was given five years ago, in 2002.

Does the leader realize he has to find another explanation to help out his colleague because this version is not very compelling?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of our Minister of National Defence because he reached an agreement with the Afghan independent human rights commission ensuring access to detainees in order to see that their civil and human rights are protected. We are very proud of his success.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the lack of an agreement allowing Canadian authorities to follow up on detainees transferred to the Afghan authorities is not without implications; it puts at stake not only Canada's international commitments but also the safety of Canadian military personnel.

Knowing that the Afghan human rights commission lacks resources, does the minister intend to enter into an agreement similar to the one the Netherlands signed with the Afghan authorities to follow up on the detainees?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said earlier, we have recently signed an agreement with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission which has undertaken to go into the Afghan prison system and monitor any detainees that we transfer to the Afghan authorities. If there is any abuse of those people, it is to report to us.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the government that the signing of international treaties carries obligations which, in this case, the Canadian military then has to fulfill.

Does the Minister of National Defence realize that, in the absence of proper mechanisms, he is putting our military personnel in a very vulnerable situation, exposing them to charges of violating international treaties?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our men and women in Afghanistan support the values of Canadians. They support the values of human rights. They do not abuse anyone. I reject any aspersion on our troops.

We have made an agreement with the Independent Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan. It has undertaken to monitor the treatment of detainees that we transfer to the Afghan authorities. I spoke to representatives at the Kandahar level and at the national level and they said that they could do the job.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, this week the message was loud and clear: the Conservative government does not care about New Brunswick's working families. It simply does not care at all.

Once more, the government has decided to leave the Atlantic provinces out of the federal budget. Meanwhile, 400 people participated in an information session to find work in western Canada.

When will the government care about the people of New Brunswick? When will it understand that economic and social development are crucial to the future of our province?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

New Brunswick Southwest New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am going to use the words of the finance minister and ask the member for Acadie—Bathurst to read the budget.

In fact, the New Brunswick government alone is getting over $203 million more than it received under the previous Liberal government. That is significant. In addition, New Brunswick is getting $110 million more than it received in our budget last year. That is being pretty generous to New Brunswickers.

I do not know how the member can come up with less when the province is getting more. That is poor arithmetic.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, if the minister asks the premier of New Brunswick, he will have the answer.

Workers from all regions of Canada need employment insurance. This issue was completely ignored in the Conservative budget, despite surpluses of $51 billion.

Once again, the Bloc Québécois has decided to sell its soul by supporting the Conservative budget. The Bloc is turning its back on workers; it is turning its back on the unemployed.

Will the minister explain to workers in need why it is large corporations that are receiving money again, when it is the workers who need help?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the member really should read the budget. It is a tremendous document. The Minister of Finance has done a great job of putting it together.

I point out to my friend that we already have in place a targeted initiative for older workers.

We have in place a new panel that will explore issues affecting older workers.

In the budget, we also announced $500 million in labour market agreements so that provinces can provide training to workers of all kinds who need help. That is acting for workers of all kinds.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, who is getting what from this budget? A single mother earning $23,000: nothing. The Prime Minister: at least $620. A 57 year old widow living on a small pension: nothing. The Minister of Finance: $930. A young couple with both individuals earning $25,000: nothing. One million Canadians who believed the Prime Minister and invested in income trusts: $25 billion less.

This is the Conservatives' idea of fairness?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague asked this question because the fact of the matter is that all Canadians benefit from this budget.

All Canadians benefit because we are putting Canada back on a sound fiscal basis. We are going to have sound fiscal management for the first time in a long time.

We are going to give Canada a tax advantage that benefits all Canadians.

We are going to give Canada an infrastructure advantage with $33 billion to help Canadians on infrastructure.

We are going to act on the environment. We are going to move forward, which the Liberals never did.

We are going to help with education.

All Canadians benefit from this budget and the member knows that.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us consider whether Canadians can believe the government: income trusts, broken promise; child care spaces, broken promise; foreign credentials approved, broken promise; controlling the size of government, broken promise; capital gains tax, broken promise; health wait time guarantee, broken promise; Saskatchewan, broken promise; and Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, broken promise.

Why should Canadians believe anything the government says?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the member opposite completely distorts and mischaracterizes many measures that we have put forward.

He knows that we are moving ahead and that we have delivered fiscal balance while fully respecting the Atlantic accords that were negotiated. We are fully respecting our promises to the provinces.

The member knows that we are reducing taxes and that we are doing the things we said we would do. We will continue to do that with the support of Canadians across this country.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the 2005 Atlantic accords were intended to make Nova Scotia and Newfoundland the primary beneficiaries of their offshore resources. They were eight year agreements, renewable for another eight years. The government ripped up these accords with the stroke of a pen in Monday's budget.

Why should any Canadian, why should any Nova Scotian or Newfoundlander, trust the Prime Minister when he can so easily rip up written agreements and break his own promises?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Quite the contrary, Mr. Speaker. In fact, the budget explicitly affirms the Atlantic accords. The budget explicitly says that the Atlantic accords will be fully honoured by this government.

At the same time, we are moving to put the equalization program back on a sound, equal and fair standard for everyone. That is something the Liberals were completely unable to do and Canadians know that.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 2004 the Prime Minister said that the prime minister has “a moral obligation to keep these promises: no caps, no clawbacks, no limitations, no conditions, no big exceptions in the fine print”.

The Prime Minister will say anything and he will do anything before an election. He will break any promise after that election.

The Atlantic accords were 16 year agreements. Will the government commit to honouring the full 16 year duration of these accords?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member opposite ought to read the budget because this is what the budget actually says:

To respect the Offshore Accords, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador may continue to operate under the previous Equalization system...This fulfills and builds upon the government's commitment to respect the Offshore Accords and ensures that these provinces will continue to receive the full benefit that they are entitled to under [the accords].

That is what the budget actually says.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, an internal report from the army points to some serious flaws in the management of transport contracts, including the shipping of munitions and explosives by civilian companies, and the army is not even sure that these companies have the required permits to do so. The Minister of National Defence is obviously out of his depth and has lost control of the management of his department.

What does he intend to do to ensure that munitions and explosives are shipped safely?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think the member is referring to something that happened in the year 2004-05 and I think he will find a previous defence minister sitting on the other side.

However, we have corrected that issue. All the corrective action has been taken. Ammunition is moved safely throughout Canada.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should update his information. The report points out that the army paid bills without checking to ensure that the shipments had made it to their destinations. It adds that if the army had managed funds more effectively, savings of close to $1 million could have been made.

How can the minister condone the fact that the army has wasted over $1 million, considering that his government does not think twice about cutting millions of dollars in social programs, for purely ideological reasons?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I cannot help it if the member opposite refuses to take the answer.

The answer is that we had it investigated and all the corrective action has been taken. Any ammunition moving in the country is moved safely.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, whereas American farmers have record incomes year after year, our farmers are in the midst of the worst farm income crisis in history. Our farmers also have the right to work in an environment that allows them to turn a profit.

Quebec farmers feel that they have been left behind because, in spite of its promises, the government has only paid them 6.8% of the new money allocated to agriculture in its first budget.

This time, will the minister promise to pay a fair share to Quebec farmers, or about 20%?