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House of Commons Hansard #155 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Chair, that is an example of just talking about a policy. Real action means $100 million to improve the infrastructure of our cultural institutions. It means $10 million for student apprenticeships at our museums. It means a commitment to a national human rights museum. It means that we are going to be working because we know what our responsibilities are regarding our museums.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Chair, hundreds upon hundreds of museums across this great country of ours are committed to preserving the heritage of their region. They rely on volunteers. They rely on summer students. They relied on the museums assistance program.

How is it that the minister believes that they can continue to do their work?

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Chair, the party opposite can obsess about $2.3 million, but in fact we have increased our commitment to museums by $4.6 million. The member spoke about the assistance that museums require. That is why we have committed $10 million for student--

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Bill Blaikie

The member for Laval--Les Îles.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Chair, the Liberal government's action plan for official languages expires in 2008.

Does the minister intend to renew this action plan which has proven so vital to English and French linguistic minorities?

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

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

Everyone knows, Mr. Chair, that our government is committed to promoting linguistic duality. As we speak, we are evaluating the initiatives proposed in the action plan. Also, discussions are already underway with the communities and various groups, as emphasized by—

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Bill Blaikie

The hon. member for Laval—Les Îles.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Chair, a year and a half into its mandate, this government is still at the evaluation stage. Of the 37 federal agencies and institutions assessed by the commissioner, 23 had not reviewed their policies and programs to determine their impact on the development of official language minority communities.

Could the minister tell us why?

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Josée Verner Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Chair, if that is where my colleague is going, I will tell her what the former Commissioner of Official Languages noted in her annual report. She wrote that, during the first year of implementation of the action plan, she could not tell exactly what the Liberals had done or how much they had invested.

Our government intends to strictly follow the existing action plan, and we will continue to do so.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Chair, in response to the question on the action plan that expires in 2008, I am hearing nothing but empty words.

I would like to know what measures the minister intends to institute to enforce the regular reporting from these federal institutions that have not--I am sorry, I am on the wrong question. I beg your pardon.

The minister voted in favour of Bill S-3, whereby the government is committed to ensuring that positive measures are taken to implement these commitments to enhance the vitality of the English and French minorities and to support their development.

How does the minister reconcile her vote with the fact that she did not oppose the cancellation of the court challenges program?

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Josée Verner Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Chair, I would simply like to remind the hon. member that I said earlier that there was an evaluation process underway for the action plan and that we had already begun the consultations with different groups. We are doing our job and we are preparing for beyond 2008.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Chair, we do not know what form this will take in 2008. Since this is indeed a matter for consultation, there are obligations under section 43(2) of Part VII of the Act. Can the minister tell us what consultations have been held by her department? How were they conducted and with whom? Was this done before Human Resources and Social Development Canada cut funding from the literacy program?

I would like a more substantial and detailed response from the minister for once, and not what is written in the book.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Josée Verner Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Chair, I think that if the hon. member bothered to listen to the response she would hear a clear response from our party. What I said was that since we have been in power we have already signed agreements worth over $1 billion with the provinces, territories and communities. Furthermore, in our last budget, we announced an additional $30 million for youth and the promotion of linguistic duality across the country. The hon. member should justify why she voted against this measure.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Chair, that is what governing is all about: having to answer to the Canadian people. The government has to answer, not the opposition. In light of the obligations set out in part VII, I would like to know how the minister will help with funding of the literacy program with respect to francophone and anglophone linguistic minorities across Canada.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Josée Verner Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Chair, the member must know that in the action plan funds are allocated to literacy, and those funds are still there. I will tell her that at the beginning of April, I was in New Brunswick to announce programs and pilot projects for francophone minority day care centres.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Chair, 12 out of the 16 regional Status of Women Canada offices have closed. Many rural women have no access to the Internet or transportation. The rural women aided by these offices feel totally isolated because they now have no help from officials.

Why has the minister chosen to abandon women in rural Canada?

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Chair, in fact, we are providing real action to the women in rural Canada. Because we have been able to directly benefit women in their communities through non-profit organizations, we have seen fine projects such as those that we have recently approved from Prince Edward Island. The rural community women will now be able to undertake starting up their own—

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Bill Blaikie

The hon. member for Beaches—East York.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Chair, women from Canada's farming communities presented a heartbreaking account of poverty faced by many families on small family farms. The irony in their appearance at the committee is that they will no longer be able to present before the committee because the government will not fund advocacy work. This very valuable information will go unheard by Parliament. Why is the minister shutting these women out?

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Chair, I come from a riding that is very highly agriculture. I do my job. I meet with the women and the families in my riding who are from farm families. That is the responsibility of every member in the House.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Chair, the minister has eliminated equality as the main goal of the women's program, the policy research fund, advocacy for women, legal status and political rights. At the same time, women continue to be underpaid and underemployed and they still experience violence. Only 20% of the House of Commons are women.

Does the minister believe this is how to solve these problems and advocating for women? Why has the minister silenced their voices?

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Chair, the government is doing more than just advocating. We are actually acting. We are not satisfied to watch our country be put on a watch list for human trafficking, and we did something about it.

We are moving to keep our communities safer and women and children safe in their communities,with 11 justice bills that the opposition is holding back. We are providing help to every family with our child care benefit tax. We are improving the situation through the work—

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Bill Blaikie

The hon. member for Beaches—East York.

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Chair, it would help if the minister answers some of the questions.

The Quebec organization Regroupement Naissance-Renaissance was refused funding because its members are fighting for women's rights.

Why does this government make policies based on its neo-conservative ideology and not on the realities facing Canadian women every day?

Canadian Heritage--Main Estimates, 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Chair, unlike the previous government, we do not approve applications depending on political views. We approve programs and proposals on the merits and we measure how directly they will improve the situation for women. In fact, we want to ensure women see a difference in their lives.