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House of Commons Hansard #157 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

BurmaStatements By Members

May 18th, 2007 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, since Tuesday the military government of Burma has arrested nearly 50 peaceful activists. Among them was Su Su Nway, a dissident and member of the national league for democracy.

Su Su Nway was arrested along with more than 30 other Burmese for peacefully conducting a prayer service to draw attention to the ongoing arbitrary detention of the leader of the national league for democracy, Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

I know that every member of this House will join me in saluting the courage of Su Su Nway in her struggle against the totalitarian Burmese regime. Canadians across the country call on the Burmese government to free Su Su Nway as well as all other advocates of freedom who have been unjustly imprisoned by the country's undemocratic military regime.

Winnipeg NorthStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, this weekend marks the 100th anniversary of Luxton School, named after Mr. W.F. Luxton, Winnipeg's first public school teacher. This school has been a beacon of light and learning in Winnipeg's north end, graduating many world renowned personalities like Monty Hall and Burton Cummings, who will actually join us at our celebrations this weekend.

Congratulations to Principal Tom Rossi and all those who have created a classy celebration for this historic occasion.

I also want to acknowledge another upcoming historical event. On behalf of the House of Commons I salute the Maples Collegiate Unity Group on its 12th annual walk against racism. A dozen years of standing up to be counted, fighting against all forms of racism, hatred and discrimination.

Today I stand in solidarity with members of the Maples Unity Group and say that their courage is an inspiration to all of us. They are a shining example for our whole society to build for the future a community and a country based on equality, dignity and peace. Congratulations to Chuck Duboff and the Maples Unity Group.

Canadian Executive Service OrganizationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the Canadian Executive Service Organization, CESO, and Ms. Norma McCormick, an inspiring individual who lives in my riding.

CESO is a not for profit organization that has been promoting sustainable economic development in Canadian communities and abroad for 40 years. It does so by pairing skilled volunteer advisers like Norma McCormick with clients to promote development, build economic capacity, and support sustainable businesses to render communities more self-sufficient.

Ms. McCormick joined CESO as a volunteer adviser in May 2004. She recently completed a CESO international assignment in Serbia and Montenegro where she assisted with the harmonizing of Serbian laws with the European Union legislation on occupational health and safety. This is an example to all of us that one person can truly make a significant difference.

Please join me in congratulating CESO and Norma McCormick for their efforts in stimulating development in our country and in disadvantaged economies around the world.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the example of the young cyclists from Sherbrooke who braved the winter cold to send a message to the Minister of the Environment with their “Kyoto à vélo” initiative, students from the Collège Sacré-Coeur have also joined forces to send a message to the Prime Minister about environmental issues.

On the initiative of a teacher, Bryan Teasdale, the students have sent some 400 letters to the Prime Minister, calling on him to comply with the Kyoto protocol. Their aims are, first, to give a voice to future generations and, second, to obtain concrete commitments from the Prime Minister. The students want to remind him that the earth does not belong to him; rather, it is on loan from future generations.

I wish to join with these young people, a true source of inspiration, and I invite all Sherbrooke schools to take part in this act of solidarity. I invite the students to write to the Prime Minister, to share their concerns with him and let him know what action they think he, as Prime Minister, should take.

Congratulations to these young people who went ahead and took action.

Canada Summer JobsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, many students look for summer work through organizations using funds from the Canada summer jobs program. Unfortunately, as a result of close to $12 million in Conservative cuts, many worthy organizations and community groups in the health, education and service sectors find themselves without summer jobs funding, while students find themselves without necessary employment opportunities.

For example, Maison Shalom, a specialized home for intellectually and physically disabled children and young adults in my riding, Mount Royal, was refused funding for the first time. The Conservative cuts are having a negative impact on groups like this.

Why is the government harming organizations, such as Maison Shalom, which seek to protect the vulnerable? Why is it closing off opportunities for student summer employment? Why should Canadians be deprived of these worthy benefits?

Goods and Services TaxStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal finance critic, the member for Markham—Unionville, is openly musing about whether the Liberals are planning to raise the GST. He said it is an option and that all he could say was that it was consistent with their approach.

Consistent with their approach, Mr. Speaker? Does the member mean the same approach they used when they promised to scrap the GST, then did nothing? Or is like their approach to raising taxes?

The member for Kings—Hants is on the record approving an increase to the GST as what most economic advisers would suggest. More recently he was asked, should he become prime minister, if he would repeal the Conservative GST cut. The member said, absolutely.

The Liberal leader also suggested in June 2006 that he planned to raise the GST to pay for other measures consistent with the Liberal approach.

Canadians know all too well what is consistent with the Liberal approach. The question Canadians are now asking is, how high do the Liberals plan to raise the GST?

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the human resources minister admitted what Liberals have been saying in this House for a long time. His new summer grants program is a disaster. It is a disaster for students and for scores of not for profits across Canada. His own ministers are now saying the same thing, one in New Brunswick as we speak.

The previous program was working. This new one is not, denying autism organizations, seniors and disability groups, youth recreation, child care agencies, and thousands of others.

Will the minister adjust his criteria today and follow the Leader of the Opposition, who yesterday announced that a Liberal government would immediately restore full funding to the summer career placement program?

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the member that the entire $77.3 million that was dedicated last year to not for profits has been dedicated to not for profits again this year. That is an important point.

I also want to remind him that every year groups must apply and demonstrate that they are providing good quality jobs for people. The point of this is to provide jobs for students.

As I said yesterday, in some cases there are sympathetic groups who appear on the face of it to meet the criteria, but have not been approved. We are looking at those groups.

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, three months ago I asked the minister about these cuts. At that time he said, “It is kind of hilarious that the member would be concerned about a few million dollars in cuts”. Hilarious. Well nobody is laughing now.

Organizations across Canada are facing a crisis and students are out of luck. Once again befuddled Conservatives, like Premier MacDonald of Nova Scotia, are shaking their heads at the heartless government. His own MPs are again afraid to face their constituents for good reason.

When will this disgraceful situation be resolved?

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely true that we reduced funding. In fact, we cut it to Wal-Mart and some of the large international companies that were receiving it.

It is a little rich to hear the member across the way talking about his concern for students when his government, when it was in power, cut $25 billion to universities and colleges without any regard at all for students.

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

He called for deeper cuts at the time, Mr. Speaker.

The government can play with the numbers. It can recite the fortunate few who made the cut. The fact is a successful program was killed, a flawed new one was introduced, the funding was slashed, and for no reason other than politics.

As the Conservative government stumbles toward summer it has put the summer plans of students and organizations in peril. Those members know they have made a huge mistake and they are scrambling to cover up.

When will the government announce changes to the program? When will it restore full funding to the summer career placement program as our leader did yesterday?

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to making sure that students get the best quality jobs they can get.

Under the old program, thousands of jobs were funded for three weeks. That is not a summer job. That is not even a month long job. Under the new program, students are being funded for a longer period of time. They are getting the best quality work experience they could get.

Why does the member not support that kind of thing for students? It is about students.

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of community groups have not received a response from the government for the Canada summer jobs program, and the minister is refusing to announce which groups will receive funds. Earlier, he told the groups they may have to way one month before receiving a response. The problem is that for these groups and the students, it will be much too late.

What does he have against community groups and students? Why is the minister going after students?

Summer Jobs ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong of course. Thousands of groups have been notified and they know exactly the situation they are in.

I know the member does not like to hear the facts because they do not flatter her case, but the truth is that thousands of not for profits will be the beneficiaries of this new program and tens of thousands of students will be rewarded. The member should support that.

This is about making sure that students get the best jobs they can get. That is happening under Canada summer jobs.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, francophone minority communities are feeling targeted by this Conservative government. The last budget cut the funds allocated to the Action Plan for Official Languages by $80 million. The government cancelled meetings of the Standing Committee on Official Languages because it did not like the negative testimonies. It appointed an ombudsman for victims of crime and a chairperson of the National Capital Commission who are not bilingual. Today, we have learned that only one of the twenty-one franco-Manitoban organizations that benefited from the Canada summer jobs program last year has been accepted.

When will the government stop this vicious attack on francophone communities?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, again the member is completely wrong.

One of the criteria in the Canada summer jobs program is that the money be weighted toward minority language communities. I do not know what more we can do. We are also providing the same amount of money to not for profits in Canada summer jobs. Many thousands of students are enjoying the benefits of the new Canada summer jobs program as a result.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that the Conservative chairs of committees received a manual on how to create chaos in order to avoid dealing with issues the government does not care for. It suggests interrupting witnesses, filibustering or leaving the chair unexpectedly to stop proceedings.

Does this not prove that the paralysis affecting the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, the Standing Committee on International Trade and the Standing Committee on Official Languages is not happenstance but a deliberate plot by the Prime Minister's Office?

Committees of the HouseOral 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, the opposition is obstructing Parliament.

Let us look at the justice agenda: Bill C-10, the mandatory penalties for gun crimes bill, a very important part of the agenda, was held up for 252 days in committee by the opposition parties, particularly the Liberals and the Bloc members; Bill C-23, the amendments to the Criminal Code, was held up for 214 days at committee by the opposition parties; Bill C-22, the age of protection bill, 175 days; the DNA identification bill, 148 days; and the conditional sentencing bill, 139 days.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the will of the people elected a minority government, which means that the Conservatives cannot do as they please. They must also understand that, in a minority Parliament, the parties must work together even if their ideologies clash.

Does the government realize that its party is the only one in this House to refuse to work with the others?

Committees of the HouseOral 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, we wish to work with all the parties in the House, but we also made promises to Canadians in the last election, which we must keep. We made promises with regard to the court challenges program, minimum sentencing and others. The obstructionist opposition has caused considerable delays in these matters.

We want to proceed with our agenda and we want to deliver on our commitments. It is the opposition parties that have been delaying our justice agenda and, in some cases, for 252 days at committee.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an effort to follow the Prime Minister's handbook to the letter, the Conservative chair of the Standing Committee on Official Languages canceled two committee meetings. Yet at the parallel committee, two witnesses from SOS Montfort spoke about the importance of the court challenges program. In particular, Michel Gratton, former adviser to Brian Mulroney, stated that abandoning this program would be illegal and unconstitutional, because it could encourage the assimilation of minorities.

Does the government plan on reinstating the court challenges program, the purpose of which is to defend minorities?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Beauport—Limoilou Québec

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, everyone in this House knows that this case is before the courts and I will not comment on it. The opposition made an emotional decision that unfortunately had consequences for all those who care about official language minorities. The Bloc is certainly not in a place to be giving lectures on this.

Access to InformationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, they pulled the same kind of trick on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. The government is doing everything it can to hide a censored report about torture in Afghanistan from the committee.

It is ironic that a government that campaigned on transparency is now trying to muzzle opposition members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Access to InformationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question. It is very clear that bureaucrats were responsible for deciding what was redacted.

As I have said many times, these decisions around what is redacted are made internally on reports circulated internally. They are done in the same way that they have been done for years with respect to this report and other reports.

These are decisions made internally, not at the political level. The member opposite should know that. I am stating it unequivocally today that these are not political decisions.

Committees of the HouseOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, so much for blaming the opposition for the obstruction of Parliament. Now we learn that the monkey wrench gang has had a plan all along, and not just any plan, a 200 page playbook on how to frustrate, obstruct and shut down the democratic process.

Is this what the Conservatives meant when they said that they would make the minority Parliament work? Does the government House leader have the courage to show Canadians their anti-democratic tactics? Will he table the obstruction playbook in this House today?