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House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, to justify its desire for censorship, the Conservative government is trotting out its old line that people who disagree with the government are promoting child pornography, defamatory libel and hate propaganda. These are already prohibited by the Criminal Code. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages is even accusing the industry of creating a tempest in a teapot.

Will the Minister of Finance agree to amend Bill C-10 to ensure that these new provisions do not lead to any censorship?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, there is no issue of censorship here. Our government firmly believes that freedom of expression is one of our great Canadian values.

That said, four months later, the Bloc members are changing their minds. The leader of the Bloc gave us 24 hours to change our minds, but now they have four months. They supported this bill, but now, four months later, they are asking questions.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, who is powerless, is not answering questions. The solution is for the government to introduce an amendment to Bill C-10 as soon as possible to remove the reference to “public policy”, which opens the door to censorship.

Will the government promise to do so immediately?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Bloc members' mantra is that anyone who is not a sovereigntist is not a true Quebecker. Anyone who does not share the opinion of the Bloc leader gets nothing but insults in this House.

Our objective here is to be in line with the provinces.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Denis Coderre

That has nothing to do with this.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Josée Verner Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like very much to answer the Bloc member, but the member for Bourassa will not stop yapping.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, Mohamed Kohail was sentenced to death yesterday by a Saudi Arabian court and overturning such a decision on appeal would no doubt prove difficult.

The Minister of Public Safety discarded our foreign policy, which for decades enabled us to lobby governments and seek clemency for Canadian citizens sentenced to death, regardless of which legal system they were facing.

Will the Minister of Public Safety be using his ideologically driven judicial sniff test to determine if Canada will seek clemency for Mr. Kohail, or will he abandon the policy that impedes Canada's very ability to intervene to save the lives of condemned Canadians?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are very disappointed at the verdict of the trial court in this case. The Prime Minister, the Secretary of State and I have spoken about this situation with Saudi Arabian authorities, and we are prepared to help the family launch an appeal. We absolutely want the verdict overturned.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada issued its census report today on Canada's workforce and confirmed what the Minister of Human Resources has been saying for some time: our country is facing labour shortages and shortages of skilled workers in many sectors and in every province.

That is why I was delighted that in budget 2008 our Conservative government is taking significant steps to invest in Canada's future by investing in our post-secondary education system.

Can the Minister of Human Resources tell this House what our government is doing to help Canada's students excel, a key to ensuring that our country and our economy remains strong?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Edmonton—Leduc for that important question.

On April 1, support for post-secondary education will go up 40% in a single year, an $800 million increase.

We have announced in the budget important new reforms that will help an additional 105,000 low and middle income Canadians get a college or university education, $250 every school month for low income students for every year of college or university undergraduate degree, $100 for middle income families.

This will give hundreds of thousands of people the choice, the chance to finally aspire to a higher education. We support them.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week's budget contains absolutely no money to deal with the critical shortage of health care workers that is actually leading to longer wait times.

There are plenty of corporate tax cuts leading up to 2011, but nothing to get us to the 78,000 nurses needed by that year, nothing to replace the 4,000 doctors leaving over the next two years, and nothing to deal with the urgent need for lab techs and other health care workers.

The Conservatives promised to reduce wait times, so why have they broken their promise? Why have they brought in a budget that is so poorly planned, has such poor planning that it lengthens wait times?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the hon. member is incorrect. There was an increase of 6% on health care transfers found in the budget as part of the health accord that goes to the provinces and territories to assist them in hiring and replacing health human resource professionals, as well as our hospitals and so forth.

We are there with our colleagues in the provinces and territories to assist in the delivery of health care. We are living up to our promises.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, rhetoric without a plan does not reduce wait times or give comfort to Canadians who want to access quality health care.

The Canadian Medical Association is on the Hill today showcasing that 5,200 more family physicians are needed because five million Canadians do not have a family doctor.

Does he not realize that Canadians do not trust the Conservatives' wait time promise because there are no doctors to implement it? Can the minister tell ordinary Canadians what they can actually do to get a family doctor? Five million Canadians are waiting for his answer.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, in fact, there is a fund that is part of the health accord, $175 million in total, where we are working with the provinces and territories on that very issue.

Perhaps the hon. member and her caucus could explain why they are voting against a budget that will in fact help the mentally ill, help the homeless, help our cities, help the middle class, lower income and all Canadians. Why are they voting against the budget?

Mont Tremblant AirportOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Mont Tremblant International Airport, the third largest airport in Quebec, is a very important economic development tool for the Upper Laurentians. However, daily customs charges that were $374 in 2006 are now $1,100. The airport cannot sustain that financial burden. Not to mention that it is the only airport in Canada forced to pay the customs charges for its transborder passengers.

Why is the minister doing nothing to address this situation? Why does he want to punish this region already hard hit by the forestry crisis?

Mont Tremblant AirportOral Questions

3 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of improvements and investments in that particular region that will not only assist trade but actually increase and enhance the whole area of security.

We believe that every province has a right to full access and full opportunity. That is why the policies we are delivering under this program are working and they are going to continue to work.

Cruise Ship IndustryOral Questions

March 4th, 2008 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Conservative Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the development of the Quebec market as a stop for international cruises could turn into an interesting prospect for several of Quebec's coastal regions.

Given the current situation in the international cruise ship industry, it is likely that the industry will grow significantly in Quebec, and that means that we should develop new stops along the St. Lawrence.

Can the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec tell us what he plans to do to encourage the development of the cruise ship industry in Quebec?

Cruise Ship IndustryOral Questions

3 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, it goes without saying that if the Bloc Québécois were asked to answer the question, the answer would be “nothing” because they are becalmed by their own powerlessness.

For our part, we want to support the implementation of infrastructure in several municipalities along the St. Lawrence so that they can accommodate cruise ships.

That is why the Economic Development Agency and Transport Canada recently allocated $24 million over two years to support setting up that kind of infrastructure.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members on the occasion of International Women's Week, the presence in the gallery of a group of women parliamentarians from the National Assembly of Afghanistan: Ms. Safia Sediqi, Ms. Safura Elkhani, Ms. Fawzia Koofi, Ms. Nasima Neyazi, Ms. Fariba Kakar, and Ms. Sabrina Saqib.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I can understand that, during verbal jousting, certain words might be said by both sides and I have no problem with that.

However, in his carelessness and incompetence, a minister said that the hon. member for Bourassa should stop yapping. As far as I know, as a member myself, it is unacceptable to treat one another in this manner.

I would therefore ask that you check the blues and take the appropriate action.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I know the minister said something concerning the hon. member for Bourassa, but I did not hear what was said, because of the noise. However, I will look at this in Hansard. If there is a problem, I will get back to the House.

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is also rising on a point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the Speaker will be interested since it is of course the Speaker's job to ensure order in the House and I do not believe the Speaker had recognized the member for Bourassa at that time, so it was appropriate that he not be speaking at the time.

Bill C-46--Canadian Wheat Board ActPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.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 am rising to respond to the point of order raised yesterday by the member for Malpeque on Bill C-46. I gave a brief response yesterday, and wish to add to that at this point in time.

In the point of order that was raised, the member stated that section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act stood in the way of the government's introducing Bill C-46.

I thought you should know, Mr. Speaker, and I know it is not for you to decide questions of law, but you should be aware in considering this matter that a review of Bill C-46 demonstrates that it does not itself change the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing mandate. The bill would only clarify the authority of the Governor General to amend or repeal a regulation made under subsection 47(1). Therefore, the bill is not the kind of situation contemplated by section 47.1. As such, there is no validity in the point raised. Whether or not you wish to delve into that area of questions of law, I leave that for you to determine.

However, Mr. Speaker, I would also add that even if you did find that it was a valid issue, we did indicate that there had been clear consultations. I can advise you further that the then minister of agriculture had met at the time with members of the Canadian Wheat Board on a number of occasions, and he did discuss the government's intentions with regard to the production and marketing of barley. Of course there was a broadly taken referendum that was the subject of many questions in this House, so I know that you, Mr. Speaker, will be well aware of that. The result of that consultation was announced in this House. That result demonstrated clearly not only that a consultation occurred, but that the barley farmers did indeed want that freedom of choice in marketing, which is of course the objective of Bill C-46.

Bill C-46--Canadian Wheat Board ActPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I will admit that we are almost in the area of debate here, but a lot of what the member opposite just said relative to this point of order is in fact out of line and not specific on what section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act states.

As I said in this House yesterday, the act is very specific. There must be consultations. The Canadian Wheat Board itself said that as of last Saturday there were no consultations. The act is also specific that there must be a plebiscite held, the question to be determined by the minister.

As the member opposite stated, and he did have it right, there were clear consultations last year, but the former minister of agriculture said that the consultations would not be binding. That is what the former minister of agriculture said: it would not be binding. The act requires that there be a clear plebiscite on the specific legislative point that is being brought forward. The government is clearly in error here, relative to section 47.1, and is in fact doing an illegal act by bringing this legislation forward because the conditions of section 47.1 of the act itself have not been met.