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House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was equality.

Topics

International CooperationOral Questions

March 6th, 2008 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we approach International Women's Day, we are reminded of the challenges that women still face in some countries of the world. The situation of the women in Afghanistan, for instance, has significantly improved since the fall of the Taliban. However, there are still challenges to confront.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation tell this House what our government is doing to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan?

International CooperationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada is making a difference.

Today I announced the Afghan fund for the advancement of women. This will strengthen and accelerate programming and policies that advance women's rights in Afghanistan.

I also announced support to ensure more female teachers are trained in Afghanistan. With our government's support, through Canadian Women for Women and Little Women 4 Little Women in Afghanistan, 500 more female teachers will be trained.

Eleven-year-old, Alaina Podmorow, head of Little Women 4 Little Women, is an outstanding example of how average Canadians are determined to make a better life for Afghan women and girls. I invite all members to come and meet this amazing young Canadian later today.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ian Brodie, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, is behind the NAFTA affair.

The questions are simple. Who was the anonymous source who fed CTV the story involving Senator Obama? Who was the source of the diplomatic memo illegally leaked to the Associated Press?

Can the Prime Minister assure us that these people will be relieved of their duties? They are not worthy of holding positions of public trust.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said, this kind of leak of information is a very serious matter and is very unfair against the Obama campaign.

As the Prime Minister has indicated in the House, the Clerk of the Privy Council has started the investigation with the Department of Foreign Affairs. As soon as the investigation is done and, upon legal advice, whatever action is needed to be taken this government will take the action.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will not need to pull off a CSI-style investigation.

Associated Press received a Canadian diplomatic cable that was classified secret. He should start by reviewing the call logs in his own office and tell this House who the Associated Press spoke to when it called that office. That is simple.

What is not so simple is for the Prime Minister to do the right thing. Will the Prime Minister fire Ian Brodie because he cannot be trusted by Canadians?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated and as the Prime Minister has stated, the Clerk of the Privy Council has started an investigation into this matter. We consider this a very serious matter and that is why the investigation is going on with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Once we have the results and, upon legal advice, I can assure the member this government will act.

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, PMO spokesperson, Sandra Buckler, misspoke about Afghan detainees.

Yesterday she issued another typically evasive denial about Mr. Cadman's insurance policy. It took six days for the Prime Minister's office to come up with that piece of fiction. Maybe the government can do better this time.

Did anyone representing the Conservative Party discuss any kind of financial consideration for Mr. Cadman or his family in relation to his vote, yes or no?

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague from Vancouver Centre is a slight expert on misspeaking so I will be very precise.

There was the one meeting on May 19, 2005. At that meeting were three people,Tom Flanagan, Doug Finley and Chuck Cadman. All three of them said that the only offer that was put on the table was our desire to have Chuck run as a Conservative, to get re-elected as a Conservative and to continue his support of the Prime Minister.

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Cadman's parliamentary life policy could have been worth about a half a million dollars in non-taxable benefits to his family. He was concerned that his family would not receive the full benefits if a snap election were called.

How was the Prime Minister going to deal with Mr. Cadman's financial insecurity, as he said on tape? What did he mean when he said, again on tape, that talks were to replace financial considerations Mr. Cadman might lose due to an election?

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, I have answered this question a number of times about the only offer that was put on the table. I answered it last Wednesday, last Thursday and last Friday. I answered it on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and I am answering it today as we speak.

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Zytaruk asked the Prime Minister about an insurance policy. The Prime Minister answered, “I don't know the details. I know there were discussions”. Therefore, he knew that an insurance policy was involved.

Well, apparently not. The Prime Minister says that his party only offered help for Mr. Cadman's campaign, except Mr. Cadman did not think so. He told his family that he had received an offer of a life insurance policy. Why would he lie to them? Why would they lie to us?

We need to hear from the Prime Minister. These are his words, “I don't know the details. I know there were discussions“. Could he tell us what they mean?

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the discussions were as I described.

However, while I have a moment here, I again want to thank the member for York Centre for his vote of confidence in our government in the passing of the Conservative budget.

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a pattern developing here. The Prime Minister stands--

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

And a pattern of excessive noise as well. The hon. member for York Centre has the floor and we will have some order, please.

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister stands on questions about Mr. Cadman or his family but not about the Zytaruk tape, not when they relate to his own words, not when he would have to explain what he knew and not when he would have to explain what is very difficult to explain.

This is fundamental. If what Mr. Cadman's family says is right, this is about buying a vote to bring down a government. This is as serious as it gets. I will ask the Prime Minister the question again and ask him until he answers. Those were his words. Could he tell us what they mean?

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, they meant exactly what we have said they meant, which was our desire to have Chuck rejoin the Conservative caucus and present himself as a Conservative candidate.

However, I want to again remind the House that budget 2008 is fantastic. It lowers taxes for families, invests in infrastructure, invests in health care, invests in our provinces, invests in agriculture and invests in the fishing industry. It is a fantastic budget. I would like to congratulate the finance minister: he shoots, he scores.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance system is a safety net that is full of holes. It discriminates against women: barely 33% of unemployed women have access to benefits. This is 11% lower than the figure for men. The Bloc Québécois put forward a motion to eliminate discriminatory provisions and establish a uniform eligibility threshold. That motion was adopted.

What is the government waiting for to improve employment insurance and eliminate discrimination against women from the program?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, again, the member is absolutely wrong. Eighty-four per cent of people who are working full time today have access to employment insurance benefits across the country. We have an extraordinarily generous system. In fact, we acted in November to make it more generous by extending a pilot project to help seasonal workers. We have put in place other improvements to the system.

The fact is that this government is standing up for workers. It was the previous government that reduced EI benefits. It was the previous government that raided the EI fund to the tune of over $50 billion. We will never do that.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, female workers in Quebec who are governed by the Canada Labour Code are covered only by the employment insurance program when they have to withdraw preventively because of pregnancy. Considering that only 33% of women who contribute to employment insurance are eligible for benefits, many women have no protection.

What is the government waiting for to introduce a preventive withdrawal program comparable to Quebec's program, for women governed by the Canada Labour Code?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the steps we have taken to enhance the employment insurance program, a program which ensures that 84% of full time workers who pay into that program get support. That is extraordinarily important, but it does not end there.

This government has put in place a suite of measures to make sure that we help workers who are struggling in one sector to move to another sector. We have put in place new labour market arrangements and the targeted initiative for older workers. Today we invest more in training than any government in history. We are very proud of that. We see the potential of workers of all kinds. We want to make sure they get the best social program of all: a good job.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has deemed that Canada will seek clemency from Saudi Arabia for the death sentence imposed on Mr. Kohail.

Will the Prime Minister finally abandon his childish, ideological policy in order to save Mr. Kohail's life?

Does the Prime Minister not realize that the cherry-picking of cases on which to seek clemency jeopardizes the lives of any Canadians sentenced to death abroad and effectively handcuffs our diplomatic efforts?

Will the Prime Minister abandon the Conservative sniff test on the legal systems of other countries before seeking clemency and before this perverse and reckless policy puts another Canadian life in danger?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that this government will be seeking clemency in this case. I want to say that the Government of Canada stands ready to assist the family in pursuing its appeal through the justice system in Saudi Arabia. We are in very close contact with the family and will continue to provide consular assistance. We are monitoring this case very closely.

Status of WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate International Women's Week, the opposition is trying to deny the truth about how our government is making a difference in the lives of women. We have provided funding for organizations that work to create safer neighbourhoods, for example, and that mentor and train young women in marginalized communities through projects that provide them with real opportunities and get real results.

In fact, the Minister of Indian Affairs and the Minister of Status of Women recently announced that five new shelters will be built to help address violence against first nations women and their families. Can the minister remind the opposition of how our government is taking concrete measures to help women in ways that actually benefit them?

Status of WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.

This morning, as part of International Women's Week, I had the pleasure of announcing seven projects to help various women's groups across the country. For example, we announced money for female victims of violence, for aboriginal women and for other projects to increase women's participation in democratic life.

Our government is focusing on issues that affect women directly by funding practical projects that make a difference in women's lives.