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House of Commons Hansard #72 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was s-203.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration claims that her proposed reforms will eliminate the over 900,000 case backlog. Her website states, however, that:

Once passed, the new measures will apply to applications received on or after February 27, 2008. Those who applied prior to February 27, 2008, will not be subject to the new measures--

How are these new rules going to help eliminate the backlog?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, previously, the Liberal Party was suggesting that we just throw more money at it, which it failed to do.

We are putting additional resources toward tackling the backlog and toward processing new applications but we are also trying to do things smarter and better. We are introducing new administrative procedures that will allow us to process things faster and more efficiently because, if we can reduce the time it takes to process each application, we can process more applications in the same period of time.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, try as it may to hide its Reform roots, the Conservative government's immigration policies have not changed in 20 years. When the Conservatives were the Reform they wanted to scale down immigration by 100,000 people.

Since forming government, the Conservatives have actually admitted 36,000 fewer landed immigrants. When will they admit that their real strategy is to shut the door on immigrants?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let us face it. It was the Liberals who shut the door on immigration when they allowed the backlog to balloon so that it takes up to six years for people to get here. I would call that slamming the door pretty hard on immigrants.

Because of what they did, we have had to expand the temporary foreign worker program to allow business to get the talent it needs from overseas. That is why we were able to welcome 430,000 new Canadians last year to this country, the highest in over 100 years.

The Liberals are doing nothing but spreading fear. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Conservative Party wants to cherry-pick which immigrants come to this country.

Canadians are wondering what criteria the minister will use to put some on the A list and others on the B list, and simply veto other applications altogether.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a wonderful country and that is why the number of applications for people to come here each year exceeds the capacity we have to process and welcome them.

We know that the previous prime minister from the other side had 54 top priorities. We will narrow that list down so that we can actually tackle the backlog mess, which the Liberals created, by identifying categories that best meet the needs of Canadians and the Canadian industry.

I do not know why the Liberal Party wants to keep people waiting 10 years to come to this country.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that it has nothing to do with a backlog. The sweeping changes the government wants to make to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act essentially mean that the minister will have the sole power to hand pick which applications will be considered. There will be no accountability and no transparency.

Why is the government going back to its Reform Party roots for its immigration policy?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, how very typical, and we have seen so many examples of this lately. When the Liberals cannot stand on their own record they go to the fear and smear tactics that they use so often.

We are trying to get more people here and we are trying to get them here faster. We are trying to get families reunited faster and skilled workers here sooner.

If we were to listen to the Liberals, we would think that the proposals to get people here faster are at the end of the world. They are so against this that they are supporting it.

The EconomyOral Questions

April 4th, 2008 / 11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, last fall, in anticipation of global economic turmoil, Canada took pre-emptive action to bolster our economy with $60 billion in broad based tax cuts, including business tax reductions and keeping our promise to reduce the GST to 5%.

While the Liberals would run massive deficits, the NDP would send personal and business taxes soaring, and while the Bloc cannot do anything but complain, this Conservative government is taking prudent and responsible action to ensure Canada's economic fundamentals remain solid.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance please update the House on our government's record on job creation?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we did see some good news this morning in the March job figures: 15,000 new jobs were created in March, which means that the number of Canadians working is at a record high.

Since the Conservative government took office, 813,000 new jobs have been created. We have provided that environment. Of those jobs, 80% are full time jobs. Those are the advances by this government.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Assembly of First Nations has created a framework for appointing a first nations auditor general and ombudsman.

However, yet again we see Conservatives casting a negative light on aboriginal leaders in Canada. For years and years, the AFN has brought the minister accountability proposals to move forward with financial certification, improve reporting and build management capacity. None have been acted upon.

When will the minister act on the very real and concrete proposals made by the Assembly of First Nations?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, we expect to perceive accountable governance in our communities.

I know that first nations citizens across Canada in the communities throughout our great land also expect accountability. Our government will be working with first nations governments to ensure that accountability will be in place.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is proving yet again it cannot be trusted.

The aboriginal audit announcement plays on false impressions and myths created by Conservatives about first nations funding and accountability. In fact, the audit clause proposed creates no new powers or process.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada has always had the audit option under existing contribution agreements.

When will the government stop the shell game and implement the AFN proposals on accountability?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member suggesting more accountability needs to be in place in certain areas of our government, including in the agreements that we have with first nations communities. Unfortunately, when we attempted to bring about this measure within the accountability act, the hon. member voted against that.

I believe first nations leaders throughout Canada are looking forward to continuing a transparent relationship with our government and we will continue to do that.

AirbusOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, Brian Mulroney refused to return to the ethics committee and he refused to provide documentation to back up his claim.

He refused to explain why no one at Thyssen knew he was lobbying for them, as he claimed. He refused to explain his bizarre plan to sell tanks to the Communist Chinese right after the Tiananmen Square massacre, as he claimed.

Given Mr. Mulroney's refusal to cooperate, will the government stop protecting him and ensure the public inquiry, which it can no longer delay, has a broad enough mandate to finally get to the bottom of this sordid affair?

AirbusOral Questions

11:45 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, as the House well knows, the government asked Professor David Johnston to develop terms of reference for an inquiry. He provided a preliminary report earlier in January and today is actually the date for him to provide his final recommendations for a public inquiry. The government will be reviewing those and then we will be moving forward.

AirbusOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister can delegate any authority he wants, but the responsibility remains with him to name the terms of reference of this inquiry.

Canadians want answers even if the Conservatives do not want to provide any. Canadians want to know why a Conservative Prime Minister accepted envelopes of cash and they want to have a public inquiry to get to the bottom of this.

If there is no public inquiry, then Canadians want to know why the current Conservative Prime Minister is covering for Brian Mulroney. Why is he protecting a Conservative Prime Minister?

AirbusOral Questions

11:45 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 will take note of David Johnston's recommendations regarding a public inquiry. Upon receiving the recommendations, we will begin the inquiry.

Minister of the EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment stated that he met his cabinet colleagues in Ottawa on October 10, 2006, to discuss the contribution agreement for Ottawa's light rail project. But, according to proactive disclosure and the media, the ministers that he claimed to have met were not even in town that day.

Are these government records and the media reports false, or was the minister simply trying to mislead the committee? Can the current President of the Treasury Board confirm the date when this meeting may have been held?

Minister of the EnvironmentOral Questions

11:50 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 will answer the first question about media reports that are false. Surprisingly, it is true that occasionally some media reports are false.

However, in terms of the actual issue in question, I think it has been established quite clearly that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the minister. The opposition Liberals continue to try to cook up something, notwithstanding the OPP having said that he has been fully cleared.

That being said, it is a clear indication of how the Liberal Party operates. It is not interested in policies. It will not stand up to vote on issues in the government. It is only interested in finding some way to get back to the power it covets.

Minister of the EnvironmentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of the Environment could not come up with a single example in Canadian history where Treasury Board interfered in a municipal contract as he did, leaving Ottawa on the hook with a quarter of a billion dollar liability. He claimed that officials advised him that the closing date of the LRT contract could be extended without cost and yet he offered no names and could produce no briefing note.

The government has had three days. Will it table the briefing note with the names of the officials who advised the minister?

Minister of the EnvironmentOral Questions

11:50 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 it is quite clear that the decision on whether or not to proceed with that rail project was made by members of Ottawa city council, including, I think, five of whom have sat as Liberal candidates in the past or Liberal members, and they were on the side voting to cancel it.

Therefore, that was not a decision made by this government or by that minister but rather by the local council.

The futile efforts of the Liberal Party to continue to look for scandals where they do not exist is an illustration of the fact that that is a party that has no policy, has no positions and will not take a stand on any issue in the House but to look for any way it can find to get back into power.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Papineau asked a question yesterday, but the parliamentary secretary did not understand and provided an answer on another subject. I will therefore ask the question again.

Mohamed Kohail, the young Quebecker sentenced to death by decapitation in Saudi Arabia, was not able to appeal because his lawyer was thrown out of the court. Kohail and his brother, aged 23 and 17, were placed in detention in January.

What is the government waiting for to call in the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and demand that these two young Quebeckers be returned to Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated, our ambassador will be meeting with officials from the Saudi ministry of justice to seek assurances that due process will be observed in the appeal process. As I have mentioned and as the Prime Minister has mentioned, we are requesting an appeal of the Saudi authorities to address this issue.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we also learned that China has sentenced a citizen, Hu Jia, who dared to speak out against the regime, to over three years in prison. This is a violation of fundamental human rights and freedom of expression.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs intend to increase pressure on China to respect human rights, and how does he plan to do so?