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House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, there are no human rights for first nations children residing on reserve. They do not receive health care services.

Last year this House unanimously voted for Jordan's principle to ensure first nations children would receive the same health care services as other Canadian children receive. Jordan's principle is supposed to be implemented nationally, but the Conservative government is only working with one community. Why?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, of course I was delighted, as I think were all people in this House, about approving Jordan's principle. I salute the people from Norway House who brought forward that issue. When I spoke to the Assembly of First Nations, I told them how our government was pleased to support that.

I am working closely with the Minister of Health and first nations organizations, because no child deserves to be left behind. That is why this government has supported Jordan's principle. It is why we are making sure that we have the proper authorities in place to make sure that no child is left behind.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, for over two years, property in Caledonia has been occupied by aboriginals protesting against development on land which they claim is their own. The government, including the member for Haldimand—Norfolk, presumably hopes that the problem will be solved without leadership from Canada's government. That explains the Conservatives' total silence and inaction.

Today is National Day of Action. What action is the government going to take to help the citizens of Caledonia and Six Nations, two years later, to return to their normal lives?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, let me start by summarizing the action of the Liberal Party of Canada on Caledonia. I am finished now, but let me just continue with what we have done.

We have tabled an offer on the Welland Canal, for example. If the hon. member would look at today's press release from his local newspaper, he would find that first nations and our negotiator are working closely together. They have expressed an awful lot of support for the progress that we have been making. They say, and I agree, that negotiation is the way to go forward. However, there was never even an offer from that party over there because the Liberals ignored them for over 100 years.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Valley Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, most schoolchildren take for granted having decent elementary and high schools. For many first nations, this is not the case.

The minister pretends education is a priority, but he has not delivered. The government cancelled the $1.8 billion for education in the Kelowna accord, slashed capital funding, and has definitely delayed the repair and construction of schools, including schools in my riding.

The National Day of Action is sending a message that what is needed is bricks and mortars for schools. When is the government going to deliver?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I would like to summarize, if I could, the number of tripartite agreements between first nations, provinces and the federal government that were negotiated under the federal Liberals during their time in office. I am finished. There was zero, none, not a one, because they never actually did anything about it.

That is why we signed the first ever tripartite agreement with British Columbia. We passed legislation. We are moving ahead with them. I met with the leadership council just last week. I signed an MOU just a month ago with New Brunswick. Why? It is not enough to talk about it; we actually have to have a deal. We have a deal with New Brunswick, and we are working right across the country.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, a lack of vision, coherence and leadership by this government have been identified in the annual report on official languages tabled today by Commissioner Graham Fraser. Bilingualism of Supreme Court judges, the court challenges program, the lack of an action plan are but a few examples provided.

When will the minister responsible for official languages begin to concern herself with francophone communities, which are more than ever threatened, and when will the Prime Minister show the leadership that has been lacking?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as promised in the throne speech and reiterated in the 2008 budget, the government will table the second phase of the action plan very soon, in the spring, as we said.

Allow me to set the record straight for the Bloc. It only has crocodile tears for language communities. The member for Joliette said and I quote: “In actual fact, of course, we know that there is really—”

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The time has expired.

The hon. member for Gatineau.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Commissioner Fraser points out that the action plan for official languages, which expired on March 31—two months or 59 days ago—has not yet been renewed.

What is the minister waiting for to renew the action plan without further delay given that the current limbo is increasingly worrisome for the francophone and Acadian communities? The Conservatives are more concerned with helping their oil friends than communities.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we are not at all behind schedule. We announced our intentions in the fall. We repeated them in the spring. One thing is certain, even though the Bloc may be here for another 20 years, it will never produce anything for the minority language communities of this country.

HealthOral Questions

May 29th, 2008 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Health disgraced Canadians by refusing to respect the decision of the B.C. Supreme Court to allow Insite to continue its current operation. The minister continues to cite non-scientifically based opinion pieces published by American ideologues as a basis for his position. He claims Canada is breaching international treaties, but the UN disagrees.

How can the minister ignore scientific evidence, the will of the courts and all Canadians affected by substance abuse and addiction?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 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, as I said during committee, the science is mixed but the public policy is clear. We on this side of the House believe in treatment. We believe in prevention. We believe in enforcement. We believe that we have to get people off the drugs and make sure our young people do not get on the drugs.

In fact, the International Narcotics Control Board that the member spoke about agrees with us that these kinds of programs are not helpful. That is what the United Nations thinks. Since when is he disagreeing with the United Nations?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of Insite, let us get some true insight.

Like all Canadians, aboriginals need clear action with real results. When this party came to office, it became very clear that there were very many difficult issues to deal with that were left unaddressed by the previous Liberal government. I said left unaddressed.

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has outlined what we have done on specific claims and for human rights. Can the minister please provide an update to the House on the concrete action he has taken on other issues of importance to aboriginals?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, there are many difficult and important issues to deal with in aboriginal affairs and almost every one of them has been made more difficult because there were 13 years of inaction from the former Liberal government.

That is why we are working closely with first nations on an action plan for clean water, tripartite agreements on education and child and family services, a market housing initiative, specific claims legislation, a respectful and meaningful apology for residential schools, and finally, legislation which, for the first time ever, will include first nations under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Of course, aboriginal people deserve action and they will get that from the Conservative Party, dedicated action, not a press releasing opposition.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is the government's inaction that is forcing first nations families to make heartbreaking decisions on whether to reuse feeding tubes and syringes and risk infection or be safe but watch their children go hungry waiting for these tubes to arrive.

The health minister said he would make sure that no child had to wait for medical care while Ottawa and the provinces argued over the bill, but the Trout family in Cross Lake cannot wait any longer.

As thousands of people march today across Canada on this National Day of Action, when can we expect the government to actually put first nations children first so that they enjoy the same benefits as other Canadian children?

Aboriginal AffairsOral 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, we believe in a child first policy. We have to make sure that children on reserve get the health services they need. If the hon. member has a particular case where that is not taking place, then of course we will take a look at it. However, we also call upon the provinces and territories to work with us to sort out these things before they reach a crisis level. That is their obligation and we would be happy to work with them.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development told 13-year-old children from Attawapiskat that building a school for them was not a priority because he simply did not have the money. The children have gone out to the national media and said that they do not believe him.

I would like to ask the minister a simple question. Would he tell the Canadian public the truth, that unlike his predecessors who built schools, he has taken the money from the education budgets for allocations for developing schools and spent the money elsewhere? Would he be at least honest with the Canadian public and tell them that the children of Attawapiskat, like so many other aboriginal children, simply are not a priority for him?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, of course I will not say that. I find that particular member has a certain way of expressing himself.

I met with the students and they were very respectful. They plead a strong case for a new school, and I understand that, but we prioritize our spending based on health and safety factors. In the entire country, we rate priorities for schools based on health and safety.

I set up a working group with the chiefs and council and other community members in Attawapiskat and meetings have taken place. More meetings will be taking place within a couple of weeks. We are working toward solutions.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, as the Liberal urban caucus releases a report about partnerships and the future of Canada's cities and communities, mayors and councillors are in Quebec City protesting the outrageous neglect of the Conservative infrastructure deficit. Not one penny of its failing Canada fund has been delivered yet. Not one, but two consecutive construction seasons have passed with no new money.

When will the government stop insulting Canada's mayors and when will it start the real work of building our cities and towns?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I did have a chance to look at the Liberal urban caucus discussion paper and it actually was kind of interesting. It talked about foundations for a nation toward a richer, greener, and fairer Canada.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. We need to allow the parliamentary secretary to answer the question.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the news is that this Conservative government is already doing what the member is proposing.

I know you sit down during votes and you do not listen, but pay attention. This Conservative government is already delivering $33 billion, the most ever, to modernize the infrastructure in this country. We are delivering the goods where you failed.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would urge the honourable parliamentary secretary again to address his remarks to the Chair. If everybody starts talking like that, the disorder will get worse.

The hon. member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.