This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.

Topics

Canada PostStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, on September 25, Canada Post decided to deprive the citizens of an entire neighbourhood in the new City of Drummondville of the services of a post office. More than 5,000 people learned through a form letter that they will now be forced to travel several kilometres to get to a post office.

Worse yet is that according to the franchisee, the contract signed with the Alain Doucet smoke shop in the Saint-Charles area of Drummondville is valid until October 2010. We have our doubts about Canada Post management's good faith when, on the orders of the minister responsible, they keep trying to cut services, despite the announcement of the Canadian Postal Service Charter on September 12.

Is that how Canada Post has decided to get around the moratorium on closing rural post offices?

Credit UnionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Canada's credit union system in advance of International Credit Union Day on October 15.

Member owned and democratically controlled, credit unions offer services that are determined by the needs of their entire membership. Credit unions help communities drive economic growth. Despite the economic downturn, they have maintained their strong financial position and continue to seek ways to enhance services to their members. This commitment to service is evident in more than 380 communities across Canada where credit unions are the sole financial institutions.

Outside Quebec, there are 497 credit unions and caisses populaires with over 1,700 locations serving more than five million people and managing assets in excess of $117 billion. When including Quebec caisses populaires, the total rises to 957, with one in three Canadians holding a credit union membership.

I extend my congratulations to all credit unions, vital components of Canada's economic and social life.

Rotary InternationalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the motto of Rotary International is “Service Above Self”. Its wide-ranging activities include the development of community service projects that address many of today's most critical issues, such as, children at risk, poverty, hunger, the environment, illiteracy and violence. It also promotes ethical behaviour.

One of the most widely quoted statements in business and professional ethics is the Rotary four-way test. The four-way test asks the following four questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Today I am honoured to pay tribute to the men and women of Rotary International for their outstanding service and their ethical guidance in Canada and around the world.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to today's headlines, the Liberal leader is ready to take the risk of increasing taxes as part of his hidden agenda, but he is beating a retreat yet again, claiming this was not his intention. Canadians would be taking a big risk, a very big risk, by trusting someone who contradicts himself day after day, and who hastily throws together policies.

The Liberal leader is looking more and more like an armchair quarterback who is playing a game of chicken, but who is unable to actually get up and make a single play.

When will the Liberal leader be “adult” enough to have a serious conversation with Quebeckers and to reveal his hidden agenda concerning massive and devastating tax hikes?

International Plowing Match and Rural ExpoStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week 85,000 people visited the village of Earlton in the beautiful riding of Timmins—James Bay. They came to celebrate the 2009 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo. People came from France, the United States, all over southern Ontario and Quebec. They were amazed, of course, by the beauty of the land but in particular by the unique spirit of the people.

The event was a celebration of northern culture and identity. Anglophones, Franco-Ontarians, Quebeckers from Abitibi, first nations people from Quebec and Ontario; when we all work together, we are a force to be reckoned with.

I would like to give a big thanks to Darlene Bowen, Norm Koch, Albert Gauthier, Frank and Yolande Rivard, Jules Gravel, John Vanthof and the thousand-plus volunteers who made this the biggest event in the history of the north.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal leader's office launched an adult conversation about higher taxes. This follows the Liberal leader's April statement, “We will have to raise taxes,” and his December 2008 statement, “I'm not going to take a GST hike off the table”. Last month he voted against the Conservative home renovation tax credit.

I respect the Liberal leader as a renowned academic theorist, but he should not turn his nose up at taxpayers.

The Conservative Prime Minister has lowered the GST, dropped income taxes and brought in tax credits for kids' sports, textbooks and tradesmen's tools. We have given child care dollars to parents and helped them invest with a tax-free savings account. We believe in hard work and the freedom to keep the fruits of that work.

Taxpayers are adults. They work hard for their money and do not need his visiting eminence to spend it for them.

Minister of FinanceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers should be worried about the award given to the Minister of Finance by Euromoney magazine.

In fact, that same magazine gave its 2005 award for excellence—best investment bank to Lehman Brothers. I would remind the House that that financial institution was one of the main actors behind the subprime mortgage problems that led to the worst economic crisis since the second world war. Just ask its shareholders.

This was the minister who, in the fall of 2008, refused to acknowledge the looming financial crisis and made lots of rosy predictions, claiming that he could still maintain a balanced budget. It was also this minister who underestimated the size of the deficit by 50%, once he finally admitted there would be a deficit.

I would advise the Minister of Finance and Euromoney—rather than boasting about this award—to try out for the Just for Laughs festival.

ChinaStatements By Members

October 8th, 2009 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at an event in Montreal celebrating the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China on September 28, I was informed by some of my constituents that the embassy had requested permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs to open a general consulate in Montreal over one year ago. No answer has been forthcoming.

There is a very large Chinese community established in the greater Montreal area, close to 100,000 people according to Statistics Canada. It would be a terrible shame should the convenience of a general consulate be denied them.

The current government has been rather ambivalent about this question and it is embarrassing to think that we have not yet been able to respond to such a request from the Chinese embassy.

The Chinese embassy is not merely a small diplomatic office no one has ever heard of. On the contrary, China is now part of the G20 thanks to its dynamic economy.

They are respected members around the table and have a strong and equal voice on the future of our world's financial strength. There are consulate general offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Why are there none in Montreal?

Bill C-25Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberal senators gutted Bill C-25, a key piece of anti-crime legislation that seeks to end the practice of reducing criminal sentences at a ratio of 2:1 for time served in pre-trial custody.

We have always known that the Liberal leader was soft on crime and now he has proven it. Despite overwhelming public support, the Liberals gutted the bill by passing an amendment that continues the practice for two for one sentencing.

Bill C-25 was passed unanimously by the House of Commons and this bill is supported by provincial justice ministers from all parties, as well as victims groups and police associations.

Canadians have been clear that they want criminals to be sentenced to reflect the seriousness of their crimes and yet the Liberals gutted this important piece of anti-crime legislation. This proves that the Liberal leader is not sincere in fighting crime. He is not in it for Canadians. He is in it for himself.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the United States, Australia and China are already vaccinating their populations against the H1N1 flu. Europe and Japan will begin within the next few days. Canada will not begin for another month. The health minister says that this is all according to her plan.

Could the government explain the logic of any plan that deliberately puts Canada behind the rest of the world in protecting citizens against H1N1? What is the logic of that?

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government bases its flu planning on the best advice of medical experts, including the chief medical officer.

The immediate priority is seasonal flu vaccination. Canada will ensure that there is enough vaccine for every member of our population. That vaccine will be widely available the first week of November, as the government has said all along.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government is not doing the seasonal.

In the United States, officials are distributing doses of H1N1 flu vaccine to health care workers, children and people who care for babies younger than six months old. Not surprisingly, pediatric offices in Canada are already getting calls from anxious parents who want the vaccine for their children now.

Could the Prime Minister justify why Canadian children, the most vulnerable among us, must wait a full month longer than American children? Will he guarantee today that they will not have to wait longer still?

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is kind of amusing to see the Liberal Party now vaunting the U.S. health care system.

As has been said all along, the government will ensure that the vaccine is available in the timeframe that the medical experts have advised. That will be available to all the Canadian population.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the health minister says that this is not a race but vaccinations should be done before a disease hits.

While other countries hurry to protect their citizens, the Conservatives say that there is no rush. They say that they have a plan but it is just a very slow one. Why? Did they order too late? Is it the clinical trials?

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer yesterday said, “Waiting for that data...is no reason to delay making sure people have the first dose and provide as much immunity as possible”.

Why did the government actually plan a premeditated delay?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is following the advice of the Chief Public Health Officer. What we have here is a party that stands for absolutely nothing and is therefore trying to play politics with a public health issue.

What the Liberals should do, instead of playing this two-faced game where they pretend to support tough on crime legislation but block it in the Senate, is go down to the Senate and tell their own senators to be honest with the Canadian people, to pass that legislation and stop letting criminals get away.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, confusion, confusion, and more confusion. The health minister's responses have confused the Canadian public.

Dr. Wilson, Canada Research Chair in Public Health Policy, said that there is so much confusion about the H1N1 vaccine that, when it does become available, he is not sure that Canadians will want to be vaccinated.

Why does the Minister of Health not launch an effective public information campaign to clear up all this confusion?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are on schedule with the vaccine. For the last three months we have said that the vaccine will be available the first week in November. The Chief Public Health Officer has advised us, as well as all Canadians, that the vaccine will be available the first week of November.

I do not know why the member cannot understand that. We have been saying the first week of November for the last three months.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, aboriginal Canadians represent 4% of Canada's population; 18% of those hospitalized due to H1N1 were aboriginal; 15% of those requiring stays in ICUs were aboriginal; and 12% of deaths were among aboriginal people.

Could the minister explain the overrepresentation of aboriginals in these sad statistics and what specific actions are being taken to save their lives?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we implemented the 2006 pandemic plan, which includes the first nations communities.

In budget 2006, we invested $1 billion to increase our preparedness to respond to the public health issues, such as the flu pandemic, as well as planning for first nations pandemic planning.

I have spoken to Chief Atleo with regard to issues that challenge first nations communities and will continue to work with the first nations communities to address the health issues.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was the Bloc Québécois that came up with the idea of an independent employment insurance fund. When the Prime Minister was the leader of the official opposition and we met behind closed doors, he said he agreed with our proposal. Now, in its latest economic statement, the government is forecasting a surplus of $18.9 billion between 2012 and 2015. Yet it is the fund itself that sets EI contribution rates, so it is impossible to predict a surplus.

Either the government knows the future contribution rate in advance or there is a mistake in its forecast table. One of the two pieces of information is false. Which is it?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, employment insurance premiums will be set by an independent board, as provided in our legislation. One very important bill for unemployed Canadians is currently before this Parliament, and I encourage the Bloc to support these benefits for the employed and unemployed workers of Canada.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister can tell us how many unemployed workers will be affected and where, we will think about it. For the moment he is unable to give us that information. I would like to come back to his statement that contribution rates are set by an independent institution.

If that is true, how can he forecast that there will be a nearly $19 billion surplus between 2012 and 2015? Where did he get these figures? What is he basing them on? Either he knows the contribution rate in advance or his table is not true. One of the two pieces of information is a lie. Which is the lie?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, under the bill that is before the House, Quebec's benefits will be proportional to the rest of the country. The Bloc leader's position is just as irresponsible in this case as it is in the case of child trafficking. These are important benefits for the unemployed and workers in Quebec, and the Bloc leader should stop playing politics at the expense of workers and the unemployed.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' refusal to given an honest answer proves that the government definitely intends to have the unemployed pay for the deficit by plundering the projected surplus in the employment insurance account, as the Liberals did before them. According to the government's own figures, $18.9 billion will be picked from the pockets of the unemployed between 2012 and 2015.

Why tax employment and why have the unemployed pay down the deficit?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, once again, for this year and next, employment insurance premiums will be frozen at $1.73 for $100. In difficult economic times what does a responsible government do? It creates measures to support those who lose their jobs. We have proposed four such measures in recent months and the Bloc voted against each one. The Bloc stubbornly refuses to provide assistance to the unemployed who desperately need it during this recession.