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House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-50.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the reality on the ground is in my riding. Due to a lack of public information and a dwindling vaccine supply, Kevin Lawrence has been unable to get his young children vaccinated. At first, he lived between two jurisdictions where there were clinics. Now in New Brunswick clinics have been shut down altogether.

Ensuring adequate supply of vaccine is the job of that government, not any other. What am I to tell Mr. Lawrence about when his kids can get vaccinated? Do not tell me that Christmas is good enough.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the hon. member and hon. members opposite to speak about the realities, like six million doses already being distributed, more than enough for priority groups, which is the focal point of public health officials over the next couple of weeks.

The hon. member could tell his constituent that in New Brunswick 129,000 doses have already been distributed.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, how could that minister be so pompous? Worse, with Canadians worried about their health, the Conservatives paint the GO Train with wasteful blue ads, $46,000 for eight weeks of Conservative propaganda. What are Canadians to think, watching that train go back and forth? This is $46,000 that could have been used for more vaccine or public health information.

Are Canadians to wait for the minister's latest guess, “Wait till Christmas and you may have your vaccine?” This is unacceptable and it is arrogant on the part of the government. When will it act—

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Industry.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would only encourage the hon. member and members opposite to listen to public health authorities who had a plan for inoculation. They had a plan to ensure that priority groups were in fact distributed to first and other groups would then get the distribution of the vaccine in the weeks ahead.

That is the plan of the public health authorities. I think it is a fair and reasonable plan. I encourage the hon. members opposite to support a fair and reasonable plan.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Look at the facts, Mr. Speaker. From listeriosis, a national food safety issue, to H1N1, a national health concern, the government's incompetence knows no bounds.

In P.E.I., with some schools facing 35% absenteeism, parents and children await the vaccine shot, but now it is not available. Yet the government's propaganda machine wastefully drives in action plan signs from everything from doorknobs to air conditioners.

Will the Prime Minister stop this waste and instead deliver on his public health responsibilities?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would only again convey to the House that Canada currently has more H1N1 vaccine per capita than any place on this planet. That is a testament to all the public health authorities working with us and working with the provinces and territories.

For the record, the province of Prince Edward Island already has 29,000 doses available.

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, why do the Bloc members remain seated here in Ottawa when the time comes to stand up for Quebeckers? We increased employment insurance benefits by five weeks; the Bloc voted against that. We set the job-sharing period to 52 weeks; the Bloc voted against that. We froze employment insurance premiums; the Bloc voted against that. Yesterday, we extended benefits for long-tenured workers by from five to twenty weeks; the Bloc voted against that.

Why are the Bloc members voting against Quebeckers when our Conservative government is taking action for workers and the unemployed in Quebec and across the country?

Conservative GovernmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Lévis—Bellechasse is right to wonder why. Indeed, why did the leader of the Bloc and his party systematically vote against the unemployed and their families? The only answer I can come up with is that the leader of the Bloc and his party are very negative. They have been here for 18 years and they have done nothing but criticize. They no longer see good measures that are valid and beneficial for the unemployed. The people of Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup might want to keep that in mind on Monday and send an 11th member of our party from Quebec here to Ottawa.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last year the government issued almost 400,000 temporary foreign worker permits. Today the Auditor General said that these permits were issued without proper strategic planning, without due diligence, without knowing whether the employer or the job even existed.

What is going on here? Skilled workers in Hamilton Centre are looking for work and the government is bringing in temporary workers for jobs that do not even exist.

When will the Conservatives start doing their job and focus on developing long-term sustainable jobs for Canadian workers?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, we are doing just that with all the measures in our economic action plan, which the NDP has voted against.

It requires two weeks of advertising for a Canadian employer to obtain a labour market opinion. Our immigration department then often does further verification.

Employers in the member's riding, tens of thousands of employers in the country would go under if they did not have access to labour for positions that were not being filled by Canadian residents or citizens.

In a recession we need to ensure that businesses that are surviving have the labour they need to do the job. We are proud to be working in co-operation with them.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is rushing in hundreds and thousands of temporary foreign workers only to leave them completely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Most have no hope of a future in Canada. The government has no idea or even cares if the workers are mistreated by their bosses. It is open season for temporary foreign workers. It is a scam.

When will the government abandon its just use them and toss them out policy and take serious action to stop the exploitation?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the tone of that question is absolutely irresponsible.

Tens of thousands of Canadian businesses would go under if they did not have access to hard-working individuals who come to this country to fill jobs for which Canadians are not applying.

We do not want to put Canadian businesses out of work and out of business during this difficult economic time by denying them access to hard-working individuals who are willing to contribute to the Canadian economy.

This government has brought in important regulatory changes to work with the provinces and the labour ministries to ensure that the tiny number of abusive employers do not have access to this program in the future.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism is so short of arguments to justify his decision to impose visas on Mexican and Czech visitors that he has resorted to inventing stories and misleading this House by claiming that his decision was justified and requested by the Government of Quebec.

How can the minister say such a thing when, in a letter dated July 24, 2009, four ministers from Quebec condemned the devastating impact of this decision on Quebec's economy?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

I have here a letter dated May 26 signed by Sam Hamad, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity of Quebec, who demanded that the government take action to help Quebec, which is facing an increase in the number of asylum seekers. He indicated that the costs associated with last resort financial assistance rose from $14.1 million in 2006 to $82 million in 2008-09, and he demanded that the government take action to control the number of asylum seekers coming to Quebec.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec was not calling on the government to impose visas.

The minister needs to stop putting the blame for the decision on the Government of Quebec, which was not even consulted. What minister Sam Hamad does say is that the Government of Quebec needs additional funds to cover the extra costs associated with asylum seekers.

When will the minister stop imposing this irresponsible decision, and when will he release the additional funds the Government of Quebec is requesting?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Hamad said that when they extend their stay, asylum seekers in Quebec put growing pressure on Quebec's services and public finances. I have a question for the member. Why is he not concerned about the pressure on social services on behalf of Quebec taxpayers? Why is he complaining on behalf of special interest groups instead of taxpayers? Why is the Government of Quebec defending Quebec's interests? We acted to defend Quebec's interests by imposing these visas.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Lies, lies.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Not so—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl.

Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General revealed today that Public Safety Canada has a budget of nearly $60 million for emergency management, yet the government has used less than two-thirds of that money in the past two years.

The AG says that Public Safety Canada is unable to develop its capacity for emergency management. This is not about a lack of money, it is about a lack of leadership.

How could the Conservatives pretend they were well prepared for an emergency when the Auditor General says they were not?

Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we have actually been making considerable progress in preparing for emergency management. In fact, to quote the Auditor General, she said, “Public Safety Canada has made considerable progress in improving federal emergency coordination through its Government Operations Centre”.

Indeed, our plans continue to be prepared. We have worked well with the provinces and territories who, of course, we know are primarily responsible for the delivery of emergency and disaster management. Our coordination has worked well, as we saw this spring with the floods in Manitoba, and we will continue to improve and enhance and build our emergency management capacity.

Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, seven hour lineups tell the tale, do they not?

The Auditor General said the federal emergency response plan has not received formal approval by the government. The AG states that until the government endorses the plan, it will be difficult for Public Safety Canada to fulfill its mandate to combat emergencies such as the pandemic Canadians are now facing.

Why, after four years, has the government refused to complete and endorse the federal emergency response plan?

Emergency ResponseOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I should first help my friends on the other side to understand the difference between the pandemic management plan and the federal emergency response plan. They are two entirely different documents. Canada is operating right now under the pandemic management plan.

The federal emergency response plan is prepared. It exists and continues to be developed. The Auditor General has asked that we take it to cabinet to have it endorsed there. We are going to do that. We think that is a good suggestion so that it does have that forum, but we will also continue to work to evolve it, to make it better all the time.

As we see, every time something happens we can always do better, but it has been working well, as we saw this spring with the floods in Manitoba.

HealthOral Questions

November 3rd, 2009 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the Auditor General reported that the federal emergency management committee, which is supposed to coordinate the response to the H1N1 virus pandemic, did not bother to meet during half of the six most recent emergencies. She warned of conflicting messages, gaps in the system and failed communication and coordination efforts.

This is disturbing news, obviously, given the current H1N1 crisis, and it confirms what people are experiencing, confusion and a lack of coordination. Why can the government not get its act together?