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House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vaccine.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I sometimes wonder whether the member for Wascana just makes it up as he goes along.

What we are doing is moving forward with an unprecedented partnership with the provinces, territories and municipalities on infrastructure projects in every corner of the country, from coast to coast to coast, and, like previous governments, we are ensuring that those investments are communicated to the public.

We have an important responsibility in these tough economic times to report back to Canadians on the great success and the number of jobs and opportunities that are being created from coast to coast to coast.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, it gets worse. While millions of Canadians cannot get vaccinated, the Conservatives are not only wasting up to $45 million on useless signs, but they actually want two signs, not just one, on every project, and they are sticking municipalities with a big part of the cost: local tax dollars forced to finance Conservative propaganda.

Will the Conservatives now cancel their wasteful sign campaign and put those dollars into fighting the flu?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is a sign of co-operation, a sign that the provinces and territories are working constructively with the federal government, a sign that we are putting partisan politics aside and are working constructively to create jobs and to build infrastructure.

Within the last half hour, I had the opportunity to meet with the great mayor of the city of Regina. We have a great partnership with Regina. We are spending almost $93 million on infrastructure, and we are proud of it.

We will continue to work hard and get the job done.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bill concerning self-employed workers contains provisions regarding parental leave. But self-employed workers in Quebec are already entitled to parental benefits through the Quebec government's parental insurance plan.

Will the government admit that there is an overlap when it comes to parental benefits, and will it compensate Quebec?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this new program introduced by the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is a voluntary program funded by the premiums paid by self-employed workers.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, parental benefits account for 75% of the total cost of all of the special EI benefits, compared to 25% for compassionate care and sickness benefits. But self-employed workers in Quebec will pay more than their Canadian counterparts, simply to be entitled to sickness and compassionate care benefits, since they are already entitled to parental benefits from the Government of Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the contribution rate he will impose on self-employed workers in Quebec is unfair in relation to the benefits being offered?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the Bloc leader is saying is untrue. This is a voluntary program, paid for by contributions made by the self-employed workers, and these premiums are different, depending on the circumstances in Quebec.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the program is not voluntary.

The problem with this new bill on special benefits for self-employed workers is that it only takes Canada's needs into account, not Quebec's. Self-employed Quebec workers already have access to their own parental benefits system.

Does the minister understand that she should adapt her program to Quebec's existing social safety net, not the other way around?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see that the Bloc leader and his party agree that self-employed workers should benefit from these very important measures to provide special benefits, including parental and maternity leave. Until now, this has been available to all Canadians except self-employed workers. Now self-employed workers will be able to benefit from it, and adjustments will be made for Quebec.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-56 is unfair to Quebec's self-employed workers. They are already paying $0.86 per $100 to the provincial government for parental benefits, and now the federal government wants them to pay $1.36 more just to access sickness and compassionate care benefits, which cost the fund next to nothing compared to parental benefits.

Will the minister reduce contributions for Quebec's self-employed workers so that they are in proportion to the benefits they would be entitled to? It would only be fair.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member is confusing things. In all of the other provinces and territories, people pay $1.73 for employment insurance benefits, which include the things we just talked about. Quebeckers pay $1.36. The federal government already compensates Quebec for providing some services itself. Once we add the two new services, it will still cost $1.36, and in all of the other provinces and territories, it will cost $1.73. There is a difference. We have taken what Quebec does into account.

HealthOral Questions

November 4th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, regarding H1N1, the local health officials could do a much better job if they knew the funding would be there so they could deliver the vaccine on the ground.

When it comes to a natural disaster, federal funding is provided and local officials could get the kind of program out there to get the vaccine into the arms of the millions of Canadians waiting for it right now.

I have a question for the Prime Minister because his Minister of Industry would not answer the question yesterday. Will he backstop the funding of the delivery of the vaccine on the ground?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is paying the lion's share of the costs of the vaccine. That is our role. As far as I know and can see, the provinces are putting all the resources at their availability to ensure that this vaccine gets delivered.

It is a challenging process. We have never undertaken a vaccination program so large and so quickly in our country. We are working with our provincial colleagues to ensure that it rolls out successfully.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to understand the difference between a natural disaster and what we face with this disease.

The problem concerning H1N1 is the lack of leadership shown by the federal government. It blames either the provinces or the medical company. There is a serious lack of doses available on the ground.

The original contract, signed by the Liberals, stipulated a single producer and prevented the government from seeking legal recourse.

Can the Prime Minister explain why he maintained that sole-source contract?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is a 10-year contract.

I repeat, the facts are we now have over 6 million doses of the vaccine available. Next week, another 1.8 million doses will be available. This is much faster than the provinces are able to distribute at this time. Canada has the highest per capita availability of the vaccine of any country in the world.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are 34 million people in Canada. He is 28 million short. The exclusive 10 year contract for the vaccine was awarded to Shire Biologics by the federal Liberals in 2001, the same year they received a $57,000 donation from that company.

Shire has since been sold to GlaxoSmithKline. GSK's lobbyist is Ken Boessenkool, a personal friend of the Prime Minister. Was Ken Boessenkool the person who convinced the government that there was no need to go outside the contract with GSK to get additional supplies of the vaccine?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the contract was signed in 2001 for 10 years. The fact is, and I will repeat it, there are now over six million doses available. There will be another 1.8 million doses available next week. That means 8.5 million doses are available.

The pace of dose availability in the country is ahead of any other country in the world. The resources of the provinces are being stretched to the maximum to ensure this is being rolled out as quickly as possible. This is by far the largest scale and quickest vaccination the provinces have ever attempted in the country.

Rather than criticize them, we should encourage them in their work. They are obviously serving the highest priority groups first, but everybody will be getting a vaccine.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is confused. That contract was for a vaccine for avian influenza.

Under infrastructure funding agreements, the Conservatives are off-loading onto the municipalities the cost of the creation, printing and installation of signs to promote the Conservatives. These expenditures total $45 million, which the Conservatives are passing off to the municipalities.

Why are the Conservatives forcing the municipalities to do their dirty work, that is, spread their propaganda?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of question period, it was $5 million. Then it was $40 million. We are already up to $45 million. Inflation must be taking hold in the country, at least when it comes to the inflation of the truth from our Liberal friends.

What we have is a great partnership between the provinces and territories and the municipalities on infrastructure projects. We have an important responsibility to report back to Canadians on the real action taking place. We are creating jobs. We are building better roads and safer highways. We are going to have cleaner water and better public transit as a result.

We are working constructively with municipalities in every corner of the country. We are getting the job done.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is worse than it looks.

While millions of Canadians are still waiting to be vaccinated, the Conservatives are wasting $45 million on signs that are completely useless.

Will the Conservatives cancel their propaganda campaign and redirect those funds to help the provinces vaccinate Canadians as soon as possible?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, one of the hallmarks of the government has been transparency and accountability. That is why we think it is incredibly important, when we make investments in communities coast to coast to coast, that we inform Canadians of those investments.

We have seen good co-operation. We have put aside politics when it comes to dealing with provinces and territorial governments. We put aside politics when dealing with municipalities. If we could only get the same thing from the Liberal Party, that would be quite the accomplishment.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General said, “Public Safety Canada has not exercised the leadership necessary to coordinate emergency management activities”.

Today, U of T's Mississauga campus cancelled its clinic before the doors even opened because of a vaccine shortage. We are reaching proportions of a national crisis if our students cannot get the proper protection and attention.

Here is a question the Auditor General wants answered. Why has the government not developed a proper national emergency management plan to protect students and all Canadians?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we do have a federal emergency response plan. It has been working very well in occasions like the spring floods in Manitoba. However, in terms of the H1N1 flu, we are dealing with that under the pandemic management plan, an entirely separate plan.

The federal responsibilities are being carried out very well. We understand clearly the division of responsibilities. We have delivered the highest quantity of vaccine per capita of anywhere in the world. We have carried out that part of our plan.

Another obligation is to make Canadians aware of the need to get vaccinated. They seem to be aware of that need now.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in my riding, Donald and his wife waited five hours at an H1N1 clinic. When Donald finally reached the front of the line, he was turned away because they were running short and needed to save doses for priority recipients. Donald is 56 years old and a diabetic, clearly in the high-risk category.

We keep hearing misleading slogans about six million doses and the highest per capita. Obviously, Donald and the millions like him do not make the grade.

The government says that it will have enough vaccine by Christmas, but the flu is here now. Where is the leadership?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are ahead of schedule in getting the vaccine to the provinces and the territories. Six million doses have been distributed, 1.8 million more, 225,000 for unadjuvanted vaccine to the provinces and territories.

Territories and provinces are rolling out their campaigns. We will continue to work with the provinces and territories in their rollout. By next week, some jurisdictions will have completed their mass immunization campaign.