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House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this government is committed to protecting the safety of Canadians. In fact, when the Liberals were in power, they cut funding for food safety and they cut the number of inspectors. Under our Conservative government, we have committed an additional $113 million for food and product safety and we have put more than 200 new inspectors to work.

The EconomyOral Questions

February 9th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada lost 129,000 jobs in January. That is staggering, but we have to look beyond the numbers. Every one of those lost jobs represents a human tragedy.

Recently, in my riding, I met with workers who had invested over 20 years of their lives in the manufacturing sector. They were proud of their work. They had even encouraged their children to pursue the same career. Now, companies are closing and these families have been abandoned. They have nothing left.

How can the government turn its back on these thousands of Canadians and tell them, “Too bad for you, but we have other priorities”?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. We announced over $900 million for the aerospace industry. Our budget—our economic plan—includes many announcements for small and medium-sized businesses and better access to credit. This is a budget—an economic plan—for our times, for our country, for workers and for jobs.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not understand that every job loss has an impact on a human being, on that person's spouse and on their children.

This weekend, I was talking to Rosa, a resident of my riding and a very brave woman. She just lost her job. She does not know how to tell her children. She does not even know whether she can collect employment insurance. For her and for so many others, life has come crashing down.

What will the government say to Rosa? Will the employment insurance system be there for her, or will the government continue to restrict access to employment insurance just to save money?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we know there are far too many Canadians going through these trying times and losing their jobs in circumstances like that. That is why we are making every effort to speed up how quickly people can claim and receive their EI benefits. It is why we are extending those benefits.

It is also why we are investing in those same Canadians to give them the skills they will need for the jobs of tomorrow so that we will not have to go through this again, and so that they will be able to go to work, make a living, bring food home and put it on the table for their families.

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a proud history when it comes to space robotics and exploration. Since 1989 the Canadian Space Agency has generated world-class scientific research and development that has benefited this country. Investing in this sector not only allows Canada to remain at the forefront of space research, it also creates valuable economic activity.

In these difficult global economic times, could the Minister of Industry inform this House how the government is supporting Canada's role in space exploration?

Research and DevelopmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the member for Kitchener—Waterloo for his question. I know he is working hard for his constituents in this House and in Ottawa.

This morning I had the privilege of visiting the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, and was honoured to reaffirm our government's support for the CSA. Through our economic action plan, we are investing $110 million for the development of prototypes for space robotics, vehicles and other valuable technologies.

Overall, our economic plan is investing $5.1 billion in science and technology initiatives, demonstrating our commitment to building our competitive advantage. That is what our economic plan is about. That is why this government is on the right track.

Pay equityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government, with the help of the so-called Liberals, is preparing to take away a woman's right to go to court in order to earn equal pay for equal work. Sections 401 and 402 of the bill would take away the possibility for a woman, or her union, to defend her fundamental rights before the courts.

Can the Prime Minister tell us how the economy will benefit from taking away women's rights?

Pay equityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we are introducing proactive pay equity legislation that was first introduced in Manitoba in 1986, followed by Ontario and by the province of Quebec. I note that the Ontario legislation was introduced by a Liberal government, supported by the NDP, led by the member for Toronto Centre.

We believe that women should not have to wait for 15 years in order for these complaints to be resolved.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's affirmation concerning Quebec is a pure falsehood.

The bill also proposes to remove environmental safeguards by making it possible to build certain projects without environmental assessments. The government does not seem to understand that if a precious wetland is destroyed, it matters little that the infrastructure that replaces it is worth less than $10 million. It is the value of the ecosystem that matters.

Does the Prime Minister not understand that in addition to bequeathing a financial debt to future generations, he is also leaving them with an environmental deficit that can never be compensated?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that the government is and remains committed to protecting and enhancing the environment through public projects. We will clean up the assessment process and eliminate unnecessary duplication.

I would ask the hon. member to consider the thoughts of the premier of Manitoba who seems to agree. He said:

One project--one approval, not one project, three or four approval processes through two levels of government.... Perhaps we could spend our time and money a little more effectively.

There seems to be all-party agreement in Canada, just not in the House of Commons.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are 10 days away from President Obama's visit to Ottawa. The president has promised to close Guantanamo prison where Omar Khadr has been held for many years. William Kuebler, his lawyer, is in Ottawa today to find a way to bring his client back to Canada.

Will the Prime Minister raise this issue when the American president comes to visit and ask for Omar Khadr to be repatriated?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have often repeated the government’s position on this in the House.

I would tell my hon. colleague that my associates in the department have been in regular contact with both Mr. Khadr's defence representatives and the prosecutors in this case. We are continuing to hold these discussions and to make ourselves available.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Prime Minister said, article 4 of the UN protocol defines a child soldier as someone who is 18 years old or less and recruited into an armed group that is distinct from a national army. Canada has signed this protocol.

Does the government intend to abide by its signature and immediately demand that the United States send Omar Khadr home? Have the experts in the department told him that the Prime Minister’s position is unacceptable?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I repeat the position of the Government of Canada: the individual in question, Mr. Khadr, has been accused of very serious crimes, including murder, terrorism and so forth.

We also know that the United States government has effectively decided, through a directive from the president, to close the Guantanamo military base but, at the same time, to review the files. We are therefore going to allow the legal process to run its course.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the same subject, I would hope the minister would agree there is at least a chance that the American government will decide not to pursue the case against Mr. Khadr. In that case, would we not be wiser now to be negotiating with the United States for a supervised release of Mr. Khadr into Canada where he could be under supervision and under guidance rather than simply being released? Would that not be in the interests of the country?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not share my hon. colleague's opinion on that. I think that what is in the interests of Canada is that we let the American government pursue the process that President Obama has commenced and when that process is over with, we will be able to see what the outcome is.

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the subject of Sri Lanka, which I have raised with the minister before, we have seen a very serious escalation of violence on both sides--on both sides, I stress--in the last four days.

Are there any additional steps the minister and the Government of Canada plan to take with our friends and allies and with the United Nations to ensure that we bring this terrible conflict to a conclusion?

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we had the opportunity, as parliamentarians, to debate this issue last week. As a government, we were able to indicate what actions the Government of Canada has taken. The Government of Canada has called for an immediate ceasefire. My colleague, the Minister of International Cooperation, has put forward amounts of money that will help the people who are caught up in this humanitarian turmoil.

We are continuing to monitor the situation. It is of grave concern to us and we are following the file.

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning the people of Sudbury woke up to the fact that 700 permanent jobs had been cut by Xstrata Nickel. In July 2006 the Minister of Industry allowed the Swiss-based Xstrata to purchase Canadian-based Falconbridge under the condition that the Canadian jobs would be protected for three years. This is cold comfort to the Sudbury miners who have lost these so-called protected jobs.

Will the minister take action to protect our mining industry and Canadian mining jobs?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, obviously, when I heard about these layoffs, I was disappointed. I have been on the phone with the mayor of Sudbury already today. These are challenging times for mining companies around the world.

I can tell the hon. member and the House that at my direction over the weekend, we had extensive discussions with Xstrata which resulted in further commitments to Sudbury made by Xstrata, including an investment of between $290 million and $390 million in the Sudbury area over the next two years. That is now on the books, and I am very proud to say that. But we are sorry that--

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Sudbury.

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government still has the opportunity to say no to the 700 jobs cuts and to honour and enforce the agreement with Xstrata. The 700 people in Sudbury who have just lost their jobs are looking to the Minister of Industry to keep the government's promise that Canadian jobs would be protected in this foreign buyout.

Will the minister give a clear yes or no answer on whether he intends to stand with the people of Sudbury and enforce this agreement to protect Canadian jobs?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am standing with the people of Sudbury, which is why, over the whole weekend, we were engaged in this course of negotiations.

It would probably be no surprise to the hon. member to know that Xstrata did not share our view on the legalities of the situation. We got its new undertakings and we were able to secure at least 300 jobs through that one undertaking alone.

Another undertaking to pursue research and development could lead to more jobs. Given the terrible state of mining in the world, it is responsible for us to have that discussion with Xstrata and to come to these conclusions.

Olympic AthletesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, our athletes, both overseas and at home, had a record-shattering medal haul, winning 28 medals, including a dozen gold.

Some of those medals were won in the Olympic venues at Cypress Mountain and Whistler in the riding I have the honour to represent.

With just over one year until the 2010 Canadian Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, would the Minister of State for Sport update the House on the status of our Olympic athletes?