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House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was passport.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is we are very engaged in trying to ensure that those who have been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs get the EI for which they qualify as quickly as possible. That is why we have already been bringing back recent retirees who are skilled at handling EI. We have extended our hours. We are adding automation to the system to make processing go faster.

We are processing up to 50% more claims now than we were a year ago. We are doing most of those, unfortunately not all, on time. We are getting better at it too.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister really does not get it. A delay in getting a cheque to a family means that it could miss a mortgage payment or even have difficulty putting food on the table. How is that stimulating our economy?

A family that suddenly finds itself without a paycheque depends on EI to help it through a tough time. Yet the minister does nothing because she said that she did not want to make EI too lucrative. These workers paid into EI and they have a right to get it when they need it.

When will the minister do something, anything at all, or will the Prime Minister appoint somebody over there who actually cares about unemployed Canadians?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to take care of these people because they need it and deserve it. That is why we are stepping up overtime. That is why we are increasing automation. That is why we are being proactive in reaching out to companies that indicate they may be having layoffs. That is why we are expanding our work-sharing program, our targeted initiative for older workers and significantly expanding the training to help these people get back to work in jobs that will last.

I thank the member for his support of the budget on that.

Pay EquityOral Questions

March 2nd, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is trying to mislead Canadian women. It has said that its so-called pay equity legislation is based on the Ontario pay equity model, but the government's plan could not be more different.

Could the minister explain exactly what parts of his legislation are modelled on the Ontario proactive pay equity legislation?

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, what is of concern to people concerned about equity in the workplace is that women are waiting 15 and 20 years in order to have complaints resolved. We have said that there needs to be a proactive mechanism to ensure that these complaints are dealt with on an ongoing basis through the collective bargaining situation, as it is done in other provinces.

The member, in fact, is well aware of the Liberal 2004 study that looked at this issue and recommended this model. We are implementing it.

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely and patently false. It is obvious that the minister has not even read the Ontario act. The Ontario model has a pay equity commission to ensure pay equity is implemented and a tribunal to hear pay equity complaints. It does not allow for women's rights to be bargained away, as the government is doing.

What measures from the Ontario model are in the Conservative government's legislation?

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, one cannot bargain away those rights at the collective bargaining table. The member knows that and the member is simply making up these statements.

The other point that she raised is about the independent tribunal. There is an independent tribunal that will review these matters as well in the legislation, exactly as it is in the Ontario and other legislation.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, on February 19, the Prime Minister and President Obama met to discuss many of the issues facing not only our North American continent but those of our planet. Both the Prime Minister and the President agreed in a U.S.-Canada clean energy dialogue that would co-operate on several critical energy science and technology issues in pursuit of a clean environment.

Could the Prime Minister please update the House on the progress taken since this very important and historic meeting?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is in Washington today to continue the clean energy dialogue that was initiated when President Obama was in Ottawa.

While in Washington, with regard to the clean energy dialogue, the Minister of the Environment will talk to the American administration about the expansion of clean energy research, the development and deployment of clean energy technology, the promotion of clean and renewable energy sources like hydroelectricity.

This is an important initiative between our governments and one we hope will be a model for the rest of the world in terms of climate change.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the Prime Minister, like the leader of the Liberal Party, suggested that he was open to extending Canada's military role in Afghanistan beyond 2011. Reports stated that if the U.S. asked Canada to remain, the Prime Minister would want the U.S. to clearly state its long-term objectives and an ultimate end date.

Could the Prime Minister state unequivocally that if these two criteria were satisfied, would he seek to extend Canada's military mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011, yes or no?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our priorities and objectives in Afghanistan have been clear from the start, and that is to leave the country in the hands of the Afghans in a manner in which they can manage their own affairs. We have been doing that since we got there. We have been doing that with the other 59 members, or signatories, to the Afghanistan compact. We have been doing that with the other 49 or so allies on the ground there. That has not changed. It has been a transition from a military mission to a humanitarian governance and development mission. That will continue.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister also said on the weekend, “We are not going to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan”. This runs completely counter to what the Prime Minister has believed over the past years, even to the point where he questioned the very patriotism of Canadians who held this view.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House when he came to this conclusion and if he has discussed, personally, his new thinking with other NATO leaders? Remember “cut and run”, remember “we are not going to leave until the job is done”. What is going on?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and anybody who is knowledgeable about the mission have been saying from the start that this is not a militarily winnable mission alone. There is a combination of military and diplomacy. It is giving the Afghans the power to manage their own affairs. That is what we have been doing from the start.

The simple fact is our priorities have not change, nor have our methods. The Prime Minister was talking about military alone solutions and nobody has ever said that is the ultimate solution.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American prosecution lawyer at Guantanamo prison has confirmed that the detainees, including Omar Khadr, have been subjected to severe abuse. He stated that, no matter what he had done, this poor person has been mistreated.

How can the government justify its refusal to repatriate young Khadr given the testimony that is being gathered about the reality of torture at Guantanamo?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on many occasions I have repeated that Mr. Khadr faces very serious charges in the United States. Our position has not changed. We are aware that the trial of all cases before the military commission was halted in Guantanamo Bay on January 26, and that the U.S. administration is reviewing all the cases. We will wait for whatever results the U.S. administration comes out with.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government is hiding behind a supposed process that would prevent them from demanding that Khadr be repatriated. Yet other countries have repatriated their citizens.

If Canada does not repatriate Omar Khadr, does this mean that the problem does not come from the process, but rather from the government's lack of political will?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on many occasions in the House, Mr. Omar Khadr faces serious charges including murder, attempted murder as well as the charge of murder of a medic.

We continue to closely monitor the situation, including the work of the American committee formed to study the fate of the Guantanamo detainees, including Mr. Khadr. Our position has not changed.

Municipal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question about government ethics.

Next month Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien goes on trial to face criminal charges stemming from his campaign for mayor and the Minister of Transport has been subpoenaed. On Friday, my question for the minister about this matter went unanswered, so I ask it again today.

Will he invoke parliamentary privilege or will he respect the subpoena and testify at the trial?

Municipal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right. He asked this very same question on Friday, so I will give him the very same answer because I answered the question not once, but twice then.

The Minister of Transport has always fully co-operated with the authorities on this issue and he will do so in the future.

Municipal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, a Crown witness stated that Mr. O'Brien and the minister met at Hy's restaurant on July 26, 2006, and that they spoke about setting up a meeting with Terry Kilrea regarding an appointment to a government position.

My question is simple: Will the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities agree to testify at Mr. O'Brien's trial? Yes or no?

Municipal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, again, I point out for my hon. colleague, for all members present and for the general public that our colleague, the Minister of Transport, has not been accused of anything. Just like many people, he has been called as a witness in this case. He has fully co-operated in the past and he has indicated that he will fully co-operate in the future.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is meeting today with the U.S. envoy for climate change, Todd Stern. While Stern was negotiating the Kyoto protocol, the Prime Minister was calling climate change a socialist plot. We had 13 long years of no action by the Liberals and now three more years of no action from the Conservatives. Now the minister claims he is in sync with the Obama administration.

Does this mean the minister is now admitting he has taken no action on reducing greenhouse gases or emissions from the tar sands and that he has a new plan in line with the U.S.?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the hard work of the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment. They set an example to the international partners of working in a collaborative way to tackle the fight on climate change. We have the toughest target in Canadian history, an absolute reduction of 20% by 2020. That is amazing.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, in defence of their tar sands policies following the damning National Geographic exposé, the Conservatives now suggest that all is well because they are working with the U.S. to study new technologies to capture and sequester carbon underground, yet little solid action has been taken by the government on addressing broader impacts to the tar sands on first nations, rivers, the boreal forest, or species at risk.

When can Canadians expect concrete action by the government to address the mounting health and environmental impacts of the tar sands?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure the hon. member that indeed we have acted decisively on this issue. The example of that is in our economic action plan. We have put $1 billion into a clean energy fund able to address the real issues associated with the oil sands. I will tell the House that the government clearly recognizes that a healthy economy requires a healthy environment and that is the direction we are going in.