House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, according to leaked documents, the main reason the Conservatives want to modify how they provide money to band councils is to change how pensions are managed. It is an attempt by the Conservatives to rid the government of liability for the underfunding of pensions. The Conservatives want to force change on band councils to cover up the government's own liability for mismanagement.

Why does the government not come clean on its real intentions and stop misleading first nations?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, maybe I should speak in even more of a whisper to talk about the secrets. Here is the secret. We are working with first nations, including the Assembly of First Nations, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Manitoulin Tribal Council and many others. They are sitting on a panel. They are sitting with us to talk about how, when the renewals come up for the Indian government support programs a year from now, we might be able to do it better so that it is better for first nations, better for accountability, better for the people they are trying to serve.

That is no secret. That is what first nations want to do and that is what we want to do working with them.

Seal HuntOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the European Commission's Internal Market Directorate General recently supported a regulation that would impose a partial embargo on seal products. This embargo would have a serious impact on hunters who make a living from this honourable traditional hunt. European decision-makers will vote on the final bill very soon.

What does the government plan to do to oppose this new attack on the seal hunt?

Seal HuntOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government will continue to defend the rights of Canadian sealers to provide a livelihood for their families through a lawful, sustainable and humane hunt. We will continue to inform international discussions with factual material.

We will stand up for Canadian sealers, unlike the Liberal Party of Canada, which has attacked them.

Seal HuntOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the current government's inaction is giving free rein to abolitionist groups to spread falsehoods. These abolitionists include a Liberal senator, Mac Harb, who is calling for an end to the seal hunt.

What is the government waiting for to launch an international information campaign to promote the expansion of markets for seal products and make this industry viable through measures such as expanding the hunt?

Seal HuntOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, our government has spent much time and resources defending the Canadian seal hunt abroad and here at home, which we were disappointed that we had to do. The hunt came under attack in Europe and now it is under attack right here in Canada.

We will continue to support our Canadian sealers. We will continue our efforts in Europe to ensure that the facts are known about the Canadian seal hunt and that our sealers are supported 100%.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I heard the minister's answer. He tries to play first nations like a fiddle but he is only step dancing around the whole damn issue.

The Conservatives have slashed the budget for consultation and they keep their communications “low profile”. Those are his words from his own documents.

Why is he excluding first nations from meaningful consultation? Why is it that he said one thing in June about the apology and did another thing through his actions? Why will he not come clean with the first nations people of this country?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I have never seen the document that the member is talking about. I have never seen it and I do not know where it came from.

What I do know is that we have an open policy of working with first nations across the country. An advisory panel has been set up. We have meetings planned from beginning to end.

This Friday there is a meeting with the Atlantic Policy Congress. At that meeting, one of the questions that will be asked of the member is does he support Warren Kinsella and the position that a Liberal Party senator holds to ban the seal hunt in Canada? That is what we want to know from the member. He says he supports the seal hunt. Let us find out.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, maybe I could ask the minister to join me on the ice floes which I have done for the last two springs. I am going there again this spring. He should join me.

According to the minister's own internal documents, the changes he is proposing to come into force would not be optional. At the same time as the first nations communities are being stripped of their options, they are being denied input and access to the decision making process.

It is pretty rich to hear the minister talk about accountability when he does not apply it to himself. Will he open the doors and let the first nations in?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, there is that old saying on the preacher's note, “unsure of point, must yell louder”.

Here are the facts. I will go through them again slowly for him. There is an advisory panel set up with the Assembly of First Nations and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. The Atlantic Policy Congress is welcome. Every chief in the country has received a letter on this. The financial administration officers of every first nation in the country are going to be invited to meetings over the next year to discuss it. That is the big secret.

What I want to know is, when the member goes to the ice floe, would he take Mac Harb with him?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, while we in the NDP do recognize and thank the government for its announcement yesterday on coordinating those efforts to help injured soldiers and their families, there is a very serious problem out there for soldiers who leave the military voluntarily and who are waiting for a pension cheque.

The reality is these men and women who serve our country have to wait many months before they get a pension cheque. That is putting everything in jeopardy, their mortgages and other bills.

When will the government clean up its act and get out these pension cheques which the members of the military so rightfully deserve?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his kind words yesterday in support of the joint personnel support units that we are putting in place across the country.

Similarly on this point, we have taken on additional staff. Very dedicated public servants are working overtime to see that we deal with the backlog. Because of the demographics of the Canadian Forces there was a backlog that we are attempting to deal with in a very efficient way. That does take time. We have people working very hard on that.

What I would ask from the member is that on the budget, for the first time would he vote for the Canadian Forces rather than slink out of the House?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is hurry up and wait. It is not only veterans who are being made to wait by that cold and mean-spirited government; it is also the unemployed.

In Atlantic Canada 30,000 families are waiting for their EI applications to be processed. Over 8,000 of these families have been waiting for more than six weeks; that means about a month and a half without any money for groceries, to pay the rent or mortgage, or to pay for the heat and lights.

When will the minister tell the House what she is going to do about EI wait times?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have always believed that using the wrong statistics is nothing but scaremongering. That is totally unacceptable.

What we also find unacceptable is that anyone should have to wait for his or her EI benefits. That is why we are dealing with record numbers of applications by bringing back recent retirees. We are pulling back people from other departments. We have extended our operating hours for the call centre. We are working overtime. We are increasing automation. We want these people to get the money that they need and deserve.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

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

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has made a strong commitment to fight back against gangs and other organized criminal groups by introducing new laws that target drugs, gangs and organized crime. It is important that we stop drugs from hitting our streets in the first place.

Can the minister tell the House, do the Canadian Forces play a role in ensuring that illegal drugs do not find their way into the hands of organized crime and into the streets of our communities?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, indeed they do. Since 2006 the Canadian Forces have played an important role in Canadian counter-drug operations, as well as working off the southern approaches of North America to stop illegal drugs from hitting our streets.

Recently we supported a multinational operation that prevented some 272 million dollars' worth of cocaine from arriving here. As well, the Halifax based frigate, HMCS Montreal helped a French warship in the Caribbean recently intercept a drug smuggler carrying a boatload of cocaine. In another instance, a Canadian Forces Aurora plane spotted and tracked a semi-submersible operating in international waters.

This ongoing work of the Canadian Forces is something we can all be proud of.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, approximately 27,000 first nations children are in first nations and provincial agency care. That is three times the number of children who were in residential schools at their peak.

The matter has been brought before the Canadian Human Rights Commission and now the government has attempted to dismiss the case through the Federal Court because the Conservatives just do not seem to care. Are they afraid of what might be found?

Reconciliation is about much more than just saying sorry.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, what we found when we came to office was that there was not a single child and family service agreement with the provinces and first nations in this country. The Liberals had been talking about it for 13 years, but there was not a single agreement on how to move from an apprehension model to a preventive model for child and family services.

That is why we signed the first child and family service agreement with first nations in Alberta. We have expanded that across the country in budget 2009. We have money now to add two more provinces.

We keep moving ahead systematically, because it is important that we look after the children especially, and that is why we thank the hon. member for her support of the budget.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question raised by the Bloc Québécois yesterday about a cigarette manufacturing permit given to a man now accused of drug trafficking, the Minister of National Revenue said that there were confidentiality issues to consider. But the court hearings are being held publicly and the story was published in a Quebec daily paper on Monday, so there is nothing confidential about it.

The minister has recognized that he has the power to act, so what is he waiting for? He should suspend the permit until the legal proceedings are done.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I want to point out that, before issuing a tobacco sales permit, we check to see if the individual has a criminal record. If so, then we simply do not issue the permit. As I said before, if the member had taken the time to find out more about the issue, he might not be asking the same question. If we find out that there is a criminal record, the minister has the power to revoke the permit.

IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's inaction with the illegal Xstrata job cuts has set a dangerous precedent.

Today, Brazilian-based Vale Inco is cutting 423 jobs across Canada, 261 of them in Sudbury and Nickel Belt, but it has an agreement with the government not to cut jobs until October 2009.

After the Xstrata fiasco, companies now see that no layoff agreements mean nothing, because the Conservative government ignores them without consequence.

When will the government finally stand up for workers and enforce the no layoff agreements?

IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I guess one has to be a member of the NDP caucus to think $300 million of extra investment is somehow a disaster for Sudbury and for miners.

In the case of Vale Inco and the announcement that was made today, our hearts go out to the workers and their families who are affected by this. I can tell the hon. member that we are watching the situation closely. We are reviewing the Investment Canada Act provisions and how they pertain to Vale Inco.

We expect Vale Inco to measure up, to honour the commitments it has made to the Government of Canada and the people of Canada. We will be examining the situation closely.

Status of WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, this week is International Women's Week, culminating in International Women's Day on March 8.

This government has a strong record on supporting women. The Prime Minister recently appointed the highest percentage of women to cabinet, as well as the first Minister of State solely dedicated to the Status of Women.

Could the Minister of State for the Status of Women please tell the House what she is doing this week to mark International Women's Week?

Status of WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the good work and support of the member as we develop our action plan for women's equality.

One of the pillars is economic security. Last evening I was honoured to announce a partnership project with WEConnect Canada, which is a women's business network organization that will provide market access to global supply chains for Canadian businesswomen. The supplier diversity program will provide opportunities for Canadian businesswomen to grow their businesses and succeed.

In addition, I am proud to be leading the Canadian delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The House resumed from February 26 consideration of the motion.