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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cards.

Topics

TransportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, rail safety is very important. We have a significant amount of money in our action plan with regard to rail safety, $71 million. We are dealing with safety on the rail system.

As far as the idea of moving the safety inspectors from one community to another is concerned, it is absolutely ridiculous to think that is going to compromise the safety of our rail system. That will not take place.

We can be assured that the railways in this country are running as safely as they possibly can.

Agri-food IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of State (Agriculture) says the government consulted stakeholders in the agri-food industry before setting the 98% threshold for use of the “Product of Canada” label. Given the outcry from producers, processors and consumers, we might well ask who agreed to such an illogical decision.

Rather than stubbornly holding to a measure that has been criticized from all sides, why does the minister not follow Quebec’s example and adopt a more realistic threshold? In other words, does the minister realize that his rule makes no sense and that there is still time to change it?

Agri-food IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, what is the principle behind all this? We want consumers to be able to tell whether something is a product of Canada or not, whether it is a product processed in Canada or not.

With that in mind, we consulted stakeholders and arrived at the 98% rule for saying that something is a product of Canada. If it is processed in Canada, the processor can certainly say, for example, that the product comes from whatever region and was processed here in Canada. That gives the public something to go on. That being said, we are open to ideas. If something needs to be corrected, we will see, but for the moment we are going with this.

Agri-food IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bonduelle Canada, for example, a company in my riding, is losing its right to the “Product of Canada” label because there is more than 2% sugar or salt in some of its products. But the creamed corn found on most grocery store shelves is made of corn that is 100% grown in Sainte-Martine, Quebec.

What is the government waiting for before it revises its 98% rule, which is extreme and inflexible, so the processing industry can use the “Product of Canada” label and retain its competitive advantage?

Agri-food IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, again, the important thing here is that consumers have something to go on when they see the product on the shelves in front of them. There is nothing to stop a company from putting that the product is made from products that come from Quebec or Ontario that have been processed here in Canada. The rule at present is 98%. We are listening to the processors. We are talking with them. We will then see whether things need to be improved. For the moment, we are in a process. That is the way we are going to go for the moment, and 98% of the content is the percentage for a Canadian product.

Broadcasting IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is reported to be in talks with private broadcasters as the industry tries to cope with the current economic downturn.

Will the government include the CBC in those talks, given that our public broadcaster is facing the same challenges, or is it simply happy to keep the current double standard?

Broadcasting IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, of course, there is no double standard with regard to the CBC. On that issue, we made a very specific campaign commitment and we fulfilled our campaign commitment.

The Liberals made one promise when they were in opposition. When they formed the government, they broke their promise.

With regard to private broadcasters, we have made no commitment all.

Of course, as a government, we have a responsibility to keep our eyes and ears open about all the industries that are facing some difficulty in this economy, and we will do that. If we have anything to announce, my hon. colleague will be among the first to know.

However, I can certainly tell my colleague, and the private broadcasters, that this Conservative government will not raise taxes in the way that the leader of the Liberal Party has promised.

Broadcasting IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the thing. They promised to do nothing and that is exactly what they are doing, absolutely nothing.

The government has started talks with private broadcasters to address a crisis that is affecting the entire industry.

Is it also going to include the CBC in those talks, given that the public broadcaster is facing the same challenges as its competitors, or is it going to take advantage of the situation to keep knocking the CBC down?

Broadcasting IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. The only one that has attacked the CBC is the Liberal government. That is what the Liberal Party did when it was in power. What we are doing is investing $1.1 billion in the CBC this year, an unprecedented amount. That is a promise we made during the election campaign.

We keep our promises, we deliver the goods and we are protecting Canadians and Canadian culture.

Canadian Flag PinsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the maple leaf is not simply a political masthead, it is a symbol of Canadian values. It is very symbolic that as the largest manufacturing meltdown in Canadian history takes place, the government is hawking parliamentary Canadian flag pins that are made in China. It is an insult to the thousands of manufacturing workers who have lost their jobs.

Will the President of the Treasury Board do the right thing, recall these bags of trinkets and ensure that all Canadian flag pins are made with pride in Canada?

Canadian Flag PinsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we will in fact look into this issue. Of course, our government has been very strong in supporting Canadian industry, unlike the NDP and the Liberals, and the Liberal leader who wants to raise the taxes of Canadian industries.

Canadian Flag PinsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the change came under his watch.

The Canadian flag pin was a Canadian invention made by Canadian companies, and those jobs have now been shipped overseas. That is the ideology of those Cadillac Conservatives. Now they have the nerve to peddle these made in China pins to the tens of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs.

If the minister wants to lead the race to the bottom, he can have my pins because I will not--

Canadian Flag PinsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Timmins--James Bay, with all his experience, would know he would not want to breach the rules of the House and use props. In the course of asking his question, I saw him waving something around. He knows that is not proper.

The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage has the floor.

Canadian Flag PinsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the member can continue to yell louder, but here are the facts of the situation. Anything that is sold on Parliament Hill in the gift shop is the decision of the Speaker of the House of Commons on the guidance of the Board of Internal Economy. It is a choice of the Board of Internal Economy. The Board of Internal Economy operates on consensus and the NDP is on the Board of Internal Economy.

If the member really believes in what he is saying, if he really believes all the fire he is throwing out, why does the NDP not raise this issue at committee and get it addressed? All he is interested in doing is posturing and not addressing the issue.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

April 23rd, 2009 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, praise for our government's actions in opening up international markets is coming from all corners of Canada. In fact, even the agriculture critic from the Liberal Party has been praising the approach of our government. Last night at agriculture committee, the member for Malpeque said, “Our minister is now trying to promote beef, which is a good thing, and to his credit, sales to other countries”.

Now that even the Liberals can see that this government is taking the right approach to agriculture, could the minister tell us of his recent successful trade mission?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, it is strange praise indeed, but we will continue doing that anyway, because it is good for Canadian farmers. They are rallying during this time of recession and promoting their great products around the world. I am happy to help them do that.

However, while we continue to open those markets to improve the bottom line for farmers, of course the new Liberal leader promotes the old Liberal idea of raising taxes. We will never do that.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the increased funds for festivals promised by the government have not materialized. Most festivals in Vancouver, which are due to begin in less than six weeks, applied for funding in the summer of 2008, yet after eight to nine months, 95% have had no response from the minister's office.

Could the minister explain these lengthy delays? Is this just another example of Conservative government incompetence? Is there really a festivals funding package, or does a big city, non-Conservative held riding not qualify?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, of course that is ridiculous.

This Conservative government is spending more money on arts and culture and festivals than any government in Canadian history. As a matter of fact, not only are we spending more money than any other government, but we are making sure the money is being spent effectively. In our budget, the economic action plan, to fight the global economic downturn, there is $100 million in additional funding for festivals across this country.

We are delivering for arts and culture. Our Conservative government will continue to deliver and not raise taxes like the leader of the Liberal Party wants to do.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, since this government has been in power, the Ministers of International Cooperation and successive presidents of CIDA have refused to meet with members of the Comité de suivi des États Généraux of the largest coalition of international development and cooperation organizations in Quebec civil society. Yet in November, the minister described civil society organizations as valuable partners of CIDA.

How can the minister explain her refusal to meet with this important coalition of valuable partners from Quebec, which also represent—

International CooperationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

International CooperationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, in fact, it was unfortunate that I was not able to accept the invitation I received in March due to scheduling. However, I ensured that my parliamentary secretary met with the group and members of my staff. I would be pleased to meet with the group when my schedule permits.

However, let me assure the House that this is the kind of work that CIDA is doing in francophone countries in Africa. In Benin, in Nigeria, and in Malawi, we have increased the health of women and infants, 130,000 people.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, as new mothers prepare to go back to work, many are instead receiving a pink slip. We heard about a woman who paid into EI for 13 years but was laid off just before returning to work. The point of maternity leave is job protection. These women are in no position to fight for their jobs or access EI.

Will the government commit to protecting women on maternity leave by ensuring their employers fulfill their obligations, and commit to expanding the EI system to include them?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the EI program does include those who are off and receiving maternity benefits. They are entitled to a total of 50 weeks. If they are laid off within that period, they are entitled to take the full 50 weeks for that purpose.

We have done a number of other things to benefit those by extending the amount of time they can be on EI by five weeks, something that will benefit 400,000 people. I wonder what the member would say to those people, when her party voted against that provision.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, lung disease affects millions of Canadians. In fact, respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, are the third leading cause of death. These diseases, including asthma, tuberculosis, pneumonia and respiratory distress syndrome, affect Canadians of all ages, all cultures and all backgrounds.

Prevention, detection and management of respiratory diseases is important, and several factors that contribute to these illnesses, such as tobacco and air quality, are preventable.

I ask the Minister of Health, what is the Conservative government doing to improve lung health in Canada?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, up to six million Canadians are coping with some form of lung disease.

During the last election campaign, our Prime Minister promised action to tackle major diseases. That is why today I was pleased to announce that we are investing $10 million on initiatives that will help Canadians prevent, detect and manage their respiratory diseases.

By improving what we know about their respiratory health, we can help Canadians lower their risks of developing lung disease and better manage their health.

This is great news for all Canadians.