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House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's border with the U.S. gets thicker today. For the first time Canadians and Americans will require a passport to travel between our countries. With only a quarter of U.S. citizens holding one, it threatens billions in trade and countless jobs that depend upon spontaneous travel.

The Conservative government did nothing to prevent this.The Conservatives have left it to the provinces to scramble for solutions while for three years their inaction has created the most closed border in generations.

When families get turned away, when businesses close because of reduced travel, when people get laid off, will the government look them in the eye and tell them just how little it has done?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I have to refresh the hon. member on the history of the western hemisphere travel initiative. It was actually adopted by the Americans, not while the Conservatives were in government but rather while the member's party was in government.

Does the House know how many Liberals went to Washington to make their case to Congress, to make their case to the Senate and the House of Representatives? Zero. Not one. There was not one word. They did not even know it was happening.

When we became government, we achieved a number of extensions on implementation. We managed to get flexibility with an enhanced driver's licence as an alternative travel document. We have done a lot to make it easier for trade to flow across our border.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, it may come as news, but the minister and the government have been here for three and a half years. In that period of time they have done so little, and maybe they are proud of this, that the former president of the United States, who left office just four months ago, and the former president whose wife is the Secretary of State, said they had no knowledge of these conditions, that it was news to them.

How can Conservatives stand up and say they did anything when our largest trading partner knew nothing about an issue that put thousands of jobs at risk? Why have they failed to defend Canada's interests or even make them aware that our interests exist?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, the awareness of the former presidents matches that of the Liberal Party when these initiatives were being put in place.

However, in our three and a half years, we have obtained successive extensions related to the air provisions. We have obtained two extensions for implementation of the land provisions. We obtained permission for alternative travel documents. We actually did some things to make it better for Canadians. We actually delivered some results.

This past week we delivered a shiprider initiative jointly with the Americans, a joint emergency protocol with the Americans and, as well, an agreement to a joint threat assessment so we will have a common approach to managing our border.

We are delivering real results. The Liberals just ignored the problems and never did anything about them.

Nuclear Waste ManagementOral Questions

June 1st, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, today in Montreal the Nuclear Waste Management Organization begins the Quebec phase of consultations to develop a process for selecting a disposal site for this type of waste. But Quebec, which produces only 3.7% of all the waste, does not want to become Canada's garbage dump. On October 30, 2008, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously called on the federal government to prohibit the burial in Quebec soil of irradiated waste coming from outside Quebec.

Will the government respect this demand?

Nuclear Waste ManagementOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is referring to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, which is in charge of implementing a safe and secure plan for managing nuclear fuel waste over the long term.

The key part of this mandate is that it “outlines its process to identify an informed and willing community to host a repository for the safe and secure management of nuclear fuel. This will not be forced on anybody. This is for the community to be informed and make a conscious decision if they would like to be the site for this disposal”.

Nuclear Waste ManagementOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec clearly expressed its desire to not receive any other province's nuclear waste, especially since Quebec's nuclear waste is expected to decrease in the coming years.

Will the minister exclude Quebec from this potential list?

Nuclear Waste ManagementOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, while I respect the pronouncement by the member opposite, I will indicate again that it is the actual community within Quebec that gets to say whether it is willing and informed. We will negotiate with the communities, not with the Bloc.

Canada Media FundOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, last March, Quebec's culture minister wrote to the Minister of Canadian Heritage to share her very serious concerns regarding the new program called the Canada media fund. The Quebec minister is afraid that these new criteria based mainly on audience ratings will disqualify Télé-Québec.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage realize that if these new media fund criteria are not adapted to the reality facing educational television, Télé-Québec will be unable to qualify to obtain funding from this new organization?

Canada Media FundOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, of course the introduction of the Canadian media fund was much celebrated by producers right across this country. It is a way of moving forward.

That is what our government is doing. We are looking to new technologies, to new platforms in this country, and we are supporting them and we are supporting Canadian artists.

Specifically related to Quebec cultural policy, Quebec has control over its cultural policy. It controls whether it will allow tax credits at a provincial level. Federal tax credits for in-house productions are allowed.

We are working with the Government of Quebec, and we are working with Canadian artists.

Canada Media FundOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, did I understand correctly that Télé-Québec will from now on be disqualified from the Canada media fund?

Quebec's culture minister also fears that the new operating rules will undermine creators and producers, especially independent ones.

What does the minister plan to do to protect the interests of independent producers in particular?

Canada Media FundOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, once again the member has it wrong.

Federal tax credits for in-house productions are allowed. Of course the Canadian media fund will give all broadcasters the opportunity to participate on a level playing field. A level playing field is how the Conservatives roll.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the premiers of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan have all called for reform of the EI system.

They have asked the federal government to ensure that Canadians living in their provinces do not have to work more hours to qualify for EI than Canadians in some other parts of the country. That makes three fiscally Conservative premiers in this country who are asking for the government to deal with the hurt and the suffering of Canadians.

When will the government respond to the suffering Canadians and make changes to the EI system so that everyone is treated fairly and equally?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as the Liberal member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour pointed out, if we were to make such a move the areas that would be hardest hit would be those of high unemployment.

What the Liberal Party fails to recognize is that the majority of people who were unfortunate to lose their job during this global recession are people who have been at work for a long period of time. They have been paying into EI for 10, maybe 20 years, and now they may not have a job for the future. We want to help them get the training they need for the jobs of the future. That is what we are doing to help them and our economy.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's insensitivity never ceases to amaze me.

Premier Campbell called the EI rules discriminatory. Premier Stelmach said that he would expect to see some common ground in the coverage for the unemployed. Premier Wall has emphatically expressed similar sentiments in Saskatchewan. British Columbia's welfare rolls are up by 77% this year over last.

When will the government stop being insensitive to the suffering of Canadians, sit down with the provinces of this country and make the EI system fair and workable for all 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 help those who have been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs by preparing them for the jobs of the future.

Too many of the people who have been laid off will not have a job in the industry they came from because those jobs are gone permanently. That is why they need new skills. That is why we are investing over $2 billion to help those who are on EI, and even those who are not, to get the skills they need so they will be eligible to look after their families in the long term.

It is time the Liberals stopped ignoring those people and started working with us to help them.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in November 2008, the Minister of Finance told us that we were facing a technical recession and we would see slight negative growth. We now know that Canada has just gone through the two worst consecutive quarterly declines in this country's history.

Are these disappointing numbers enough to finally convince the government to get stimulus funds flowing from its coffers and start creating jobs for Canadians?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is always encouraging when that hon. member is talking down the economy. However, speaking about that hon. member talking, let us take a quote from one of his pronunciations. He said:

Nobody knows where the bottom is. This is a global economic crisis, so it makes such forecasts very difficult.

That hon. member should talk positively about some of the positions that this government has taken with our economic action plan. We have not yet seen a plan from any of the opposition parties. We put one in place. Let us have a little support for it and help Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad he can read but it would be nice if he could count.

The budget shows that the Minister of Finance planned for employment insurance claims to increase by 12% this year. We are now in the middle of the sharpest recession on record. Unemployment is 30% higher than a year ago and he is surprised that he grossly underestimated EI revenues?

How can Canadians believe anything the government says?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me continue on with some of the pronunciations that the hon. member has made.

On this side of the House, we try to put forward some positive news. The IMF and the OECD have said that we went into this in the strongest position and that we will come out of it in the strongest position. However, that hon. member said:

Alarmist statements about the federal deficit may be useful if the purpose is to frighten the public.... They can only be counter-productive if the object is to rebuild consumer confidence and create jobs.

That was the member for Markham—Unionville. That is not helpful.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of Environment Week, a week championed by our Conservative forefather, Prime Minister Diefenbaker. Even back then, Conservative governments realized the importance of protecting the environment.

After more than a decade of Liberal neglect, will the Minister of the Environment please tell the House how this Conservative government is continuing this environmental tradition?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, having just returned from the climate change negotiations with our international partners, including the second major session of the major economies forum, I can assure the House that Canada is well on track. As each major economy has promised in those international discussions, we will table all of our post-Kyoto climate change policies prior to the Copenhagen conference this December.

As promised, in 2010 we will gazette the CEPA regulations, which are necessary to implement those policies. Those regulations will then be brought into force sector by sector. We are on track to achieve our 20% reduction by 2020.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, we have a health care crisis in this country since all Canadian production of isotopes has come to a halt. The Conservatives like to blame the Liberals but it does not matter who is at fault, whether it is the Liberals or the Conservatives. What really matters is what is available for cancer patients and others desperately needing isotopes for medical imaging.

What plan does the minister have for the some 30,000 Canadians whose appointments will be cancelled this week because isotope production has stopped and the government has no plan?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I concur with the member that this is an issue of concern. I have engaged with the provincial and territorial ministers with regard to this issue. I can say that since 2007, governments and health care providers have developed contingency measures to minimize the impact on patients and that includes using alternate isotopes, such as thallium.

We will continue to work with the experts on medical isotopes to assess the situation and to seek their advice on alternatives. I will continue to work with the provinces and territories.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, alternatives that will not come on the market for another year will not help cancer patients. A study that does not even have members named to it and that will not report until next fall does not help people right now.

What will the study do to help those people who depend on isotopes for the detection of tumours, for the detection of movement of cancer to the bone and for the detection of a pulmonary embolism that, as members know, is fatal when a blood clot moves to the lung.

All those treatments require diagnostic analysis through isotopes.

What does the minister say to them? How will they sleep any better tonight knowing she is studying something in the--