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House of Commons Hansard #78 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was park.

Topics

Omar KhadrOral Questions

June 18th, 2009 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, at President Obama's request, the European Union recently agreed to accept Guantanamo prisoners. And yet the Canadian government refuses to repatriate its own citizen, Omar Khadr, despite the urging of this Parliament and court decisions.

When will the government respect the will of Parliament, the decisions of the courts and the rule of law and finally bring Omar Khadr home?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have answered this question on many occasions and it is the same answer. Our position has not changed. Mr. Omar Khadr faces very serious charges.

We are waiting the outcome of the review that President Obama has requested to be conducted.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Abousfian Abdelrazik is another abandoned Canadian citizen. In spite of the Federal Court's severe rebuke, the government continues to violate Mr. Abdelrazik's rights by refusing to bring him home.

The government has had two weeks to read a judgment that is unequivocal in its findings of fact and conclusions of law. Every day it waits is a continued violation of Mr. Abdelrazik's rights.

Does the government plan on appealing the court's decision, while delaying justice at Mr. Abdelrazik's expense, or will it heed the court's order and immediately return Mr. Abdelrazik home to Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government will comply with the court order.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, even before the first meeting of the bogus committee of the Liberal-Conservative coalition on employment insurance, the Prime Minister slammed the door on the 360 hour eligibility level and the Liberal leader gave in. The Prime Minister also categorically refused to do away with the waiting period. The Liberal leader gave in on that too.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the Liberal-Conservative coalition is leaving the unemployed high and dry for the entire summer? And that if there are any results from the committee in the fall, it will have laboured mightily and given birth to a mouse, because from the very start, certain elements essential to real employment insurance reform have been shunted aside?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has already extended employment insurance benefits by five weeks, but the Bloc voted against it. We have seen eligibility increase in nearly every region of the country. The Bloc is opposed to that. We increased the funding for work sharing, for employment insurance, and for worker training. Again, the Bloc voted against it, and then again.

Instead of sticking with its ideological opposition, the Bloc should from time to time vote in favour of the unemployed workers of Quebec and of Canada.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister happens to want to have a debate with any group of unemployed people in Quebec, I am ready. Let him just say the word. But I know he will not rise to the challenge.

Where self-employed workers are concerned, what the Prime Minister has to do is to keep his campaign promise to give them access to parental leave. Self-employed people in Quebec already have that.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, as far as Quebec is concerned, this is an empty promise and what the unemployed need is a thorough reform of employment insurance?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has indicated its willingness to have self-employed workers participate on a voluntary basis in the employment insurance system. Even before those measures could be introduced, however, the Bloc Québécois made a commitment to vote against it once again.

Instead of sticking to this ideological opposition, the Bloc should consider the good things that have been proposed and support them for the sake of the unemployed workers of Canada and Quebec.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the new Liberal-Conservative coalition is improvising an employment insurance committee. In May 2001, the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities unanimously adopted a report setting out ways to improve employment insurance and make it more accessible.

Would it not be a better idea for the coalition to implement the proposals of this standing committee reached in consensus than to try to save face with a phoney committee?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, even before the working group begins its meetings to try to reform employment insurance, the Bloc tells us it opposes it. Even before the work gets started, as we prepare to allow self employed persons to enjoy the benefits of employment insurance, it is telling us it will vote against it.

The Bloc is confusing its own interests with those of Quebec. We want a prosperous country. We want to help workers and are heading in that direction.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal-Conservative coalition has chosen to create a phoney committee on employment insurance that will sit for more than two months while everyone agrees on the course of action. The Liberals wanted to resolve this matter before the holidays so the unemployed could have money quickly. They are now agreeing to make them wait another two months.

Why does this coalition not listen to the president of the CLC, who says to forget this phoney committee and implement the necessary changes now, not next winter?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, we are dealing with a party that wants to create a crisis in this country rather than have it work well. That is important. Even before we begin our reform of employment insurance, they are telling us they will oppose it.

Is this defending the interests of Quebec? The interests of Quebec lie, rather, in being within a country, a more prosperous country, where its people can grow as Quebeckers, as a nation. That is what we are working toward. We have initiated reforms and will continue to do so.

NortelOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Nortel CEO met with the finance minister, the industry minister and the Prime Minister, in a bid to maintain the company as a going concern. He was turned down flat and the company is now in bankruptcy protection, waiting to be dismantled. Thousands of trained, skilled workers have lost their jobs, their severance and they are going to lose big on their pensions.

Why not accept the will of this House, which adopted the NDP motion that would have protected pensions and at the same time could have helped save Nortel?

Why are the Conservatives intent on making Nortel the Avro Arrow of the 21st century?

NortelOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, quite apart from that inflated rhetoric, I can tell the House that I did indeed meet with the CEO of Nortel at the beginning of my mandate as Industry minister. He presented a go-forward business plan, which in my estimation did not meet the criteria of being commercially viable. Evidently the board of Nortel came to the same agreement because it rejected that business plan as well, and it, not me, chose to go into creditor protection. That is where the matter rests. I am sure the appointed judge is reviewing the options for that company in the future.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Nortel pensioners get left behind and Nortel itself is hung out to dry by the government. That is what that is all about.

Meanwhile, behind closed doors we are going to have the Prime Minister and the Liberal leader talking about employment insurance all summer. However, the Liberal leader said that there is not even a guarantee that they can really resolve the problem.

An NDP motion and an NDP bill with proposals to fix EI were adopted by this House

Why will the Prime Minister not agree with his new coalition partner and his Liberal deputy prime minister and act to change EI now for--

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The right hon. Prime Minister.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government extended EI benefits by five weeks, but the NDP voted against that. This government put more money into training for EI recipients, but the NDP voted against that. This government has seen eligibility requirements fall in virtually every region of the country, but the NDP voted against that.

The NDP members are already against any proposals we might come forward with additionally. They have already decided they are against those. Their modus operandi in this Parliament is that no matter what we do they join with the Bloc Québécois and decide they are going to vote against it, because they are the party that can oppose anything more strongly than anything else--

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, not one unemployed worker rejoiced at the cheap agreement signed by the leader of the Liberal party because not one more unemployed worker will be getting help this summer. That is the truth of the matter. The House passed a motion put forward by the NDP to improve access to EI. The members passed legislation that makes the necessary changes to employment insurance.

Will the Prime Minister agree to the passage of this legislation at all stages and to help the unemployed this summer, not next winter?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, not one unemployed worker wanted the New Democratic Party to oppose the increase in benefits for those benefiting from the program, but it did.

The reality, once again, is that the NDP in this Parliament does not care about the unemployed. All NDP members care about is constantly working with the Bloc to be against everything. They can then claim they are the greatest opposition party in history because they are always against everything.

In a time of recession, it is irresponsible toward the unemployed.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Petten nuclear plant, in the Netherlands, is scheduled to close in one month to the day, on July 18. With Chalk River closed, this will mean a drop of 70% in the global production of isotopes.

Will the minister consider as an alternative including in her plan the positron emission tomographies, or PET scans, currently available in the United States and assuming their full cost?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have been dealing with the provinces and territories with regard to providing alternative supplies and the use of Tc-99. We will continue to do that.

Let me quote Dr. Rob Beanlands of the Ottawa Heart Institute, who said, “I actually think that Canada is taking a leadership role in regards to isotopes”. In regard to alternatives, he said, “In fact in Canada we are doing this much better than other countries are doing”.

We will continue to work with the provinces in identifying alternatives that are available in Canada.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 2006 the Conservative government knew there could be a shortfall of isotopes. Now the Minister of Health says that only 50% of Tc-99 isotopes are available to patients, with few if any substitutes for the rest. She has left doctors to decide which patients will get tests when there are substantial risks inherent in the triaging of these patients. Patients are not mere statistics.

It is the minister's duty to protect Canadians. Does she not agree that she abdicated this duty by dumping responsibility on doctors for a problem that was entirely preventable?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member should know that the provinces and territories and physicians deliver health care.

The medical experts on isotopes developed contingency measures to manage the shortage of isotopes back in 2007. As soon as we became aware that Chalk River would be shut down, those measures were activated, which allowed doctors to triage and use the alternatives. In fact, thallium is now being used by the Ottawa cancer institute as an alternative to Tc-99.

These are the measures that were put in place by physicians themselves, and they are acting on them.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the World Health Organization is paying very close attention to Canada and where H1N1 infections in aboriginal communities, St. Theresa Point and Garden Hill, show a disproportionate number of cases.

History has taught us that our aboriginal communities fare worse during a pandemic. What specific steps are being taken to reduce the burden on first nations and Manitoba public health?