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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was training.

Topics

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are obviously delighted to welcome Bonhomme Carnaval today and delighted that the Prime Minister will be able to meet with him.

That being said, as for the arena issue, I had the opportunity to meet with Mayor Labeaume on October 8 to discuss his plan. We will continue to work together on it, whether the hon. member for Québec likes it or not.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, several of the people who promote our artists abroad note that abolishing the programs for artists touring abroad has adversely affected the competitiveness of our artists and the dissemination of Quebec culture. Younger artists are particularly affected by the Conservative cuts. CINARS estimates that the cuts over the past two years have generated losses of $15 million, and the cancellation of approximately 1,600 performances abroad.

Will the government finally understand that the decision to abolish the support programs for promotional tours was a very poor decision indeed, both from the cultural and economic points of view?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, three years ago, we terminated a program that was totally counterproductive. It was a $7 million program. It cost $5 million to generate $2 million in benefits. That is irresponsible.

In our budget, there are 13 other programs to assist our artists on the international scene. We “deliver the goods” for our artists, both in Canada and internationally, and we do so in an effective, responsible manner that is respectful of Canadian taxpayers.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in making such arguments, the minister demonstrates obvious contempt for culture and for artists. This government has cut funding for touring; it is introducing an unbalanced reform of copyright that is causing a great deal of concern among creators; and it has slashed cultural programs. This demonstrates clearly that the recognition of the Quebec nation and its cultural specificity means absolutely nothing to the Conservatives.

When will this government treat our artists and creators fairly?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the real issue is when will the Bloc Québécois vote in favour of our budget, which provides unprecedented funds to assist our artists on the international stage.

However, we do make choices. We make important choices across this country when it comes to supporting culture, and I will give an example.

The Bloc Québécois is asking our department to give $75,000 to a group that is called the Socially Acceptable Terrorist Action. We are not going to give it the funding. Instead we are going to give that funding to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Victoriaville, because we make choices that are good for taxpayers and for culture.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are crossing the country, trying to explain why they broke every rule in the book in sole-sourcing $16 billion worth of fighter jets.

They have been so busy that they did not even notice the number of seniors living in poverty in this country surge to 25%. That is not surprising from a government whose Minister of Human Resources says that helping seniors through a family care plan would be “reckless”.

How did the minister let 50,000 Canadian seniors slip through the cracks in just one year?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:35 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 reality is that Canadian seniors have the lowest poverty rate in the world, and we have taken a number of actions to help them. We have done things like increase the GIS, the guaranteed income supplement, twice. We have introduced pension income splitting for seniors. We have done a number of things that that party did not support. We ask it to get behind the things we do that would decrease poverty among seniors.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is the government making new bad decisions to justify old bad decisions. It is wasting taxpayers' money trying to justify why it is wasting taxpayers' money.

The Conservatives have done nothing on pensions. They have done nothing on family care and nothing for seniors in poverty; they have only grown that number. They have dug a financial hole that our seniors will not be able to climb out of.

Why are they so ignorant to the needs of seniors in this country?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:35 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, we are committed to supporting Canadian seniors who have contributed so much to this country. We would ask the opposition to do the same.

We have tax reductions that have reduced one million low-income Canadians to the place where they do not have to pay taxes, affecting 85,000 seniors. We have made record investments in affordable housing for seniors, $400 million over two years. We are providing OAS and GIS benefits to the tune of $33 billion per year.

What we ask of the member and his party is that they get behind us and support these initiatives.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite what the parliamentary secretary said, this year, the poverty rate among Canadian seniors rose 25%. This means that 50,000 seniors are currently living in poverty. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is conducting at taxpayers' expense a Canada-wide propaganda campaign to defend the untendered contract for F-35s.

Why is the Prime Minister letting these 50,000 people down while squandering $3 billion needlessly?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:35 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, we have some of the lowest poverty rates among seniors in the world. The Conference Board of Canada has indicated that we are one of the lowest or the second lowest in the entire world, for seniors. We have taken initiatives to ensure that seniors do not have to live in poverty.

We have made significant investments. We have taken a number of steps. What we would ask of the member and her party is to support those initiatives and initiatives like them.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary's figures are not up of date.

This is a matter of priority between poverty amongst Canadian seniors or squandering $3 billion of public money. The Conservatives, who are not doing anything to improve pensions or reduce poverty, contend that our family care plan is irresponsible.

How can the Prime Minister find money for propaganda but not to help our seniors face their heating costs this winter?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:40 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, let me indicate some initiatives we have made. We have increased the age credit a number of times. We have raised the GIS exemption from $500 to $3,500, so seniors would have more money. That is more money for 1.6 million seniors.

We have introduced automatic renewal of GIS, so eligible seniors do not have to apply for it specifically. We have raised the age limit for RRSP withdrawals from 69 to 71, and spent $13 million to raise awareness of and combat elder abuse.

All we would ask of that party and the member is to get behind these initiatives and support us in the steps we are taking.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, every day Canadians have to make difficult decisions to manage the family budget. They expect their government to do the same.

Budget 2010 introduced tough measures to restrain government spending, including a freeze on departmental operating budgets and a freeze on salaries of ministers, MPs and senators.

Can the President of the Treasury Board please tell the House what other efforts are under way to restrain spending?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we looked at the last four years of Liberal spending when it comes to hospitality, travel and conferencing, and we were quite amazed at the lack of accountability, so we introduced a number of measures.

So far, with measures that were introduced earlier, we have reduced by 30% the spending on travel, hospitality and conferencing.

Also in freezing these levels at 2009 levels, this year alone we have already saved $56 million, and we have asked for increased transparency and increased accountability. We will continue to save money for taxpayers.

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on October 13, CIBC jacked up its target price for Taseko Mines and, the very next day, a wild run on the stock caused its value to drop by more than 30%. Someone in the know could have made a killing shorting that stock, and anybody else would have lost his or her shirt.

On November 2, the environment minister's report sank the Prosperity mine, and on November 4 he resigned his job to take another job, where? As vice-president for resources at CIBC, the banker for Taseko Mines.

Are we supposed to believe this is all a coincidence? Who in that government leaked this confidential information?

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, even for that member that question is quite regrettable. We all know Jim Prentice. We know him very well. He is a Canadian of high ethical standards, beyond reproach. If the member opposite wants to engage in smears and character assassination and innuendo, why does he not have the courage to say it outside of this place? It is just a shame.

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is yet another leak of confidential financial information from within the government. On Monday, we were told that the office of a Conservative MP leaked prebudget information to three lobbyists who are close to the Conservatives. By Tuesday it was four lobbyists and yesterday it was five. So much for their credibility.

The leaked information on the Taseko mine had a major impact on the stock market and affected many Canadians' investments. The government has known about this for over a month. Who leaked this information on the Taseko mine and who benefited?

Taseko Mines LimitedOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is making outrageous allegations. He has come to a number of conclusions. I would encourage him to table before the House, after question period, the basis on which he comes to those conclusions.

PovertyOral Questions

November 25th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the number of seniors living below the low-income threshold, the vast majority of whom are women, has increased by nearly 25% in one year. The current guaranteed income supplement allocation does not allow these seniors to rise out of poverty. The government has to stop turning a blind eye to this.

Why is the government refusing to help seniors rise out of poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement by $110 a month, as FADOQ is calling for?

PovertyOral Questions

2:40 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, as I have indicated, Canada has one of the lowest poverty rates among seniors in the developed world. We have done a number of initiatives to help seniors, like the tax-free savings account that does not affect federal benefits, such as GIS. We have increased GIS twice. We have increased the number of people who can enter on the EI compassionate care benefits. We have $60 million targeted to initiatives for older workers, to help older workers, $60 million that the Bloc opposed in this House. I do not know what it has against seniors, but it should get behind these initiatives and help them along.

PovertyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1989, the House of Commons adopted a resolution to abolish child poverty by the year 2000. Ten years later, if one child in 10 is still living in poverty, that means the parents are poor. One reason for this unacceptable situation is the lack of social housing for low-income families.

What is the Conservative government waiting for to have the CMHC transfer these significant surpluses to Quebec and the provinces in order to help build social and affordable housing?

PovertyOral Questions

2:45 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, I find this remarkable. We have taken a number of initiatives specifically with respect to housing, through our economic action plan. Close to 9,000 projects are completed or under way, 2,000 of those projects in Quebec. Remarkably, the Bloc opposed every one of those initiatives, including other initiatives we did to ensure housing was available for those who need it most. I do not know what it has against those who are found in the most vulnerable position.

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning we witnessed just how uncaring these Conservatives can really be. Only days before the Christmas cut-off of sick benefits, the Prime Minister ordered his Conservative senators on the banking committee to kill a bill that would keep people from losing their homes. This bill was the last hope for these sick, disabled and dying Canadians. Why is the Prime Minister so intent on hurting these vulnerable Canadians? How can he be so heartless?

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, everyone in this place recognizes the difficult situation facing Nortel pensioners and LTD recipients. The fact remains that the situation is the result of a court-approved settlement, an agreement between all parties, which was enacted under the legislation in effect at that time. Of course, the senators have a responsibility to listen to witnesses before committee, and clearly the senators on the banking, trade and commerce committee felt that the testimony led to a conclusion that Bill S-216 should not go forward. Witnesses said that the bill would not help these former employees and in fact would lead them to endless litigation, to the detriment of all involved.