House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of direct questions for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has not answered them yet in the House today. I would like to give him another opportunity to do so.

First, were children transferred to the NDS secretariat in Afghanistan?

Second, if they were transferred, why were no specific special measures put in place with respect to the protection of children?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, individuals are detained only when they have either attacked or killed a Canadian soldier or official. It is not possible all of the time to know the age of the prisoner. I think everyone would be in agreement with that.

As a result, the Canadian Forces treat those who appear to be under the age of 18 as juveniles. Consequently, if there is doubt with respect to age, the prisoner is treated as a juvenile and given separate quarters.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, to try to be fair to the minister's answer, he seems to have responded to my first question with, yes, children were transferred. He even referred to them as juveniles. He said there was a special facility for juveniles. He said they were transferred.

I am giving the minister a chance to answer a question very directly. Canadians want to know. Precisely what are the special measures put in place with respect to the protection of children?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have responded clearly that it does happen in some cases when we are not in a position to be able to determine the age of the individual involved in an attack or incident. The Canadian Forces have special provisions in those circumstances. That is what I am saying.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, according to The Gazette, doctors throughout the country accept envelopes stuffed with cash so that patients can jump the queue at the hospital. That is a serious breach of the Canada Health Act. It is unacceptable.

What steps will the Conservatives take to enforce the Canada Health Act and to deal with the problem of illegal cash payments?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the delivery of health care is within the mandate of the provinces and territories. If the member has information relating to that, I would be happy to discuss those issues with the provincial and territorial ministers.

As the member knows, we support the Canada Health Act and we will continue to work with the provinces to implement it.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, since 2008 we have had solid evidence that violations to the Canada Health Act are pandemic across the country. However, the government has abandoned its legal duty to uphold equality and fairness in public health care. Allowing illegal cash payments to continue will endanger the health of not only Canadians who cannot afford extra billing but also the health of Canadians generally.

When will the government stop allowing two-tiered health care and stop letting those with enough cash to jump the queue?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, the delivery of health care is a matter of provincial and territorial jurisdiction. We uphold the Canada Health Act. I will continue to work with the provinces and territories to deliver the program.

If the member has any information related to that, I would be happy to raise it with the provincial and territorial ministers.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health today announced that new reductions in lead levels will be implemented shortly. I believe that Canada will be a world leader in this area that is of concern to many Canadians.

Can the minister provide the House with details about this new measure?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, lead is toxic, even in small amounts. Our regulations will be amended to reduce the level of lead on surfaces, in paint, in children's toys and in other artists material, such as paint brushes and pencils. This regulation will be among the strictest in the world. As a mother, I am very pleased with this change in the regulations as young children, who tend to put things in their mouth, will be further protected.

Our Bill C-36, which is currently before the Senate, would help with the enforcement of this change.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2005, Parliament amended the Official Languages Act and made part VII enforceable, which means that all departments and agencies now have an obligation toward official language minority communities. At the time, there were plans to implement regulations to make the new legislation meaningful.

Today, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is saying that his government believes in a strong regulatory regime, but here we are five years later, and there are still no regulations. Why not?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, all government departments and agencies have regulations. Each one is responsible for respecting Canada's official languages efficiently and responsibly, in all communities and provinces. That is the best approach. We listened to all of the agencies and official language minority communities. This is the program we have now, and it meets communities' needs with respect to both of Canada's official languages.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the appalling way French was treated at the Vancouver Olympic Games, particularly during the opening ceremonies, who is to say that the same thing will not happen at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto? After all, the agreement between the government and the Toronto organizing committee is just as vague as the one for Vancouver.

Given the language fiasco in Vancouver, how could the federal government fail to nail down language clauses before signing half a billion dollars over to the Toronto 2015 organizing committee?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, those of us on this side of the House believe that the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games were a Canadian success story on all fronts, including official languages. Pascal Couchepin, the Grand Témoin de la Francophonie, said that the Vancouver Games set the standard in terms of linguistic diversity, and that it would be difficult to do any better. We will certainly maintain our strong support for Canada's official languages at the 2015 Pan American Games.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, dramatic increases in both wait times and failure rates for Canadian citizenship tests is causing tremendous disappointment for immigrants who passionately want to become citizens.

The Conservative government now requires a 75% test score, up from 60%. Increasing the mark needed to pass without an adequate plan is setting immigrants up to fail. Vouchers for language lessons are just not enough.

What is the minister planning to do to solve the problems that his policies are creating for immigrants?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the problem was a citizenship test that was passed by 97% of people, where there was widespread access to five standard sets of answers that people could buy on the market. Cheating was widespread. We are now scrambling the questions so people have to learn the material. The pass rate is settling in at about 85%.

The new Canadians I speak to are ambitious to know about our country, its history, its institutions and its values. We do not take the condescending approach that they are not smart enough to understand that material.

Product SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the Minister of Health talk about her announcement on reducing lead content in toys, as well as other consumer products.

The minister talked briefly about the products that she was actually going to be reducing lead in and what the impact would be. Could the minister now talk a bit about the broader context and our leadership in the world market on this issue?

Product SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our record in dealing with toxic substances in products is as a leader in the world market. The regulations that will be in force by December 8 will be rolled out in the next six months. Again, I am proud to say that our country is taking a leadership role in getting unsafe products off the market.

I hope the Liberal senators will support Bill C-36 in the Senate this week and will pass it so we have modern legislation to further protect Canadians.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the minister's response earlier to the lack of regulation giving effect to part VII of the Official Languages Act. He seems to be saying that everything is going well, but the official languages commissioner gave 8 out of 16 agencies a failing grade in his second report.

Is the minister saying that he is proud of the performance by the agencies and departments, instead of doing his job and presenting regulations covering the responsibilities of each agency and each department with regard to the Official Languages Act?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, maybe I will take another run at this. What the colleague also fails to report is that in his most recent report to the House, the Commissioner of Official Languages said that complaints with regard to the government's handling of official languages was down by over 30%. I think the system is working.

The government, in one and a half years, has had a reduction of over 30% in complaints with regard to how it handles official languages files. That is a record of success of which we are very proud.

What we have in our government is a system across the board where we encourage all departments and agencies to respect the Official Languages Act, rather than have it centralized in one department. It is working.

PensionsOral Questions

November 29th, 2010 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, unelected and unaccountable Conservative senators appointed by the Prime Minister are working in committee to block help for the disabled Nortel workers.

Tomorrow, if the Senate votes to support the committee, it will condemn 375 disabled Nortel workers to abject poverty. Those Conservative senators have chosen to ignore expert advice. Instead, they are taking their cues from Nortel's bankruptcy lawyers.

Why is the government directing its Conservative senators to put the interests of Bay Street ahead of the needs of these—

PensionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Industry.

PensionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I think every member of Parliament and every senator recognizes and sympathizes with the difficult situation facing Nortel pensioners and LTD recipients, but the fact remains that today's situation is as a result of a court-approved settlement agreement among all parties, which was enacted under the legislation in effect at the time.

It is our responsibility to look at situations and to manage expectations. However, based on the expert witness testimony, Bill S-216 will not help Nortel LTD recipients. In fact, it will lead them to endless litigation to the detriment of all involved. Expert witnesses were clear about this.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, after cutting bilateral development aid to a number of African countries and closing many embassies on that continent, the government is preparing to close embassies in four other African countries, including Cameroon and Tunisia. While China is investing heavily in Africa and a number of countries are noticing its cultural and economic potential, Canada is turning its back on Africa. How short-sighted.

Will the government give us the facts? Will it keep its embassies in Africa?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to my colleague that the rumour mill is alive and well in the coalition. A few days ago the Liberal Party was spreading rumours; today it is the Bloc's turn. I want to say to them that Canada is firmly committed to African countries. If an embassy is to be closed, we will make an announcement; if one is to be opened, we will also make an announcement.

As for the rumours, they are just rumours. The government will not and does not intend to take such action.