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House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the House, our men and women in uniform and our civilians have performed admirably well and with honour in Afghanistan.

We detain only those individuals who attack or pose a credible threat to those people who are working in Afghanistan.

We transfer to Afghan partners in line with our international obligations. We monitor that transfer. I indicated yesterday that we have done close to 280 visits. These visits are done on a random basis.

First NationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, although first nations communities are growing rapidly and education needs are critical, the federal government has been maintaining the 2% cap on education funding applied in 1996. The Bloc Québécois introduced Bill C-599 so that the Conservative government would work with first nations communities to develop an education funding plan that takes into account the needs of those communities.

Does the government recognize that its investments in education do not correspond to the needs of the first nations?

First NationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the bill tabled by the Bloc member today. We have no idea when or if it will be debated in this place.

The government does understand the importance of education for first nations. We are committed to improving it in partnership with first nations, the provinces and the territories.

Since 2006 we have invested over $700 million in more than 100 school projects, with another 100 under way. We launched the education partnership program and the first nations student success program. Most of this is over and above—

First NationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

First NationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, with unanimous consent, this bill could be passed very quickly.

By signing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Canadian government has recognized that these people have a right to better education. This recognition is not merely symbolic; the government must take action and must make massive investments to give first nations access to quality education.

Will the government finally take action?

First NationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we have done more than our share on first nations education. We are working in tripartite arrangements. We are working to improve K to 12. We are working on post-secondary education. We came to an agreement on First Nations University of Canada.

We are doing everything we can to ensure better educational outcomes.

InfrastructureOral Questions

December 1st, 2010 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer will soon be publishing an update on the infrastructure stimulus fund. He will probably confirm that a good number of projects are in jeopardy across the country. Recreational facilities in communities such as Sainte-Marie and Trois-Pistoles are at risk, as well as the Pat Burns arena, announced by the Prime Minister himself.

When will this government finally announce the across-the-board extension of its arbitrary deadline?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I saw the newspaper report as well. We are looking forward to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report. I am sure it is going to show that over 92% of these projects are going to get completed by March 31. That is already a given. Ninety-two per cent is an A+.

In addition to that, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has said this has created tens of thousands of jobs. Where would we be without that? It has contributed to more than 430,000 net new jobs for Canadians.

I will be announcing very soon how we are going to deal with that March 31 deadline, because we are going to be fair, reasonable and flexible.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government keeps telling us to wait and see. Owen Sound's arena will only be 50% done in March and the City of Ottawa will be on the hook for millions of dollars in roadwork.

If the minister is so fair and flexible, then why are his Conservative members in the transport committee filibustering a Liberal motion to extend the deadline? That is not fair. It is obstruction and it is all about jobs. Why will they not extend the deadline?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting approach by the member. First, he says that the infrastructure stimulus was just a bad idea. Then he says that it was a good idea, but it just was not done right. Now he says that it is creating so many dang jobs that we have to get it and extend it. Here we go again.

The Conference Board of Canada says that in Ontario alone the increased infrastructure spending preserved about 70,000 jobs in the province last year.

We are getting the job done and we are working closely with the province and with proponents. Now that we have the data in place, we will be able to show how fair, reasonable and flexible we will be. I will make an announcement very soon.

HIV-AIDSOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, 16,000 people will die of AIDS today because they do not have access to medication. The NDP's bill to amend the Patent Act would have solved the problem, but the Conservatives and the Liberals removed the clause that would have enabled generic drug producers to supply all developing countries under a single licence.

Why refuse to help people dying of AIDS?

HIV-AIDSOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Canada will be the next country to provide over $1 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Canada will double its international aid to $5 billion for 2010-11 and will support important initiatives, such as the Canadian international immunization initiative and the AIDS initiative.

That is our record. We are here to do good things that actually make a difference. Unfortunately the NDP bill would do nothing to do that.

HIV-AIDSOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, on World AIDS Day, more than 16,000 men, women and children will die in the developing world because they cannot get affordable generic drugs. New Democrats have introduced a bill to get the antiviral drugs to five million people who desperately need them. The brand name drug companies only have 2% of the African market, so right now their profits will not be impacted by the bill.

The government needs to decide if it is more interested in saving lives or protecting the brand name drug profits. Which is it?

HIV-AIDSOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned already, Canada is at the forefront of assisting those who are in need. In fact, in many cases, we have doubled our efforts under this government.

However, the changes proposed by the NDP will do nothing to address the issues of access to medicine. In fact, what they do is revoke intellectual property rights and remove important steps in ensuring the safety and efficacy of the drugs being exported.

We are for action that actually works. That is what we have done and that is what we will continue to do.

Product SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister of Health announced amendments to the cribs and cradles regulations of the Hazardous Products Act. Canada's requirements are among the most stringent in the world. How will the amendments further strengthen these safety requirements?

Product SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of young children is a top priority of our government, which is why Canada's requirements for cribs and cradles are among the most stringent in the world.

Our amendments will further strengthen our existing safety requirements and introduce new standards for bassinets, which up until now were unregulated in Canada. As a parent, I know these new regulations will give peace of mind to parents, particularly to those with newborns.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, this is World AIDS Day, a day to reflect upon where we are as a country and as individuals and to recommit, once and for all, to eradicating this terrible disease. Yet it is with sadness that we learn the Conservative government has cut funding to a number of HIV-AIDS projects specifically targeted for aboriginal peoples.

As aboriginal people are one of the most vulnerable groups to HIV infection in the nation, when will the government restore this vital funding?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to a comprehensive, long-term approach to address HIV-AIDS in Canada and around the world.

The Canadian HIV vaccine initiative, led by our government along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights Canada's world-class HIV vaccine research expertise. In fact, I am pleased to inform the House that I announced today the appointment of Dr. Singh as co-chair of the advisory board that will oversee the renewed Canadian HIV vaccine initiative and its research and development alliance.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government once again stood out at the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun by sweeping first, second and third place fossil awards. More than 400 international organizations vote on the awards, which go to the countries that have done the most to block or undermine climate negotiations.

Why is the government getting in the way of international efforts to fight climate change instead of helping develop a binding plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 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, Canada supports the binding international agreement, including all the major emitters, all the large emitters. In Cancun we will be working hard in the areas of financing, mitigation, adaptation, technology and, most important, accountability for all countries.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this week the minister said the much ballyhooed exploratory process for first nations citizenship amounted to paying national aboriginal organizations to collect more data and submit more reports. This was not what was promised. People demand and deserve more from the government.

Will the minister stop dithering and agree to a transparent process, on the public record, where stakeholders sit down and develop practical solutions around citizenship?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the exploratory process we will launch once Bill C-3 becomes law, assuming it does, it is an exercise that will be led by the national aboriginal organizations. They will set the terms of reference for the most part.

I do not understand where the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan is coming from on that.

The EconomyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, roads are being repaired, taxes are being lowered, workers are being retrained and clearly Canada's plan is working.

The global economic recovery is fragile. That is why our government's number one priority is jobs and economic growth, not job-killing tax hikes, as the opposition proposes, which the Chamber of Commerce labelled a “disastrous idea”. Our government is on the right track.

Would the hon. finance minister please give Parliament an update on the latest economic data?

The EconomyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Statistics Canada reported that our economy grew again for the fifth straight quarter. We have also seen 430,000 net new jobs created since the end of the recession. These are both signs that our economic action plan is working and that we are on the right track.

While we are not out of the woods yet, Canada is in a better place than most. This is what the Wall Street Journal said yesterday about our country. It said Canada, “has pulled through the downturn in better shape than most of its peers, with the healthiest banking system and strongest economic recovery”.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, during question period today, the member for Ajax—Pickering questioned the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans about an alleged cabinet leak that may have affected the share prices when that matter was dealt with by cabinet.

The minister did not answer. The government House leader told the member to take the matter outside. That was his answer.

This is question period. It is a legitimate part of our system of parliamentary accountability. Any mechanism that limits a member from asking a legitimate question limits the accountability of this institution. It renders the whole concept of responsible government illusionary. It restricts members from asking legitimate questions and it restricts members and the public from getting legitimate answers.

Every member of the House stands equal. They have the right, and I submit the obligation, to raise and advance issues of the public concern. Any answer that attempts to shift the issue from the parliamentary forum to the legal or the public forum is wrong. It is illegal. It certainly degrades, and I submit denudes, the accountability and answerability functions of the government.

In summary, it undermines the accountability of the House. It violates our collective privileges as a member. It is an assault on the dignity of the House. It is a very serious matter, and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to rule on that.