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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was negotiations.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have nothing to learn from the Liberal Party. Unlike the previous Liberal government, we will not balance a budget by cutting health transfers to the provinces and territories.

Let me quote the hon. member who was commenting on the Chrétien-Martin surpluses. He said they were “accumulated over the backs of the provinces and territories in cuts to transfers payments”.

Who was this? The member for Vancouver South.

Port of Quebec CityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, serious questions have been raised with respect to the appointment of the new president and CEO of the Quebec City port authority. The initial call for candidates required the prospective president and CEO to have a university degree. Somewhere along the line, this requirement mysteriously disappeared. The situation is of sufficient concern that one member of the board of directors has asked that the appointment be cancelled.

The minister is most definitely concerned because he personally wrote to the board of directors. Can he tell us what the board of directors of the Quebec City port authority had to say? Is he satisfied with their answers?

Port of Quebec CityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a port authority is an independent, arm's-length authority from the House of Commons.

I did write to the people at the port authority and encouraged them to make sure that in all their actions, as I do with other port authorities, they remember their fiduciary responsibilities, that they follow through on their letters patent and that they act accordingly.

However, the authority is an arm's-length body. It makes its appointments in that way and we look forward to working closely with it in the years to come.

Port of Quebec CityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, two ferries that operate between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador will be replaced. Rather than having the vessels built by a Quebec firm, such as the Davie shipyards in Lévis, the Conservative government chose to lease the vessels in Sweden and have them upgraded in Germany.

Why does the Conservative government prefer to create jobs in Germany and Sweden rather than in Lévis?

Port of Quebec CityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I should thank my hon. colleague for the question because it gives me an opportunity to explain to the House exactly what we are doing.

Two new ferries are coming in to handle the demands of traffic between North Sydney and Port au Basques, Newfoundland. This is a great news story for the people there, a great new revitalization of the ferry right from the ground up, and it is wonderful news that we are proud as a government to invest in for the people of Atlantic Canada.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has been dithering about the future of the Champlain Bridge for over two years. It has ordered study after study without making them public, which is not at all reassuring considering that serious concerns have been expressed about the bridge's structural integrity. The most recent prefeasibility study for the replacement of the Champlain Bridge was to have been completed this fall.

Can the minister tell us whether the latest study has been completed and whether it will be made public?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member is right. There is a study on the Champlain Bridge, not only on the safety of the bridge. It is a safe bridge and we want to make sure it continues that way. We made long-term investments in the last budget to make sure it stays that way.

We have been working with the city, with the provincial government and with our own experts to make sure that the bridge is safe. We have made the necessary investments to make sure it stays that way.

Canada Border Services AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Franklin Center and Jamieson's Line border crossings will be shut down on April 1, despite the opposition of elected officials and representatives from the business world and the tourism industry. Despite the 5,500 petitioners, the Canada Border Services Agency will not budge and is standing alone.

Will the minister at least respond to the mayor of Franklin, who has been calling for a meeting with the new president of the Canada Border Services Agency regarding a potential agreement between Canada and the United States for shared border crossings?

Canada Border Services AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, if the mayor of that community wishes a meeting with the president of the CBSA, I will arrange that meeting.

Office of the Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

December 14th, 2010 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, what a mess we have with the office of the integrity commissioner: four years wasted and $11 million lost, possible violations of the Criminal Code, violations of the Privacy Act and allegations of obstruction, but no investigation.

Will the Prime Minister finally admit that, from the beginning, the office was simply created to muzzle whistleblowers and to protect the government?

Office of the Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely not the case. I announced today that the interim commissioner will examine the old cases that were rejected by the former integrity commissioner. He will ensure that these cases are followed up. Public servants and government workers can have faith in the commissioner. I also hope that the committee will make recommendations to the commissioner.

Office of the Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, no one is going to be fooled by this. Four years of doing nothing, 228 files and none pursued, $11 million wasted and four years of infighting and intimidation. When will the Prime Minister finally admit that he set up the Office of the Public Service Integrity Commissioner in order to silence the government's critics and to hide the government's own failings? When will he own up?

Office of the Integrity CommissionerOral 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, regardless of the decibel level of my friend's frothing, he cannot escape the fact that this particular appointment, by legislation, went to the all party government operations committee which unanimously approved it. It then went to the House for approval and then to the Senate for approval. That appointment was approved unanimously across the board. The former commissioner also brings her reports to that committee. If I or any minister had tried to interfere in that process, the member would be frothing again on that one today. He should deal with the truth on this.

Government FundingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, after seven years of federal funding, the Advanced Foods and Materials Network, AFMNet, a large group of Canadian experts whose research in healthier food innovation, nutrition and traceability is fundamental to food policy development in Canada, had its funding cut leaving a huge R and D vacuum on these important issues. Healthy eating means healthier people and reduced health care costs. It is that simple. Creating more nutritious and healthier food needs research.

Did the minister consult with Health Canada and with Agriculture Canada before AFMNet funds were arbitrarily cut?

Government FundingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, our government is investing a record $11.7 billion in science and technology this year, creating jobs to improve the quality of life for Canadians and to stabilize the economy. The Networks of Centres of Excellence is a highly successful program and they are always receiving more applications than they can fund.

Decisions to fund projects are not made by politicians. They are made by an independent expert panel of scientists based on how well the projects meet criteria.

Government FundingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, regardless of who cut the funds, these cuts make no sense. They undermine the health of Canadians.

The money already spent and infrastructure built through AFMNet will be thrown away, as will the discoveries it is on the verge of making, like sodium substitutes to improve Canadians' nutrition and therefore health.

Healthy Canadians equal reduced health care costs. The Conservatives find the money for other things.

Will the minister assure the House that funding will be restored, even through other sources, to such a vital stakeholder that provides critical information, research and development to the food industry?

Government FundingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, since 2007, we have invested almost 287 million more dollars to expand the Networks of Centres of Excellence. The member for Guelph and the Liberal Party voted against it. We then invested $16 million in environmental research at the University of Guelph and the member for Guelph and the Liberals voted against it.

Instead of trying to interfere with independent scientific boards, perhaps the member should be supporting the work of scientists in his community and across Canada.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, believe it or not, criminals who commit sexual offences against children are eligible for a pardon. Our Conservative government introduced legislation to put an end to this, legislation that, thanks to the Liberal-led coalition, has been waiting nearly six months.

Today the coalition again gave voice to pleas from convicted criminals who want to keep Canada's pardon system as is. Enough is enough.

What can the Minister of Public Safety tell the House about the government's plans to advance laws that put law-abiding Canadians and victims first?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we called a special meeting of the public safety committee to try to move this important bill forward. Today the Liberal-led coalition blocked those efforts once again. I wish the member for Ajax—Pickering would show as much compassion for the victims of crime as he does for perpetrators.

Again I would call on the opposition to finally listen to victims and support Bill C-23B, a bill that would deny child sex offenders the right to ever receive a pardon.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 2008 Canadians spent $25 billion on prescription drugs. Over a quarter of the Canadian population does not have drug coverage and thousands of Canadians did not have their prescriptions filled simply because they did not have the money to do so.

The Canadian Health Coalition has said that a national strategy for the purchase of prescription medication would save Canadians over $10 billion a year.

Will the Conservatives implement this strategy?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government is a large spender on pharmaceutical benefits. We provided approximately $600 million last year to cover pharmaceutical products, medical supplies and equipment. This funding is a positive investment for a diverse population, including first nations and the Inuit.

As well, we have continued to honour the 2004 health accord which provides $41.3 billion in additional funding to the provinces and territories. Our government will continue to work with the provinces and territories on this important initiative.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister said that Canadians were to blame for the increasing debt loads.

However, it is not their fault that prescription drug prices are skyrocketing. They are not to blame for the high cost of long-term care or home care. Lower health outcomes and higher health costs related to poverty are not their fault.

The solution to rising health care costs must involve federal leadership that goes beyond health care transfers but where is the minister?

When will the government finally start a national conversation about health care, including making prescription drugs more affordable?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of affordable access to drugs as part of our quality health care system. The responsibility is within the provinces and the territories to decide whether to provide their residents with publicly financed drug therapies. We support and respect the role of provincial and territorial governments.

We continue to increase transfers to the provinces, a payment of over $25 billion this year, an all time high, which is a 6% increase from last year.

HousingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec will budget more money for its replacement, improvement and modernization program until 2013 in order to tackle maintenance issues in low-income housing. But CMHC will no longer honour its commitments or the part of the budget set aside for maintenance, meaning that the Société d'habitation du Québec has to cut its maintenance budget by 30%.

Will the federal government reinvest and transfer the necessary funds so that Quebec can continue its low-income housing maintenance programs?

HousingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, CMHC does a really good job in helping to keep our economy on an even keel. We saw that through the global recession. In fact, our international partners and countries around the world have raised plaudits for CMHC and the fine job it is doing.

CMHC is working with the Government of Quebec. There is a special relationship there and we look forward to continuing that relationship.