This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offence.

Topics

CensusOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the government decided to make changes to the census, a number of departments expressed their concerns. In a memo addressed to the Deputy Minister of Industry, one of the main concerns was the possible confusion between the voluntary nature of the long form census and the mandatory nature of the short form census.

In light of this warning by his own officials, how could the Minister of Industry eliminate the mandatory long form unless he was trying to promote his ideology instead of science?

CensusOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we do not think it is appropriate to require Canadians to provide private information under the threat of sanctions. Our approach is balanced, reasonable and fair to all Canadians. We are acquiring very important information while protecting the rights of Canadians.

That is our position and we are proud of it.

CensusOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should know that we cannot improve what we cannot measure.

Is the minister aware that eliminating the long form census will have harmful effects in a host of areas, such as transfer payments to the provinces, employment insurance, labour mobility, health programs, housing and economic development?

CensusOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely not true. We are protecting the information that the departments need while respecting the privacy of Canadians.

The hon. member's leader, though, had another position. He wanted to take away people's passports or their EI if they did not fill out the census. That is not reasonable; that is not fair for Canadians. We will oppose the Liberal, Bloc and NDP coalition on this issue.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canada's military ombudsman revealed some disturbing facts.

Pierre Daigle has uncovered multiple cases where families of loved ones who have died while in the military have been unable or seemingly blocked from getting information about those deaths.

No doubt the Conservatives have known about this for months, if not years, and yet they did very little.

Why does it take a public shaming for this government to walk the talk when it comes to treating our veterans' and soldiers' families fairly?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said in respect to the Bloc member, the minister takes this very seriously as does the leadership of the Canadian Forces. They do everything they can to treat families with fairness and compassion at a time that is obviously very difficult for families.

The minister has responded to the ombudsman in great detail. He has responded to the ombudsman in the past.

Yesterday he tabled with the ombudsman about 13 different measures that will go to making the situation better. We will continue to do everything we can within the constraints that we are faced with. We will do everything we can that is possible to make the situation better and to treat those families with the care and compassion they deserve.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that we have certainly seen this before. The veterans ombudsman, Pat Stogran, came out publicly and scolded the Conservatives for ignoring the plight of injured and disabled veterans. What happened to him? He was indeed fired.

Pierre Daigle in simply doing his job has now exposed the government's further lack of action toward the families of soldiers who have lost their lives while in uniform.

Can we anticipate that Mr. Daigle will be fired for doing his job, like other brave critics before him, or will the Conservatives work with him and these families and do what is right?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member is simply wrong. The previous veterans ombudsman finished out his term and we appointed a replacement.

The minister appreciates the advocacy that Mr. Daigle has brought to the job of defence ombudsman. He will continue to work with him. The minister has been working with him all along and will continue to do that into the future.

We will do everything we can, as we have done in the past, to make things better for the families of deceased members of the Canadian Forces. If there is a way to do it better, we will find it and we will implement it.

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's harmonized sales tax will mean whopping home heating costs for families in northern Ontario this winter. Home heating is not a luxury. Up north of Superior, it is a necessity. We should not be raising taxes on necessities.

Will the minister adopt our policy to scrap the HST on home heating, or will he leave northern families out in the cold again this winter?

Harmonized Sales TaxOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the only policy that we have seen from the NDP is to support raising taxes. When we decided to lower the GST from 7% to 6%, NDP members voted against that, and from 6% to 5%, they voted against that. The tax reductions that we have put in place leave more than $3,000 in the pockets of the average family of four.

I would remind the hon. member that he should talk to his provincial colleagues if he wants to talk about a provincial issue, and that is the harmonized sales tax in Ontario.

PensionsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried about the high cost of living and their retirement income. In northern Ontario the price of gas went up 10¢ last night. Home heating costs are skyrocketing, thanks to the government's HST scheme.

A poll of Canadian CEOs on my pension protection bill, Bill C-501, found that a majority believe the bill is fair and that Parliament should pass the bill.

Will the government respect the wishes of Canadian CEOs and pensioners and support Bill C-501 and protect six million Canadians?

PensionsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are protecting 34 million Canadians by reducing their taxes. That is what Canadians have asked us to do and we have delivered on that through our economic action plan.

We have created over 441,000 net new jobs since July 2009. That is what Canadians wanted. They wanted assurances that their government was listening to what they wanted. They wanted to ensure they had jobs so they could help support their families. That is what is important.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is more economic good news. According to an analysis released yesterday by the OECD, Canada was the leading investment recipient in the first half of this year.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade outline to the House the measures that have been taken and how the government is working to make Canada an attractive destination for investment.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni for his knowledge, interest and expertise on this file.

I, too, read the report, unlike the members opposite. I am pleased to say it is another example of the results produced by our government's commitment to make Canada a top destination for foreign investment.

That is why we push for such things as the lowest taxes on new business investments of any major economy. In addition to this, Canada has weathered the global economic downturn, with the lowest debt of any major economy, the lowest deficit-—

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Laval—Les Îles.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, rumours have been going around for weeks that a number of Canadian embassies in African countries, many of them members of la Francophonie, are set to close. Cameroon is one of those countries. Obviously, the Conservative government does not care about the diplomatic repercussions of that decision or about its reputation within the French-speaking world.

Can the minister clarify the status of Canadian embassies in francophone African countries?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, since coming to power, our government has doubled aid to Africa. We have fulfilled our obligations by providing $2 billion in aid. In addition, we are participating in an initiative developed at the G8 summit to help women and children.

The government's actions are appropriate and, in my opinion, better than those of any preceding government with respect to Africa's needs. We will pursue this course of action.

Post-secondary EducationOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities, Quebec universities are underfunded to the tune of $620 million compared to the Canadian average. Quebec is still waiting for the federal government to correct the fiscal imbalance, which would restore over $800 million to Quebec to return funding to 1994-95 indexed levels.

When will the federal government correct this unfair situation for Quebec university students?

Post-secondary EducationOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Bloc would have us believe, our government is working with the Government of Quebec. Just this morning, Quebec's National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion thanking the Government of Canada for its decision to extend the deadline for infrastructure projects under the economic action plan to October 31, 2011. That is a sure sign of open federalism.

HealthOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the Manitoba first nations community of Garden Hill two people recently died and a third is sick, and influenza seems to be the cause.

Last year, during the H1N1 crisis, two-thirds of the flu victims were aboriginal. Because of poor living conditions and a lack of medical care, people living on reserves are especially vulnerable.

Health care on reserves is a federal responsibility. Will the government act now to prevent more deaths and illness?

HealthOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our condolences go to the families that are affected.

The health and safety of all Canadians is a priority for our government. We continue to work closely with the community leadership and the provinces.

In the island lake region we are adjusting nursing staff levels and providing support for additional immunization activities and ensuring access to essential medical supplies at the health facilities.

We are encouraging all Canadians to get their flu shot and to use preventive methods, such as handwashing and coughing into their sleeve.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to democratic representation and to Bill C-12. That is why we support giving B.C., Alberta and Ontario their fair representation in Parliament. Canadians in these fastest growing provinces deserve more representation.

Could the government House leader update this place on the status of Bill C-12, the democratic representation bill.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister has been clear and unequivocal in restating our government's commitment to move forward with Bill C-12, the democratic representation bill. We believe that each Canadian vote, to the greatest extent possible, should carry equal weight. That is why we are taking a very principled approach in striking a balance between ensuring fairer representation for the faster growing provinces, while keeping the seat count constant for the remaining provinces.

We ask all coalition partners to support this very important initiative.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government wants to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Canadian corporations, but it would appear that it does not have the money to maintain a Canadian presence in Africa.

Once again, can this government tell us how many embassies it will be closing and, in particular, why it is targeting the African countries of la Francophonie? We are talking about embassies.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member initially spoke about cuts. It is a well known fact that our government is recognized and identified with cutting taxes, whereas a Liberal-led government would essentially be inclined to increase taxes.

Once again, on this issue, these are just rumours. We will manage the interests of Canadians in the best possible way.