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House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was consultants.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I already mentioned, the environment minister is proposing a climate adaptation framework that would apply not only to Environment Canada's work, but to the government at large. It is important to have a whole of government response.

I look forward to the hon. member's suggestions on this, but there are in place right now ways in which we can help the provinces to address a particular disaster situation. Those things are in place already.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, Panama's deputy minister of international trade negotiations said yesterday in the Standing Committee on International Trade that it was not in the economic interest of Panama to sign a tax information exchange agreement with Canada.

Will the government move forward with the free trade agreement with Panama, knowing in advance that this country does not want to sign a tax information exchange agreement?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our government's aggressive free trade agenda is opening strategic markets in the Americas, including Panama.

Canada and Panama recognize that creating jobs and opportunity depends upon free enterprise and free trade. This free trade agreement will help business and workers expand market opportunities and promote prosperity and job creation in both countries.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to other witnesses the committee heard, a free trade agreement with Panama without any exchange of tax information will make Canada complicit in shady tax dealings by the international mafia in that country.

What is more, the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes has just decided to keep Panama on the grey list of countries that do not comply with the G20 rules.

How can the Conservative government propose a free trade agreement with a tax haven that refuses to co-operate?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has written to his counterpart in Panama asking that they undertake their obligations. Indeed, the Government of Panama has made a commitment to undertake the obligations for tax information sharing within the OECD.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, how is it possible, when Canadians are out of work and more people are going to food banks, that ministers could overspend their office budgets so recklessly?

The finance minister is over by $430,000. The citizenship minister is over by $534,000. The defence minister is over by $395,000. A dozen so far are known to have exceeded Treasury Board guidelines.

I ask the the President of the Treasury Board to tell Canadians how much was overspent and by whom. Will the Minister of Finance get this reckless spending under control?

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, the story is simply not true. All ministers spent within their allocated budgets. Every minister did.

As a matter of fact, my hon. colleague knows very well that we have gone beyond just the operational freeze of all operational spending across government for three years. When it comes to the ministers' budgets, they have been reduced by $11.4 million.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that Treasury Board has granted ministers extra funds. It did so secretly, covertly, anything but transparently.

Now there is a trend in the finance minister's office for overspending: 2006-07, over by $261,000; 2007-08, over by $375,000; and 2008-09, over by $430,000.

I ask the President of the Treasury Board, how many ministerial offices has he granted a secret increase, which departments, and when was he going to tell Canadians?

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, as I have said, all ministers spent within their allocation.

If I were asking a question of my hon. friend, I would say these secret figures, wherever they are from, cannot be too secret if she got hold of them. That is a little bit of a mystery to me.

In every single category, without fail, when we compare ministerial spending of this government to that of the former Liberal government, we spend significantly less. We reduced in every single area.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario auditor general reported that over 50,000 patients were kept in hospitals longer than necessary because there were no home care services. This is a national reality. In fact, 85% of home care is delivered by family caregivers, who spend almost half of their savings and give up a quarter of their incomes to do so.

There is a desperate need for a family caregiver strategy, yet the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development's callous response to this crisis is that caregivers should use their vacation time. When will the government stand up for working Canadians?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we continue to make health care a priority. We have increased transfers to the provinces by 6%, to an all-time high of $25 billion this year. We are making additional investments in areas of pandemic planning with H1N1, medical research, food and product safety, wait times, and electronic health records.

The Liberal government, when times were tough, balanced its books on the backs of the provinces and territories. That is not the course we are going to pursue.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should get her facts right.

The Ontario auditor general also said that insufficient home care services are responsible for major bottlenecks in hospitals, increasing wait times for acute care. The Canadian Cancer Society says this contributes to the rising costs and lack of sustainability of medicare.

This will only get worse as the population ages. It is not just a provincial problem; it is a national disgrace, yet the Minister of Health remains silent. Since she obviously has no ideas, will she at least endorse the Liberal family care plan?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, again, our government will increase transfers to the provinces and territories by 6% until 2014. This year alone it is $25 billion. Combined with targeted wait time funding, investments in electronic health records and health human resources, significant support continues to be provided to the jurisdictions of the provinces and territories that deliver health care to improve access to care.

Québécois Network of ResistanceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Réseau de Résistance du Québécois continues to make headlines. This is the same RRQ whose mission is to rehabilitate FLQ terrorists.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works tell us what the government's position is on the RRQ?

Québécois Network of ResistanceOral Questions

2:45 p.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, the Conservative government is strongly opposed to the RRQ, which wants to rehabilitate FLQ terrorists. But the real question is whether the Bloc Québécois leader will finally admit that the member for Brome—Missisquoi and the member for Sherbrooke participated in RRQ activities.

Can he confirm to the House that his chief of staff, François Leblanc, has strong ties to Félix-Antoine Dumais-Michaud, an activist who publicly defends the RRQ?

HealthOral Questions

December 7th, 2010 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, research has shown that hospital wait times are longer in a mixed health care system than in an exclusively public health care system. Unfortunately, privatization has made its way into Canada because of the federal government's failure to enforce the Canada Health Act. As a result, hospital wait times are increasing.

What is the minister waiting for? Why does she not enforce the act and reduce hospital wait times?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, while the opposition may enjoy criticizing provinces and territories for their efforts in reducing wait times, our government believes in supporting them. This year alone our government will transfer $25 billion to the provinces and territories so they can make key decisions for the delivery of health care to their citizens.

In addition, we have provided extra funding specifically for the reduction of identified surgical wait times. Recent surveys indicate three-quarters of Canadians rate the quality of medical care they receive as above the international average.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, lengthy wait times are a huge problem for Canadians. Once they were also a priority for the government, but not any more.

There are solutions. Doctors and health professionals need to work as teams. We need more long-term care and home care options. We need to change the way that people access health care. However, what is really missing here is federal leadership on health care.

In 2014 there will be renegotiation of the Canada health accord. Where is the minister?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to the universal public health care system, which represents the principles of the Canada Health Act. Provinces and territories are responsible to ensure the delivery of insured health services in compliance with the act. This government will be supporting that and will continue to support that. But they are responsible for investigating any infractions, and we will co-operate with the provinces and territories in compliance with the Canada Health Act.

Lévis CelebrationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 18, the Minister of Canadian Heritage promised us that the City of Lévis would be entitled to the same treatment as Vancouver. I quote the minister: “The City of Lévis will receive $1,750,000 for its celebrations next year.” And yet, yesterday, the minister changed his version of the facts and stated, “Lévis received $1 million—and that is the maximum it will receive.”

How does the minister explain these two contradictory answers? Will Lévis receive the same treatment as Vancouver, yes or no?

Lévis CelebrationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is the maximum that the City of Lévis can receive from the fund in question. There have also been requests made for more money to other areas of my department. We are doing our homework. The applications have been received. We stand behind the City of Lévis, and there will be responses to the additional funding requests in the weeks to come. It is that simple.

Lévis CelebrationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is another falsehood. The Minister stated that Lévis will receive less than Vancouver because “the cities are different sizes”. And yet, under his department's rules “cultural capitals” with over 125,000 residents, such as Lévis—which has 133,000 residents—and Vancouver are entitled to a maximum of $2 million.

What explanation can the minister give us as to why Vancouver is receiving $1.75 million and Lévis is receiving three-quarters of a million dollars less? How can he justify this?

Lévis CelebrationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the entire fund totals $3.5 million. The maximum amount available to the City of Lévis is $1 million, and that is what Lévis will receive. There are other applications for other projects being considered by my department.

I would like to stress that the only reason Quebec City has received the money that it has to date is because of the hard work by the Conservative member for Lévis—Bellechasse. The Bloc Québécois has done nothing on this issue. It is all thanks to one person: the hon. Stephen Blaney.

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday at committee the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration testified that his department is able to assess people's economic progress by linking tax data with specific immigration programs.

Could the minister inform this House where on the tax form it actually asks for specific immigration programs in which people came to Canada? Will he confirm that the government is either linking data across government departments, a gross violation of the privacy of Canadians, or misleading Canadians about the serious negative impacts of cancelling the mandatory long form census to be able to serve new and multicultural Canadians?

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member should be replying to is the fact that she and her party consistently try to abridge the rights of Canadians when there are other alternatives available where Canadians can voluntarily give useful data for the census, for the questionnaires. That is our position. It is a balanced, fair and reasonable position.

The hon. member should answer this question to Canadians: Why does the hon. member want to threaten Canadians with jail time or fines to fill out a government form?