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House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, since the very start of our engagement in Afghanistan we have been building the institutions of the Afghan government, including better prisons, better training for Afghan authorities and better training for the military. This part of the core of our mission and it is part of the mission that we are particularly proud of.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said he had prepared “a fiscal outlook based on the same private sector economic forecast used by the Department of Finance”.

However, in lashing out at the PBO in question period yesterday, the Minister of Finance wrongly said the opposite, that the PBO rejected the forecasts of 15 private sector economists. He did not.

Meanwhile, economists like Don Drummond said his views are similar to those of the PBO.

Why this unwarranted attack from the finance minister?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, how exciting to have a question on the economy in the House of Commons, more than a week after we tabled budget 2010.

In answer to that question, the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer was established by the Conservative government. There never was this office before, so we welcome this sort of discussion and debate on the floor of the House of Commons.

However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that these predictions were not prudent. That is in direct conflict with what 15 of Canada's top economists--

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Markham—Unionville.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer agreed with the economists.

Whenever any officer of Parliament or public servant questions any action of the government, the Conservatives respond viciously, as if the person were an enemy of the state. They fired Linda Keen. They smeared Richard Colvin. Now when Kevin Page dares to suggest the government is too rosy in its forecasts, the finance minister lashes out with a totally erroneous hissy fit.

Will the finance minister apologize to Kevin Page?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I see that the hon. member for Markham—Unionville is using the same talking points he used on the CBC last night, verbatim.

Let me quote an individual, and this is a reflection and a quote after the budget directly to that point, if the hon. member would care to listen. The quote is from Craig Wright from RBC. I believe the hon. member might know that group. He said, “I think we're seeing a number of factors moving in the right direction.... I would think consensus is moving higher, not lower.... I would argue that the budget forecasts were probably on the prudent side”.

PensionsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, pensioners are suffering but the government will not listen.

While the Conservatives were AWOL, Liberals were working. We listened to the concerns of pensioners and we proposed well-studied ideas for pension reform, and the provinces agreed. These included a supplementary CPP, preferred status for pensioners on long-term disability, and allowing employees of bankrupt companies to grow their pensions through the CPP.

Why will the Conservatives not act now to help pensioners?

PensionsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, welcome to the file. The Liberals are finally waking up to the fact that we have concerned Canadians who want answers about their pensions.

Let me remind those hon. members what this government has actually done. The finance minister intervened in two Canadian companies that were having financial problems because of their pensions. The finance minister acted quickly and probably saved hundreds of thousands of lost pensions.

The Liberals claim we have done nothing, and they have had a half-day conference.

PensionsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives missed a chance to leave a legacy for pensioners in the budget last week. They ignored pension reform, attacked seniors' savings and, instead, they gave them a balloon to celebrate Seniors' Day, a day off they cannot even afford to take.

Why is the government focused on gimmicks rather than real pension reform? How long do pensioners have to wait?

PensionsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, even in the Liberals' half-day conference they might have been reminded that on October 27, 2009, we put in credible changes that were required for federally regulated private pension plans. We enhanced protection for plan members, reduced funding volatility, made it easier for participants to negotiate, and improved the framework for defined benefit pension plans.

We have received nothing in the form of good suggestions from the opposition.

SecuritiesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the budget is clear. The government intends to move forward with its plan to create a single securities commission. The financial and political elite of Toronto have banded together to bring the headquarters of the organization to their city, which just shows that the feds have much more than an economic plan in mind. It is an attack on Montreal.

This Conservative government claims to respect the jurisdictions of Quebec. Why does it not recognize that securities fall under Quebec's jurisdiction?

SecuritiesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, the member knows that this is not the first time this subject has come up. We talked about it during the last session of Parliament, and once again, our desire to have a single securities commission in Canada was in the throne speech.

That said, the Bloc must note that the provinces are not required to participate. If they do not want to, they will not be required. I think that we also have the right to manage this country and to offer protection to taxpayers for their securities.

SecuritiesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, by going all the way to the Supreme Court to dismantle the Commission des valeurs mobilières du Québec, the federal government is undermining Quebec's political and economic autonomy.

By pushing for a single securities commission in Canada, is the government not proving that the federal budget serves primarily the interests of Canada at the expense of the interests of Quebec?

SecuritiesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, it is also our responsibility to protect Canadians when they make investments. As former Minister of National Revenue, I saw some situations where people had gotten hurt, where they had been robbed and swindled out of their earnings.

It is time to clean things up. It is time to have a national securities commission, and I repeat, Quebec will not be required to join the commission if it chooses not to.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has always maintained that it did not know that the prisoners it was transferring to Afghan authorities might be tortured. We have learned that as early as 2006, several NATO partners, knowing the reputation of Afghan prisons, tried to assume direct responsibility for Afghan detainees specifically so they would not be tortured.

Canada was absent in these efforts with its NATO partners, and is this not proof of its indifference to the fate of the Afghan prisoners?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this reporting is not new, nor has it surprised anyone in the House that almost three years ago we acted on the advice of senior officials to put in place a new transfer arrangement that improved upon the arrangement that was lacking, and left in place by the previous government. As a result, we have invested more in Afghan prisons, in officials, in training, and mentoring and monitoring. We are trying to improve a situation that I think everyone acknowledges is very difficult, something that we have been aware of for some time.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, while other NATO partners were searching for solutions in order to respect the Geneva convention, Canada had its back turned.

The government's rush to transfer prisoners to Afghan authorities, even though it knew they risked being tortured, can only be explained one way: it wanted to be rid of difficult prisoners.

Is that not what this is all about?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the truth of the matter is that any time we have been aware of credible evidence, we have acted. We have acted responsibly, and I think we can all say with great pride that what the members of the Canadian Forces, our diplomats, and aid workers in Afghanistan did then and continue to do now is their level best to improve the situation. We can all be proud of that. But here is what Eugene Lang, the former chief of staff to two Liberal defence ministers, had to say: “The...government improved the agreement. The concerns that Ms. Olexiuk raised and the provisions that she apparently at that time had argued for were indeed put in the agreement by the” current government.

We improved the situation.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, since the earthquake in January, members of Canada's Haitian community have been worried about the fate of their loved ones in Haiti.

The Government of Quebec has used its powers under the 1991 Canada-Quebec agreement on the selection and settlement of immigrants to be more flexible about sponsoring families. In fact, the Government of Quebec has decided to temporarily broaden the concept of family reunification.

The Government of Canada, however, is refusing to be more flexible.

Why?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, in fact this government has acted. Immediately after the earthquake hit Haiti, this government insisted that all of the sponsorship cases in the queue at the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration be removed from that queue and be turned into a priority, and which this government and ministry have been working on since the time of the earthquake.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member did not understand my question, but we understand that the government has no interest in being flexible.

However, does the member realize the position he is putting some people in with his lack of openness?

Many members of Ottawa's Haitian community are faced with the possibility of having to sell their homes and move to Gatineau if they want to sponsor a family member who is over 18, for example.

Does the government realize how unfair this is and the impossible situation it is putting people in?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the government is completely and fully aware of exactly what its responsibilities are, and also what its needs are in terms of delivering the service. This government has in fact gone out of its way to ensure that we were the first country to be there in Haiti, the first country to provide assistance, the first country to make sure we were there when needed. In fact there is no way we can treat one country in one circumstance differently from another country in a different circumstance. We have dealt with this issue and we continue to deal with this issue.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the parliamentary secretary just said is scandalous. I am going to take him to see the Haitian community in my riding, and we will see whether things can be done differently.

Yesterday, the cat got out of the bag. The government had promised to create a special fund to help the victims in Haiti, in addition to the money already committed. It was going to match the donations people made and spend the money quickly in the field to meet the urgent needs of Haitians. We are talking about $128 million.

But nothing has happened. Not only has the money in this fund not been spent, but it may wind up in the World Bank.

Why did the government deceive Canadians and Quebeckers, who made a huge effort and worked day and night to raise money, thinking that the government was going to do its part?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the member continues to disappoint us with that kind of question.

The fact is that the Government of Canada committed $85 million immediately for urgent relief. In addition to the $85 million, the matching funds are currently being assessed as to the most effective way that they can be distributed.

I regret that the member has decided to play politics on the back of the Haitian disaster.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, he does not know zip about Haiti and if he is disappointed it does not look like it.

The new definition of emergency is “in the near future”.

Credible, experienced NGOs in the field have been ready for weeks and have well-defined projects. They have provided everything needed to get the money out.

While the minister is telling CBC that she has not received enough project proposals, CIDA is asking NGOs to lower their expectations because there are too many. Who is telling the truth?

The minister was happy to be on the news when the earthquake happened. What is she waiting for to get the emergency relief funds out? Could it be that this money does not actually exist?