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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was documents.

Topics

AgriFood IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, if we listened to the Bloc, concentrated pineapple juice from overseas should be considered a product of Canada when only 14% of the content is pineapple juice and the rest is water. These are the kinds of things we want to avoid. We want to make sure that we help processors and that consumers know what they are getting. That is why we believe that excluding some products that extend the shelf life of food will achieve our goal and make everyone happy.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, for some time now, relatives of victims of crime have been asking for the right to collect EI benefits during their recovery. Compared to the Conservatives' bill, the Bloc Québécois bill is more generous and further ahead in the legislative process. Moreover, the Bloc bill is supported by the association founded by Senator Boisvenu.

If the government really cares about helping the families of victims of crime, why is it refusing to get behind the Bloc Québécois bill?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as we indicated in the throne speech, we plan to introduce a program to help the family members of victims of crime.

We believe it is important that these individuals have time to heal and get through these difficult times. We want to introduce an employment insurance program that takes this into account.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate what my colleague just said. The Bloc Québécois bill goes further than the government bill by proposing 52 weeks of employment insurance for the relatives of victims of crime and protecting their jobs for at least 24 months.

By refusing to support it, are the Conservatives not proving that the families of victims of crime are really not a priority for them and that they simply want to advance their own partisan criminal justice agenda?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no. We want to help the families of victims of crime.

I would remind the Bloc members that in the past year, we have implemented six or seven different measures to help workers and people who lose their jobs. Every time we proposed good measures, the Bloc stood up and voted against them. We will help victims by introducing a special program for the families of victims of crime.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, the day after the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Games, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages said, “I thought the opening ceremonies were brilliant, beautiful, spectacular on television, but there should have been more French.” In response to my question of March 4, he said, “We kept our promises regarding the official languages during the Olympic Games.”

Sometimes two ministers contradict one another. How does the minister explain contradicting himself?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party may be the only party that is very proud of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are also very proud of the Games when it comes to the official languages, and we are not alone. Pascal Couchepin said that the Vancouver Olympic Games set an example in terms of linguistic diversity and that it would be difficult to do any better.

That is absolutely right.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe the minister is sticking to his position, but it is not clear which one.

While he went on and on to assure us that linguistic duality was respected at the Games, some 40 complaints were filed with the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Will the minister admit that the simple fact that his directives were issued in English only is evidence perhaps of negligence, or at least indifference, but certainly a lack of leadership?

Fortunately, we had our athletes to be proud of, because this government gives us nothing to be proud of.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is completely ridiculous. He mentioned the Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser. Commissioner Fraser said he was impressed by the level of bilingualism at the Olympic Games and quite pleased with the government's commitment.

The member for Ottawa—Vanier said that the contract was signed only in English. That is because the lawyer from Vanoc who signed the contract agreement with the federal government had a choice between signing it in English or French. Being a smart lawyer, which is to say not a Liberal, he did not sign a contract in a language he does not speak, so he signed the contract in English. In this contract, there are 15 clauses that make the requirements for official languages clear. We delivered on official languages.

Status of WomenOral Questions

March 18th, 2010 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, it has now been nearly a month since the disgraceful behaviour of the Minister of State for the Status of Women at the Charlottetown airport. However, the Prime Minister has still not imposed any sanctions or consequences on the minister for her outburst.

What does that say to the people of Prince Edward Island and all Atlantic Canadians? It says that if people slander one of the great provinces as a hellhole, they get to stay in cabinet. Why is the Prime Minister unwilling to fire his minister for her shameful behaviour?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in this place in the past, our colleague, the Minister of State for the Status of Women, has made a very sincere apology to the individuals in question. They have accepted that apology.

I think it is in the best interests of the Canadian people that we focus on their priorities. In Prince Edward Island, they want us to focus on jobs, the economy, and improving our justice system. Let us put aside these divisive issues, come together, and work for Canadians.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian aviation regulations are explicit. Section 705 says that anyone at an airport who displays argumentative or disorderly behaviour or repeatedly shows belligerent behaviour has committed a level three offence. Anyone else would have been arrested and maybe even ended up on the no-fly list.

However, if a person is a Conservative minister, all he or she has to do is utter a weak, half-hearted apology. Is there something in those aviation regulations that exempts Conservative cabinet ministers?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the men and women who work at our airports have a difficult job. They work hard. I know that all members of all political stripes, be they in the government or the opposition, will want to join me in saying that we should work together to help support those who work to keep us safe.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that this Conservative government is committed to ensuring that our communities are safe places for people to live and raise their families. Today, the Minister of Public Safety introduced legislation in the House to further protect Canadians from serious violent criminals. We have continuously taken action to get tough on crime and protect our communities.

Could the Minister of Public Safety update the House on this important piece of legislation and how it will further protect Canadians?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank that member for his very hard work on this particular file. This morning I was pleased to have tabled in the House legislative amendments to the International Transfer of Offenders Act. Canadians want a corrections system that protects the safety of victims and law-abiding Canadians.

This act will ensure that the protection of our society is of paramount consideration when assessing requests for the transfer of international offenders. Our government remains committed to holding offenders accountable for their actions in Canada and abroad, and we will continue to put the rights of victims over those of criminals.

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently Canadians learned that packaged meat destined for their dinner tables is inspected just once a week, while meat being shipped to the U.S. is checked every 12 hours. Now we learn that Siena Foods, a facility connected to the tainted deli meats, was stopped by CFIA from shipping to the U.S., yet still allowed to produce food for Canadians.

Could the minister explain this double standard? Why is the government not putting the health of Canadian families first?

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to stand up and actually get the real facts on the table. Siena Foods was shut down by the CFIA last Friday. It was delisted for American shipments on Tuesday, a full four days later.

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, to the minister, it was a voluntary shutdown by the company. However, the unusual numbers of deaths and illnesses from listeriosis this year and the growing HVP recall point to a pressing need for more inspectors protecting Canadians from tainted food.

The government has not increased the number of meat inspectors since the 2008 listeriosis crisis. The old hires were not assigned to meat inspection. The new hires that the government promised are still in training and not on the street yet. The existing inspectors are working overtime as a band-aid solution.

Why is the government not making food safety a priority for Canadians?

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, at every opportunity this government has reinvested in CFIA, after years of Liberal cuts, which really decimated the organization.

We have given them the opportunity to hire new front line inspectors. There have been some 450 front line inspectors added since we took office. There is a whole new round of hires going on, strictly on the ready-to-eat and meat side. We will have hundreds of new inspectors by this time next year dedicated to that front line operation.

At every juncture, the NDP has voted against that. That is unfortunate and shameful.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Superior Court dismissed the Conservative government's motion to block the class action suit filed by the victims of the contaminated water in Shannon. Instead of using diversionary tactics, the federal government should acknowledge its responsibility and compensate the victims who have already suffered too much.

Since 500 cases of cancer do not seem to be enough for the Minister of National Defence, can he tell us what it will take for him to take responsibility: 600, 700 or even 1,000 cases?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, this issue goes back a number of years.

We have great concern, obviously, for the people of Shannon. That is why we are working with them, working with the municipality and the provincial government.

In fact, at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier we are providing potable water to Canadian Forces members and their families as well as the municipality, and since 1998, successive federal governments have spent upward of $60 million with respect to this issue.

We will continue to work to assist the municipality of Shannon. It is a matter of concern. We are seized with the issue and there has been, as the hon. member has mentioned, court actions. We continue to look for solutions.

Quebec City ArmouryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's national capital commission has been totally excluded from the process to reconstruct the armoury, which is delaying development work on Quebec City's parliament hill. The National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion calling on the federal government to involve the national capital commission.

Will the minister responsible for the Quebec City region answer the call of the elected members of the National Assembly?

Quebec City ArmouryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member for Québec had been paying attention, she would have realized that during Jean Baillargeon's consultations, the national capital commission had the opportunity to make itself heard. When the building expert held consultations in the Quebec City area, the national capital commission was again consulted.

It is important to remember that in the last budget, the government made a commitment to rebuild the armoury. The Bloc and the hon. member for Québec voted against it.

Crab FisheryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 2005 crab fishers in CFA 23 and 24 accepted a co-management plan that would lend equity and stability to their fishery.

All terms were honoured, with the traditional fleet getting 60% of the TAC, and new entries getting 40%. A key provision would see this arrangement go to a 50-50 split once the TAC reached 9,700 tonnes, which it did last year. Unilaterally, the minister threw the agreement out, greatly shortchanging 650 fishers.

Will the minister re-establish this provision and return fairness to this fishery?

Crab FisheryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, sharing allocation decisions are always difficult decisions. I received advice from many sources, from the department, from the various fleets, from the report, and from direct submissions.

It is impossible to accept and agree with all the advice, but a decision had to be made. The panel's recommendations were carefully considered. Each licence gets an equal share of the quota. All fishers benefited from the modest increases in quota last year, and they will in the future.