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House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Gérard Latulippe, the new president of Rights & Democracy, has been at the centre of a number of controversies, the most recent involving the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues.

As my Bloc colleague mentioned, the federation stated that Mr. Latulippe does not have the moral authority to head this organization.

This Conservative appointment has tarnished Canada's reputation abroad.

Does the government agree with Mr. Latulippe's racist statements about Muslim immigration to Quebec?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me quote an interested party, who said:

He is just highly respected in the whole field. I just don’t understand the questioning of his credentials.

This comes from Leslie Campbell, former chief of staff to Audrey McLaughlin and current senior associate and regional director for the Middle East and North African National Democratic Institute.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Sima Samar is the president of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and was a member of the Rights & Democracy board until she resigned in January because she was concerned about the current chairman's political agenda. Ms. Samar also noted that the new president, Gérard Latulippe, had previously declared Muslim immigration a threat to Quebec.

Does the government agree with Mr. Latulippe's past racist statement concerning Muslim immigration to Quebec, yes or no?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me give the House another quotation, for the record. It says:

Ironically, the Bloc and Liberal opposition, while simultaneously decrying the government's continued partisanship, have rejected Mr. Latulippe's appointment on almost purely political grounds...While I don't share Mr. Latulippe's political orientation, I don't believe that stated political views and career path are reasons to question a person's capacity to act in a principled manner.

Who said that? Former NDP strategist Brian Topp in The Globe and Mail.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Citizenship Act was unconstitutional because it discriminates against women.

Specifically, a child born outside Canada to a Canadian father is entitled to Canadian citizenship, but a child born outside Canada to a Canadian mother does not have that same right.

Can the Minister of State for the Status of Women explain what her government intends to do to correct this shameful situation?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

March 8th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, we dealt with that during the last session of Parliament. We introduced Bill C-37, which received the support of all opposition parties and eliminated the discrimination previously found in the Citizenship Act.

This is what Don Chapman, spokesperson for Lost Canadians, had to say about it:

“This ends today”, the introduction of that bill, “140 years of discrimination against women and children on Canadian citizenship”.

I should add that, when the Liberals were in power, they did nothing to resolve the lost Canadians issue. They supported the solution set out in the bill during the last session of Parliament.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is International Women's Day. Yet today, children born abroad to Canadian women are denied the citizenship given automatically to children of Canadian men.

The minister's office noted last year that she would, “like to be of assistance on this issue”, and still there has been no action to correct this sexist policy.

Will the minister explain to Canadians why, on citizenship, the government continues to treat women as less equal than men?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the member does herself a disservice with that kind of demagoguery.

This government, Parliament and the Liberal Party adopted Bill C-37 in the last Parliament to correct the Citizenship Act to welcome back to Canadian citizenship hundreds of thousands of lost Canadians.

It eliminated discrimination in the 1947 act on grounds of gender, which is why Don Chapman said that it ends 140 years of discrimination against women and children.

If the hon. member is against the changes that were made, why did her party support them without amendment?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic action plan is committed to improve inefficiencies across the government. This morning, the President of the Treasury Board fulfilled that commitment when he announced the reduction of 245 appointments across the federal government.

Could the President of the Treasury Board tell members of the House why this announcement is important for Canadians who are expecting the best possible service from their federal government?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is an important question because it was over a year ago that we said we would carry out a review of all of these government appointments. These are not public servants. These are government appointments to trades, to commissions, boards and agencies.

It was found that in looking at some 2,700 positions, about 245 of them, most of which were vacant at the time pending the review, could actually be dispensed with, and yet the agencies and boards could still operate efficiently.

It is what taxpayers want us to do. They want us to conduct the affairs of government and its services in an efficient way, and do it in a way that respects the taxpayers. That is what we are doing and we will keep doing it.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the second time in the past few months, the Minister of Finance has spent several thousands of taxpayers' dollars to have himself photographed at Tim Hortons. In September alone, his coffee cost taxpayers $2,331.95.

This time, he chartered a plane so he could be seen at a Tim Hortons where, believe it or not, he wanted to make a point about the importance of curbing government spending.

What was he thinking? Is there no limit to their hypocrisy?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government has established strict rules for the use of these aircraft. They can only be used on official government business and only when cheaper commercial options are not available. I am pleased to inform the House that under this government, the use of government aircraft by cabinet ministers has declined by some two-thirds.

Frankly, I would like to ask the member what he has against Tim Hortons? That is just un-Canadian.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on CTV's Question Period, the finance minister's parliamentary secretary tried that one. I will quote him verbatim: “Well, Jane, first of all, it's factually incorrect. It was a Transport Canada flight the finance minister took to London”.

Could the Minister of Transport tell us how many Transport Canada flights there are per week between Ottawa and London, Ontario, where the public can buy their tickets and how much they cost?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I sort of get the feeling that the member opposite is hitchhiking.

As we said, there are strict rules with respect to the use of government aircraft. They have to be used when no commercial operations exist. They have to be used only for official government business. All the rules were followed in this case.

Again, I am very pleased to inform the member opposite that the use of government aircraft in these types of circumstances is down by almost two-thirds since this government was elected. That is a record to be proud of.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the economic recovery may be underway, the employment crisis is continuing. Now, more than ever, the employment insurance system has to be reformed to be made more accessible. According to the human resources department's website, barely 45% of unemployed people manage to qualify for employment insurance. Women are even worse off, with two out of three unemployed women not having access to employment insurance.

What is the government waiting for to ensure that the EI program is a true insurance program against job loss?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this past year, while our country was facing a recession, we introduced a series of measures to support those who lose their jobs.

These measures included, first, an additional five weeks of benefits for the unemployed and, second, between five and twenty additional weeks for older workers. Then, we introduced measures to support self-employed workers, who now have access to sickness and compassionate care benefits.

In addition, we froze EI premium rates for employees and employers.

Why is it that, whenever we introduce such fine measures, the Bloc Québécois votes against them?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is preparing to help itself to another $19 billion or so over five years from the employment insurance fund. To defend this pillaging, it argues that it is shouldering the $10 billion deficit in the EI fund. Talk about bad faith.

While refusing to tax the wealthiest people and the oil companies, the government is essentially proposing to deprive workers of $9 billion that could be used to enhance the EI program.

When will the government stop misappropriating contributions to the EI fund?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member forgot to take this fact into account: the package of measures we introduced last year with respect to employment insurance is still in effect and represents additional costs of approximately $6 billion.

We have taken reality into account. We have frozen the EI premium rate at $1.73 per $100 of insurable earnings. Those two measures are intended strictly to help those who are struggling through difficult economic times. What do they have against us doing that?

I repeat, we have put an additional $6 billion toward employment insurance.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the immigration department repeatedly tried to include equality rights in the Conservatives' citizenship guide, so we know that the department did not cut equality from the guide. The minister claims that neither he nor his office made the edits.

Does the minister realize that his denial of responsibility leaves us with only one possible conclusion: that the Prime Minister's Office directed these socially regressive edits?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, there is no denial of responsibility. I happily take full responsibility for “Discover Canada” which has been endorsed and celebrated across the political spectrum as a great reflection of this country's history, geography and values.

Unlike the guide published under the Liberal government, it recognizes gay and lesbian Canadians, it recognizes gender equality, and it recognizes historic tragedies like the Chinese head tax and wartime internment. It even recognizes, unlike the Liberal guide, that 110,000 Canadians gave their lives in the two world wars. It even talks about Remembrance Day, something that was censored out of the Liberal guide.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, clearly it was not the public servants, and according to the minister, it was not his office.

We know that this government's power is completely centralized in the Prime Minister's Office.

Is the Prime Minister's Office responsible for this reactionary edit?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I take responsibility for the new citizenship guide, which has been well received in Canada. For example, in La Presse, André Pratte said, “...the writing of this new guide for immigrants was a delicate task, and the government and the historians consulted did a good job.”

In this new guide, we acknowledge gay and lesbian Canadians, who were not acknowledged in the former Liberal government's guide. The former guide also did not mention equality between men and women, tragedies like internment during the two wars, or the contribution of Canadian soldiers in defence of our country.

We are proud of this new guide.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, on International Women's Day the Prime Minister has some tough questions to answer on women's issues here at home. Canada is one of the world's wealthiest countries, yet the number of women and children living in poverty is staggering. There are enough children living in poverty in Canada to populate a city the size of Winnipeg.

The Prime Minister has said that the solutions are “not intrinsically expensive”. Why then will the Prime Minister not deliver on affordable housing, national child care, pay equity and real job support for Canadian women?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member had not voted against every one of the government's initiatives to help on all of those issues, she might be aware of them.

The hon. member might be aware that we enhanced the child tax credit. We have brought in the universal child care benefit of $100 a month for every child under the age of six. We have lowered the taxes for families, especially for low-income families, so that they have more money to spend on their families instead of the alternative, which is welfare. We have brought in the working income tax benefit. However, the hon. member voted against every single one of those.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has consistently left women and children off its priority list. The 2009 budget was an affront to women and children living in poverty, and last week's budget again failed to deliver. The government did not create a single child care space and there was nothing to make EI more accessible for women.

The women of Canada deserve fairness, affordability, opportunity, equal pay for work of equal value, and a decent standard of living. When will the Prime Minister make women and children a priority in Canada?