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House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.

Topics

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, I am surprised by this question.

Not only did we implement our economic action plan, which helped workers across the country, but we also implemented eight different measures to support workers who were losing their jobs, including work sharing, measures for self-employed workers, and five additional weeks of employment insurance benefits.

We introduced all of these measures, and every single time the Bloc voted against them.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, we need a complete overhaul of the employment insurance system. But in the short term, the Bloc Québécois is proposing that we help workers with serious illnesses. My colleague from Chambly—Borduas presented a petition last week signed by over 65,000 people, calling for an extension of employment insurance benefits to a maximum of 50 weeks for people are forced to miss work because of serious illnesses, like cancer.

Will the government show some compassion and follow through with this extremely reasonable measure?

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, as members of Parliament, we are obviously aware of the challenges facing our constituents. The payment of employment insurance premiums is shared by employers and employees, and we try to offer as many benefits as possible to help people. As a general rule, someone who is ill is eligible for employment insurance for a period of 15 weeks. In general, the average is about nine weeks. However, we understand the situation and are still very much aware of it.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, on April 5, relying upon European and Canadian data, the American department of transportation imposed a historic $16.4 million fine on Toyota for having deprived its customers of timely safety-related information about it vehicles, and more charges are to follow. This week Toyota admitted guilt and paid the fine. In Canada there were no charges, no fines, no admissions.

When will the Minister of Transport do his job and protect Canadian motorists by holding Toyota Canada to account?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada will ensure that the full force of Canadian law and all legal measures are taken to ensure we keep Canadians safe.

My department right now is investigating this important issue and my officials are continuing to gather information on a priority basis to ensure that all Canadian laws have been respected, and if they have not, they will take appropriate action.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find the minister's indifference to Canadian drivers and their families astounding and dangerous.

In November he applauded Toyota's actions to protect consumers even as it was being investigated. On February 24, the minister claimed that Toyota had been a good corporate citizen. However, on March 17, he indicated he was considering criminal charges. What happened? Yesterday he retracted, saying that ministers did not order criminal charges to be laid.

If he cannot order them to be laid, will he ask the RCMP to investigate the breaches of the law by Toyota Canada?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the government worked when that member was a member of the cabinet, but in Canada cabinet ministers do not order criminal investigations and do not order that criminal charges be laid.

Let me tell him this. My department is working very hard. We have a top-notch group of officials that will ensure the full force of Canadian law comes down on any actor in the transportation sector that does not fully respect Canadian law.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

April 21st, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the refusal of the Conservatives to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was an international embarrassment and an insult to aboriginal peoples in Canada.

Other countries that made the same mistake are now making the right choice by signing on to this important human rights document. This week at the UN, New Zealand reversed its position and now supports the declaration with no conditions.

Will Canada finally tell the UN that we support the declaration, without conditions, and will a formal date for its adoption by Canada be announced?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the member did not read the same speech that I did from the New Zealand delegation, but we were very pleased to see New Zealand follow our lead. They have also moved ahead on this. Of course, as we do in Canada, we are consulting with first nation and aboriginal leaders across Canada.

We are putting together a package of ideas on making sure that, when we follow through on our throne speech promise to support the declaration, it will be done in a way that not only aboriginal people are comfortable with but all Canadians can be very proud of.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Native Women's Association of Canada released a report on the lack of effective programming to address the 582 cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada. It has been over a month since the government promised funding to address this serious issue, and we still have no details on how and when it will be delivered.

Aboriginal women in this country are being murdered. There needs to be action now. Will the Minister of Justice tell us when he plans to release the $10 million he promised? We simply cannot afford to wait any longer.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to ensuring that all women, including aboriginal women, are safe and secure regardless of the community in which they live. Since this is the first question we have had on this since the budget, I can say that the government will be investing $10 million over two years to address the disturbingly high number of missing and murdered aboriginal people.

We will work with provinces, territories, aboriginal people and other stakeholders for effective solutions. After all, we all have a stake in finding a solution to this terrible problem.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, during a period of global economic uncertainty, our government acted responsibly to ensure the survival of Canada's automotive industry. In co-operation with the Obama administration and the Government of Ontario, we acted to secure this vital manufacturing sector and protect its nearly half a million Canadian jobs.

Could the Minister of Industry update the House on the progress being made on our government's robust commitment to the Canadian auto sector?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made a difficult but necessary decision a year ago to support the auto sector here in Canada. We see more evidence that it was the right decision. I am pleased to rise today and indicate that GM has repaid in full its loans to the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the United States, well ahead of schedule. It is seven years ahead of schedule, as a matter of fact.

It is clear that Canada's auto sector is back on the road to prosperity. We have new shifts. We have new jobs being announced at Canadian auto plants. Of course, this government remains committed to our manufacturing sector from coast to coast to coast.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, Dennis Vialls, an Allied war veteran who fought in Normandy alongside Canadian troops, is now battling Alzheimer's. His wife is exhausted from caring for him and from fighting this stubborn government. The Ste. Anne's Hospital for veterans has empty beds. Why can the government not allow Allied veterans like Dennis Vialls the same direct access to Ste. Anne's Hospital as other World War II veterans who fought for our freedom?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our veterans can go to Ste. Anne's Hospital near Montreal to receive the care they need.

However, not all veterans are eligible. Certain criteria must be met. In general, people prefer to go to hospitals near their homes.

We are doing everything we can to help our veterans, but we have to follow the rules.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, a delegation of Algonquin chiefs is on the Hill. Now that New Zealand has declared its support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Canada and the United States remain the only countries that oppose it. No further consultation is necessary: this is what all first nations want.

When will the government stop denying aboriginal peoples' basic rights? When will it announce its intention to sign this declaration?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, not only do we believe in rights but we have actually taken action on this side of the table. We brought in changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act that included aboriginal people on reserve for the first time ever. We also introduced another bill that will give matrimonial property rights to women and children who, as of right now, have no such property rights on reserves.

Support for those kinds of initiatives is important, but we are also moving ahead with negotiations with aboriginal leaders across the country to fulfill our throne speech promise that we will be supporting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a way that all Canadians can be proud of.

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are increasingly concerned about their food, where it is coming from, how it is made and whether it is safe. EU representatives are in Ottawa this week for trade negotiations, and the future of Canadian-grown food is in question. Canada's current supply management system ensures fairness for farmers, and it benefits both Canadians and our economy.

Will the Minister of International Trade confirm that he has honoured his commitment to Canada's dairy, poultry and egg farmers and taken supply management off the negotiating table?

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our government has been quite clear. We have been strong supporters of supply management, and we continue to be. That has not prevented us from successfully entering into free trade agreements with the United States, with Colombia and with other countries and having the benefits of the prosperity that have come from that. Our negotiations with the European Union, right now the largest economy in the world, offer us the opportunity for more prosperity, not just for Canadian workers, but also for Canadian farmers. That is why we are pursuing it.

JusticeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, standing up for victims and law-abiding citizens is of paramount importance to our government. This session we introduced a bill reforming the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and yesterday our government introduced important legislation in the Senate that seeks to repeal the faint hope clause.

Can the Minister of Justice please inform the House what other legislative measures he plans to bring forward this session?

JusticeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her support of our criminal justice legislation.

It is true we plan to introduce legislation to put an end to house arrest for serious and violent crimes. Now the opposition might remember this subject because it was introduced in the previous Parliament, where members repeatedly stalled it and eventually gutted the bill. As a result, criminals remain eligible for house arrest for a long list of property and other serious crimes including aggravated assault, human trafficking and luring a child. We have to change that. Canadians can be proud that they have a government that makes their concerns its priority.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is talking about transferring Ste. Anne's Hospital, which is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, to the Province of Quebec. But everything is happening behind closed doors, which only serves to feed the rumours and raise concern in people's minds.

Will the minister hold public hearings before continuing his discussions with Quebec?

Will he allow veterans and the community at large to speak freely about an issue that affects them personally?

Will he honour the freedom of speech that these veterans fought for?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, there were 17 different hospitals that helped care for our veterans. Ste. Anne's Hospital is the only one left.

Health insurance and health care are now under provincial jurisdiction. It is in this context that we began discussions with the Quebec government. We want to know if they would be interested in having Ste. Anne's Hospital transferred to them.

The top priority is ensuring that our veterans receive priority care, even if the hospital is transferred.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a response to my question today, the Minister of Justice inadvertently misled the House.

On April 15, I asked him a similar question in regard to the Sisters In Spirit campaign. This is not the first time this question was raised. I raised it on April 15.

I am asking the minister to correct his response.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that could be.

It was certainly the first question I had about the $10 million that was in the federal budget, but if in fact the hon. member did raise it, I do not remember it. However, I am prepared to withdraw and apologize to her.