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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

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister seems more interested in making political gains by promoting his so-called law and order agenda than in helping victims of crime. The government is planning to inject another $193 million into federal penitentiaries, but funding for the victims of crime initiative will be cut by 41%.

This being National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, why is the Prime Minister not demonstrating more compassion toward victims instead of subjecting us to these big shows over and over again?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of this government's commitment to victims. We instituted the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. In 2007 we put in $56 million.

I want to use this opportunity to thank the Minister of Finance. I want to tell him how pleased I am, on behalf of myself and victims across this country, that he put an extra $6.6 million in the most recent budget. That underlines this government's commitment to victims right across this country.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister had just a little compassion for victims of crime, including the hundreds of people victimized by Vincent Lacroix and Earl Jones, he would not hesitate to abolish parole after only one sixth of a sentence has been served, as the Bloc Québécois bill proposes.

Can the Prime Minister explain why, after four years of Conservative government, and despite the opposition's united opinion on this subject, criminals are systematically released after having served just one-sixth of their sentence?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working with the member on legislation that would ensure that criminals earn parole as opposed to being automatically released on parole in the methods that the Liberals used to employ.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government promised to implement emergency measures to fast-track the processing of family reunification applications specifically for those affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12. Yet Pauline Marois, the leader of the Parti Québécois, noted during her visit to Haiti that the Canadian embassy there remains paralyzed and that 1,500 applications from Quebec from before the earthquake are still in the queue, not to mention the 3,000 additional applications that are expected.

Can the government explain why nothing is happening on the ground?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. I encourage my hon. colleague to look at the incredible work being done by our public servants in the face of tremendous logistical challenges. Since the earthquake, they have processed over 1,400 permanent resident applications from Haitians. They are making a great deal of progress. Every week they are processing more and more family sponsorship applications. I trust our public servants, not the leader of the Parti Québécois.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not the work of our public servants that poses a problem; it is the work of the minister.

The Government of Quebec has broadened the concept of family reunification in order to allow more Haitians affected by the earthquake to come to Quebec. The Conservative government should help work towards that goal instead of dragging its feet.

Can the Prime Minister confirm whether any agreements have been reached with Quebec to recognize and accelerate future applications received through Quebec's new program, even though the criteria have been expanded?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I met with my Quebec counterpart before the Quebec government announced that special program. I made a commitment to Ms. James that we would fast-track the applications received from Quebec.

Overall, we receive thousands of family sponsorship applications from within Quebec and Canada. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act still applies and all immigration applications from Quebec must be verified. Perhaps the Bloc Québécois wants us to ignore the law—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for LaSalle—Émard.

Access to InformationOral Questions

April 21st, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Information Commissioner has placed Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada on red alert when it comes to access to information. We talk about a red alert because the usual criteria no longer adequately describe what is going on.

Nearly 60% of all requests took so long to be processed that they became outdated. It takes an average of 163 days for a request to be completed. That is censorship.

Will the minister stop engaging in a Conservative culture of deceit?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have had a chance to meet with the Information Commissioner and we discussed this issue. As hon. members know, an extraordinary volume of work has been done over the past few months by people in my department. We are reviewing the Commissioner's recommendations.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is mired in a Conservative culture of deceit.

The Privy Council Office, in other words, the Prime Minister's own department, refused to respond to a quarter of the requests for access to information. Under the legislation, a request requires a response within 30 days. In the Prime Minister's case, two times out of three, it takes 120 days.

When will the Prime Minister stop encouraging this Conservative culture of deceit?

Access to InformationOral 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, unfortunately, my colleague does not have all the facts. The government receives more than 40,000 requests for access to information a year. We respond to most of those requests within 30 days. Roughly 10% or 12% of requests take more than 120 days to be dealt with and we want to speed up the process.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's ombudsman for victims said yesterday that the Conservatives' agenda on crime would “not meet the needs of victims”. He called the government's approach unbalanced and criticized huge cuts of 41% to the victims of crime initiative.

Canada's ombudsman for victims has been doing critical work. Now the government is showing him the door. Worse, the justice department's own report shows the budget for the victims' watchdog will be nil, that is zero dollars, next year.

Why does the government use victims when it needs votes, but forgets them when it comes time to act?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

I can only assume, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member knows nothing about the budgetary process. As I indicated in a previous question, this government has committed $52 million to the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.

Again, I publicly thanked the Minister of Finance for going above and beyond that by adding another $6.6 million to assist victims in our country. This is something for everybody to celebrate.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the ombudsman the government fired is not celebrating. If the minister takes a look at the his report for 2011-12, his office is gone, zero dollars.

Watchdogs for the RCMP, the military, nuclear safety and now the ombudsman for victims all stood up to the government, criticized failures and then found themselves without a job. In a culture of deceit, watchdogs that are not Conservative cheerleaders get the axe.

In two years' time spending on prison construction will be up 238% since 2005, while funding for victims is either flat or cut. Why is the government not listening to the ombudsman instead of firing him?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government has taken a balanced approach right across the board since we have taken office, and I am very proud of that record.

The member keeps mentioning the budget of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. He has it completely wrong. That funding is in place. There has been a change; it has been increased.

Again, I am proud to be a part of the only political party that consistently stands up for victims and law-abiding Canadians. That sets us aside from all those people.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, Liberals keep on shamefully complaining that Canadian families are not paying enough taxes. Just yesterday the Liberal finance critic stated his intention to raise taxes. Let the era of Liberal tax hikes begin, everything from hiking the GST, imposing a carbon tax and increasing job-killing business taxes.

While the Liberals scheme about new taxes and killing jobs, our Conservative government is focused on the economy and Canada's economic action plan, a plan that is working.

Could the Minister of Finance update the House on today's IMF economic outlook?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, today the IMF has forecasted Canada's economic growth will be at the head of the pack for the G7 and all major advanced economies. The IMF has singled out Canada for special praise, saying, “Canada entered the global crisis in good shape, and thus the exit strategy appears less challenging than elsewhere”.

We have said all along that while not immune from the global recession, we entered it and we exit it in the strongest position in the G7.

International AidOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has ceded its position of leadership in fighting crimes against humanity. As a country, we are now 57th in contributions to the UN peacekeeping missions. Nowhere is this absence more acute than in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a place where we have repeatedly been asked to send peacekeepers.

The United Nations has issued a direct appeal to Canada, asking for help in the Congo. Will the government support the request by the UN to have General Andrew Leslie lead the command of the UN mission in the Congo?

International AidOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada's participation in MONUC, which is the UN-led mission in the Congo, is an integral part of our regional commitment in Africa, particularly in the great lakes region, totalling more than $250 million over the last 10 years. Long-term stability in this region hinges on the resolution of the ongoing conflict in the eastern part of the DRC.

Canada is one of the countries asked by the UN Secretariat to consider providing a candidate for the position, and we are currently analyzing that question.

International AidOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes is not that hard a word to say.

As the Governor General stated in Kinshasa, sexual violence in the Congo is a crime against humanity, but Canada's current commitment to the project against sexual violence is just about $2 million and runs out in June 2011.

Programs to end sexual violence require sustained resources and better management to provide measures that would help people on the ground. Will the government listen to the words of our Governor General, the pleas of the Congolese and the call of Canadians to end sexual violence? Will it renew, support and strengthen—

International AidOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

International AidOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Conservative Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada deplores the ongoing violence in eastern Congo, particularly against civilians, notably women and children, and strongly supports MONUC's efforts to end the impunity.

Canada supports stabilization and the reconstruction efforts in the DRC, and has contributed well over $124 million in long-term humanitarian and aid development since 2006.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, although Quebec's industrial structure helped it weather the recession better than the other Canadian provinces, the figures from the Institut de la statistique du Québec show two different sides of Quebec. In all, Abitibi, Mauricie, Saguenay—Lac Saint-Jean and eastern Quebec have lost 30,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession. One out of every 17 jobs was cut in the resource regions, and the Conservative government did not do a thing.

What is the government waiting for to completely overhaul employment insurance, to help the workers in these regions especially?