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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rehabilitation.

Topics

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government believes those who commit serious and violent crimes should serve their time behind bars, not in the comfort of their homes. In the previous Parliament, the opposition did not share the same view and gutted our important legislation aimed at tackling this serious issue.

Could the Minister of Justice please update the House on the legislation our government tabled today in this chamber?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 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 the question and for continuing to stand up for victims and law-abiding Canadians in this country.

It is true that today our government had the honour of tabling a bill that would put an end to house arrest for serious and violent crimes.

This legislation would make it clear that house arrest will no longer be available to criminals who commit acts such as aggravated assault, human trafficking and luring a child. In short, if a person sets fire to someone's house, he or she will not be eligible to go back to his or her house and that is the way it should be.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, while the government has been defying parliamentary orders for documents, interfering with parliamentary committees and dismissing opposition calls for a public inquiry on Afghan detainees, it has tried to maintain a shred of accountability by referring to the MPCC hearings.

Now we learn that these hearings are being derailed and may be suspended again because the government is starving it of critical documents on the detainee issue.

When will the government stop the cover-up, and stop hiding and delaying the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to some evidence that we heard just yesterday from respected former ambassador David Sproule with respect to this issue. He said, “First of all, we never transferred any detainees that were captured by Canadian armed forces if there was any suggestion that there was a substantial risk of torture. Never did. We were confident there was not, otherwise we would not have transferred”. He went on to say, “We were confident that based on information we had, no Canadian transferred detainees had been abused or mistreated”.

The member should contemplate that testimony.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the government's own answer for the delay is that it cannot keep up with censoring documents. Its lawyer compounded the government's arrogance by saying that it will only hand over documents when it is good and ready.

Now we hear the government is weeding out vital information even before it is handed over to the censor. It is censoring the censor. This is a massive cover-up of the government's see no evil, hear no evil, hide the evil policy on Afghan detainees.

The only way to get to the truth is through a public inquiry. When will the government call one?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, on all of these issues the hon. member heard wrong.

The MPCC is responsible for its own conduct, its own hearing. There are safeguards in place. These safeguards allow for any concerns to be raised before it.

The member should let the commission do its work.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, former ambassador David Sproule confirmed the testimony of Richard Colvin yesterday, saying that their reports for several years indicated that there was a high likelihood that torture was going on in Afghanistan detention facilities. I do not know how to make it more clear: prisoners turned over to Afghan officials were at risk for torture.

How can this government keep denying that it violated the Geneva convention, when its own diplomats acknowledge the risk of torture? Canada failed to fulfill its commitments.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member must be tone deaf in both official languages. I just quoted from Mr. Sproule's testimony yesterday. He said, “No, it was not government policy. It was not the policy of the department of defence. It was not the policy” when it came to transfers to torture. He went on to say, “We never transferred any detainees that were captured by the Canadian armed forces if there was any suggestion that there was a substantial risk of torture”.

What could be more clear coming from an ambassador? The member ought to go back and read that testimony again and see if it sinks in this time.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I told the minister in French. I can repeat it in English if he does not understand French.

There was risk of torture. They were at risk for torture. That is what the ambassador said himself. The minister should read the record also.

Former ambassador Lalani had to admit that the Conservatives' new prisoner transfer agreement does not work, because the National Directorate of Security is running the investigation. With their new agreement, the Conservatives are putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. That is how it works—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Minister of National Defence.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I understand the response in both official languages. It is clear: the ambassador said that there was no evidence of torture.

I will repeat, “We were confident that based on information we had, no Canadian-transferred detainee had been abused or mistreated”. It is clear. It is on the record. We have heard this from a number of witnesses who were high-ranking officials in the public service, who were leaders in Afghanistan on the ground, all of the generals. All of those involved in the system took the necessary precautions and followed international law, unlike the member opposite.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, last year the first round of funding for the enabling accessibility fund was shown to be a political slush fund. The results are in for the second round of funding and it is even slushier. Of the 169 projects approved, 113 went to Conservative ridings, including those of 14 ministers. That is 67% of all funding in Conservative ridings.

It is disgusting and dishonourable to allow politics to override the needs of the disabled. How could the minister stoop so low?

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the enabling accessibility fund that is helping so many Canadians get access to places they could not access before. That is why we have extended it with a $45 million extra investment over the next three years, so that those who have mobility issues can access places such as their town hall and government chambers.

I do not know why the member voted against it. He should have been supporting this.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, let us understand the issue. This is a callous, deliberate, political hijacking of a fund for people with disabilities, and it has now become part of the Conservative culture of deceit.

The minister in charge of the fund does not even care enough about people with disabilities to have an accessible riding office. After six years as an MP, four of them as the minister responsible for people with disabilities, why is there such a huge gap between her words and her actions? Who told her to turn the enabling accessibility fund into a political slush fund, and why does she not care enough to have an accessible riding office?

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, for 13 long years while the Liberals were in power, the government ran two, not one but two, offices for disability issues, neither of which was accessible by any stretch of the imagination.

Our Conservative government changed that. We now have one office that is a model, a showpiece, of how businesses can adapt their environments, not just through accessibility but also with business tools to help disabled people compete in the workplace, to fully participate.

We brought that in. We brought in the enabling accessibility fund. We are the ones investing in renovations to make federal buildings accessible. Those members voted against it. Shame on them.

EmploymentOral Questions

April 22nd, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, last year was marked by one of the highest unemployment rates for young Canadians. An OECD report indicates that the situation will worsen over the coming two years. This high unemployment rate has a hugely negative impact on the career, finances and health of young Canadians. It is not complicated: they need jobs to build a future.

Does the government intend to take action to improve youth employment rates or will they be letting my generation down?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in fact it is this government through our economic action plan that has expanded the opportunities for young people to get jobs and to get prepared to take jobs.

We provided an extra $30 million to develop the skills link fund that helps youth with extreme challenges, with a wide range of challenges, learn how to get a job and how to keep one. We have expanded the career focus program. We provided additional funding so that each year, last year and this year during the recession, 40,000 students can participate through Canada summer jobs.

The hon. member voted against all of that.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, young people deserve more than just summer jobs. They need jobs year-round. Not only that, young people are facing some of the highest costs of education. Nearly eight out of ten post-secondary students depend on work year-round to be able to pay for their education.

Will the government look out for the next generation and contribute to a high quality, accessible and affordable education? Will it work to create jobs and assist employers in offering jobs to young people, or will it contribute to ensuring that my generation is worse off than our parents and those who have come before them?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is, through the Canada grants program that our government brought in, we have made it possible for 120,000 more students to get better access to post-secondary education without going into debt. That is 120,000 more than under the previous government.

We have made it easier for them to repay loans based on their circumstances. Our expansion of the career focus and skills link program is helping them get new jobs.

It is about time the NDP supported some of these initiatives if it does not want to be cited for hypocrisy.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is Earth Day and to celebrate, the Minister of the Environment announced that every grade 8 student in Canada would receive a free park pass for the year.

Could the Minister of the Environment explain how this government will ensure that future generations can enjoy our truly gifted country?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the environment is very much about young Canadians. That is why this government has expanded Canada's national parks by 30% in only four years, achievements such as Nahanni, Mealy Mountains, Gwaii Haanas and Lancaster Sound.

That is why this government is protecting our fresh water with new regulations that prevent the discharge of untreated sewage into the Great Lakes and other lakes, our rivers and oceans. That is why we signed at Copenhagen. That is why we have introduced tough continental standards for tailpipe emissions.

This will be our Conservative legacy: larger parks, cleaner water, lower emissions.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Cape Breton regional municipality, the province of Nova Scotia and the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce stated that the number one priority for future economic development in Cape Breton was the dredging of Sydney Harbour.

The Port Authority has done its homework. An environmental assessment has been done, a competitive quote from a dredging company is in and a timeline has been announced.

The Minister for the Atlantic Gateway should tell the House when he will finally announce the funding so this project, which is so needed, can get started.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the work we are doing in Cape Breton. A considerable amount of funds has gone into Cape Breton under CAF, 14 projects worth $6.6 million, including $2 million for several culture initiatives, $450,000 for the pan-Atlantic lobster initiative, up to 41 recreational infrastructure projects, the innovative community fund.

This is all great news for Cape Breton.

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of groups representing seniors are on Parliament Hill today demanding justice for the thousands of destitute seniors. They are calling for a $110 per month increase to the guaranteed income supplement and full retroactivity for amounts that were not claimed on time, a measure that the Conservatives supported when they were the opposition.

When will the government improve the guaranteed income supplement and help our poorest seniors?

Guaranteed Income SupplementOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada wants all citizens to receive the benefits to which they are entitled. The majority of seniors can automatically reapply for the guaranteed income supplement if they submit their income tax return by April 30. Over 93% of Quebec seniors are participating compared with 90% for the country as a whole.