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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was consultants.

Topics

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the registry helps protect women against domestic violence. The Prime Minister should remind the member for Portage—Lisgar that domestic violence is a crime.

We maintain that the registry is essential to protecting women in the domestic sphere. Why will the Prime Minister not work with the opposition to save the gun registry and improve it for the benefit of all Canadians?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the registry does no such thing. What is interesting is that when we bring in measures to actually deal with things like domestic violence, to deal with that kind of crime, the opposition opposes us over and over again.

Unfortunately, it is only interested in targeting its efforts against law-abiding citizens. The vast majority of gun owners in this country support responsible gun control. What they do not support is a registry that is costly, ineffective and targeted against them instead of real criminals. We will continue fighting to abolish it.

The EconomyOral Questions

September 22nd, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the Canadian Club of Ottawa, the Minister of Finance gave a partisan, alarmist, even ridiculous speech. Specifically, he predicted the loss of 400,000 jobs if a coalition of the three opposition parties were elected.

Instead of having his finance minister invent doomsday scenarios, why does the Prime Minister not deal with the real issues, such as the real economic crisis we are going through? Why does he not implement a real recovery plan that would help the forestry industry, which is experiencing real problems?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has been taking action on the Canadian economy and the economic crisis for more than two years. That is why Canada has outperformed other nations. We are helping the unemployed and the affected industries, we are funding projects in the municipalities, and we are lowering taxes. The Bloc Québécois voted against all these measures for Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, he is helping the unemployed by taking $20 billion out of their pockets. He is helping the forestry industry by doing nothing. Come on. If the Prime Minister was serious, he would ask his Minister of Finance to stop using scare tactics and extend the deadline for infrastructure projects.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his inflexibility in this matter is a threat to one third of the infrastructure projects in Quebec, which are creating jobs and keeping the economy going? It seems to me that, in the midst of an economic crisis, that is more important than an absurd speech to the Canadian Club.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are working with our partners—the provinces, municipalities, the private sector, universities and colleges—to ensure that these projects are completed. It is interesting to note that the Bloc Québécois is attacking the project deadline even though it opposed the program. That is a completely irresponsible position during a recession. The people of Quebec do not need such a party.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the March 31, 2011 deadline is jeopardizing numerous infrastructure projects. For example, some municipalities have had to interrupt their work for lack of materials, notably pipes. They cannot continue their work; there are no pipes. That is the case in Lachute, St-Eustache and Beauharnois.

Does the government realize that maintaining the March 31, 2011 deadline is putting numerous projects in jeopardy and potentially depriving Quebec of several hundred jobs as well as major municipal infrastructure?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we know that the infrastructure stimulus funding, which was part of the economic action plan, was timely and targeted, but it was temporary. It had to be done by March 31. Everyone who signed an agreement with the federal government or other participants signed on that they could get the job done by March 31. Thankfully, of course, those projects are getting done across the country. Some 93% of the projects are well under way.

We continue to work with the provinces and proponents on individual projects to see if we can re-scope and work with them. We are getting good work and good co-operation in Quebec and we hope to see all of those projects concluded by March 31.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the deadline, artificially set by the government, is having other negative effects. For example, in order to complete projects by March 31, municipalities are having to pay overtime. That is the case for the recreation centre in Saint-Lambert. The federal government's lack of flexibility means that we are paying more than is necessary for our public infrastructure.

Why is the government insisting on maintaining the March 31 deadline?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I can say that everyone who signed an agreement on any of these construction projects signed on that they could get it done by March 31.

Whether we are talking recreation centres or other needed infrastructure throughout Quebec, the Bloc votes against all of it. What is interesting is that every time there is an announcement about infrastructure spending in Quebec, every time we put up one of those signs that the Bloc hates so much, it tells us to take down the sign because it is a sign of prosperity, hope and unity between us and Canada.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government says that we are somehow in the home stretch of the recovery but there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians limping on the sidelines right now. That is because they are facing a loss of a quarter of a million full-time jobs and they are forced into part-time work that simply does not pay the bills. It is not an economic recovery until those people are back in full-time family-supporting jobs.

Is the Prime Minister willing to peek out from behind his billboards long enough to come out with a plan that will create full-time work that will give us a full middle-class recovery?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is important to note to begin with that the Canadian economy has net created over 400,000 jobs in the past year, one of the best performances anywhere in the world.

I am the first to say, and have said repeatedly, that our economy has not yet fully recovered. We need to see further progress in the labour market. However, the way to do that is to support the actions being taken by this government to get projects rolling and also to build the long-term base of the Canadian economy.

If the leader of the NDP is worried about those things and interested in those things, he should start supporting what the government is doing for the economy.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, part-time jobs are not a true sign of economic recovery, and the Prime Minister should know that.

The Conservatives are once again attacking the middle class, small-business owners, local businesses and entrepreneurs by increasing employment insurance premiums for employers and employees.

Since the recovery is stalling and people are still looking for stable jobs, will the government work with us to create permanent jobs for people?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian economy has created over 400,000 jobs in the past year. That is one of the best performances in the developed world during this economic crisis. The recovery has started, but it is not over. We need to see further progress in the labour market. That is essential.

The way to do that is to support the actions being taken by this government to protect the Canadian economy, to protect our industries and to create jobs. I encourage the NDP not to vote against these measures as it has done in the past.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government will bring all those projects to a dead halt in six months. That is wrong. What we need is an extension of stimulus here to create work.

I would like to turn to another very troubling report that we read about today. Sean Bruyea, an advocate on behalf of veterans, a veteran himself who served this country, found out that the Conservatives have been rooting around in his private medical records. That is contrary not to only decency but to the law. We found that the Minister of Veterans Affairs was trying to find out about medical appointments.

Will the minister stand in his place and apologize today?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear about the facts. It appears that certain private information regarding this individual had been widely circulating in the bureaucracy and, by the way, before this government came to office.

That is completely unacceptable. Canadians take the privacy laws extremely seriously, especially for those who have served our country in uniform.

I understand the Privacy Commissioner is looking into matters such as this. The Privacy Commissioner will receive nothing but the full co-operation of this government to ensure that these kinds of things do not happen again.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians certainly question the decisions of the government to borrow and spend $16 billion on untendered stealth fighters and over $1 billion on a weekend photo op. It wants to spend $10 billion on prisons for unreported crimes. Now it is reviewing a program designed to improve access for people with disabilities, a fund that has almost $100 million less in it than what the government spent on government propaganda.

While this review is being conducted, will the minister promise to evaluate all the evidence, including the evidence that indicates that over 90% of this fund has gone to Conservative ridings?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we introduced the enabling accessibility fund to overcome something that the Liberals had not done for years and years and that is to remove barriers for the disabled right across this country. We have done that and are doing that. We are opening up churches and municipal buildings. We are investing in federal buildings and making them accessible so that the disabled have access.

We have extended that program. There is a review going on. The review will not be completed until after the program is completed. Meanwhile, we want to ensure that Canadians who are disabled have the access to the services and the opportunities that all other Canadians have.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have to ask what is happening over there.

The choices that the government makes: $1 billion for G20 photo ops and $45 million over two years for people with disabilities. It cancelled the PALS disability survey and then the long form census which disability groups need desperately to serve their clients.

What kind of choice is that? That is a choice that puts ideology ahead of evidence. How can the Canadian government spend $1 billion on a photo op and then have the nerve to review spending on a program for people with disabilities?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's hypocrisy is breathtaking. He is criticizing us for opening doors for the disabled, doors that the Liberal government had kept shut for years.

Through the enabling accessibility fund, there are over 300 projects across this country that are making government facilities and municipal facilities available to the disabled, including Iona Presbyterian Church in the member's riding. If it were up to the member, those doors would not be open.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of Veterans Affairs whether his plan would be retroactive to 2006 or whether it would leave behind our veterans who were injured in the last four years.

The minister wriggled around the question. Our veterans deserve better than that. After all, they have risked their lives for Canada.

Yes or no, will the plan be retroactive to 2006 or will it exclude the veterans who have returned from the battlefields in the last four years?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, indeed, we made an important announcement this week of an additional $2 billion to support our veterans, our modern-day veterans, particularly those who are returning from Afghanistan with serious injuries.

Additional funds will be granted to them. Those who can no longer work will receive $1,000 a month for life, in addition to the amounts they are already receiving. Also, those who are at the lower end of the income scale will receive a minimum, while in rehabilitation, which will correspond to—

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should have shown some compassion a long time ago. But let us move on.

The article that was published yesterday regarding the release of personal information, including the medical file, of a veteran—an ordinary Canadian citizen—who has criticized the government has shocked Canadians. This invasion of privacy could constitute a criminal offence.

Can the minister explain what would justify his government interfering like this in a citizen's private life?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure hon. members will understand, I cannot discuss a specific case that is before the courts. However, Veterans Affairs Canada is of course subject to and must comply with the Privacy Act. I would remind the House that privacy is a fundamental right for all Canadians, including our veterans, and any violations are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.