This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I was not aware of a $27 million expenditure, because it was not made. There was a $2.2 million lease for a 24-month period. It was a competitive lease.

I am wondering why that member would stand up and deliberately say what he knows is not true.

CensusOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, a unanimous motion of the Quebec National Assembly calls on the federal government to reconsider its decision to eliminate the mandatory long form census to meet basic requirements in terms of socio-economic data. The Conservative government's ideological and illogical decision will result in additional costs for the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Does the minister realize that by eliminating the mandatory long form census, he is taking away essential tools that policy makers need to make the best choices to serve the public?

CensusOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, our fair and reasonable solution is to find the best balance between the collection of the necessary data and the privacy of Canadian citizens. However, the Bloc might have another solution. A few months ago, the Bloc leader said, “We can tell people, ‘Well, if you refuse, certain government services won't be provided to you for as long as you refuse.’ A passport, for instance. Employment insurance, for instance.” That is not our government's solution.

CensusOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec and Ontario wrote to the Minister of Industry, asking him to bring back the mandatory long form census as quickly as possible. They said that the quality of services provided to the public will be impacted.

Will the minister reconsider, listen to the urgent calls from Quebec and bring back the mandatory long form census as soon as possible?

CensusOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I already said, we must respond to the demands of Canadians, not all Canadians, but those who want the Government of Canada to protect their privacy. Our solution is a fair and reasonable balance between the need for information and the privacy of Canadians. We are proud to be implementing this solution.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance system is not responding to the needs of workers. It needs a complete overhaul, which is why we have introduced a bill to improve the employment insurance system and facilitate access to it, notably by establishing a single, universal threshold of 360 working hours.

Does the government plan to support this bill, which will be voted on tonight, to ensure that workers' employment insurance premiums are not used for other purposes?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, during the recession, we added and extended benefits that unemployed people needed. What the Bloc is proposing is irresponsible and would permanently increase employment insurance costs and premiums by 35%. That is unacceptable for hard-working Canadians.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of pilot projects to help unemployed people deal with the infamous “spring gap” are coming to an end this fall, notably the initiative that provides five supplementary weeks of benefits.

How can the government claim to not have any money to help workers who lose their jobs when it is ready to pilfer $20 billion from the employment insurance fund?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, through our economic action plan, we increased payments and other benefits for unemployed people who were hit the hardest during the global recession. At that time, we said that these measures would be targeted and temporary, for the duration of the recession. Luckily, Canada is leading the world in terms of recovery and the programs must be temporary.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we all know now that the Conservative government has spent more than $1 billion on things such as a fake lake, snacks, and hand lotion at the G8 summit. Meanwhile, over 200,000 seniors are living below the poverty line in Canada. That $1 billion could have given seniors $5,000 each, enough for groceries for the year.

My question is quite simple. As the Prime Minister was attending his caviar summits, did he even once, just once, think about how he could have helped those thousands of seniors to make ends meet?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has done a lot to help seniors over the last four and a half years. We have seen the poverty rate drop to record lows compared with what they were under the previous Liberal government.

We have introduced pension income splitting. We have raised the age credit limit, not once but twice. We have made it possible for them to defer withdrawals from their RRSPs. And we have reduced taxes for all Canadians, giving them more money in their pockets to do the things they want to do in their retirement.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have wasted millions of dollars on ridiculous expenses, such as building a fake lake for the G20 meeting. Now they want to borrow billions and billions of dollars to give tax cuts to big corporations. Yet they are not doing anything for the 2.7 million family caregivers in Canada, over 40% of whom have to dig into their savings to take care of their relatives.

I would like to ask the government what its priorities are. Does it care more about fake lakes or about Canadian families?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, maybe the member was not here, but we have done a lot to help families, especially families of parents and children.

We have introduced the universal child care benefit so that families can have the choice of raising their children at home. We also introduced tax credits to help with the expenses of family members who are ill and who need to be at home. We also brought in and extended the compassionate care benefit under employment insurance.

We are doing things to help Canadian families. It would be nice if the Liberals supported some of those things.

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's priorities are completely out of touch with Canadians.

Families in British Columbia are struggling with the high cost of living and day to day concerns like high tuition fees, caring for aging parents, insecure pensions and access to child care. In fact, the day care at UBC alone has over 2,000 children waiting for a space.

I ask the minister, why does the government consider G8 glow sticks and trinkets more important than the basic needs of families?

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, one of the very first initiatives of our government four and a half years ago was to introduce the universal child care benefit, which put $100 a month in the hands of Canadian parents so they would have the choice in child care that they deserved, whether they wanted commercial day care or whether they wanted a parent to stay at home and raise the child.

The other thing we did was provide funds to the provinces, which after all have jurisdiction and responsibility for providing child care spaces, to create new spaces. So far, the provinces have reported that they have created over 62,000 new spaces.

Child CareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not understand the word “universal”.

Families in my riding are desperate for child care spaces. If they are to find a space, it is often more than their mortgage payment each month. They are asking me how the government can justify its excessive spending of $300,000 for bug spray and sunscreen when that money could have gone toward helping Canadian families make ends meet.

How can the government justify valuing bug spray and sunscreen more than Canadian children?

Child CareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have done a lot to help families, particularly low income families, meet the challenging financial demands of these days, including, as I mentioned, the universal child care benefit.

But there is more. We introduced the working income tax benefit, better known as WITB, to help people get over the welfare wall. We increased that. We also augmented the national child tax benefit and credits.

We have provided a number of things to help families financially. It is a shame that the Liberals just do not support any of them.

JusticeOral Questions

September 29th, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's decision by the Ontario Superior Court on the Bedford prostitution challenge struck down key components of our anti-prostitution laws and was deeply troubling to a number of Canadians.

Could the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada please update the House on what action our government is prepared to take on this very important issue?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, prostitution is a problem that harms individuals and communities. That is why I am pleased to indicate to the House that the government will appeal and will seek a stay of that decision.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, to say that the Department of Veterans Affairs is in a mess would be an understatement. From the government appointing its friends to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, to the many years of bureaucratic delay it takes for a veteran's appeal, now we have members of our veteran community, Sean Bruyea and Colonel Stogran, the ombudsman himself, who are fearful about their medical information being released to the minister.

My question for the minister is quite clear. How many other people is he aware of whose medical and psychiatric information has been shared among the department and with the minister? Has the minister himself seen any personal file--

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, protection of privacy is extremely important to us, sacred even. It is so important to us that when I found out the day before yesterday that more information about our veterans had been disclosed to individuals who were not entitled to that information, I made sure that my staff called the commissioner to find out if she could broaden her investigation, given that the problem was systemic. She was happy to agree to do so.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing for the Privacy Commissioner to look into DVA, but the problem is that the Privacy Commissioner has no legislative ability to change the structure of DVA.

What is required, and what many veterans across the country are asking for, is a public inquiry into the practices and policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

My question for the minister is quite clear. Will he now stand in this House and ask for a full public inquiry into the practices and policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I want to emphasize how important it is to protect our veterans' privacy. I asked the Privacy Commissioner to look into everything that is going on right now because these problems appear to be systemic.

The reason I made an effort to contact the commissioner about this is that I want to know what she recommends. The department will make changes based on what she tells us. We will not just sit back and wait. We are already taking action to make changes in the department so that we can protect our veterans' privacy.

Radioactive WasteOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is holding public consultations on the request by an Ontario company to use the St. Lawrence to ship radioactive waste. Officials at the commission have already come out in favour of the plan.

How can people have any confidence in these public consultations when the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission already seems prepared to authorize the use of the St. Lawrence to ship radioactive waste?