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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was artists.

Topics

Northern Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Kings--Hants.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have fought and voted against every advancement of gay rights in Canada, from pension benefits to marriage to transgender rights, and yet, yesterday, the Conservatives came out in support of the “It Gets Better” gay youth campaign.

If the Conservatives are now serious about helping gay youth, will they recognize the support that pride festivals provide to struggling young gays? Will the Conservatives restore the funding that they themselves cut for these important pride festivals across Canada?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate the answer we gave earlier.

This government has provided extraordinary amounts of funding in the arts and culture sector across this country, and we are very proud to do so. In my own riding and in ridings across this country, festivals are being supported.

We get a lot of applications for a lot of different things. We support a lot of different cultural festivals in communities across Canada. We look at all of those applications on their merit and we support the ones that Canadians ask us to support and the ones that meet the criteria of the programs that we establish.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is slashing ACOA. Its budget has been cut by almost 40% from 2005 levels, which is stunning, given that the Prime Minister stated in his 2006 campaign, “We're going to maintain the budget for ACOA”. This is at a time when the ACOA minister is hiring defeated Conservative candidates at top-rate salaries.

Would the minister table a list of all ACOA cuts and, along with that list, a list of individuals hired by ACOA since the Conservatives came into power?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave us a clear mandate to keep taxes low and balance our budget by 2014-15. ACOA has identified ways to make its internal services more efficient--for example, by reducing costs associated with travel and internal operations.

Over the next year, we will continue to cut the fat out of government. We will review all spending. We will review all hiring.

This government has done more for ACOA than the previous government, and we continue to support it.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government clearly lacks vision when it comes to immigration. Parents and grandparents have been waiting for years to join their families in Canada. Instead of examining all options to reunite family members living apart, the government has decided to limit the number of applications. That is unacceptable.

Why is this government insisting on imposing a limit on the number of claimants rather than searching for real solutions for family reunification?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question, but it is a little premature at this point. A study is taking place at citizenship and immigration and it will take place over the next number of weeks. We are looking at all options, bringing in a number of witnesses.

In this country, over the last six years in government, we have averaged 254,000 new immigrants coming to this country to be settled. That is 14% higher than the previous administration. I do not think we need to take any advice, or at least any lectures, from the opposition on what it is to become a Canadian.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to families, the government just does not get it. Parents and grandparents are a vital support for families in Canada, not a burden on the system as some Conservatives suggest. Elderly family members provide child care and the family support that new Canadians need to enter the workforce. Since the government has failed to establish a national child care system, help from older relatives is more important than ever.

Why does the minister refuse to recognize the important contributions that immigrant seniors make to our communities?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, there is not an immigration minister on this side of the House who has not stood up and ensured that we are up and working hard for seniors in this country. When we look at the averages over the last number of years, we are accepting new Canadians whether they are young or old.

What I would appreciate, while we are working through this process at the citizenship and immigration committee and while the minister is making the determination on how we deal with backlogs, that members would participate in a way that is meaningful and is helpful, rather than just sitting on the other side of the House and criticizing.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

October 21st, 2011 / 11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week our government delivered on a long-standing promise to farmers by introducing the marketing freedom for grain farmers act. Unfortunately, factions allied with the old Canadian Wheat Board guard are working to destroy the rural economy of the Prairies by opposing our bill. The actions being taken by these people and CWB chair Allen Oberg are disrupting what farmers need most, market certainty.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board explain how our government is improving the entire grain supply chain?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the marketing freedom for grain farmers act takes direct action to improve rail access for farmers and to provide market certainty.

First, the bill would guarantee farmers' rights to producer cars under the Canadian Grain Commission. Second, our government is implementing the rail freight service review. We are appointing a facilitator to improve those commercial relationships. Most important, this legislation would allow farmers the freedom to make their own shipping and marketing decisions.

Unfortunately, there are organizations in western Canada that have stood in the way of progress for years. It is no surprise they would be taking action and standing once again against the best interests of western Canadian producers.

However, our government is bringing marketing freedom to western Canadian farmers whether the opposition likes that or not.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to plead the case of a lady who has been waiting two months for her employment insurance. She has been diagnosed with cancer. She is physically and emotionally exhausted, and now she is broke. Yesterday, she spent three hours phoning the Service Canada 800 number, only to get busy signals. When she finally got through, the agent told her that the office workload was unbearable.

I am sure the minister will commit to looking into this specific case. However, does she not see that the 600 jobs she is carving out of the Service Canada EI processing centres is making a bad situation impossible?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the government sympathizes with that mother who is diligently fighting with cancer. Each case is assessed based on the current legislation and the payment of benefits. These will be evaluated for each individual situation.

Our government is currently reviewing the legislation to ensure the needs of Canadians are properly met under the program. We are modernizing, and there will be no Service Canada offices closing and no impact on in-person services offered.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, Goulard Lumber in Sturgeon Falls is losing its Quebec-based customers, who are now buying cheaper lumber from Maine. Why? Because the black liquor subsidy from the U.S. government lets them undercut the price of Canadian producers.

Like other companies across Canada, Goulard Lumber is not getting a fair deal from a government that worships free trade. When will the government adopt a forestry strategy that puts Canadians first and supports our communities?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that our focus is the Canadian economy and creating jobs and economic growth. That is why we have taken unprecedented investments to support Canada's forestry industry. It has created results. More than 13,000 jobs have been created in the forestry sector. We have a 600% increase, for example, in softwood exports to China alone.

Our government is going to continue to support the forestry sector across Canada. It is an important part of continuing the economic growth that we have in this country.

International TradeOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that our government's top priority remains completing the economic recovery and creating jobs. With one in five Canadian jobs dependent on trade, a trade agreement with the European Union has the potential to benefit Canada enormously. These benefits include a 20% boost in bilateral trade, almost 80,000 new jobs, and an extra $1,000 for the average Canadian family.

Could the parliamentary secretary please give the House an update on the status of our trade negotiations with the European Union?

International TradeOral Questions

Noon

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Etobicoke Centre for his support for our job-creating pro-trade plan.

Yesterday we announced the wrap-up of the ninth round of the comprehensive economic trade agreement with the European Union. The benefits from this trade agreement will be substantial. The hon. member mentioned them all: a 20% boost in bilateral trade, 80,000 new jobs, and nearly $1,000 on average per Canadian family.

As we have done throughout negotiations, our government will continue to vigorously defend Canadian interests to ensure that this agreement--

International TradeOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

Human RightsOral Questions

Noon

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the urgency of getting the Commonwealth to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. Remember, in 41 of 54 member states, being gay is still illegal. The Prime Minister of Britain and the Australian foreign minister have now spoken out strongly saying this issue must be on the agenda for the Commonwealth heads of government meeting.

Will the minister now make the same clear commitment and ensure that these basic human rights are a priority at the Commonwealth meetings next week in Perth?

Human RightsOral Questions

Noon

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, human rights will be front and centre at the Commonwealth summit next week in Perth, Australia. We will be considering the adoption of the report by the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, on which Senator Hugh Segal assisted, with nine other leaders in the Commonwealth.

The rights of gays and lesbians are tremendously important. It is completely unacceptable that homosexuality continues to be criminalized in a majority of Commonwealth countries. We will certainly take that issue to the summit.

International TradeOral Questions

Noon

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers understand the importance of a free trade agreement with the European Union, but they are not prepared to accept just anything. They cherish the richness of their culture and obviously want to protect agricultural supply management, public services and water resources. The Conservatives are negotiating in a vacuum and are not giving the public any information. They are merely providing assurances, as the parliamentary secretary did earlier, that important progress is being made in key sectors, without providing any details. In short, we fear the devil is in the details.

Does the minister understand that the implications of this agreement are too important to keep Parliament and the public in the dark?

International TradeOral Questions

Noon

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know, farmers know, and the House knows our strong commitment to supply management. We promote supply management and we have defended it in our trade agreements. This is no different in our negotiations with the European Union.

Mental Health Commission of CanadaRoutine Proceedings

Noon

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the 2010-11 annual report of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the commission for its work.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

Noon

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to table in the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie respecting its participation at the XXVIIth Regional Assembly and at the Conference of Branch Chairs of the Americas Region, held in Regina, Saskatchewan, from August 22 to 26, 2011.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment ActRoutine Proceedings

Noon

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-332, An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Western Arctic.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill again, although I really do not understand why, after six years, Parliament has not been able to pull together a consensus to do the work that should be done to honour Canadians with the proper appellation attached to each constituency.

My constituency, which lies between Nunavut and Yukon, is called the Western Arctic. The failure of the previous member of Parliament to change the name at the time of division means that my people do not have proper recognition in the House of Commons. This is really unfortunate. I would ask for the unanimous consent of all parties to recognize the people of the Northwest Territories correctly in Parliament.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)