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House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

SeniorsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, we obviously do not live on the same planet. There are more and more Canadian seniors who have too much debt and not enough income.

SeniorsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

SeniorsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

SeniorsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the number of poor seniors is increasing. The Conservatives have a simple answer: let the financial markets provide guaranteed pension plans for Canadians. That is their answer. We know what happened during the recession. That strategy resulted in lost income because of the downturn in the financial markets.

When will the government finally support Canadians and double Canada and Quebec pension plan benefits? It should do so immediately.

SeniorsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, we strive continually to help our seniors. We introduced several bills and the NDP voted against them. We are continuing, as are the provincial governments, to work on reforming the Canada pension plan, but, like many of the provinces, we share the concerns of small businesses and others with respect to any increase in costs at a time when the global economy is barely recovering.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in committee, the President of the Public Service Commission of Canada, Mrs. Barrados, had this to say:

The way we operate in the Public Service is that the language requirement is an essential requirement.... If you don't meet the language requirement, you don't get the job.

Since a mastery of both official languages was clearly indicated as essential for the position of Auditor General and the person appointed by the Prime Minister is not bilingual, does the government realize what it is doing to the public service? Does it realize it is opening a Pandora's box?

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, the government looked for bilingual candidates. After an extensive process, a candidate was chosen because he was by far the most qualified.

Mr. Ferguson is in the process of becoming comfortable in both of Canada's official languages, like many members here in the House. Mr. Ferguson has a proven track record within the provincial public service in New Brunswick.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, the only member of the government's selection committee for the position of Auditor General outside of government circles was a registered lobbyist by the name of Kevin Dancey, the head of the CICA.

The purpose of lobbying is to benefit the organization being lobbied for. While he was advancing a position on who the Auditor General should be, Mr. Dancey was also actively lobbying every organization on the selection committee, including the Office of the Auditor General. In future, the same individual will likely be lobbying the very same Auditor General he helped select.

Does the government understand and realize the apparent and obvious conflict?

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, the qualifications of our candidate for Auditor General are unparalleled. As an example, the former Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, says, “He will be a very good auditor general. He is very capable, a very nice person and I think once Parliamentarians get to know him, they will appreciate him”.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Maikel Nabil is a young Egyptian blogger, one of the early voices of the Tahrir Square revolution. He became the first political prisoner in the post-Mubarak era.

He was sentenced by a military tribunal in March to three years in jail on a bogus charge of insulting the Egyptian army and was further compromised by his pro-Israeli views. He is now in the 66th day of a hunger strike and has become, like the Christian Coptic community under assault, a symbol of the betrayal of the Tahrir revolution. His life hangs in the balance.

Will the government immediately seek his release from prison?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about this situation. We take it very seriously. I can advise the House that we are in consultation, not just with authorities in the country but with like-minded partners, to address this situation. It is a very high priority for our government.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

October 28th, 2011 / 11:40 a.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us see if the record is still broken. Yesterday, in response to a question from my colleague about the decision to appoint a unilingual anglophone Auditor General, the President of the Treasury Board said, “Upon completion of a rigorous process, the most qualified candidate was chosen.”

Now, we all agree that the President of the Treasury Board has zero credibility when it comes to undertaking a rigorous process. However, we would still like to know what is so rigorous about choosing a unilingual anglophone for a position that requires proficiency in both official languages.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned before, Mr. Ferguson is learning French, as are many members of this House and of the public service. If the member opposite doubts Mr. Ferguson's commitment, then perhaps he would like to come to the public accounts committee on Monday and ask him directly, as I am sure he will.

As far as Mr. Ferguson's qualifications are concerned, he comes with excellent references. However, the member need not take my word for it. Let me share one reference with you. The reference states, “He will be a very good auditor general. He is very capable, a very nice person and I think once Parliamentarians get to know him, they will appreciate him”.

Who said that? The former Auditor General herself, Sheila Fraser.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is obviously still the same broken record. If, after months of searching, they were not able to find an auditor general who, as the job poster indicated, was proficient in both languages at the time of hiring, it shows what kind of employers the Conservatives are.

When a private company requires comprehension of both official languages, it means that it is a critical competence for undertaking the required work. Why are the Conservatives treating this requirement as a minor detail that can be set aside if it becomes an inconvenience?

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, the government sought bilingual candidates. After a thorough process, the successful candidate was determined to be by far the most qualified. Mr. Ferguson has undertaken to become proficient in both of Canada's official languages and he has already begun training. Mr. Ferguson has a proven track record of public service in the province of New Brunswick, but do not take my word for it, here is a quote:

--what Mike Ferguson will face in Ottawa as opposed to Fredericton will be simply a few extra zeroes at the end of the numbers. The same skills and the same types of experience will count in both jobs.

Who said that? It was the Liberal leader, Victor Boudreau.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault NDP Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the President of the Public Service Commission said that, in the public service, language is an essential requirement. This government continues to tell anyone who will listen that it has nothing against bilingualism and that the Auditor General is perfectly competent, except it has forgotten one important requirement: bilingualism.

Did the government at least take the time to interview him and ask him a few questions in French before offering him the job?

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, our government supports official languages. That is why we allocated over $1 billion to the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality. This represents an unprecedented investment meant to promote and protect bilingualism across the country.

In regard to Mr. Ferguson, I have another quote. This comes from the premier of New Brunswick who said:

He's outstanding, he's a leader and, quite frankly, that's one of the reasons why I came to him to become deputy minister of Finance in New Brunswick at certainly a very difficult time in the province's history,

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault NDP Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is all well and good to want to favour one's friends instead of choosing the most competent people for essential positions, but when it is done at the expense of francophones from coast to coast to coast, that is unacceptable. The government cannot play the bilingualism card only when it wants to look good.

Will the government reverse its decision and appoint a bilingual auditor general?

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, this government has done more for official languages than any other government in Canadian history, including investing over $1 billion in our road map for linguistic duality.

Mr. Ferguson is the most qualified candidate for the job. We have many different people quoted as saying that and we will stand behind our candidate.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all, and that is exactly what we are doing.

However, members on this side of the House are not the only ones who received that mandate from the people of Canada. Many NDP MPs promised their constituents that if they sent them to this place they would vote to end the long gun registry. However, we have already seen early in this Parliament that many NDP members are breaking their promises to their constituents.

Would the parliamentary secretary please tell the House how she views the decisions of those members opposite?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Red Deer for the good work he has done in helping us end the long gun registry.

I believe, and I think we all believe, that members must respect and represent the views of the Canadians who sent them here. I find it very disheartening to hear the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley say that the fever has gone down a bit on the gun registry in his riding, or the member for Western Arctic, who also campaigned on ending the long gun registry, saying that he thinks it appropriate for provinces to develop their own registry.

Canadians find that sort of hedging unacceptable. When MPs make promises, Canadians expect those promises to be kept. I call on all opposition members--

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Canada PostOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, how does the minister explain the unfair treatment of Quebec when it comes to the cuts at Canada Post? The cuts in Quebec are alarming at 53%, when elsewhere in the country they are only 4% to 8%.

How does the minister explain that Quebec is not entitled to the same postal service as the rest of the country?

Canada PostOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post is a crown corporation that is at arm's length from the government. In fact, all Canadians are entitled to the same service from this corporation, but we will not interfere in the day-to-day management of this organization.

Canada PostOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is avoiding questions on the cuts at Canada Post and continuing to give vague answers.

Can the parliamentary secretary finally tell us why Quebec is being so unjustly penalized? Postal service is crucial across the country. Why is this government abandoning Quebec? Quebeckers deserve an answer.