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House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

HousingStatements By Members

November 22nd, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate National Housing Day and the accomplishments of those who are working to create affordable housing solutions throughout our country. Our government is helping those seeking to break free from the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

In September 2008, we committed more than $1.9 billion over five years for housing and homelessness. Currently, there are over 14,000 projects completed or under way through Canada's economic action plan. In addition, this year alone we will invest more than $2 billion in housing through CMHC.

Local challenges need local solutions, which is why we are partnering with industry and organizations across the country. A new framework agreement was announced with the provinces and territories in July this year. That translates into over 50,000 housing units across Canada.

Our government believes that all Canadians deserve a stable, safe and affordable place to call home.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, in a speech delivered to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Minister of Natural Resources stated:

The new Enbridge Northern Gateway project and expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain system are currently under review by the joint panel.

Joint panel reviews combine a full National Energy Board oral hearing with the stringent Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency review panel.

We on this side of the House continue to call for maximum public input on any pipeline projects and are pleased the government has heeded our calls and committed the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan projects to the most stringent reviews possible.

As the Trans Mountain project is slated to run through my riding of Burnaby—Douglas, I have surveyed constituents; commissioned a province-wide poll; and met with dozens of stakeholders from industry, first nations and municipal governments, many of which oppose the Trans Mountain expansion. Only by carefully listening to those most impacted by the projects will we be able to develop constructive solutions and move our economy forward.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are rightfully concerned when the practice of polygamy is exposed in this country. We believe polygamy has no place in modern Canadian society. Our government firmly believes that the Criminal Code prohibition against polygamy is consistent with Canadian values, as well as compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We also believe that this prohibition created by Canada's elected representatives should be upheld. This is why our government has vigorously defended the prohibition against polygamy in the Criminal Code.

Polygamy is a practice which inevitably leads to the exploitation of women, sometimes even young girls, who have no other choice. This is unacceptable to our party and to our government. We have already acted to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age and currently have legislation before this House which would crack down on a wide variety of child sexual offences. I would like to assure all Canadians that they can count on us to stand up for their values and for Parliament's role in making laws which prohibit practices that conflict with those values.

UkraineStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week, we remember Ukrainian men, women and children who lost their lives during the Holodomor. Between 1932 and 1933, under the directive of Joseph Stalin, millions of innocent people died as a result of poor living conditions and starvation. Once known as the breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine was forced to give up its grains to the Soviet regime, under an imposed system of collectivization that devastated the country.

Today, the Ukrainian community plays an integral role in Canada's vibrant culture and has no doubt been an important part in the development of our nation.

This week has been officially declared by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress as the National Holodomor Awareness Week.

In Winnipeg, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights is set to open its doors in 2012. I, with many others, look forward to seeing a permanent display of the Holodomor. It is my sincerest hope that through means such as the Human Rights Museum, people will be better informed of these past tragedies because it is so important that we never forget the genocide that occurred.

TradeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, today, at the international trade committee, we heard from an anti-trade special interest group that wilfully ignored the jobs and prosperity that are created through deeper trade. It is shameful that the NDP lauded this group instead of standing up for Canadian workers and their jobs. However, that is not surprising. Just last week, NDP MPs took an anti-trade junket to Washington to lobby against tens of thousands of Canadian jobs. This week, they are lauding anti-trade special interest groups at the trade committee during our study of the EU free trade negotiations.

The NDP and its special interest groups ignore the benefits to Canadian workers and businesses from a free trade agreement with the European Union: a 20% boost in bilateral trade; a $12 billion annual boost to Canada's economy; a $1,000 increase in the average family's income; and almost 80,000 new jobs created.

With one in five Canadian jobs generated by trade, it is no wonder Canadians gave us a strong, stable, majority government.

AsbestosStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's position on exporting asbestos is immoral and is tantamount to exporting disease. Experts around the globe are saying so, Canadians are saying so, many associations in Quebec are saying so, and more and more Conservative members are also saying so. But they are saying so quietly and secretly, because they are afraid of their own boss.

Those Conservatives are betraying their consciences and their constituents. Those members were elected on the promise that they would change Ottawa, but instead, Ottawa has changed them. They have abandoned their ideals and have become exactly what they despised: politicians who are out of touch with reality and who have to suppress what their own conscience tells them to do.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, the economic policies of the NDP are truly disappointing. Rather than supporting our government's economic action plan to create jobs, the NDP supports policies that would be devastating to our economy.

Last week, members of the NDP caucus were in Washington protesting against our energy sector while here at home they chose to vote against the budget implementation act.

Canadians gave our Conservative government a strong mandate to stay focused on what matters: creating jobs and economic growth.

Key tax relief measures passed yesterday include the family caregivers tax credit, the children's arts tax credit, the volunteer firefighters tax credit, tax relief for the manufacturing sector, tax relief for small businesses when they create jobs and making the gas tax fund permanent.

While the global economy is still fragile, we remain focused on what matters: a low tax plan to create jobs and economic growth, a plan that is working.

The NDP's fiscal policies are yet another worrying example that the NDP--

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. Oral questions. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the 2014 Canada health accord negotiations will finally begin this week, discussions the NDP has been calling for since before the election.

Universal health care is dear to Canadians. It is the single most important element of social and economic justice in the country, a symbol of the Canadian value of taking care of each other.

My question is for the Prime Minister. What role will the Canadian public have in these discussions?

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that health care is probably the most important service that governments provide to the Canadian people. The Canadian people value that service.

Obviously, all governments are struggling with the increased costs we see over time. That is a discussion that I think will engage all Canadians over the next couple of years.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is the federal government's responsibility to help the provinces improve their health care systems and to do so within the parameters of the five principles, which are: universality, public administration, accessibility, portability and comprehensiveness.

The Prime Minister must commit to reaching a new 10-year health care agreement, including 6% indexation so that the provinces and territories know what to expect in the long term.

Will the Prime Minister commit to that?

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, health care is the most important service that governments provide to the Canadian people. All governments are struggling with the increased costs and that is an issue we will discuss when we talk about how to maintain these programs in the future.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, since the last accord was signed there has been little progress on wait times or primary care reform, a failure to hire enough doctors and nurses, a failure on pharmaceuticals, a failure on home care and a near complete failure on reporting results.

Where is the plan for improving health care now?

With two years still to go, will the Prime Minister finally take health care seriously and deliver results now on the current health agreement?

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think most Canadians recognize that the delivery of health care is principally a provincial responsibility. The principal role of the federal government has been to support it through the transfer system. Of course, under this government, we are giving a record amount of money for health care.

I agree that there are some gaps in terms of accountability and results, and those are things we are encouraging the provinces to look at as we approach 2014.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report speaks of "chronic and widespread" mismanagement that contradicts the government's claim about the economic action plan.

The government cannot say how many jobs were created after having spent $47 billion of Canadians' money.

The program was so badly monitored that no one knows if it was effective. We now know that 72,000 full-time jobs were lost last month, thanks to the policies of this government.

Now that the truth is out, when will this government put aside bogus and unsubstantiated job claims and take real and immediate action to create jobs here in Canada for Canadian families?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the positive impact of the economic action plan, which the official opposition voted against, can be seen in the almost 600,000 net new jobs for Canadians since the end of the recession. It was a good plan. It worked. It is regrettable that the NDP chose to vote against it.

Here is what the Auditor General actually said:

The government did a good job of monitoring progress and spending in three programs funded under the Economic Action Plan....

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not bogus job claims that will get the government out of this mess.

Here is what the Auditor General said:

The lack of reliable performance information on job creation will make it difficult for the government to assess the...effectiveness in meeting one of its key objectives.

The government and the Canadian public cannot compare the goals of the Conservative plan with the outcome.That is actually what good managers do: goals, outcomes, matching it up. They did not do it. There is no monitoring. There is no transparency.

Why the lack of monitoring? Why the lack of transparency? Why did the government not get the job done?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague has indicated, this economy has created nearly 600,000 net new jobs under this government, under the economic action plan, which, as my colleague, the minister, indicated, has been praised by auditors general, and Canadians agree with that. They gave us not only strong praise but a strong mandate to protect and complete Canada's economic recovery.

They, on the other side, of course, call for higher taxes that would kill jobs and hurt the economy. Our plan is to keep taxes low, to focus on jobs and to grow the economy. I think Canadians agree with us.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, some quotes from the Auditor General, “Farmers can wait up to two years for a payment”. The government does not know “if a visa was issued to someone who was in fact inadmissible”. In terms of military equipment maintenance, “the department does not track the full costs of maintenance and repair activities”.

Why is this Prime Minister running such a disorganized government?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, thanks to the government, the Canadian economy has nearly 600,000 more jobs.

We accept the findings of the Auditor General. The Auditor General has made some good findings and some good recommendations, which we are already working on.

The fact is that when we look at the state of the economy and the state of our moves to ensure we are a help rather than a hindrance, this government has gotten it right and the Auditor General agrees with us on that.

Health CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, that Muskoka minister has 50 million reasons to be disorganized.

The Auditor General has revealed:

Health Canada is slow to act on potential safety issues related to drugs already on the market.

He stated further:

It sometimes takes more than two years to complete an assessment and provide Canadians with updated safety information.

All rhetoric and politics aside, how can the Prime Minister tolerate such a sloppy approach to the health of Canadians. What will the government do today to fix this critical problem?

Health CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government agrees with the Auditor General's findings and work is already under way to address those recommendations.

My department is making improvements on how Health Canada responds to concerns about products that are on the market. The health and safety of Canadians is a priority for our government and we are putting processes in place to ensure that the products on the market are safe, efficient and reliable for all Canadians.

Health CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General makes it crystal clear that the government failed to meet its own standards for reviewing the safety and effectiveness of drugs at all levels, pre-clinical, clinical trials and post-market risk assessment.

In fact, the Auditor General found that the department takes over two years to inform the public of unsafe drugs on the market.

Will the minister admit that this failure endangers patients' lives and will she commit now to provide the funds and resources necessary to report drug risks to the public promptly?

Health CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, we agree with the Auditor General's findings.

My department is making improvements on how Health Canada responds to safety issues regarding drugs on the market. For example, our government has invested in drug safety and, in fact, the network MedEffect was created by our government a year or two ago and $32 million were invested to support that initiative.

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report has confirmed what the NDP has been saying for quite some time. The Conservatives have a habit of being opaque. They ignore evidence, reject the advice of experts and are not accountable to Canadians. The Auditor General said “that poor information is a widespread, chronic problem in the federal government.”

How can Canadians trust the President of the Treasury Board, a minister who refuses to explain his fiascos and who is unable to provide job figures for the $47 million in investments and expenditures? He should not bring up 600,000 jobs because that is hogwash.