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House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was french.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has failed to deliver on accountability under the current health accords. There is still time to fix that. We have at least two more years, in fact, for the government to deliver on its promises. Canadians do not have the information the federal government promised they would have on what was or was not achieved under the current health accords.

Will the Conservatives agree to bring in a full accounting, now, so that Canadians can have a meaningful debate on what the next health accord should accomplish for this country?

HealthOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, there have been issues of accountability with the original 2004 accord that was negotiated by the Liberals. However, there is good news: the Minister of Health is having the opportunity to meet with her colleagues from the provinces and territories today to discuss what we have learned from that 2004 health accord.

Our government is committed to the escalation of the 6% to the provinces and territories. We are committed to a universal and publicly funded health care system and to the Canada Health Act. The upcoming discussions will be about just what the member is asking for: accountability; results for Canadians, including better reporting—

HealthOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh.

HealthOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the commitment on accountability was made in the last health accord.

We have spent $160 billion under the current accords. Are Canadians getting value for that money? The truth is that the Conservatives have failed to live up to the current accord. They failed to ensure proper reporting on what we got for that spending.

The meetings in Halifax are not going to advance that. The Conservatives just did not do the work. If the Conservatives are able to demonstrate some leadership and accountability, why not do it right now, rather than three years from now?

HealthOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are showing leadership. If we compare how the Liberals negotiated with the provinces with how our government has, if we remember correctly, they started by cutting $25 billion out of transfers. I do not know if the member has had the opportunity to negotiate with the provinces, but he should not start off that way; it does not put them in a very good mood.

We are starting two and a half years ahead of time. We are going to be discussing exactly what the provinces are finding on the ground and working with them to put those benchmarks in, to put accountability in and to put innovation in, because that is what Canadians want from their governments.

HealthOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to health accords, the federal government's role goes beyond just reaching for its chequebook.

We still have not seen much progress on the government's commitments with regard to electronic health records, a national pharmaceutical strategy, and access to health care for aboriginal people.

When will the government stop denying it has failed when it comes to the health accords? Where is the necessary leadership for improving our health care system?

HealthOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, if we read between the lines, it is clear that the NDP would like to interfere in provincial jurisdictions. In contrast, our government is respecting provincial jurisdictions by increasing support for health care systems by more than 30%, unlike the NDP, which would like to increase federal bureaucracy and unions.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

November 25th, 2011 / 11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are very disturbed by the government's refusal to stand up to the U.S. and protect Canadian interests. Thousand of Stelco employees have been out of work for over three years because the Conservatives failed to set out clear takeover criteria under the Investment Canada Act.

The government promised over a year ago to define the net benefit test. Why has the minister failed to live up to that promise? Why has he failed to defend Canadian jobs?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the government defends Canadian jobs each and every day. We referred this important issue to the industry committee so that it could take the time to study the issue and report back to government. What happened? What stopped the industry committee? It was the Liberal Party of Canada that voted to call an early opportunistic election, rather than allowing the industry committee to do its important work.

If we had not had an early election, the industry committee would have finished its good work.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the fact that the Conservative government has not been defending Canadian interests is very disturbing.

The Conservatives buried their heads in the sand when the United States was moving ahead with its Buy American policy and so many other irritants. Now they are on the verge of signing a perimeter security agreement with the Americans.

Why is the Prime Minister getting ready to sign this agreement on December 7 when so many issues remain unresolved? Why kowtow to the United States?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite had his way, he would not sign any agreement until every challenge had been dealt with.

We have a good working relationship with the Obama administration under the Prime Minister's leadership. He has been working incredibly hard to try to take down barriers that hurt Canadian jobs.

Sometimes in the manufacturing sector parts will go back and forth as many as 7 to 12 times. These border problems have a huge impact on the Canadian economy, and the Prime Minister has been working incredibly hard to tear down these barriers to protect and promote Canadian economic growth. No final deal has been reached but, under the Prime Minister's leadership, I am confident it will.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, at committee yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources was caught misleading the Canadian public. She was asked point blank if she stood by her statements about how long it takes the average Canadian to receive an employment insurance cheque. She said, yes, that she stood by her statement. Minutes later, the head of Service Canada came as a witness and said that she was actually wrong.

Would the minister rise in the House, apologize to 1.4 million unemployed Canadians today and reverse the decision about cutting the EI processing centres across this great country?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our goal is to get EI cheques to people who are qualified for them just as quickly as possible. We have a standard. It is 28 days 80% of the time, and we are just a little below that right now.

I apologize if there was any confusion when the member opposite did not understand what all went into that statistic. However, we are changing the system because we want to improve it. We want to deliver services to Canadians better, faster, more efficiently and more affordably.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency four weeks ago. Families are living in tents, in shacks and in trailers. People are in danger because of cold temperatures, yet no federal official has bothered going to see the community.

Yesterday, the government promised $2 million in assistance. Can the government confirm this and does it have a long-term plan to improve the situation in Attawapiskat?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we are deeply concerned about the situation. The community is facing a number of challenges. We have had ongoing discussions with the chief and council in order to make progress on addressing these issues. My officials will be in the community early next week to discuss the next steps.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, Attawapiskat is a community that has tried to do things right and yet it has continued to fall behind from chronic underfunding and systemic negligence in terms of infrastructure, education, housing and health. The situation is causing an international outcry and Canadians are rightly wondering how this can happen in a country as rich as Canada.

Will the government commit to take the lead with eight officials and with the community to fix the situation in Attawapiskat so that we can return to the community to the kind of dignity that these people deserve?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we are taking this situation seriously. The community has a number of challenges, one of them being its financial challenge. It is in co-management. It has an indebtedness that is getting in the way of a lot of other progress that could be made.

Part of our overall next steps is to get to a place where proper local administration and governance can ensure there is progress being made in the community.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, it took hearing the testimony of representatives of the Norwegian government yesterday at the Standing Committee on National Defence for people to realize that the Associate Minister of National Defence cannot add. Norway expects to pay $10 billion U.S. for just 52 F-35s and another $42 billion for maintenance over 30 years. That is five times more than what this government says it will have to pay.

Since the Conservatives' numbers are simply wrong, should we be asking the Norwegian government to do our math for us?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is as onerous a statement as I have ever heard. Comparing our situation with Norway's situation is a quick fix that goes nowhere.

This morning, I met with a secretary from Norway. We discussed the issue broadly. Canada's program is on track, and our figures reconcile. The member needs to do her homework.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the Auditor General indicated that the government does not even have enough money to ensure basic maintenance of our aircraft. According to the Norwegian government's realistic cost calculations, an estimated $40 billion will be required over 30 years to maintain 52 F-35s. It seems that this government is trying to fob off its miscalculations to future generations.

Will this government stop misleading Canadians and show us the real numbers?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the excitement is overwhelming indeed.

I will just quote the minister from Norway, who stated categorically, among other things, “I want to say that my government is strongly committed to the F-35s”. He has also encouraged us. We will stay with that program.

Our budget for the purchase of F-35s remains on track and the figures are calculated accurately. The member opposite needs to do her own math to get to the bottom of what she is alleging, which is not true.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the associate minister is making facts up as he goes along.

Yesterday he claimed that his F-35s would be able to communicate with our ground troops as soon as we get them, but his own department says that is simply not true, putting our troops at risk of friendly fire.

The associate minister is in way over his head. Will he finally put this contract out to tender so our troops are not stuck with planes that put them in danger?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the only danger here is the rhetoric coming from the opposite side.

Contrary to the member's misrepresentation, the facts are that Canada is scheduled to receive its delivery of F-35 aircraft, equipped with the ability to locate and communicate with other aircraft and know where friendly ground units are well in advance of deployment on operation.

Our plan is on track. Things are working. The aircraft are coming off the production line. They are being flown and delivered to partner countries as we speak.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a mountain of evidence from multiple reliable sources that contradicts what the associate minister tells the House every day. The associate minister is at odds with his own minister, his own ministry and now with our allies.

Yesterday, the Norwegians told us that they expect to pay five times what the Conservative government will pay for the F-35s, $40 billion for 13 fewer planes, and they acknowledge that it may go up.

How did Canada qualify for an 80% discount, or is the minister just making these numbers up?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all reasonable people agree that we need the aircraft to defend Canadian sovereignty. Our plan is on track, and we will provide the air force with the equipment it needs to defend that sovereignty.

If the opposition had its way, it would cancel the equipment that our air force agrees is the best for it to do its job safely and effectively, never mind the reference to our men and women.

This government is the one that has been rebuilding the equipment and providing the resources that our air force and military people need and we will keep on doing it.