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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was prairie.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, people at Service Canada are working hard to see that Canadians do get the benefits they need. I do not think they need to be treated the way the hon. member just treated them. They deserve better than that because they are working to help Canadians. We are trying to help them do that by automating the system--

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. minister has the floor.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to help them achieve better service levels because Canadians need and deserve that, especially in their time of need.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the current health accord says that funding commitments require that jurisdictions comply with reporting provisions. The Conservatives have failed to live up to this commitment. The minister says that the next accord will be about accountability but, without reporting, she cannot tell us what the current accords have achieved.

The government is sleepwalking into the next accord, blind to what happened under the last one. Where is the accountability now?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I had very productive meetings with the health ministers this past Friday. We discussed many important issue, such as obesity, suicide prevention, mental health and MS.

Minister Bolduc, Quebec's health minister, said that he felt there was excellent collaboration among the provinces and the federal government. He felt that we were listening to them.

That is great news. It reflects the success of our discussions and advances that we have made together to better the health care system for all Canadians. Our government will not be like the previous Liberal government that slashed health and education transfers to the provinces.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister failed to address the key issue. The federal government has invested almost $160 billion in health care under the current accord. However, because of the government's mismanagement, Canadians do not know what value they are getting. The government has failed to ensure proper reporting on the impact of that spending.

Much of what the Conservatives promised, a pharmaceutical strategy, public health strategy and long-term care, are nowhere in sight. When will they finally demonstrate some leadership on this accord? Why wait until 2014 to be accountable?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, what was not stated in that statement is that the 2004 accord also required a committee to review the accomplishments. That work is currently being carried out in the Senate. I am looking forward to receiving the findings of the review from the Senate committee, which will be completing that report in the next month or so.

One of our goals is to ensure there is accountability in the way the money is being spent. I will continue to work with the provinces and territories in the delivery of health care to their residents.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government's record on health is appalling. Not only has it been unable to have current health accord commitments honoured, but now the Minister of Health has said that she will not be involved in negotiations for a free trade agreement with the EU. The accord calls for greater protection for pharmaceutical patents, which would force us to spend billions of dollars more every year.

Will the minister do the responsible thing and intervene in order to ensure that we do not have to pay more for our medication?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the meeting I had on Friday was a great opportunity to hear about what the provinces are doing to improve health care in their jurisdictions. Minister MacDonald, Nova Scotia's health minister, told the media that the meetings were very productive and that the discussions focused on issues that are important to all jurisdictions. The minister from Quebec also said that there was very good harmony among all partners. They all had the same goal and that was to improve the health outcomes for all Canadians.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that this issue relates to the CETA, not the provinces. If this is the government's idea of defending the interests of Canadians, so much for that.

We will have to spend an estimated $2.8 billion more a year on drugs if Canada signs this agreement with the EU. And Canadians will receive nothing in return: no access to better drugs, generic drugs or low prices.

Why is the minister taking this file so lightly without showing any leadership? Why is she defending large pharmaceutical companies instead of Canadians?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely disagree with the premise of the hon. member's question.

I would remind the hon. member opposite that our government always protects and advances Canada's interests during international negotiations, and we will only enter into an agreement that is in Canada's best interest. We will continue to consult closely with Canadian stakeholders and with provincial and territorial governments with respect to all issues regarding the CETA with the European Union.

The benefits to Canadians are clear: a trade agreement with the European Union is expected to boost Canada's economy by $12 billion and increase two-way trade by 20%.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

November 28th, 2011 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Agriculture was joined by the agriculture ministers of Saskatchewan and Alberta on behalf of the minister from British Columbia to explain the importance of the marketing freedom for grain farmers act to western Canada. For far too long, western Canadian grain farmers have been treated like second-class citizens. That is why we introduced Bill C-18 to give western Canadian grain farmers the right to sell their grain to whomever they choose, including to a voluntary Canadian wheat board.

Could the minister please outline the importance of passing Bill C-18 as quickly as possible?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Brandon—Souris, for the great job he has done in getting us to this historic day. This is a great day. We celebrate it with my colleagues from Alberta and Saskatchewan, joined by my colleague from British Columbia and by dozens of actual producers from western Canada.

This is a tremendous day. This is a movement forward. This is what we have been waiting for for decades. We will get the job done tonight.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, looming civilian staff cuts at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier are causing concern in my riding because 1,400 civilians who work on the base might lose their jobs. These are civilians who play an important role and allow the Canadian Forces to do their work effectively and safely.

Can the minister tell us here and now whether he intends to cut jobs at Valcartier?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, like all departments, the Department of National Defence is looking across the board at our budgets. We are looking at individual efforts to find efficiencies. With respect to managing the workforce, we want to ensure we have the right people in the right place at the right cost to taxpayers. This includes always examining a range of options to find processes designed to increase those efficiencies to ensure we are making smart decisions on behalf of the government and, most importantly, on behalf of taxpayers.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Valcartier who are worried about losing their jobs because of cuts by this government cannot wait and see what happens and wait while the government wastes its time with such studies.

Last month, we learned that the Department of National Defence was considering selling some of its properties and closing some facilities as a cost-cutting measure.

The minister refused to answer Canadians' questions then, so I am asking him again: will the minister promise to keep all the bases open?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as with issues related to families and businesses, the Government of Canada is continuing to review its resources in an effort to find effective solutions.

We are in a position, obviously, with the slowing of the global economy, to make important smart decisions on behalf of taxpayers. What does not help is when members of the opposition, as the member just did, get up and cast fear and doubt across communities and across bases in this country.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister will tell us how many bases will have to close when the government is forced to pay the true costs of the F-35s.

Norway has acknowledged that the true cost of their 52 F-35s will be $40 billion or more. Are the Conservatives so blindly committed to the F-35 boondoggle because someone in Washington told them so, or are they prepared to act independently in our national interest and put this out for tender?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how many times we need to repeat the same end story.

The F-35 did go out to competition. It won out. Our government's preference is to put our trust in our pilots and materiel experts who know the importance of the F-35 program, which is producing the 21st century fighter our military needs while at the same time sustaining quality aerospace jobs across Canada.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised to hear the government admit to such blind adherence to Liberal government policy, but it was, after all, the associate minister who turned a Liberal procurement initiative into his own, and I quote, “crusade”.

National Defence is facing a fiscal crunch. Instead of cutting back on bases and instead of cuts to navy operations, why will the government not agree to have a competition to replace the F-18s? When will it put this deal out to tender?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all reasonable people agree that we need aircraft to defend Canada's sovereignty. Our plan is on track. An extensive and rigorous competition has taken place. It happened, as was stated, under the previous Liberal government. If the opposition members had their way, they would cancel the equipment our air force agrees is the best our men and women need to do their job effectively, efficiently and safely.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment sure likes to stick to his talking points on the future of climate change negotiations, but the reality is that the plan is to ensure that there will be no future international agreement.

Why are the Conservatives misleading Canadians and the international community by trying to hide the fact that they are actually negotiating in bad faith?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that question from the Liberals is pretty rich, given that Kyoto represents one of the biggest blunders of the previous Liberal government. They made it even worse by cynically embracing Kyoto while knowing they would never work to fulfill their obligations.

In Durban, Canada will continue to work to encourage the international community to embrace a new international climate change agreement that includes all major emitters.