This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #57 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was yea.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we do want to ensure that Canadians get access to the benefits they need and deserve in a timely manner. That is why we are investing in upgrades to the systems, whether it is our EI processing, which is woefully paper-based and takes way too long to process, or whether it is our call centres.

I would point out that the member opposite's numbers are a bit wrong. In fact, most calls for assistance are handled and answered through the automated system.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is desperately trying to justify its bad decisions. A thousand Service Canada agents who process employment insurance claims have been laid off since the spring. Frustrated unemployed workers have to wait weeks before they are able speak to a representative. The minister is now accusing employees of purposely slowing down the work.

Will this government finally recognize that its cuts at Service Canada are responsible for the distress of unemployed workers' families?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, under our economic action plan to deal with the global recession, we did engage quite a number of additional personnel on a short-term basis. The employees knew that. The unions knew that. It was to help get over the spike in EI claims.

Our unemployment rate is down. We no longer need all of those people to process. They were released. Many of them though were actually absorbed into the system to work and to continue to improve services so Canadians get the benefits they need in a timely manner.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

November 30th, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism claimed that only two Immigration and Refugee Board appointments had “any association with the Conservative Party”. The facts disagree. Uppal, Guénette, Wolman, Andrachuk were all failed Conservative candidates and all were appointed by the government. However, there is more. At least 10 appointments were Conservative donors and another was a senior adviser to a Conservative minister.

Why are the Conservatives making partisan appointments to an independent tribunal? Why did that minister mislead the House?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

I did no such thing, Mr. Speaker. I said that I was aware of 2 individuals that I had appointed out of 150 appointments and reappointments. Every one of those individuals made it through the very rigorous pre-screening process, where 90% of candidates are not actually recommended to the minister.

Just last week the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told me that he thought Canada continued to had the world's model asylum system. It is unfortunate that the NDP is denigrating the independence and the integrity of this important quasi-judicial body, which is regarded as a model throughout the world and which now has the most rigorous pre-screening process for appointments in its history.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as of today the Conservatives are in formal default of their promise of a Muskrat Falls loan guarantee.

After over a year of analysis, a financial equivalent is being floated instead. Offering a financial equivalent is a refusal to assume any future risk for the project. It is not a true loan guarantee and is not what was promised. In contrast, a true loan guarantee would not cost the federal treasury a nickel as long as the project was technically and financially and economically viable.

Will a loan guarantee be offered, yes or no?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the Muskrat Falls project will provide significant economic benefits to the Atlantic region and will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have reached many milestones in this process, including the new dawn agreement with the Innu of Labrador, and appointing a financial adviser to ensure taxpayer interests are respected.

We will work together to ensure there is a guarantee. There will be a guarantee—

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Beauséjour.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, eight months ago, Hank Tepper went to Lebanon with a Canadian trade delegation to sell potatoes. He has been held in a tiny Beirut jail cell ever since. Eight months in a Beirut jail for dubious allegations about potatoes sent to Algeria four years ago. This makes no sense at all.

The minister should understand that a consular visit for 10 minutes, once a month, by a junior officer at our embassy, is not going to solve the problem. When will she take her responsibility and bring this Canadian citizen home to New Brunswick for Christmas?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the House knows that the government is very concerned about Mr. Tepper's case and knows how difficult this is for him and his family. I have said this before, consular officials in Lebanon have been actively providing consular assistance and support to Mr. Tepper and his family since his arrival.

As I have also mentioned, we are engaging on Mr. Tepper's behalf through quiet and diplomatic channels because we strongly believe that this is the best possible approach, and we will continue to work in Mr. Tepper's best interests.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, prejudicial legal manoeuvring continues in the political persecution against former Ukrainian prime minister Tymoshenko. Now the judge, who was to hear her appeal tomorrow, has just been fired, and her health in jail continues to deteriorate.

Other governments are wading in. What is Canada doing? Is Canada insisting on all legal proceedings being public? Has independent medical help been provided, and has Ukraine been warned that anything untoward happening to Ms. Tymoshenko will damage relations with Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government has spoken out strongly against politically-based judicial proceedings. We are tremendously concerned by what we have seen in Ukraine. We have been very clear with the government of Ukraine that Canada, Canadians, and the Government of Canada expects that this individual will be treated fairly with an independent judicial process, and that there would be consequences to our bilateral relations if this does not happen.

We remain very concerned about her health and are certainly prepared to offer her anything we can to support her in that regard.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the so-called build Canada infrastructure fund will run out in 2014, but the government cannot be trusted to give municipalities what they need: accountable, comprehensive and transparent funding. It does not even know how many jobs were created from the economic action plan.

To ensure transparency and accountability this time, will the minister commit to tabling progress reports on each phase of his consultations?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I was very proud this morning, on behalf of the Prime Minister, to launch the new three phase process for the new infrastructure plan.

I have here press release from the Fédération canadienne des municipalités, Connect Canada, Engineers Canada, and Union des municipalités du Québec, all supporting the great job we are doing with infrastructure.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, two out of three infrastructure applications from first nations communities have been rejected since 2006. That is close to 1,000 applications from aboriginal communities for roads, sewage treatment and clean water. The first nations were just told no. The result is desperate situations. These important applications should not be dismissed. They should be reviewed and approved.

Why does the infrastructure minister continue to tolerate third world conditions in first nations communities?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we have spent unprecedented money on infrastructure on reserves. It does not all come out of the stimulus spending plan. A lot of it is departmental spending. We have spent it on water and waste water systems. We have spent it on housing. We have spent it through Health Canada on health clinics.

This is an unprecedented level of investment in first nations by any other government. This is a big accomplishment and we want to continue to build from that.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, our communities are facing major challenges. Although the government made the excise tax permanent, it is still insufficient to address our communities' infrastructure priorities. The government's excise tax brings in 10¢ a litre but municipalities receive only 5¢ a litre.

Will the government commit to indexing the amount given to the municipalities and thus assure Canadians that the money paid will indeed be invested in our communities?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this morning, I had the honour of presenting, on behalf of our great Prime Minister, a new infrastructure program for 2014 onward.

This morning, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities praised the work of this government saying that no government has done as much for this country's infrastructure as our government has in the past few years: we have invested $33 billion in the building Canada fund, something that has never been seen in the history of this country.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, while we wait for 2014, this government is once again turning its back on families and refusing to respond to calls for financing for the new Guertin amphitheatre in Gatineau and the new coliseum in Trois-Rivières. This infrastructure is an important economic driver for these regions and allows families to be more active and to attend sporting and cultural events.

Why is this government refusing to make any sort of contribution? Does this government want to kill these regions' economies at any price?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have said it before and we have repeated it in the past few days. I issued a statement on November 10 and I sent a letter to the Government of Quebec dated November 21 to the effect that our government will not support sports infrastructure that will be used for professional sports and major junior league teams. We have been very clear. We have said it repeatedly. This applies to the entire country—not just one region but the entire country. We will continue in that direction.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Statistics Canada reported that Canada's economy grew 3.5% in the third quarter. This growth is beyond the expectations of private sector economists. It is a positive sign in troubled times. Yet, we know that as a result of this period of economic uncertainty, there are many Canadian families that are struggling to make ends meet.

Would the Prime Minister please comment on the government's plan to protect jobs and economic growth in Canada?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, today's numbers showing significant growth in the Canadian economy last quarter are very encouraging. At the same time, we remain very concerned about the problems in Europe, particularly the problems of debt and deficit.

These problems are part and parcel of the fragile global economy. That is why we will continue to focus on our plan to keep taxes low in order to foster employment and growth.

We will continue to be focused, as a government, on jobs and growth, and also on keeping taxes low. Now is not the time for the kind of job killing tax hikes proposed by the NDP.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, Henk Tepper's family, in New Brunswick, is still waiting for him to come home safe and sound.

Today, we learned the RCMP sent his private information to Algeria before he was arrested. This sounds like the Maher Arar scandal all over again.

Will the Conservative government take responsibility for its role in this affair and will it tell this House, and the Tepper family, what it is doing to bring Henk Tepper home today?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I am advised that the RCMP has assisted Interpol with a criminal investigation. I am also advised that the RCMP co-operation was done in accordance with Canadian law. It would be inappropriate to comment any further as this matter is ongoing.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not good enough to say that the minister cannot speak publicly. What we have learned today is too serious. This is not the first time that personal information about Canadian citizens has been sent to foreign governments, and often in very problematic situations. The RCMP did not even advise Mr. Tepper that it was providing his personal information to a foreign country.

What does this government intend to do to address this situation and return Mr. Tepper to Canada?