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House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was arrest.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, federal officials travelled to Attawapiskat at least 10 times this year. No red flags were raised. Why? We need an answer.

Does the Prime Minister want to talk about numbers? Outside of first nations, social spending in Canada is about $18,000 per year per person. According to his own numbers, federal spending in Attawapiskat per person per year is about half of this amount. How is that possible? Why is he blaming the community?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP, which has voted against investments in this community and elsewhere, this government has made tens of millions of dollars of investments in this community, infrastructure investments of over $50,000 for every man, woman and child. It is obvious there continue to be needs.

The government is working to fulfill those needs, but they are twofold. There is a need, obviously, for more services and infrastructure. There is also clearly a need for better management. The government will ensure both of those things are dealt with.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, all across northern Canada are these isolated little Bantu-style homelands where people live on top of each other in mouldy shacks and where dying in slow motion is a way of life. The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs was not aware of any of this. He told the committee yesterday that he first became aware of Attawapiskat's cry for help on Thursday.

So now that he has deposed the elected council and blamed the community for years of chronic underfunding, where is his long-term plan to get this community out of this disgraceful level of poverty?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council invoked a declaration of emergency on October 28.

On November 7 we got our first funding proposal from Attawapiskat First Nation.

On November 8 we approved $500,000 immediately to be used for some housing renovations. We responded quickly.

On Thursday, November 24, we got an emergency declaration from Attawapiskat and on Monday, November 28, my officials were in the community. That is why we appointed a third party manager.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, if he were a leader, he would be there.

I will tell him what the situation is on the ground. Beyond the tents, the unheated cabins, and the mouldy condemned homes, there are still 90 people living in a trailer that has no sprinkler water suppression and very few washrooms. Now that he has personally taken command of this community, what plan does he have to get those people into long-term housing? Does he have a plan or is this a desire to punish an impoverished little community for making him look bad?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, our priority is to address the urgent health and safety needs of the people of Attawapiskat. We informed the chief that the community will be placed in third party management to ensure that community needs are addressed.

We are working with the community and with the province of Ontario, through Emergency Management Ontario, to quickly implement the community's existing emergency management plan to ensure that residents have access to warm, dry and safe shelter.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in committee I asked the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs when he first knew of the state of emergency in Attawapiskat. After a painful 20 second pause he answered, “Last week, about Thursday”. The first question on this issue in the House was a month ago. The minister's answer was truly unbelievable.

When did the Prime Minister first know of this crisis and what is he doing about this incompetent minister?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I just pointed out that on October 28, the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council invoked a state of emergency for three communities.

Nine or ten days later we received a request from Attawapiskat and we responded.

On November 24, last Thursday, we received an emergency measure from Attawapiskat.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister really does not know what he is talking about. This is not an isolated incident. First nations communities across this country are in crisis. There are hundreds of communities without clean running water and safe housing.

The buck stops with the Prime Minister. When will he stop blaming others for this crisis and fix this Canadian tragedy?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we understand that there are many challenges in first nations communities. We have spent in an unprecedented fashion on improving the lives of first nations across the country. We have spent more than any other government on basic infrastructure and housing. We have involved ourselves in improving child welfare and the education file, and we will continue to do those things.

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, while Canadians are being asked to accept cuts, the government is setting a very bad example. It spends $3 billion more in outside contractors than under the Liberals. It sends military helicopters to pick up a minister at a fishing camp. It has the most expensive cabinet in the history of this country, not to mention an unbelievably bloated Prime Minister's Office that never stops growing.

How can the Prime Minister look Canadians in their eyes and tell them that he is acting responsibly on their behalf?

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:25 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 the hon. member knows, we have a plan that has been sanctified by the people of Canada to make sure that our government spends within its means, that we eliminate unnecessary spending, and focus on the issues and services that Canadians need. We have that mandate from the Canadian people.

The other part of the mandate is to have a low tax jurisdiction that creates jobs and growth. That is what we are focused on. It is unfortunate that the hon. member and his party are not.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister's story keeps changing on his patronage appointments to the IRB.

First, he claimed that only two appointees to the IRB had Conservative connections, but when faced with the facts about the many patronage appointments Conservatives actually made, the minister claimed he was not aware.

The minister brags about the pre-screening process, but if the pre-screening process was so rigorous, how could the government have appointed 16 Conservative insiders, including five former candidates, without the minister knowing?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, that is nonsense. I said that since I have been minister I was aware of two people whom I have recommended for appointment with a connection to the Conservative Party out of about 169 appointments and reappointments that I made.

According to the list that he has come up with, it includes one-time donors to a provincial party 25 years ago. So basically, it includes anyone who has ever voted Conservative, which constitutes about 5% of the people appointed to the IRB by this government.

Under the new system that we put in place in July 2007, we have received 2,400 applications, only 240 of whom were recommended as being qualified for appointment. We have the most rigorous system in the history of the IRB.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives refuse to clean up their act. They have refused to appoint a public appointments commission. They are as addicted to patronage as the Liberals were.

Even the screening committee is stuffed with partisan appointments, including—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway has the floor.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, even the screening committee is stuffed with partisan appointments, including a former aide to a Conservative minister. Peter Showler, the former chair of the IRB, is describing the Conservative appointments process as secretive and political. He is saying there is no political accountability.

Why will the Conservatives not stop forcing their partisan immigration system—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, it is really a shame to hear this member denigrating what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says is the fairest and most independent asylum determination process in the world.

It is unfortunate to hear him denigrating the people of quality who managed to come through a screening process where only one out of every 10 applicants were accepted. What is even more disappointing is to hear the Liberals, including a former immigration minister over there, talking about this.

I have four pages of names of people appointed to the IRB who were former Liberal campaign managers, spouses of MPs, and spouses of senators. We have cleaned up their mess.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

December 1st, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, instead of making progress and creating jobs by supporting clean energy industries, as everyone else in the world is doing, Canada is lagging behind. The only plan this government has is to go to the climate change conference in Durban and sabotage the discussions. Our partners are already shutting us out because of this out-of-touch government's policies.

What is the government waiting for to come up with a policy centred on the green economy?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member finally understands that her party is vulnerable because it is fighting a major job creating project.

She is now claiming, incredibly, that blocking Keystone would be good for Canadian jobs. That is like saying blocking the export of grain would be good for Canadian jobs because there is employment in baking bread.

In fact, the oil sands will generate 500,000 jobs, including union jobs, and trillions of dollars of economic activity. Is there not at least one leadership contender who will take the side of Canadian workers?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, someone needs to press reset. That was not exactly a winning answer,

I will give the Minister of the Environment kudos for one win that he has had on the environment file. For the third straight day, Canada received a fossil award as the country that has done the most to block progress on climate change.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

It is unbelievable that they are applauding that.

Even China is now saying that Canada pulling out of Kyoto will mess up the negotiations. Conservative inaction is—