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House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was panama.

Topics

Steel IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government welcomes foreign investment that benefits Canada. It helps the Canadian economy grow and it creates jobs. At the same time, when undertakings are secured as part of a foreign investment, we expect compliance.

In 2009, our government went to court to ensure U.S. Steel would meet commitments it made under the Investment Canada Act when it purchased Stelco. In the time since, the government has worked hard to maintain jobs in a vibrant steel industry in Hamilton and Ontario.

Could the Minister of Industry give the House an update on this important issue?

Steel IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, our top priorities are jobs and the economy. Today I am announcing that the government and U.S. Steel have come to an agreement that ends the court proceedings.

Under this enhanced agreement, U.S. Steel has committed to continue operations in Canada until 2015, $50 million in capital investments above its original undertaking of $200 million and a contribution of $3 million toward community programs in Hamilton and Nanticoke.

When it comes to foreign investment and a company makes an undertaking, we will ensure it is respected.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, late on Friday the secretive Conservative government suddenly announced a new Afghan detainee transfer agreement with the United States.

Canadians expect a lot more transparency on these issues, and they want a few simple questions answered. Could the minister confirm that no Canadian captured detainees remain in the custody of the Afghan national directorate of security, and if so, when did the transfer occur?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it was a big secret. I announced it right here in the House of Commons. Before I did that, I talked to the hon. member and offered her a full briefing which she, to her credit, took on Friday afternoon.

With the Canadian Forces combat mandate ending in Afghanistan, we have moved to a new system that builds on the two previous agreements. We are working with the Obama administration to ensure that we meet all of our international obligations.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

First, Mr. Speaker, I would repeat, could the minister confirm that no Canadian captured detainees remain in the custody of the Afghan national directorate of security?

Second, why was this agreement reached now, when we have known for seven years that abuse is common in Afghan prisons?

A report published in October by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan documents the torture and abuse suffered by detainees in Afghan prisons. What—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member is out of time.

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have a robust monitoring system. A Canadian official will be on the ground in Afghanistan to ensure that all of our international obligations are met.

I am pleased to report to the member opposite that there has not been a single corroborated allegation against any detainee transferred by the Canadian Forces. We will continue to do our very best to ensure that both outside of Kandahar and at Parwan.

Minister of National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is completely out of touch with the reality facing Canadians. At a time when taxpayers are tightening their belts, certain Conservative ministers are using jets and rescue helicopters as their own personal taxi. It is completely irresponsible. As we know, this is not the first time that the Minister of National Defence has used search and rescue aircraft for personal reasons.

Will the minister finally shed some light on what really happened and tell us how much it cost taxpayers for him to be picked up from his fishing trip on July 9, 2010? How much did it cost?

Minister of National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in this House many times, I left time off to go back to work. Before leaving Gander, I took part in a search and rescue demonstration that has been confirmed by retired Cormorant squadron leader and pilot, Major Stephen Reid, who stated that the participation in this training exercise was viewed as a win-win situation.

As I said, I took part in this demonstration, and then as requested, I went on to complete further government business.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, 150 workers from my riding were told this morning that they are losing their jobs. The shutting down of paper machine number six at Resolute Forest Products in Kénogami was supposed to be temporary, but as of this morning, it is now permanent. We are still waiting to hear what the government plans to do to retrain these workers. With the current wait times for EI claims, there is no way they will receive their benefits in time for the holidays.

Can the government finally tell us how it plans to help the workers of Kénogami?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to help the people who lost their jobs because of this shut down, especially at this time of year, with Christmas just around the corner. That is why Service Canada is working with the provinces and territories to provide unemployed workers with information on the various benefits they have access to in order to help them and their families, especially at this time of year. We also want to help them get back to work. That is why we are providing training programs, in partnership with the provinces and territories.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has said no to sponsoring parents and grandparents. It has put on a two-year freeze, something which we oppose.

The expectation of the super visa, on the other hand, was high, and it is turning into a super disappointment. Individuals are finding it too difficult to get the health care coverage necessary to get the super visa.

Will the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism make the necessary modifications to enable the hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals to get their parents and grandparents to--

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member is out of time. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question and the exuberance with which it has been placed.

The super visa program for parents and grandparents from around the world who want to visit their children and grandchildren here in Canada was just undertaken on December 1. We have just begun the program. This is going to allow parents and grandparents to come to this country, visit their children and grandchildren, and enjoy quality time here with them.

Minister of National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this, the last week, I would like to point out that we have never seen so many ministers refuse to answer questions, read notes robotically, and slip out the back door after every question period.

I want the Minister of National Defence to go through the front door and explain himself to the media, to the press, instead of hiding the way he does when it comes to the F-35s or his use of rescue helicopters.

Minister of National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in almost 15 years in this place, I have never walked out the back door of this chamber.

I want to repeat what retired Cormorant squadron leader and pilot Major Steven Reid said in response to questions about the flight:

The flight would have flown regardless of whether or not the minister was included because the squadron conducts two training events per day as part of a regular routine.

I took part in one of those routines, and I can tell members that our SAR pilots, our participants in those missions, are doing spectacular work on behalf of our country.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is an elderly couple in Toronto. She has asthma and bronchitis. He has Parkinson's. They can barely make ends meet. In fact, they just won a contest because of the depth of their needs. However, there are no winners here. Three hundred thousand seniors live in poverty. The government offers no help. Seniors should not have to turn to a contest just to keep their heads above water.

When will the government stop ignoring seniors and start actually helping them?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Richmond B.C.

Conservative

Alice Wong ConservativeMinister of State (Seniors)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for bringing up this very important issue.

Seniors' poverty is something which all Canadians should be concerned about. That is why our government has been taking action. We have worked hard to put more money into the pockets of seniors by cutting taxes and investing billions in affordable housing, but it does not stop there. We have also introduced pension income splitting and have provided the largest GIS increase in a quarter century.

Canadians know that they can count on this government to deliver for our seniors.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the minister realizes how critical the situation is for seniors because she refuses to admit that more needs to be done. Some 300,000 seniors are living in poverty. It is not just a statistic; it is a hidden crisis and the government is doing nothing about it. This winter, seniors will have to choose between paying their electricity bills or buying groceries. It is not an easy choice. In order for our seniors to be able to live in dignity, it would take only $700 million, which is half of what this government has given in gifts to the banks this year alone.

Why does this government help CEOs instead of seniors?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Richmond B.C.

Conservative

Alice Wong ConservativeMinister of State (Seniors)

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting seniors. The largest GIS increase in a quarter century has put more money into the pockets of 1.6 million more seniors. Our low-tax plan has removed 380,000 seniors from the tax rolls completely. Our investment to combat financial elder abuse is raising awareness so that the money seniors have worked so hard to save is not lost.

I have also consulted with stakeholders around the country and have seen first-hand the positive impacts made, thanks to our government.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the NDP's perfect world, the Canada-U.S. border would be laden with trade deterrents.

Unfortunately for the NDP, under this Conservative government, we have achieved an agreement to improve the flow of goods and services between Canada and our friends and neighbours to the south.

Would the hard-working Minister of Foreign Affairs take this opportunity to tell the House about the remarkable economic benefits the beyond the border agreement would provide for all Canadians?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

December 12th, 2011 / 3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the relationship between Canada and the United States is very important to our government. It is one of the most successful relationships in the world.

Last week the Prime Minister and President Obama announced an ambitious, yet achievable, road map to help trade and to help people travel back and forth between our two countries. This would lead to better security and more jobs.

Improving the flow of people, goods and services over our shared border is a central part of our economic action plan. Let us not mince words. This agreement is the most significant step forward in Canada-U.S. co-operation since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. It will help create a lot of jobs.

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the United States has ratified its free trade agreement with South Korea. However, Canada is missing in action again. While the minister flits around all over the world talking trade, Canada continues to lose markets in established countries.

South Korea, until now, imported over $1 billion of pork and beef. Now, as tariffs go down for the United States, we can expect our product to be displaced. Why has the minister sold out the Canadian pork industry? Is it really because the government has failed to negotiate a secure auto pact for both sides?

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is the Minister of International Trade has been working tirelessly on behalf of Canadian farmers, Canadian consumers and Canadian manufacturers and will continue to work with our friends in South Korea toward firming up our trade agreement with South Korea.

In the meantime, the hon. member has an opportunity to support a trade agreement, the one with Panama, which is before the House, and I encourage him to do it.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government continues to ignore hard-working families in the GTA. We have predatory temp agencies that can have half a worker's salary. We have car insurance rates in places like Brampton that are some of the highest in the country. To make matters worse, the Conservatives make huge cuts to services that help settle new Canadians in our region. It is a pile on. The Toronto area is one of the most expensive places in the country to live.

Therefore, here is a low tax plan for the Minister of Finance. Why does he not make life more affordable for Canadians and cut the federal tax on home heating?