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House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

February 11th, 2011 / 11:40 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, every time we have called for a public inquiry into the detainee issue, the Conservatives have huffed and puffed that finding the truth is just too expensive. It turns out that hiding the truth is not so cheap either. It cost Canadians $1.6 million for the government to lower a cone of silence on the issue altogether, $1.6 million to keep the public in the dark, $1.6 million to undermine parliamentary supremacy and $1.6 million to cover up torture.

When will the government end this charade and allow transparency and daylight in?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, we continue to work in good faith with our colleagues on the document review committee. This work is being done in a manner that protects legitimate national security concerns as well as international relations. This process is working well. Under the process agreed to, documents are being made available to committee members.

If NDP members were truly concerned about the fate of Taliban prisoners, they would be a part of that committee and doing their job.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no there, there. We need a search warrant for the information.

The government wants Canadians to think there is nothing to see here, but recent documents obtained by the NDP show that even ISAF was complaining about the government's handling of detainees, and that is just the tip of the iceberg, After months of secret meetings between Conservatives and Liberals, after wasting $1.6 million, Canadians are nowhere closer to the truth.

The government has broken trust with Canadians. Does it not realize what accountability is all about?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, while the other opposition parties spent months looking for evidence of mistreatment of Taliban prisoners, the NDP did nothing. If those members were that worried about Taliban prisoners, they should have been there looking at those documents and doing the job that Canadians elected them to do.

Contraband TobaccoOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, moving the border crossing from Akwesasne to Cornwall in June 2009 shifted tobacco smuggling to Quebec. According to the RCMP, cigarette smuggling has increased by 400% since the border crossing was moved. In two weeks, the police in Valleyfield seized 15 tons of tobacco and several vehicles.

Is the federal government going to fulfill its responsibilities and strengthen the police presence along the St. Lawrence in order to put a stop to smuggling?

Contraband TobaccoOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, this government and provincial governments along the border have taken up additional roles. The seizure of contraband and illegally produced cigarettes has gone up. As the member knows, we take this issue very seriously.

We have been working with our American neighbours to patrol the Great Lakes and this has been a factor in cutting down on that.

Contraband TobaccoOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, anti-tobacco organizations are concerned because contraband cigarettes are sold at reduced prices to get people addicted. Contraband is not only an issue of security but also one of public health.

When will this government follow the Bloc Québécois's plan to end the scourge of contraband tobacco?

Contraband TobaccoOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are happy to work with everyone to cut down on illegal tobacco entering the country and the illegal manufacture of tobacco in our country. That obviously impacts everyone.

We look forward to working with our colleagues across the floor as we have been with agencies inside and outside of government.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, just before the start of the new year, Atlantic Canada was battered by storms. Damage was extensive to wharves and breakwaters.

In just one year the Conservatives have no problem finding $600,000 for their backdrops for their photo ops. That money could save our breakwaters. If they are not fixed soon, the sea will wipe away the livelihoods of many in northern Cape Breton.

My question is for the minister. When will the government get its priorities straight and provide the funds to avoid further disasters?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, and the hon. member knows this well, we inherited from the Liberal Party a massive backlog of needed work at all our small craft harbours. The wharves were rotting and fishers were not getting the facilities they needed to work safely.

That is why, under our economic action plan, we invested $200 million to address this backlog. Work is now under way at over 270 harbours in Canada. We are getting the job done.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, she is talking about 2006. This storm was in 2010.

I have another question for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Many wharves in my riding do not fall under the jurisdiction of DFO, but they are vital to the economic importance of these fishing communities. One such wharf in Englishtown requires urgent attention, and she knows it. If it is not fixed this spring, the boats will not be able to dock.

Will the minister commit to helping the people of Englishtown?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, departmental staff are inspecting small craft harbours to determine the extent of the damage and to estimate the repair costs.

Members can be assured that public safety is our first priority. We are working to secure all the sites and ensure that the most pressing repairs are undertaken prior to the upcoming fishery season. We will be there for our fishers.

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, according to a new report, 30% of people over the age of 50 who visit private clinics must pay for colonoscopy services. Making people pay for a service that helps prevent cancer is contrary to the Canada Health Act.

The federal government has the responsibility to protect the Canada Health Act. What actions will it take to correct this situation?

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, our government is committed to a universal and public health care system. We support the law of the land, the Canada Health Act. That is why we have increased transfers to provinces and territories by more than 30% since we formed government, so they can continue to meet the health care needs of their residents. We have also invested significant project funding to communities across Canada.

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, each year the federal government receives reports on health service delivery from the provinces. However, the government has repeatedly turned a blind eye to infractions and blatantly missing information.

The federal government does not insist that the provinces comply with recording rules. Vital information is left out, meaning Canadians are left in the dark as to how funds are being spent. The Auditor General has expressed concerns in the past over lack of transparency and accountability.

We know that infractions are occurring. Will the government ensure that provincial reports accurately reflect this and will it enforce the Canada Health Act?

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that we do support the law of the land, the Canada Health Act. Charging patients for insured health services is not consistent with the Canada Health Act. Provinces and territories are responsible to ensure that the delivery of insured health care services are done in compliance with the act. They have the responsibility to follow up on these accusations. The minister has asked her officials to assess these situations as they come up.

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are becoming concerned about increasing rates of obesity. We have heard about some of the good work our government is doing on the issue, such as the federal-provincial-territorial framework for action to promote healthy weights endorsed by the minister and her provincial-territorial partners.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health inform the House about some of our government's other initiatives to combat obesity and promote healthy living in Canada?

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government is concerned about the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity among youth. As the member mentioned, we are taking action.

We recently launched an educational advertisement campaign to deliver health and safety information to Canadian parents. Only yesterday, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada commended our work, saying that Health Canada and the minister hit the mark with the recently launched children's health and safety campaign.

When it comes to the health and safety of Canadians, this government is getting the job done.

TaxationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite racking up the largest deficit in Canadian history, the government has done little to help the region of Peel. At Christmastime, I saw, first-hand, my constituents lining up at food banks, while their EI was expiring.

Why did the government increase taxes on every small business in Peel and hurt their efforts to create jobs for the unemployed?

TaxationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what we have done is try to help Canadians through the toughest part of this recession. That is why we have made an effort to ensure they could get back to work. We put on extra staff to ensure EI claims were processed quickly.

Also, to help those less fortunate, we have taken a number of steps. We have increased the working income tax benefit and doubled it. We have also sped up the processing of benefits such as the Canadian pension plan and old age security. We have automated renewal of the guaranteed income supplement. All of these are to help Canadians who are facing tough times.

Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of State for Agriculture is trying to hide his government's incompetence in the “Product of Canada” labelling issue. With its Eat Canadian program, it is stepping on the toes of Aliments du Québec, which has been around for 15 years and is recognized by the people of Quebec.

Does the minister realize, as was stated by Marie Beaudry, the director general of Aliments du Québec, that it is useless to duplicate work and that it makes more sense to make consumers aware of what already exists and avoid adding more labels and logos that could confuse them?

Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is extremely proud of our product of Canada labelling initiative. Canadians want to know what is in their food. Our initiative with respect to product of Canada labelling tells them that if it says “Product of Canada”, 98% of the product contained within that product is Canadian.

We continue to consult with industry and consumers to ensure these guidelines work. The member should speak to the member for Malpeque, her opposition colleague, who says:

—the...regulations provide consumers with honest information on the contents they purchase and the changes could also increase the consumption of Canadian products.

Canada Border Service AgencyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the CBSA is creating a centralized office in southern Ontario. Windsor is Canada's largest border gateway. In addition, we are in process of building a new bridge. Therefore, we were not surprised to hear that an independent, impartial study recommended that office be set up in Windsor.

Instead, what has happened is the office is going to the Minister of Justice's riding along with 100 jobs from Windsor.

Will the Conservative government explain to the House, to the Canadian people and to my constituents how that political interference could come to that kind of a decision?

Canada Border Service AgencyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, CBSA announced that merging its administrative services in southern Ontario would be done to increase efficiency and save taxpayer money. Fort Erie, Ontario has been chosen as the location for the new regional headquarters office.

Let us look at the facts. All points of entry will remain and there are no border closures as a result of merging these regions.

I call on the NDP and the opposition coalition to stop caring more about the perpetrators of crime than they do about victims and pass our bill to abolish accelerated parole review.

International TradeOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian exporters are hurting. The global economic recession has cost jobs and in many cases has led to increased protectionism. Canadian businesses are among the most competitive in the world, but they need the government to go toe to toe with foreign governments to open new markets.

Could the Minister of International Trade please tell the House what he is doing to open those doors?