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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the very fact that Mr. Mubarak is still in office is preventing an orderly transition in Egypt.

Does the minister realize that by refusing to formally demand that the Egyptian dictator step down immediately, he is giving radical Islamist groups more time to organize and seize power?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the opposite is true. The Bloc members are the ones who are out of step with the debate and not keeping up with this issue. They glance at the newspapers and perhaps take their cue from the headlines, but this is a very serious matter that requires an orderly transition. I understand that the Bloc member and his leader are impatient and would like there to be a complete change tomorrow morning, but it has to be done in an orderly fashion.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government acknowledges that the family of Ben Ali profited by pillaging the people of Tunisia, but the government is dragging its feet.

What is the Conservative government waiting for to freeze the assets of the former dictator's family—as was done by the European Union and Switzerland—before these assets are transferred to a tax haven?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and the day before, I had the opportunity to reassure members in this House and anyone interested in this case. The government is currently working closely with the Tunisian government authorities. We are developing every tool needed to freeze these assets. This process is in the hands of the government and we will do what we can to make it happen.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, those are fine words, but we need to see some action.

Does the minister realize that, by not immediately freezing these assets, he is an accomplice to the pillaging of the Tunisian people by the family of former dictator Ben Ali?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, not at all. That is not how it works. I repeat that we are in the process of looking at all the options. We want to be able to respond positively to the demands being made by the Tunisian government. With the help of my colleague, the Minister of Justice, we will ensure that we have the tools we need to get this done.

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

February 3rd, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we understand that the Prime Minister is involved in secret back room talks with the leader of the Bloc Québécois on the parole system. Is this the same Bloc Québécois that we see in the Conservatives' nasty ads?

Imagine this. We have the Prime Minister and the leader of the Bloc working together to design Canadian public policy and officials from both parties say that the talks are going well. Is this some kind of a new coalition? Is he making the Bloquistes the driving force behind government policy? How is it possible?

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I hope the coalition over there is not coming apart at the seams.

We are very concerned that so much important legislation, written by the hand of the Minister of Public Safety, has been stuck in committee for more than 18 months. This government will work with anyone who wants to finally get tough on crime and on criminals.

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the members of the Bloc are here legitimately. They are here because they received votes from Quebeckers. Despite their partisan attacks, the Conservatives, who aim to be divisive, who aim to instill fear, who aim to add fuel to the fire, will negotiate with the Bloc Québécois when it works to their advantage. That is the reality. The Bloc supported two Conservative budgets and the Liberals supported the other ones. I think it is time for some NDP input in these programs—

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we believe we have an important responsibility to make this Parliament work and that is exactly what we have been doing.

What we have been incredibly frustrated with is that the NDP and its coalition partners have been standing in the way of so much important legislation to get tough on crime and get tough on violent criminals to keep our communities safe. We can only hope that when the time comes the New Democrats will stand, do the right thing and join the crime fighting efforts of this government.

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, who is dancing with whom?

The Conservatives had no problem counting on the Bloc to pass their first two budgets and then counting on the Liberals for all of the rest of them. What are the results? No job recovery, pensions at risk, the high cost of heating, the cost of the HST and the cost of living going up. That is what happens with these kinds of dances that go on.

We have offered practical solutions to make life more affordable. Why do the Conservatives dance with the Bloc instead of working with us to make life more affordable for the Canadian people?

Conservative Party of CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I can say that the first thing I did in this Parliament was to work with the NDP to pass the Federal Accountability Act. We wanted to eliminate the role of big money in politics and we did so. We did a lot of good and that is great for Canada.

What I can say about this is that the budget the Minister of Finance will present in a short while will be focused on jobs, on the economy and on our efforts to make Canada a magnet for jobs, investment and opportunity. The very last thing that we should do when we have seen some difficult economic times in recent years is to bring in a whopping tax increase, something that the NDP is too excited about.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canadians need real help and solutions for the growing pension problem. The Conservative plan will not help those struggling today or give assurances to the 75% of Canadians who do not have a private pension plan. It would only help the profits of the banks and the insurance companies.

The Prime Minister once said of the CPP that there is “no real reason for government to run it at all”. Is this why he will not help Canadian families by expanding the CPP?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we want to do. We want help Canadian families and help those people who want to prepare for their retirement.

However, the one thing we will not do is go against what all of the provinces have said will not work and that is a voluntary supplementary Canada pension plan that the Liberals still seem to hang their hats on.

The provinces are in a partnership with us on the Canada pension plan. It is solvent and it has been solvent for 75 years. The Liberals want to jeopardize that. It is in good shape. We will ensure that we provide options to Canadians for their retirement.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, yes, the Liberals did a great job of ensuring that the CPP was solvent.

It is significant for Canadians who do not have enough money to make ends meet and families that are struggling to understand why the Conservative government will do nothing to help them.

The new minister of seniors has several pensions. I can assure members that most Canadians do not.

How can the Prime Minister be against an enhanced CPP? It is cost-effective, efficient, secure, and it is Canadian. Which one of these things does he oppose?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the only thing we would oppose would be jeopardizing what is a very good system: the Canada pension plan that has been in place longer than that member has sat in this House, by the way.

It is important that we look at the big picture and how we can help Canadians save for their retirement. It is not through jeopardizing the present system that we have, but by enhancing the system that we have.

We are putting forward, along with our provincial counterparts, a pooled registered pension plan that actually will be a pension for the rest of Canadians that the hon. member speaks of who now do not have the option.

Child CareOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, after five years of Conservative government, Canada ranks last among OECD nations in the provision of early learning. It disbanded a national system and promised new child care spaces, but failed miserably. Now, this very week, the human resources minister has her lawyers appearing at an EI tribunal, citing a report that could open the door to slashing by half the Liberal program that doubled parental benefits in 2000, allowing parents to spend the first year with their infant children.

Is this part of the government's tough on families agenda?

Child CareOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, when we were first elected to government five years ago, one of the very first things we did was fulfill a promise we made to Canadians to provide them with a choice on how they got their child care.

We believe that parents are the best ones to decide who will, and how to, raise their children and where. That is why we provided them with the universal child care benefit. It has helped over two million children across this country get the child care their parents want for them.

We believe in choice. It is too bad the Liberals do not.

Child CareOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about this. Will the minister explain what exactly is the position of the government on the matter of parental leave? Does she support the Liberal benefit period? If so, why does she say one thing here and have her lawyers do something else in court? Will she instruct her lawyers to stop attacking the concept of extended parental benefits?

The minister has already told us she thinks families should take vacation time to help sick family members. Does she also think families should raise infants only on vacation time and weekends?

Child CareOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is the Liberals who wanted to ensure that parents were forced to have other people raise their children. We do not believe in that.

We are the ones who support whatever kind of child care parents choose to have. If they want to stay at home and look after their children, we support that with the universal child care benefit. If they want to take advantage of formal daycare outside the home, we support that. If they want to rely on a family member or a close friend or neighbour to help raise their children, we support that. We support families 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

HaitiOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the earthquake in Haiti, the Canadian government committed to matching funds donated by the public to the earthquake relief fund. But the $220 million from the government will be taken from the promised urgent relief funds and the money committed during the New York conference. In other words, there is no new money.

Why is the government playing accounting tricks at the expense of the Haitian people?

HaitiOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, we have nothing to apologize for in our response to the earthquake in Haiti. Canadians generously opened their wallets and Canada disbursed over $150 million in humanitarian and early recovery assistance. We will continue to stand by the people of Haiti as they work to rebuild their country.

HaitiOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to lacking transparency, the Canadian government is dragging its feet when it comes to getting Haiti the aid promised. According to the organization Concertation pour Haïti, barely a third of the $400 million that Canada promised in March 2010 has been transferred to organizations helping the Haitian people.

Can the government explain why, when there is a desperate need for help, the promised aid still has not reached the victims?

HaitiOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, we continue to stand by the people of Haiti as they work to rebuild their country.

We are working with the Red Cross, Oxfam, World Vision and UNICEF. We are working with the Haitian government. We are working with the United Nations.

There is no quick fix solution, but I can assure Canadians that we are in Haiti for the long haul and we are making a difference.