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House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this government has done so much to ensure that people around the world have access to ARVs and other medications. We have added $950 million to the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We have doubled our international assistance.

What I find curious is that the hon. member cites democracy as the reason to pass the bill and yet her party is short-circuiting this 40th Parliament to go to an unnecessary election with its coalition buddies. If they would just let Parliament continue, this bill could be reasonably debated.

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, if we thought sabotaging the drugs for Africa bill was the last contemptuous act of a government in contempt of Parliament, we would be wrong, because now those same toadies in the patronage parlour are going to be on full salary while running the Conservative election campaign.

The most enduring metaphor for the ethical standards of the government is the image of a convicted fraudster and his twinkie in a teddy.

Is that not why the Conservatives are really provoking this election? Are they provoking an election before more Canadians wake up to what really goes on behind closed doors under the veil of secrecy by that government?

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the real scandal here is that the member is joining with his coalition partners to block a low tax plan for jobs and growth, a plan that would provide tax credits for children's arts, tax credits to help families who provide caregiving in the home to infirm relatives and the opportunity to provide more doctors and nurses in rural communities. That is the low tax plan that we brought forward.

The member has a chance to do the right thing and support that low tax plan. Why will he not rise right now and announce that he will do the right thing and support that plan?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's transport minister has called on the federal government to do something about the Champlain Bridge. The importance of this infrastructure to the greater Montreal area and the rapid decline in the state of the bridge require immediate action. Like municipal officials and representatives of the Montreal and south shore chambers of commerce, Quebec's transport minister is calling for a new bridge. Mr. Hamad wants a decision before the summer.

Does the Minister of Transport realize that his government's indifference to the needs of Quebec could trigger an election?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in the budget is an allocation to ensure the Champlain Bridge will remain safe. The engineers say that it is absolutely safe. The amount of money set aside in the budget will ensure that it stays safe for the next 10 years. We will be working with the Quebec government.

Near as I can tell, from watching the last convention that the Bloc Québécois had, the only bridge those members seem to be concerned about is building bridges with the other parties in a coalition. Why did they not deal with the Champlain Bridge when they had the chance?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is time to build a new Champlain Bridge immediately in collaboration with the stakeholders. That is what the mayor of Montreal, representing 82 municipalities in the Montreal metropolitan community, and the mayors of Longueuil, Brossard and Laval said on Thursday. No more band-aid solutions. No more wasting time. The bridge is crumbling. We are talking about the safety of the motorists and the economic well-being of Montreal and the south shore.

Does the Minister of Transport realize that his government's indifference to the expectations of Quebec could trigger an election?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, they are going to call this one the Pont Champlain election.

We have money in the budget to make sure the bridge remains safe. We are also waiting until the end of this month, when a report will be tabled with Transport Canada that will detail options for replacing the bridge. Of course, that is what one does when in government. One thinks of the long-term and working with the Quebec government to get it done.

The nearest I can tell, at the Bloc's convention the only change it made to its party constitution had nothing to do with the bridge. All it had to say was, “Let's form a coalition with those other parties over there”.

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadian families need a government that cares. After five years of an uncaring government, Canadians are more worried about how to pay for their children's education, how to care for their aging parents, where to find child care spaces, and how to get a secure pension.

There are people without jobs and jobs without people. Poverty is rising, food banks are full, and many are homeless. This is a serious time and yet the Conservatives chose to invest in prisons, untendered jets, big corporations, and a bloated G8 summit instead of students, seniors and families.

What is the minister going to say to all the people she has insulted and offended when she meets them on the doorstep?

Government SpendingOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has done an awful lot in the last five years to help people in need. We helped seniors by putting in pension income splitting, by increasing the GIS significantly in terms of access and making it automatic.

We are proposing in this budget the largest increase in the guaranteed income supplement in the last 25 years, but instead of spending that $300 million to help our most vulnerable seniors, the hon. member and his colleagues in the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition would rather spend that money on an unneeded, unwanted election.

G8 SummitOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government offers pennies for seniors and pennies for students, which is its tough on families agenda, but over $1 billion on a bloated G8 summit. The government will not even acknowledge that Canadians want answers.

On April 5 the report of the Auditor General into the $1 billion summit will be available. The question is whether Canadians will get to see it. Sheila Fraser's report on this is critical.

Will the government stop hiding information and ensure just for once it does the right thing and her work is made public as soon as it is ready?

G8 SummitOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, with the onus of full disclosure, the hon. member across the way should actually acknowledge what his party's record is on helping the most vulnerable Canadians.

Let us take a look at it. It voted against making scholarships and bursaries tax free for students. It voted against increasing student internships. It voted against increasing the age credit to help our seniors. It voted against the raising the age limit for the RRSP and the new horizons program that would help our most vulnerable seniors. That is its record on disclosure. We do not—

G8 SummitOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for London—Fanshawe.

VeteransOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, over 900,000 people use food banks in Canada. Among them are some of our bravest men and women who served our country proudly. In Calgary alone, 204 veterans depend on food banks and in London, Ontario, veteran hospital beds are being closed. This is a national disgrace and all because of Conservative inaction.

Why did the government decide to provoke an election instead of working with us to help veterans?

VeteransOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, obviously, our department and the entire government are looking out for our homeless veterans. We have implemented three pilot projects in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto to try to locate our veterans and to offer them the services they are entitled to. Our pilot project has helped identify 76 homeless veterans. They are now receiving the services they are entitled to. We will continue our work to help them.

VeteransOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the legacy of the Conservative Party is a 38% increase in food bank use in this country by 900,000 people, 38% of them children. Also, in 2005, the Calgary food bank for veterans had 58 veterans and now it has 204.

My father, who was liberated by the heroes of Canada, would be rolling around in his grave to know that the heroes of Canada who liberated the Netherlands have to beg for food for their sustenance. That is the legacy of the Conservative government.

When will the government do something to help veterans in this country?

VeteransOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that we are currently working to identify veterans who are homeless. We have identified 76 veterans who were not receiving any services, since we did not know where they were. Now, thanks to our pilot projects in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, we are seeing results.

Today, I have good news to share with the members of this House and our veterans. Yesterday, Bill C-55, which will provide new services to our seriously wounded modern-day veterans, received royal assent. This will mean $2 billion for our veterans.

VeteransOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister of Veterans Affairs for his work and I thank him for visiting Lévis on February 23, 2011. He met with our heroes from the 6th Field Company and the Régiment de la Chaudière, who landed on the beaches of Normandy.

Unfortunately, the makeshift coalition is taking our veterans hostage and trying to trigger an unnecessary and costly election and to force its agenda on us, including tax increases, debt and job losses.

Could the Minister of Veterans Affairs share with us the good news from the announcement he made about the royal assent that was granted yesterday?

VeteransOral Questions

Noon

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about two things.

First of all, today, March 25, 2011, there are 685,000 seniors in our country who will remember that these three parties are joining together to prevent them from getting an additional $600 per year through the guaranteed income supplement. That is what the opposition is doing.

Second of all, is that there is good news for our veterans. The members of this party will be able to look our veterans in the eye and say that they have done something good for them. Yesterday, Bill C-55 received royal assent, and it will provide them with new support if they are wounded.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is under so many investigations it is getting hard to keep track. Now we learn of another.

The Public Service Commission has confirmed that it is investigating the Conservatives for stacking the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency with partisan political appointments of numerous close associates and former employees of the defence minister, further evidence of abuse, further evidence of contempt.

Will it ever stop with these Conservatives?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

Noon

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely ridiculous. Our government is committed to accountability and transparency.

The minister's office does not interfere in the hiring practices of the agency.

Our government brought in the Federal Accountability Act, which tightened up the rules that were abused or lack of rules that were abused by the previous government. Strict Government of Canada guidelines and practices are always respected.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is misleading people who are unemployed when she says that the reform proposed by the Bloc Québécois and the unions would allow individuals to receive 50 weeks of benefits for 360 hours of work; this is untrue. For example, in Chicoutimi, a person would receive 20 weeks of benefits, which is not an excessive amount.

Will the Minister of Human Resources stop bending the truth in imitation of her colleague, the Minister of International Cooperation, and finally admit that 360 hours of work does not entitle a person to 50 weeks of employment insurance benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

Noon

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what we have done with our economic action plan is to offer those who are unemployed opportunities to learn new skills and take training courses to prepare them to get jobs today and in the future. We want to help them to work, to work for themselves, so that they can take care of their families and regain their dignity. This is something that the Bloc Québécois has denied.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are hearing all kinds of comments. We have heard the word “coalition” many times. The Conservatives are laying it on thickly today. I would like to table a very short, but very important, document. It is dated September 9, 2004.

It read:

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson,

Excellency,

As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program. We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority. Your attention to this matter is appreciated.

It was signed, “Sincerely, [the Prime Minister],” who was then the leader of the opposition of the Conservative Party, and by the member of Parliament for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, and the member of Parliament for Toronto—Danforth, the leader of the New Democratic Party. Their coalition.

I ask the majority of the members, who form this House, unanimous consent to table this document, so everybody can know that the Conservatives wanted to sleep with them. What is going on?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Bourassa have the unanimous consent of the House to table this document?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.