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House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, soon the dream of buying a house will be out of reach for middle-class Canadians. In B.C. the median price of a home is over $400,000 while the average family income is only $68,000. Yet the Conservatives' only plan is to cut a billion dollars next year. These cuts also eliminate funds for social housing, aboriginal housing, and seniors in need.

Why is the government cutting funds for housing when it is so desperately needed?

HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we did not cut funding to housing. In fact, under the economic action plan, we had $2 billion for housing to ensure that houses are built both for seniors and those who are disabled. The New Democratic Party did not support those initiatives. In fact, it should be supporting initiatives like that.

HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, maybe the parliamentary secretary should read his own government estimates because the bottom line is that the Conservatives are not helping middle-class Canadians.

In Vancouver the average price of a two-storey home is a million bucks. That is 10% higher than last year. Prices have also jumped close to 10% in Regina, Halifax and St. John's.

The housing crisis is real and it is hitting more and more people. When will the government stop dragging its feet and adopt the New Democratic plan for a national housing strategy?

HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, there are over 12,000 housing projects across the country that the NDP did not support this particular government in undertaking. Now it is asking, what are we doing for housing?

In fact, we had a number of tax initiatives and tax reductions. We put over $3,000 in the pockets of every Canadian family of four, which that particular party did not support and did not even care to read the budget to see what was in it.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for Status of Women. In October of last year, our government announced concrete action to address the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Could the minister provide this House with an update on these efforts and tell us what else this government is doing to address the issue of violence against aboriginal women and girls?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Miramichi for all the good work she does on behalf of women.

As she said, in the fall of last year our government announced it would invest $10 million over two years to improve community safety, and ensure that the justice system and law enforcement agencies can better respond to cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

On Friday the Native Women's Association of Canada received an additional $1.9 million in funding from our government for its new project. This is what the president of the Native Women's Association of Canada had to say:

This commitment shows that the Government of Canada and NWAC have a shared dedication to ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

Government SpendingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, we still do not know how much the megaprisons that the Conservatives want to build are going to cost. We just know that it is a lot.

Meanwhile, there has been a reduction of 14% in the budget for environmental programs, an important file for the regions, where sustainable development depends on the effective management of natural resources. One-third of the budget for regional development in Quebec has been cut.

Is this what the Conservatives mean by giving power to the regions?

Government SpendingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I find the Liberal position on funding prison construction quite confusing.

Last week I was in Newfoundland and people told me that they wanted us to, in fact, build a prison in Newfoundland. At the same time, the leader of the opposition party was telling Canadians that there should not be any prisons built.

Perhaps the two groups could get together and figure out exactly where they are on crime and they could start standing up for the victims of crime as opposed to being so worried about the prisoners.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development told us that he consulted key stakeholders before implementing the Nutrition North program. However, according to committee witnesses, the consultations were merely a routine review and no indication was given that the food mail program was going to be replaced. How were they supposed to prepare for this change?

Is the government going to suspend the Nutrition North program until this House can seriously consider whether the costs justify the economic impact?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the program went through a long consultation phase. We had more than 80 meetings in the north talking to northerners about what they would like to see in the program. They want a transparent and accountable system. They are going to get it with a retail subsidy instead of a transportation subsidy.

We are implementing changes to improve the effectiveness of the program, but we are also listening. We are prepared to make changes as this program goes along to make sure that it is delivering nutritious and affordable foods to northerners.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians are late with their taxes, they do not get a break; they get a fine. But GVA does not, a company that flooded Canadian markets with candy-flavoured cigarillos aimed at our youth. GVA owes Revenue Canada $20 million in export taxes since 2006. It used that money to lower the cost of their deadly product. Incredibly, CRA neglected to collect these taxes and is now considering forgiving a large chunk of this debt.

Will the government indicate if this kind of deal is available for all Canadians or only its deep-pocketed friends?

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I suggest the member opposite get her facts straight and quit relying on the press for her information. The fact is that we are talking about uncollected duties, not taxes, and the government will collect what is owed.

I would remind the member that the Minister of Health introduced the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act, which is now law. The new law cracks down on tobacco marketing aimed at youth, bans flavours that would appeal to children, sets minimum package sizes and bans all tobacco advertising.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I wish to advise hon. members, in case some have forgotten, that the Canadian Medical Association is on the Hill today in Room 601 until 4 p.m. It is offering services to members to assist them in maintaining their health. Although I am only responsible for rights and privileges, I can, of course, urge hon. members to take care of their health.

Members can receive a free assessment of their risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. No appointment is necessary. Members can simply go to Room 601 any time before 4 p.m. today.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order arising out of question period. The member for Toronto—Danforth mentioned, in his question for the government, a letter from the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism soliciting, on parliamentary letterhead, funds for Conservative electoral district associations.

I would seek unanimous consent to have this document tabled in the House.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Vancouver East have the unanimous consent of the House to have this document tabled in the House?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I ask the question, I would like to first pick up on the unanimous request put by my colleague from the NDP.

A very troubling matter was raised during question period today and I would like to give the government House leader an opportunity to address it. Perhaps he could come back to the House and explain how it is possible that a minister of the Crown would facilitate and permit the sending out of fundraising letters seeking $200,000 of financial commitments for Conservative branding.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

That is fine but the question is supposed to deal with the business of the House and I think we had better stick with the intent of the question.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

I will leave it with you, Mr. Speaker, and with my colleague across the floor.

I would ask the House leader what the business of the House is for the remainder of this week. There were some changes this week in terms of opposition days granted to the NDP. These were negotiations that were ongoing I understand between the government and the NDP.

I would also like to ask what the business is for next week?

We have been asking repeatedly, and Canadians want to know, where two other government bills are, Bill S-10 and Bill C-49.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, before I respond to the member's question, I would like to, on behalf of the government, add my voice to the voices of the member for Toronto Centre and the member for Winnipeg Centre who spoke about the passing of a distinguished member of the parliamentary press gallery, Jim Travers of The Toronto Star. He was a long-time member of the parliamentary press gallery and a former editor of the Ottawa Citizen. Jim would have been just 63 years old next month. His passing in the hospital was completely shocking and unexpected.

Jim was a top national journalist and a columnist who never was afraid to make his views known on the printed page and on the airwaves as a frequent guest on panel shows and talk radio. He was a passionate Canadian. He loved this country and he was incredibly committed to his craft. Canada has certainly lost a legend.

On behalf of all of us in this place, I offer our sincere condolences to Jim's wife Joan, his sons Patrick and Ben, and to the rest of his family and friends, and his colleagues especially from The Toronto Star who, I know, are deeply saddened by this loss, and, indeed, all of his colleagues in the parliamentary press gallery at this very difficult time. The thoughts and prayers of all Canadians are with Jim's family and many friends.

In terms of parliamentary business for the coming week, today we will continue debate on the NDP opposition motion. I thank my NDP counterpart, the member for Vancouver East, after our difference of opinion. We have worked to make Parliament work and we have come to an agreement that has been satisfactory to both sides. I also thank my opposition colleagues from Ottawa South and Joliette for their assistance and agreement in this matter.

Tomorrow, we will resume and hope to complete debate on Bill C-55, the enhanced new veterans charter that our colleague, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, has introduced. Following Bill C-55, we will move to call Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

Next week, we will continue with the business on Friday and, in addition, we will call Bill C-20, the action plan for the National Capital Commission; Bill C-54, the child sexual offences; Bill C-8, the Canada–Jordan free trade agreement; Bill C-12, the democratic representation; Bill C-46, the Canada–Panama free trade agreement; Bill C-57, improving trade within Canada, brought forward by the Minister for Small Business; and Bill C-50, improving access to investigative tools for serious crimes, which is an important bill sponsored by our colleague, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

My friend from Ottawa South and the member for Vancouver East mentioned a solicitation for financial funds on parliamentary letterhead.

Mr. Speaker, as the chair of the Board of Internal Economy, I think it would be wise for you to place this issue before the Board of Internal Economy. There have been several complaints about opposition members soliciting campaign funds on government websites and perhaps the board could discuss that at the same time.

With respect to Bill S-10 and Bill C-49, we continue to make our case to Canadians and are working hard to convince the Liberal Party of the wrong decision it has made on these important piece of legislation. We will call for further debate in due course.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. House leader for his suggestion. As a member of the board, he can bring these matters forward to his heart's content at the meetings and, as chair, I would be more than happy to accommodate him there.

Bill C-61--Freezing Assets of Corrupt Regimes ActPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe if you seek it you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move: That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, Bill C-61, An Act to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of the property of officials and former officials of foreign states and of their family members, be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

Bill C-61--Freezing Assets of Corrupt Regimes ActPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like the government House leader to tell us why they did not go further—why they did not ask that Bill C-61 be passed at all stages?

I said this during question period: the government does not need this bill in order to freeze Ben Ali's assests, but I think it would send an extremely important message to all of the dictators who are currently using Canada, Quebec and even Montreal—we saw that in the news yesterday—to squander money that belongs to various nations.

We would have liked to see a motion asking that Bill C-61 be passed at all stages and sent to the Senate.

Bill C-61--Freezing Assets of Corrupt Regimes ActPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge that the Bloc has certainly been co-operative in wanting to see this bill passed expeditiously but, regrettably, we could not find the unanimous consent of the House. However, I do thank all members of the House for allowing it to go to committee expeditiously so that it can be looked into.

Obviously, with respect to freezing private property, it is a very serious issue. We look forward to its consideration in committee in short order.

Bill C-61--Freezing Assets of Corrupt Regimes ActPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?