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House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigration.

Topics

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, in fact we have many provinces that are supporting this voluntary project. Many provinces are onside and continue to support our proposal. I remind the hon. member that it is voluntary.

We have referred this matter to the Supreme Court. I suggest that we wait for the Supreme Court's ruling on the jurisdiction of this.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, voluntarily quitting your job should not mean winning the lottery. Yet the Prime Minister paid the former public sector integrity commissioner half a million dollars so that she would quit her job and keep quiet. That is completely unacceptable. People in my riding, where the average personal income is $26,288, would need to work more than 20 years to earn that kind of money.

How can Canadians trust a Prime Minister who meddles in the work of an independent officer of Parliament and then gives her half a million dollars to keep her mouth shut?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the government sought legal advice about this situation and then followed that advice. According to the information I have, the person my colleague referred to will appear before a parliamentary committee tomorrow to respond to questions.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this is a sordid affair. First the minister denied meeting with the former integrity commissioner and now we know that he did. Then he hid behind a legal opinion, but he would not produce it. There were 228 whistleblowers who were ignored.

The average income in my riding is $31,456. Taxpayers are outraged that the former integrity commissioner was paid an obscene half a million dollars to quit and then disappear to Florida.

When did the minister meet with the commissioner? What was discussed? Did he authorize the payment of the hush money?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I addressed all these questions yesterday and I will do it again today.

When it comes to the legal advice, we are looking at the question in terms of what, if any, of that can be released.

I have also said that following the Auditor General's report, which shows how these cases had been handled or had not been handled, there were some serious difficulties, but we are looking at the question of recoverability.

The former commissioner is appearing before the all-party committee tomorrow. That is the proper place to address this because it is that committee that is seized with this issue and it should be.

We are concerned about the whistleblowers and their protection.

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's refusal to implement a national poverty strategy is an insult to our vulnerable citizens. For three years, the human resources committee has heard from 260 witnesses who have overwhelmingly called for Ottawa to lead in the fight against poverty. Their testimony showed, without a doubt, that Canadians expect to see a plan to address this issue. However, it now seems clear they cannot expect that type of leadership from the government.

When will the Conservatives ditch their ideology and stop writing off so many people?

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we believe that the best way to fight poverty is to create jobs, to create a strong economy, and to give people the skills to compete and succeed in our economy.

Throughout the recession, we have been doing just that. We put 1.2 million people into skills training. We enhanced the supports while they lost their jobs, while focusing on creating new jobs through investments in infrastructure and expanding access to jobs.

We are there. We have been supporting them, fighting poverty every step of the way. Unfortunately, the NDP has voted against every single thing we have done to help the vulnerable.

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the suffering in our communities shows the government is dead wrong. The Conservatives are writing off the potential of so many of our citizens. Four million Canadians still live in poverty. The jobs being created are part-time, low wage and without benefits.

Today, the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction expressed its deep disappointment in the government, saying that a national poverty strategy is essential in building the country's prosperity.

Does the government understand that it needs to lead on this issue? Does it know that Canadians expect leadership in the fight against poverty?

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we really do believe that the best way to fight poverty is to help people get a job and get the skills they need for their job, and to create those jobs. Through our economic action plan, we have created over 460,000 jobs across this country. Not only that, but many of these are really good-paying jobs. We have helped 1.2 million Canadians get the training and the skills they need for the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow.

We are investing in Canadians because we believe in them. We are working to prevent poverty. Unfortunately, the NDP is trying to mire people in it.

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, as our economy continues to recover from the economic downturn, many emerging companies in southern Ontario, including start-up businesses in my riding, are faced with funding challenges. Our government knows the importance and the impact of angel and venture capital investments on the development of Canadian businesses.

Would the Minister of State for FedDev please inform the House about the steps that our government has taken to increase private sector investment in start-up businesses.

Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex for his hard work.

The government set up FedDev to ensure that job creators in southern Ontario have the tools they need to create jobs and succeed. Under our government, I am proud to say that venture capital in Ontario has increased by 43% from 2009 to 2010. It is through new programs like investing in business innovation that we look forward to more success for Ontario entrepreneurs and even more jobs for Canadians.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, for 15 months Canadian Philip Halliday has languished in a Spanish prison, awaiting his chance to prove his innocence.

He is also waiting desperately for much needed gallbladder surgery. He has lost almost 50 pounds. And now we have learned that he is now suffering from very serious liver and kidney diseases, which are in fact leading to substantial unintended consequences.

Would the minister responsible for consular affairs finally ask Spanish authorities to provide Mr. Halliday with immediate treatment to save his life?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, we are aware of this case, of course. We are actively providing consular assistance and support to Mr. Halliday. We are in regular contact with his partner here in Canada. We have also requested that Canada's ambassador to Spain be engaged with local authorities to request help for the medical situation that the member mentioned.

VeteransOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mark Campbell, a soldier who stepped on a bomb in June 2008 in Afghanistan and lost both of his legs, has said that the new veterans charter is an abject betrayal, since it robs wounded soldiers of 40% of their income. The new lump sump payments pale in comparison to the lifetime pensions that were paid until the Conservatives made this abject decision.

Why is the government trying to save money at the expense of the new generation of veterans?

VeteransOral Questions

3 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the charter that was unanimously adopted in the House in 2005 had some flaws. We are correcting them with Bill C-55, which will address questions that were raised today in a newspaper article.

Once this bill passes, the minimum that an individual participating in a rehabilitation program will receive will be $40,000 per year. For a veteran who cannot return to work, the minimum will be $58,000 per year. Furthermore, we will correct the problems with the lump sum payment, which will become optional.

VeteransOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's RCMP and veterans are Canada's heroes, yet last fall the personal medical information of one of those heroes, Captain Sean Bruyea, was spread throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs by teenage children looking at a dirty magazine.

The reality is that the Privacy Commissioner said that some DVA employees broke the law. The minister himself said those responsible would be fired, yet today we learned that 3 of them were promoted and 54 got a slap on the wrist.

How can any veteran in the future ever trust the government or the Department of Veterans Affairs? When will the Minister of Veterans Affairs call for a public inquiry into this sordid affair?

VeteransOral Questions

3 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the brave men and woman who have served in our armed forces deserve dignity and respect. As soon as the Privacy Commissioner informed me of irregularities regarding the protection of personal information, we took action on two fronts.

First, we conducted an internal investigation to find out what was going on. Second, we implemented 10 new measures to ensure that our veterans' information would be protected. None of our employees can now claim that they do not know.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, first nations chiefs and councils still do not have to publicly disclose to their band members how much money they make. On-reserve residents, regular Canadians, and our Conservative government say that is wrong. There needs to be more transparency and accountability. Surprisingly, the national chief is still dismissing private member's Bill C-575.

Could the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development tell us why the first nations financial transparency act is so vital?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question and the hard work of the member in the standing committee.

Bill C-575 is another important tool for hard-working chiefs and councillors to bring more accountability and transparency to their members. This legislation would give all MPs the opportunity to support accountability in first nations communities. I want to thank Liberal members, including the former leader of the opposition, who did just that last week.

We call on the Liberals who took a principled stand against their leader's orders to continue to support Bill C-575 to enhance accountability for first nations communities, their members and all Canadians.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Roger Fitzgerald, Speaker of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism told the House a little while ago that I gave a speech in Toronto on Wednesday, February 9. I know he would be horrified to think that he might have misled the House, so I am happy to give him the opportunity to set the record straight.

Attendance records confirm that I was indeed in caucus that Wednesday morning. In fact, I remember it well. Everyone brought their skates to caucus because as soon as it was over, we crossed the street and I went skating with our leader on the Rideau Canal. I would be happy to ask for unanimous consent to table a picture of my son on my shoulders while I was skating on the Rideau Canal.

I was there that afternoon for question period and there that evening for votes.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I would also be happy to table a picture of that member at Advertising Week 2011, at which he was quoted as saying in both the National Post and Marketing magazine:

I'm here today at a moment when I'm actually supposed to be with my colleagues in Ottawa at a caucus meeting, so if I tweet that I'll have a whole bunch of colleagues who say,

That's right, [the member for Papineau is] not sitting in this room right now. He's off in Toronto talking to ad folks.

Perhaps it was not on February 9. Perhaps he could clarify what date it was, but it was at Advertising Week 2011.

I am also happy to table evidence that the member received speaking payments from Speakers' Spotlight. I would like very simply to know if he could tell us what date he was speaking at ad week in Toronto, when he admitted that he ought to have been in caucus. And was he being paid to be working elsewhere when he admitted that he should have been here in Ottawa?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would suggest that the member for Papineau and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism sit down and have a discussion and sort out the facts and then come back. I do not think it is a subject that needs to be debated in the House.

With great respect to both hon. members, the members are free to give speeches where they like, when they like. I do not think it is something that we need to be concerned with on a point of order in the House, interesting as it may be.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

March 9th, 2011 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a similar vein, I am rising on a point of order regarding a statement made by the member for Nepean—Carleton, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, during question period both yesterday and today.

In his comments, the member attempted to blur the lines between acceptable and unacceptable Elections Canada finance standards using the Don Valley West Federal Liberal Association as an example. This dates back to 2004. I believe he misled the House and I would like unanimous consent to table documents from Elections Canada that would clear up any misunderstanding about what may or may not have taken place in 2004.

I rise because this is critical. Everyone knows that this does not have anything to do with me; it has to do with the good people of Don Valley West and the hon. John Godfrey, a man of unimpeachable integrity. He has filed his candidate statement, as well as the returns for 2004. While these are public documents, apparently the parliamentary secretary does not understand how to read them.

Indeed, there was a transfer from the federal party, a legal transfer, that was then placed in the budget of the expenses of the campaign. It was duly reported and was under the limits. It was legal and publicly reported.