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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

National Aboriginal DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this National Aboriginal Day, I am pleased to draw attention to the inclusive measures that the New Democratic Party introduced last weekend in order to ensure that the aboriginal point of view is truly taken into account.

I understand how apprehensive many aboriginals are at the idea of joining the ranks of a political organization, since this is a concept that is foreign to my home community's way of life and reality.

However, I am pleased to note that the NDP is devoting a significant amount of time and effort to bridging the cultural gap and sharing a vision of Canada that reflects its cultural heritage. I have rarely had the opportunity to see aboriginal leaders from communities across the country set aside differences and join forces in pursuit of a common goal.

In the future, I will work to ensure that inclusive measures leading to this cultural unity become the norm, in order to meet the progressive expectations expressed by the Canadian people.

Mamu Atussetau

National Aboriginal DayStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is National Aboriginal Day, a day we honour aboriginal cultures and encourage all Canadians to participate in the many festivities planned across the country.

National Aboriginal Day is a celebration dedicated to embracing the rich and diverse cultures, contributions and histories of aboriginal peoples in Canada. It is also an occasion for first nations, Inuit and Métis to express their deep pride in their heritage and accomplishments.

As we continue to build partnerships for the future, we acknowledge the communities that uphold strong traditions and carry histories filled with great achievements.

We must honour the proud past of aboriginal people and work together to build a confident future.

Events for National Aboriginal Day are scheduled in communities across Canada. For example, today I had the honour of placing a wreath at the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument.

I ask all Canadians and members of the House to participate and share in the celebration of National Aboriginal Day.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the employees of Canada Post used legitimate pressure tactics to defend their rights while continuing to deliver the mail. The response from Canada Post, which is owned by the government, was to lock the doors and suspend mail delivery. The special back-to-work legislation clearly takes the employer’s side.

The government and Canada Post came to an agreement in advance, did they not?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this dispute between Canada Post and the union has been going on for a long time now, and this is causing growing damage to the Canadian economy and Canadians. This government is acting to protect the interests of Canadians.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is not a strike called by the workers. It is a lockout imposed by the management of Canada Post. It is the government's mess.

Now it is forcing through legislation what it could not claw back through negotiation. With this bill, the government is imposing wages that are lower than what management was prepared to offer these workers who deliver our mail.

Is the Prime Minister signalling to workers that if they do not accept the first offer that is given by management, that the Conservatives will simply come and legislate something worse? How is that possibly to be considered fair?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, there has been a series of strikes and lockouts in a dispute between these two parties that is beginning to damage a large number of people who do not sit at the table.

The government is acting to protect those interests. The wage rates laid out in the legislation are the rates that this government agreed to with its other public service workers, and that is a fair settlement for Canada Post workers as well.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today is National Aboriginal Day, and New Democrats join in paying tribute to all first nations, Métis and Inuit people's cultures and traditions.

Three years after I joined with the Prime Minister to express our apologies for the residential school system, more clearly needs to be done. We need to build stronger relationships with aboriginal peoples and, on a nation-to-nation basis, reconcile their interests with those of all Canadians.

Would the Prime Minister share my assessment that Canada is moving too slowly?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what I would say is that while much work remains to be done, considerable progress has been made over the past several years in areas such as education, human rights, water services, schools, and many other areas for aboriginal people in this country. More work remains to be done.

However, I do want to congratulate all aboriginal Canadians on this day, and also acknowledge and pay tribute to the growing number of aboriginal Canadians elected to serve in the Parliament of Canada.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that three years after an apology was given to aboriginal people, virtually nothing has changed. Too many aboriginal communities have been abandoned to their fate. Access to education is dramatically lower than elsewhere. Many people have trouble accessing clean drinking water, and the housing situation is deplorable. Families are piled on top of one another.

We thank the Prime Minister for his apology, but we want more than fine words. When will we see concrete action to help aboriginal people break out of the socio-economic stagnation they live in?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, improving the quality of life for all first nations across Canada is a priority for the government.

A vital component of this is the elimination of poverty. The average income among first nations on reserve is 45% of the non-aboriginal population. The income assistance dependency rate is high at 35% compared to the national average of 5%.

The preferred approach that we have been taking is targeted. We are addressing these challenges through negotiated tripartite approaches involving Canada, the provinces, the territories and first nations.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, today, on National Aboriginal Day, we reflect on the struggles and achievements of first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

As parliamentarians we must deliver on the commitments under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit have issued calls for investment in education. As National Chief Shawn Atleo has said, “Now is the time to realize Shannen's dream”.

Will the government, today, commit to equitable access to quality education for all children?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that today we launched the national panel on K to 12 education.

I did that jointly with National Chief Atleo on National Aboriginal Day with a very large and significant crowd of students and teachers. I think it was a most appropriate measure. We have also launched our website for people to consult beyond the round tables. I direct people to go there.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, to the Prime Minister on the so-called act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services, Bill C-6.

Everyone recognizes, including the workers involved, that we want to see a resumption of postal services. The workers themselves have offered to go back to work.

Why then does that legislation completely limit the discretion of the arbitrator to find a fair agreement, deny the employees the ability to negotiate on salaries and, in fact, impose a salary regime for three years which is less than what the employer was prepared to pay?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, I do not accept much of the preamble of that question.

As I said earlier, the wage rates laid out in the legislation are the same as this government negotiated with its other public sector employees.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that makes no sense. The Prime Minister is clearly saying that Canada Post is an independent organization whose strategy is not controlled by the government. If that is in fact the case, how is it possible that you are imposing wages on the workers that are not what they negotiated with their own employer, but what you want to impose on them? That is not fair.

How does the Prime Minister justify this?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I wish to remind the hon. member for Toronto Centre to address his questions through the chair and not directly at other hon. members.

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this dispute has been going on for a long time and it is causing harm to other Canadians who are not at the bargaining table. We are acting in the best interests of the Canadian economy and treating all employees of the government of Canada equitably.

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Questions

June 21st, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, through you to the Prime Minister, let me ask this question.

After the 2010 strategic review the government booked savings of $172 million in the Department of Public Works. We were told before the election by the then minister, Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board, that this would all be done through attrition. Now, after the election, we are told something completely different. We are told that the government is going to be firing auditors and that it will be letting people go in the hundreds.

Why did the government deceive the people of Canada before the election?

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada employs hundreds of thousands of people. When it is necessary to make adjustments to ensure that taxpayers' dollars are well spent, we always make sure, wherever possible, that we do that through attrition or reassignment. In this case, we are cutting expenditures that are not necessary. They are duplicative and will not affect the audit services of the Government of Canada.

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, employees are required for a business or government to function. The economy means jobs. Jobs mean consumers. No jobs mean no consumers and no economy. Yesterday, it was announced that 700 jobs would be eliminated at Public Works and Government Services Canada. These cutbacks are a severe blow to the regional economy. They will not help to control spending and will hinder the economic recovery; that much is clear.

Such being the case, how can the government justify these savage layoffs?

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave us a clear mandate to keep taxes low and to balance the budget by 2014-2015. We have taken a close look at spending and identified the least effective and lower priority programs in order to achieve the slated savings of approximately $98.6 million for Canadian taxpayers.

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government fired 92 auditors at Public Works, the same department responsible for stopping corruption and misspending.

The most essential role of the public service is to ensure that public money is spent according to the rules. When a government starts to fire the very people who are paid to verify, audit and control, the message is, “If you don't tell us what we want to hear, we'll fire you”.

How can removing the controllers of public spending help control public spending?

Public Works and Government Services CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we have taken a close look at spending and identified those programs that are least effective and less of a priority. This will not have any impact on internal audit services.

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been two weeks since the Treasury Board President was taken down to the Auditor General's principal's office and he has been hiding under his desk ever since. We now know why.

There is a criminal investigation into how $50 million was diverted into his riding. I suggest the RCMP read the Auditor General's report, which lays out in excruciating detail how the three amigos, the mayor, the hotel manager and the minister, diverted money for these dubious pork barrel projects.

My question to the missing member for Muskoka, is it not time to come clean in this House?

Auditor General's ReportOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, another day and another public relations stunt from the opposition.

Let us look at what the interim Auditor General said in his report. I would remind you, Mr. Speaker, that the Auditor General is an independent officer of Parliament, mandated to report to this House. The report says:

--no evidence to suggest that it was a deliberate attempt to mislead.

It also says:

I’m not aware of any specific law that was broken.

The Auditor General has made some fair observations about the process with which the estimates are presented to this House, and how grants and contributions programs could be administered. We fully accept that good counsel and will be following it in the future.