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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, many cases of human rights abuses have recently been reported in Libya, particularly rape. This has happened in Benghazi, Tobruk, Brega, Misrata and many other cities throughout the country. Our top priority in Libya should be to provide humanitarian aid, particularly to women who are fleeing the violence.

Will the government commit to making this aid a priority, and will it help bring war criminals from the Gadhafi regime before the courts?

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am equally concerned as the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie about the huge number of verified allegations with respect to sexual violence being used as a tool of war. I can report to the member opposite that I have had good discussions with her foreign affairs critic on this issue.

This morning I had a specific briefing on what we might do in Canada to tackle this issue, whether it is working with the International Criminal Court or providing tangible assistance either on the social services side or on the prosecution and policing side on this important issue. I would be very pleased to work with the member opposite on something that really should be a uniting force among all of us in the House, something that is reprehensible—

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have seen tremendous change in the Arab world and Canadians support that change. They want to see their government do a bit more as we heard. G8 countries pledged $20 billion for the Arab spring. There was no new money from Canada. There is nothing for Tunisia and nothing for Egypt. The government broke its 2008 throne speech promise to create a democratic development institute.

So, why is Canada not supporting these new democracies and why is the government out of step with the rest of the world?

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can report, obviously, that Canada remains incredibly supportive of the change that we have seen going on in both Tunisia and Egypt. We have come forward with funds to support some initiatives with respect to young people in Egypt.

When the Prime Minister attended the G8 in France, he was certainly underlining the support that we are giving to Libya, both militarily and in humanitarian assistance. We are engaged.

We are providing a lot of funding, more than a quarter of a million dollars in recent years, to the multilateral bodies that should provide this direct support. We obviously are watching what is going on with great interest and will continue to see what more can be done.

PovertyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for the government. The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons said that the government wanted the Speech from the Throne to include and reflect the values of Canadians.

Is poverty reduction in Canada a priority for Canadians? Yes. Is it a priority for the government? Apparently not.

Why is poverty reduction not a priority for the Conservative government?

PovertyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to congratulate the member for Toronto Centre on his new position as the leader of the Liberal Party. I know that after the election in which the NDP scored surprising results, he found himself in a position of power and influence that he did not have before. We look forward to seeing him in that role in a constructive way in this House.

As members know, this party and government has been very much committed to improving the condition and well-being of ordinary Canadian families. That is why, through our measures to reduce the tax burden, the typical Canadian family is now over $3,000 better off on average in terms of the amount of taxes it has to pay.

Later today in the budget we may hear some more things that--

PovertyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the allergy to the word “poverty” still seems to be there. Again, I congratulate the minister on his appointment.

In light of the statements by the government with respect to its desire to improve the condition of aboriginal people, Chief Atleo, in his statements on the Speech from the Throne, made it very clear that he regarded a meeting between the Crown and the leadership of the first nations, the Métis, and all the aboriginal people including the Inuit as necessary, and that the meeting had to take place on a government-to-government basis, on a basis that fully respected the jurisdictions of first nations and aboriginal people.

I would like to ask the minister why that commitment--

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we are at a place where we are having discussions with the national chief. We are looking at an action plan that we can work on together and part of that dialogue will be to discuss this very gathering that the member is bringing up. So, that is something we will flesh out over the next period of time. Hopefully, we will come to something quite solid in the fall.

Flooding in MontérégieOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, while we are tossing these kind words around, the people in the Montérégie region have been up to their necks in water for the past 50 days. While we are tossing these kind words around, the Prime Minister is showing as much empathy as someone having a tooth pulled without anaesthetic.

Why does the Prime Minister not want to make an exception for Quebec, which is asking that the army play a role in the cleanup?

In 1998, Jean Chrétien called Lucien Bouchard to see what was needed. People want help from the army. What has happened to them is not their fault. Instead of being attacked, they want people to come help them clean up. What are they waiting for?

Flooding in MontérégieOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, along with the hon. member and all Canadians, we are very sympathetic to the plight of those affected by the floods not only in Quebec but in Manitoba, as well those who are suffering in Saskatchewan.

As members know, the Prime Minister has been in the region this morning. We have Canadian soldiers who have been on the ground within 24 hours after being contacted by the Province of Quebec. They continue to work with the province to the best of their ability to help mitigate the damage there, continuing their efforts as we speak. There are 500 soldiers there currently and we congratulate them on that incredible effort.

Flooding in MontérégieOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, people in Montérégie are struggling with the worst flooding that this region has ever seen. After 50 days, when the Prime Minister finally showed up in the region, we learned that, unlike disaster victims in Manitoba and Alberta, people in the Montérégie region still cannot get expedited processing of their employment insurance claims.

Why does this double standard exist for the people of Montérégie?

Flooding in MontérégieOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government understands the difficulties and the stress that the disaster victims are experiencing in the Montérégie region. That is why we have expedited processing of their employment insurance claims. Once I learned about the situation, I made a request to the department. Information is now available on our website.

Flooding in MontérégieOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, back home, the entire Montérégie region is flooded. The people are exhausted. The government thought it was more important to expedite employment insurance to disaster victims in Manitoba and Alberta, and victims in Quebec have been ignored until now.

Can the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development explain why disaster victims in the Montérégie region are still waiting for this expedited assistance?

Flooding in MontérégieOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, natural disaster victims across Canada must receive the same support from their government, regardless of where they live. That is why, as soon as I learned about this situation, I asked the department to ensure that the victims of flooding in the Montérégie region immediately receive the same priority processing for employment insurance claims as victims in the rest of Canada. That priority processing is available immediately, and information is available on our website.

InfrastructureOral Questions

June 6th, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, both our rural and urban communities need help to revitalize their infrastructure. Take, for example, the Champlain Bridge.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities says that a permanent infrastructure development program will be implemented, but it is time to take action.

Will this development be sustainable? Will public transit be part of the plan?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our government has already invested a record amount of money in infrastructure. Our government also has an exceptional track record when it comes to transfers to cities and municipalities.

Since 2009, our government has committed unprecedented stimulus contributions, which were announced in the March budget and which will be once again introduced today, with improvements, that the gas tax fund will be made permanent. That is an achievement of this government. We are proud of it and we are going to move forward.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the 1990s, the federal deficit was downloaded onto the backs of Canadian communities. Twenty years later, Canadians are stuck in traffic, our bridges are crumbling, and our water systems are failing. Friday's throne speech ignored municipalities and infrastructure completely. Canadians deserve a vision, a national public transit strategy.

Will the government act immediately with new funds to deal with the $123 billion infrastructure deficit?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member will recall that in 2007, we extended the gas tax fund by four years. In 2009, we doubled the gas tax fund. In 2010, despite economic challenges and despite efforts to keep costs down, we protected the gas tax fund.

In today's budget, she will have occasion to stand and join hands with our government as we move forward with an effort to make the gas tax fund permanent in order to help our communities right across the country.

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post belongs to us and is mandated to provide postal service to all Canadians.

Lately, Conservatives have been whittling away at economically stable elements of Canada Post and have moved toward privatization.

Does the government not realize that no private alternative can deliver Canada Post's mandate? Will the government use its influence to make sure management remembers that its mandate is to serve Canadians comes first?

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to quality postal service for all Canadians no matter where they live.

Last year, Canada Post began a $2.1 billion modernization initiative which will make major investments in equipment, technology and other processes.

We are making Canada Post more effective for Canadians, the clients, the people whom Canada Post serves, and I think Canadians will be very pleased with the results.

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, last year, Canada Post made $281 million in profit; yet, it is still asking its employees for concessions. This attitude threatens services in rural and remote areas. No private sector alternative would be able to deliver the mandate of Canada Post, which is to provide postal service to all Canadians.

Will the federal government use its influence to remind Canada Post's management that its primary mandate is to provide services to all Canadians?

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post is mandated to provide postal service to Canadians regardless of where they live. Canada Post has made substantial investments in the infrastructure of Canada Post to the sum of $2.1 billion, as I have already mentioned.

We are working to ensure that Canadians receive the best possible postal service regardless of where they live, and I look forward to working with the opposition parties and all stakeholders to ensure that Canadians get their mail when they ask for it.