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House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister will be aware that 25 million Canadians file their income taxes. Of those 25 million, 15 million actually pay taxes and 10 million do not.

I have a very simple question for the Prime Minister. In dealing with the tax credits which were announced in the budget for piano lessons and art lessons and for taking care of loved ones, I would like to ask the Prime Minister why 10 million Canadians and more have been cut off and disqualified from being able to receive those tax credits because they have not--

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate also the member for Toronto Centre on becoming the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

The budget has many important programs, many important benefits, some of which the leader of the Liberal Party mentioned, including some of the important tax credits for Canadian families, for caregivers and for children's arts.

I would encourage the Liberal Party, rather than just saying it should be more, to actually look at these things as positive benefits and to support these benefits for Canadians.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that those most in need of programs have been excluded from Conservative programs.

At the same time, does the government realize that the approximate increase of $1.67 per day in the guaranteed income supplement will not lift low-income seniors out of poverty and, above all, will not show them our respect for the country they have passed on to us?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the increase in the guaranteed income supplement is the largest increase in this benefit in the past 25 years. It is a much larger increase than has been made at any time by any previous government. I encourage the Liberal Party to do something positive and to support this increase, which is so important for our seniors.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's manufacturing sector is tanking, and we are losing construction jobs. Construction starts are down now. Good full-time jobs are being replaced by part-time work.

Instead of offering short-term band-aids, will the minister extend the eco-energy retrofit program and the accelerated cost program for manufacturers for a full five years? This would allow Canadian employers and families to focus on the long term, to make long-term decisions to create good full-time jobs.

Will the minister do this?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to congratulate my colleague for once again being elected to the House.

I want to reiterate that in this budget we have in fact extended the eco-energy retrofit program. That will allow Canadian families to make their homes more energy efficient. That will protect our environment.

There are a number of very good budget measures. I would encourage my colleague to read the budget so that he can see them very clearly for himself.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, millions of Canadians have to get by without the medical care they need because they do not have a family doctor. This means more families are turning to emergency rooms just for primary care. Not only is this hurting the health of Canadians, but it also increases the pressure on emergency rooms and costs millions more for everyone.

Will the government finally agree to work with the provinces and the territories to hire more health care professionals?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, as the member is well aware, the health accord expires in 2014, not this year, not next year and not the year after.

In the meantime, our government will continue to work with the provinces and the territories on the present accord and priorities identified, such as encouraging the statutory review of the accord in both the Senate and the House, as well as to be supportive of the provinces and territories in the reduction of wait times.

We have also gained a lot of ground on establishing electronic health records and a number of other initiatives.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, after seven years with that health accord, none of it is translated into doctors for Canadian families.

The Conservatives had a second chance to address this in the budget but, incredibly, they let it go. The fact is that Canada needs thousands of new doctors and nurses stat, and the provinces are looking to the federal government to help solve this need.

Again, will the government work with us to improve these front-line services so that Canadian families get the health care they need and deserve?

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, our government supports the efforts of the provinces and territories to effectively manage their health care providers so that there are adequate numbers of medical practitioners available to their residents.

While the supply of physicians and nurses is a provincial and territorial responsibility, our government has increased health care transfers to the provinces and territories by more than 33% since we formed the government.

As well, I recently announced federal funding to support more than 100 family medicine residents to receive training in provinces to provide medical services to remote and rural communities.

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the E. coli outbreak in Europe, in Germany in particular, Canadians have good reason to be concerned about the safety of their food. This crisis emerged despite the fact that Germany has a better food inspection system than Canada.

Can the government assure Canadians that our food inspection system will protect them from this type of harm?

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, food safety is of key importance to this government.

We are taking measures to protect Canadians against what is happening in the European Union. CFIA is implementing enhanced border controls on vegetables from the European Union. If affected products are found, CFIA will facilitate recalls to keep Canadian families safe.

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have heard this story before. The government promises $100 million over five years for food safety, yet the budget delivers $9 million in the first year, $8 million in the second year and, of course, nothing after that.

In 2009 the government promised to fix food inspection in this country, yet here we are again with the same old promises. Why should Canadians trust the Conservatives now?

Will the minister commit to increasing and accelerating the funding in the first two years to ensure that food safety is safe for all Canadians?

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the member that a report on OECD countries recognized that Canada's superior food safety system ranks us the best in the world on food recalls.

Speaking of the budget, our recent budget includes an additional $100 million over five years to enhance food safety. Will the member who is so concerned about food safety support this budget?

SeniorsOral Questions

June 7th, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, today a quarter of a million Canadian seniors live in poverty. Seniors who built this country and cared for us are struggling to afford basics like food, housing and prescription drugs.

Instead of lifting every senior out of poverty, the government chose to give the poorest seniors a mere $50 a month.

How can the minister possibly explain why corporate tax giveaways are more important than raising all Canadian seniors out of poverty?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague once again for returning to this House. It is going to be a joy to work with her.

I want to address the very need of seniors. As we all know, seniors are expecting to have this increase in the guaranteed income supplement. I am hopeful that my colleague across the way is prepared to support the measure in the budget to increase the guaranteed income supplement for our seniors, and if not, why not.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Canada, almost half the women over 65 who live alone have incomes below the poverty line. This government boasts about helping seniors, but it is giving crumbs to only a third of seniors in need.

Why is this government abandoning two-thirds of seniors in need, the majority of whom are women living alone?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to help our seniors, who helped build this great and beautiful country. That is why, in yesterday's budget, we included an increase to the GIS in order to help the most vulnerable seniors. I hope the NDP will support this effort to help these people.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, last month, the president and CEO of the Canada pension plan explained that public pension funds were ripe for expansion. They will be viable for the next 75 years, and by 2050, they will be worth over one thousand billion dollars. Meanwhile, private pension funds lost billions of dollars during the recession.

Why is this government still asking Canadians to put their savings in private banks and mutual funds, rather than improving public pensions?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I wish to welcome my new colleague across the floor.

We are working hard to improve retirement security for Canadians. Together with the provinces, we have invested in innovative proposals aimed at improving pensions even further. However, like the provinces, we have some concerns about the NDP's proposals. I would like to quote Raymond Bachand:

The proposed changes to the retirement income system must take into account the impact they may have on businesses and households, at a time when the global economic recovery remains hesitant.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadian families have always been told that if they saved a little and let the market work its magic, they would have enough funds when it came time to retire, but Canadian families who lost billions of dollars during the recession see this for just what it is: smoke and mirrors. Now, instead of expanding a healthy CPP, the government is moving full steam ahead with a risky private pooled pension plan.

Just whose side is the government on, Canadian families or their friends?

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to stand again on behalf of pensioners.

We have been working very hard to improve Canadians' retirement security. For instance, we reformed the framework governing federally regulated pensions to better protect pensioners.

With the provinces, we mentioned the pooled registered pension plan. We are also looking at CPP reforms, but we and many provinces are very concerned about the proposition by the NDP to double the CPP.

I heard Catherine Swift of the CFIB state on CPAC just yesterday that they believe it would be a 60% to 70% increase to all businesses across the way. They are not in support of that.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Moncton are shocked to learn that some very respected members of their community are facing deportation.

The Maeng family have put down firm roots since moving to Canada eight years ago. They have built their own business, and their eldest son is studying to become a dentist.

However, despite having disclosed their younger son's health problems from the outset, they are now being told that his autism and epilepsy disqualify them from permanent residency.

Will the minister commit to reviewing this troubling decision on humanitarian and compassionate grounds?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, first of all I congratulate the member on his re-election and his appointment as the immigration critic for the official opposition.

The member knows that the minister cannot comment on particular cases because of the Privacy Act. Having said that, there is a very fair process, including access to applications for permanent residency for humanitarian and compassionate reasons by individuals. Those are not considered by elected officials but by highly trained public servants.

I would point out that there is in our law provision for medical inadmissibility for those who the provinces deem would represent an undue burden to our tax-funded public health care system.