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House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

LibyaOral Questions

June 9th, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canada's contribution to the mission in Libya was authorized by Parliament within a clear United Nations mandate: to protect civilians, to enforce a no-fly zone and to obtain a ceasefire.

In light of contradictory public comments by the Minister of National Defence and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs will the government confirm that our mandate remains unchanged and that Canada's engagement does not include effecting regime change in Libya by force?

LibyaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that the motion that the government will put forward next week will be to renew the current existing defence mandate, which will be to protect civilians. We will continue to work within the United Nations framework in that regard.

We will continue with the current military mission that we sought approval for from Parliament.

LibyaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, part of this issue is around diplomacy.

Today's meeting with the Libya contact group brings together different ministers, top diplomats from around the world, including the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It should be an opportunity for Canada to show leadership in diplomacy.

Will the government commit to expanding regional diplomacy so we can see an end to the crisis in Libya?

LibyaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree that Canada can play a robust role with the Libyan contact group. My cabinet colleague is representing Canada at that very important meeting today.

Diplomatically we have to work with our partners in the United Nations, our Arab partners in the region, to not just effect a military mission but also to be diplomatically engaged on humanitarian and development efforts.

Canada, as well as our allies, should have greater engagement with the transitional council in Benghazi.

LibyaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in certain areas of Libya, food and medication are becoming scarce. So far, barely half of the humanitarian aid requested by the UN has been delivered.

Will this government commit to proposing an increase in humanitarian aid as an integral part of its proposal to extend the mission in Libya?

LibyaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in Libya is concerning. The situation continues to be volatile, which greatly limits humanitarian access to the country.

In response, Canada provided food for one million displaced Libyans, tents and supplies to 90,000 Libyans, as well as medical supplies and care.

We continue to work with our international partners to monitor the humanitarian situation as it develops.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, whether it is trying to de-staff lighthouses or refusing to put money into search and rescue in Newfoundland and Labrador, the government seems willing to put the lives of people at risk. Fishers and oil workers in particular work in a risky environment and the last thing they need is to worry about their safety because of this move.

The location and the knowledge of the 12 people who work at the safety centre are instrumental in avoiding tragedies. It is not a call centre.

How can the government waste millions on fake lakes and gazebos and then cut money from lifesaving search and rescue?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we are acting on the strong mandate that we received from Canadians to implement our budget proposals and deficit reduction measures.

I have been very clear all along that safety and operational needs will not be compromised by the consolidation of these call centres. All vessels and helicopters will stay where they are. Coast Guard employees will continue to live up to their reputation of excellence while performing their duties.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, the throne speech is a window on the government's priorities. In last Friday's throne speech, not a single word was said about bilingualism, official languages or Canada's linguistic duality. People can draw whatever conclusions they wish. My question is for the President of the Treasury Board, who will be the one to slash public services.

Since the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality is his government's initiative and was just created in 2008, is he willing to promise here today that his government will not cut contributions to official language minority communities identified in the roadmap?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, our roadmap for official languages is a five-year agreement. Our commitment to official languages has been clear since our government's first two terms, and remains clear for the third.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague from Ottawa—Vanier on his re-election to the House.

User FeesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the President of the Treasury Board raised the possibility of charging new user fees, but he is hiding the details.

Does this mean there will be processing fees for employment insurance and pensions, or a filing fee at the Canada Revenue Agency—a tax on taxes, in other words? Let us be frank: a user fee is a tax, is it not?

User FeesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, none of that is part of our plan. Indeed, Canadians gave us a strong mandate to keep taxes low, to balance the budget by 2014-15 and over the next year we are going to get the waste out of government and conduct a strategic and operating review of all programs.

The purpose of this exercise is not to look at new user fees. In fact, we will find savings so we can pay down the debt and invest in the priorities of Canadians.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, if this government is so proud of its record in terms of the fight against HIV-AIDS, why is it refusing to participate in the UN summit currently taking place in New York? After 30 years, we still have a long way to go to eliminate this disease. By refusing to take action, this government is playing with the health and lives of millions of people in Canada and around the world. This is another black eye for Canada on the international stage.

Can the minister tell us when she intends to show some leadership on this issue?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of the work our government has accomplished in helping combat HIV-AIDS not only in Canada but also in the developing world.

The Canadian HIV vaccine initiative, led by our government along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights Canada's world-class HIV vaccine research expertise and this initiative will help our government advance the science for the development of a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister is so proud of her work on HIV-AIDS, then why is she hiding from this major meeting? This international gathering is about the future of the fight against HIV-AIDS, but the minister has effectively removed Canada from any leading role in fighting this global epidemic.

If the Prime Minister can find time in his schedule to fly to Boston to watch a hockey game, surely the minister can find the time to go to New York to help fight AIDS.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, Canada is a world leader in establishing the HIV vaccine initiative globally in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is not just with Canada but many other countries are involved in the same project.

In addition, last year alone our government provided $42 million in HIV-AIDS research funding through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which partners not only with Canadian researchers but also the global community.

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post are presently renegotiating their collective agreement. During this negotiation, Canada Post went ahead and terminated both disability and long-term illness insurance, which workers are entitled to receive. Without it, they will be left with no source of income. What a shame.

Canada Post has no compassion. Will the minister responsible for Canada Post tell it to be humane and restore the benefits workers received before the cancellation? What a shame.

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, right now both the union and management are sitting at a negotiating table trying to sort out their differences, trying to get a deal, so the Canadian public is no longer affected either by rotating strikes or infrequent mail delivery. I urge him to work with me in order to encourage the parties to come to a deal.

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, we do not make cuts to disabled people and people who are ill.

The Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers agreed to allow me —as the official opposition's labour critic—to visit the distribution centre in Laval and the Léo Blanchette plant in Montreal. On Thursday, they did an about-face and refused to grant me access to the facilities.

Can the minister responsible for Canada Post tell me if they have something to hide?

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post has indicated to the member that it is willing to provide the tour once the logistical arrangements can be made. The member knows that we want to work with all parties to ensure Canadians get the best service possible. I look forward to the member seeing the facility and working with Canada Post to ensure that tour occurs when the logistics permit it.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I rise for the first time in this House, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Richmond Hill for the confidence they have placed in me.

Canada has played a leadership role at NATO in the defence of innocent civilians in Libya. We have had reports of the good work of our air force and the work of our sailors on HMCS Charlottetown. As we prepare to debate the extension of the Libya mission, could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence tell us what the cost of Canada's commitment to this mission has been?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada has indeed taken a leadership role in helping to protect innocent civilians in Libya from the Gadhafi regime that continues to attack them. The member is correct about a forthcoming debate. He will be interested to know that the cost to date, as of June 2 of the mission, was $26 million. The incremental costs associated with this mission in coming months will be approximately $10 million per month.

We are extremely proud of the work of Canadian forces members who have been so courageous in reducing the ability of the Gadhafi regime to threaten its own people.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, everywhere Canadians turn these days they are getting gouged. The latest proof is an OECD report which shows that Canadians pay some of the highest cellphone fees in the world. In fact, our roaming rates are more than double the OECD average.

Does the minister understand the effects this is having on Canadian cellphone users? When will this minister act?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, it is important to ensure that there is healthy competition in Canada. The right decisions will be made in due course, but we want the services offered to be acceptable to Canadian consumers, and that requires healthy competition.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the cellphone companies are taking advantage of the government's slack regulations. A Telus executive even admitted Telus could cut its roaming charges in half and still be profitable. Canadians are paying double what our neighbours to the south are.

Will the minister commit to taking the necessary steps to stop this unjustifiable gouging by cellphone companies?