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House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Toet Conservative Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canada has become the envy of the world when it comes to our economic position. Just yesterday a senior International Monetary Fund official said of our economy “all in all Canada is doing quite well”.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister please update the House on what the Prime Minister is doing today in support of Canada's economic position while at the United Nations for international meetings?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, today the Prime Minister held a round table at the New York Stock Exchange with leading executives from global financial firms to discuss the current economic situation as well as trade and investment between Canada and the United States.

As members know, our government's top priority remains completing the economic recovery, and that is our Prime Minister's top priority as well.

Canadians gave our Conservative government a strong mandate to stay focused on what matters, creating jobs and economic growth. That is what our Prime Minister does each and every day. That is what he was doing today in New York.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

September 21st, 2011 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, how many ways are the Conservatives going to fail aboriginal people?

It has been three years since the Prime Minister apologized for the residential school system, yet many of the most vulnerable survivors, such as the homeless, may not be compensated. The application deadline has passed, and Conservatives are doing nothing to reach out to those being left behind.

What will the government do to ensure all residential school survivors are fairly compensated?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to ensuring that victims from this dark chapter in our history are fairly compensated. We have conducted a grassroots outreach strategy implemented by the Assembly of First Nations and other aboriginal organizations. We did this in 16 aboriginal languages, English and French. This overall outreach strategy was developed by all parties to the settlement and approved by the courts. It has been deemed highly effective by the courts and all the parties to the agreement. The outreach is ongoing.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, National Chief Shawn Atleo has told us aboriginal high school students are more likely to be incarcerated than to graduate. Aboriginal women make up a whopping one-third of women in custody.

Anyone who commits a crime must face justice, but is it not equally important to prevent involvement in criminal activities in the first place? Instead of building more jails, why will the government not invest in better education and job creation for aboriginal Canadians?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we have made major investments in education and in other developments to a degree that no other government has ever done. We have, right now, a national panel going across the country on K to 12 education. We did that in collaboration. The Assembly of First Nations, the National Chief and myself appointed the panel. It is working quite independently. This is a major development with positive outcomes. This is the right way to go, and we are making those kinds of investments.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the Walk 4 Justice gathered on Parliament Hill, asking for answers about the hundreds of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

Back in February, Conservatives refused to renew funding they promised for Sisters in Spirit. This project tracked cases and gave a voice to communities facing this violence, yet Conservatives have severely hindered this groundbreaking initiative.

Why is the government shutting out the voices of the families and the affected communities?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the opposite. Through our national strategy to deal with this very difficult issue of murdered and missing aboriginal women, we have a community, a fund component that we are working very closely with community organizations in aboriginal communities across the country. I can list one of them. I have dozens here that I could use as examples. For instance, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake is providing information sessions that will enhance knowledge and access to justice for victims of family violence.

The community organizations are from aboriginal communities and are working closely with the public safety, justice and status of women departments to ensure we get them the help that they need.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, for a government that claims to be the champion of law and order, the Conservatives' attitude towards violence against aboriginal women is hard to understand. In the last three months, Walk4Justice has had to add 37 names to its list of missing women. Federal resources are needed to protect these victims who have no voice.

How can communities provide support to the families of the victims without the assistance of this government?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, funding is important. Just to put it into perspective, just one organization, the Native Women's Association of Canada, has received almost $20 million from our government alone.

However, what I think is most important is that now we are working with law enforcement agencies across the country, including the RCMP's new missing persons' centre. We have created a public website for tips from the public to help find missing and murdered aboriginal women. We have enhanced our databases for all law enforcement agencies across the country. However, more importantly, we are working with women's aboriginal organizations at the community level to help support them.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Finance wags his finger at small business in Canada and tells them to hire more people, the minister from Service Canada is heading them out the door in droves.

We know it is not just the job losses; it is the services that are going to be lost to those who lose their jobs in this country. Right now it is taking five to six weeks to complete an EI claim. We know that with fewer workers we will see longer tie-ups, and these are people who are most vulnerable, most in need in this country.

When will the minister stop this ridiculous scheme and stop the cuts in Service Canada?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, during the recent recession we did take on some people to make sure that Canadians who have lost their jobs receive their first payment in a timely manner. We increased the standards. We increased the speed with which we provided those first payments, I am pleased to say, but those people were hired on a temporary basis. They were hired only to process EI claims.

Fortunately, thanks to our economic action plan, more Canadians are at work now than ever before, so there is not the same need to hire people to process the claims.

The individuals knew that they were temporary jobs, but service standards have improved compared to the 10 weeks it took when the Liberals were in power.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely asinine. The minister says the back-end workers are the only thing that is being changed. Service Canada workers know what she is doing to their back end.

I will tell the House what makes no sense: keeping centres in areas that have low records of unemployment. In Kitchener and Halifax, it is about 6%; in Edmonton it is at 5.5%, and Laval is under 5%, but they are ripping jobs out of Gander, where it is 17.5%, and Glace Bay, where it is 16%.

Of all the dumb, mean-spirited, ludicrous ideas, this--

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I see the hon. minister is rising to answer.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the current EI system is essentially paper based. We want to bring the system into the 21st century by automating applications for EI and the processing of them. That will honour our commitment to Canadians to provide more efficient, more effective service to them. It will keep their taxes down, and we are going to make sure that we maintain the front-line standards of delivery. These changes are taking place in the backroom. Front-line service will not be changed.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, on Monday once again the Minister of the Environment said that the department could lose hundreds of scientists without any effect on basic services, but this government has cut 43% of the budget of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

If assessing and reducing industrial impacts on our environment are not considered basic services, then what is?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is well aware that the environment is a priority for the Government of Canada during these times of fiscal restraint.

I can assure her that budget 2011, while it did reassign some resources, can cover without compromising any of the programs of my department.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and then again today, the minister claimed that the crucial ozone data centre is not closing, but the only employee who runs the centre has actually already received notice of potential layoff. If the minister thinks that the centre can run all by itself, I suggest that maybe he agree to optimizing and streamlining his own office. It might make it a little harder to optimize and streamline the truth.

I asked on Monday, I asked on Tuesday, and I am going to ask again today: can the minister show us evidence of the impacts of these cuts?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I can again say there is a great difference between letters to employees of Environment Canada advising them that they may be affected by workforce adjustment and separation from the department. It is entirely possible that all of the positions will be accommodated through attrition. The proof will be in the pudding as we continue to deliver the services for cleaner air and for protecting our great public spaces for the good of the people of Canada.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, in a recent survey conducted by the American news outlet Newsweek, Canada was ranked among the top three best places in the world to be a woman. Canada was ranked a world leader on the key indicators of justice, health, education, economics and political involvement.

Can the Minister for Status of Women tell this House what the government is doing to make Canada an even better place for women and the girls who will follow in their footsteps?

Status of WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member from Miramichi for her tireless work for women.

Our government has increased funding for women to its highest level ever, and we are working hard with women across the country to ensure they achieve their full potential. Women can count on our government to pursue measures that create jobs and growth, to end elder abuse, to protect our health care system, and of course to end violence against women and girls.

We are very proud that Canada is ranked third-best place to be a woman in the world, third only to Iceland and Sweden.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

The Commissioner of Official Languages has asked the government several times to introduce a bill to clarify the responsibilities of Air Canada and its affiliates with regard to providing services in French and English. In May 2010, 252 hon. members unanimously called on the government to do the same. The minister's two immediate predecessors promised to do so, but did not.

Will the Minister of Transport keep his government's promise or will he follow the other two and prove the old saying, “Bad things come in threes”?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, Air Canada is responsible for meeting its official language requirements with its partner companies. We are ensuring that the official languages are respected and we will continue to do so.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prince Edward Island provincial nominee program has raised alarm bells for Islanders and all Canadians.

Recently three government workers have come forward with allegations of bribery and fraud within this program. These total over $400 million, apparently in violation of the rules, with no accountability but with political interference.

Islanders and all Canadians deserve to know the truth. Will the government conduct an inquiry into the disturbing allegations staining this federal program?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, these are new allegations and they were recently provided to officials at the ministry. Those allegations have been provided to the RCMP. To be fair, because they are under investigation, it would not be fair for the government to comment further.