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House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentences.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the opposition needs to stop knocking Canada's economic growth and start supporting the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on the oil sands industry. Employment in Canada is far too important to be used to try to gain some kind of partisan political advantage.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government is no friend to the refugee community. We just need to look at the anti-smuggling bill and how it tried to demonize refugees as a whole.

Today, a family of refugees will be arriving here in Canada. The minister knows them quite well. He is the one who actually deported them. It took a federal court in order to get that family back to Canada.

I look to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism or to the government to do the honourable thing and apologize to the Tabaj family for the harm caused because the government chose to deport this particular family.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member knows, as do all Canadians, that we have a very fair and just refugee system in this country. In fact, so much so that we ensure that we will improve upon that system with Bill C-11, the refugee reform act, of which every member of the 41st Parliament supported unanimously.

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is bragging about Canada's leadership abroad in the area of child and maternal health, but he is refusing to take action here in Canada.

The infant mortality rate in the aboriginal population in Canada is two to four times higher than in the non-aboriginal population.

When will the minister commit to responding to the Health Council of Canada's damning report so that we can better understand and improve the health of aboriginal children and mothers in Canada?

HealthOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of aboriginal Canadians is a top priority for the government. We have entered into agreements with provinces on child and family services. This is an area where we have agreement between the federal government, the provinces and the territories that there needs to be care and attention paid to this and we are happy to enter into those agreements.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to pretend that he cares about jobs but his inaction tells a different story.

After the last buy America plan, the government pledged to negotiate exemptions for Canada on any similar deals. However, instead, it did nothing, and now we have been shut out again.

When will the government stop playing politics with this issue and start negotiating trade deals that actually protect Canadian jobs?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been clear and I have been clear. We are focusing on creating on jobs in Canada and removing trade barriers. I raised our concerns regarding the buy America provisions with my counterpart, as well as with the U.S. ambassador to Canada. We will continue to impress upon them that imposing these kinds of trade restrictions is harmful not only to Canada but also to the United States.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, what have the Conservatives been doing the last couple of years? They have been sleeping at the switch.

The last time around, by the time the government got involved, Canadian firms got access to $1.3 billion, 0.5%, of the stimulus program. In return, U.S. companies got access to $25 billion worth of Canadian contracts. The math just does not add up.

Why is the government bowing to the Americans over and over again instead of putting Canadian procurement and Canadian jobs first?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, that is pretty rich coming from an individual in a party that actually has a senior member, one of its MPs, contemplating running for the leadership of the party and has a motion before the House calling for the same trade measures to be implemented in Canada. This government is focused on removing trade barriers, not erecting new ones.

We are focused on building the economic prosperity of this country. We are standing up for ordinary, hard-working Canadians. Why are they not?

Political DonationsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, Le Devoir revealed that the NDP received at least $85,000 from big unions for its recent convention in Vancouver. Big union representatives paid between $25,000 and $35,000 to be sponsors at the last NDP convention. As the opposition clearly knows, union donations of this kind were banned in 2005. It is clearly ignoring what is right just for its own political gain.

Could the minister reiterate the rules and regulations on union donations to political parties because, clearly, the NDP needs a reminder?

Political DonationsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, that type of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable and breaks Canadian election laws. The Canada Elections Act clearly indicates that corporate and union donations are not allowed. Political parties are required to raise their money through donations from ordinary Canadians.

Elections Canada has been asked to investigate these sponsorships, but the NDP and its union friends should not wait for an investigation to provide transparency.

We urge the New Democrats to provide full disclosure of all contributions. Canadians deserve to know the full extent to which big unions have been subsidizing the NDP.

EmploymentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, with great surprise we hear the Conservatives' spin on job creation when the complete opposite is happening in Cape Breton.

Since 2008, when those guys came into power, we have lost 10,000 jobs and the closures of an automotive plant, a pharmaceutical plant, a call centre and now a pulp and paper mill. However, that was not enough. They are going to get rid of 120 Service Canada jobs in Cape Breton.

Why will the minister from Nova Scotia not save some jobs in Cape Breton, get some jobs and not go on his fishing trips paid by the hard-working taxpayers of Canada?

EmploymentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained every day this week, and perhaps the member should focus on what is said here, during the global recession we hired a number of people to help us deal with a spike in applications for employment insurance. The good news is that, thanks to our economic action plan, more Canadians are at work now than before the recession. That means there are fewer EI applications to be processed.

The jobs were temporary. We are respecting taxpayers' money in that regard and that is why there will be fewer employees. They were temporary jobs and they knew it, but we will respect Canadian taxpayers.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Prime Minister that Canadians did not give the Conservative government a mandate to put our veterans on the street, forcing them to use food banks and making them homeless.

Every week we hear about more and more of Canada's heroes being homeless and using food banks. In Alberta, Jonathan Denis, the housing minister, now says that Alberta will pick up the slack where the federal government has failed.

My question is quite simple. Why is the federal government abdicating its responsibility to veterans in our country, having the provinces pick up that responsibility?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

Noon

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, not only are we working with our partners, but we are taking decisive action to reduce homelessness in our country and among veterans. That is why we have established outreach initiatives in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to provide assistance to homeless veterans, and also in all our district offices.

I was in Toronto this summer and I could see the action of the Good Shepherd Ministries on the ground in downtown Toronto, and of our officials working hand in hand in the refuge with those people.

We are helping our veterans to transition to civilian life in a seamless manner and we will keep up that work.

Status of WomenOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canadians learned that we were ranked third best country in the world to be a women. This bodes very well for the girls here at home.

Despite progress, girls continue to face barriers that hamper their development. On March 24, the House unanimously passed a motion, brought forward by the Minister for Status of Women, calling on Canada to adopt a resolution proclaiming September 22 International Day of the Girl.

Could the minister update us on Canada's efforts on this important initiative?

Status of WomenOral Questions

Noon

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the International Day of the Girl will provide a key opportunity to consider girls' rights and raise awareness around the world. There are places in the world where girls are deprived of basic rights only because they were born girls.

We are working successfully with countries around the world, as we submit our proposal to the United Nations in October, to shed light on the discrimination and injustice suffered by girls.

Girls deserve to go to school and to have a full life. With Canada's leadership at the United Nations, we will support girls' rights all over the world.

HousingOral Questions

September 22nd, 2011 / noon

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 2006, the number of affordable housing units has dropped by 17,000. People with access to adequate, affordable and safe housing are far less likely to end up on the street, develop addiction problems or commit crimes. It is called prevention; however, the Conservatives prefer repression.

Rather than imposing additional costs for prisons on the provinces, why does the government not support them by investing in new social housing units?

HousingOral Questions

Noon

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, three years ago, we introduced Canada's economic action plan. That is what our government did. To stimulate the economy, we invested a lot of money in the very type of affordable housing to which the hon. member is referring. Fourteen thousand projects were completed, as well as renovations. It is the hon. member's party that voted against all these efforts.

Government SpendingOral Questions

Noon

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, after learning about a $90,000-a-day contract for advice on where to cut in order to eliminate the deficit, now we have learned that the Conservatives paid nearly $2 billion to private consultants in 2010-11, and that was in the public works department alone. To add insult to injury, at the beginning of the summer, that department laid off public servants who could have done the job internally for a lot less money.

Will the Minister of Finance continue to justify this wasteful spending by claiming that his government will save $200 for every dollar spent in the private sector, as he said yesterday and as the President of the Treasury Board maintained today, and that he is going to save $400 billion a year? Is that what he would have us believe?

Government SpendingOral Questions

Noon

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government is always looking for ways to save taxpayer money. We will ensure that when situations arise where it is cheaper to bring in experts from the outside for the short term, we will do just that. We believe there are cases when contracting outside is cheaper and more flexible than it is to maintain someone on the public payroll.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I have noticed a few times now that when government members on this side of the House speak, government members on the other side tend to make a lot of noise. It is my concern that people watching at home will believe it is NDP members who are making this noise.

I would like to ask the Speaker to suggest that government members allow their own members to be heard during question period.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, since this is my first opportunity to ask the traditional Thursday question, I want to officially greet my counterpart, the government House leader, and wish him a productive parliamentary session that serves the interest of the public who elected us to improve life in our country.

Since the beginning of the week, the government has assured us that its top priority would be the economy. What we got instead was leftovers from the past few years that the Conservatives have reheated and are dumping on Parliament's plate. The economy was supposed to be their top priority, but instead we got served their law and order agenda.

What is the plan for the rest of this week and next week? Is the agenda going to start reflecting what was meant to be their top priority? I would also like the government House leader to tell us when the first opposition day will be for this fall session.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as the opposition House leader quite astutely noted, our priority is the economy. We saw that already with successes this spring when we introduced a budget that was adopted by the House. We introduced a budget implementation bill with measures like an increase to the old age security payments, which was also adopted by the House. We continue to pursue that economic agenda.

Our other priority is also related to having a sound economy, and that is having safe communities and safe streets by combatting crime. As members know, there is a strong linkage between severe crime and harm to the economy. We obviously want to change that, and this is why we have moved in that direction. That is what we have been debating this week, primarily.

In the next week, our government will continue to move forward with important bills that Canadians elected us to implement. Today we will continue debate on Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act. We will continue to debate that next week until it is dealt with.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind the House just how long the measures in the safe streets and communities bill have been before this House and the other place. When we tally up all the days since those bills have been introduced, it has been a combined total of 2,700 days since their first introductions. That is almost 20 years of elapsed time that those bills have been before the House in one form or another.

We have already had over 180 speeches given in the House on those bills, important law and order proposals as they are. Unfortunately, right now we are no longer actually debating the safe streets and communities bill; we are technically debating an opposition motion to delay and obstruct our efforts to tackle crime and get that bill passed.

I urge all members to put aside their parliamentary maneuvers designed to delay and obstruct and give all members the opportunity to vote, once and for all, on the important measures included in the bill.

Tomorrow, we will be debating Bill C-4, the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act.

As the Prime Minister stated earlier in the week, the government will be introducing a motion to extend our involvement in the UN-sanctioned NATO-led mission in Libya. I will be scheduling that debate for Monday.

Next Thursday, September 29, will be the first allotted day.

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition pertaining to the case of Nicholas Djokich. Mr. Djokich is currently serving a 20-year sentence in a U.S. prison.

The petitioners, numbering over 400, call upon the House of Commons to launch a royal commission of inquiry to investigate the actions of the RCMP in relation to Mr. Djokich's case.

On behalf of the petitioners, I look forward to the government's response.