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House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I did not miss the Conservatives' vacuous answers.

We can already see that their irresponsible cuts are having devastating consequences. We need only think of those held hostage in the labyrinths of Immigration Canada or those who have just lost their jobs and will have to wait weeks for their benefits.

The government and the honourable member should understand that a false majority does not give them the right to make cuts to the majority of programs. Why does this government continue to reward big businesses that are already profitable and do not create jobs in Canada rather than maintaining the services that Canadians need?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:30 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, as I have already said, we must have an action plan for the cuts in order to reduce the deficit. We spoke about this action plan in the previous election. It was part of our 2011 budget. This country must have an action plan.

If we are going to have a low tax jurisdiction for jobs and growth, these plans are necessary, but we will do so in a reasonable and fair manner.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the current government has money for its friends, but not for ordinary Canadians. While the Prime Minister is musing about cutting benefits to seniors, cuts to Service Canada are already hurting Canadian seniors. Some Canadians are waiting six to eight months just to get their CPP or old age security. They do not have eight months of savings in the bank. They cannot pay for food and they cannot pay for their medications. Why does the government want to make the problems worse by cutting more services to Canadians?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to make sure that all Canadians get the benefits to which they are entitled in a very timely manner. Now it helps if people submit their applications on time, that these are complete and are accurate. It also helps if the employers--

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The minister has the floor.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it also helps if the employers do the same. We are working to ensure that we get the processing done as quickly as possible. That is why we have brought in an additional 400 people to help that process along so that people do get the benefits they need and deserve.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is absolutely shameful is the government's cuts to services that Canadians depend on. It is not just unemployed Canadians and seniors who are hurting, but Canadian businesses as well. Service Canada is unable to process labour market opinions in time for companies that need temporary foreign workers. Many companies have to pay to have their application processed twice, or they have to send their foreign workers home. Why will the government not acknowledge the problems it is causing and reverse these cuts?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it was not too long ago that the NDP was complaining that we were allowing temporary foreign workers in at all.

What we are trying to do is to protect the integrity of that system to make sure that people who do come are not replacing Canadians who could have those jobs instead. We are also trying to make sure that temporary foreign workers who come in are coming for legitimate jobs so that they are not going to be abused.

We want to protect those workers, and we want to protect Canadians. That is why we are making sure that we take the time to make sure the jobs are real and the applicants are real as well.

JusticeOral Questions

January 30th, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, instead of working with the provinces to make our streets and communities safer, the Conservatives are forcing their ineffective and costly prisons agenda on Canadians, costing Ontario taxpayers, for example, $1 billion alone.

Why will the government not work with the provinces instead of downloading costs? Does it not agree with New Democrats that the pensions and services that Canadians rely on every day have a higher priority than the billions being spent on its prisons agenda?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there are so many inaccuracies in there, I do not know where to begin.

I might as well begin at the beginning, which is that Ontario has had its payments from the federal government increased by 77% or $8.4 billion since we have taken office. We all have a responsibility to stand up for victims, and that is exactly what this government is doing and we want the support of everyone.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government could not care less about Canadian families, the provinces or the territories. This is a "my way or you get no highway" government that obviously did not spend any time during the break talking to Quebeckers about their priorities. If it had, it would know that Quebeckers want nothing to do with the government's ill-advised crime bill.

Instead of working with Quebec to amend the bill, the government is offloading the cost of an ineffective prison system that will cost Quebec alone $600 million.

Will the government stop playing political games and work with the provinces to fix this bill?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is talking about the bill that is before Parliament, this bill targets drug dealers, drug traffickers, gangs and those who would molest and abuse children. That is the focus of the bill.

With respect to costs, as I pointed out before, more than $2.4 billion has been added to the transfers to the provinces. We are doing our part. I would remind the hon. member that it is victims who suffer the most from crime. They pay the greatest price. The members opposite sometimes seem to forget that.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again the Conservative government has shown its disdain for the French language by cutting 190 instructor positions at the Canada School of Public Service. These cuts are just the latest in a long line of attacks on francophone institutions, such as the Official Languages Centre of Excellence. It makes absolutely no sense.

How can the government claim that all citizens will receive services in the official language of their choice if it gets rid of French language instruction?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 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, that is not at all true. There are many French- and English-language instruction programs available. That is still one of our responsibilities to our fellow citizens just as it has been in the past.

The only change has been that we have continued the practice of our Liberal government predecessors of outsourcing that kind of language training to those who can provide it on an excellent basis to more people at less cost.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Conservatives threatened to pickpocket seniors by raising the old age pension qualifying age.

This so-called cost-cutting measure was announced after the Conservatives gave $6 billion to large corporations, $30 billion for untendered jets, and another billion for fake lakes and glow sticks.

Paying for these kinds of extravagant things on the backs of Canada's seniors is ridiculous and shameful. Seniors are then going to be forced to line up at food banks and soup kitchens. We have all heard those stories before.

Is that what the Prime Minister meant when he said that he was going to change the face of Canada? Shame on every one of the Conservative members.

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, shame on the hon. member for fearmongering on baseless statements.

We made a commitment to Canadians in the last election that we would look after them in their old age, that we would respect the current system. The Canada pension plan is fully viable. It has been actuarially evaluated and it is viable.

However, our old age security system is not. We want to make sure that for generations to come, people can rely on the old age security system to help them out. So we are going to make changes, but they will not include cuts to people who are currently receiving those funds.

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise St-Denis Liberal Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, last week in Davos, the Prime Minister told us about his vague plans to change the Canada pension plan and old age security. More than half of all Canadians are counting on the federal plan, and the Prime Minister is disregarding their needs.

Today I would like the Prime Minister to tell us what his real intentions are with respect to the millions of Canadians who rely solely on the Canada pension plan and old age security for their income.

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberals are so worried about seniors and their income, then why did they vote not once but twice against increasing the GIS exemption? Why did they vote against pension income splitting for seniors? Why did they vote against so many things that can help to take so many seniors off the tax rolls and out of poverty?

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, it was cruel for the Conservatives to deny low income seniors the family caregiver tax credit. It would be heartless to force low income seniors onto provincial welfare rolls by raising the age of OAS from 65 to 67. The fact is that 40% of seniors receiving OAS make less than $20,000 per year.

While other countries are trying to address the issue of income inequality, the gap between rich and poor, why are the Conservatives here in Canada making income inequality worse? Why the war on the poor?

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, why is it that the Liberals voted against pension income splitting for seniors? Why is it that they voted against increasing the age credit limit not once but twice? Why is it--

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh! Oh!

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. minister has the floor and members will give her their attention. The hon. Minister of Human Resources.

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, why is it that the Liberals voted against the largest increase in the guaranteed income supplement? That is the funding that goes to the poorest of our seniors. Why did they vote against that too?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that Australia is thinking about delaying its purchase of the F-35 fighter jets. The reasons for this are clear: the jet will not be ready in time, the costs of the project are skyrocketing and technical difficulties are mounting.

I can say from experience that soldiers always have a plan B, in case things do not go as planned. But this government does not even respect the basic principles taught to our soldiers.

Why does the minister still not have a plan B?