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House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

The ROMEOsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to share with you a wonderful example of community in my riding. There is a group of retired veterans who call themselves the ROMEOs, retired old men eating out. They meet every Wednesday morning at the Scotian Isle and are graciously hosted by Pat, John and Joseph McDonald.

The ROMEOs served together in the Canadian Forces in the 1950s. This is how they keep in touch, how they look out for one another, and keep up the friendships they established while serving Canada. I meet with the ROMEOs whenever possible. The conversation is always enlightening and the men, as everyone may have expected, are profoundly charming. I get to hear their stories, their struggles and their triumphs. I come away from these breakfasts with a sense of how important community is to our veterans and our seniors. It is community that enriches our lives and gives us security when we need it most.

Thanks to the ROMEOs and thanks to the Scotian Isle.

Quebec Winter CarnivalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like you to come and meet one of the greatest ambassadors for Quebeckers' joie de vivre. He is the symbol of a festival he has represented since 1955. Many members will have guessed that I am speaking about the Quebec winter carnival's Bonhomme Carnaval.

I invite my colleagues to attend the 58th Quebec winter carnival. Activities are already under way, and you will not want to miss the night parades on February 4 and 11, for which our oldest Quebec carnival is renowned.

This spectacular event includes floats, dance troops and bands, among other things.

Young and old festival goers can choose from no fewer than 250 activities and events.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the president and his entire team.

I invite everyone to enjoy this outdoor festival by participating in some of the activities that will be held until February 12.

Jean Bosco Centre in ManiwakiStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Conservatives do not care about the ridings that did not vote for them. This heartless government abandoned a very important project in the Pontiac riding. The Jean Bosco centre in Maniwaki, a social and occupational integration centre for people with disabilities, was promised assistance prior to the 2011 election, only to be punished when the riding did not vote for the right party. The centre has been rebuffed by this arrogant government.

The Jean Bosco centre meets all the criteria. The community raised over a million dollars and invested a great deal of time in the project. Since five projects have been selected—none of which are in Quebec and three of which are in Conservative ridings—and there are still program funds remaining, I am asking the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, who has been completely ignoring our letters and questions, to rise above partisanship and agree to this request. We are talking about people with disabilities and a centre that serves more than 18 municipalities in the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau.

Frankly, the minister and this government should be ashamed of themselves.

IranStatements By Members

January 31st, 2012 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, today our government announced expanded sanctions against Iran in an effort to further apply pressure to a regime that both undermines regional and global security and regularly turns a blind eye to its international human rights obligations.

We are deeply concerned by reports of an increase in arrests and death sentences in Iran, including that of Iranian citizen Saeed Malekpour, who now faces imminent execution on the sham charges of spreading corruption. Sadly, Saeed's case is but one example of the regime's utter disregard for human rights and its failure to meet internationally recognized norms of due process and transparency.

Canada will hold Iran accountable for Mr. Malekpour's treatment. We have been actively speaking out and raising his case with the Iranian authorities.

We call on Iran to reverse its current course, meet its international human rights obligations and release prisoners such as Saeed Malekpour and others who have failed to receive fair and transparent legal treatment.

Children's Breakfast ClubStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is the beginning of Black History Month, recognizing the innumerable achievements and contributions of black Canadians who have helped build our country.

To mark this occasion, some 50 awesome children from the Children's Breakfast Club, which serves 4,000 meals a week in Toronto, are visiting Parliament Hill. The club was formed to ensure that children leave for school feeling good about themselves and enable them to be successful at school.

The group is accompanied by prominent members from the community who have made valuable contributions to Toronto, Ontario and Canada, including our former colleague, the Hon. Jean Augustine, Ontario's Fairness Commissioner, and Richard Gosling, the president and founder of the Children's Breakfast Club.

I ask my colleagues to join us for a reception with these terrific children, our future, at the Government Conference Centre, at 3:15 p.m., and celebrate our culture, heroes and history.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, recently there have been reports that a young woman in Afghanistan was murdered by her own family simply for giving birth to a baby girl.

All too often, the women in Afghanistan pay a severe price simply for being women. Their most basic rights are overlooked, neglected and abused.

That is why Canada supports a range of projects in Afghanistan. We want to strengthen the rights of women and girls, make it easier for them to access education and health care, encourage their political involvement and enhance the economic opportunities available to them.

On behalf of all Canadians, this government is maintaining our commitment to make a difference in the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan.

The Conservative GovernmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Parliament just resumed yesterday and already the Conservatives' bad political choices have emerged: closure motions, massive cuts to public services, a complete lack of transparency and threats to seniors who now fear losing their entire life savings.

For six years now, the Conservatives have been promising that they will change how things are done in Ottawa, but instead Canadians are treated to ministers who waste taxpayers' money as though it were Monopoly money and ministers who sell out to oil lobbyists and call anyone who dares to speak out a radical.

Canadians deserve better. They want a government that listens, a government that stops rewarding large corporations that do not create jobs here in Canada. They want a government that takes action on climate change, a government that protects pension plans and works with the provinces to improve health care.

Canadians and Quebeckers have put their trust in the NDP to force the Conservatives to be accountable. The economic situation remains fragile. It is high time this government pulled its head out of the sand and protected people who lose their job.

PensionsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Wai Young Conservative Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, while the member for Burnaby—New Westminster is criticizing government, I must remind the House that even he, the NDP's temporary finance critic, acknowledged pressures on the viability of OAS. Events around the world and our aging population make it clear that governments need to make responsible decisions to ensure social programs remain sustainable.

Our government is reviewing measures to protect Canadian pensions in the long term. We will implement any changes fairly, allowing lots of time for notice and time to adjust.

We have made it clear to Canadians that people currently receiving OAS will not lose one penny. In fact, the National Post gets it with its front page headline today, “Tories on the right side of pension reform”.

The real trouble lies with the NDP and the Liberal plans for reckless spending and higher taxes. Their plans will kill jobs and threaten Canadians' future retirement pensions.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I just met with National Chief Shawn Atleo as a follow-up to the crown-first nations gathering held exactly one week ago.

Could the Prime Minister inform the House of the specific steps his government will take to honour commitments made to first nations last week? Would he provide us a timeline for implementation of those commitments? Also, will there be action in the upcoming budget for first nations?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, I thought the crown-first nations gathering, which was historic, was a very successful gathering. I certainly congratulate the national chief for his vision which brought that gathering about.

At the same time, coming out of that gathering was a statement put out by the government and by the Assembly of First Nations on an action plan regarding economic development, education and a number of other matters. I would draw the attention of the leader of the NDP to that action plan.

In the meantime, in all budgets, we have done things for aboriginal peoples. This time I would hope the NDP would actually vote for them instead of against them.

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, seniors are worried about their future, but they are also worried about the future of their children and their grandchildren. Yes, they will not retire for a long time. We know that. However, today seniors know too well how difficult it can be to make ends meet. Our seniors have worked hard to give a better life for future generations.

Why is the Prime Minister going to make it harder for them by cutting the OAS?

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government has been repeatedly clear when it comes to retirement income like as old age security. We have no intention of changing any benefits. In fact, seniors will continue to receive everything that they are receiving and expecting.

At the same time, younger generations expect us to ensure the system is viable for them. That is a responsibility this government takes very seriously.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister surprised everyone, including government experts, by targeting the old age security benefit. A report commissioned by this government shows that Canada is not facing a crisis related to the funding of public pension plans. I am referring to the Whitehouse report. I would advise the Prime Minister to read it.

Why does the Prime Minister want to reduce the deficit at the expense of the retirees of today and tomorrow?

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, demographic changes are putting pressure on our retirement income system and on many other programs. This has been clearly documented by a number of experts. This government will act to ensure that our programs are viable for all generations to come.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are attacking the $540 that seniors are able to receive each month through old age security. This is a bad decision. The Prime Minister appointed 47 senators to the upper house, each of whom will receive a generous retirement pension. That money represents old age security benefits for an additional 14,000 seniors.

During the last election, the Conservatives said that they would not touch any money intended for seniors. Why the betrayal? Why is the government demonstrating such a lack of respect for seniors? Why is it breaking its promise?

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we promised Canadians that we would maintain their old age security benefits, and that is exactly what we are going to do. Everyone who is currently receiving benefits will continue to do so. However, we have to consider future generations, and that is what we are going to do.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the future is by forcing seniors to work to age 67 and that will take $30,000 away from low-income seniors.

The government has a choice. A single F-35 costs $450 million. That would pay OAS benefits for 70,000 Canadian seniors. Its prison plan costs $19 billion. That would pay annual benefits for 2.9 million Canadians seniors. The Conservatives say costly prisons and fighter jets are their priority. We say seniors are more important.

Why are the Conservatives cutting future benefits for seniors? If they keep down this road, it is good-bye Charlie Brown.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, if the NDP members are really so concerned about seniors, then they should have voted for the pension income splitting. They should have voted for increasing the age credit for seniors not once but twice. They should have voted for the biggest increase in the guaranteed income supplement that we made last spring, which helps our poorest seniors. Their actions speak a whole lot louder than their words.

PensionsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the time of the last election, the Prime Minister's party put out an election platform that said, “we will not cut transfer payments to individuals or to the provinces for essential things like health care, education, and pensions”.

I wonder if the Prime Minister can tell us this. He talked in Davos about a demographic crisis and he talked about it again today. Many experts disagree with the Prime Minister, many experts whose studies were commissioned by his own government. Was the Prime Minister aware of this so-called demographic crisis at the time that he and his party made the election promise they made just a few short months ago?

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this government has made it very clear that we will protect the programs of the provinces and individuals in terms of what we are doing. We have been very clear about this. Seniors will continue to receive everything that they are expecting. We are absolutely clear about that.

At the same time, we do have a responsibility to future generations. The leader of the Liberal Party can pretend there is no problem in the future. This government has the responsibility of ensuring that we take care of seniors today and also take care of future generations, and that is what we will do.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and I have a rather different definition of the words, “taking care of”. For those who were born in 1951, or 1955, or 1956 or 1957, there is not a soul out there who knows exactly how they are going to be taken care of by the Conservative government. The odd definition of taking care means it is deep-sixing benefits for people who thought they were going to get them and who were told by the Prime Minister—

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The right hon. Prime Minister.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to taking care of people, we have two examples. One is how this government is taking care of people during this recession and how the Ontario government under his leadership took care of people during that recession.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for the Prime Minister.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether he was aware of the demographic problem and whether he knew that, in the future, he was going to cut pensions and raise the retirement age? If he was aware of these things, why did he not reveal his entire plan to Canadians? Why did he decide to hide what he wanted to do and what he intends to do now?

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has made it clear that we will protect our seniors' income. This is a clear commitment that we made to the people of Canada, and we intend to keep it. At the same time, we have a responsibility to future generations and we are going to take action to secure their future.

I have a question for the leader of the Liberal Party at the same time. Why, if the Liberals care so much about seniors and pensions, do they vote against every improvement we make for seniors and pensions in our country, including today. Even today they are trying to block the pooled registered pension plan that is supported by every province in the country. Why are they always voting against things for seniors?