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House of Commons Hansard #167 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendments.

Topics

Border SecurityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the NDP member for Compton—Stanstead stood up in the House to make inaccurate claims about our government's position on border security.

Let us look at the facts. Our government brought in reforms that deter bogus refugee claimants and other abuses of the refugee system. The NDP voted against them. We brought in strong laws to combat human smuggling. The NDP voted against them and the member has a statement on his website condemning them. We increased border guards by 25%. The NDP voted against that. We armed border guards. The NDP voted against that.

In fact, every time our government does anything to protect the border and the people who live in border communities, we can count on the NDP to oppose it every step of the way.

Canadians know that when it comes to matters of national security, the NDP simply cannot be trusted.

Visa OfficeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in May, the visa office at the Consulate General of Canada in Buffalo ceased operations. Some 12,000 applications for permanent residence were transferred to Ottawa. Several of those applications are from people living in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

When they submitted their applications for permanent residence as skilled workers in Quebec, processing time at the Buffalo office was approximately 15 months. On the rare occasions when applicants can speak to a Citizenship and Immigration agent, they are told that they will have to wait another 12 months because their case has not yet been assigned to an officer in Ottawa. Those who never manage to speak to someone on the phone are left entirely in the dark.

For many people, the extra wait time means that they have to leave Canada, where they are working, contributing to the economy, paying taxes and putting down roots in their communities.

The government is not fooling anybody when it says that cuts will not affect services to the public. It is not the same level of service when people are waiting 80% longer.

Harvie AndreStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise to speak about a man of integrity, the hon. Harvie Andre, former federal cabinet minister and member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, who passed away this past Sunday at the age of 72 after a hard fought battle with cancer.

In 1972, Harvie was first elected as the MP for Calgary Centre. In 1984, the right hon. Brian Mulroney appointed him Minister of Supply and Services. Harvie later served as associate defence minister, Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Minister for Regional and Industrial Expansion, Minister of State for Science Technology and government House leader.

Moreover, Harvie turned Canada Post from a money loser into a money maker.

In 1993, he retired from politics after faithfully serving six terms and 21 years. After life in the House of Commons, Harvie served on numerous boards of directors and was also named as the federal government's chief negotiator on the devolution of the Northwest Territories in 2006.

Beyond all of his accomplishments, the hon. Harvie Andre was a great man, a great Canadian, a true blue Conservative.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Joan, their children and grandchildren.

Engineering AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate this year's Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards winners, who have been recognized by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of Canada. ACEC represents more than 500 companies in all regions of Canada that provide professional engineering services to both public and private sector clients.

All parties in the House support infrastructure investments as key to Canada's economic and social well-being. The federal government has a vital role to play in the development of a long-term infrastructure plan for Canada when the Building Canada fund expires in less than two years.

This year's recipients represent the full spectrum of infrastructure projects and demonstrate the entire range of expertise present in Canada today.

Together with all parties, I congratulate all winners of this year's Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

October 23rd, 2012 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leaves are falling and the air is getting colder. It can only mean one thing, that winter is coming.

As Canadians, we embrace winter with skating, skiing, warm coats and hot chocolate.

Unfortunately, this magical time of year is clouded by a new threat. The NDP leader is proposing a $21 billion carbon tax that will make it more expensive for Canadians to feed their families, heat their homes and drive to hockey practice. Part 4 of the party's platform lays it out clear as day, and the NDP leader himself has stated that this would be used to generate billions in new revenues.

Canadians can trust our government to defend them against this costly new tax that will kill jobs, stall the economy and ruin winter.

Member for Medicine HatStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Medicine Hat has made two statements since the House returned. Sadly, he chose not to talk about what was happening in his riding, a riding that includes Brooks, Alberta, the epicentre of the largest beef recall in Canadian history.

Instead of standing in the House and talking about the shutdown of XL Foods, he rose to make things up and attack the NDP. He could have updated his 2,000 newly unemployed constituents. He could have spoken to what the leader of the Wild Rose Party is calling a “humanitarian crisis”.

He could have spoken about a free supper event last night at the Brooks Evangelical Free Church, or the first pride festival that took place in Medicine Hat last month. Instead, the member decided to repeat the same tired, old make-believe points.

I urge my Conservative colleagues to break free of their servitude to the Prime Minister's Office, to stop making things up and to stop attacking the policies that many of them ran on. Finally, end the performance so we can all get back to work to represent all of our constituents.

Leader of the New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, during the NDP leadership campaign, the leader of the NDP did some travelling and he did some talking. He went to the east; he went to the west. He talked about the subject that he knows best.

He went west to Vancouver where he said, “I have a cap-and-trade program that will produce billions”. He went east to Halifax where he said, “I will refer again to the cap-and-trade proposal...that will produce billions of dollars in new revenue”. He went to Quebec City where he said, “I have a proposed system of carbon pricing, which will produce billions”. Here in Ottawa he said, “A cap and trade system will provide a lot of revenue”.

The NDP leader is still travelling, but he seems to have stopped talking. Since the NDP leader does not want to talk to Canadians about the $21 billion carbon tax, we will do it for him.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the Auditor General's report revealed a troubling level of incompetence in the Conservative government's handling of cyber security.

It has been two years since cyber attacks from China reached crucial government computer networks. To this day, Canada's cyber response centre is not operational overnight and on weekends. What a joke, as if cyber attacks only strike during regular business hours. Canadians are right to be concerned.

Why did the government not take this threat seriously and only begin to act days before this report came out?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me give a more accurate and broader version of what the Auditor General actually concluded. He said: “[The government has made progress in securing its systems against cyber threats, in improving communications, and in building partnerships with owners and operators of critical infrastructure”.

Cyber security is an evolving, ongoing local problem and this government is certainly committed to continuing to make the investment and to working with our allies to address the global nature of these threats.

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in addition to Conservative incompetence we have their habitual lack of transparency.

The Auditor General has just revealed that last spring the Conservatives hid the cost of their cuts to old age security pensions. According to the AG, the Department of Finance had in fact internally “[E]stimated gross and net savings of raising the [OAS] eligibility age...”.

The NDP asked time and again but the Conservatives refused to give an answer. Why did the Prime Minister try to hide this $10 billion cut from Canadian seniors?

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, what the Leader of the Opposition has just said is completely inaccurate. There is no cut to old age security in the government's budget. Seniors will continue to receive the benefits they are expecting to receive.

In the future, there will be changes to the program that will result in slower growth of the program, but over the next generation the program will continue to grow, although the changes we have made will ensure that it will be sustainable for the generations to come.

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I see: it is not cuts but “changes”, and the changes are cuts.

The Minister of Finance knew the numbers when he decided to reduce the deficit at the expense of seniors. He knew that by cutting old age security, he would be taking $10 billion a year directly from the pockets of seniors.

He hid that information from Canadians and he hid it from Parliament. Even Conservative members had to vote in favour of these cuts without knowing their full extent.

How can the Prime Minister justify such a lack of transparency, which is also now being condemned by the Auditor General?

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is absolutely wrong.

The reality is that our seniors will continue to receive the benefits they are expecting to receive.

Of course, there will be changes for future generations. The program will continue to grow, but in the future, it will remain in a very stable position for future generations.

Budget ImplementationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the facts are clear: the Conservatives had the information and refused to provide it.

They also introduced a massive bill full of surprises that will take money straight out of the pockets of workers by taxing group benefit plans. And that is not all: federal employees will now have to wait 30 days instead of 15 before receiving paid statutory holidays.

In all, how much money are they going to take from workers?

Budget ImplementationOral Questions

2:20 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, we have made some important changes, found in various budget documents, that make sure we are responsible to taxpayers for the spending that we do, including the public service. I think most Canadians judge those changes to be fair and reasonable. They certainly help us focus on the issues that Canadians care about: jobs and growth in our economy.

Budget ImplementationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is no answer, and based on the minister's Mickey Mouse briefing last night, it is clear that the Conservatives have no plan on how to explain this bill.

No wonder they want to hide the details, because they are taking money out of the pockets of Canadians. They are reducing vacation pay for new employees in federally regulated offices and are taxing group health insurance that people need in case of heart attacks or major illness.

Tell us, just how are these money-grabbing measures going to help Canadians who are just trying to make ends meet?

Budget ImplementationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question because it allows us to give some clarity around the actual facts surrounding the changes that we are suggesting to the Canada Labour Code.

We are representing that some changes need to be made to part III of the Canada Labour Code with respect to vacation pay. We want to set a clear 30-day deadline to ensure that employees do get paid. In fact, in the federal jurisdiction sometimes it goes longer.

We are acting on behalf of workers and we are ensuring that workers are going to get paid in a certain amount of time that they can bank on from our government.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, just in case the Prime Minister is not aware of it, on page 15 of his report, the Auditor General said, “it is our opinion that operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is important for the timely detection and notification of cyber threats”.

Cybercriminals do not keep bankers' hours. Why should the Government of Canada be keeping those hours when cybercriminals are working 24 hours a day?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, cyber security threats are global by nature and evolving. The government is continuing to make investments to deal with these problems. We have been working with the Auditor General. We have accepted his recommendations and will be acting on them.

However, it is important that the member look at the Auditor General's general conclusion, and that is that the government has made progress in securing its systems against cyber threats, in improving communications and in building partnerships with owners and operators of critical infrastructure. However, there is more work to be done and we will be continuing to work with our partners in Canada and our allies around the world.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that it took a report from the Auditor General to force the government to see that this is a problem. Across the country, there are stores open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Criminals around the world work day and night.

Why does the Government of Canada not work around the clock on this problem? It has become a problem not only for us, but also for our allies around the world.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, cybersecurity is a global issue. The government is working with its partners here and its allies around the world. We are constantly making changes to adapt to these realities. Just recently, the government made more investments.

I must repeat what the Auditor General said. He said that the government has made progress in securing its systems against cyber threats by improving communications.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, another report came out today, that of the Correctional Investigator, Mr. Sapers, who has reported that the population of aboriginal women in jail has increased by 80% over the last decade, that 68% of these women have said that they experience sexual abuse and 85% a history of physical abuse and there have been 54 attempted suicides in the prison population in the last year.

It is now clear that our prisons have become large institutions dealing with the most severe and dramatic mental health issues facing the country. What is the Government of Canada doing to address this problem? Rather than rhetoric about getting the bad guys, what is it doing about these—

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is more than aware of mental health challenges that impact upon the prison population and upon criminal justice issues. The government is making significant investments to deal with these problems.

At the same time, the leader of the Liberal Party should not trivialize the issue of criminality. It is serious and the government is determined to keep our communities safe. The population expects Parliament to do that.

FinanceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General said that the Conservatives have failed to report on long-term fiscal sustainability. He gave them a failing grade on fiscal transparency. He said that neither MPs nor Canadians had the relevant information to fully understand the long-term implications of budgets. According to the AG, even the Minister of Finance is not fully informed of the true costs before his budget is tabled and voted on.

When does the government plan to deliver its promised report on long-term fiscal sustainability?