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House of Commons Hansard #173 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was air.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, while the opposition continues to complain about the size of the bill, I do have to get up and correct myself.

I earlier quoted the length of a Quebec budget implementation bill as 383 pages. Unfortunately, that is only the English version of the budget bill when the Leader of the Opposition was in the Quebec government. When we have it bilingual, as ours is, it is actually 778 pages long, far longer than any budget bill from this government.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is the Ottawa bubble in a nutshell. We are talking about our lakes and rivers.

Canadians are passionate about our lakes and rivers. It is what defines us as a people. Therefore, when we see the pork barrel king of Muskoka not only subverting the system again, but putting his millionaire cottagers to the front of the line, it is just wrong.

What is up? Is he thinking that by creating this exclusive club he will get to ride a paddle-boat around Lake Rosseau with Goldie and Jeff? I am sorry, dude, it is way over the line. Mark it zero.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is wrong of the hon. member to cherry-pick data in order to confirm his conspiracy theory. He has ignored bodies of water that are inconsistent with his conspiracy theory, including oceans, the St. Lawrence Seaway and many others.

The reality is that provinces and municipalities have asked us to cut the red tape. We will continue to protect navigation, not conspiracy.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, until his arrest last week, convicted criminal Nathan Jacobson had full access to the government, with close ties to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and even the Prime Minister.

They have said they did not know about his criminal past, but the Minister of Public Safety could have told them. Court documents show CSIS had been watching Mr. Jacobson for years, suspecting him of representing the Russian mafia in Canada.

We know the Conservatives refuse to return his donations, but will each cabinet minister table every contact they had with them and the nature of these communications?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, what the member opposite is suggesting is completely false.

Department of Justice officials received a request from the United States to arrest Mr. Jacobson on October 24. A warrant was obtained just one day later, on October 25, and police carried out the arrest later that same day. In other words, the government has been completely responsive to this situation.

This is a matter related to a private citizen. It is not related to the government. As the member knows, we do not interfere with police operations. As this case is now before the courts, we should let that process continue. It would be completely inappropriate to discuss it here.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the installation ceremony of the new CDS, the Prime Minister lectured the military and his ministers about “more tooth and less tail for less money”. General Lawson was immediately put in the awkward position of saying that there was no fat left.

Will this new Conservative decade of darkness apply to hero shots of the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence posing for carefully crafted photos of themselves on military assets in the Arctic, and will it apply to fake photo ops, at $47,000 per pop, of airplanes that we may never buy?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, of course the Department of National Defence is doing its part to ensure the efficient and effective use of public funds.

This is all about generating savings for Canadians, and a major part of those savings with respect to readiness will be achieved through efficiencies gained, which were announced in budget 2012, and streamlining of contracting processes, internal processes, while maintaining the regular and reserve force strength.

However, when it comes to the issue of the decade of darkness, I would have to defer completely to that member who was part of the government that brought that decade into being.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

October 31st, 2012 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, once upon a time Canada's waterways belonged to all Canadians.

With Bill C-45, only 97 lakes will be protected by federal legislation. A fact of interest is that 12 of those lakes are located in the riding of the President of the Treasury Board. Another interesting fact is that 90% of the lakes that will be protected are located in Conservative ridings.

What gives the Conservatives the right to appropriate our natural heritage?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the premise of that question is false.

As far as I know, the minister's riding is in the St. Lawrence River area, and that is on the list. That is completely false. This list is based on scientific data and statistics collected for years. It includes waterways that are navigable, and not a small creek or stream, as the NDP would like. When we think of water, we do not automatically think of navigation.

Yes, we will protect the environment. We will be focusing on navigation, as we are currently doing.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Atlantic Canadians complained that the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development had cancelled the pilot project without even telling them, the minister responded by saying that she had told them two years ago. Never mind that she did not make any announcement and still has not answered their letters.

With communication skills like that, it is no wonder the minister does not think that consulting Canadians is important. Canadians disagree, and they are protesting loudly. Will the minister listen to them and back down on her harmful changes to EI?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we were very clear two years ago in our economic action plan that we were providing additional supports for those who were unfortunate enough to lose their job through no fault of their own. We did that by extending extra weeks, by offering extra training programs to help the unemployed get the skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

All of these programs were always destined to be short term to help Canadians through the worst of the recession. Now that we are in a stronger position, those programs that were scheduled to be temporary have come to their natural end.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, last spring, the Minister of Finance said that people were welcome to express their opinions on employment insurance and that the government would take those opinions into consideration. Since then, the Conservatives have ignored all of the concerns that people have expressed about the government's toxic employment insurance reform.

Will the Conservatives keep their promises? Will they scrap their poorly conceived employment insurance reform? Will they consult the public to find out how to improve the program?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, changes to the employment insurance system are designed to help people find jobs. That is good news. What we are doing puts more money in their pockets because they are working more. Our programs will help people find and keep jobs. That is much better. The system is much better.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, funding for east coast businesses from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency declined by a whopping 25% last year alone. Businesses in Atlantic Canada have not suddenly lost their need for support; the Conservatives have lost their willingness to support Atlantic Canada, except, of course, when it comes to the patronage trough.

Why are the Conservatives leaving the east coast behind? Why is the government not committed to ACOA?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong and fearmongering. If he wants to compare apples to apples and look at investment for economic development, he should take into account stimulus measures that were meant to deal with the recession and the unprecedented level of federal investment in Atlantic Canada, not only by ACOA but Industry Canada and all other departments.

Further, he should mention the shipbuilding initiative, which analysts say will create 15,000 jobs and add $2 billion in economic benefits annually.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, we know that the priority is the economy. The purpose of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is to promote the economy in the Atlantic region. But rather than help businesses, the Conservatives are using the agency to make partisan appointments. They fired over 100 employees and slashed aid to businesses and organizations by 25%. They are stalling economic development all over the Atlantic region.

Why are the Conservatives going after communities in the Atlantic region?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, if the member had done his homework, he would know what is going on in the Atlantic region. He would know that federal investment in Atlantic Canada is higher than ever. He would also know that, according to analysts, the shipbuilding initiative will create 15,000 jobs and inject $2 billion annually into the Canadian economy. He should have read about that in other parts of the newspaper.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, for far too long, Canada has had an immigration system bogged down by long wait times that have made it difficult to attract the talented individuals that our economy needs. Our Conservative government campaigned on a platform that included a long overdue transformation to make our immigration system work for the economy, for newcomers and all Canadians.

Can the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism please update the House on the announcement that he made today and how it will help the Canadian economy?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, today I announced that next year Canada will continue to welcome a record number of newcomers, between 240,000 and 265,000 permanent residents. In particular, we are increasing the Canadian experience class, an exciting new immigration program that invites foreign student graduates and highly skilled temporary foreign workers to stay in Canada. They already have jobs. They have perfected their English or French language skills, and they have Canadian degrees and diplomas in most cases. They are set for success. Our transformative agenda is designed to ensure that immigrants succeed, because when they succeed, Canada succeeds.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Manon Perreault NDP Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, two veterans ombudsmen have said that the Veterans Review and Appeal Board is not doing its job properly. The tribunal's appeal process does not work properly and the dissatisfaction rate is very high among veterans and their families.

When will the Conservatives finally dismantle the Veterans Review and Appeal Board and replace it with a simpler process for processing applications? When will they give veterans and RCMP members the benefits they deserve?

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I remind her that the veterans ombudsman said that the Veterans Review and Appeal Board has a key role to play in ensuring that veterans and other clients of Veterans Affairs Canada receive the benefits and services they are entitled to.

Why do the New Democrats want to deprive veterans of a legitimate service they receive thanks to free legal services? I urge the member to continue to support our government's efforts to appoint competent individuals to the tribunal.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's lump sum payment plan for injured veterans has proved to be a failure. In some cases, injured vets get only 10% of what they have received through the courts or workers' compensation. That is the reason Canadian Forces members who are injured in the line of duty may have to launch a class action lawsuit against the government. Imagine, after risking everything for one's country, having to fight the government in court to get a fair pension.

When will the Conservatives change the lump sum formula to ensure that veterans get the pensions they deserve?

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that after years of neglect, this government, under the leadership of our Prime Minister, has taken unprecedented steps to improve the benefits of our veterans. That is the reality.

As the member is well aware, the disability award is one of the many benefits that our veterans are getting, whether from Veterans Affairs Canada or DND. If veterans are seriously ill and injured, they can get as much as $500,000 in total, and $50,000 a year. Why? Because our objective is to help them transition into civilian life.

VeteransOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, veterans have been criticizing this for some time, and the Auditor General also confirmed it last week: when ill or injured military personnel leave the Canadian Forces, they have to cut through a great deal of very difficult, complicated red tape. Even departmental staff find the eligibility criteria unclear.

Instead of repeating the same speeches in the House, why does the minister not listen to the concerns of veterans and the Auditor General?

VeteransOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the Auditor General has recognized the very real efforts our government is making to address the issues facing seriously injured or ill veterans. The Auditor General did also indicate that we need to cut red tape and reduce wait times.

Why is my NDP colleague against cutting red tape in order to speed up and simplify our processes? That is exactly what we are doing with our red tape reduction initiative; it is what we are doing with our veterans transition action plan; and it is what we will continue to do. On this side of the House, we are not just talking about veterans; we are taking action.