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House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Maternal HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is obvious is that cracks are showing on that side of the House.

The Prime Minister claims he is not reopening these debates, yet he has a trio of backbench Conservatives eagerly pushing a challenge to a woman's right to choose. He is playing hide and seek with funding for international maternal health organizations.

Does the Prime Minister still claim his government is not reopening the debate on abortion, or is he finally giving way to his fringe backbenchers?

Maternal HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, our government has been very clear. We are not opening up the discussion on abortion, but we are improving the health and reducing the mortality of women and children in developing countries.

We have been doing this and we are showing results. There will now be 10,000 citizens in Ghana receiving maternal health services. In India, 1,100 health workers have been trained in 600 villages. That means 280,000 women will receive maternal assistance. In Bangladesh, we—

Maternal HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning, the Auditor General admitted that it will take him more than a year to learn French. What a surprise. Every one of the recently laid-off second language teachers could have predicted that. And this morning, francophones got another slap in the face. We learned that two francophone Conservative MPs who were members of the Standing Committee on Official Languages have been transferred to another committee. Bilingualism in Canada is not a luxury we can do without.

When will we see concrete and consistent actions from this government in order to protect francophones' rights?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we can point with pride to a number of our efforts and political commitments. Just look at our Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality. It is an unprecedented commitment to protect Canada's two official languages and to celebrate and promote francophone life in every region of our country. Francophone communities in every corner of our country have been supported by our unprecedented investments and we will continue to make such investments.

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, let the record be clear. Cutting existing pension benefits from Canadian seniors is not new for the government.

On May 17, 2010, Conservatives changed the rules and cut current OAS recipients of guaranteed income supplement benefits if they made an emergency withdrawal from their own registered savings. This party, the Liberal Party, forced them to back down, but now they are back to their old dirty tricks.

Will the Prime Minister personally commit that absolutely no policy or legislative changes are in the works to reduce OAS or GIS benefits? Could I have a clear answer, please?

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have some challenges. We have some changing demographics that mean we have to plan not just for today, but also for the financial security of our future seniors. That is exactly what we are going to do.

Unfortunately, every time we try to do something to help seniors, like introduce pension income splitting or increase the GIS by record amounts, the Liberals vote against it.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, it seems the Conservative hypocrisy knows no end.

While the government is willing to provide general salary information about employees at the CBC, it has refused to release any information about salaries at the Prime Minister's office.

Now, it is pathetic that the President of the Treasury Board, who claims to be “an open government advocate”, is now blocking the release of even the most basic information about the PMO salaries. However, given his record in Muskoka, this comes as no big surprise.

When will the minister stop obstructing and release this information?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:45 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, I would remind the hon. member and his caucus colleagues over there that we have laws in his country, including the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, where the names and exact salaries of personnel cannot be released. I would assure the hon. member, however, that spending in this Prime Minister's office has gone down by 9% since last year.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has, time and time again, shown it does not care for evidence-based decision making. It also has become quite evident that the government does not understand science.

This week a response to a petition was delivered to us, signed by the minister, that listed the subject as “climate change”. The actual subject of the petition was “ozone monitoring”.

Does the minister understand the difference between climate change and ozone monitoring?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, yes, this government does indeed know the difference and much better than the previous Liberal government.

In response to questions through the fall session, I repeatedly assured my colleague that Environment Canada would continue to monitor ozone and that the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre would continue to deliver world-class service.

At the same time, we are committed, realistically, to the matter of climate change.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, students across Canada are taking to the streets calling for action to reduce tuition fees and the ever-rising student debt.

Education is the key to moving our economy forward. The government has done nothing to make university and college more affordable. Every dollar it claims to have been spent has been clawed back by tuition fee hikes.

Instead of pushing its costly prisons agenda, why will the government not work with cash-strapped provinces to make education more affordable?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, over the last six years our government has done more to help students than any government before it. We introduced the Canada student grants program, which is helping almost 300,000 students access post-secondary education. We made scholarships and bursaries tax free. We have invested billions of dollars in infrastructure in colleges and universities so that students have a place to go to learn where they have up-to-date, modern equipment.

We have done all this to help students and we have done it in spite of the opposition of the NDP.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, all this and yet student debt is about to pass $15 billion, the legal limit. Instead of helping students, the Conservatives want to change the law.

Students are getting their degrees, but the youth unemployment rate is 14%. Worse yet, this government simply wants to cut their old age security.

Instead of leading the next generation into bankruptcy, why does this government not listen? When will it commit to improving post-secondary education for all Canadians?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is precisely what we have been doing for the six years that we have been governing. We have introduced non-repayable grants for students. We have made the grants non-repayable.

That being said, the hon. member should know that it is the provinces and territories that set tuition fees.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian development priorities are getting all mixed up under the government. The Conservatives froze our aid budget and then cut funding to long-standing Canadian aid partners.

Governing is all about choices. Instead of helping poorer nations and fostering development, the Conservatives are asking taxpayers to subsidize budgets for some of the world's wealthiest corporations.

Why has the minister decided to cut aid to developing countries and subsidize wealthy corporations?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, in fact, this government is about using its development funds to ensure we are getting results and we are making a difference in the lives of those we want to help. We want to ensure that the unemployed youth, who are growing every year in developing countries, will have the skills and training they need to be gainfully employed. They want to increase their income and help increase the incomes of their families. This is the best way to reduce poverty. That is why we are using our aid dollars effectively.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure we can agree that aid should not be used to benefit profitable corporations or finance activities that would happen anyway. We should not be doing the work of corporations in training their own personnel.

We need to remember that CIDA's mandate is to reduce poverty, not to further private sector interests or short term trade priorities.

Will the minister commit to ensuring that CIDA's work focuses on creating the best conditions for development, not just a PR boost for mining companies.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, our government wants to ensure that we are utilizing the expertise, the experience and the knowledge, leveraging our ability to help people living in poverty. That means we will look to the private sector and continue our good partnership with civil society and NGO organizations.

We can maximize the value of our aid dollars by using the best that Canada has to offer to help those living in developing countries.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, our hard-working Minister of International Trade just finished a successful trade mission to Libya.

When Canadian companies build business partnerships with Libya, stability and prosperity follows and it only contributes to Libya's rebuilding.

We also know that the Prime Minister's commitment to helping Libya transition into a peaceful democracy based on rule of law and respect of human rights will also be accomplished.

Could the minister tell this House why this trade mission is so absolutely important to Libya and Canada at this important junction in history?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are helping the Libyans build a fair and democratic society that respects human rights and the rule of law.

I just returned from Libya where I led a trade mission to support Canadian companies that were ready to put their expertise to work in Libya. By working with local partners, Canadian firms will help Libyans reinvigorate and rebuild their economy,

This is good news for Canadian and Libyan workers and their families.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the minister for F-35s told the House that he was listening to experts.

In November, an expert Pentagon panel found 13 major design flaws with only 20% of the testing complete. In response, the F-35 program manager acknowledged that the production plan was “a miscalculation”.

In light of the expert assessments, will the minister now acknowledge that his plan to replace the CF-18 is based on a miscalculation and put this contract out to tender?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong. F-35s are coming off the production line, pilots are flying them and over 60 Canadian industries are benefiting from the manufacturing of parts for this particular program, industries in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Why is the NDP against jobs for Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, our allies did not need the program manager to advise them that this project is based on a fundamental miscalculation. It has been obvious to most for a long time. That is why our allies, including the U.S., have been delaying their purchases, re-assessing their orders and putting in place backup plans.

If the minister is going to ignore the experts, then perhaps he will share the research findings of his colleague from Delta—Richmond East and tell us, with the production schedule indeterminately delayed, how much it will now cost to deliver F-35s by 2020.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in replacing the aging CF-18s, Canada made the conscious choice to partner with our closest allies to develop the next generation of aircraft for our military men and women. By doing so, we are creating jobs for Canadian workers today that will be sustained into the future. It will also ensure that our brave men and women have the equipment they need for many years to come to do their jobs in the Canadian military.