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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

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence has awarded over half a million dollars in contracts to the mercenary group Xe Services, formally known as Blackwater, whose reputation was so tainted that its management had to change its name. That is not all. Xe Services also received $1.8 million in contracts from the public works department. Blackwater often made the headlines for its many violations of international law and human rights.

Can the minister confirm and justify the awarding of those contracts?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces take all necessary steps to ensure that the men and women of the Canadian forces have access to the best training forces available and the best training facilities, and that includes, typically, providing our own trainers. However, sometimes it does involve contracting outside trainers when it is the most cost-effective option.

The type of training provided by Xe is highly specialized. It is operationally essential. In fact, it allows Canadian personnel deploying on international missions, including military police, special forces and army operational support, to have that best training possible.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about $2.4 million in taxpayers' money that was given to a private enterprise with a dubious reputation. The government should be ashamed of itself for using the services of a mercenary group that seems to think it is above the law. Our armed forces are among the best in the world and we are recognized around the globe for how well our soldiers are trained.

Why is the government employing a group with a reputation as cowboys to train our troops, when we should be training our soldiers to promote Canadian values like obeying international law?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that kind of histrionics is absolutely inaccurate.

As I mentioned a moment ago, we give our Canadian Forces the best possible training to prepare them for mission success, to prepare them for very complex, dangerous overseas missions in some cases. When it is our special forces and our military police, we want to ensure they are best prepared to take on those challenges.

I will never apologize for providing the necessary resources to give them that best opportunity to succeed and come home safe to their families with the pride and the support of this government and the Canadian people behind them every time.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, 200 Tamil refugees who are stranded in Togo are facing deportation to Sri Lanka where they fear they will be killed if they are made to return. They had high hopes of starting a new life of freedom. They were victimized by the human smugglers who left them stranded in Togo.

What is the government doing to ensure that people will not be victimized by the government of Sri Lanka? Will Canada work with other countries and the Canadian relatives of these victims to allow them to resettle?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that this government takes human smuggling very seriously. Every year, thousands of people die in human smuggling operations around the world, which is why it is important that this Parliament act to deter smugglers from targeting Canada and from exploiting people. That is why we brought forward Bill C-4. It is disappointing that the Liberal Party has opposed every effort to combat human smuggling.

In terms of co-operation with the UNHCR, I do know that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration are assisting Tamil migrants around the world to relocate back to Sri Lanka in the post-conflict environment.

Airline SecurityOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the election, this government's lack of tolerance for our minorities has grown. A new rule prohibits airlines from allowing a person to board a plane if their appearance does not match the gender on their identification, unless they have a medical certificate. This is a direct affront to the transsexual and transgendered community, which is outraged by this minister who has introduced discrimination under the guise of security.

Why is this government obsessed with the gender of an individual, when it is their identity that matters?

Airline SecurityOral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, the security of Canada's airports is extremely important to our government. We believe that it is standard procedure for every individual who wishes to board a plane to be identified by the people at security screening. Since September 11, many screening measures have been improved, and I believe that it is normal for people checking the identification of those boarding the plane to be able to recognize them. We do not believe in half measures when it comes to air security. That is very important.

LabourOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, shares of U.S. Steel are on their way up but workers' jobs in Hamilton are on their way out. Now the company has just slammed its doors on operations yet again.

The government has betrayed Hamilton steelworkers at least three times: first, when it allowed the U.S. Steel takeover; second, when it stood by and did nothing when steelworkers were then locked out of their jobs; and, third, when it recently dropped the federal lawsuit against U.S. Steel with still no job guarantees.

What possible justification could the government have for continuing to turn its back on these Hamilton workers and their jobs?

LabourOral Questions

3 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, when commitments are taken under the Investment Canada Act, we ensure that they are respected.

Under the agreement last December, U.S. Steel must continue to produce steel in Canada, operate at Lake Erie and Hamilton until 2015, increase its capital expenditure into Canadian facilities up to $250 million by December 2015, and make $3 million in contributions toward community programs in Hamilton and at Inco.

This means jobs and this means continued economic activity. This is good news.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government continues to demonstrate that it does not care about the interests of Quebec industries. The Conservatives are rewarding the large oil companies with billions of dollars but have abandoned Quebec forestry workers. The situation is urgent. In my riding of Pontiac, 300 families are affected by the closure of Resolute Forest Products in Maniwaki.

What is this government waiting for to invest in an emergency fund for the Quebec forestry industry in order to revitalize it and help it survive?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the members of the House that the Minister of International Trade recently extended the softwood lumber agreement with the United States. I would like to commend him for that. This agreement allows us to keep our borders open in order to export our country's lumber. Unfortunately, the forestry industry is the victim of a tough market. Under the softwood lumber agreement, we can provide direct support to companies—the hon. member should know that—and we will continue to do everything we can to support the forestry industry.

Public SafetyOral Questions

February 1st, 2012 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to keep a safe, effective border and to protect the integrity of our immigration system.

That is why we developed the “Wanted by the CBSA” program. With the assistance of the public, we have been able to apprehend numerous individuals who are in Canada illegally. We have sent a clear message that if someone commits criminal acts here or is accused of being a war criminal, that individual is not welcome in Canada.

Could the Minister of Public Safety please give the House an update on this program?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his support of this important program.

We are pleased with the success of the wanted by the CBSA program. Canadians from coast to coast to coast have co-operated with their local law enforcement officials to remove those who have no business being in Canada.

I am pleased to announce that Ian Getfield, an individual who is inadmissible for serious criminal convictions, was apprehended last night in Toronto. Additionally, CBSA has removed Delson Jules today, who has also been convicted of serious offences.

Canada will not be a safe haven for foreign criminals.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker the Amundsen has been removed from service. This vessel provides critical scientific research on many issues, not the least of which is environmental changes in the Arctic.

With the Conservative government slashing tens of millions of dollars from DFO and the Coast Guard, can we trust that this very important vessel will be operating in the near future? Could the minister assure the House that this important vessel will be back in the water soon?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, that is a bit rich coming from the member opposite. The former Liberal government had ships sitting at the docks rusting and with no fuel. We have made major investments in our coast guard and will continue to do.

The Amundsen will be out of service for the rest of the winter season because of significant engine problems. The Canadian Coast Guard will redeploy its operational fleet in eastern Canada in order to minimize impacts in icebreaking, flood control and search and rescue services.

InfrastructureOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 2009, the municipality of Portneuf has been trying to buy its wharf back from the federal government as part of Transport Canada's port divestiture program, which will end in March. The wharf, which is essential to tourism and business in the region, will fall into disrepair unless funds are invested to upgrade it. Unfortunately, Transport Canada has terminated negotiations. My predecessor promised that, if re-elected, he would secure funding to repair the wharf.

Are we to believe that the department is withholding the funds to punish voters who did not vote for the right party?

InfrastructureOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this program has helped many communities take ownership of their wharves. Unfortunately, all of the money is spoken for, and the program has ended. I would remind the member that, to my knowledge, her predecessor was not a government member either.

EmploymentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, job creation and economic growth are the priorities of this government. That focus is also incredibly important when it comes to Canadian students.

Would the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development please give the House an update on the status of the Canada summer jobs program and any recent developments on investments for Canadian students?

EmploymentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are excited today to officially launch the Canada summer jobs 2012 program. It is going to help up to 36,000 students get jobs. I would remind members that we recently made an additional $10 million available to this program and we made it permanent.

What is great about this program is that not only does it help students finance their own education, but it also gives them a chance to develop the skills and experience they need to succeed now and in the future. It is another great way that our government is supporting students by partnering with small businesses, local communities and not-for-profit organizations.

VeteransOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, federal services provided to our veterans are under serious threat. Many of these individuals who risked their lives for this country suffer from health problems and are waiting for treatment. Transferring Ste. Anne's Hospital and cutting the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget will result in the loss of 1,800 jobs. Our veterans are not responsible for the Conservatives' mismanagement.

Will this government follow the lead of Great Britain and the United States and treat our war heroes properly?

VeteransOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the member just said, our government is maintaining veterans' benefits. As for Ste. Anne's Hospital, we will ensure that our veterans continue to receive high quality services in both official languages.

We are doing this and we plan to transfer responsibility for Ste. Anne's Hospital to the Government of Quebec for one very clear reason: we want to maintain high quality services for our veterans. We want to maintain the quality of the services offered to veterans and the public, as well as to maintain good jobs in health care.

PensionsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have been proclaiming that unlike the Liberals, who unabashedly cut transfers, they will not send the bill for their fight against the deficit to Quebec. But that is precisely what they are doing. By increasing the pension eligibility age from 65 to 67, they will force Quebec to make up the difference in income for the less fortunate during that period, which, in the opinion of Quebec minister Julie Boulet, will cost Quebec tens of millions of dollars in social assistance.

Why are the Conservatives so determined to be like the Liberals and make Quebec and the provinces pay for their fight against the deficit?

PensionsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is not so. What we are going to do is protect the old age security system for our seniors today and for decades to come. We are going to protect them because it is our responsibility to protect the security of our seniors.

Presence in the GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Dale Graham, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick; the Honourable Bill Barisoff, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia; and the Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation for British Columbia.