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House of Commons Hansard #72 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The right hon. Prime Minister.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, in a democracy, we are all interim members, even the interim Liberal leader.

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

PensionsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

In any case we have a responsibility to future generations. The government is studying these important matters in light of the major changes we are anticipating in our society. The government will take action to protect our future generations.

JusticeOral Questions

February 2nd, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it came to the Wheat Board, the Prime Minister was the first one to say that we could not bind future Parliaments. That is exactly what he is now saying that he cannot do it.

On another topic, Senator Boisvenu was encouraging suicide as a criminal justice policy. Yesterday, the Minister of Public Works, while testifying in the Senate, suggested that if only the provinces had not closed mental institutions, they would not have had to build more prisons.

What will it take to bring the government's approach to mental health and criminal justice from the 18th century into the 21st century?

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I said no such thing. What I in fact indicated was that the issue of mental illness and criminal law was a very complex one, that I would prefer to see mentally ill people dealt with in institutions that had a mental illness focus and a mental health focus rather than a penal focus and that we needed to work together with the provinces.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, just last month the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism told Canadians how solemn he thought our citizenship ceremonies were, and they are indeed serious occasions. Now, however, we learn that his office is fine just faking it. It was his office that arranged to have employees pose as fake new citizens in a made-up ceremony for a misleading news conference.

Could the minister explain why he forced government employees to pose as fake new citizens and mislead Canadians?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, that is completely untrue. The only misleading going on is coming from that member. Every year CIC officials do a good job organizing special citizenship and reaffirmation ceremonies across the country, including sometimes in studio televised ceremonies to raise the profile of citizenship. Today, I became aware that one small reaffirmation ceremony last year had logistical problems and that was poorly dealt with—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. minister has the floor.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I became aware that in a reaffirmation ceremony last year, following logistical problems, the situation was poorly handled. I regret that, but that in no way should undermine the importance and value of special reaffirmation ceremonies, in which we encourage all Canadians to participate.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, what the minister's office should have done was tell any news outlet that wanted help faking a story to go jump in a fake lake. Instead it played along, once again putting Conservative photo ops ahead of getting things done for new Canadians. It took an investigative reporter to get the truth out.

Is the minister really that far out of the loop with his department? Could the minister tell the House when his government learned about this stunt and why it kept it a secret?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, my office learned about the situation in question yesterday when we had an inquiry from a media outlet. I learned about it this morning when I saw the media coverage.

The department organizes dozens of special citizenship and reaffirmation ceremonies every year, which are a great way of highlighting the value of Canadian citizenship. It turns out that in the ceremony in question for reaffirmation, some of the people invited did not arrive. I think the response to that was poorly handled. I regret that, but we should not allow it to undermine the important value of these special citizenship and reaffirmation ceremonies.

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, by now it is very obvious that everyone knows of the government's obsession with silencing all those who disagree with it. It is hurting Canada and Canadians. Now we learn that another prominent Statistics Canada researcher, no less than the chief economic analyst, is leaving his position after 36 years of service. He says that he can no longer express his views freely. In 2010 the agency's chief statistician resigned because of changes to the census that were imposed by the Conservatives.

The government is depriving families of information that is essential to their well-being and depriving us of brilliant consultants. Why does—

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Industry.

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the individual decided to go into the private sector since he could work with free data. We thank him for his service in the public sector.

That being said, I want to remind my colleagues that with regard to the national household survey, the national collection response rate is 69.3%, which is well above the targeted rate of 50%.

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government can easily grasp one statistic: two senior officials at Statistics Canada have resigned because this government muzzled them. In fact, since the arrival of the Conservatives, competent senior officials have been leaving one after the other, or have been fired for daring to contradict this government.

First it was the chief statistician and now, the renowned economic analyst, Philip Cross, is leaving because, as he made very clear, he does not agree with the Conservatives' decision regarding the census and he cannot speak freely.

This government listens to no one. It listens to no one about its megaprisons. It listens to no one about the firearms registry. It listens to no one about any—

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, it is my understanding that the person in question decided to leave for a business opportunity now that data are being provided free. We thank him for his work in the public service.

However, with regard to the survey, the national response rate is 69.3%, well above the target rate of 50%. Let us talk about the facts. The household response rate was greater for the 2011 survey than the 2006 survey, resulting in improvement and tangible benefits. In addition, Statistics Canada has confirmed that the survey will provide useful and usable data—

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, Service Canada has received almost 10,000 complaints from Canadians over a period of eight months. Why? Because after rounds of Conservative layoffs, there is no way the staff can keep up with the rising EI claims.

Every day the minister defends damaging Conservative cuts to Service Canada and, as we are finding out, every day Canadians are saying that these Conservative cuts are just a bad idea. When will the government finally fix the problem it created at Service Canada?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our goal is to ensure that Canadians who are entitled to benefits, such as EI, CPP and OAS, receive them in a timely manner.

That is exactly why, after we had a number of requests for EI just before Christmas, more than we anticipated in fact despite the usual seasonal hike, we hired more people. We brought in 400 more people from other parts of the department to help speed up the process so Canadians could get the benefits that they deserve.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it just gets worse.

By the end of this fiscal year, the Service Canada office is on track to hear 12,000 complaints from Canadians. The minister just keeps sticking to her automated talking points. The numbers will get a lot worse. Maybe that is why staff have been instructed to tell clients not to contact them or that there is no complaints centre.

Canadians pay for their EI. Why will the government not provide basic customer service?

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we are trying to do.

Every year in December and January there is a spike in demand for EI, which is normal. Unfortunately, this year the spike was greater than we anticipated but we reacted immediately. We engaged more people to help process and clear up the backlog and move forward so that Canadians would get the benefits they need and deserve in a timely manner.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I gave the Minister of Natural Resources a break so that he could take some time to think about his answers. We still do not know if the minister is in the same camp as the radicals who deny the existence of climate change, or if he accepts the fact that science explains climate change.

So which is it? Does the minister believe the science of climate change, or does he not?