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House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

HousingOral Questions

February 6th, 2012 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Finance lectures Canadians about debt, the Minister of Human Resources tells us that the solution to the rental housing shortage is for Canadians to buy a house and take on more debt.

That is not going to help 70,000 Torontonians on affordable housing waiting lists. It is not going to help seniors trying to stay in their homes. It is not going to help middle-class Canadians trying to buy a house in Toronto. The Conservatives have simply failed Toronto.

How can the minister try to peddle a housing plan that her Minister of Finance will not even buy?

HousingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am a bit confused. Today the hon. member is saying that he wants affordable housing and yet every time we have brought it forward, whether it is through the economic action plan, whether it is through our regular program, the five year agreement that we signed with the provinces and territories on affordable housing, he and his party have voted against every single initiative. That is almost 30,000 projects for the homeless and affordable housing he has voted against. Why is that?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, Toronto cannot even find public money to house the pandas, never mind trying to find housing for the homeless.

After the Minister of Foreign Affairs pulled a Super Bowl size MIA in the city of Toronto, his government refused to fund street car purchases. Commuters have been left idling in traffic jams. Public transit is at a standstill. Chunks of the Gardiner Expressway are falling.

When it comes to Toronto, the government just does not get the job done. Where is the public transit strategy?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the MP is mixing her time when she was a city councillor in Toronto. We do not have to manage the City of Toronto. We have to support it in that way. This morning I met with 10 ministers of municipal affairs of the provinces and territories. All agreed on a job well done for the provinces and territories. We will continue to do so.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the current government is also failing Toronto families. Friday's dismal job numbers show that Toronto still faces one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Household debt is skyrocketing because family-supporting jobs just cannot be found. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are sitting on their hands. They are out of touch with the reality in the city.

Where is the plan to ensure that Toronto families can find decent jobs and afford their bills? Where is the plan?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the plan was in the budget last year that the hon. member voted against.

There are more than 610,000 net new jobs in this country since the end of the recession in July 2009.

We are fortunate now in the city of Toronto to have the leadership of a dynamic mayor who is leading the city in the right direction of fiscal prudence. I know “fiscal prudence” are two words that are foreign to the member opposite.

PensionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, we voted against it because it did not get the job done. Precarious part-time jobs do not get it done.

The government is failing Toronto's seniors too. Seniors across the city are concerned about the Conservatives' attack on old age security and young Canadians are worried about being forced into two more years of work before they can retire just so rich CEOs can get yet another tax break.

Toronto seniors and families are tired of being ignored by the Prime Minister. Will he finally listen to them, protect Canadian pensions and keep old age security eligibility at 65.

PensionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

PensionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the hon. member listen to what has been said here for the last few weeks. We are protecting the old age security system; that is exactly what we are doing. We are protecting the seniors of today who are already receiving benefits and we are going to make sure that any changes have no impact on them or, indeed, on those who are nearing retirement.

What we have to do is to ensure that in the future, for people of the age of the hon. member and for me, there is an old age security system. That is why we have to make changes. In the future there are going to be half as many Canadians working to support three times as much in OAS costs.

Child CareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lise St-Denis Liberal Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, six years ago, the Conservative government cancelled the national child care agreement, which would have created a universal, accessible system for all children under five. When it did that, it abandoned Canadian families.

Now that less than 20% of children under five have access to a regulated daycare, will the government take responsibility, take action for all Canadian families, and provide quality options to parents of young children?

Child CareOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we Conservatives believe that parents are the ones who should decide how to raise their children. That is very important to us. That is why we created the universal child care benefit six years ago. We are very proud of that. We have also given the provinces and territories funding to create over 100,000 child care spaces. We are proud of that too.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were distressed by the Russian and Chinese veto of a UN Security Council resolution aimed to implement the Arab League plan to bring an end to the appalling violence in Syria.

Will the government assure Canadians that the Prime Minister will specifically raise the objectionable Chinese veto at the UN on the weekend when he meets with Chinese leaders this week?

Will the government tell us what specific measures it is taking to protect Canadians in Syria and also to protect minorities in Syria who are at great risk because of the rising violence, groups like the Syrian Christian community?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the killing must stop now and President Assad must go. That is a clear message from the Government of Canada.

I would tell the member opposite that, yes, the Prime Minister will be discussing a whole lot of foreign affairs issues with his Chinese hosts, including Syria and Iran.

We have asked all Canadians who are now living in Syria to leave Syria as soon as possible. We have reduced our staff in Syria to four personnel and we are asking all other Canadians to leave Syria now.

CopyrightOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, 14,000 Canadians have spoken out against the Conservatives' copyright bill. They are unanimous. This bill is an attack on creators' rights and income. The Conservatives are taking $20 million from workers in the cultural sector in the form of mechanical royalties and $30 million in the form of private copying rights.

Will the Conservatives once again impose a gag order so that they do not have to debate these major changes, which are of concern to artists across the country—I want to emphasize this—or will they give us the opportunity to amend the bill?

CopyrightOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, our copyright bill is balanced and responsible. We introduced this bill after consulting with Canadians, consumer groups and creators all across Canada. Our bill will benefit all Canadians. It speaks directly to the needs of artists. This bill makes piracy illegal. We want to make piracy illegal in Canada for those who steal from artists. I hope that the member will support this bill to protect creators across Canada and make piracy illegal in this country.

CopyrightOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, if that were the only measure, it would be fine but we voted against similar legislation because it was flawed.

The Conservatives are out of touch with the reality of Quebec artists. We saw it in 2008 and we are seeing the same thing with Bill C-11. This bill also attacks students' right to learn, and students are another group that the Conservatives love to ignore. Students who are taking online courses should not be subject to the minister's blind ideology.

Is the government prepared to amend the bill and stop the attacks on creators or not?

CopyrightOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that the organizations that represent the needs of students support our bill. They spoke in favour of our bill. They want us to pass this bill in the House of Commons. If the hon. member really has ideas that are key to improving our bill, it might be a good idea for the NDP to support our bill so that we can send it to committee—which is what we want to do—and continue the debate. I hope that the NDP will stop blocking this bill so that we can continue to study it in committee and thus take into account the needs of creators and consumers.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, last July the Minister of the Environment announced his intent to implement a joint environmental monitoring system with the Province of Alberta.

At the time the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development said this:

—these commitments hold the promise of establishing a credible, robust, and publicly accessible monitoring system for measuring environmental conditions and changes in environmental quality levels, as well as determining the sources of those changes.

Can the minister update the House on the status of this plan?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his insightful question.

Our government believes that what gets measured gets done. We recognize that we need the best technologies and procedures to collect the scientific information needed to ensure that accountable and transparent monitoring is in place in the oil sands.

Our joint plan with Alberta will result in improved knowledge of the state of the environment in and around the oil sands. Canada is truly at the leading edge of environmental monitoring.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, Dr. David Schindler has shown that the oil sands are polluting the Athabasca River. His evidence was so compelling that it forced the government to do a 180-degree flip from its previous position that everything was just fine, thanks very much, with the old industry-dominated monitoring system. The government's view then was that pollution in the Athabasca was naturally occurring, a self-serving myth destroyed by Dr. Schindler's findings.

What will the government now do to bring the situation into line with the Fisheries Act's prohibition against depositing any deleterious substances into fish-bearing waters? Is the new monitoring system just a diversionary tactic—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to answer the rest of his question another day.

Let me correct my colleague's impression that Dr. Schindler is critical of this new program. The government took his best scientific concerns to create the panel that created, by scientists, the monitoring plan for air, water and biodiversity in the area of the oil sands.

I would gladly measure this government's performance when it comes to securing environmental protections in the oil sands compared to 13 years of Liberal lip service.

Service CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the Service Canada Centre in Rimouski currently has a 25% vacancy rate. The Conservatives now want to move the employment insurance processing centre to the Minister of Industry's riding. With that move, the vacancy rate will increase to 75% and this government will waste $1.27 million until the lease expires in 2018.

Given that there is a backlog of more than 80,000 employment insurance claims in Quebec, would it not be smarter to keep the office in Rimouski open to address the clear lack of resources?

Service CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, we are in the process of modernizing and automating the employment insurance system to ensure that Canadians can receive their benefits as quickly as possible. Modernizing the system is going to take three years. We have a three-year plan to consolidate everything. It is part of our ongoing plan to improve services.

Diamond JubileeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, today is a special day. It marks the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty's ascension to the throne as Queen of Canada.

Since 1952, Her Majesty has exemplified the true meaning of public service. Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage please tell the House about the government's plan to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen's diamond jubilee?