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House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservatives.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as I have said several times in the House this week, today there are four individuals for every one senior and in 2030 there will be two to one. That is an increase from $32 billion to over $108 billion as an expenditure. That is pretty simple math.

We want to ensure we have a sustainable OAS system so that Canadians have access to it in the future. I encourage the NDP to support our initiative.

PensionsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is what the Prime Minister told this House on January 30, 2012:

We have been very clear that as we reduce the deficit, we will not be cutting transfers to either the provinces or individuals.

He went on to say, “The reality is that we are not cutting programs for seniors”.

That was just two months ago. Did the Conservatives write the budget on the back of a napkin or were they misleading Canadians?

PensionsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is shocking to hear the misleading statements being made by the NDP.

When we look at federal support that has gone to our provinces and territories, we have increased federal support nearly 43% since we formed government. We are talking about historic levels, $60.9 billion.

Unlike the Liberals, we have not and will not slash transfers to the provinces or to people. I would encourage the NDP to set aside its high tax agenda and vote for this budget to protect Canadians' jobs and security.

PensionsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the one thing that is clear is that the Prime Minister's word is worthless on this issue, and it is seniors who will suffer. We are talking about taking $12,000 out of the pockets of seniors, mostly low income and mostly female.

Younger Canadians are now left wondering if they will be able to afford to retire or whether they will be left out in the cold when they turn 65.

Why are the Conservatives balancing the budget on the backs of seniors? Why are they choosing failed fighter jets instead of retirement security?

PensionsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, this government has done more for seniors because we appreciate what they did to build this country.

I find it rather amusing to hear from the opposition on this issue with regard to seniors. We put forward GIS increases in 2006, 2007, 2008 and in 2011 to ensure seniors were supported.

I just do not understand how the hon. member has the gall to get up and say that in this House when he has voted against all of these initiatives.

HealthOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to health care, the provinces have given the government a failing grade. Instead of strengthening health care, this week's budget downloads even more costs to the provinces, costs they will need to shoulder alongside a multi-billion dollar Conservative prisons agenda.

When will the government stop being the problem and start working on solutions? When will it finally start listening to the provinces and come up with a health care funding formula that actually works for Canadians?

HealthOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, only the NDP could do the math that would say that increasing funding by $40 billion is a cut. The opposition's claim that the health transfers are being cut is absolutely false. It clearly is unable to do the math.

In fact, the federal transfers for health care will increase faster than provincial spending. Yesterday's budget confirmed that our government will transfer record amounts of health transfers to the provinces and territories, climbing to approximately $40 billion per year by the end of the decade.

HealthOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives can twist their language, they can stick to their talking points but even the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirms $30 billion will be cut.

As we expected, in the budget, the Conservatives pawned their health care responsibilities off onto the provinces. The provincial premiers are furious.

By announcing changes to health transfers to the provinces, the Conservatives are directly attacking front-line health care for Canadians. The Conservatives promised not to touch health transfers.

Why are the Conservatives attacking our health care system?

HealthOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's budget confirmed our government's commitment and confirmed that transfers will reach a record level of $40 billion by the end of the decade. Again, only the NDP could do math that would say that increasing funding to the provinces and territories in health care to $40 billion is a cut.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

March 30th, 2012 / 11:30 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable to force seniors to choose between paying for their medication and paying for their groceries.

The government is going to cut back on environmental protection legislation in order to be able to more quickly implement megaprojects such as the Enbridge pipeline.

Without this protection, who is going to protect us from harm? If there is an oil spill, it will have a negative effect on all Canadians.

Why are the profits of big polluters being put ahead of the interests of all Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, if the NDP members would stop lobbying against new jobs in the resource sector and stop their campaign against responsibly regulated resource development, they would have a great deal more credibility in their professed concern for the environment.

Yesterday's budget contained a clear commitment by our government to continue a very active and fully forced environmental agenda, while, at the same time, help to protect jobs and our economy.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, the budget pulls the plug on the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. That is a body set up to provide crucial advice to government about addressing climate change while growing our economy.

However, there is no room for science or a balanced approach with the government. It has muzzled scientists, stifled civil society and has now killed its climate change advisory body.

Does the government even believe in climate change? Why are the Conservatives turning their backs on our grandchildren's future?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our government appreciates and has thanked the round table for its service over the years for any number of reports addressing environmental issues.

However, the reality is that the round table was created a quarter of a century ago. It was created before the Internet, when there were few such sources of domestic, independent research and analysis on sustainable development. That is simply no longer the case. There are now any number of organizations and university based services that provide those services.

CharitiesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's response clearly demonstrates that he does not care about the environment.

Apparently, it is not enough for the Conservatives to call environmental groups radicals. They went even further in the budget. They are now going to monitor these groups' political activities. The Conservatives are cutting $225 million from Revenue Canada, but they have enough money to create an $8 million fund to play the enforcer. They are doing everything in their power to protect their pipelines from the evil organizations that oppose them.

Why are the Conservatives infringing on charities' right to freedom of expression?

CharitiesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the changes announced in the budget will provide education to charities to ensure they are operating within the laws and with more transparency to Canadians who donate so generously. We have not changed the laws.

Our government understands that registered charities are an important part of our society and encourages Canadians to donate generously. In order to protect Canadian interests, we have a duty to ensure that these organizations are operating in compliance with federal laws. We taking action so that Canadians can be sure that charities are using their resources appropriately.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was a sad day for Canada. The government delivered the inaction plan for the environment.

The government severely cut the budget to Environment Canada, cancelled the national round table, took aim at its critics, gutted environmental legislation which protects the health and safety of Canadians and has continually muzzled government scientists.

Why the war on the environment, the destruction of 50 years of safeguards and the failure to understand sustainable development?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I know my hon. colleague is doing her best to find something to complain about with regard to the environmental chapters in the budget but the fact is that we renewed full funding to protect species at risk. We renewed full funding for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. We are moving forward, for example, on a new national park in the Rouge Valley in Toronto. We also are ensuring new and continuing funding for Lake Simcoe and Lake Winnipeg. We are getting the job done.

PensionsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, by changing the terms of old age security, the Minister of Finance is asking the most vulnerable seniors to give up $30,000 over two years. And yet no cuts were made to the Prime Minister's Office, ministers' offices or vanity ads.

Is the Conservative machine more important than low-income Canadians?

PensionsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, old age security, as I have mentioned, will not be changed for seniors, for individuals who are a little older than me but maybe not as old as the member opposite. We are moving forward with our initiative. It is extremely important that future Canadians have access to old age security. We are moving forward with a sustainable plan so that younger Canadians will have access to this benefit.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, to qualify for a registered disability savings plan, one must first qualify for the disability tax credit. What about those people with a debilitating disease like MS, for example, that takes a long time to develop? That person may not be severely disabled today so they would not qualify for the DTC and, therefore, cannot have a savings plan. However, they know for sure that their disability is coming. They want to save for that sad reality but the government will not help them. This is short-sighted. Will the government fix this unfairness?

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, this government took unprecedented action by putting in place the registered disability savings plan. I think it is incumbent upon all of us as members to ensure that as many Canadians who have young children with disabilities or older individuals with disabilities know that it is available.

I encourage the member opposite and all other members to encourage those families that have children with disabilities or those older people with disabilities to register so that they have access to this great plan.

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, making cuts to food safety is not a good idea, even in times of fiscal restraint. This could give Canadians indigestion.

Instead of strengthening the safety of the Canadian food system, the Conservatives are telling consumers to take up their problems directly with the businesses concerned. That makes no sense.

Will the government monitor nut-free food production or will it take action only when there is a tragic event? It is unthinkable. It is unacceptable.

We have known for some time that the Conservatives could not care less about the advice of public servants, but do they really want to sacrifice our food system to their austerity crusade?

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, we take food safety very seriously. I would like to point out that in this particular budget, over $50 million will be committed to continuing the enhanced surveillance, early detection and response capabilities for food-borne illness emergencies.

I would like to know if this member, after that lengthy question, will actually stand in his place and support this positive measure for improving food safety here in Canada?

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will certainly not support this budget when in another section it says that the budget of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will be reduced by $56 million over the next three years.

It is already deplorable that we inspect less than 2% of all imported food. Now, the situation will worsen. The Conservatives had already started lowering standards for monitoring, labelling and regulatory compliance. Yesterday's budget is one more step in that direction.

Why does the government want to make cuts to the agency responsible for inspecting food when the number of employees is declining and they are asking for help on the front lines?

Canadian Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I really do not understand my colleague's question at all.

I just mentioned that in this particular budget there is an additional $50 million for food safety. I am wondering how this member is going to vote after that lengthy question. I would also point out that in our last budget we included $100 million in additional funding for food safety, which that member voted against.

I believe that if the member is going to stand and ask questions about food safety, and if he wants to see additional funding for food safety, then he should also stand and vote in favour of this budget.