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House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was literacy.

Topics

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the security of Canadians is obviously a priority for everyone. However, surprise workplace visits from CSIS officers can have very serious repercussions for the people involved, even if the intent is only to gather information.

According to an access to information request, this policy has not been reviewed in over six years. Honest Canadians are rightly concerned about the unfair repercussions of such visits.

Will the government review and update this policy to properly respond to Canadians' concerns?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, if I can repeat it, let me assure the House that our security officials conduct investigations in accordance with Canadian laws. If the member has any specific complaints that laws are being broken or that otherwise unethical behaviour is being engaged in, he is free to contact the independent review agency that reviews all complaints.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government's top priority remains jobs and economic growth. Booming Asia-Pacific economies have shown great interest in our natural resources. In fact, there is $500 billion in potential investments in our resources sector that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Our regulatory system can be duplicative, inefficient and excessively lengthy.

Could the parliamentary secretary update the House about what our government is doing to reform the system in order to grasp Canada's full potential?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, we know that reviews of major projects can be done in a quicker, more streamlined way while still enforcing strong environmental and safety standards. An inefficient regulatory system does not lead to better environmental outcomes. Projects that are safe and generate thousands of new jobs across the country and open up new export markets must not die due to unnecessary delays in the approval process. Our government will take the actions necessary to responsibly develop Canada's natural resources.

VeteransOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, our veterans are asking for just one thing: access to faster services that better meet their needs.

Today, the NDP has moved a motion proposing that the government honour veterans by not making any cuts to the department's budget. The motion is simple and will not cost the government a penny. We are asking the government to maintain the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget as it now stands.

Can the minister give us one good reason for not supporting our motion?

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is a very good reason for wanting to maintain benefits for veterans while also wanting to get rid of the rampant bureaucracy that is suffocating veterans and their families.

That is why I am inviting the opposition to support our amendment, which is designed to maintain our veterans' benefits. I am inviting them to take concrete action, to rise in the House to support our veterans and eliminate bureaucracy.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, before 87-year-old Art Humphreys, a World War II veteran from Musquodoboit Harbour, died, he asked for a lift to get in and out of his basin and it was denied. Sarah Atwood, a 90-year-old World War II veteran, was denied access to Camp Hill Hospital. Ted Shiner, a 90 year old from Bedford was denied VIP services. Now, Louis Dionne, a 97-year-old veteran from North Vancouver, was told that in order to get an answer on VIP, it would take a minimum of 16 weeks before the department would get back to him.

Why is the government trying to balance its books on the heroes of our country?

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member will understand I cannot comment on specifics. I can say that as of today 107,688 veterans are benefiting from the veterans independence program. Why? Because it is a good program that is aimed at helping veterans.

Our government expanded the VIP to provide benefits to certain eligible, low-income and disabled survivors. Why are the New Democrats voting against the extension of the VIP?

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, hold the presses, there is a Conservative awake during a question about veterans.

On the minister's desk is a file for David Kurts. He served in the merchant marines in the 1940s and served two tours in Korea. In June 2010 he was denied geriatric services. On January 11, he was denied VIP. In January of this year, he was denied a reassessment. Again at the end of the month, he was denied veterans' benefits one more time.

He is 86 years old. Why are you denying David Kurts the rightful benefits he earned after serving his country so valiantly? Why are you—

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Once again, I will remind the hon. member to address his comments through the Chair.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member can get very excited, but the facts remain that our officials are working to provide best services to our veterans. That is what they are doing on a daily basis, all over the country. We are providing them with the tools and the money they need.

I invite the NDP member to support our budget initiatives so we can continue to support our veterans. Let us get rid of bureaucracy, wasteful bureaucracy, and support our veterans for real by voting for our budget.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, if he wants to get rid of the politically appointed hack of places for Conservative failed members of the political party, get rid of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board and put that $11 million back into programs and services.

Tomorrow in the House, at 5:45 p.m., the people over there, the Conservatives, have an opportunity to once and for all tell all the major veterans' organizations that they are in support of the NDP motion to not cut the Department of Veterans Affairs and to ensure that all veterans and RCMP members and their families get their benefits in a timely and comprehensive manner.

Will the minister and the Conservatives be supporting our motion tomorrow at 5:45 p.m.?

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is clear the opposition wants to maintain the red tape. That is what it wants to do. We want to maintain benefits to veterans. If the member is serious about getting unanimous consent, he would support our amendment to ensure that benefits are maintained.

Our veterans all over the country are telling me to cut the red tape. Is the member ready to cut the red tape and get rid of wasteful bureaucracy? That is the question.

PensionsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the Cons in crisis over fraudulent election calls, they may have thought that the public had forgotten about their plans to raid OAS pensions. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Today's seniors and baby boomers built our country and they want to know why the government has an endless pot of money for new jets and jails but only scraps for our seniors. Canadians may have been tricked by fraudulent phone calls last May, but they will not be tricked into believing that an OAS cut is good for them.

PensionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has made a commitment to protect seniors and protect their pensions. That is exactly what we are doing. We are protecting it for those seniors who are currently collecting OAS, those who are near retirement and for future generations.

If the hon. member is so concerned about seniors, then why did she and her party vote against pension income splitting, vote against raising the age tax credit for seniors and so many other things that we have done to help seniors keep more money in their pockets?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, now that the minister has returned from his F-35 problems conference in Washington, could he tell the House whether he talked to his American and U.K. counterparts about their scaling back or outright cancellations of the program? Will he purge the government's contempt by filing the F-35 cost report as demanded by finance committee in the last Parliament?

When will the minister file a plan B? Will he tell the House when we will be getting the planes, how much they are going to cost and how many we will be getting?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to host our international partners in the joint strike fighter program at our Canadian embassy in Washington on Friday. I can assure the member opposite that we are all working through these issues. Good progress continues to be made.

We will always be vigilant with our taxpayer hard-earned dollars. We will continue to monitor the program closely.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, a senior Environment Canada official has suddenly become the head of a new pro-oil sands industry group, and the Conservatives would have us believe that this is perfectly fine. Again.

The Conservatives are creating a revolving door between government and industry.

Can the Minister of the Environment explain the meaning of the term, “conflict of interest”?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Dan Wicklum, the previous director general of Environment Canada's Water Sciences and Technology Directorate, is on temporary assignment, unpaid leave, as the chief executive of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. We anticipate his assignment will bring new opportunities to strengthen the relationship between the Government of Canada and oil sands industry.

While on assignment, he is subject to the rules of ethics and conflict of—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Halifax.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have trouble with the concept of conflict of interest, so let me help them with an example.

When a senior Environment Canada regulator suddenly becomes the head of a pro-industry oil sands group, there is a pretty obvious conflict there. While the government may want us to believe there is nothing to see here, Canadians are not buying it.

The minister thinks there is no conflict of interest here, so I would ask him to define conflict of interest.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I said, Dr. Wicklum is on leave without pay. He is subject to the values and the ethics code for the public service and this code is clear on the measures to be taken by public servants to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest.

Dr. Wicklum's assignment agreement stipulates that he cannot provide information to COSIA or its members that relies on information that is not publicly available.

Consumer ProtectionOral Questions

March 5th, 2012 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Toet Conservative Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are faced with a number of important and increasingly complex financial decisions for themselves and their families. Unlike the NDP, our government understands the needs of Canadian consumers. Since 2006, we have introduced strong new pro-consumer rules for credit card companies, established a code of conduct for the credit and debit card industry to help small business and created an independent task force on financial literacy.

Could the parliamentary secretary inform the House of even more initiatives our government has introduced to help protect Canadian consumers?

Consumer ProtectionOral Questions

3 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our government is helping to protect Canadians with pro-consumer measures. We are ensuring Canadians get clear and direct information on financial products so they can make the best decision to help their families. That is why we introduced new measures to empower consumers, including banning unsolicited credit card cheques and implementing a new code of conduct on mortgage prepayment information. We also finalized measures to shorten the cheque holding period to four days and to give immediate access to the first $100 of any cheque Canadians cash.

These are important measures to help Canadians make the right financial decisions and have timely access to their own money.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the chief government whip is no doubt aware of the reports last week where the member for Calgary West fell asleep in a parliamentary committee during a presentation on veterans homelessness. The member subsequently denied this and launched, and this may sound familiar, an unsubstantiated smear campaign against the veterans group that went public with it.

These veterans are angry and offended. They are ready to sue him and are seeking his removal from the committee. Will the chief government whip respect the wishes of the veterans and remove the member?