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House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

HealthOral Questions

March 6th, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are balancing the books on the backs of provinces. Without any consultation, the Conservatives unilaterally rewrote the formula for federal health transfers. Their plan means higher costs to provincial budgets and fewer front-line health services for families.

Provinces deserve to have a say. Why will the Conservatives not get back to the negotiating table and why are they playing hardball with the provinces on health care?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to a publicly-funded, universally accessible health care system. We all use the health care system. Our families use it and our friends use it. We want to see a strong, sustainable health care system in Canada, and that is when we need it most.

Let us be clear. Under our government, health care transfers are at record levels, from $20 billion when we formed government to $27 billion this year. Unlike the old Liberal government, we have not and will not slash funding to provinces for health care.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, why did the Conservatives make unilateral decisions? The fact is that health care costs will be higher for the provinces because of their decision.

On another important health care issue, there have been warnings for the last year and a half about severe drug shortages, which many critically ill patients are now facing. What did the minister do in response? She created a website. That is cold comfort for those who need those prescriptions.

Will the minister now concede that this plan was completely ineffective and will she explain what the government will do to address these recent shortages?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government is playing a leadership role when it comes to dealing with these drug shortages. We are doing our part to ensure that information about drug shortages is made available as quickly as possible.

For example, the minister asked industry to work together to establish a national one-stop drug shortages monitoring and reporting system. If some industry players do not meet the responsibilities in providing information in a timely manner, we will consider all options to address that.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only are the Conservatives imposing the future costs of the health care system on the provinces and territories, but they are also unable to ensure the quality of drugs on the market. The Quebec company Sandoz had to slow down its drug production because it was not meeting the quality standards. The result is that hospitals have had to postpone surgeries and the public is paying the price. The Conservatives' solution is to import more drugs. That is wonderful.

Before going to our neighbours for help, why do the Conservatives not start by guaranteeing the quality of our drugs in order to avoid another—

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are closely monitoring the situation with Sandoz to help ensure that the right information gets to the right hands at the right time. This means doctors, pharmacists and patients get enough advance notice of developments to help them adjust to treatment plans, if required.

Sandoz has committed to posting current and potential future drug shortage information on its website. We will also quicken the approval process, if required.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that there are people today who are experiencing delays in their health care because of this shortage, which is due to the government's lack of responsibility. Today, just on the other side of the river in Gatineau, people are being forced to wait. The minister told these people not to worry, and that she will speed up the importation of foreign drugs, but that worries me. The public is also worried.

Will the Minister of Health do what is necessary to put an end to this shortage and prevent such shortages from happening again?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are working with our partners. The provinces and territories buy prescription drugs for their hospitals, their best place to know which drugs they require when taking into consideration a level of demand.

We have made available a list of companies in Canada that are already authorized to make drugs that are in some shortages. Provinces and territories could begin discussions immediately with any of these companies and discuss whether or not they will begin production.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, members of Canada's armed forces last year joined with allies to help the Libyan people find freedom and a better future without the dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

This week the graves of Canadian and allied troops killed in north Africa during the Second World War were vandalized in a Benghazi cemetery. Could the Prime Minister please inform the House of the government's response to this shameful desecration of the graves of heroes?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think all Canadians were appalled and saddened when we heard about the vandalism of the graves in Libya. These are brave men who served the cause of peace, democracy and freedom and they deserve better.

I note that the government of Libya has apologized and has committed to find those responsible. We have instructed officials to make the repair of these gravesites a priority.

We will always take steps to honour our veterans and those who have served our country.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, east coast fishers are worried. The government is about to eliminate the long-standing fleet separation policy. It is talking about handing over the fragile inshore fishery to big corporate interests.

Coastal communities depend on the inshore fishery, yet the government will not even consult with them. Corporate concentration in B.C. has been a total disaster. That fishery has never recovered.

Will the minister stand with independent fishers and oppose this corporate sellout?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, only from the NDP can we expect to hear cries like the fishery is broken, but please do not fix it.

We are consulting with fishers and Canadians. Our fisheries is in dire need of an overhaul. The waste that we have in our fisheries management now needs to be improved for all fishers so they can earn a proper livelihood.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, Crosbie is back.

Fleet separation and owner-operator policies protect jobs and prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a few companies. These policies enable coastal fishers and communities to make a living from fishing. It is not an easy livelihood, but coastal fishers are proud of it.

The minister is conducting consultations, but fishers do not want the law to change.

Will the minister respect the will of independent fishers and coastal communities rather than putting the interests of big corporations first?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, consultation is seeking advice. That is exactly what we are doing.

The fishing industry is made up of thousands of very capable entrepreneurs who were held back by rules and regulations that disallowed them from making an honest buck because of government policies. The fishermen I know are happiest when they are pulling their nets and not dealing with bureaucracy.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, independent fishermen are the heart and soul of the east coast fisheries. Yet the government is about to pull the plug and eliminate fleet separation and owner-operator policies. The minister talks about consultation, but the only ones in the room are big business. Fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador staged protests to try to get the government's attention, but it is not listening.

Will the minister assure the fishermen of the east coast that these policies which protect the inshore fleet and coastal communities will be retained and even strengthened?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we must regain our global competitiveness and provide harvesters with an operating environment where they can actually make a living. To do that we are seeking the input of Canadians. The NDP is not in favour of seeking input obviously.

We will consult, we will take advice and we will listen.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, once again the only people who are complaining about the state of the fishery are the corporate investors and the financiers who want a piece of the pie.

The inshore fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec fought back against corporate interests in the 1990s. However, it looks like it is going to have to do it again as a result of what this minister is intending to do.

I ask the minister, will he stand with New Democrats in Quebec and Atlantic Canada for inshore fishers and their communities?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member can rest assured that I will never stand with the NDP.

We are looking at how we can improve our fishery in this country. It is in decline and we have to do something to ensure that it is sustainable in the future and that all fishers can make a proper living.

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, emergency departments, ICUs and ORs are cancelling elective surgeries because of worsening drug shortages. Liberals flagged this as an urgent problem nine months ago. We got an unsatisfactory answer from the minister who claimed that companies will give voluntary warnings about shortages. Warnings, no matter how early, do not get medications to patients who need them.

Why will the minister not support a full-scale investigation into this problem as the U.S. government is doing? Patients' lives are at stake.

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the health of Canadians is our priority. That is why the minister is continuing to monitor the effectiveness of the system to determine if changes are needed and to make sure that Canadians have access to the information they need. We are going to be acting within our authority and with our partners.

This is an international situation. We are doing better than the United States and many other countries. We are going to work to improve alternatives and facilitate information sharing. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to force companies to produce drugs.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, if this government even has such a minister. After unilaterally slashing health transfers to the provinces, although it had promised not to do so and is simply getting the provinces to pay for its delusional prison plan—which the provinces denounce as wasteful and ineffective—now the government is considering forcing the provinces to bear the cost of social assistance until the age of 67.

What other ridiculous policies do the Conservatives plan to get the provinces to pay for? My question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we are protecting transfer payments to the provinces. In fact, health transfers will continue to grow by 6% and social transfers will continue to grow by 3%. The Liberals were the ones responsible for shameful and brutal cuts to transfers to the provinces and territories.

Unlike the Liberals, we will ensure that the provinces and territories are able to provide health care, education and any other services that Canadian families need.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Harold Leduc served his country with pride and distinction. He now serves on the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. He actually served his country and knows what veterans are talking about. However, he was warned by the Veterans Review and Appeal Board that if his favourability rate was too high he would be called upon the carpet. Now his personal information has been scattered throughout the department. He feels like Sean Bruyea did when his information was scattered without his permission.

Will the ministry now apologize to Harold Leduc, remove the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, and put that money back into programs and services for our honoured veterans?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member knows the tribunal is an arm's-length organization. It is important to show respect to veterans, but what is really at stake in the House is who really cares and supports our veterans. Instead of supporting red tape and an improvised and wasteful bureaucracy, the NDP member should support our budget initiative, support our government and vote for the veterans.