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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

41st General ElectionOral Questions

March 9th, 2012 / 11:25 a.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the motion that was before the House yesterday, we have been clear that we support that motion. The Conservative Party is assisting Elections Canada in its work. The fact remains that the opposition spent millions of dollars on hundreds of thousands of phone calls made in the last election. If the opposition wants to assist Elections Canada in that work, it will make all its documents available to Elections Canada. We expect Elections Canada will get to the bottom of the allegations in Guelph.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a staggering act of arrogance, deputy campaign manager, Andrew Prescott, started bragging about the crime the Conservative campaign in Guelph was about to commit. Prescott sent out a message on Twitter that voter suppression was under way in Guelph two days before it happened. Prescott even flaunted the Conservatives' plans to reporters in Ottawa. This was a premeditated election crime.

Why is it taking so long for the Conservative government to fess up and tell the truth? Who is it protecting?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the allegations of voter suppression in Guelph, which we have heard from many sides, are serious and expect that Elections Canada will look into this matter.

If the allegations are proven to be true, we would expect those responsible will be held fully accountable. The Conservative Party, as I have indicated many times, is fully assisting Elections Canada. It is the opposition parties that are not.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the thing is that Andrew Prescott had already started planning and blaming the other parties for this crime. Prescott wrote, “Voter suppression phone calls currently under way in Guelph”, while blaming the Liberals. This is very similar to the talking point being used by the parliamentary secretary on a daily basis.

The fact is that this was an organized election fraud and, as much as it likes to deny it, the Conservative Party is the only one under investigation, not the Liberals and not the NDP. When will it stop blaming others and take some responsibility? When will it start being honest with Canadians?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are always honest with Canadians. We are also assisting Elections Canada with this matter, which we have made very clear, and we will continue to do so. We believe the allegations in Guelph are indeed serious.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

François Lapointe NDP Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, ties between RMG and the Conservative Party can be found in scandals of all kinds, from fraudulent calls to prevent people from voting to harassing citizens—like Mr. Coulombe in my riding—to fill the party's coffers.

It is impossible to say with a straight face that the Conservatives' subcontractors follow the highest standards. To obtain its majority, the Conservative Party used harassment to solicit donations and fraudulent techniques to suppress votes.

Will the Prime Minister turn our motion into legislation in order to give Elections Canada greater powers right away, yes or no?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has been clear on its support for the motion that was before the House yesterday.

The fact remains that the opposition spent millions of dollars on hundreds of thousands of phone calls made in the last election. If it wants to support Elections Canada's work, it would provide all the documents related to those calls.

The Conservative Party's documents are available to Elections Canada. We expect Elections Canada will get to the bottom of the allegations in Guelph.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of National Defence announced changes to the Canadian Forces protocol when communicating with ground search and rescue operations as a result of the tragic loss of Burton Winters in Labrador.

Clearly this is some acknowledgement that problems exist in Canada's search and rescue system. As his grandmother wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister, “Burton has sadly become a poster boy of just how inadequate emergency services are within our coastal Labrador communities”.

Will the minister honour the memory of Burton Winters and call a full and independent inquiry into this incident?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the loss of young Burton Winters was indeed a tragedy and we continue to send our thoughts and prayers to his family and to the entire community of Makkovik.

Yesterday, we did announce a protocol change that will see the Canadian Forces and our joint response centre call back. Essentially, that is when a call comes in and, for a number of reasons, weather related or otherwise, aircraft are not able to leave, there will be call back protocol that will improve the communication between the primary responsibility, ground responsibility for search and rescue that is held by the province, and whatever assets the Canadian Forces can lend to the effort.

We are making improvements and we continue to do so.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's job market continues to struggle. Almost 3,000 more jobs were gone last month. That is 37,000 fewer Canadians working since last September.

What is the Minister of Finance's plan? It is to bring down a reckless budget that could kill another 100,000 jobs.

Does the minister not realize that he cannot create work by cutting jobs? Why will he not introduce a real jobs plan instead of a budget that will kill more jobs?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, very soon we will have a budget tabled in this House, economic action plan 2012, that will continue to support jobs and growth of the economy in this country. The only thing that really concerns me about this is the pattern of the opposition voting against it. Every time we bring forth an economic action plan, the opposition members vote against it and then they stand in the House of Commons and ask for another one. Are they going to vote against it again?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, while we in the official opposition will not give up hope that we can force the government to do the right thing, 366,000 Canadians have simply given up and are no longer looking for work. If they were included in the unemployment numbers, the rate would be over 9%. There are fewer Canadians in the job market today than at any point in the last decade. Workers are simply giving up hope.

When will the government show some leadership and introduce a jobs plan that will bring hope to Canadian families?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, we are all troubled when we hear that more Canadians lost their jobs last month. The thing to remember is that a plan is required to get that job growth back on track, an economic action plan, and we will be putting that forward.

We do need to remember that just last month there were 9,000 net new long-term jobs. That is important to Canadians. There are 9,000 more Canadians who are working today. That is a good number and we should be happy about that.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are talking nonsense about the numbers. Although the unemployment rate may have dipped slightly, it is certainly not because any jobs were created. The unemployment rate fell because thousands of discouraged Canadians, especially young people, stopped looking for work. That is very worrisome.

The Conservatives are playing with the lives of an entire generation by refusing to take concrete action to create jobs. Will the government take the money that it gives in gifts to large corporations and use it to invest in job creation for people today?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that since the end of the recession in July 2009, there are over 610,000 more Canadians working than there were before. We are always making sure that the policies we put in place will help create more jobs. If we listen to what the opposition brings forward, that would mean higher taxes. Those higher taxes would kill jobs.

HealthOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government's shameless attempt to blame the provinces for drug shortages shows its callous disregard for thousands of patients whose health and lives are being put at risk. The government failed to provide adequate warning about a slowdown in production and now the provinces are scrambling to deal with the problem.

Why were the provinces only notified two weeks ago when the government knew for months? That is scandalous.

HealthOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's bringing this question forward because the shortage does result from decisions by provinces to sole-source drug contracts. The Minister of Health is taking action to help the provinces address these shortages. We are working 24/7. Health Canada is helping the provinces and territories identify alternative suppliers for these drugs and we will fast-track approvals if required.

HealthOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the government has failed to fix the problem of prescription drug shortages. Sandoz decided to stop production in November 2011, and yet Health Canada did not bother sharing that information until last week. The provinces had no warning and now surgeries across the country have had to be cancelled.

Will the government apologize to the provinces and introduce the mandatory reporting system that they have been calling for?

HealthOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the question was factually incorrect. The reality is, and I will repeat, the shortage results from decisions by the provinces to sole-source the drug contracts. They signed the contracts, not us. The minister will be working consistently with the provinces. We need to address this shortage and work together. Other provinces are working together with us.

As far as Sandoz is concerned, it should not have withheld information from the provinces and territories for as long as it did, which has made the situation worse. It is responsible for managing the safe supply of its products in Canada and for taking steps to prevent supply interruptions that could lead to shortages.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are engaging in blatantly phoney mock consultations on the future of the east coast fishery with a single purpose in mind: to end the long-standing Liberal policy, the LeBlanc legacy of fleet separation and the owner/operator principle.

Just as Conservatives have no electoral mandate to pursue their schemes to gut public pensions, the government has no licence to destroy the long-standing guarantee of a harvesting sector comprised of independent inshore fishing enterprises headed exclusively by professional fish harvesters.

With that established, will the government suspend its east coast treachery?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, if my colleague had been following the consultations more closely, he would have seen that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is listening to fishermen and not advocating any particular position or policy.

Our government is committed to the economic vitality and prosperity of the fisheries. That is what we are doing with these consultations. We are listening to fishermen to see what ideas they might have about how to achieve those goals.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, members of the Canadian Forces are worried that the post living differential, or PLD, could be cut in half come April 1. The PLD helps military families cope with the high cost of living in certain Canadian cities.

It is worth noting that, in most cases, Canadian Forces members do not choose their assignments. We demand incredible sacrifices of our military personnel and their families. They deserve a straight answer from the government. Will the PLD be cut or not?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is more prebudget speculation from the member opposite. There has been no decision taken on this issue.

What is important is that our government is committed to providing the men and women of the Canadian Forces with the support they need to do the important jobs that we ask of them.

What is a bit disingenuous is the alligator tears cried by members opposite. While our government has continually invested in new equipment, infrastructure, readiness, and personnel, the member and her party have consistently opposed all of these investments. I think they will find little comfort in this hypocritical question.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, last year, the minister promised that his government would not cut the post living differential. The minister seems disinclined to keep that promise now. I have news for him. The cost of living is going up, not down, and families are struggling to make ends meet. Military personnel and their families deserve the PLD, and most of all, they deserve a clear answer.

Why is this government trying to balance the budget at the expense of the courageous men and women of our armed forces?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the strident and hypocritical tone of the question is really what underscores the fact that the member opposite and her party have done nothing to support the men and women in uniform.

Our party on the other hand consistently ensures that the men and women of the Canadian Forces are among the best paid members of forces anywhere in the world. The men and women in uniform have received an upward adjustment to their base salaries this year, as they have in previous years. The compensation benefit packages available to Canadian Forces members and their families are comprehensive, consistently reviewed and adjusted to ensure that they accurately and fairly reflect their needs.