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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not going to help the provinces. In any event, experts maintain that the old age security program is sustainable, but this government says it is not. Of course, it will be tempting to take money out of pensions and put it somewhere else.

The government has no money for seniors, but it has money for gifts for profitable corporations. It has no money for seniors, but it has money for F-35s, whose costs keep escalating. Is the government compromising access to retirement at 65 for 65 F-35s?

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour explain the logic behind these choices? She should stop coming up with bogus numbers. They do not hold up against the studies done by the Government of Canada's chief actuary and the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.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, I will go back to the simple math once again. Today there are four people for every one senior to support OAS; in 2030, that will be two to one. The cost of OAS today is about $36 billion; that will escalate to $108 billion in the future.

This government is acting responsibly to make sure that future generations of Canadians will have access to OAS and other essential services. I would encourage the NDP to support the budget so that those people will be protected.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary knows that OAS is sustainable. All Canadians know that the Conservatives hid their plans to cut OAS during the last election, the same thing that they did to health care. Not only does the budget unilaterally cut health care transfers; it also cuts Health Canada by over $300 million.

All in all, the Conservatives have failed to show leadership on health care and have remained silent on critical issues like pharmacare and the accountability of health care dollars.

Will the Conservatives reverse their reckless cuts to Health Canada?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the opposition's claims that health transfers would be cut is absolutely false. Clearly, the opposition is unable to do its math; in fact, federal transfers for health care will increase faster than provincial spending.

Last week's budget confirmed that our government will transfer record amounts of health transfers to the provinces and territories, climbing to approximately $40 billion by the end of the decade.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's math is wrong. The government is ignoring inflation and population increases.

The Conservatives cannot escape. The Prime Minister broke his promise on health care, and cash-strapped provinces will have to pay the price. Experts, including the Parliamentary Budget Officer, agree that the Conservative formula will cost provinces over $30 billion. There is no getting away from that.

Will the government finally listen to Canadians and provinces and reverse its decision to download billions of new costs to the provinces?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, last week's budget was good news for Canada in health care. The member does not have to just take my word for it. Some words of expression of support for the budget have come from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Rx&D, the Rick Hansen Foundation, Canada's universities, and the Mood Disorder Society.

The list goes on, yet NDP members are saying they will not support any of this record level of spending on health care.

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

: Mr. Speaker, the 2012 budget has announced $67 million to refocus the National Research Council.

According to the Minister of State for Science and Technology, the NRC will become a 1-800 one-stop service to provide solutions to all business problems.

Does the Minister of State for Science and Technology think that, by transforming the NRC into a Business Depot, he will encourage innovation in Canada? Will the $67 million finally flush the best and the brightest down the drain and out of Canada?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, this budget is a golden opportunity to focus on efficiency and results. I would simply like to remind my hon. colleague that the Industrial Research Assistance Program will see its funding doubled. This is good news for small and medium-sized businesses. The Quebec junior chamber of commerce and Canada's independent entrepreneurs are welcoming these measures. These are targeted investments that will create jobs and encourage economic growth for Canada.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government's arrogance is unbelievable. Last week, in committee, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister suggested that Elections Canada was responsible for the leaked information on the investigation into electoral fraud. His colleagues said that 800 complaints across Canada was no big deal. What is more, in February, this Conservative government blocked a recommendation by Elections Canada, which wanted to have more access to the political parties' financial documents after elections.

Elections Canada wants to protect our democracy. Why is this government constantly attacking Elections Canada?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, the opposition brought a motion before the House a few weeks ago. The government has been clear that we support that motion and we will act on that motion.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, for a government that claims it has nothing to hide on the election fraud scandal, Conservative members at committee last week spent a lot of time attacking the competence of Elections Canada. The member for Peterborough even baselessly accused Elections Canada of leaking details of its investigation.

Why is the government cutting $7.5 million from the budget of Elections Canada right when it is conducting its biggest investigation ever?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the chairman of Elections Canada has indicated clearly that he has the resources he needs to do his job. What we are very impressed with, though, is that Elections Canada has stepped forward as part of a government-wide effort to work to ensure that we have a balanced budget so that Canada's fiscal position remains strong. He indicated he was prepared to make savings on behalf of his organization, and we commend him for making that effort.

It is a good model for all arms of government that everyone is doing their part in this effort to help balance the budget to ensure Canada remains in a strong fiscal position for years to come.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the Auditor General will deliver a scathing report on the Conservatives' handling of the F-35 procurement. A former assistant deputy minister of defence has called it the most disastrous hijacking of a procurement process one could ever make. Evidently the Auditor General agrees. Meanwhile, the Conservative government continues to fantasize that it will be able to buy these jets cheaply.

Will the minister tell Canadians that the Conservative government has seriously botched this procurement before the Auditor General does it for him tomorrow?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Julian Fantino Conservative Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has been a partner in the joint strike fighter program for the past 15 years, started by the Liberal government of the day. We have not signed a contract for a purchase and have the flexibility we need to purchase the aircraft in the years when it will be most affordable. Ultimately, we will replace Canada's aging CF-18 aircraft and will do so within our allocated budget.

It would be totally inappropriate for me to comment on the Auditor General's report, which we welcome tomorrow.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, a new report from the Pentagon shows how much the Conservatives underestimated the cost of procuring F-35s. Canada could easily pay more than $100 million per plane, and full production has been pushed back by two years.

On Thursday, I asked the minister a clear question and got the usual prattle. I would like to try again. The minister only has to come up with a number. He does not have to complicate things. How many F-35s is Canada currently able to purchase with its $9 billion budget?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we will ensure that the replacements for the CF-18s will in fact meet our needs. To this end, Canada has been a partner in the joint strike fighter program for the past 15 years. We have not as yet signed a contract to purchase any aircraft and we will ensure we will have the right aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, from that response I cannot tell whether the minister is unable or simply unwilling to do the math, but let me put it this way. In last week's budget, the government said Canada will “acquire an affordable replacement for Canada's aging CF-18”. Recent reports coming out of the U.S. show the price of each F-35 to be well in excess of $100 million each and rising. New Democrats know that the only way to get an affordable replacement for our CF-18 is through an open tender. The government has to date refused to hold such a competition.

Does the minister actually consider over $100 million per plane to be affordable for Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, Canada remains in the joint strike fighter program and has been so for some 15 years.

We will, in essence, make the decisions at the appropriate time in the best interest of our Royal Canadian Air Force, and of course Canadians generally.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, it has now been two months since 14-year-old Burton Winters went missing, and the contradictions from the government keep on multiplying.

A report from Major-General Vance states:

It should be noted that the 444 Sqn Griffons in Goose Bay do not have a mandate to maintain a SAR readiness posture...nor do they have a mandate to maintain a “Ready 12” response time.

However, the Canadian Forces website states that their secondary role is to maintain a 12-hour search and rescue standby.

Which is it? When will Canadians get clear answers about the state of our search and rescue system?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, certainly there is no denying that it is a real tragedy that young Burton Winters lost his life.

However, let us be clear: the Canadian Forces respond each and every time as quickly as possible. We have the largest geographic area in the world in terms of our search and rescue responsibility. We saw just last week, off the coast of Nova Scotia, heroic efforts made by members of our SAR tech teams. We have seen this repeatedly throughout the country and throughout our SAR history.

Each and every time, they do their very best to save lives and they are very successful at it.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the government's spin is not going to bring back Burton Winters or prevent future tragedies.

There are serious problems with Canada's search and rescue, and this minister has presented nothing but empty excuses. First bad weather, then imaginary protocols, and finally broken equipment were to blame, when all along it seems to be a question of misplaced priorities.

When will the government commit to a full and independent inquiry to find out what happened to Burton Winters and to investigate the state of Canadian search and rescue?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Forces constantly look at protocols, look at updates, look at placement of equipment around the country, and all of the aspersions that the hon. member has cast on the word of the Canadian Forces really do not do him or his party justice.

These are brave men and women who do their level best each and every time. The primary responsibility for ground search and rescue, as the member knows full well, rests with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in this case. We were there to assist.

There were weather issues; there were issues of maintenance. We continue to work with the provinces and territories to respond each and every time, as quickly as possible.

Small and Medium-Sized BusinessesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, after months of consulting entrepreneurs across the country, the Minister of Finance tabled an economic action plan that meets the needs of Canadian entrepreneurs such as those in my riding, London West.

Can the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism tell the House about the measures that the government is taking to support entrepreneurs, who create wealth and jobs in all parts of Canada?

Small and Medium-Sized BusinessesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his French and also for the work he is doing with business entrepreneurs in his riding. I congratulate him.

I would like to say that we have brought down a budget that is good for consumers, good for entrepreneurs and good for Canadians. The $1,000 hiring credit for small businesses will enable them to keep creating jobs and wealth in Canada. The Cutting Red Tape report will enable businesses to focus on what they do best: creating jobs.

This is a good budget, and we are proud of it.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

April 2nd, 2012 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives will stop at nothing to give their big oil lobbyist friends what they want.

The northern gateway pipeline hearings are already under way, and thousands of Canadians are engaging with the democratic process by registering. They want to testify about how this project is going to impact their communities. However, the Conservatives are pulling the old bait and switch. They are cutting the review short. The minister is turning the northern gateway review into a sham.

Why does he not just come clean and tell us the exact date he plans to rubber-stamp this approval?