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House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as stated many times before, these changes will not affect the availability of search and rescue. Certainly, the provision of bilingual services is critical to the operation of those sub-centres. The Coast Guard will continue to provide the same level of bilingual services to Canadians following the consolidation.

The Coast Guard has already identified some of the issues identified by the Commissioner of Official Languages and is implementing a plan to address those issues.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of Official Languages' report is clear: it is difficult to maintain the quality of one's French in Trenton and Halifax where less than 5% of the population is francophone.

The only way to maintain adequate services in both official languages at all times is to keep the Quebec City marine rescue sub-centre open permanently. I would like to remind the Conservatives that it is an essential service that ensures the safety of people in distress. They cannot take chances with that.

Will the Conservatives take note of this report and reverse their decision to close the Quebec City marine rescue sub-centre?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why we identified the need to have a phased-in approach in the Quebec sub-centre. We felt that because of the bilingual issue it was the best way to ensure we have the capacity. The phased-in approach will take approximately a year for the Quebec sub-centre and we will have the capacity in place to address any safety issues.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 10% cut to the Agriculture and Agri-Food budget is a cut to front-line food safety. Just last week, we learned that 100 front-line food inspectors will be cut with no justification. It was these kinds of blind cuts that led to the Walkerton tragedy in Ontario and there are members of that cabinet who know what happened and the result of that. These cuts will put Canadian food safety at risk.

Will the government agree to public hearings and will it finally come clean on the impact of these unnecessary cuts?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, like with all government departments, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and CFIA are identifying efficiencies and the most effective use of taxpayer money. I can assure the member opposite that none of the efficiencies we have identified will in any way affect the top quality food that Canadians enjoy everyday or the safe food that our inspectors have across their desks every day.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must not make cuts to food safety services, which prevent crises such as the listeriosis outbreak.

In addition to making cuts to services that ensure the safety of Canadians, the Conservatives are also cutting funding for the rural and co-operatives secretariat, even though 2012 is the International Year of Co-operatives. It is an important service for Canadians who live in rural areas.

Why are the Conservatives cutting services to rural areas and farmers?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my colleague to the agricultural file. I know she will enjoy serving producers and processors across this great country, some of the most inventive and innovative people we have in this country. I know she will enjoy her role and I welcome her to it.

When it comes to food safety, this government has been all about rebuilding the food safety system after years of neglect under the Liberals. We have reinvested hundreds of millions of dollars in food safety. We have put 730 new front-line inspectors on the food safety list. We continue to do that in spite of her and her opposition party voting against those government initiatives.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government received a strong mandate to keep our streets and communities safe. We are committed to ensuring criminals are held fully accountable for their actions and that the safety and security of law-abiding Canadians and victims come first in Canada's justice system. We have made the concerns of victims a priority and we will continue to make meaningful changes for victims of crime.

The recent passage of the Safe Streets and Communities Act is just one example of how we put victims first. Would the Minister of Justice please inform this House about the latest action our government has taken to support victims of crime?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to inform the House that this week is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. Today, our government announced increased funding for the victims fund, an additional $7 million over five years, and much of it will be directed toward the creation and enhancement of child advocacy centres across Canada. This builds on the Prime Minister's recent announcement of income support for parents of missing children.

Supporting victims also includes passing tougher sentences for those who engage in crime. When it comes to standing up and supporting victims of crime across this country, Canadians know they can count on this government.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, 500,000 good manufacturing jobs have been lost since the Conservatives came to power. Instead of building an EI system that supports those laid-off workers, the Conservatives are wasting money on an employment insurance financing board whose advice they continue to ignore.

Why have the Conservatives wasted millions of dollars on the EI board instead of using that money to improve EI benefits for hard-working Canadians who lost their jobs through no fault of their own?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member to her new file and I look forward to working with her. We have been able to work together successfully in the past, but she does need to get some of her facts right. I am happy to give her any briefing that she needs to get up to speed on the file because during the recent global recession we did add significantly to EI benefits. We gave all claimants an extra five weeks worth of benefits and we invested significantly in training programs to help people get back to work.

The CEIFB is doing its job but we want to ensure that employers are limited in how much they have to pay.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not an answer and it does nothing to reassure the thousands of workers who have lost their jobs, workers like the ones at Aveos who still do not have work to pay their bills.

We are asking the government to invest in public services instead of making cuts. The government created the Employment Insurance Financing Board of Canada to the tune of millions of dollars that did not go to help the unemployed.

Why waste money on a financing board that is not being used, when essential services for the unemployed are inadequate?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I welcome that member to her file as well but she needs to understand that business needs to be competitive, which is why we need to ensure that we keep the increases in EI premiums limited. We do need to balance the EI account over the long term, but we need to keep those costs limited to create jobs because that is the best way to overcome poverty and that is the best way to help Canadian families. It would be nice if the NDP for once would support us in our effort to help Canadian families.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, after scandals and ethical problems, this government refuses to be transparent about old age security. Even though thousands of Canadians are worried about their golden years, the minister continues to turn a deaf ear. She refuses to say how much this government will save on the backs of the most vulnerable seniors by pushing the age of eligibility from 65 to 67.

Will the minister finally stop hiding information and start telling the whole truth about this unacceptable measure?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that no senior will feel the effects of the changes to the old age security program because the changes do not start until 2023.

Changes to OAS are all about the long-term sustainability of that particular program.

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps trying to confuse the issue and divert attention away from the fact that the Conservatives are raising the age for OAS. This is a move that will only punish the poorest seniors, the most vulnerable. However, the minister is silent on how much money will be unfairly taken away from tomorrow's seniors.

Canadians of all ages are wondering why the government is hiding the numbers. Will the minister stand up and tell Canadians exactly how much this punitive measure is supposed to save?

SeniorsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the changes to OAS are not part of the deficit reduction program that this government is bringing in now to ensure we get back to a balanced budget in the near future. We are talking 10 years out or more before these changes come into effect. We need to face the fact that Canadians are living longer. Where life expectancy used to be 68, it is now closer to 85. Many Canadians are working longer by choice. We want to ensure the old age security system is there when they retire and for future generations.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, for decades, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the National Energy Board have been arm's-length organizations that use consultation and science to ensure a balanced approach to energy projects, the environment and the health and safety of Canadians. Now Canada's environmental system is in shambles and cabinet will get the final say over decisions made by the NEB.

Would the minister explain why political expediency is more important than science and the health and safety of Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 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, nothing can be further from the truth. Our government is focused on jobs, growth and prosperity for Canadians. We will focus on four major areas as we review the environmental process for major economic projects. We want to make the review process more predictable and timely. We will reduce duplication and regulatory burden. We will be strengthening environmental protection and we will enhance consultation with aboriginal people.

I wonder why the member opposite is so opposed to timely reviews, protecting the environment and consulting with aboriginal communities.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, unbelievably, the Minister of Health has made aboriginal health the number one target for cuts in her department. She has cut programs for diabetes, youth suicide and aboriginal health human resources. She says that she is protecting front-line services. Does the minister really believe that disease prevention and health promotion is not a front-line service?

A minister has choices. Could the minister explain to the House why her cuts target the population with the worst health outcomes in Canada, the aboriginal people of Canada?

HealthOral Questions

April 23rd, 2012 / 2:55 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as an aboriginal person I take that type of line of questioning to be unacceptable.

Our government has ensured that we have protected the front-line services of all health care services across the sector. Our government takes first nations health seriously. There were a number of funding initiatives in budget 2012 to improve water systems on reserve. We are funding $30 million annually for aboriginal health research. Last year, we invested $2.2 billion in first nations and Inuit health programs. Why does the member not support that?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the F-35s and the prisons agenda are not the only places that we are seeing wild improvisation from the government. The Conservatives have decided to hit the delete button on the files of 300,000 people in the federal skilled worker program. In that group are potential new Canadians who followed the rules and are simply being punished because of years of government inaction and inadequacy.

What happened to fairness when it comes to our immigration system and why this colossal betrayal of trust?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member on her appointment as the immigration spokesman for the official opposition. I look forward to working with her, although I suspect from time to time I will not agree with her.

On this matter, we simply have to move beyond the legacy backlogs that the Liberal government left.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

An hon. member

That you created.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

No, Mr. Speaker. When we came to office, 840,000 people were waiting up to eight years in the backlog thanks to a decade of Liberal mismanagement.

We are fixing the problems we inherited and, thanks to this difficult but necessary decision, within 18 months we will have a real time immigration system where we will be admitting people who have applied within months rather than years.