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House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

As I said, Mr. Speaker, this fund was established at a time when there were not many programs aimed toward women's health. We have spent more money than other government in promoting women's health.

Our government continues to assist the provinces and territories in the delivery of health care. We will be transferring historic amounts over the next few years; $40 billion by the end of the decade.

Again the NDP members voted against each one of those initiatives.

SportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we saw the Washington Capitals eliminate the Boston Bruins with a goal by Joel Ward in overtime of game seven. Every kid dreams of this kind of accomplishment.

Unfortunately, some racists turned to Twitter and unleashed outrageous and bigoted comments against the great hockey player.

Could the Minister of State for Sport please comment on our government's position with regard to racism in sport?

SportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bramalea—Gore—Malton Ontario

Conservative

Bal Gosal ConservativeMinister of State (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, our government condemns these racist comments. This behaviour is disgusting and cannot be tolerated. There is no room for such discrimination in any environment, especially when it involves something as positive as sport.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are sitting across from a heartless government that refuses to enforce the law while Canadian workers are having trouble making ends meet. While the highly skilled employees of Aveos are on forced leave, Air Canada is relocating jobs to Germany, Italy, Ireland, Hong Kong, and the list goes on. Canadian expertise is being snubbed.

When will this government finally decide to enforce the law so that it becomes part of the solution rather than part of the problem?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course the Conservative Party understands the impact that this has on workers, and it has already expressed its position very clearly. Legal opinions have been sought and provided. These are business decisions. Aveos was a private company and its owners made the decision to cease operations. This issue does not concern the government; it is a matter for a private company and its management.

I will make no further comment since the issue is before the courts.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, these might be two private companies but they are bound by a very unique piece of legislation that ensures that this maintenance is done in Canada by Canadian workers.

The Aveos workers in my riding of Winnipeg Centre cannot understand why their federal government will not lift a finger to help save their jobs. We need a champion to fight for our jobs, not a rollover to just do whatever the companies want.

There is legislative protection for these jobs. Why does the minister not enforce it? Why does he not fight for Canadians and their jobs?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our position has been clear from the beginning. As this matter concerns two private companies, we do not interfere in private companies. It was not the government that closed Aveos. The Aveos owners closed the companies. We will not be contemplating a bailout.

I will not comment any further because this is before the courts.

Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, job losses and food safety are serious and important issues but the government is ignoring the facts. The facts are that food inspection stations are being shut down and front line food inspectors are being cut. The facts do not lie.

The Conservatives are cutting front line services and this will cost farmers more and increase the risk to Canadians' health.

Will the minister stand up and admit that his government is firing food inspectors and closing inspection stations?

Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained to the House over these past two days, Canada has a very robust and superior food safety system. This is not just recognized here in Canada; this is recognized around the world.

Regarding inspection staff, since 2006 this government has been responsible for a net increase of over 700 new inspection staff within CFIA. Every time we have moved to enhance CFIA with additional funding, the hon. member and his colleagues have voted against it.

Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely not true.

The minister never answers the question. Saving money on food safety puts Canadians' health in jeopardy. We want to know why the government is firing food inspectors and closing inspection stations. The government continues to keep Canadians in the dark about these cuts. Farmers who care about Canadians' safety are very worried.

Why does the minister want to hide the cuts from Canadians and Quebeckers? It is crazy.

Food Inspection AgencyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, in a report on its ranking of countries, the OECD said, “Canada is one of the best-performing countries in the 2010 Food Safety Performance World Ranking study. Its overall grade was superior, earning it a place among the top-tier countries.”

Every time we have taken measures to enhance and improve our food safety system, the opposition has voted against those measures.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will be negatively impacted by the callous termination of the community access program, which in Guelph alone provided support for 34 public computers.

The cut will affect hundreds of thousands across Canada, especially in rural communities and particularly those most in need, who use these computers daily to look for jobs, access government websites or do research, because the cost of a computer or Internet access is not affordable for everyone.

Will the government please reverse its ill-conceived decision to terminate the community access program?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the community access program was launched in 1995 and has successfully met its objectives.

The vast majority of Canadians are now connected to the Internet at home, while many more have access through their mobile devices. By this summer, more than 98% of Canadian households will have access to basic broadband service.

Federal funding will continue to support youth internships at community Internet sites, and this will provide young Canadians with vital skills and work experience needed to make a successful transition to the workplace, while contributing to job creation.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the government recently announced changes to the veterans independence program to provide for upfront grants for grass cuttings, snow removal, and housekeeping services.

My question for the minister is this: will these payments be subject to income tax?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear the hon. member acknowledge that 100,000 veterans are now going to benefit from a simple payment method, which will decrease the amount of paperwork for our veterans. Indeed, the same conditions will apply and our veterans will receive a payment twice a year, which will eliminate millions of transactions. We will continue to reduce paperwork for veterans.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's addiction to temporary foreign workers is bad for our communities and bad for our economy.

In order to pander to their large corporate friends, the Conservatives are moving to massively speed up the hiring of hundreds and thousands of temporary foreign workers. This makes no sense, especially since Canada's youth unemployment rate is a staggering 14%—

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Newton—North Delta has the floor.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's youth unemployment rate is a staggering 14%.

Why are the Conservatives exploiting foreign workers to drive down wages right here in Canada?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question is entirely false. The question itself is absolutely outrageous.

The reality is that there are large and acute growing labour shortages in many regions and industries in this country where employers actively seek to recruit Canadians to fill jobs that must be filled to do the necessary work, but qualified Canadians do not apply. When that happens, the businesses have a choice: either they go overseas to do their work, go out of business, or access people from abroad who must be paid at the prevailing Canadian regional wage. They are governed according to the same rules and protections as all Canadian workers.

That is not about exploitation; it is about opportunity both for overseas workers and Canadian industry.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Conservatives, the NDP is in favour of a fair system for foreign workers and our youth.

With the plan proposed by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, foreign workers will be paid 15% less than Canadians for equal work. The Conservatives want to exploit foreign workers, and this will lead to reduced wages for all Canadian workers.

Is this irresponsible and reckless measure part of the Conservatives' economic inaction plan for the 1.4 million Canadians who are unemployed?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. The reality is that, even in Quebec, there are labour shortages in several industries and several regions.

The member raises a good question: why do we have a youth unemployment rate of 14% in an economy that has hundreds of thousands of jobs available? There is a labour shortage. It is clearly a problem.

Should we tell businesses to shut down and close their doors, or should we help them to attract people from abroad who are eager to come to Canada, to work and contribute to our economy and, yes, at the same wage level as Canadians?

HealthOral Questions

April 26th, 2012 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I was pleased to hear the government announce reforms to the health care benefit packages received by asylum seekers. I know that many of my own hard-working, taxpaying constituents have raised concerns in past years about the inequality of such services. They have, in fact, pointed out occasionally that Canadian seniors did not have access to the generous benefits received by asylum seekers. Would the minister please explain to the House what these reforms are, exactly?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately many Canadians realized that there was a terrible inequality in that we were giving better health benefits to asylum seekers, including fake asylum seekers and illegal migrants who arrived in smuggling operations, than we were giving to hard-working, taxpaying Canadian citizens.

That is not right, which is why yesterday we announced changes to the interim federal health program for asylum claimants to say that the benefits they get will be no more generous than the health benefits that are available to taxpaying Canadian citizens. We want to indicate to asylum seekers that they will get essential care until their claim is rejected, in which case we expect them to respect our laws and leave Canada.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, a responsible government would not put the health and safety of its citizens at risk. The Conservative government chose to make massive cuts of $56 million to food inspection and $68 million to the Public Health Agency, thus compromising food safety and endangering Canadian lives. Three cabinet ministers in the current federal government were in Mr. Harris's Ontario cabinet when massive public health and environmental cuts caused the tragic Walkerton incident.

Surely they warned the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food against his dangerous decision. Why did he not listen?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, as I have mentioned already today, Canada is recognized around the world for having a superior food safety system. Our cost-saving measures do not reduce food safety. In fact, in this last budget we put aside $50 million to enhance our food safety system. The opposition has already voted against that $50 million, but the budget implementation bills will be in front of Parliament very shortly. They have the opportunity to now vote for this increased funding for food safety.