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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

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, what the committee decides to do is its business. I am pleased to inform the House that I think we are all alarmed at the expenses or the reports of these expenses. My office has been in touch with the Old Port of Montreal board and chair and we have also been in touch with the Office of the Auditor General. We have asked the Office of the Auditor General to conduct an independent audit into these allegations.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem with the Conservatives is that they promised to do a better job, but they have been caught in the same scandals as the Liberals before them.

We can see this in the election fraud case. We learned this morning in the Ottawa Citizen that the investigation is being expanded and the net is tightening on the people who committed the fraud. Once again, the reports refer to calls made to people who were not voting Conservative to send them to non-existent polling stations.

The Elections Canada investigators are so motivated and want so much to get to the bottom of the story that they are taking their own personal plane to go to northern Ontario to look into it.

When are the Conservatives going to co-operate fully with Elections Canada?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, after being caught making false allegations about this, the New Democrats had to apologize for what they said. They had to apologize because they had their facts wrong. The member should stand up in the House and reiterate the apology his colleague from Winnipeg Centre had to make outside the House.

The New Democrats have absolutely no credibility after the false allegations they had to—

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely clear that only the Conservatives are under investigation for dirty tricks and the parliamentary secretary knows that.

The parliamentary secretary knows that the investigation into voter suppression is getting wider. Investigators were in northern Ontario to interview people who were victims of this voter suppression scheme. These people were called on election day and directed to polling stations 20 miles away. We have examples from coast to coast to coast.

Will the parliamentary secretary finally acknowledge that this scandal goes well beyond Guelph?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times in this House, and it is surprising that the member is unaware of this, the NDP is actually under investigation for not just its 2011 annual general meeting, but also its 2009 annual general meeting where it took tens of thousands of illegal donations, contrary to the Accountability Act, from large unions in this country. That was made very clear by the Chief Electoral Officer. The only thing holding up the investigation is the fact that the NDP is withholding the information that the Chief Electoral Officer would like to see.

With respect to the specific allegations made by the member, once again I will quote the Chief Electoral Officer. He finds it troubling--

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, for anyone concerned about electoral fraud, that answer does not cut it, nor does misquoting the Chief Electoral Officer.

When asked if this investigation were serious, what the CEO actually said was, “I think it is absolutely outrageous. This is totally unacceptable in a modern democracy”. When asked if the investigation goes beyond Guelph, he said, “If you ask me, it is ten provinces and one territory”.

The CEO knows it and Canadians know it. Why will the government not admit that the Conservatives are under investigation for dirty tricks committed during the last election?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, now members opposite are misquoting the Chief Electoral Officer.

We need to be clear about the NDP's record on this. It has gone about a pattern of baseless allegations and have had to apologize time and time again. It is almost as though the member from Winnipeg needs a professional apology writer with the number of times NDP members have to apologize for the things they say outside this place.

What the Chief Electoral Officer did say was that he finds all of the sweeping allegations of wrongdoing with no facts to support them troubling. I would ask the member to provide her facts.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the facts are very clear. Only the Conservative Party is under investigation for electoral fraud.

The Minister of Industry was found guilty of breaking the Conflict of Interest Act and is being investigated for two other violations.

The Minister of National Defence provided misleading information on the F-35 and attacked the Parliamentary Budget Officer when he told the truth.

What sanctions did these ministers face? None, zilch, zippo, not even 20 lashes with a wet noodle. Nothing at all.

I have a simple question. How many times does a minister have to break the rules before he or she is forced to take responsibility for his or her actions?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's characterization of events and ministers is very inaccurate and is certainly inflated rhetoric. It is nothing new coming from him. He is continually inflammatory on these issues.

The fact is that this government is composed of ministers who have been doing outstanding work and Canadians have been benefiting. The results are there; close to 700,000 net new jobs since the last election.

I know the members opposite are not interested in the economy but Canadians are interested in jobs, the economy, economic growth, a prosperous future, reducing the debt and reducing the deficit. They see that with the budget implementation bill that was brought in today. Our economic action plan 2012 will continue to deliver good results for Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Cooperation.

Could the minister tell us when she decided to pay back the additional costs for the limousine? Was it at the same time as she paid back the costs for the hotel and the spectacular glass of orange juice or was it later on? Was it in fact after the debate took place yesterday with respect to the cost of the limousine?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our expectations have been clear. As I have said many times, we expect ministers to conduct government business at reasonable cost, which is why the minister has repaid inappropriate expenses. That is as it should be.

What also should be would be for the Liberal Party to for once take accountability for the $40 million it took from taxpayers through the sponsorship scandal. I know it has paid back a million dollars or two million dollars but there is still a fair bit outstanding on that big bill to the taxpayers.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, today's answers on the Conservative election fraud scandal clearly show a false defence of diversion, distraction and distortion. The facts show a different picture. Only the Conservative Party was served a search warrant and is named in voter suppression calls. Elections Canada is now seizing phone records in Nipissing and only Conservatives operatives have been named, including a high level staffer in the Conservative war room.

Why will the Prime Minister not drop the charade, apologize to Canadians and call a royal commission?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again we see the opposition making sweeping baseless allegations. Virtually nothing of what the member just indicated is factual. The Conservative Party is not being investigated. There are no such search warrants. The Conservative Party has been operating and supporting Elections Canada in this from the outset. What we saw from the Liberal Party was denial and anything it could possibly do to cover up the fact that it made illegal robocalls, used fictitious phone numbers, used phony names and that it broke the law.

Why were the Liberals not front and centre saying what they—

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.

PensionsOral Questions

April 26th, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources is contradicted by the OECD, which says, and I quote:

“There is no pressing financial or fiscal need to increase pension ages in the foreseeable future” in Canada.

She is also contradicted by the Chief Actuary and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who predict that the cost of federal benefits to seniors relative to the economy will rise by only one percentage point by 2030 and then fall again.

Does the minister agree with those figures or not? Yes or no?

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 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, there will be no reductions in seniors' benefits. In order to assure the sustainability of old age security, the age of eligibility will be gradually increased from 65 to 67 starting in 2023 and fully implemented in 2029.

Our government is committed to sustainable social programs and a secure retirement for all Canadians. Our changes will ensure that OAS is there for future generations of Canadians. They will have it when they need it.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian women of all political stripes have seen the hypocrisy of this Prime Minister, who promises one thing in public and then does the opposite in the House.

During the election campaign he promised not to reopen the abortion debate, but today he cannot even control his caucus and prevent his ministers from saying that violating women’s rights is a personal choice.

The Prime Minister has to do more than tell us he is going to vote against motion M-312. Is he going to send his backbenchers and his ministers a clear message to make them understand that the right to an abortion is not negotiable?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been clear on this subject: he will not reopen this debate.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the facts are simple. Today in this House in the year 2012, because of a Conservative motion, we will be debating a woman's right to choose, years after this issue was dealt with.

The Prime Minister has told Canadians for years that he will not be reopening the debate and here we are. Is this his Trojan agenda, his real agenda for women in Canada? When will the Conservatives stop rolling the clock back on Canadian women's rights?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister spoke to this very clearly earlier in question period and I will simply restate it. The Prime Minister has made it clear that he will not reopen this issue.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, nothing at all is clear. The Conservatives are in the process of reopening the abortion debate, which is part of their overall attack on women's rights.

Their latest victim is the Women's Health Contribution Program. This assault on women's equality sends a clear message: if our research contradicts the Conservatives' ideology, we have to pay the price.

Yet this program is essential to research involving Canadian women.

What do the Conservatives gain by turning their backs on Canadian women's health?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government's priority when it came to controlling spending was to protect front line health services that were not being provided by these groups. This fund was established at a time when there were not too many programs aimed toward women's health.

Since forming government, we have invested over $750 million toward women's programs. Shame on the NDP and the Liberals because they voted against it.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, based on that response, we gather that it is perfectly all right to make women pay the price for the government's damaging cuts.

Does the minister understand that these groups may be forced to close their doors permanently at a time when we need to know more about women's health, not less.

The Centres of Excellence improve women's health outcomes, and that is something that we all benefit from.

Why is the minister arguing against the health promotion work of these groups, work that saves health care dollars? Will the minister reverse these cuts?