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House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government does want to help families when one of their members is facing a serious illness. That is why we expanded eligibility for compassionate care benefits under EI.

As well, we did make a promise in last year's election campaign that we would be bringing forward assistance for families who have gravely ill children. We intend to keep that promise and we will be doing it soon.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have not seen anything on this so-called promise the Conservatives have made. In fact, at her own press conference today the minister refused to answer questions about it because apparently it does not fit with her message of the day. No wonder the Conservative government has a well-earned award for secrecy from The Canadian Association of Journalists.

I ask again. Why will the Conservatives not level with Canadians who want straightforward information, or is their PM-approved message of the day as much information as they think Canadians deserve?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we promised in our campaign in April and May last year to help financially the parents of children who are gravely ill. That was reinforced along the way and we will keep that promise to Canadians

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, this government has given Canadians cuts to Service Canada, longer and longer wait times for employment insurance, and now, a minister who does not want to answer questions because answers are not on the day's agenda.

The Conservatives seem to be incapable of telling the truth. From the F-35s to changes to old age security to health care cuts, we are still waiting for answers.

It is time to put a stop to this culture of secrecy. When will Canadians get some answers? When will we start seeing some ministerial accountability?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I spoke to the press today to explain the new programs we are introducing. That is sharing information. That is exactly what she asked for. We want our services and programs to help Canadians, and we want to explain those programs to them. That is why we talk to the press. That is what we are doing.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, cuts to CFIA at inspection sites in Newfoundland could put Prince Edward Island's potato industry at risk. Golden nematode and potato wart are found in Newfoundland's soil. For generations, federal governments have accepted the responsibility and prevented the spread of these pests by inspections at ferry terminals.

Now the government is cancelling the vehicle washing program. Does the government not understand the risk? Will the minister just cancel his hare-brained scheme to get rid of this successful program and protect Prince Edward Island's potato industry?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, we commented on this last week. CFIA resources should not be involved in vehicle washing. The agency will continue to be responsible for the inspection of vehicles, but CFIA should not be washing people's vehicles. It is working with industry to find the resources necessary to wash vehicles that are considered to be contaminated with soil.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' decision to cut the community access program will leave hundreds of thousands of Canadians without Internet access. In Newfoundland and Labrador alone there are 147 CAP sites. The majority are in remote and rural communities.

According to an Internet survey by Statistics Canada, 46% of Canadians who earn $30,000 or less do not have access to the Internet or own a computer, the very people for whom the community access program was designed. Will the government stop ignoring the needs of low-income Canadians and continue to fund this essential program?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this program was launched in 1995 and has met its objectives. When I meet constituents, the vast majority of them are now connected to the Internet at home, while many more have access through their mobile devices.

When we renewed it in the past, members opposite always voted against it. Our government will continue to support the youth internships at community Internet sites. We will focus our efforts on strengthening the infrastructure needed to connect Canadians to the Internet, such as through the spectrum options I announced last March.

ImmigrationOral Questions

April 30th, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, broken promises and bad management abound. It turns out that the Conservative plan to simply delete almost 300,000 applications in the federal skilled worker backlog is not quite as simple as it sounds. Along with the betrayal of applicants' trust, millions in administrative costs have been left unaccounted for.

Canadians deserve to know: What is the true cost of this misguided plan, and why is this minister making it up as he goes along?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, the minister makes nothing up as he goes along. In fact, everything he has done on the immigration file over the past number of months and years has led to a much better system than we were left with, a broken, disgusting system that did not work in this country.

The economic action plan of 2012 includes measures that will transform Canada's suite of economic immigration programs to create a just in time system that works for the people who come to this country, works for the people who live in this country and works for the strength of the Canadian economy.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister is short of solutions, he should come and talk to the NDP. We are very open and could advise him.

People are starting to lose confidence in the system, because the Conservatives keep on inventing new rules. A class action lawsuit is being organized against the Conservatives for how they have mismanaged the immigration backlog.

It has been proven that the government's current plan is costing taxpayers more than it would to come up with a sustainable solution to the problem. How much will the minister's plan cost?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, if the NDP members would take a bit of time to read the budget, they would see exactly what the cost of the strategy would be moving forward with respect to this immigration policy.

More important, the immigration committee is spending six hours a day for the next number of days reviewing and determining the extent to which Bill C-31 would have a positive impact on this country.

I simply ask the NDP if it is willing to put its money where its mouth is, because it has not yet. If it wants to come forward with constructive amendments, if it wants to support the legislation that would work for this country and for the refugee system that we have, in fact, it should--

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Prince George—Peace River.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, as part of our jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act, our government announced changes to the best weeks EI pilot project to better align this program with local labour market conditions.

Would the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development inform the House about how this new national, legislated approach will make the EI program more fair and responsive to labour market conditions throughout the country, while removing disincentives to work in low unemployment areas like my riding of Prince George—Peace River?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, starting in April 2013, a new national best weeks program will be introduced to the EI system that would base the number of best weeks on the local unemployment rate. The average of the best weeks would be used to calculate the weekly amount of benefits that EI recipients would get. The current best 14 pilot will be extended through to April next year while this transition goes on.

These changes will remove barriers to employment in low unemployment areas, but will also ensure that people in regions with similar labour market conditions actually get similar benefits.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism stand on the back of a ship at great expense to our refugees.

Today, we find out in committee that in fact the current system, in terms of detentions, has been working. There is no need to fix the system, in terms of the detentions.

My question for the minister is, and he asked for positive amendments, why is the government pursuing the need to have a one year minimum detention for refugees when it was made very clear today in committee that it is just not necessary?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I have to smile when hearing a member of the Liberal Party say there were no problems with the immigration system that the Liberals created a number of years ago and then stand today and say that no changes are necessary. That is why the Liberals are sitting in the third place and we are sitting here.

We are prepared to take the stands necessary. We are prepared to move forward on this legislation. If they actually do, because they have not--not once have they moved any amendments or spoken in a way that was going to be constructive and build upon this system. They have not done it yet. I am going to hold my breath and see.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, last week, my Atlantic caucus colleagues and I had the pleasure of visiting Prince Edward Island. We met with people concerned about the Conservatives' total lack of transparency and their habit of making decisions with no local consultation, like the cuts to Veterans Affairs, like the possible elimination of fleet separation and owner-operator policies, or like the closure of Service Canada's claims centre in Montague, which has a severe impact on the local economy and was announced with no notice and no justification.

The people of P.E.I. deserve better. My question is, why is the government refusing to be accountable?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, this government has done extensive consultations. Pre-budget, ministers of the crown, our entire caucus, went throughout this country to every nook and cranny, and consulted with Canadians about the future of our country, about jobs and opportunities, and about economic growth. That is what is in the budget and we are proud of that.

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, nearly one year ago today, Canadian farmers, along with millions of others, helped elect a strong, stable, national Conservative majority government with a focus on creating jobs and economic growth for the agriculture industry. They sent a clear message that they wanted a government that was committed to bolstering trade and opening new markets for their top quality products.

Last week, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food was joined by industry representatives in Morocco to expand opportunities for our farmers. Could the minister please update the House on the successes of this mission?

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Crowfoot for his dedication to farmers and agriculture.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food was in Morocco where he formally invited Moroccan officials to Canada in June for the next round of free trade agreement negotiations. He also met with his counterpart to sign a memorandum of understanding to strengthen agricultural co-operation between our two countries.

Out of interest, in 2011, Morocco's agriculture imports from Canada totalled more than $188 million mainly in durum wheat and pulses. Canadian farmers are eager to build on that number.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Association de la presse francophone and the Société franco-manitobaine are worried. Funding rules, which are based on magazine circulation, penalize official language minority communities. Ignoring the linguistic reality means that the quality of information for francophones in Sudbury, Manitoba and Alberta will suffer. Even worse, some magazines may not survive.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage exempt these magazines so they can continue to serve francophone communities, yes or no?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the accusations made by my colleague opposite are completely false.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, back in March 2005, when the previous Liberal government attempted to place the redefinition of a subsection to the definition of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act within a budget bill, the then opposition leader and current Prime Minister was outraged. He said that this was a back door way, a dangerous way of proceeding. He went on to say that it would not allow any parliamentary approval or discussion whatsoever. He said that it was completely unacceptable.

If changing one subsection to environmental law through a budget bill is completely unacceptable, why is changing hundreds of sections of a dozen environmental laws acceptable to the Prime Minister?