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House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was railway.

Topics

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives do not realize that Statistics Canada does not even have enough money to buy newspapers.

The organization's budget has been frozen for three years. Cuts to its operating budget will total $54 million, which led the chief statistician to comment that this will be a year of sacrifices.

The Conservatives like to control the numbers—that was evident in the F-35 file—but they cannot control the results of an objective survey. They want to cut Statistics Canada's budget in order to have more control over the message.

Statistics CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we were given a strong economic mandate on May 2. What Canadians expect is responsible and effective management of public funds.

Statistics Canada, like all other government agencies, identified potential savings. Our job is to ensure that these efficiencies are realized while providing top-notch service to Canadians. The majority of Canadians support this mandate.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know the Conservatives do not like using evidence in decision making but chopping Statistics Canada will not make the inconvenient facts go away.

However, the government's reckless cuts are marching on. The Conservatives are now shutting down the joint emergency preparedness program and have cut all funding for training courses at the Canadian Emergency Management College. This will leave many local emergency workers without the training and critical equipment they need to respond to everything from earthquakes to chemical spills.

Why are the Conservatives making cuts that could spell disaster for small communities that rely on these programs to train their emergency preparedness workers?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, most emergencies in Canada are local in nature and are managed by municipalities at the provincial or territorial level. Public Safety Canada works with all of the local organizations in order to coordinate that.

We are not putting Canadians' safety at risk. Indeed, we continue to enhance it in various ways.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, we asked the government how much money it was going to save as a result of the proposed change to the old age security program.

The government is refusing to give us that information and is saying that the chief actuary will give members the information after the budget implementation bill is passed and not before.

Why is the government hiding this information about old age security? Canadians have the right to know.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that our government is going to ensure that there is an old age security program for future generations. That is exactly what we are doing. It is very important to understand that the population is aging. Right now, there are four workers contributing to the OAS for every retiree, but soon there will be only two. That is why we have to make changes.

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is still no answer. Under the law, the government must tell MPs how much a bill will cost before a vote. Last year, the Conservatives were found in contempt of Parliament because they failed to do that and now they are doing it again.

Canadians know how much the changes in OAS will cost them personally. Why will the Conservatives not say how much the OAS changes will save the treasury? Is it because the numbers show that the experts are right, that there is no sustainability problem with OAS as it stands now and that we do not need to increase the age to 67?

PensionsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked how much it would cost individuals. For anyone who is currently collecting old age security benefits and anyone who is near retirement, it will not cost them a cent. There will not be any change for them.

However, if we want to ensure that future generations have access to any OAS at all, we do need to make changes, and that is exactly what we will do. The Chief Actuary agrees with us and even the PBO agreed with us several months ago.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to the Commissioner of Official Languages, last year's staffing process for the position of Auditor General did not take into account the language requirements.

Candidates on the list—

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I believe there is a technical problem with the interpretation.

Is that better?

Could the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier start over?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, that appears to support my point very well.

According to the Commissioner of Official Languages, last year's staffing process for the position of Auditor General did not take into account the language requirements.

Candidates on the short list and the candidate who was eventually recommended were to be bilingual upon taking up the position, not become bilingual afterwards.

Will the Conservative government start the process over again and respect the law this time?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we will certainly protect the French fact throughout Canada, respect the Official Languages Act and always seek out candidates who have the qualities that are very important to Canada for positions and appointments.

We are talking about the Auditor General in this case. I am certain that the opposition is satisfied with the quality of his work to date. I am certain that the opposition will be satisfied with the process that we will continue to use to look for talented, bilingual men and women for important positions in Canada.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, new charges have been laid against three individuals, including a former Canada Revenue Agency team leader, for allegedly trying to extort money from restaurant owners.

Under the Conservatives, Revenue Canada's problems keep piling up. For the past few years, the RCMP has been investigating a number of allegations of corruption, kickbacks and so forth.

That is a bit rich for a law and order government.

Can the Conservatives explain to us how they are not responsible for this?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are responsible and that is why charges have been laid. This is a very serious issue and we will not tolerate this type of misconduct. This investigation, as the entire House knows, has been ongoing for some time and, yes, charges have now been laid.

As the member opposite should know, it would not be appropriate to comment on an RCMP investigation that is ongoing or on the court proceedings. However, I can assure the House that the integrity of our tax system will be upheld by this government.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the government has been asleep at the wheel. The Canada Revenue Agency now has hundreds of cases of serious misconduct, everything from the destruction of documents to corruption. Today we learned that three former CRA employees have been charged with extortion and threatening restaurant owners. Now that charges have been laid, would the minister explain how she let this happen under her government?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the issue goes back more than a decade. I can assure the House that the government does take all these allegations very seriously. CRA employees are in a position of public trust and we demand professional and ethical conduct. This is why our government has increased our budget for internal investigations by 127% and we have nearly doubled the number of internal investigators.

EthicsOral Questions

May 1st, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation has still not explained whether she understands the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. For example, when she racked up $17,000 in limo bills she tried to hide $8,000, which would suggest that she knew that was inappropriate. It was the same when she blew $5,000 at the Junos and was forced to pay back thousands. One would think she had learned the lesson then.

Would the Minister of International Cooperation explain why she only pays the money back when she gets caught?

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 government has been clear. Our objective is to reduce expenditures to taxpayers. Ministers have done that by 15% compared with our predecessors. That is why, in the case that we are discussing here, the minister has repaid the expenses and has apologized to the House.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

However, Mr. Speaker, she has not explained why the Prime Minister has allowed her such a loosey-goosey interpretation of the ethics and why she should be trusted at this point.

Instead of playing the cat and mouse game, why does the minister not just stand up and tell us what other lavish spending she has hidden away from the taxpayers, or is she simply practising her apology until the next time?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, again, our objective is to respect taxpayer dollars. Our government came with a mandate to increase accountability, to restore accountability and to reduce taxpayers' expenditures. As a result, we have reduced the expenditures of ministers' offices, including the components of travel, by 15%. In this particular case, the minister has repaid the inappropriate expenses.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Conservative Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about crime. They gave our government a strong mandate to keep our streets and communities safe. Gang activity and recruitment is a growing problem. Youth are often targeted by criminal organizations to join their ranks. This is one reason that I introduced Bill C-394, the criminal organization recruitment act. The legislation would send a strong signal that seeking to recruit youth into organized crime gangs is a serious offence that deserves tough sentences.

Could the Minister of Justice please inform the House about the government's position on my legislation?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Brampton—Springdale for introducing this legislation and for all that he does on behalf of his constituents.

We, too, are concerned about those who would actively attempt to recruit youth into gangs and other criminal organizations. This is why I am pleased to announce to the House that we completely support the member's efforts to crack down on those who would recruit people into criminal gangs. This is consistent with our efforts to crack down on criminals and stand up for law-abiding Canadians. We are getting the job done, and I thank the hon. member.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, this evening, thousands of Aveos workers and supporters are going to march in the streets of Montreal. They will not be asking the government for special treatment or money. They will simply be asking Ottawa to apply the law and stop offering phony excuses not to do so. They will be asking to be treated with dignity and respect by this government.

Will the government listen to them and intervene, or will it continue to ignore its own legislation?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let us take an honest look at what the New Democrats are proposing. They are proposing that taxpayers fund a bailout for a company that has already wasted $1 billion, that was not prepared to testify before a parliamentary committee and that has no hope to succeed.

We are not going to spend Canadians' and taxpayers' money on this type of bailout. We are instead going to continue building a strong economy in order to create jobs for everyone.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP wants the government to enforce the law in order to save jobs at Aveos.

Under the guise of employment insurance reform, the Conservatives have just launched a direct attack against workers across Canada. The government is trying to twist workers' arms and force them to accept any old job. They are being told that if they are not qualified or if they are unwilling to leave their children behind for weeks on end, then, too bad, they will lose their benefits.

This shows a staggering lack of respect and is a slap in the face to those who have lost their jobs despite their best efforts.

Does this government really believe that by playing the enforcer and condemning people to work as cheap labour it will solve the employment crisis?