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House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was years.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I spoke with the president-elect of France, François Hollande, on Sunday evening to congratulate him and tell him that the hon. Lawrence Cannon would be the next Canadian ambassador to France and that Mr. Cannon has my full confidence and the experience needed to represent our country.

This shows the importance we place on our relationship with France, a country with which we have economic, cultural, linguistic and historic ties. Clearly, we would like to thank the former ambassador, Marc Lortie, for his service.

HousingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of groups throughout Quebec have submitted projects under the homelessness partnering strategy.

Funding was supposed to be renewed by April 1, 2012. However, only the projects in Quebec are still awaiting approval by the minister. The partnership agreement, duly signed with the Government of Quebec, has been in place for 12 years. Many groups depend on this funding, but there has been nothing but silence from the minister.

Since there is agreement on all the projects and the parliamentary secretary to the minister has confirmed that the funding was available, then why the delays?

HousingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, access to housing is a very important step toward gaining independence and it helps at-risk Canadians contribute fully to society.

We are working with the provinces to help people find housing. That is why we invested in almost 700 projects in Quebec in 2011.

HousingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the money is there; the minister simply has to sign off on it.

For the past 12 years, everything has gone like clockwork: there have been no problems with any HPS applications and all projects approved by Quebec received funding. Now, HPS applications, including the one from RAPSIM, are facing closed doors and silence from the minister. Yet, these projects are supported by the community—and they work.

Why does the minister refuse to respect the HPS agreement with Quebec? Is this yet another way to muzzle those who dare stand up to the Conservatives?

HousingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it was our government that invested in that program. It is a five-year program, for which we want to ensure a predetermined amount of nearly $2 billion invested in Canada. This program aims to help homeless people, in partnership with the provinces. Every decision is made in partnership with the provinces, but there is a fixed amount and we want to invest that money in the best possible way.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, unemployed workers who need help are ill-served by this government. Soon, they will have to accept any job that the minister deems acceptable or risk losing their employment insurance benefits. And yet, the minister refuses to explain what the word “acceptable” means.

The Conservatives' Trojan Horse bill directly attacks unemployed workers by lowering their incomes. Why are the Conservatives so doggedly attacking unemployed workers?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government's priority is to create jobs , promote economic growth and get Canadians back to work in their communities.

This bill includes measures to help unemployed workers find jobs. This is the best way to help them because it is good for them, their families and the Canadian economy, particularly right now since there is a shortage of skilled workers.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that under the Conservative government, fewer Canadians have access to EI than ever before, and now the minister will be able to kick people off EI if they do not take a so-called suitable job. However, she refuses to say what suitable is.

To avoid accountability, the Conservatives chose to sneak these changes into their Trojan horse budget bill.

The Conservatives are even cutting back on the ability of unemployed Canadians to appeal EI decisions. Can the minister tell Canadians how just 74 people are going to fairly adjudicate the over-31,000 cases each year?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we made a promise to Canadians, and that was to respect the spending of their taxpayer dollars. That is why we are undergoing changes to ensure we do things both more efficiently and more effectively, while maintaining or increasing our services to Canadians.

Let us face it: across this country we have and will have growing shortages of both skills and labour, so we need to make sure that those people who are unfortunate enough to lose their job have every opportunity to become aware of jobs that are available in their area, to have the help they need to access those jobs and to get those jobs. That is the best for them and for their families and for the economy.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the chickens are coming home to roost with the government's bad punishment policies.

In Canada's overcrowded jails, prison violence has already increased 37% over five years and it will only get worse. That is not only dangerous for staff and guards but it is also dangerous for the Canadian public when these prisoners are released back into their communities.

When will the government pay attention to the overwhelming evidence that its crime agenda creates more victims and is doing more harm than good?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the opposition has been continually criticizing us and saying that we will be building new prisons. We will not need to build new prisons because our legislation will not create new criminals, It just ends the revolving door.

We would ask the opposition to support our initiatives to make offenders more accountable, which, for example, as we announced yesterday, asking offenders to pay for some of their expenses. Canadians pay for their room and board. We are asking that offenders pay for some of their room and board. It is reasonable, and we ask the opposition to support these initiatives.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, contaminated sites put the health, safety and economic interests of Canadians at risk for generations to come. Radioactive material may pose cancer risks and one litre of gasoline can render one million litres of water undrinkable.

Does the minister understand that 13,000 sites may need to be cleaned up, that he should stop congratulating himself on a job half done and instead stand up for the environment, develop aggressive timelines and provide the necessary resources to protect Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my colleague does not seem to understand the context of the federal contaminated sites program. Hundreds of these sites fall under the responsibility of 16 departments and agencies. The federal contaminated sites program, $3.5 billion announced by our government, is to address the largest, most serious of the federal contaminated sites. We are 50% of the way through those target sites and we will continue.

RCMPOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP is in the news again today for the wrong reasons: the ongoing failure to act on sexual harassment against female officers.

The RCMP Public Complaints Commission is investigating. The RCMP commissioner is doing a gender audit of RCMP policies. However, for too long the government has failed to set any deadlines for concrete action on this crisis, in effect ignoring the stress this places on those officers who serve to make our communities safer.

Where is the government's sense of urgency? Where is the minister's commitment to getting a timely resolution to this unacceptable situation in the RCMP?

RCMPOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, all of us in the House are concerned when we hear allegations of any individual, including any RCMP individual, having to deal with sexual harassment. We are very pleased that the new commissioner is taking this very seriously. He has taken a very tough stance on this. He is investigating and we are waiting for the reports and recommendations that come out of that.

RCMPOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is really time that the government started walking the walk.

The problem of sexual harassment within the RCMP is not new. We have known about it for years. What is the minister's solution? He has washed his hands of the issue and referred it to a commission.

Do the Conservatives think that RCMP officers, who risk their lives every day to protect Canadians, deserve only empty words? Or will they finally give the RCMP the resources it needs to combat sexual harassment?

RCMPOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the member opposite. All of us are concerned about these allegations. We are concerned with any prospect that any member of the RCMP would face harassment. That is why we have taken action. We are pleased that the commissioner has taken this seriously. He has made strong statements on this. He is taking action. There is pending litigation, so we will wait to see what the outcome is.

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, history has shown that in severe economic times and challenge, the global economy is revived through lowering trade barriers, not raising them.

However, concerns have been raised about an amendment to a buy America provision in the transportation bill before the U.S. Congress. Shamefully, the NDP member for Burnaby—New Westminster has called the buy America a perfectly logical policy.

Could the Minister of International Trade please share with the House how our government is defending a strong Canada-U.S. partnership and creating jobs for Canadian workers and their families?

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Yellowhead for his excellent work as chair of the committee. Canadians know that our government always has and always will defend their interests.

When buy America provisions were introduced in 2009, we negotiated an exemption for Canada. When they were reintroduced last year, we aggressively but respectfully engaged with the United States and the legislation died.

I am confident that our American cousins share the view that we must all do our part to ensure that the Canada-U.S. partnership, which is the envy of the world, grows even stronger as we go forward during these very difficult times.

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 2011 Census of Agriculture shows a 10% decline in farms and farm operators. Young Canadians are not returning to the farm, with the average age of farmers now 58 years.

Making it worse, the government is removing the ability of local industry and farmers to identify innovative measures to improve competitiveness funded through the agricultural adaptation program. Now it will be a political decision of the minister.

Will the minister please listen to farmers and industry and return the delivery of federal funding to local agricultural councils in regions across Canada?

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this side is very proud of the work we have done on behalf of Canadian producers and processors. They are exporting record amounts throughout the world.

Yes, we have less farmers doing a far better job and producing more product than we have ever seen. Innovation and efficiency has taken over. They are no longer waiting for the Liberal cheques in the mailbox. They are out there in the world marketplace doing a great job for us.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

May 10th, 2012 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday, the Minister of Transport was visibly overwhelmed by a simple question about the Smugglers Hill Farm wind turbine project in Vermont, on the other side of the border from the town of Stanstead.

People are worried about their health and safety, and the minister knew very well what I was talking about. He was so confused, or paying so little attention, that he thought I was talking about a project in Quebec. And they claim to care about the interests of Quebeckers.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirm that he is now in contact with the mayor of Stanstead, Mr. Dutil, and that he is going to make sure that the concerns of the residents of his town are heard on the other side of the border?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his work on this issue. We are aware of this matter and we have spoken with the mayor of Stanstead, the Government of Quebec and the State of Vermont.

The government will continue to make the best possible decisions for Canadian and to stand up for their interests. We will be monitoring the situation closely and I will be pleased to work with the member on this very important matter.

The BudgetOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the reckless NDP used tactics, which even the leader of the Liberal Party called absurd, to eliminate debate in the House of Commons on an important bill that would benefit Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Would the Minister of State for Finance please update the House on the status of Canada's economic action plan 2012, a plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in Canada?

The BudgetOral Questions

3 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government remains focused on jobs and growing the economy. That is why, in Canada's economic action plan 2012, we ensured that it was full of measures to promote job creation, including investments for training, infrastructure and new opportunities for young Canadians, first nations, newcomers and the unemployed.

It is frustrating when the opposition plays games with Canadians' future. Canadians want us to get this passed. They want this to happen. We need to focus on that and get it done for everyone.