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House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives are slashing services to veterans, the chair of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board is dipping into veterans' coffers to pay for trips to London to see his wife give speeches. He has wasted over $7,000 on his transatlantic trips. It is not surprising to see, when the example comes from the top.

Why are the Conservatives cutting services to veterans and yet allowing the chair to lavishly spend money that should be used to help those who served our country?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that all services to veterans are being maintained and that the best way to support our veterans is to support budget 2012.

That being said, I expect the review board, which is an independent organization, and its members to rigorously enforce all public administration rules, since it is managing taxpayers' money.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, arm's-length does not mean out of reach.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs signed off on this trip. The head of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board was just condemned by the Veterans ombudsman for denying so many people of the appeal board their rightful benefits by not applying the benefit of doubt. What does he do? He takes a junket over to England to visit with his wife, who just happens to be there, at a cost of over $7,000. That kind of money would help a lot of disabled veterans.

How does the minister allow that kind of abuse of taxpayer money to carry on? Why does he not remove the member of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board or, in fact, remove the entire--

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Veterans Ombudsman is going in exactly the opposite direction of the irresponsible way of the NDP. The NDP is suggesting abolishing a tribunal that 4,000 veterans turn to every year. We will stand by the tribunal.

We expect all board members to be responsible and show respect for taxpayer dollars at all times. I am confident that this board will keep on providing good services for the veterans, who deserve the right to appeal the decision and to be well served by this government and this country.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, things are going from the ridiculous to the absurd today.

As time goes by, the Conservatives are having a harder and harder time finding friends in the arts community. First, the Minister of Canadian Heritage made the chairman of the CBC pledge allegiance, and now he is asking the next board chairman of the National Gallery to maintain a relationship with him. Facebook friends are not necessarily the best people to run museums.

What is more important: a thorough understanding of our shared heritage or being buddies with the minister?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the selection process for candidates for this type of position is typical and standard. It has been in place for years and will not be changed.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, our common heritage is too important, and those entrusted with it should not have to be required to be the minister's BFF.

It is not only the chair of the CBC who is required to be friends with the minister. If anyone want to apply to be chairman of the National Gallery or the National Battlefields commissioner, I guess they are going to have to “like” the minister's status too.

If the minister really wants more friends—and it is clear that he needs them—why does he not stop picking the pockets of Canadian artists?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the approach that is being used and the language come from an iPolitics story. That is really ridiculous. The process by which we choose people for these kinds of appointments is open and transparent. Yes, it does require that the minister and these organizations, crown corporations and agencies have an open dialogue and an ongoing conversation for the best interests of taxpayers. This process has been used for years, and we will continue to do so.

JusticeOral Questions

May 15th, 2012 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to boast about their tough on crime agenda, but the more we look into it, the more we realize that it was written on the back of a napkin.

Quebec's public safety department estimates that Bill C-10 will increase the prison population by 20%. That means an additional 1,000 people in the prison system, which is already 96% full.

If the government were serious, it would co-operate with the provinces to make sure they have the necessary resources.

For the time being, the only thing it does is send the bill to the provinces. Why?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we work with the provinces, and the bill specifically targets drug dealers and those who molest children. I completely reject the math that says 1,000 people a day in the province of Quebec are going to get locked up for drug crimes or sex crimes. That is absolutely wrong, and I think most people would agree with me and this government.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, we already know the minister's script, but what Canadians want is real answers to questions.

Quebec's public safety department has estimated construction costs for new detention facilities at $750 million. And that was before the Conservatives announced their decision to close the Leclerc Institution in Laval.

Where will all those inmates be placed? Can the minister explain how it is possible to shut down penitentiaries, impose legislation that will increase the prison population by 20% and say that it will not cost a penny more?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the NDP may find this offensive, but we are going after the individuals who traffic in drugs in this country, the people who are into child pornography and the people who molest children. We have had these conversations with the provinces. We are on the right track when we stand up for victims and law-abiding Canadians in this country. I wish the NDP would get on board with that just for once.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, proposed Conservative changes to federally regulated slaughterhouses would mean already-dead animals could be butchered and sold to Canadian consumers. These regulations exist as a direct result of the rotten meat scandal that plagued the industry in the 1970s. However, now Conservatives want to turn back the clock and allow animals previously unfit for human consumption to end up on the family dinner plate.

Will meat from dead stock be clearly marked in our grocery stores?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that will not be a problem because it will not be in the grocery store.

Let me quote the Canadian Cattlemen's Association:

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association strongly supports the proposed change...to allow for the rare circumstances where food meat animals can be euthanized on farms under veterinary supervision....

That is what this change is all about: making sure that farmers can receive what they need for those animals in a humane way and move them through the process.

We would never put food safety at risk, and these proposed changes would never do that.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not reassuring for Canadian families.

It gets worse. Hundreds of employees with the CFIA, including front-line food inspectors and indeed veterinarians, are on the chopping block. How does the government expect a smaller number of CFIA inspectors and veterinarians to do more with less resources?

CFIA is meeting with USFDA today to actually look at food regulations. Instead of consult first, regulate later, the government is putting the industry at risk with our largest trading partner.

Why is the government potentially putting Canadian industry and our health at risk with its risky new meat regulations?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as usual, the NDP has it completely upside down and backwards.

We are working with our major trading partner, the United States, to harmonize our regulations to make sure that we can do more with less. We will recognize their regulations, as they recognize ours, and we will end up with stronger system for both countries. That is the purpose behind this.

As we continue to reinforce CFIA and our border inspectors, the opposition completely votes against it. We put money in, and the opposition voted against it in the budget. When we add inspectors, they vote against those numbers.

Again, the NDP has it upside down and backwards.

HousingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the most recent budget, almost 260,000 Quebec families have been abandoned. With the end of federal subsidies for affordable housing, at least 125,000 housing units in Quebec will be affected.

A number of organizations, some local and some throughout Quebec, including the Association des locataires de Villeray, FRAPRU and FADOQ, are mobilizing thousands of people and trying to find solutions to this crisis.

We know that this government has written off Quebec and the poor, but would the minister at least have the decency to explain how he can outright abandon so many people?

HousingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is crazy.

It was our government that brought in five-year agreements with the provinces and territories, for five years of stable funding for affordable housing. In most cases, programs are delivered by the provinces and territories.

We are supporting renovations operating expenses for more than 600,000 affordable housing units.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, healthy fish stocks and fisheries are hugely important to British Columbians.

Critics of the government's failures in fisheries management and governance get louder every single day. The commercial and recreational fishers, former fisheries ministers, and now even diehard Conservatives like B.C. Conservative Party leader John Cummins and the Prime Minister's own best buddy from the oil and gas patch, Gwyn Morgan, all disagree with the government.

On top of all the cuts, the government is now gutting fish and habitat protection laws. Why is the Prime Minister condemning Pacific fisheries to the fate of the Atlantic cod?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, it is just the opposite. We are focusing our fish and fish habitat protection rules on Canada's fisheries, not in farmers' ditches.

As a matter of fact, there are major improvements to the act that the opposition likes to ignore. There will be several improvements and conservation tools. We will be identifying ecologically sensitive areas, making Fisheries Act regulations enforceable and allowing for higher maximum penalties for rule breakers.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, a court case in Vancouver is shaking residential school survivors' trust in our judicial system.

While the facts of the case are before the courts, nearly 1,400 survivors' claims are sitting in limbo while the deadline for the independent assessment process fast approaches.

What is the minister going to do to make sure that these survivors are not victimized once again?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, this issue is before the courts. This process is one where we have advertised the upcoming expiry date, the final date for application. That message has reached over 95% of the potential claimants.

In terms of where we go from here, this is a multi-party activity that will have to occur. We will have to wait for the courts.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are coming up to the anniversary of the apology, and residential school survivors need more action from the government.

The situation is deteriorating so badly that the Assembly of First Nations is asking for an eminent survivor to be appointed to restore faith in the judicial process.

With the deadline fast approaching and many survivors' claims still waiting to be processed, what will the minister do to help residential school survivors before that deadline?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, any claimant who puts in a claim before the expiry date this fall will be processed, no matter how long that processing goes beyond that date.

If somebody misses that date for extraordinary circumstances, we have provisions whereby we will certainly be cognizant of and sensitive to that. This worked for the comprehensive claims process, and I think it will work for the independent assessment process as well.