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House of Commons Hansard #120 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

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, just as the NDP predicted, the Conservatives' cuts to Veterans Affairs Canada are going to significantly reduce the services provided to the men and women who have bravely served this country. We are talking about the most significant change to that department in Canadian history, with over 800 full-time jobs being eliminated.

At a time when 35,000 soldiers who served in Afghanistan will be eligible for these services, why are the Conservatives so determined to take these resources away from our courageous soldiers?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear. What we are taking away from veterans are the millions of unnecessary transactions for veterans who need our services. We are simply cutting the red tape, cutting the routine and repetitive tasks that waste paper and in no way serve our veterans. That is what we are doing. If the member really wants to help veterans, he should support budget 2012, because it maintains veterans' benefits.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, once services are taken away, it will be impossible for a veteran to actually speak to someone in person.

The government has this theory that veterans' mental health issues can be solved over the Internet or maybe with a long distance phone call which could be answered by a private company called Quantum, which answers the phone as Veterans Affairs Canada.

Why is the government privatizing veterans services to private companies? Why is it laying off so many front-line people who provide that invaluable service to the heroes of our country?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I invite my colleague to visit the National Centre for Operational Stress Injuries at Ste. Anne's Hospital in Montreal. This centre of excellence is part of a network of clinics. We have doubled the number of clinics. We have people working on the streets to help veterans. The best way to continue providing support for veterans' needs, both physical and mental, is to support budget 2012, which maintains all benefits for veterans.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, access to safe food is something Canadians expect and deserve, but if the Conservatives have their way, food safety in the future will be a roll of the dice, with fewer regulations, fewer inspections, and massive cuts to food inspectors. No wonder the Conservatives refused to meet with the UN food rapporteur.

Why are the Conservatives cutting the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and gambling with the health of Canadians?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. Canada's food safety is found to be among the best in the world by qualified sources that are constantly adjudicating us.

We are not cutting food safety. What we are doing is refocusing our energy and our abilities to make sure that Canadians continue to enjoy safe food.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know what happens when the government falls short on food safety: listeriosis and E. coli outbreaks.

With fewer standards, fewer inspections and fewer Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors, how can Canadians continue to trust the system? We are headed straight for disaster.

Why are the Conservatives launching a direct attack on food safety?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is new to the file. I would be happy to have the department brief her on any of these issues at any time should she so desire.

The department will tell her that we have hired over 700 inspectors since we formed government. We have added hundreds of millions of dollars in capacity for CFIA to retrain and recruit new people. Last year we added $100 million in the budget and this year we have added $51 million. Every time we add moneys in the budget, the NDP votes against it.

PensionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when campaigning for the trust of Canadian seniors, the Prime Minister promised not to cut pensions. Then after tricking seniors with false promises, the Prime Minister smiled, shrugged, and reached deeply into their pockets. Seniors believed the Prime Minister when he said that their pensions would be safe with him.

Would someone over there, anyone, stand up and tell Canadians why the Conservatives have such a problem when it comes to telling the truth?

PensionsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are making sure that the old age security system is safe for today's seniors and safe for future generations. To do that we have to make some changes, but those changes will not take effect until 2023. That is when they will start to be phased in.

We have to make sure that Canadians do have access to old age security. That is what we promised. That is what we are going to do for today's seniors and for future generations.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, alleged widespread Conservative election fraud is a grave matter for Canadians and for the future of our democracy.

It is appalling that this scandal-ridden government is still in denial. Yesterday the parliamentary secretary continued the falsehoods about the tight connection between his party and the Pierre Poutine IP address, and he twisted the Chief Electoral Officer's own words of warning. That is shameful. Canadians deserve better.

When will the Conservative government take our democracy seriously and call a royal commission?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, several statements made by the member opposite are categorically false.

There is no connection between the IP address mentioned by the member and the Conservative Party of Canada, and she knows that full well.

We are working to assist Elections Canada in this matter. I wish the opposition parties would do the same.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, when confronted with the fact that our credit card payment regime is perverse and subverts market forces, the Minister of Finance pointed to the toothless voluntary code of conduct.

As it stands now, the voluntary code is doing nothing to protect merchants and consumers from paying some of the highest fees in the world, a whopping $5 billion in hidden fees alone.

Will the minister finally admit that the voluntary code is not working, pledge today to do what other G20 countries have done and implement binding regulations to end these infuriating fees?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, to the contrary, the code of conduct is working. It is working because there is compliance by all parties with the code of conduct. They all know full well that if they breach the code, we will move to regulation. They know that and they follow the code. There have been a couple of instances of breach; we have brought them to the relevant parties' attention, and they have corrected it.

The code works. It was created by all parties in the credit card system.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, SMEs and consumers have good reason to be disgusted because, every year, $5 billion in hidden fees is being taken from Canadians' pockets and given directly to credit card companies. It is completely unacceptable.

Putting an end to excessive credit card interest rates is a simple way to resolve this problem. It would allow these billions of dollars to be reinjected into the economy and would stimulate growth.

Why are the Conservatives allowing consumers and SMEs to be victims of credit card companies' predatory practices?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are disclosure requirements with respect to the interest charged by various credit cards. Different rates of interest are charged by different credit cards, so I encourage consumers in Canada to shop around and choose the credit card they want.

Some credit cards have higher rates of interest; they offer more benefits and points and things like that. Some are more bare bones and have lower rates of interest. It is good for consumers to shop around.

Workplace SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, safety in the workplace is a priority for Canadians and it is a priority for this government.

This is North American Occupational Health and Safety Week, giving us an opportunity to focus the attention of employers, employees and the general public on staying safe in the workplace, at home and in the community.

Could the Minister of Labour please share with this House why occupational health and safety is such an important priority for this government and why today's date, May 9, has such great significance?

Workplace SafetyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to ensuring that when workers go to work in the morning, they return home safely.

While it is North American Occupational Health and Safety Week, it is also an important date that marks the 20th anniversary of the tragedy that occurred at Westray Mine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia, in the riding of my colleague, the Minister of National Defence.

An entire shift, 26 miners, lost their lives that day, and the lives of their families, friends and community were instantly changed forever. It was this tragedy that ultimately led to the changes in the federal law in order to make it a criminal offence.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has made piecemeal promises about future changes to foreign investment rules, but 18 months after its potash fiasco, there is still no clear definition of “net benefit” or “national interest” or “strategic asset”.

Specifically, in the foreign bid by Glencore to take over Viterra, Canada's biggest grain company, do troubling public allegations against Glencore of past labour abuses, environmental degradation and even criminal matters get investigated in the assessment of net benefit, and how will any promise of a substantive head office in Regina actually get enforced?

Foreign InvestmentOral 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, the first adjudicators of this deal will be the shareholders of Viterra, who will vote sometime in late May, I understand. At the same time, there is the Investment Canada Act that has to be gone through, the Competition Bureau is looking at different aspects of the act and I can assure the member that the rules and regulations that are in play today are exactly the same that his government used for 13 years.

HealthOral Questions

May 9th, 2012 / 3:05 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, not content with just attacking refugees in their misguided legislation, Conservatives are also slashing temporary health care for vulnerable newcomers. Doctors have called this Conservative move “unfair, unethical and inhumane”. These cuts are short-sighted, and experts say they will end up costing Canadians more.

Does the minister even know how much more it will cost in long-term health care expenditures? Will he reverse these punitive and short-sighted cuts?

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, with respect to refugees, this government is increasing by 20% the number of resettled refugees that we accept from the around the world and increasing by 20% the integration assistance that they get through the refugee assistance program. No government has done more to help those who are facing persecution.

With respect to the interim federal health program, I will say what is unfair and unethical: a health program that gave better benefits to smuggled false asylum claimants than to Canadian seniors who have been paying their taxes their whole lives. With these changes, there will be fairness when it comes to health care.

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I read the encouraging news today informing Canadians that an increasing number of people are surviving cancer. I am proud of all the work our government has accomplished to inform and support Canadians about how to prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, but we are also doing a lot of work on the research side.

Would the hon. Minister of Health please provide some details to the members of the House on all the good work that is being done?

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Kildonan—St. Paul, for that great question. I would also like to thank the member for Barrie for introducing his bill, Bill C-314, regarding raising awareness for women with dense breast tissue. I hope it will result in more lives being saved.

Our government has invested almost $1 billion for cancer research since we formed government in 2006. We also renewed our funding commitment over the next five years for the Canadian Partnerships Against Cancer so that it can continue to do the great work that it is doing. Thanks to this, more people are—

HealthOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.