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House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was changes.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, with the changes to the interim federal health program, asylum seekers and resettled refugees will continue to receive basic health insurance. That same level of service is available to all Canadian taxpayers. We are ending supplementary insurance, which is not available to Canadians.

Does the NDP think that visitors and refugees who have been turned down by our legal system should receive supplementary benefits in addition to the basic insurance?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's attitude is shameful. Sitting here, I am wondering if we should believe the minister or the doctors? I will take the doctors any day.

On this side of the House we believe that no one in Canada should have to choose between food and health care. No one should have to wonder if their sick child will be denied treatment because of the balance of their bank account. Canadians expect leadership to improve access to health care, not senseless cuts to limit it.

Today we stand with doctors and refugees across the country and ask when the minister will reverse these cuts.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP, this government stands with Canadians, Canadians who pay taxes to provide generous benefits to refugees. We will continue to do so. We will continue to meet our humanitarian obligation to provide the same basic package of health care insurance to the vast majority of asylum claimants and to resettled refugees that are available taxpaying Canadians through provincial health care programs.

What we will no longer do is provide supplementary extra benefits that are not available to taxpaying Canadians. Nor will we provide health insurance to failed rejected asylum claimants who should no longer be--

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, with Iran beating its political prisoners and innocent Syrians enduring the Assad regime, Canadians expect the United Nations to devote its time and resources to serious violations of human rights.

And yet, in a speech this morning, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights felt the need to criticize Quebec's Bill 78, which was democratically adopted by an elected assembly.

Can the minister tell the House how Canada is reacting to these disturbing comments?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government respects the jurisdiction of each province, and especially the right of the Quebec National Assembly to make its own laws for its own territory.

We have a robust judicial system here in this country, and citizens are able to contest laws if they think they are unconstitutional or otherwise flawed. It is quite strange that the high commissioner would say such things, given the situations in Syria, Iran, Belarus and Sri Lanka.

Although some NDP members have participated in the student conflict, we believe—and hope—that the NDP will join us in denouncing the statement by the high commissioner and affirming the right of the province to adopt its—

Human RightsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, the much ballyhooed seven point action plan for the F-35s is now down to six points and a maybe.

Apparently, the minister does not want to disclose the price of the F-35 because “we want to get it right”, this time.

I have two questions. First, does that mean that the minister never did get it right in the first place? Second, does the minister accept that the American price of $137 million per plane will in fact be the Canadian price?

National DefenceOral Questions

June 18th, 2012 / 3 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

No, Mr. Speaker. What it means is that we are following the recommendations of the Auditor General and he recommended that the Department of National Defence table updated cost estimates.

We have gone further than that. We have said that we want those cost estimates to be independently validated.

The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat recommended, on Wednesday, that it be given more time to provide a complete and independently verified update. We agreed with this approach and have given the secretariat more time to do its work.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

José Nunez-Melo NDP Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, every year, thousands of immigrants choose to make their life in the city of Laval. It is their home port.

Yet the Conservatives want to make life more difficult for all current and future claimants. Laval needs immigrants in order to keep developing. With Bills C-38 and C-31, the Conservatives are putting the brakes on Laval's prosperity and economic development.

Why are they attacking immigrants?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, that question is rather special. Indeed, the government has noticed that immigration in Canada is at an all-time high and is the highest per capita in the developed world.

Quebec selects its own economic immigrants under the Canada-Quebec agreement on immigration. That being said, Bill C-31 is not about immigration. It addresses the abuse of our asylum system and human smuggling.

Do the hon. member and the NDP believe that Laval's economy depends on bogus asylum claims and illegal immigration? I do not. I believe that the people of Laval agree with this government: we need to fight human smuggling and the abuse of our asylum system—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans.

Library of ParliamentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Library of Parliament is an institution that goes back to the 1790s when the legislative libraries of Upper and Lower Canada were created.

To this day, the professionals of the Library do exceptional work to facilitate our tasks as part of ontarians.

The library houses an outstanding collection of books and documents that illustrate Parliament's rich history, as well as our country's majestic geography and enviable economy.

With that in mind, could the government House leader please give the House an update on the status of the search for the next parliamentary librarian?

Library of ParliamentOral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans for his excellent work and for his support of libraries and librarians.

I am pleased to announce that today the government nominated Sonia L'Heureux as the new Parliamentary Librarian. Ms. L'Heureux is currently the Assistant Parliamentary Librarian and provides an exceptional and professional service to parliamentarians. She is the perfect person to run the Library of Parliament. We are pleased that she has accepted this nomination.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives did not respond to all of the questions regarding the employment insurance reform because they slapped a gag order on all steps of the process and prevented proper study in committee.

I will give them another chance to explain.

What will happen to someone who loses his job and is forced to accept a job at 70% of his salary, when he then loses that job? Will he be forced to accept another 30% pay cut? Where will the cheap labour spiral end?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government's priority is economic growth and job creation. What we are going to do is help unemployed workers find jobs. This will be better for them and for their families.

I have to wonder: while we want to help people find work, why does the NDP not want to help people work?

ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are obsessed with their many austerity measures, but they are refusing to tell us where and how the most draconian cuts will be made.

We have learned that cuts to embassy staffing will force people to wait nine months instead of three for the visas they need to adopt children from the Philippines. Quebec families that were at the final stage of the process have just been informed that they will have to wait many more months for the children they are so eager to adopt.

How can the government justify causing such a terrible situation and forcing families and orphans to pay the price for its ideological cuts?

ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, frankly, I do not know what the member is talking about because there has been a huge increase in immigration and the number of visas at our Manila office in the Philippines.

Over the past three years, Canada has received more immigrants from the Philippines than from anywhere else, and we have increased our service levels accordingly.

I believe that the hon. member is absolutely wrong.

Decorum During Voting on Bill C-38Points of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday evening, I rose on a question of personal privilege to say that two members had directed a Nazi salute against the Prime Minister when he stood to vote. I did not name the individual members as a matter of courtesy because their gestures followed a very long day of votes. Also, I did not mention the Liberal Party by name, since I did not believe then and do not believe now that the members' behaviour would be acceptable to members of that party, in particular its interim leader, nor indeed to any party in the House. My purpose was to comment on an utterly unacceptable incident which I personally found to be exceptionally offensive, and to preclude it from happening again.

However, after I spoke, the member for Malpeque rose to say that he had merely waved at the Prime Minister. Then on Friday an article appeared in The Guardian in which the member stated that there were no salutes from his side and that he was peeved and insulted. He also said that not naming anyone created a controversy. Furthermore, the article referred to comments in the House from the member for Bourassa and the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, who said I was blaming the entire opposition by not naming the individuals.

While I had not wanted to prolong this, the member's denial and his and other members' demands for identification of the individuals involved compel me to respond. It was in fact the member for Malpeque and the member for Vancouver Centre who raised their arms in a rigid position at a 45° angle, clearly the gesture of a Nazi salute. There was no ambiguity. When I saw it, I said “disgusting” in their direction several times and they did not ask what I found so offensive. Later, when I rose on my question of privilege, the member for Vancouver Centre left the House, only to return later to stand for awhile behind the curtains in the corridor.

There are members in this House whose relatives fought and died for Canada in the Second World War and others whose relatives perished in the Holocaust. Such a vile and universally condemned gesture is particularly shocking in this place of honour and tradition. The heat of partisanship never justifies a vicious personal attack that sullies the reputation of our parliamentary democracy.

I had hoped the members responsible would have apologized to the House on Thursday, or at least remained silent and then apologized to me privately. That would have been the decent and smart thing to do. Since this was not to be, I call on them to apologize now. Doing the honourable thing would permit us all to move on.

Decorum During Voting on Bill C-38Points of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I would agree that such a salute, as the member said, would be vile and unacceptable in this place. I would agree with that. However, as I said the other night, there was no such salute from me. I sat in my chair and I pointed at the Prime Minister. That is what I did, and I pointed exactly like this. It was not a wave and it was not and should not have been construed as a salute. No such thing happened on my part. I cannot answer for others in this place. If I had made that gesture, I would have recognized that it was wrong and I would have apologized to the member, because I agree 100% that such a salute should not be made in this place. I accept that.

Decorum During Voting on Bill C-38Points of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I reluctantly stand in this House to say that I too saw the action of the member opposite and unfortunately it was not as he describes it now.

Actions and words, even if accidentally done, elicit emotional responses. I believe that the actions as they would have been interpreted by any reasonable person seeing them would have been seen as the minister describes. They defile the memory of the Holocaust and are something which we in this House would find reprehensible. If the hon. member did not intend to communicate what was in fact communicated by his actions, I would ask that he apologize for how they would be interpreted because it was clear in the way it was presented that anybody would see it as a gesture that would be unacceptable in this House.

Decorum During Voting on Bill C-38Points of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the allegations made by my friend, the Minister of Natural Resources, are very troubling. Let us recall that it was a rather unusual session which came at the end of 24 hours. It is something that we all take very seriously. We all know the significance of the salute to which the minister is referring. I want to say two things.

First, no one in this House, in this party or any other party, would condone such an act or would expect such an act to go without an appropriate apology. I would also apply that to people who compare their opponents to Hitler. I would also apply that to people who refer to members, like the member for Mount Royal, as an anti-Semite. I would also apply that to members who, in leaflets throughout the last couple of years, have said that members of the Liberal Party of Canada, including its interim leader, are somehow anti-Israel. I would include all those things in saying they are indeed reprehensible.

Second, what we have today is a clear statement from the member for Malpeque that he in fact did not make any such gesture. Something could have been misunderstood or misinterpreted. He has clearly indicated that. He is somebody whose record and history in this House and his work on behalf of the people of Canada would belie any such effort on his part. I think his word should be taken for what it is: his word. That is the way this House has always operated and that is the way this House should continue to operate.

Decorum During Voting on Bill C-38Points of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I sit directly behind the two hon. members who have been accused in this matter, the member for Vancouver Centre and the member for Malpeque. I was not watching them every second, but I do know that when the hon. member--

Decorum During Voting on Bill C-38Points of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Decorum During Voting on Bill C-38Points of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am finding it difficult to continue. I will try again in a minute.