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House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parks.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we can grow the economy with things like a green infrastructure fund. Today we actually learned from Global News that 80% of the green infrastructure fund has not been spent, showing a total lack of commitment to green infrastructure projects by the government.

But wait, there is more. In fact, the money that has been spent is going to projects like running government offices and pipelines, not exactly top-of-mind environmental priorities.

My question for the parliamentary secretary is: When will they quit with the greenwashing?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I believe if we checked the record over the last few years for any sort of green infrastructure funding or anything that would support the environment, we would see that the NDP voted against it.

By contrast, we are making tangible investment in green infrastructure, in research and development, to promote environmentally sustainable technologies and help get them to market.

Moreover, we are working with industry, with stakeholder groups. We are consulting with them to figure out how we can implement programs to see real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and water quality improvement.

In fact, the World Health Organization noted that we have the third-best air quality in the world. We are getting the job done.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development was at committee, he said the cultural connections for the aboriginal youth program was safe from cuts. However, in June, the Treasury Board froze all funding for this program. Friendship centres across the country had to close after-school programs and health, recreational and cultural programming.

Why does the minister not know what is going on in his own department?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, today I was at the Odawa Friendship Centre. I met with the national president. I met with the executive director. We are concerned about this issue. We are working with the executive director, we are at meetings this afternoon, official-to-official, and we will be realigning the program to meet our current needs for skills training development and job readiness for aboriginal youth. We are putting the train back on the tracks.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is National Aboriginal Day. We should be celebrating programs for youth instead of worrying about what is happening with friendship centres.

These are the programs that keep kids off the street and keep them going to school. Staff have been laid off, doors have been closed and uncertainty has grown around the cultural connections. This is a blow to the great work that friendship centres do across this country.

Why did the minister let this funding be frozen? Why did he not act before he was pressured into doing it?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, most of this programming is delivered through the friendship centres. The executive director of the National Association of Friendship Centres has called our current approach the right approach. He went on to say it shows a level of understanding that if we want to do it better we need to engage the people who the program is for.

That is what we are doing.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, education is not the only desperate need. According to a recent study, mould in homes is a growing problem. Over half of first nations dwellings are infested with mould, which causes serious health problems. The problem has gotten worse since the current minister has been in office. His solution is to hand out brochures.

When is the minister going to take this situation seriously?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of first nation community members is of primary concern to our government. That is why we developed, in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, a comprehensive national strategy to address mould problems and create healthier homes in first nation societies.

Since we formed government, we have built or renovated approximately 30,000 homes on reserves. That has been growing annually, and we have done 3,000 major renovations every year.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that education and housing problems have escalated since this minister came to office.

This winter we saw in Attawapiskat a symptom of a much larger crisis that is happening everywhere in this country. We also saw a minister completely lost, unable to do the right thing to improve the lives of people living in some of the worst conditions in this country.

Seeing that incompetence, why should aboriginal peoples trust the minister to resolve the national crisis that is striking them?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we had a housing issue in Attawapiskat. In very short order, we put 22 new homes into that community. We had a long-standing call for a new school in Attawapiskat. That school is currently under construction. Things are moving in the right direction. We even had a petition going around the community asking for retention of the third party manager, who we took out of the community as a result of pressure from the leadership and the reduced need for the manager's presence.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, unprecedented protests are taking place in Inuit and northern communities across this country to protest the high cost and lack of availability of healthy foods. People are fed up with this high cost and with the government's failure to act.

Will the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development stand here and do two things: one, recognize the government's failure to act when it comes to providing accessible, healthy foods to northern communities and, two, show some leadership with the government and put an end to the third world living conditions that aboriginal people in Canada face today?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is full of overblown rhetoric. We have a letter that was published today from the Stanton Group. This is an Inuit-owned food retailer in the Northwest Territories. In the first year of the nutrition north program, we have seen savings of up to 35% on perishable foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, meat and eggs, savings that have been passed on to northern residents. In our experience, the nutrition north Canada program is working well. That speaks for itself.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, some of those communities are having to pay at least $7 for a loaf of bread, so do not tell me that the program is working.

The government's much-touted nutrition north program has failed to address the basic food needs of Inuit Canadians. Northern communities cannot afford these sky-high prices. Even hunted game is expensive when we factor in the cost of gas and gear. The poverty in these communities is staggering.

When will the Conservatives concentrate on northern poverty? When will the Prime Minister shuffle someone in to start managing the portfolio?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, nutrition north Canada was a program that used to subsidize air freight and now subsidizes food at the retail level, nutritious perishable food for northerners. We are spending $60 million on the program in 103 communities. The evidence is now in that we have changed eating habits so that people are choosing healthier foods. The evidence is in that the price of those foods is reduced. The program is working and these complaints are illegitimate.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the social conditions of our first nations, Inuit and Métis people are this country's greatest failure and, in fact, our greatest shame. The Conservatives have a blank cheque for G.I. Joe to buy all the war toys that he wants, but they cannot find any new money whatsoever to deal with the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding before our very eyes. Aboriginal people need a champion around the cabinet table, not another minister for managing poverty.

In the interest of National Aboriginal Day, will the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development do the honourable thing and shuffle himself out of cabinet to make room for somebody else?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the current government has made incredible new investments in quality-of-life measures for first nations on reserves. We spent incredible amounts on the water and waste water systems. We injected major moneys into stimulus spending for housing on first nations reserves. We have covered the gamut. We are investing in new school infrastructure and new school programming. We have set our priorities along with collaborations with our partners, and the system is working as intended.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the government is fond of announcements and re-announcements, but it never delivers. The Conservatives announced the joint supply ships, cancelled them, re-announced them and still there is no sign of when they will be delivered. The Arctic patrol ships are more than three years late, which will delay the replacement of our destroyer fleet.

Among other examples are fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, military trucks and fighter aircraft.

When will the government actually deliver on its commitments?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to our shipbuilding strategy, after a very competitive and successful process two Canadian shipyards were selected to build our ships for the Coast Guard and navy. This is a long-term industrial strategy. It will go on for decades, and it will create an estimated 15,000 jobs in the shipbuilding industry. There is a lot of work to be done, but I have every confidence that the navy, working closely with Irving Shipbuilding, and the Coast Guard, working closely with Seaspan on the west coast, will do what they need to do to deliver these projects. We will remain vigilant, overseeing the contracts as they unfold, but we are very proud of our commitment to build ships in Canada and we know Canadian—

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, in November 2008 the PBO predicted a deficit, the minister a surplus. The PBO was right, the minister wrong. In December 2009, the PBO predicted a lapse in infrastructure spending. The PBO was right; the minister was wrong. In 2010, the PBO pegged cost overruns on the F-35 at more than $10 billion more than the minister. Again, the PBO was right and the minister was wrong.

There seems to be a pattern here. The PBO is more frequently right than wrong, and the government appears to be more frequently wrong than right. If this is overstepping the mandate, maybe we need a bit more of the PBO, not less.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, in 2009 this was said: “I'm quite concerned the Parliamentary Budget Officer sees himself as an independent practitioner who can report whenever he wants”. Who said that? It was the Liberal member for St. Paul's.

What the public can see through right away is that when the opposition members want to use the Parliamentary Budget Officer as an attack talking point, then they side with the Parliamentary Budget Officer; when they disagree because it does not fulfill their arguments, then they attack the Parliamentary Officer.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday night, watching from the Trois-Rivières marina, Captain Frigon witnessed a shipwreck and called the Quebec City search and rescue centre. Within a few minutes, four people were rescued by the Coast Guard. Tragically, two people are still missing.

Does the minister not see that time, ultra-fast intervention, full knowledge of French and familiarity with the St. Lawrence saved four lives?

Will he keep the Quebec City search and rescue centre open?

Search and RescueOral Questions

June 21st, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, of course we are saddened by any deaths and we are also very happy to hear that four lives were saved.

The changes we are proposing would have no effect on the services being provided. We would provide the same bilingual service, the same rapid response as the Coast Guard has always done in the past.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is another mark on the Conservatives' record.

Over six years, the Conservatives have developed a very detailed guide on what not to do with military procurement. They did not have a bidding process for the F-35s; they did not offer any guarantees of industrial spinoffs or jobs; and they hid $10 billion from the total of costs. The worst part of this whole fiasco is that no one has taken any responsibility.

Are they simply irresponsible?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we take responsibility in terms of meeting all the recommendations that the Auditor General has outlined in his report. Importantly, no money has been spent on the acquisition of any aircraft.

To replace our aging CF-18s, we have launched the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat. This arm's-length secretariat will be doing the due diligence very transparently and openly. We look forward to its conclusions.