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House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was scientists.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, many of them are produced specifically for broadcast on television networks, as was the case in this instance.

Many of the special ceremonies are in fact reaffirmation ceremonies. At every citizenship ceremony, Canadians are invited to reaffirm citizenship, including public servants. In this case, public servants could not get enough new Canadians to fill the studio, so some of them reaffirmed their citizenship, which is perfectly normal and legitimate—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order.

The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, apparently the Minister of National Defence was mightily upset with the lacklustre defence offered by the Chief of the Defence Staff concerning his inappropriate use of a search and rescue helicopter. On the other hand, when the CDS was questioned about his use of military aircraft, his support from the minister was tepid indeed.

However, unlike the minister, the CDS manned up and answered each and every question patiently and thoroughly, a model that should commend itself to the minister.

When will the minister man up and answer the public's questions about his inappropriate use of a search and rescue helicopter?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is a strong professional relationship between the Canadian Forces and the minister's office, as I stated earlier.

The Canadian Forces are responsible for human resources within that organization. With respect to the trip in question, that question has been answered many times before.

The BudgetOral Questions

June 5th, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians of all political stripes are now condemning the Conservatives' tactics.

At the convention last weekend in Saskatoon, the FCM passed a motion critical of the Conservative Trojan Horse budget bill. Mayors from coast to coast to coast are voicing their concerns about the gutting of environmental protections, because they know that when something goes wrong, they will be the ones to pay the price.

When will Conservatives start listening to cities and communities and finally agree to split the budget bill?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I was at the convention of FCM last weekend in Saskatoon.

What I heard is that they are so proud of what we have done together. They have supported what we delivered about infrastructure. We are the government that invested the most in Canadian history to help them to replace infrastructure and support them. That is what I heard.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, a lot can happen in a week. While hundreds of organizations oppose Bill C-38 because of its despicable content, now mayors from across Canada also oppose it, because the government likes to cut corners when the time comes to consult Canadians. Among other things, the mayors want all changes to legislation on the environment and on fisheries to be properly examined in committee, so that Canadians' voices can be heard.

Will the government stop going it alone and start listening to the municipalities?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course we are always happy to listen to the municipalities. I had the pleasure of meeting with the board of directors last week and giving a speech to the 1,600 representatives. A number of mayors came to see me afterwards to tell me how much they appreciate the support our government has provided in the past to the municipalities in replacing aging infrastructure.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Conservative Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

It is interesting to hear laughter from the people whose party voted against that.

Our government has done more for the municipalities than any other government in Canadian history. And we have good news: we will continue to do the same, since we are building a new infrastructure plan.

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that they are making cities pay the price for Conservative mismanagement. Shame on that minister.

My question is about the Conservative mismanagement of retirement security. Last month, private Canadian pension plans experienced one of the biggest slides on record. The funds lost all of the gains of the past year. This volatility is yet another example of why the Conservatives' reckless pooled registered pension plan scheme will not provide Canadians with retirement security.

When will they stop playing with the retirement security of Canadians? When will they stop playing retirement roulette?

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, opposition members would actually have the opportunity to answer their own question pretty soon, because we actually have a piece of legislation that is willing and able to help 60% of the people in the workforce who do not now have a pension plan. That is an incredible number of people.

NDP members have chosen to ignore the 60% of people in the workforce who do not have a pension. They complain about not helping those people who are looking towards retirement. That is what they are doing, voting against seniors, voting against people who want to build a retirement package.

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

That is not true, Mr. Speaker. The fact is that the Conservative plan is leaving Canadian seniors vulnerable. It is a disgrace.

Private Canadian pension plans have as little as 70¢ available for every dollar owed to retirees. This instability threatens Canadian retirement security. It is long past time to invest more in the stable, secure and predictable Canada pension plan.

When will the Conservatives expand the CPP and give Canadians a truly secure retirement savings option?

PensionsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Once again, Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the NDP has not done its homework. Its members do not understand the jurisdictional differences.

We do not have the jurisdiction to change the Canada pension plan whatsoever without the support of the provinces. We have actually consulted with the provinces and they have said that they support the pooled registered pension plan framework that we are putting forward. They do not all support increasing taxes on businesses and on employers, and that would be by increasing CPP at this time.

It is very important. Canadians are supporting this and most of the provinces are supporting it. It is too bad the NDP does not.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are increasingly concerned about elicit drugs being imported into Canada. In particular, there is a series of dangerous amphetamines with the street name “bath salts”. Unlike legitimate bath salts, these drugs have been known to cause serious psychotic episodes and extremely dangerous behaviour in those who use them.

The Safe Streets and Communities Act toughened penalties for the importation and exportation of dangerous drugs. Can the Minister of Justice please inform this House about the government's latest action to keep our streets and communities safe?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct in that the recently passed Safe Streets and Communities Act will crack down on those who would import these dangerous drugs into Canada. This legislation ensured that 21 different amphetamines, including two of the substances with the name of bath salts, will be moved into schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This means tougher sentences for those who import and traffic these dangerous drugs.

I would like to thank the Minister of Health for moving quickly to ensure that the drug MDPV is also listed in schedule I, thus giving more tools to law enforcement agencies.

Unfortunately the NDP and the Liberals voted against all our efforts to crack down on these dangerous drugs. Shame on them.

National Film BoardOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the arts community is currently crying for help to save the NFB's CineRobotheque. Indeed, the complex will have to close its doors because of the Conservatives' cuts. But it is central to the cultural life of Montreal, Quebec and Canada and has been for some 20-odd years. The CineRobotheque is well used by members of the public and artists alike. No fewer than 30,000 people visited it last year.

Philippe Falardeau, an Oscar nominee who has been praised many times by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, is a good example of the NFB's relevance: he got his start there.

Once again, the minister needs to think about the consequences. If the centre closes, we will be left with nothing, but we will see.

I invite him to reconsider his decision in order to keep this cultural centre open.

National Film BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I have told the House a number of times already that this government understands the importance of arts and culture in Canada, which is why this government has invested heavily in that sector.

Unfortunately, the NDP and the Liberals voted against all those investments. I hope that, in the future, the NDP will vote for our bills in order to support our artists.

We will always support our artists. We will always support communities across this country that want to join with us in investing in arts and culture because we understand how important it is to the Canadian economy.

We will continue to do that because we are going to focus like a laser on jobs and the economy. We hope the opposition will join us in doing that.

National Film BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government had a funny way of showing its support for artists in Canada when it cut both the NFB and Telefilm in the budget, including Mediatheque cinema in Toronto, which has had more than half a million visitors viewing more than 10,000 Canadian-made films, important films, films that tell the stories at the heart of who we are.

People make these films to share with Canadians and then the Conservatives close the cinemas that show the films. What kind of cultural policy is this?

Will the government reverse these absolutely senseless cuts?

National Film BoardOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has a problem here. Every single time we have moved forward with our economic action plan to invest in arts and culture, those members vote against it. When we support cutting taxes for families, they vote against it. When we support our scientists, our communities, they vote against it. Whether it is on resources, arts and culture or tax cuts for families, they vote against it. Anything that will create wealth in this economy, they vote against it.

We are very proud of the investments we have made in arts and culture, some of the highest levels of funding in Canadian history. The only thing we know for sure is that, no matter what we do, the NDP will vote against it.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, cutting culture and spying on veterans. The Conservatives have a fine record, to be sure.

In terms of violations of veterans' privacy, we thought we had seen it all. But here we have a Department of Veterans Affairs' inquiry into privacy violations that is now under investigation itself for privacy violations.

The allegation has led to an investigation by the Privacy Commissioner.

Can the minister tell us why he is incapable of putting a stop to the continued violations of veterans' privacy?

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear. Our government believes that any breach of confidentiality is totally unacceptable. That is why we do not agree with the Jolicoeur report. We do agree with the Privacy Commissioner's report and that is why I have asked the staff in my department to co-operate fully with the commissioner during her investigation.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, not only privacy issues are at stake at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Surprisingly, Sarah Atwood, a 90-year-old World War II veteran was denied access to Camp Hill. Ted Shiner, a 91-year-old veteran in Bedford, Nova Scotia, was denied VIP services just like 87-year-old Harry Gulkin of Outremont and Art Humphreys, who unfortunately passed away before he was able to get a lift to help him go up and down his stairs.

All these World War II veterans were denied benefits, but surprisingly the government found $700,000 to give to well-paid executive managers at DVA.

How can the minister possibly justify $700,000 to well-paid public servants and deny World War II heroes—

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have invested billions of dollars so that our veterans have access to all the services and benefits to which they are entitled.

Of course, veterans must meet the criteria to become eligible for those programs. That is what our officials do. They are dedicated people. Thousands of public servants are working every day to assess each veteran's specific needs. I can tell you that they do a remarkable job. We can be proud of the public servants in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their job is to look after a national treasure, our veterans themselves.