House of Commons Hansard #205 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pope.

Topics

Electoral BoundariesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the point about these robocalls is that the Conservatives first denied trying to interfere with Saskatchewan voters, and then they were caught red-handed with these harassing calls. That is the fact.

What is more, the Conservatives used Matt Meier, whose company was previously hired by Pierre Poutine. Remember him, the person who misdirected thousands of people with fraudulent voter calls?

What a small world. It looks like Matt Meier and the Conservatives have been caught red-handed this time. Will the government urge the Conservative Party to stop interfering with the non-partisan boundary commission? Will it stop trying to gerrymander?

Electoral BoundariesOral Questions

February 6th, 2013 / 2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the miscommunication was already acknowledged and corrected by the party.

What I find interesting, though, is that the NDP is condemning a practice in which it itself engaged. To quote Chantal Hébert, from February 27, 2012:

When [the hon. member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain] left the NDP to sit as a Liberal in January, the New Democrats hired a firm to robo-call her constituents.... The NDP was not identified as the sponsor of the calls....

However, the party claimed that the calls were not illegal and that they were perfectly comfortable with them.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, we did not—

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay has the floor.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives did what was okay they would have admitted it in the first place instead of trying to hide underneath their desks.

Let us get to another issue. Let us talk about Senator Come-From-Away, Mike Duffy, who hits up the taxpayer for $41,000 by claiming to live in P.E.I. Then he is an Ontario voter. Then he tries to scam a health card and is turned down. He does not even qualify for the income tax reduction on residency. When was the last time he even mentioned in the Senate the great people of Prince Edward Island? It has to be at least seven months, which is why the people of Cavendish call him “Mike Who?”

Instead of trying to defend their buddy, Senator Duffy, will the Conservatives try defending the taxpayer and get $41,000 back from this guy?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as has been said many times in the chamber, all parliamentarians are expected to maintain a residence both in their home region and here in the national capital region.

The Senate is, as we know, doing a review of its current rules and ensuring that they are properly applied to all senators.

Electoral BoundariesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act establishes independent commissions in each province, each headed by a judge. These commissions serve in good faith and expect non-interference from political parties, and especially from the government.

No party with a basic sense of ethics would contemplate attempting to pressure a boundary commission to reverse its proposals by conducting a robo-con propaganda campaign against it.

Why is the Conservative government now interfering with the Saskatchewan boundary commission?

Electoral BoundariesOral Questions

2:40 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. The process allows and encourages the public to make submissions. At the end of the day, the commission will make the decision.

However, 75% of the submissions they received during the initial process were in favour of the boundaries remaining the way they were. We stand with Saskatchewan residents in asking that the commission re-evaluate the work it did and re-establish the boundaries as they have been.

Electoral BoundariesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, no Canadian buys that excuse, nor do they buy that there was an internal communication problem to explain the political interference caused by the Conservatives' robocalls.

The Conservatives have admitted that they were behind this most recent manipulation, at a time when a parliamentary committee is examining the commission's report.

The parliamentary committee must examine the report objectively and in a non-partisan manner before responding to the commission.

Why does the Conservative government want to undermine the committee's work?

Electoral BoundariesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong about the process encouraging political interference.

In fact, as the member mentioned, there are actually parliamentary hearings into this. Obviously there is political input, although the final decisions are independent.

I will bet dollars to doughnuts that we will be able to find a lot of NDP submissions to these parliamentary hearings.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Sadly, Mr. Speaker, Canadians have had to rely on the EU for accurate information on the Canada-European trade agreement.

The latest CETA version, reportedly now on the Prime Minister's desk, is said to accept European patent protection and therefore impose additional drug costs on Canadians in the range of between $900 million and $1.9 billion.

Will the Prime Minister be honest with Canadians? Is it his intent to sign an agreement that will result in higher drug costs for Canadians?

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the hon. member's question. As a matter of fact, I reject much of what the hon. member says.

The reality is that our negotiators are focused on remaining issues. We are working on behalf of Canadians. We are working to produce jobs and opportunities for Canadian exporters and Canadian workers, and we will continue to do that.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that there are no negotiations going on at this time, because the file is on the Prime Minister's desk.

I would like to come back to the issue of the dairy industry. The federation and some of its members were here. This is an important sector: 12,700 dairy farms and over 218,000 jobs. We do not want to hear any petty political answers; we want to be assured that the Prime Minister will not go back on his word and that he will protect supply management.

Yes or no, will he commit to protecting supply management? It is important to Canada.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, our position on supply management is very clear, and it is the same position that we have maintained in various international negotiations. Actually, a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party is the one suggesting the abolition of the supply management system.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development told this House that under his government there has been “a steady increase in graduation rates for first nations”.

Sadly, sadly—just hold the phone, boys—

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I have asked hon. members before. If they wish to applaud a colleague, they can do so when they are finished putting the question or are finished answering the question, but not in the middle of it.

The hon. member for St. Paul's.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Sadly, Mr. Speaker, here is the truth from his department: 2009, 35%; 2010, 33%; 2011, 35%, and last year, 35% again.

Will the minister admit he was wrong and that this is a serious problem and commit that budget 2013 will fix this?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we are taking serious action to ensure that first nations students have access to a quality education, just like every other student in Canada.

That is why we have launched intensive consultations on the development of a first nations education act. We want to have that in place in September 2014 for the school year. We have already had one of our regional round tables in Nova Scotia, and we will have one on Friday this week in Saskatoon.

We are moving forward, and we are achieving success.

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, seven years ago today, the Prime Minister cancelled the national child care agreement. The Conservatives promised to create more child care spaces, but like so many promises, they failed to deliver. The reality for many parents is that regulated child care spots are few and far between, and parents are left with very difficult choices.

Why can the Conservatives not make life easier for parents and address the critical shortage of affordable, regulated child care spaces in Canada?

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are the party that believes that parents are the ones who should decide for their own children. That is why we brought in the universal child care benefit six and a half years ago now, and that has provided help to over three million Canadian children. That is $100 a month to help let the parents choose how their children are raised and where. Even if they decide to do it themselves, we will support that.

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly the minister has absolutely no intention of treating parents fairly. However, she is throwing out the baby with the bathwater when she fails to even acknowledge that child care also makes good economic sense. In Quebec, the child care program boosted its GDP, creating $1.7 billion in revenue provincially and $700 million for the federal government.

Why can the Conservatives not admit that a national child care program is both fairer to parents and makes good economic sense?

Child CareOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we do have a national program that is accessible by all parents. It allows them the freedom to choose whether they want to stay at home and raise their children, have granny look after them or go for traditional daycare.

However, traditional daycare is not available to all parents. It is simply not there. That is why we also gave the provinces a lot of money with which they have created well over 100,000 new child care spaces so that parents would have that option as well.

We are there for parents and for parents' choice, in other words.

VeteransOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, too often, the Conservatives turn their backs on veterans. Their so-called action plan in response to the ombudsman's recent report is no plan at all. According to the ombudsman, “the changes to the...application process...fall short of ensuring procedural fairness.”

Instead of proposing half measures to try to hide the problem, why do the Conservatives not do what is necessary to help the veterans who are being denied disability benefits without any justification?

VeteransOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear on this subject in the House. Not only are 70% of the applications that are submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs approved, but veterans receive a positive response 85% of the time across government. That is why we welcome the ombudsman's report. What is more, we have adopted measures to continue to keep veterans better informed of the information being used to process their claims.

The real question is why, every time we introduce measures to improve veterans' living conditions, the NDP fails to support them or, even worse, votes against them.