House of Commons Hansard #160 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parks.

Topics

VeteransOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our government has delivered, and today there are more services, more benefits and more points of service for our veterans than ever before.

Here are the facts. The opposition voted against expanding funeral and burial funding. It voted against career transition services. It even voted against the children of deceased veterans education assistance program.

We take no lessons from a party that speaks one thing and does another.

VeteransOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, ministerial responsibility is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. That person has caused the harm. He shut down nine veterans offices and allowed $1.1 billion to lapse when veterans needed help, and he says that it is somebody else's fault.

No, he is responsible. What is he waiting for to finally, for once in his life, do the honourable thing and resign?

VeteransOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have brought in real services and real programs for our veterans, and we will continue to do so in spite of the opposition voting against every one of those items.

The reality is that those members voted against disability and death compensation. They voted against the earnings loss and supplementary retirement benefits. They voted against the veterans independence program.

I hardly think we need to take any lessons from a party that says one thing and does exactly the opposite.

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in 2009—

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2009, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights unanimously decided that it was time to take action against impaired drivers.

Two years ago, I asked the Prime Minister about this, and he said that he was taking it seriously and that it was a priority. Two years later: nothing

There is nothing that governments do that is more important than saving human lives. A lot of them will be posing with people from Mothers Against Drunk Driving over the holidays.

Here is our only question for the Conservatives. Since that unanimous report in 2009, more than 5,000 Canadians have died because of drunk driving. What are they waiting for to act?

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in fact, impaired driving is still the number one criminal cause of death in our country. It is a very serious issue.

He has alluded to the fact that many of us, including myself, have met with members of MADD Canada, as well as other justice groups that are advocating for changes to the Criminal Code. We have contemplated seriously the changes that are required. We hope to have legislation forthcoming.

International TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, former Premier Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador was there to announce that there was a deal with the federal government: $280 million would flow to Newfoundland and Labrador as compensation for the European trade deal. Now we find out that the government is imposing conditions that will mean, in practical effect, that the $280 million it promised will never flow.

Why did the government make the promise to Newfoundland and Labrador and break it such a short while later?

International TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to working out the details of this minimum processing requirement fund with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The fund was created to compensate for anticipated losses from the removal of minimum processing requirements. The fund was never intended as a blank cheque that would give the industry of Newfoundland and Labrador an unfair advantage over other Atlantic provinces.

We have been very clear from the start that the MPR fund was to compensate for demonstrable losses.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for years, the Prime Minister has been promising “sector by sector regulations to combat climate change”. In 2008, he not only promised a cap and trade, he promised specific regulations for oil and gas.

Now the same Prime Minister has suddenly said that his own idea of promising those very regulations would be “crazy”. It is his idea that he is now calling crazy. What does it say about the Prime Minister that he considers his own ideas to be crazy?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, what is crazy is a job-killing carbon tax.

What the Prime Minister said was that Canada would not take unilateral action and impose taxes and monetary penalties on the oil and gas sector. This is a North American issue that needs a North American solution. We have always said that we would work together with the United States on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the oil and gas sector.

We are the first government in Canadian history to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Westmount—Ville Marie.

VeteransOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, two years ago, the Auditor General informed us that the Conservatives were underestimating veterans' needs and that demand would probably go up.

What did the minister do? He cut 1,000 jobs, and the biggest cuts were made to front-line programs for health, financial and transition services. The minister is not only incompetent; he is also mean.

Why is the Prime Minister putting up with this? When will he show this incompetent and insensitive minister the door?

VeteransOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we support our veterans. The reality is that we voted for many of the benefits and services for veterans and their families.

However, let me just inventory a few of the items that the Liberal Party voted against. They are the veterans independence program, the earnings lost benefit, the supplementary retirement benefit, the financial support program, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, career transition services, the disability allowance, and many more.

Again, the hypocrisy is more than anybody can really believe.

VeteransOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, when it was convenient, the Prime Minister praised the new veterans charter. For example, in 2006, in speaking with veterans, he claimed to support the troops and noted, “ This veterans charter is one example of our government’s commitment”. However, when it became clear how badly his government had mismanaged that supposed commitment, he rushed to blame the charter on a previous government.

The Prime Minister has been exposed for his mean-spirited neglect of our veterans. How can they possibly trust anything he says?

VeteransOral Questions

December 11th, 2014 / 2:25 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, since the advent of the new veterans charter, what this government has done consistently year after year, while the opposition has voted against it, is enhance the benefits, the services and the delivery of programs for veterans and their families.

We have been delivering for our veterans. We continue to do so, while the opposition opposes everything we do.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, while we believe the Conservatives should have long ago invested in mental health services for those who serve, they seem incapable of announcing money for military mental health without skirting into questionable ethical grounds.

Today's announcement of a new centre of excellence includes funding of a half a million dollars from military contractor General Dynamics Corporation, which receives tens of millions of dollars in contracts from the Conservative government.

In its rush for good news announcements, does the government really not see the conflict of interest created by General Dynamics Corporation contracts with DND?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Selkirk—Interlake Manitoba

Conservative

James Bezan ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to providing the best care possible for our men and women in uniform. It was our government that boosted the mental health budget for the Armed Forces by over 20%. Members who are battling mental illness have greater access to specialized care more than ever before.

The Canadian Armed Forces has established a new national Canadian Military and Veterans Mental Health Centre of Excellence and created a Chair in Military Mental Health, working in partnership with the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. We are seeking even further opportunities to advance military-related mental health research. Our brave men and women in uniform deserve nothing less.

VeteransOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, 900 positions were eliminated at Veterans Affairs. That is more than a third of the unit that administers services and 372 positions in the health and rehabilitation unit. To mask their ideological cuts, the Conservatives claimed that this would not affect services.

That is what got us into the mess we are in right now: veterans are dying before they can get the care they need and others are committing suicide. This makes no sense.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for? When will he dismiss this completely incompetent minister?

VeteransOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the work that we on this side of the House have been doing, while the opposition constantly votes against our programs and services for veterans.

We opened or announced new front-line medical facilities for veterans' mental health. We are working with family resource centres to support medically-released veterans and their families. We have shrunk the application and the paperwork to deliver more services upfront for our veterans. We have created new monthly financial benefits totalling thousands of dollars each year for seriously injured veterans.

The opposition votes against all these things.

VeteransOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is totally out of touch.

For two years, he has been unable to forecast the needs of his department; yet, he has done nothing to correct the situation, despite a stern warning from the Auditor General, who told him that his data did not take into account the growing needs of soldiers with post-traumatic stress.

For the past two years, the minister has been laying off all kinds of staff and closing regional offices without knowing what the future needs would be. Now, he has to backtrack and rehire some staff.

It is high time the Prime Minister gave veterans a nice gift by dismissing this irresponsible minister.

VeteransOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, all of us on this side of the House are proud of the fact that we have been, and continue to, looking after the needs of our veterans and their families. We do that through the delivery of programs and services.

Let me give the House just one example where the NDP voted against a program, and that was disability and death compensation benefits for our veterans. The New Democrats voted against that.

VeteransOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have failed veterans every step of the way, and they refuse to take responsibility.

A 2012 Auditor General's report warned that Conservative mismanagement was: (a) creating a mess at Veterans Affairs; (b) failing veterans on mental health issues and PTSD; and (c) creating a state of confusion with front-line case managers.

The Conservatives' response was to cut front-line staff and close regional offices. It is inexcusable. When will they finally fire the minister?

VeteransOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have brought in real services and real programs for our veterans, and we will continue to do so in spite of the NDP voting against all of these things.

The reality is that the New Democrats keep voting against every program or measure that we have brought forward. They voted against disability and death compensation, earnings lost and supplementary retirement benefits and the veterans independence program.

There are no lessons to be learned on this side of the House from that party which votes against the very things we are trying to achieve for our veterans.