House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was qalipu.

Topics

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is good to hear that the government can change its mind, as we hope it will do with the closure of Veterans Affairs offices across the country and also increased access to mental health services.

Canada's veterans need specialized supports to help them. If the supports are not there, there is a risk that they will fall into homelessness, or even worse. Under pressure from the ombudsman and other advocacy groups, Veterans Affairs Canada has finally identified 250 homeless veterans across the country.

What is the government going to do to provide services to these vets, to identify others, and to make sure no veteran is forced to live on the streets?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not think anyone can say that our government has not consistently uploaded funds to ensure that not only our veterans but also their families are well cared for. We will continue to do that. At the very same time, initiative after initiative that we have included in budget after budget, that party voted against.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question was about homeless veterans.

In Montreal alone, at least 50 homeless veterans have been identified. Many of them have never used the services of Veterans Affairs Canada.

The government has a duty to ensure that no one who has served in the armed forces for their country ends up homeless.

What is the government doing to identify and help homeless veterans, and what will it do to ensure that new veterans do not end up on the street?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canadian veterans are eligible for thousands of dollars worth of benefits and services that are not available to the general public, which makes any case of a veteran living on the streets terrible and unfortunate and simply unnecessary. We are addressing those issues.

Identifying veterans among the homeless is a daunting task. I call on anyone with information about a veteran living on the streets to contact my office or the department immediately.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we were shocked to learn that the RCMP had reclassified hundreds of sports shooting rifles from non-restricted to prohibited. This happened after they had been legally sold in Canada for more than a decade. While there have been no criminal incidents reported with this rifle, with a stroke of the RCMP's pen, individuals who may have owned this rifle legally for the last 12 years are considered criminals as of today.

I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could please tell the House what the government's position is on this reclassification and confiscation scheme.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Conservative

Roxanne James ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, we are in fact very troubled by the situation that has arisen from the Swiss Arms rifle. This decision was made by bureaucrats and not by politicians. That is why the Minister of Public Safety has ordered an urgent review of this unfortunate decision. I would like to let all Canadians know that all options are on the table to ensure that no firearms owner who acted in good faith suffers any consequences as a result of this terrible situation. All of the options are being explored on a very urgent basis.

International TradeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, once we signed the free trade agreement with Europe, Quebec cheese producers started working on finding an appropriate compensation formula. They developed a plan that would ensure that additional import quotas were run by producers and that would harmonize the standards. These adjustments would be phased in over seven years.

This plan would provide appropriate compensation for cheese producers and would cost the federal government virtually nothing.

Will the Conservatives seriously consider this proposal?

International TradeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, the agreement between Canada and Europe will pump $1.5 billion a year into Canada's agricultural sector and $12 billion a year into Canada's economy.

Our government has always advocated for Canada's supply management system, and we will continue to do so with this agreement. The three pillars of our national supply management system will remain the same.

We will examine any potential effects of this historic agreement on the revenues of dairy farmers, and if the level of protection is negatively affected, we will provide financial assistance.

International TradeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of excellent Quebec cheeses have found their way to tables all across the country.

The thousands of tons of European cheeses that will be imported must not jeopardize that. That is why the government must carefully consider the proposal made by the Conseil des industriels laitiers du Québec. This proposal will allow us to comply with the free trade agreement and still ensure that this dynamic industry can be sustainable.

Is this proposal a good starting point to determine how to compensate Quebec cheese producers?

International TradeOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, this agreement will bring $1.5 billion a year into Canada's agricultural sector. That is a huge asset for the agricultural sector in Canada, including Quebec.

Canada has been granted unlimited access for all of its dairy products to the European Union, the largest and most lucrative market in the world. By comparison, under the Canada-Europe free trade agreement, the European Union has very limited access to the Canadian market, just 8% of our national consumption of cheese.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the coldest winters in years, and families in northern Ontario are getting burned by the massive hikes in propane prices. The cost of propane has almost doubled this year. One family I talked to recently is reporting heating bills of $800 to $900 per month.

When will the government stand up for Canadians, like Kathy and Arthur, and support the NDP's call for an oil and gas ombudsman?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan

Conservative

Kelly Block ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, in the chaos of the NDP's energy policy, we have discovered yet another startling idea: infringe on provincial jurisdiction. The distribution and pricing of propane is the responsibility of the provinces.

We are concerned about the impact of high prices and scarcity on families. That is why we have asked the NEB and the Competition Bureau to look into these issues. That action is within federal jurisdiction.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are not only getting squeezed by propane prices, they are getting gouged at the gas pumps, too. In Sudbury, gas prices are $1.40 a litre, and in the GTA they are $1.35 a litre. These price spikes hurt Canadians and have nothing to do with market forces.

Why will the Conservatives not support the NDP's long-standing call for a gas ombudsman to ensure competitive prices? Why will the Conservatives not stand up for Canadians getting hosed at the pumps?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this has to be the height of irony. The NDP members, who have long called for action to have higher prices on carbon and higher prices on gas to limit consumption, which it thinks is a bad thing, are today complaining about the very things they have called for.

I can tell them one thing. A Conservative government will never impose a carbon tax, a carbon tax that would hurt all Canadians, a carbon tax that we know the NDP wants to see. We will not do that. We are going to stand on the side of Canadian consumers and keep gas prices—

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

EmploymentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the official unemployment rate does not tell the whole story about the economy. In that way it is a bit like the government.

Statistics Canada's supplementary unemployment rate that adds in discouraged workers and involuntary part-timers was over 10% in January. This rate is known as the underutilization rate.

Why has the Conservative government allowed our great nation to perform so far below its potential?

EmploymentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeMinister of State (Social Development)

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of our record when it comes to creating jobs. Over one million net new jobs have been created since the height of the recession. The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the G7. That is because the government and this Prime Minister and this Minister of Finance understand budgets and finance, unlike the opposition, which thinks with pixie dust and well wishes the budget will balance itself.

EmploymentOral Questions

February 28th, 2014 / 11:50 a.m.

Some hon. member

And unicorns.

EmploymentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

And unicorns, possibly.

We will stick to our plan. It is a good plan. It is getting results for Canadians.

SportsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Olympic athletes have inspired us with exceptional performances in Sochi, just as our paralympians will in the coming weeks.

At a time when obesity rates are rising and driving up health care costs, we should be seizing this momentum to encourage more participation and healthy lifestyles. The Conservatives have wasted this golden opportunity by presenting a budget that cuts funding for sports and active living.

Given that the best health care cost is the one we do not have to spend, when will the government take concrete action to make improved fitness for all Canadians a national priority instead of gutting investments in sports infrastructure?

SportsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure where the member was for the last five years, but if he had watched the Olympics in Vancouver, if he had watched the Olympics in Sochi, he would have seen a program we implemented and funded, with record proportions, called own the podium. It is a program that not only has helped athletes win medals but has helped athletes become better individuals. They are leaders in our communities. They are telling children it is time to get involved and time to take action.

This government supports our athletes. I certainly have not seen the Liberal Party stand to support an athlete in this country in a long time when it comes to financial support.

Canada PostOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am receiving hundreds of letters from citizens concerned about the cuts to our postal service. Municipalities such as Nelson have written the minister urging Canada Post to reconsider its five-point action plan. Ending home delivery will have a huge impact on seniors, small businesses, those with disabilities, as well as many other Canadians.

Will the minister order Canada Post to put its proposed changes on hold until after the upcoming government postal review? Would she also ensure that the review process is open to public participation and will consider all innovative suggestions and proposals?

Canada PostOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Essex Ontario

Conservative

Jeff Watson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in 2012, Canada Post delivered one billion fewer letters than it did in 2006, but only the NDP thinks, as the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca said, “We definitely do not have a crisis at Canada Post”. It is the only party that believes there is no crisis.

Canada Post must balance its finances without being a burden on Canadian taxpayers, and that is exactly what this government expects it to do.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Acadie Nouvelle reported that mayors from New Brunswick and eastern Quebec have banded together to save passenger rail service in eastern Quebec and the Maritimes.

People are worried, mayors are worried, and after the NDP put the pressure on, even Conservative MPs from New Brunswick said they were worried and were working behind the scenes to save the railway.

Will the Minister of Transport save VIA Rail service between Halifax and Quebec City, yes or no?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Essex Ontario

Conservative

Jeff Watson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me say very clearly, when it comes to investments in VIA Rail, it is the Conservative members in New Brunswick who consistently stand up to ensure that VIA is supported, and not the NDP. The member knows, with respect to this specific line, that this was a business decision made by a private company. There is a regulatory process in place, which that company is following. While the discontinuance process is under way, CN is responsible for maintaining its track infrastructure.