House of Commons Hansard #184 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was hamilton.

Topics

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried about the derailments of oil tankers. The number of cars transporting oil is increasing exponentially, and since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy both the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the Auditor General have criticized the government for its lack of oversight.

What was the government's response? It hired one more inspector. That is the only additional rail safety inspector hired since 2013. Does the minister think that that is enough?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the actual numbers of rail safety inspectors are up by 10%, and the numbers of dangerous goods inspectors are up by over 85%.

That being said, I would like to inform that House that today, my officials at Transport Canada have provided an information update online with respect to the new car standard that they are looking at, which increases what we have been working on with respect to tank car and containment here in the country. I invite the hon. members to take a look at it.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is still an oversight issue. Northern Ontario has now been affected by three train wrecks in less than a month. Communities are concerned for their safety, and the Conservatives' proposed disaster compensation fund falls far short of what is needed.

A U.S. government study predicts that the financial toll of a major accident could be as much as $6 billion. Transport Canada has its own analysis, but the government is keeping it secret.

Will the minister make this risk analysis public so that we can ensure that our communities are protected?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to talk about the safe and accountable rail act, which our government introduced last week. I certainly do hope that the opposition members will support it full-throated because of the great things it would do. For example, it would make sure that polluters do pay in the case of an untimely accident with respect to rail.

Specifically, it is important to note that it is a very comprehensive regime, with $1 billion in liability insurance backed up by a $250-million compensation fund paid by shippers and all backstopped by being able to go out and charge railroads, should it be in excess of that.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the previous government always ran a trade surplus while the current government has 49 months of a trade deficit. It is also weak on jobs, both in quantity and quality.

When CIBC reported that reality, the finance minister simply trashed it. CIBC is a sham, he said. However, it is not just CIBC. The same jobs analysis came from TD Bank, the Bank of Canada, the OECD, Morgan Stanley, York University, the PBO and many others.

Are they all lying? Are all of them a sham?

EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to disappoint the hon. member, but what the Parliamentary Budget Officer actually said is that this government has cut taxes by $3,400 for the average family, with a disproportionate amount of that money going to low- and middle-income families. Those lower taxes have helped create 1.2 million net new jobs, 80% of them full-time, 80% of them in the private sector and two-thirds in high-paying industries.

The Liberal one-point plan for the economy is to raise taxes on families and job creators. We will not let them.

EmploymentOral Questions

March 11th, 2015 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is a threadbare government in abject denial. It has increased taxes in each of its last five budgets. It has the worst growth record in eight decades. Job creation is only half of what the previous government achieved. Job quality is the worst in 25 years. One third of those soon retiring have no savings. Consumer debt is the highest ever. Federal debt has grown by nearly $5,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.

Does the minister not understand that a big majority of Canadians want something new, different, and better than this?

EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the kind of question—

EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The member has asked a question. I am sure he is quite keen to hear the answer.

The hon. Minister of Employment and Social Development.

EmploymentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the kind of question that we would expect from a party whose leader thinks budgets will just balance themselves.

Here are the facts. Income taxes are down by 10% and after-tax incomes are up by 10%. In fact, they are up by 14% for the lowest-income families. We have lowered taxes by $3,400 for the average family of four, we have balanced the budget, and we have the lowest debt by far as a share of our economy of any of the G7 economies. We are going to continue with our economic action plan because it is working.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the processing time for sponsorship applications of spouses living in Canada is now 25 months. That is 25 months during which thousands of young Canadian families must live with insecurity and uncertainty as they wait for an answer.

The minister told us that the wait times would go down, but the opposite is happening. The times continue to increase.

What is the problem? Is it a lack of resources? Are they indifferent to the suffering of these families? Is the minister prepared to admit that there is a problem? Will the minister finally reduce these processing times?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, our government is certainly very proud of its record regarding the reforms made to all its immigration programs over the last nine years.

We achieved the highest immigration rates in Canadian history, and that includes family reunification. I am very sorry that the hon. member does not realize that. Furthermore, at the end of last year we announced yet another new reform, which is a pilot project to provide work permits to sponsored spouses. We have already issued thousands of such work permits this year. We will continue working on reforming our immigration system.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, regional airports in Quebec like the Trois-Rivières airport generate over $3 billion in economic activity.

The Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec wants the government to invest in regional airports to turn them into real engines of economic development. Unfortunately, our airport facilities have been underfunded for years under the Liberals and Conservatives.

Will the minister finally do something to support economic development in the regions of Quebec?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, Canada's current government has been helping airports across Canada, including in Quebec, for a long time now. Airports are tools for economic development, but we have to work with the partners.

Canada Economic Development has put forward a program to help extend a number of runways. That will continue to be done in Quebec. That being said, we are working with associations and organizations. We will not replace the boards of local airports, but we will work with them.

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Wai Young Conservative Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently the Minister of International Trade and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration welcomed China's long-term, multiple-entry visas for Canadians.

Can the Minister of International Trade share with the House how this significant announcement will benefit all Canadians, from tourists and business people to those visiting their families in China?

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I want to especially thank the member for Vancouver South for the critical role she played in securing ten-year multiple-entry visas from China. These visas will make it easier for business people, family members, and tourists to travel to China. They will further strengthen our robust trade and investment relationship and cement our strong people-to-people ties with our second-largest trading partner.

Canadians know that this government's priority is to reduce costs, cut red tape, and make it easier for Canadian small and medium-sized companies to increase exports and grow their businesses.

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, those were nice words from the trade minister, but in January Canada posted a walloping $2.5 billion trade deficit, the second-highest in our history. Our dismal trade performance is especially worrying given the weakness of the dollar, usually a boon to exporters, and the economic rebound in the United States, our largest foreign market. The government is very good at throwing $100,000 parties to announce unfinished trade deals, but it is ignoring this worrying erosion of our exporting muscle.

When will the government finally table a budget with a plan to reverse this worrying decline?

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite wrong. In fact, in 2014, Canada posted a trade surplus of nearly $5 billion, with exports up 11% from the previous year. Our pro-export plan is working, and we will continue to promote the interests of our exporters, investors and manufacturers.

What is more, our government's low-tax plan has resulted in the creation of 1.2 million new jobs in Canada. This is a record we are proud of. These jobs are overwhelmingly full-time private sector jobs in high-wage industries.

Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our government remains focused on creating—

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, Air Canada employees at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport are upset about being asked to work every day with a baggage scanner that operates only in English. This is despite the fact that the Commissioner of Official Languages has been clear: Air Canada employees have the right to work in the official language of their choice. This is by no means the first time that Air Canada has violated the rights of francophones.

Does the minister responsible for official languages think that is acceptable?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as I have said repeatedly, our government is very proud of its record on official languages. They are our country's national languages, and we have invested a record $1.1 billion across 14 departments, which are managing their files properly. I therefore suggest that my colleague contact the appropriate department directly.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been clear. They want their government to make decisions that will lead to more choice, lower prices, and better service in the wireless sector. For new wireless companies to be able to compete and provide choice to Canadians, spectrum is essential.

Could the Minister of Industry please update the House on how last week's AWS-3 spectrum auction will deliver more choice for consumers in the wireless market?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as everything in our lives from academic pursuits to our digital economy continues to grow, the demand for wireless spectrum is only going to continue to be a demand for Canadians.

Canadians want the latest and best technology, including fast download speeds, in all areas of the country. Our spectrum policy has resulted in more spectrum being put into the hands of the marketplace to benefit consumers than has happened with any government before in Canada's history.

Better than that, when we formed government, less than 2% of all wireless spectrum was in the hands of wireless service providers other than the big three. Now more than a quarter of all wireless spectrum is going to be in the hands of competitors, which will drive down prices and create more choice for Canadian consumers. It is a big win for Canadians.

Canada PostOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, first Canada Post eliminated home delivery without consulting Canadians. Now it is sending letters to people in St. John's notifying them that they will soon have community mailboxes right in front of their homes on city easements. They did this without consulting residents or getting the approval of the City of St. John's.

How can the minister allow Canada Post to install these mailboxes so close to people's homes and properties without permission?