House of Commons Hansard #211 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was families.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite correct. The latest videos that he referenced have been approved by National Defence.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, that makes twice in one week that the Prime Minister's Office released videos that compromise our soldiers' safety. Apparently, no one at the PMO learned from those mistakes because the new images are almost identical to the ones that had to be removed last week.

We seriously question the Conservatives' priorities. The safety of our soldiers is beyond price. Are the Conservatives really prepared to do anything to get a good photo op for the Prime Minister?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Again, Mr. Speaker, as I just said, National Defence has reviewed these videos and has approved them for viewing.

VeteransOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, when people decide to join the armed forces to serve their country, they expect to get their government's support once that service is completed. It is a pact that every member of the armed forces has with their government. However, after fighting in service, our veterans have to keep fighting against their government, this time to get the compensation and services to which they are entitled.

If the government plans to support our motion, in what tangible way does it plan to honour our obligations to our veterans?

VeteransOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Erin O'Toole Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, being on the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, we have before the House Bill C-58, which is the most substantive set of reforms to veterans' benefits and programs in a generation. We have the retirement income security benefit, the critical injury benefit, the family caregiver relief benefit, on top of improvements to permanent impairment allowance, and our commitment to top up case managers and processing for disability benefits. We are moving at a furious pace to address these needs.

Bill C-58 has a purpose statement, which outlines the obligation we owe to the men and women who served us. I truly hope that by bringing this motion today, the New Democrats will also move forward and support Bill C-58 in the House.

VeteransOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, 10 times we have asked the question if there is a social obligation to care for veterans and 10 times we have not received an answer.

My question for the Minister of Veterans Affairs is this. Ernest Campbell, a 78-year-old veteran in Nova Scotia, was denied access to Camp Hill Hospital even though there were empty beds in that hospital, like there are empty beds across the country for modern-day veterans. The federal government will not pay for his medical care as it does for World War II and Korean veterans.

Will the minister now allow the heroes of our country, like Ernest Campbell, the opportunity to go into Camp Hill, paid for by the federal government?

VeteransOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Erin O'Toole Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC

Mr. Speaker, as the member well knows, in the 1960s and 1970s as the provinces stood up their health care systems, the federal government transferred the Veterans Affairs hospitals to the provinces. What he does know is that any veterans injured in the line of duty for Canada will have their health care and long-term care paid for by the federal government. We do that through contract beds with the provinces.

The real question is, since Camp Hill, which I have enjoyed touring on occasion, transferred to the provincial government in 1977, did the member lobby the NDP government that owns that facility to grant access to those beds?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us make one thing clear right now. Doubling the contribution limit for TFSAs will do nothing for 93% of Canadians. The Conservatives want to pass that problem on to our grandchildren. Only 7% of Canadians make the $5,500 maximum contribution to TFSAs.

Instead, the Liberal Party is suggesting a 7% tax cut for the middle class and a simple, generous and tax-free program that will give money back to nine out of ten families.

Why are the Conservatives against a tax cut and a plan to give money back to 90% of Canadian families?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, almost two-thirds of people who max out their tax-free savings accounts earn less than $60,000 a year.

The Liberals believe that people who earn less than $60,000 a year are too rich and should be taxed more. The Liberals also want to cancel income splitting for families. That will increase taxes for about 50% of families with children. Finally, there is an enormous gap of billions of dollars in their plan. They will have to increase taxes even more than what they are calling for at this time to fill that gap.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Eve Adams Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, doubling the TFSA limit to $10,000 gives another expensive tax break to the rich. The middle class will pay for the tax break and when the program becomes completely unaffordable, the Minister of Finance says our future grandchildren can figure it out.

Only 7% of Canadians could contribute the TFSA limit in 2013 and the number has gotten smaller each year. Why would the Conservative government increase the TFSA limit at a cost of billions of dollars in the years ahead instead of trying to help the middle class and those working so hard to join it?

TaxationOral Questions

May 11th, 2015 / 2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that Liberal member campaigned vigorously in favour of doubling the tax-free savings account. She went to door after door promising voters that if she were elected, she would double the tax-free savings account to give people more of their money to save for a brighter future. Some 60% of those who maximized their TFSAs earn less than $60,000 a year. She made a solemn promise to help lower their taxes. Why is she promising now to raise taxes on those very same people?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, even though the Conservative government continues to waste money on those inane television ads especially during the playoffs here, it refused to settle EI benefits with sick moms in this country. One such mom, Jennifer McCrea, was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. She was refused her sick EI benefits. She went to her MP, who just happens to be the Prime Minister, who did nothing for her.

Why did the Prime Minister not just go to his chief of staff and say, “Nigel, could you fix this for me? Could you make it good to go?” He has done that before.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, obviously our hearts go out to all the families who are in circumstances such as these. That is why in 2013, our government brought in the Helping Families in Need Act, that ensures that parents who fall ill while they are on parental leave can actually access sickness benefits.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are learning a little bit more about the saga of the activities of the Prime Minister's Office.

Canadians expect the Prime Minister's Office to work on government issues, for example, on their behalf. However, in 2012, some members of the Prime Minister's Office were instead working on handling the Senate scandal.

Did the Prime Minister task his staff to look after Senate business?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, this case is before the courts. It would obviously be very inappropriate for me to comment on evidence that is before the courts.

As I said, it is equally inappropriate to use taxpayers' resources for partisan political purposes, like the member for Gatineau who used $24,498 that was supposed to be spent in her riding but funnelled it to an illegal office in Montreal. I hope that she and the other 67 members of the NDP caucus will do the right thing and pay that money back.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did the Prime Minister's Office stay well informed, but it also decided to intervene. First, the Prime Minister's staff got its hands on a so-called confidential report. Then, the staff tried to alter the findings to protect the reputation of his good friend Mr. Duffy.

Can the Prime Minister tell us why he let members of his office tamper with the Senate's files?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, this case is before the court. It would be inappropriate for me to comment.

As I just said, it is inappropriate to use House of Commons or taxpayers' resources for partisan political purposes. We know, for example, the member for Rivière-du-Nord used over $25,000 destined for his riding. He in fact funnelled it to an illegal office in Montreal. He should pay that money back, do the right thing for himself and his constituents and pay the money he used against the rules of this House.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, in trying to deflect for the Prime Minister, the member has been making a mockery out of question period. No wonder. This is a government that is under siege. The appointment of senators is the sole responsibility of the Prime Minister, yet they cannot seem to give a single credible response.

We will try this. What is the criteria the Prime Minister uses to ensure that the people he appoints to the Senate are actually eligible to sit there? Would the parliamentary secretary answer or explain to Canadians why he is so desperate to stonewall for his Prime Minister?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions, the constitutional practice on this is very clear and has been so for close to 150 years. Other issues, of course, are before the courts so we are not going to make a comment on evidence that is before the courts.

I do not want to do what the member opposite, the member for Timmins—James Bay was accused of doing by the boundary reform commission for his inappropriate involvement in that process. That was inappropriate. It would be inappropriate for us to comment on evidence before the court. We will not do it.

However, as I said earlier, it would be nice if they did the right thing and repaid the $2.7 million that they owe taxpayers.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, well, the feeble excuses of my friend. If the constitutional requirements have been clear for 150 years, why is the Prime Minister afraid to stand in the House and explain them? The member has not only interfered with the works of question period, but now he is using his role to block information coming out through parliamentary written questions.

Canadians have a right to know why the Prime Minister ignored 150 years of constitutional requirements. This is not an issue before the courts. Can the parliamentary secretary put aside the attempt to protect the Prime Minister and tell the truth about what went down in the Prime Minister's Office?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the constitutional practice on this is clear for almost 150 years.

However, when it comes to talking about the truth, one of the sacred responsibilities we have as members of Parliament is when we campaign, and we campaign on an issue, it is then to respect that when we come into the House. The member for Timmins—James Bay turned his back on his constituents, voted against them and then tried to inappropriately involve himself in the boundary review commission because he knew he was in trouble. He tried to get them out of his riding as opposed to respecting them and voting for them. I will never do that and I suspect no one on this side of the House would ever treat their constituents the way he has.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is unequivocal in its support for the people of Ukraine and Ukraine's territorial integrity. We will never, ever accept its invasion of Eastern Ukraine or the annexation of its sovereign territory. This is precisely why Canada continues to have the strongest sanctions regime in the world and why we have made significant contributions to NATO's Ukrainian assurance measures.

My question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. What further action has the government taken to show our support for the people of Ukraine?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Consular

Mr. Speaker, I need to say thank you to the member for Etobicoke Centre for his consistent support for the people of Ukraine.

Since the Minsk agreement we have seen hundreds of attacks on Ukrainian forces by Putin-backed groups. This is cause for serious concern. Recently, we announced that Canada will contribute $1.2 million to Ukraine's ministry of defence to improve its medical systems. We are also transferring non-lethal equipment in the form of 1,600 tactical medical kits. Some of these kits were provided to some 100 Ukrainian soldiers this past weekend.

President Poroshenko has said such equipment is saving the lives of his people. Make no mistake, Canada and our government will stand with Ukraine against Putin's aggression.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been over five months since this House unanimously agreed to provide full support to thalidomide survivors. They are fed up with the current government's failure to make detailed commitments, so they now say they are going to be forced to return to Ottawa on May 25.

Survivors like Bernadette Bainbridge need immediate answers so they can plan their futures and start receiving the support they so desperately need now. However, they cannot do that as long as the current minister keeps hiding behind vague promises.

Will the government provide them with clear answers before the May 25 deadline?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and for Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, of course this tragic event from the 1960s reminds us how important drug safety is and, of course, there was deep pain and suffering inflicted on the thalidomide survivors. We cannot undo that pain and suffering, but what the government has done is provide a lump sum payment already. There is $125,000 tax free. We are in the process of negotiating the remainder, which is going to be $180 million for fewer than 100 survivors. That will ensure that they have ongoing yearly support. Of course, there is an extraordinary medical assistance fund that will also be available.