House of Commons Hansard #224 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was northerners.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, Justice Murray Sinclair asked for a public national inquiry, and that is the road to reconciliation. When will the government realize it?

At the closing events of the TRC, Justice Murray Sinclair reminded Canadians that reconciliation requires a political response, and it must be done in partnership.

Yesterday, survivors of the federally run day schools had their class action lawsuit approved. These survivors survived abuse and lost their languages and culture.

The question is this. Will the Conservative government work with them to negotiate an agreement rather than continue to fight them in court?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Mark Strahl ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we thank the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Justice Sinclair for his recommendations and for his work.

Our government remains committed to addressing the legacy of Indian residential schools and moving towards reconciliation. It was this Prime Minister who moved forward with an historic apology in the House of Commons on behalf of all Canadians.

Individuals who attended the identified schools as day students were eligible for compensation under the independent assessment process of the Indian residential schools settlement agreement if they suffered sexual or serious physical abuse.

We will review this court decision before determining the next steps.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, after a painful six year journey, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has released its findings. We now know the truth. Justice Sinclair said that meaningful reconciliation will require deliberate, thoughtful and sustained action.

Will the Prime Minister begin that action by confirming that this dark chapter in Canadian history was indeed a cultural genocide, and will he immediately begin work with the survivors, aboriginal leaders and the premiers to implement all recommendations of the TRC?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Mark Strahl ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, as I said previously, we thank the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for its work. We thank the former residential school students for sharing their stories with the commission and with all Canadians.

When the Prime Minister made his historic apology in this House of Commons in 2008, we acknowledged the policy of forced assimilation was devastating to individuals, devastating to communities and devastating to families. It is a part of our past. While we cannot change it, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation.

That is what we are committed to do, by taking concrete action to improve the lives of aboriginal Canadians.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is the result of six years of painstaking work. Justices Sinclair and McLachlin are calling the situation cultural genocide. According to the UN, genocide means “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”. That is clear.

What is the Conservative government waiting for? When will it acknowledge this cultural genocide and implement all the report's recommendations?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Mark Strahl ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, again, we thank the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for its work, and the former students for sharing their stories with Canadians and with the commission.

Unlike the Liberal Party that endorsed all the recommendations without even reading them, we have said that we would wait for the full report to come out before considering those recommendations and that we would consider them responsibly as a government.

The Prime Minister started this journey in 2008. We will work together in the spirit of reconciliation to take concrete measures to improve the lives of aboriginal Canadians.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, we really need concrete action to go along with those recommendations.

We also know that the Canadian economy is losing ground. Faced with the oil crisis and the fluctuating price of raw materials, Canada is among the countries that are not faring very well, ranking below the OECD average. Australia, which is just as dependent on raw materials, is ranked ahead of us.

The Conservative government is demonstrating a lack of leadership by blaming the global economy. This is a Canada-wide crisis.

Will the government adjust its economic forecasts and finally create a plan to promote job creation and growth here in Canada?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have just one plan for the economy, and that is to raise taxes. Recently, the Liberal leader announced that he was looking at a tax increase like the one proposed by Kathleen Wynne, the Premier of Ontario. That would cost every worker who is earning $60,000 a year $1,000, and the small and medium-sized businesses that hire those workers would have to pay the same tax.

That will kill jobs and cost families a lot of money. We are doing the opposite by lowering taxes.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, National Chief Perry Bellegarde was clear that we cannot have reconciliation while indigenous people are mired in poverty.

Yet here we are with elders being forced to root through garbage dumps for food and children going hungry because their parents have no food to give them. Instead of helping them, the Conservatives are refusing to fix nutrition north.

In the spirit of reconciliation, will the Conservatives give the full subsidy to all northern fly-in communities that are currently not receiving it?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Mark Strahl ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that northerners, like all Canadians, have access to affordable healthy food. Since the implementation of nutrition north, the volume of healthy food shipped to northern communities has increased by 25%, and the cost of a food basket for a family of four has dropped by $137 a month.

If the member wants to do something for the people of the Northwest Territories, he should stop opposing our investments in the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highway, which would lower the cost of goods and services for his constituents. Why is he standing in the way of that?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, no one should have to rifle through garbage cans for food. Nevertheless, the Conservatives are refusing to own up to their mistakes. The Auditor General was very clear: nutrition north Canada did not have any effect on the price of food and the program is not being managed transparently. Fifty communities that should have received subsidies were excluded from the program.

Will the government vote in favour of our motion, work with all northerners and develop a sustainable solution to food insecurity?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Mark Strahl ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, when the NDP brought this issue up in April, it said that it was 55 communities. A month later, it said that it was 46. Today, it says that it is 50. It clearly has no idea what it is talking about on this issue.

We are committed to ensuring that northerners, like all Canadians, have access to nutritious food. We have accepted the recommendations of the Auditor General. We are moving forward on things like community eligibility. We will do that in a responsible way, considering a number of factors. We will not just put them down on paper and table them in the House without having any idea of what we are talking about.

Consumer ProtectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, although the Conservatives voted in favour of the NDP motion to put an end to the unfair pay-to-pay fees that the banks are charging, they are still refusing to legislate in this regard. Yesterday, they blocked our proposal to amend the budget, and this morning they once again refused to give their consent to insert the measure into the budget. That does not make any sense.

Is the government saying one thing and doing another? How can the minister vote in favour of our motion and then turn around and stop it from being implemented? How?

Consumer ProtectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Crowfoot Alberta

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, our government understands the concerns of Canadians who feel that they are being nickel-and-dimed by bank fees, which is why we have already obtained a commitment from the banks to ban pay-to-pay fees.

We have already introduced tough measures to protect Canadians, implementing low-cost bank accounts and expanding no-cost banking options for more than seven million Canadians. Shamefully, the Liberals and the NDP vote against all of those measures. They vote against measures to protect Canadians and consumers. They want to raise taxes on Canadians. Contrast that with our lowering of taxes.

Consumer ProtectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, if they have an agreement from the banks, where is it? Is it in some secret code or invisible ink? What is going on there?

The House overwhelmingly voted in favour of banning pay-to-pay fees but, despite this, today, the government blocked us from banning these unfair fees in the budget bill. The Conservatives are standing in the way of immediately helping Canadians save upward of $180 million.

I do not get it, and Canadians do not either. They are fed up with getting their pockets picked. Why are these guys dragging their heels?

Consumer ProtectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Crowfoot Alberta

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, obviously, he does not get it. He votes against consumers every time.

Again, we are the only government that is consistently standing up for consumers by lowering taxes and putting money back into their pockets. Unlike the Liberals and the NDP, who would raise taxes on middle-class consumers, our government has reduced taxes for middle-class Canadians.

Our government has taken action to improve low-cost bank accounts and expand no-cost bank options for more than seven million Canadians. We introduced the debit and credit card code of conduct. Shamefully, the NDP voted against it.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, while Conservatives say “yes” for votes, they then go on to block action that could save Canadians millions of dollars in fees.

Yesterday, a Conservative MP warned that over 200,000 Canadian families were at risk of missing the deadline for the universal child care benefit extension. Families who missed the deadline will have to wait another four months to receive their benefits. Talk about a bait and switch.

Can the minister now tell us exactly how many families missed the government's deadline?

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we have recently brought forward the family tax cut and benefits. This is our Prime Minister's initiative to put more money into the pockets of moms and dads. We have increased the universal child care benefit to $2,000 a year for kids under 6, and almost $720 per year for kids 6 through 17. A lot of families were unaware of this because it is the first time that every single family with kids under the age of 18 was eligible to receive support from the federal government. Therefore, I have been reaching out. I have been travelling across the country. I even produced some popular YouTube videos in order to inform Canadians of these benefits. We will keep doing all of those things.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, yes I saw the ads. They were not exactly popular.

The Conservatives brag about their new universal child care benefit, except there are 200,000 families who will not be entitled to it. Families are already struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month. They do not want to have to fill out more forms.

Until the NDP implements its affordable child care plan, can the government at least ensure that all families will have access to the assistance promised?

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, yes, for the first time in Canadian history, a federal program is giving money directly to all parents, regardless of income or child care choices.

We increased the universal child care benefit to give all parents nearly $2,000 for each child under 6 and $720 for each child 6 through 17. We are working to inform all parents. The New Democrats should start helping us inform their own constituents about these benefits, so that everyone is able to take advantage of them.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is time that the Conservatives found the courage to have an honest look at their record. The economy is in trouble, economic growth declined in the first half of the year, the OECD just downgraded its forecasts for Canada and two out of five unemployed workers have simply stopped looking for work, because they no longer think they can find any.

Will the Conservatives bring in measures to create jobs, instead of giving gifts to their friends, the rich?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the New Democrats just pointed out that we have announced a plan that gives money directly to 100% of families with children under the age of 18. That is one way to help people in need.

In fact, the universal child care benefit has already helped lift 41,000 children out of poverty, and we will continue to increase it. The only plan the NDP has for the economy is to raise taxes for families and businesses. That will kill jobs and hurt families.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, Conservative mismanagement has driven the Canadian economy to the brink of a recession. The GDP actually shrank so far this year, and private sector economists are saying that this year will be even worse than expected. Canadians are feeling the effects, with 1.3 million unemployed, and job losses mounting in many sectors. Things have gotten so bad that two in five unemployed Canadians may have actually given up looking for work.

Why are the Conservatives ignoring unemployed Canadians while giving billions away to the wealthy few?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the NDP and the Liberals have one plan for the economy, that is to raise taxes. They both now support Kathleen Wynne's Liberal plan to impose a $1,000 payroll tax on every worker who earns $60,000 a year, and the small business that employs that worker would also have to pay $1,000. That will kill jobs and destabilize our economy.

Our low-tax plan is working. We have created 1.2 million net new jobs, 80% of which are full time, and two-thirds in high-wage sectors. Just this week, StatsCan indicated that Canadians in every income bracket have seen their net worth dramatically rise, including a 38% increase in the net worth of Canadians in the lowest 20%.

EmploymentOral Questions

June 4th, 2015 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, actually the Conservatives ran a deficit to pay for tax breaks for the rich. That is their record.

After a decade of Conservative government, the Canadian economy is sputtering, and families are working harder and falling further behind. We are now trailing behind the United States in job creation, with higher levels of unemployment. BMO's chief economist has said that we are on track for the slowest growth outside of a recession in more than three decades.

Will the Conservatives wait until a recession overtakes us before taking any action to boost growth and create jobs?