House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was infrastructure.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Laurent Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Armed Forces and the air force are clearly doing an important job.

However, we believe that by reworking its approach Canada will be an even stronger and effective combatant in the fight against this horrible terrorist group. In fact, coalition members frequently ask us to provide training and to do more in other important areas to counter terrorism. We will do so together with the Iraqis and all our allies on the ground, with courage and determination.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's veterans have suffered cuts to benefits, the closure of front-line offices and worse. Suicide rates have climbed, homelessness has increased, and yet veterans still face unacceptable waits for mental health services. The report on veterans' treatment, buried by the previous government, is still missing in action.

Our veterans need help today. They should not have to wait for the minister to get around to reopening offices. When will all veterans finally get the mental health and other services they need?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre Alberta

Liberal

Kent Hehr LiberalAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Veterans Affairs is working hard to rectify many of the situations that she has put forward. We are going to be reopening offices. We are hiring more front-line staff. We are going to get a handle on our mental health issues. We are ensuring that our front-line staff is delivering the services in a timely manner for our men and women who have fought for this nation.

I can assure the member that we are working hard and we will see a better Veterans Affairs going forward than the one we saw under the former government.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec has made it legal to charge ancillary fees for publicly insured health care services, even though this practice violates the Canada Health Act. It is unacceptable for a person's access to health care to be determined by the size of his wallet. I wrote to the minister in November to inform her of this situation, but I have still not received an answer.

What is the minister going to do to protect the accessibility of the public health care system across the country?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Markham—Stouffville Ontario

Liberal

Jane Philpott LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have just met with my provincial and territorial colleagues and have reiterated to them that our government fully supports the principles of the Canada Health Act, which are meant to ensure that all Canadians have reasonable access to medically necessary care based upon need and not based upon the ability to pay.

I am committed to working with my provincial and territorial colleagues to uphold the Canada Health Act. I will continue to discuss this with my provincial and territorial colleagues in the months to come.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

TJ Harvey Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, having grown up in a large farming household, with all the opportunities and challenges that it provides, I have a strong place in my heart for this country's agricultural sector. I recently had the distinct pleasure of speaking with a cattle producer in my riding who operates a large feedlot. His biggest concern was the discriminatory U.S. country of origin labelling policy and its effects on his operation.

A WTO arbitrator recently ruled that Canada could levy more than $1 billion in tariffs in retaliation for the discriminatory response.

Would the Minister of International Trade update the House on this recent development regarding this situation?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his hard work. I, too, am a daughter and a granddaughter of farmers and ranchers. I am delighted to report to the House that on December 18, the U.S. Congress repealed this discriminatory legislation.

We have heard a lot about western jobs today, but I am really—

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. The hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, just like COOL, the heavy lifting has been done on TPP. Canadian business may welcome the minister's statement in the last couple of days. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance and Canadian manufacturers have been telling the minister to ratify TPP to maintain our strong portion of global supply chains.

If she really thinks she is Canada's chief marketing officer, when will she listen to these stakeholders and ratify this important agreement?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first, I hope the hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster will join with me in supporting and cheering the repeal of COOL.

When it comes to TPP, the former government negotiated the deal in secret without consulting with Canadians. We are keeping our promise to listen to Canadians and to consult on this deal. Since being sworn in, I have been part of more than 70 consultations on this issue. Today, I wrote a letter to my colleagues in the House and in the Senate asking committees to study it.

The Conservatives did not—

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. The hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, we all welcome the opportunity to study this again. Of course, the former chair of the trade committee for the House of Commons had hearings while that negotiation was going on.

We welcome the minister's epiphany on the road from Davos to signing the TPP, but there is also a meeting of TPP ministers the day before that signing that is also very important as they study prospective new partners in the TPP. Has she been invited to that meeting, or have we been left out just like we were in Paris?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, of course I will be at that meeting in New Zealand. I am pleased to report to the House that I met with many of the TPP ministers at the WTO ministerial, which was held at Davos.

We are working very closely with the other TPP countries and consulting with Canadians. This is an important issue and we are working hard on it.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, AB

Mr. Speaker, by appointing Mary Jean McFall as the chief of staff, the Minister of Agriculture is disregarding rules that were intended to protect Canadians from corruption. Ms. McFall's family is the owner of the largest egg producing corporation and she herself was listed as being the owner of $140 million worth of egg quota in 2010.

The minister makes decisions with regard to this family business on a regular basis. How can he justify her hiring and how can he justify this blatant conflict of interest?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, my chief of staff has a strong agricultural background and is a pillar of her community. From day one in my office she was subject to the Conflict of Interest Act and any recommendations from the Ethics Commissioner will be followed in detail.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, following her defeat as a Liberal Party candidate, Mary Jean McFall was appointed to be the chief of staff to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Ms. McFall is also a member of the family that owns Burnbrae Farms. In 2010, federal regulations showed that she owned nearly 140 million dollars' worth of egg quota under supply management.

Since the Minister of Agriculture has to deal with supply management issues every day, why does he think it is acceptable for his chief of staff to have a $140-million personal interest in a company that is directly connected to supply management?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, it is important for my chief of staff to have a strong agricultural background. As I said before, she is subject to the Conflict of Interest Act. Also, any recommendations provided by the non-partisan Ethics Commissioner will be followed.

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, a new study reveals the TPP will cost 58,000 jobs and worsen income inequality. Many of the jobs at risk are in my community and others like it throughout southern Ontario. In spite of the reality for these families, the minister tries to hide behind technicalities, but it is simple. If she does not support the deal, why would she sign it? Therefore, will the minister stand up for Canadian jobs, or will she sign the Conservative's bad deal?

International TradeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the New Democrats oppose this deal without reading it and without consulting with Canadians. We promised during the campaign to consult with Canadians and that is what we are doing. That is why since being sworn in as minister, I have already had more than 70 meetings about the TPP. That is why, today, I have written to my colleagues in the House and asked that our trade committee study the deal carefully.

The NDP knows, notwithstanding the posturing we have heard today, that signing and ratifying are very different things, and in trade deals technicalities really do matter.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

January 25th, 2016 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 10, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship told the House that he would reinstate the moratorium on deporting citizens of Zimbabwe and Haiti, but we checked, and the department has received no such instructions.

When will the minister act on his statement here in the House and reinstate the moratorium? Does he understand how excruciating this is for the people who fear deportation?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Markham—Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I have spoken with my Quebec counterpart. We made a firm decision to allow these people to stay in Canada. That is what we decided, and that is what will happen.

The SenateOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is trying to dress up the same old Senate appointment system in new clothing.

I do not know exactly who it thinks it is fooling. It has announced an unelected, unaccountable board that will be making secret recommendations for an unelected Senate, and the Prime Minister will just continue to appoint whomever he pleases.

Why do the Liberals support the same old, unelected, unaccountable Senate?

The SenateOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, Canadians mandated us to provide real change to the Senate without opening up the Constitution.

I was pleased to announce at the beginning of December, with the House leader, the implementation of a new merit-based assessment process that is public, made available online. In a few months, for the first time ever, Canadians will be able to apply to become senators. That is real change.

The SenateOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, that minister has a whole different definition of public than the rest of us.

The members of the Senate appointment board were chosen by the Prime Minister at his absolute discretion, in secret. Their suggestions are reviewed by the Prime Minister in secret. The names of unsuccessful candidates remain secret. The reasons why the Prime Minister will chose one candidate over another will be a secret.

Will a pattern develop as to who is being passed over by the Prime Minister? Perhaps, but that will be a secret. In fact, it appears it will remain a secret whether the Prime Minister even uses the list or casts it aside entirely.

My question is as follows. Why are these the two values at the centre of this ostensibly new process: number one, absolute secrecy; and number two, absolute authority to do whatever he wants on the part of the Prime Minister?

The SenateOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, the advisory board will be guided by a public, merit-based criteria that will allow it to assess the nominees according to those rules.

For the first time we have opened the doors and we are reaching out to the provinces with the vacancies to be filled. Again, that is real change. It is the kind of historic change that we have not seen in the Senate for some time. We are confident it will enhance the public's confidence in this important democratic institution.