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House of Commons Hansard #137 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was system.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know who to trust when it comes to taxes, because the first thing we did was reduce taxes for middle-class Canadians, and Canadians know that across the nation.

The Prime Minister was very clear in answering the question from the member, and she knows that well. What we are doing is reviewing all the tax measures in this country. This is the right thing to do. That is what the responsible government is doing.

One thing Canadians will always remember is that the first thing this government did was to reduce taxes for the middle class.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, “Only countries that respect human rights and offer a high degree of protection to asylum seekers may be designated as safe third countries.”

Twenty-two refugees risked life and limb crossing from the U.S. into Canada. No one risks their family's safety unless they have no choice. These refugees are blocked from the Canadian system while they are the U.S. because of the safe third country agreement.

Does the minister still believe the U.S. is offering a high degree of protection to asylum seekers, yes or no?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, our government has been recognized as being a global leader in welcoming refugees and asylum seekers. We are proud of that tradition.

The safe third country agreement between the United States and Canada provides an orderly system of managing asylum claims. The hon. member knows or should know that the U.S. executive order has no bearing on the U.S. safe third country agreement with Canada.

We are proud of our tradition of offering protection. Every eligible asylum seeker has access to a fair hearing in front of the Immigration and Refugee Board. Each case is assessed based on its merits.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend, 22 refugees crossed the border in the freezing cold to seek safety in Canada, but under the safe third country agreement, refugees who enter the United States cannot then come to Canada.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that we will always be welcoming to vulnerable people. These refugees are vulnerable people.

Will the government suspend the safe third country agreement so that it can welcome them?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, this year alone, we will welcome 40,000 refugees in Canada. That includes 25,000 resettled refugees, which is double the number that the previous government welcomed. It also includes 16,000 privately sponsored refugees, which is triple the number the previous government had.

We will take no lessons from those parties on our record. We are proud of record, and we will continue to support Canadians in their extraordinary generosity to those who are seeking protection.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that was not really what I asked, but whatever.

We know that a Canadian family was stopped at the U.S. border. They are Canadian citizens who live in Brossard, and they happen to be Muslim.

When the Prime Minister was asked about this, he replied that he is working with the Americans to figure out how to make things better for Canadians. That is not good enough under the circumstances. It is not good enough when that kind of thing happens.

Can the minister tell us if this was an isolated incident or if other Canadian citizens have been turned away at the border?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, proper and appropriate treatment for all people from Canada seeking to enter the United States or any other country is a priority for this government.

Canadian citizenship and travel documents need to be respected. In this particular case, the office of the member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert has been touch with the Canadian citizen who made this complaint. When we get full details of the circumstances, I will both encourage her to apply for the redress process, but also—

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Fadwa Alaoui is a Muslim Canadian born in Morocco. She has a Canadian passport, but that was not enough.

Border guards berated her about how often she attends her mosque, what her views are about President Trump, and if she knew anyone killed in the Quebec City mosque attack. She was humiliated and four hours later she drove home.

This kind of treatment goes directly against what the government has promised. What is the Liberal government doing about this situation? Can it confirm that there are no other Canadians who have faced this type of situation?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I think the microphone was cut off before the hon. member could hear the end of my previous answer. Number one, we encourage anyone facing this situation to appeal through the normal processes, but number two, draw the circumstances and the facts with complete details to my attention and I will take those cases up with the U.S. administration.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, when I asked the defence minister in December to fix the inequity of awarding danger pay and benefits to some but not all of our troops fighting ISIS, the minister said he would. It never crossed my mind the Liberals would do that by taking away everyone's danger pay. Canadian troops stationed in Kuwait are now having their paycheques reduced by over $1,500 a month by the Liberals.

Why is the Prime Minister betraying our brave men and women who are in the fight against ISIS?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I stated to the member opposite during committee, we are committed to looking after our men and women, including their compensation. Our government had concerns regarding the current situation that was not fully fair and equitable. That is why I have asked the chief of the defence staff to work with the relevant agencies to review the compensation rules and propose changes, including finding ways to prevent the negative impacts on our deployed personnel.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, that does not fix this current situation. The defence minister is a proud veteran, and he knows better than anyone how important danger pay is not just for our brave men and women in uniform but for their families back at home as well.

We all knew the Liberals would cut defence spending, but we did not ever imagine they would literally do it on the backs of our soldiers and military families.

Will the defence minister quit taking his marching orders from the Prime Minister, fight for our troops, and reinstate all of the danger pay and benefits for all of our troops who are in the fight against ISIS?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I stated, we will always be looking after our troops. It was during my first visit into Kuwait when I was appointed defence minister where I realized some of these inequities. That is why I have asked the chief of the defence staff to look at these things. It is the interdepartmental team that does it. Some rules were actually put into place in 2014, so these things do take time, but we will be working through it and making sure we work with the relevant agencies and all the recommendations we made so that we can move forward on this.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are cutting the monthly pay of soldiers deployed in Kuwait by more than $1,500. For the minister to cut their pay once they have been deployed is despicable. Our soldiers expect the minister to protect them, but that is obviously not happening.

We brought this to the minister's attention in December, but nothing was done. Unfortunately, the minister ignored the issue. As a former unit commander, I am ashamed of my country and the way the Liberals are treating our soldiers.

Will the Liberals stop pinching pennies at the soldiers' expense? Mr. Minister, will you fix this problem yourself?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would remind the member to direct his remarks to the Chair.

The Minister of National Defence.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what was despicable was actually sending our troops in the first place without all these compensations. When I first visited our troops, I discovered this. I have had conversations with members opposite on this. It is the reason why it was brought to my attention. We have to work through a process to be able to resolve some of these issues. Many different departments are involved, and we are working through it, and we will get through this.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was not until this story came out in the media yesterday that anyone heard about it. Since December, my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman and I have been calling on the Minister of National Defence to address this. We have talked about it very discreetly. Nothing happened. Now that the media are talking about it, finally we see a response. People are calling for a response, but now is not the time.

Can the minister resolve this case immediately, yes or no?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I stated, we are working through the rules that were put in place by the previous government in 2014. I have asked the chief of the defence staff to work with the relevant agencies to look at the various processes they have to go through, making sure that we have equitable compensation for our troops.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, millennials experienced Liberals' backtracking on electoral reform, and our veterans are suffering after Liberals promised them everything to get elected. Today, we hear another story of a veteran losing their home because they did not receive benefits owed to them after being medically released from the Canadian Forces.

The DND ombudsman offered a simple solution that the veterans affairs committee agreed to: make sure our soldiers have everything in place before they go home.

Enough with the platitudes. Enough with the talking points. When will the minister stop paying lip service to our veterans and do his job?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

February 9th, 2017 / 2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre Alberta

Liberal

Kent Hehr LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the well-being of veterans and their families is at the heart of all we do at Veterans Affairs. Delivering timely benefits is an area where we can and must do better. In 2015-16, we saw a 19% increase in the number of disability benefit claims. This is a good thing. It means more people are coming forward to get the help they need when they need it. In order to address this, we are streamlining the disability benefits process, hiring more staff, and simplifying the decision-making process. We know we are doing better for veterans, and we will continue to work hard to provide them with the services they need.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, Dave Bona, a veteran, waited eight hours in the freezing cold for the Prime Minister's town hall in Saskatoon. Once inside, a student, recognizing that he was a veteran by his uniform, in respect offered him his seat, but Dave was approached by a Liberal organizer and told he couldn't take it, that he had to go to the back. Clearly visible to the Prime Minister, Dave stood at attention for 20 minutes waiting to ask a question, but was ignored. Why did the Prime Minister ignore Dave Bona?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre Alberta

Liberal

Kent Hehr LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to veterans and their families, full stop. After the previous 10 years with the former government frankly ignoring veterans' concerns by the fact that it closed offices, that it reduced one-third of the front-line staff, it is shocking that we are actually getting this question.

Our government is working hard to ensure that veterans receive the care, compassion, and respect they deserve. Budget 2016 saw us put $5.6 billion in more resources to veterans and their families. We are going to continue to deliver on their behalf.

Canada PostOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Liberals and the Prime Minister himself promised to restore home mail delivery for those who had lost it.

The minister has had Canada Post's review report since December, but we still have not heard anything about his decision.

Much like the promise for electoral reform, can we expect this report to be torn up as well? Is this just another broken promise?

Canada PostOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Burin—Trinity Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Judy Foote LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, contrary to my colleague's comments, we are following through on a promise we made during the election to stop installing community mailboxes—