House of Commons Hansard #325 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was affairs.

Topics

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Seamus O'Regan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, even in this most extenuating of circumstances, we will stand by our veterans. We have shown that time and again when we increased benefits for veterans. We have increased services. We have reopened offices. We have increased staff. We have given them back their ID cards.

We will continue to show respect for veterans, even in this most trying of times.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the facts are simple. Veterans Affairs Canada is currently paying for Christopher Garnier's treatment even though he murdered Constable Catherine Campbell. That is nothing short of appalling.

The Campbell family is angry, our veterans are angry, Canadians are angry, and we are angry. It is outrageous.

The Prime Minister has the power to end this injustice right now. What is he waiting for?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Seamus O'Regan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, it is outrageous. Many people in the House have expressed their outrage. Canadians have expressed their outrage. However, our outrage will not factor into the treatment of veterans. Our outrage should not factor into justice and into laws.

We will stand by our veterans, even now. Even in the most extenuating of circumstances, we will stand by our veterans.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, the comments in the debate around the Chris Garnier case show a clear lack of leadership and the ability the minister and the Prime Minister have to intervene and stop this outrageous situation, where this murderer is receiving veterans benefits. This is not a theatre today for the minister to pat himself on the back. This is a place where we ask him to solve ths now or resign.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Seamus O'Regan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, for 10 years, the House was used as a place where people on that side of the House cut benefits, cut services, closed offices, cut staff and took away an ID card from veterans. We will continue to stand by our veterans. We will continue to rebuild a department that was near—

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Brantford—Brant.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to defend the indefensible on the Garnier case.

Catherine Campbell was brutally murdered, put into a compost bin and dumped under a bridge. This is a one-off situation. This is a mistake by Veterans Affairs to make this decision in the first place, yet he and the Prime Minister will not even speak to the issue of addressing it, as Canadians are demanding, especially veterans.

If he is not willing to do this, it is his place in the House to resign his position.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Seamus O'Regan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, we cannot discuss the details of this case without discussing the case of the veteran, and we will not. I will not discuss the case of this veteran. We will stand by veterans in the country, even in the most extenuating of circumstances, even in the most egregious of circumstances, even in these circumstances where the son of a veteran is convicted of killing a police officer. Even now, we will stand with that veteran.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals bought Trans Mountain, they also bought the Puget Sound pipeline that sends oil to the United States. The State of Washington's Department of Ecology is worried. It has been critical of the deficiencies in the spill contingency plan. It wants to know what will happen if heavy bitumen sinks to the sea floor and endangers species like salmon or killer whales. The department even gave an ultimatum. It is giving the Liberals 60 days to correct the situation. Even the Americans find the Liberals' environmental plan frightening. This is not a laughing matter.

When will the Liberals take environmental protection seriously?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonathan Wilkinson Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, environmental sustainability is at the heart of everything this government does.

The decision with respect to the Trans Mountain pipeline originally was based on an assessment with respect to the environmental considerations. We have done an enormous amount of work with respect to issues associated with diluted bitumen and spills potentially in the water. We have done an enormous amount of work on ensuring we are protecting the coast, preventing spills. We have done an enormous amount of work on recovering the killer whales and working to ensure that the measures that are being put into place will more than mitigate the impact of the excess tanker traffic.

This project is being done in an environmentally responsible way that advances Canada's economic interests.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals bought a 65-year-old leaky pipeline, most Canadians thought they definitely would have a super-duper cleanup plan in case of an oil spill. Well, apparently not.

Washington state is raising the alarm, saying the Liberals emergency plan has major “deficiencies in critical areas” to protect salmon and whales. It is like the Liberals went out and bought a 1972 Pinto, with no airbags, no seat belts, and said “Kids, hop in. Let's go for a ride.” No parent would do this.

Why did the Liberals burden Canadians with this old pipeline? They did not even bother to keep the receipt for $4.5 billion, and they do not have an emergency plan to clean up a spill.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonathan Wilkinson Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, some in the House like to engage in theatre; we like to engage in facts.

We have done the work to ensure that the process can be handled in an environmentally sustainable way. The oceans protection plan is addressing concerns with respect to snow prevention, concerns with respect to snow response.

We have released three peer review studies with respect to the impact on marine environment. We have done an enormous amount to ensure that we are protecting the marine environment, killer whales and other species.

This project is being done. It has been constructed in an environmentally responsible way. We are balancing the economy and the environment, ensuring that both—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. I would ask the hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert to calm down and not interrupt.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, Christopher Garnier brutally murdered an off-duty police officer by the name of Catherine Campbell.

During sentencing, the judge stated, “Mr. Garnier punched her in the face, broke her nose, strangled her to death, and...treated her remains like garbage.”

The Prime Minister claims to be a champion of women's rights. Why then has he signed off on granting veterans benefits to a man who never, ever served a single day in the Canadian Armed Forces, but killed an off-duty female police officer? Why is that okay?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Seamus O'Regan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, my heart goes out to the family of Constable Campbell. It should not have to endure this case being brought up for political expediency. It should not have to endure this.

We will continue to stand by our veterans, as we have every day in the House for the past three years.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Richard Martel Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, CPC

Mr. Speaker, for two weeks now, we have been asking the government questions about Christopher Garnier, a criminal who is receiving benefits intended for our brave veterans. The Liberals' record is filled with nothing but failures and inaction. The Conservatives took a leadership role when serial killer Clifford Olson was receiving old age security benefits. We put an end to those benefits.

When will the Minister of Veterans Affairs take responsibility? When will he step in and put an end to these benefits?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Seamus O'Regan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, once again, even in the face of political expediency, we will stand by our veterans.

We have spent $10 billion in three years on our veterans and their families. We have increased benefits. We have increased services. We have increased staff. We have reopened offices. We have given them back their ID cards.

Even in the most trying of circumstances, we will stand with our veterans.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals may stand beside Chris Garnier, but we will stand with the victim and her family in this case. Chris Garnier is 30 years old. He never served a single day in the Canadian Armed Forces, yet the Liberal government is using veterans benefits to pay for his PTSD therapy, PTSD that he developed because of how he killed the victim.

The Prime Minister has had a month to end this outrage. When will he finally do the right thing and guarantee that not a single cent more will go to Chris Garnier?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Seamus O'Regan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, those on the other side of the House had 10 years to do better by our veterans and I wish we could only accuse them of inaction as that might have been easier, but it was not inaction—

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh!

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. I would ask the hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound not to keep interrupting. In spite of how strongly people feel on these subjects, we have to have debate that allows one side to speak at a time to show respect for this institution and this place.

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs has 20 seconds left.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Seamus O'Regan

Mr. Speaker, for 10 years they stood time and time again and cut benefits. They cut services. They closed offices. They cut staff and they even took away their ID cards. I wish we could accuse them of inaction.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about a veteran. We are talking about a 30-year-old murderer who never spent a day in uniform.

The Prime Minister could have ended these payments with the stroke of a pen. Instead, he endorsed them.

We know where the Prime Minister stands, but tonight every member of the House will be given an opportunity to tell Canadians where they stand. Will a single Liberal member of Parliament stand up for what is right or will the Liberals endorse the Prime Minister's plan of paying veterans benefits to convicted murderers?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Seamus O'Regan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, indeed, one of the people at the centre of this is a veteran and that veteran's family. Even in the most extenuating of circumstances, we will stand with that veteran as we have stood with veterans every day when we have voted for increases to veterans benefits, to veterans services, when we have reopened offices, when we have increased staff.

Every time that we vote, we vote on the side of veterans even in the most trying of circumstances.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect the Liberals to secure a new NAFTA that defends our jobs in key sectors. A new poll shows Canadians also want a deal that defends access to affordable prescription medications, but according to reports, negotiators are considering U.S. proposals that would lead to higher drug costs for Canadians and for public drug plans.

I think of my constituent, Cheryl. Every year she must pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for heart and blood pressure medication. Will the Prime Minister commit that NAFTA 2.0 will not raise the cost of drugs for Canadians?