June 17, 2008

CPC

Josée Verner

Conservative

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages and Minister for La Francophonie, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this is not about politics. Our government and the FCFA reached an out of court settlement that we are very proud of. All parties negotiated in good faith, and we agreed to respect the confidentiality terms.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Court Challenges Program
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LIB

Robert Thibault

Liberal

Hon. Robert Thibault (West Nova, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is appalling to see how the government has taken linguistic minority communities hostage. Precisely because they are a minority, these communities need stability and predictability, without being subject to partisan threats.

Why is the government using linguistic minority communities for its own narrow political gains?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Court Challenges Program
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CPC

Josée Verner

Conservative

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages and Minister for La Francophonie, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, in the throne speech last fall and in the latest budget, our government committed to releasing the second phase of the official languages action plan by the end of spring. As always, we will keep our promise.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Court Challenges Program
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LIB

Maria Minna

Liberal

Hon. Maria Minna (Beaches—East York, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, for years the court challenges program, established by previous Liberal governments, has helped all minority groups to have access to the courts to protect their rights. For example, the program has been very useful for the advancement of women's rights. Given the limited scope of the government's new court challenges pretend program, women's organizations would still be shut out.

Will the government commit to re-establishing a court challenges program to which all minorities would have access?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Court Challenges Program
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CPC

Josée Verner

Conservative

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages and Minister for La Francophonie, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the confidentiality conditions governing this agreement will remain in place until further notice.

That being said, we made a clear commitment to women's groups: we announced additional funding for programs—a 76% increase to enable more Canadian women to achieve concrete goals.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Court Challenges Program
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LIB

Maria Minna

Liberal

Hon. Maria Minna (Beaches—East York, Lib.)

However, no access to the courts, Mr. Speaker. One of Canada's strengths has been the ability of all minorities to defend their rights. That is why the government should not be able to exclude minority groups from the court challenges program. The Conservative government is sending the message that in its Conservative eyes all minority groups are not equal. They are cherry-picking who can defend their rights and who cannot.

Why will the government not ensure that all Canadians can defend their rights and prevent problems rather than making mistakes and apologizing later?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Court Challenges Program
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CPC

Josée Verner

Conservative

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages and Minister for La Francophonie, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned repeatedly, the terms of the agreement are still confidential. When we can make them public, we will.

That being said, our government has done so much for Canadians, whether they belong to minority groups or not. The Liberal Party is proposing a carbon tax that would hit all Canadians, including minorities.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Court Challenges Program
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BQ

Jean-Yves Roy

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean-Yves Roy (Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, today in a letter, Quebec's minister of economic development spoke out against the disdainful remarks by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec about not-for-profit organizations. He wrote:

These are disrespectful words and insulting to a great many businesses, economic leaders, and men and women who contribute... to the growth of the Quebec economy.

Is the Prime Minister aware of the level of exasperation among Quebec's elected representatives and economic stakeholders, and will he reverse this bad decision by his minister and restore funding for these bodies?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Regional Economic Development
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CPC

Jean-Pierre Blackburn

Conservative

Hon. Jean-Pierre Blackburn (Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would point out to the hon. member that we are going to be continuing to fund organizations of an economic nature, but on a the basis of individual projects with clear timelines. Moreover, this decision provides us with some scope to intervene in all regions of Quebec.

I would remind hon. members that, as a result of the last budget, an additional $1.6 billion went to the Government of Quebec. We share a federalism of openness, and remedying the fiscal imbalance has freed up $242 million more for the Quebec minister.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Regional Economic Development
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BQ

Réal Ménard

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the bad decision by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec demonstrates his lack of understanding of the economic dynamic of Quebec. For example, the mandate of the Quebec Film and Television Council is to attract foreign productions here, through ongoing actions, not just one-shot efforts. Its tireless and efficient efforts have resulted in a doubled economic spinoff from film in Quebec between 2006 and 2007. It could end up closing as early as this fall, thanks to the minister's cuts.

Will the Prime Minister reverse this bad decision by his minister and will he restore the funding of the Quebec Film and Television Council in order to avoid its closure?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Regional Economic Development
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CPC

Jean-Pierre Blackburn

Conservative

Hon. Jean-Pierre Blackburn (Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I will say again, we are active in all regions of Quebec. Our budget has remained around the $200 million mark this year. There is even an additional $24 million over two years to enable us to develop the body of infrastructures around the cruise ship industry, which will be of great benefit to Quebec.

I would like to take a few moments to speak about the greater Montreal region. Do the words Ubisoft divertissement Inc. ring a bell with the hon. member? We contributed a repayable amount of $8 million out of a total $18 million project, which created 500 jobs in the greater Montreal region.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Regional Economic Development
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LIB

Martha Hall Findlay

Liberal

Ms. Martha Hall Findlay (Willowdale, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is stepping down at the end of the month. She has already been congratulated by people the world over for her courage and candour, but here, this Conservative government is remaining silent, humiliating Canada in front of the international community.

Is it true that the Prime Minister himself has asked that Canadian representatives say nothing?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Human rights
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CPC
CPC

David Emerson

Conservative

Hon. David Emerson (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we congratulate the work of Louise Arbour. We very strongly support the United Nations in its pursuit of the protection of human rights and will continue to do so.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Human rights
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CPC

Gord Brown

Conservative

Mr. Gord Brown (Leeds—Grenville, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, today the human resources committee heard from UK officials about their fuel poverty strategy. They say new taxes on the domestic use of fuel and power have an unacceptable social impact.

The groups adversely impacted by higher fuel taxes are people living on low incomes, the elderly, rural residents, and young, single women. They cautioned that Canada should look carefully at the winners and losers before pursuing such policies.

Can the Minister of Human Resources tell this House about the impact of a Liberal carbon tax on vulnerable members of Canadian society?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Poverty
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CPC

Monte Solberg

Conservative

Hon. Monte Solberg (Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, not only are the Liberals going to take away the universal child care benefit and plunge 24,000 Canadian families into poverty but they are going to raise the GST. Now they want to raise the price of gasoline, home heating fuel, natural gas and electricity.

It sounds to me like the Liberals are very confused. Instead of launching an attack on poverty, they are launching an attack on the poor. Shame on them.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Poverty
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NDP

Peggy Nash

New Democratic Party

Ms. Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, 40 days ago today, the government took the NDP's advice and rejected the sale of MDA. Now that we know Canadians can keep MDA, the next step is to protect the future of our space industry.

What steps has the Minister of Industry taken to protect the Canadian space industry's future contracts and the jobs of Canadian scientists and workers in the high-tech sector?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canadian Space Industry
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CPC

Jim Prentice

Conservative

Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, in the time since the MDA decision there has been a significant contract that was let specifically to MDA. It was a contract that related to the maintenance on the international space station, particularly the sliding arm, the Canadarm, and the apparatus on which it functions.

We will continue to work with MDA. MDA has been an extraordinary Canadian success story and we will continue to work with it in building this industry.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canadian Space Industry
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NDP

Peggy Nash

New Democratic Party

Ms. Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, re-announcements of already committed funding just does not cut it.

A recent study has painted a grim picture of Canada's space industry. Among the major problems are the fact that Canada is second to last among the G-8 in funding the space sector. There is a frozen budget and a revolving door of leadership at the Canadian Space Agency. There is the need for $1.5 billion of investment over the next five years to rebuild the space agency capabilities.

Will the Minister of Industry now act concretely and resolve these problems or will he jeopardize the future of a sector so important to our national identity and sovereignty? Will he act?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canadian Space Industry
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CPC

Jim Prentice

Conservative

Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I will act and I have been acting. The Canadian Space Agency continues to be something that all Canadians and the government are extremely proud of.

If one wants a dose of pessimism, however, it always seems to come from the NDP. When I speak to Canadians who are working at the Canadian Space Agency or Canadians who are working in the industry at companies such as MDA, they are proud of what they have achieved. They are proud, for example, of the recent mission and the Canadian weather station on Mars. One only needs to look to the NDP to find depression.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canadian Space Industry
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June 17, 2008