February 1, 2011

NDP

Jack Layton

New Democratic Party

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the minister is completely abdicating her responsibilities to make sure there are adequate medications available to Canadians across this country, working with the provinces. A shortage of doctors, a shortage of medicines, and frankly, a shortage of leadership on health care; that is what we are facing from the government. The budget has to address these issues so that communities can deliver the health care that Canadians need.

The Prime Minister can send a signal in the budget. He can work with the provinces and territories to train more doctors and nurses and do something about the shortage of drugs.

Will he respond to the NDP prescription on this one at least?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Leona Aglukkaq

Conservative

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to make health care a priority. During the Liberal decade of darkness, health care transfers to the provinces and territories were cut. Instead, our government has maintained funding for the provinces and territories. Since our government was formed, we have increased transfers to the provinces and territories by over 30%.

Let me read a quote from a member of the former Liberal government:

I think, in hindsight, the Chrétien government--even though I'm a Liberal--cut perhaps too deeply, too much offloading, with the benefit of hindsight. And there were some negative effects.

Who said that? It was the member for Markham—Unionville.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Siobhan Coady

Liberal

Ms. Siobhan Coady (St. John's South—Mount Pearl, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, an International Monetary Fund report confirms what the Parliamentary Budget Officer has been saying, that the Conservative deficit projections are all wrong. Both the IMF and the PBO say the country will be in deficit for the next five years.

Every single deficit projection of the finance minister has been wrong. Government departments have not even planned to achieve the announced spending freeze in the budget. Is the minister just crossing his fingers?

How can Canadians believe anything he says about the deficit or the finances of this country?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Finance
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CPC

Jim Flaherty

Conservative

Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the hon. member may want to check the report to which I think she is making reference. She will see that the report refers to all governments in Canada, not just the federal government. She will see also that the IMF says that this federal government is on track--

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Finance
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LIB
CPC

Jim Flaherty

Conservative

Hon. Jim Flaherty

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Wascana does not want to wait his turn, but I will answer the other member's question first.

As the IMF says, this government is on track. We will balance the budget in the medium term.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Finance
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LIB

Siobhan Coady

Liberal

Ms. Siobhan Coady (St. John's South—Mount Pearl, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government is on the wrong track. Conservatives have said that allowing some 11,000 public servants to retire each year without replacing them is their deficit plan.

However, the PBO survey of 10 departments, which account for half of all operating expenses, says the Conservatives are way off. In fact, those departments expect to reduce employment by approximately 1,000 full-time staff.

Again, we cannot count on a government that simply cannot count. Why is the government not telling Canadians the truth? Where is the plan and what is the impact of those cuts?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Public Service of Canada
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CPC

Stockwell Day

Conservative

Hon. Stockwell Day (President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I see the observation today from the Parliamentary Budget Officer saying that approximately 1,100 employees will be the attrition number for this year. He could not be more wrong. It is more than 11,000. As a matter of fact, last year I think it was 11,463. If he is off by 1,000% on that number which is very easily proven, what is he off on all the other numbers he is talking about?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Public Service of Canada
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LIB

Dan McTeague

Liberal

Hon. Dan McTeague (Pickering—Scarborough East, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canadian consumers and businesses are facing new and significant Internet fees and independent service providers will be forced out of the market if the CRTC's decision on usage based billing is permitted. Consumers and small businesses will have Internet usage capped at 25 gigabytes and pay more if that limit is exceeded.

Why will the Minister of Industry and indeed the Prime Minister not act now and instruct the CRTC to overturn, not just review, this regressive, anti-competitive and very costly decision to Canadians?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications Industry
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CPC

Tony Clement

Conservative

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member and the rest of his caucus to this ongoing debate. I would like to bring him up to date on this.

I have expressed, on behalf of our government, the concerns of our government with respect to the CRTC ruling, with respect to what it does to consumers, with respect to what it does to entrepreneurs and small business people and to Canadians generally.

The hon. member knows that the CRTC is an independent body, but we have the power to review and we have the power to turn back. Certainly, we will be reviewing this decision very quickly.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications Industry
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LIB

Dan McTeague

Liberal

Hon. Dan McTeague (Pickering—Scarborough East, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, consumers should never have to worry that each click or each video will cost them an arm and a leg. Canadians need the Internet in order to prosper in today's digital economy. Limiting bandwidth will also eliminate competition.

The CRTC should defend the concept of open, affordable and unlimited access to the Internet for all Canadians.

Will the Minister of Industry now order the CRTC to reverse this costly decision?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications Industry
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CPC

Tony Clement

Conservative

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this is a very important issue for consumers, small businesses and innovators, and I will consider it as soon as possible.

The hon. member is now dealing with this issue. I notice, though, that the Liberals are really concerned about this issue because they are trying to raise money from their donors on this issue. The Liberals do not really care about the public policy. They just want to raise more dough for Liberal coffers for an election that nobody wants.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications Industry
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BQ

Robert Bouchard

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Robert Bouchard (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the Conservatives' claims, we are still short 30,000 jobs to get back to the level we were at before the crisis. For example, the Quebec forestry industry, which has lost 18,000 jobs since 2005, is struggling to get out of this difficult situation.

Will the government understand that the crisis is far from over in the forestry industry and that it needs a comprehensive policy to support and modernize the industry, as was the case with the auto industry in Ontario?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment
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CPC

Denis Lebel

Conservative

Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, all of the forestry experts in the country agree that it is a matter of markets. Unfortunately, the only ones who do not get it are the members opposite. They are playing politics with these people's jobs. The markets are difficult. Our workers are among the best in the world and we will continue to support them. Billions of dollars have been put into improving green practices through the community adjustment fund, and we will continue to support the forestry industry with research and development.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment
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BQ

Robert Bouchard

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Robert Bouchard (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, another industry in Quebec, the aerospace industry, is being threatened by Conservative policies. Even though Quebec represents 55% of the industry, it received only 40% of the spinoffs from the latest military contracts. All the other regions are receiving more than their share.

Will the government get its head out of the sand and guarantee Quebec its fair share of the spinoffs of these contracts?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment
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CPC

Tony Clement

Conservative

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, obviously, this program, like any other military program and like the F-35s, generates spinoffs. The Canadian industry told me that this program was important because Quebec companies are expected to receive a number of contracts in the future.

This program works for Canadian business and for Quebec business, and that is why we are going ahead with it, along with the military reasons the hon. Minister of National Defence has made.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment
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BQ

Raynald Blais

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Raynald Blais (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, when Rivière-au-Renard was flooded in 2007, Canada Economic Development helped affected entrepreneurs, businesses and non-profits that were not eligible for Quebec emergency programs.

The Bloc Québécois is calling for this measure to be applied to the victims of the high tides in eastern Quebec. Will the government finally take action?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Shoreline Protection
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CPC

Denis Lebel

Conservative

Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, our agreement with the Government of Quebec gives it the capacity to take action and implement programs, which it intends to do, based on need.

We added small businesses in the last review, which took place in 2008. The minister responsible in Quebec is currently working on it. He has said that the current program met most needs. We will base our response on Quebec's requests.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Shoreline Protection
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BQ

Claude Guimond

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, two months after the high tides that devastated eastern Quebec, there is still uncertainty about federal assistance for the victims. The federal government could quickly contribute to reconstruction by establishing a tax credit for repairs required as a result of the damage caused by the disaster. This credit could be modelled after the home renovation tax credit.

Does the government plan to implement the Bloc proposal or will it let the victims fend for themselves?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Shoreline Protection
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CPC

Denis Lebel

Conservative

Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is quite interesting that the Bloc is asking us to not respect our agreements with the province of Quebec. That is very interesting.

We will respect the agreements we have with the province of Quebec, which is currently evaluating the overall damage. We know that the people in these regions have been seriously affected. I had the privilege of visiting the area, meeting the people and seeing the damage first-hand. We will respect Quebec and honour our agreements with it.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Shoreline Protection
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February 1, 2011