May 5, 2015

CPC

Maxime Bernier

Conservative

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the tourism industry is an $89 billion industry in Canada. It is a very important industry, and that is why, last fall, my provincial colleagues and I reached a Canada-wide consensus. It was not the NDP that did that. It was our government that reached a consensus with the provinces to ensure that there is reinvestment in the United States. That is what we are going to do because we want more travellers from the United States to come and visit our beautiful and great country.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Tourism Industry
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CPC

Ted Falk

Conservative

Mr. Ted Falk (Provencher, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, in today's digital economy, Canadians live in a world where access to the Internet is essential to create jobs, to realize economic opportunities and to link Canadians to online services.

Last summer, our government announced the connecting Canadians program, which will connect 280,000 households to affordable, high-quality broadband services.

Could the Minister of Industry give the House an update on the other steps our government is taking to help connect rural and remote communities to high-speed, affordable telecommunications services?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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CPC

James Moore

Conservative

Hon. James Moore (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we often forget but we should remind ourselves that while Canada is the second largest country in size, we are the 37th largest in terms of population. This means that our most rural, most remote and northern communities, often aboriginal communities, are completely cut off from the rest of the country, and indeed, the rest of the world.

This is why today our government is proud to announce that we have made changes that will reduce regulatory fees for satellite companies that provide rural and remote communities access to satellite services. This is essential for public safety, economic opportunities and ensuring that all Canadians have equal access to the digital world.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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NDP

Carol Hughes

New Democratic Party

Mrs. Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the Shoal Lake aboriginal community was forced to declare a state of emergency because the ferry that connects it to the shore, the only way in and out of the reserve, is in such poor condition that it failed the Transport Canada inspection.

The community, which has been under a boil water advisory for 17 years, has been asking for a long-term solution for years.

Will the minister intervene immediately so that the community can lift the state of emergency?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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CPC

Bernard Valcourt

Conservative

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, our immediate priority is to ensure the health and safety of Shoal Lake residents. That is why our emergency management team is in constant contact with the community. We will continue to offer help if the community needs it. To date, we have received no requests for help. However, we are also working with the aboriginal community and Health Canada to ensure that residents have access to medical services. We stand ready to provide any help required.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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NDP

Carol Hughes

New Democratic Party

Mrs. Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the minister's response to emergencies is always too little, too late. The state of emergency in Shoal Lake has been years in the making.

Shoal Lake was cut off from the mainland in order to provide Winnipeg with clean drinking water, leaving Shoal Lake residents dependent on an unreliable ferry and dangerous ice roads. For 17 straight years, they have been under a boil-water advisory. They need a year-round road to the mainland and potable water.

Why has the Conservative government continued to fail first nation communities like Kashechewan and Shoal Lake? When will the Conservatives finally take real action on infrastructure needs?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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CPC

Bernard Valcourt

Conservative

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to take action so that first nations across Canada have the same quality of drinking water as all Canadians. That is why since 2006, approximately $3 billion have been invested in first nations' water and waste water infrastructure and related public health activities. We have made targeted investments in more than 130 major projects and have funded the maintenance of over 1,200 water and waste water treatment projects, and we will continue in that vein.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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NDP

John Rafferty

New Democratic Party

Mr. John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, almost a decade after the Conservatives took power, Internet access in parts of rural ridings like mine still needs to be improved. The government is only now introducing a new satellite fee structure. In a country where telecom companies make huge profits and Canadians pay some of the highest fees in the developed world, I am told by satellite companies that northern Ontario is not a priority.

What is the government going to do to ensure that rural Canadians, like my constituents in Thunder Bay—Rainy River, get access to affordable high-speed Internet now?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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CPC

James Moore

Conservative

Hon. James Moore (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question and I respect the member's sincerity on the matter, but of course we have taken action as a government. I just mentioned the satellite fee structure that we put in place.

Beyond that, we have our connecting Canadians program. We have done an RFP, and we have had a return from all of Canada. Our goal was to have 280,000 households connected, which would take us to over 99% of all households connected in Canada, and we have exceeded that with over 300,000 households. We are going to be making announcements next week, starting in Kenora. Then we are going to go to the Columbia River valley. We are going to go all across this country. We are going to make sure that all Canadians are connected to high-speed Internet all across the country.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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NDP

Christine Moore

New Democratic Party

Ms. Christine Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, there is a deep inequality among Canadians when it comes to high-speed Internet access. For many people outside of major centres, access to high-speed service quite simply does not exist or is unaffordable.

The minister announced a reduction in the cost of operator licences, but nothing guarantees that this will give Canadians, particularly those in rural areas, real access to better service at a lower cost. Once again, wishful thinking is at play here.

When will the minister take the needs of people in businesses in rural regions seriously?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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CPC

James Moore

Conservative

Hon. James Moore (Minister of Industry, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we have already taken peoples' needs seriously. That is why we proposed providing the amount required to enhance the power of wireless and high-speed services in every region of Canada.

We will make announcements next week in each region, including Quebec. All Canadians will have access to good quality high-speed Internet. We need to involve all Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Telecommunications
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LIB

Joyce Murray

Liberal

Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Corporal Esther Wolki took a knife and began cutting into her arm in an attempt to end her own life. A decade in the military, including a tour in Afghanistan, racism, and now sexual abuse have finally broken this Inuk soldier. Corporal Wolki's experience is yet another disturbing example of the government's neglect of the women and men in uniform.

Why are the minister and Prime Minister sitting on the sidelines when action is urgently needed to fix what Justice Marie Deschamps called the culture of misogyny in the Canadian Armed Forces? Why the silence on the part of the minister and the Prime Minister?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   National Defence
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CPC

James Bezan

Conservative

Mr. James Bezan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, sexual misconduct of any kind has no place in the Canadian Armed Forces. Major-General Christine Whitecross is travelling to CFB Shilo today and will discuss this case with the leadership at CFB Shilo. She will ensure that Corporal Wolki has been offered and has access to the support that she deserves and requires. The Chief of the Defence Staff has accepted all the recommendations from the Deschamps report and is acting on them.

Since 2006, our government has continuously fought on behalf of victims and enhanced the laws in this country to combat sexual assault.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Marc Garneau

Liberal

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, journalists covering the Prime Minister's recent trip to Iraq were lectured about not broadcasting the faces of Canada's special forces soldiers as doing so might endanger them. However, the PM's own online 24/7 propaganda channel has violated that rule. However, this is not the first time. Two months ago, the Minister of National Defence tweeted a picture of special forces soldiers carrying the coffin of Sergeant Doiron.

What is wrong with the government which is endangering the lives of our soldiers? Is it blatant self-promotion or incompetence?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   National Defence
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CPC

James Bezan

Conservative

Mr. James Bezan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier today, if the member was listening, the safety of our troops is our number one priority and for this reason there are protocols in place before images or videos are posted. We regret this error. After reviewing all the protocols with respect to the publication of these images, these images have been removed and will not be re-posted.

We are very proud of the work that the special operations forces are doing in Iraq in training and assisting the Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi security forces in dealing with the genocidal death cult called ISIS.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   National Defence
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NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe

New Democratic Party

Ms. Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe (Pierrefonds—Dollard, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, several concerns have been raised about the Conservatives' express entry program.

This time, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada is sounding the alarm and suggesting that the program cannot identify registered francophone immigrants. There are more than 22,000 people in the recruitment pool, but apparently only 200 are francophone. This represents barely 2%, while the target for francophone immigrants is 4%.

How will the minister ensure that his own targets for francophone immigration will be reached with this program?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Chris Alexander

Conservative

Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, our government is proud to be the only government in the history of Canada to have attracted more than 2,500 francophone immigrants to the provinces and territories outside Quebec every year since 2006.

The new express entry program will allow us to identify many more francophone immigrants and to ensure that they settle in all regions faster than ever.

We have provided funding for francophone communities and francophone immigration networks in the roadmap. We are taking action to enhance the francophone presence throughout Canada.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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NDP

Claude Gravelle

New Democratic Party

Mr. Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, this is more bad news for francophone communities outside Quebec.

The president of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada has criticized the lack of measures to increase francophone immigration. The last time she appeared before the Standing Committee on Official Languages, Ms. Kenny even described the situation of francophone immigration outside Quebec as scandalous. She is asking the federal government to take drastic measures right away to avert disaster for the communities.

Will the government listen?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Chris Alexander

Conservative

Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the scandal is the NDP's failure to recognize the progress that has been made in this area.

This Conservative government is the only one in Canadian history to have brought over 2,500 francophone immigrants to our country. We do not even know how many francophones immigrate to Canada through Quebec's programs and how many of them settle in other provinces. We have strengthened the capacity of all of the francophone immigration networks to receive francophones in record time in every province and territory of Canada.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Bradley Trost

Conservative

Mr. Brad Trost (Saskatoon—Humboldt, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Canadian families in my constituency of Saskatoon—Humboldt are pleased with the government delivering on results for 100% of Canadian families with children through our family tax cut and universal child care benefit.

Could the Minister of Employment please give the House an update on how our plan is delivering for hard-working, middle-class Canadian families?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Taxation
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May 5, 2015