- MPconMar 12, 2015 1:00 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, it is not just polygamy but those who participate in forced marriages or help to arrange them, or female genital mutilation, all of which we consider to be barbaric practices. Yes, it is a strong term. It is a judgmental term, but we do sometimes need to make judgments. We sometimes need to use legislation as a teaching opportunity.
I will be absolutely blunt. When I first came to government and started as minister of multiculturalism eight years ago, for political reasons I would have probably recoiled at the name of this bill. However, my enormous exposure to and close work with the huge diversity of our cultural and faith communities taught me something over the course of time. It taught me that the vast majority of new Canadians believe passionately that there are certain hallmarks of integration into this country that we must all respect, that there is a duty to integrate, and that there are certain practices that are rooted in custom or tradition that have no place in Canada.
It is those new Canadians who gave me the inspiration, the confidence, to speak frankly and to not be encumbered, quite frankly, by political correctness on these matters. It was those new Canadians who asked me why we tolerate these things in Canada, which they fled such countries to escape. They said, “Please do not tolerate female genital mutilation, forced marriages, or polygamy. Please stop this. We see it happening in our own communities”. It was women who were victims of forced marriages, including here in Canada, who most strongly motivated the bill.
I want to give credit to the Minister of Health who during her time as minister for Status of Women heard the same message from women, such as Aruna Papp and so many other women, who said to us, “Please take strong measures. Please use strong language. Please condemn these practices. Please close the loopholes”. This bill is dedicated to all of those women who were voiceless.
- MPconMar 12, 2015 12:55 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, it is my view and that of the government that there is no room in Canada for polygamy, because in its essence, polygamy reflects a regard for women as property rather than people. Polygamist societies and cultures are not predicated on the free will and dignity of women. We believe that there has to be zero tolerance with respect to these relationships.
Typically the pattern by which this would happen is that an individual would come to Canada with a spouse, divorce that spouse in Canada, both of them having obtained permanent residency, and then sponsor a subsequent spouse from abroad, and perhaps do that a third time. Perhaps the person would declare that someone was a sister or something, fraudulently, on their documents. Implicit in that is an act of fraud.
With our typical Canadian humility and politeness, we say that we are sorry, but if people have lied to get into Canada and have lied about a relationship of that nature, there are sanctions for those misrepresentations. Anyone who lies in such a way should lose the privilege of residency in Canada. That is what the law already states. I believe that it is the correct position to take.
- MPconMar 12, 2015 12:40 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, I am always pleased to stand in debate in this place, particularly on the matter currently before us, Bill S-7,, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.
I have had the privilege of being the Minister for Multiculturalism for over seven years. During my mandate, I was also the minister of citizenship and immigration for almost five years, during which we introduced important reforms to strengthen Canada's great tradition of openness to the world, pluralism and unity in our diversity.
I often recall that our country, according to McGill University historian Desmond Morton, was founded by those on the losing side of history. This is a very sensitive thing to say, but he talks about the aboriginal peoples; the inhabitants of New France, who lost out in the conquests; the United Empire Loyalists who were on the losing side of the American Revolution and became established in English Canada; and the black loyalists who were freed U.S. slaves. There were also several other generations, such as the Jewish refugees in the early 20th century; refugees from communist regimes, such as the Hungarians in 1956, the Czechs in 1968 and the Vietnamese in 1979; and my ancestors, the Irish who fled the great famine and the Scots, or the Highland Clearances Scots.
All of these people were, in a sense, the underdogs of history, including our founding prime minister, John Macdonald. Because of that, we have, in our DNA, deeply rooted in our culture, habits and political reflexes across party lines, developed this sense that we have a special vocation among the nations of the world to be a land of freedom that respects cultural differences and that encourages people to celebrate what is best about their cultural antecedents. Today we call multiculturalism, what some refer to as pluralism, which perhaps as a term reflects more respect for people's most deeply grounded beliefs.
We also believe, of course, that freedom of conscience and religion are fundamental freedoms. It is not a coincidence that these are the first freedoms mentioned in the Charter of Rights, because it is through such freedoms that we define who we are and our deepest commitments as human beings. These are values that are primordial for us as Canadians, but they are not the only values that are.
We also believe as a country that freedom of religion and conscience, respect for cultural diversity, our democratic values, all of these things are rooted in our shared belief in the inviolable dignity of the human person. To quote the late Right Hon. John Diefenbaker, former prime minister, these values are rooted in what we understand to be “the sacred personality of man”, and certain values flow from that sense of human dignity.
For example, we believe that in the equality of men and women, as a self-evident principle of our society, some practices, which may be rooted in culture or tradition and seek to treat women as property rather than people, are simply wrong, must be discouraged and, where appropriate, rendered illegal. We believe that to compel women, for example, or potentially even men, boys and girls, to enter into marriages against their will is a fundamental violation of their personal integrity and dignity as human persons. We believe that compelling people to adopt the aberrant practice of polygamy should be discouraged and ultimately prohibited in our law.
I do not believe that the assertion of such absolute principles in our law contradicts the spirit of pluralism that is one of our great defining characteristics. To the contrary, the two support each other. That is to say that I do not believe that our multiculturalism equates to cultural relativism. I believe it is an invitation again to celebrate what is best about our particular cultural antecedents, but it is not a licence to import to Canada practices that are profoundly undemocratic, which are predicated on a denial of the equality of men and women, for example, or freedom of religion and conscience, or the integrity of the human person.
That is why we have proposed Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act. I know the short title is provocative and it has elicited debate here. Frankly, that was the point. Mission accomplished.
We wanted to drive home the fact that these practices are unacceptable in our society.
That is why, when I was minister of citizenship and immigration a few years ago, I published the new study guide for citizenship applicants called Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.
Let us be clear: the Citizenship Act has long stipulated three obligations for permanent residents who want to become Canadian citizens. First, they must reside in Canada for a period of four years; second, they must demonstrate knowledge of one of Canada's two official languages; and third, they must demonstrate a knowledge of Canada, for example, its history, institutions and symbols.
Since the 1970s, an exam has been used to assess citizenship applicants' knowledge of Canada.
When I became the minister of citizenship and immigration in 2008, I discovered that the exam to assess this knowledge, as well as its accompanying learning and study guide provided a very superficial overview of Canada. They included virtually no Canadian history and almost no information on our cultural expectations.
That is why I wrote the following in the new guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.
Canada's tolerance and diversity do not include certain “barbaric cultural practices”, such as so-called honour crimes, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, violence against women, and other practices, which we condemn in Canada and which are severely punished under our law.
That was an important message to send. We used the word “barbaric” very intentionally. We realized that it would draw attention, and that was the point. It was a teaching opportunity, an opportunity to raise our concern that we do not want such practices being justified in Canada under the licence of multiculturalism.
The bill before us takes that intention one step further by plugging certain loopholes, which frankly never should have existed, in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act, and the Criminal Code.
For example, as minister of citizenship and immigration, I learned that families from a polygamous marriage had entered Canada without having declared the polygamous relationship.
They did not declare their polygamist relations, but they came to Canada clearly in violation of the spirit of our law. These amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act would close those loopholes.
Similarly, this would clarify, under the amendments to the Civil Marriage Act, the requirement for free and enlightened consent and the requirement for ending an existing marriage prior to entering another to avoid, again, polygamy. It would further create new offences for actively knowing or participating in a forced marriage, which is something the United Kingdom and other countries have done, and other consequential amendments.
I believe that this is a reasonable, and frankly modest, sensible series of measures, which Canadians expect to actually strengthen our tradition of pluralism by demonstrating that there are reasonable limits to it.
- MPconMar 12, 2015 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, if the question is about the report of the Military Police Complaints Commission, I want to say that we just received it. It is over 1,000 pages long and I look forward to reading it. The summary of the report is clear: not all of the allegations were confirmed.
That being said, what happened with the military police is unacceptable. I intend to work with the military to ensure that it changes its policies and practices so that such an incident does not happen again.
- MPconMar 12, 2015 11:15 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, the government has not made a final decision on the continuation of our mission against the Islamic State. Obviously, when we make a decision, we will move a motion in the House for debate, as we have done every time we have deployed troops for this type of mission.
Nonetheless, it is important to point out that Canada has a role to play against this genocidal terrorist organization, which has declared war on Canada and poses a real threat to our security and global security.
- MPconMar 11, 2015 11:50 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, ISIL of course constitutes a threat to global security, including that of Canada. This is a genocidal terrorist organization that has explicitly targeted Canada on several occasions and that must be opposed. That is why I am pleased to report that this past Monday our CF-18 Hornets successfully struck a series of ISIL staging areas and fighting positions west of Kirkuk using precision-guided munitions. On Sunday, the RCAF successfully struck two ISIL ammunition caches southeast of Haditha.
Our air strikes are targeting heavy weapons, vehicles, fighting positions, tactical units and buildings used by ISIL throughout Iraq. We are tremendously proud of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
- MPconMar 11, 2015 11:30 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, it is odd that the hon. leader of the Liberal Party does not understand that one of the reasons we are in Iraq is to help the government and civilians, as well as to protect women and girls who are raped and who are forced into sexual slavery by Daesh. Even the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights believes that rape and other forms of sexist and sexual violence are being perpetrated against women and children.
We stand with the women of Iraq against the violence perpetrated by Daesh.
- MPconMar 09, 2015 11:45 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform members that this month, Her Majesty's Canadian Ships Goose Bay and Shawinigan seized over 1,000 kilograms of cocaine in a major drug bust in the Caribbean Sea. These dangerous narcotics would have otherwise landed on our streets and in our communities.
We are proud of our Canadian Armed Forces members who worked with the United States Coast Guard and U.S. Navy in this successful disruption. We will continue to work with our allies to fight transnational criminal activity and keep Canadian communities safe.
- MPconMar 09, 2015 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, of course we continue to express our sorrow to the family of Mr. Langridge for what happened, the tragic incident that occurred. I can confirm that last Friday the Provost Marshal of the Canadian Armed Forces did remove the protected designation for the interim report, so that it can now be made public. With respect to the specific request made by my friend from St. John's, I will look into that matter and get back to him as quickly as possible.
- MPconMar 09, 2015 11:20 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, the truth is that Canada believes we have a responsibility, a moral and national security responsibility, to act in the defence of global security and of our own security against this genocidal terrorist organization, ISIL, this death cult that has sought to destroy entire minority communities, that has explicitly declared war on Canada. That is why we have Canadian special operations forces in their advise and assist mission in northern Iraq. That is why we have the Royal Canadian Air Force flying sorties against ISIL positions in Iraq.
Of course, we believe there is an important ongoing role for Canada to play. If we seek an extension, we obviously will table a motion in this place.
- MPconMar 09, 2015 11:15 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Halifax for her condolences. I join with all members in expressing our most profound condolences to the family of Sergeant Doiron. His comrades, the other three Canadian troops wounded on Friday night, are in our thoughts and prayers.
This incident was a tragic question of friendly fire resulting from mistaken identity. Our troops followed all of the established protocols that they have for several months in these kinds of training missions. They were well within the rules of engagement of their advise and assist mission to provide training to the Kurdish peshmerga.
Obviously, our operators are ensuring that steps are taken to ensure there is no repeat of this tragic incident. There are three investigations that we hope to see the results of very soon.
- MPconFeb 26, 2015 11:50 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, it would be inappropriate to talk about the details of someone's private health care matters. Having said that, I have instructed my department to cover all of Captain Young's medical expenses related to her present condition and going back to before the Department of National Defence was made aware of her condition.
If there are any other outstanding medical claims, I encourage her to submit them to the armed forces. We are providing full support for her medical and rehabilitation costs. The matter is under close review by the Canadian Forces Health Services group, and all of the medical decisions involved are, of course, a priority for that group.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 4:15 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Chair, while we all, of course, condemn unequivocally all forms of xenophobia and hatred, as he did in his speech and I did in mine, would the member agree with me that there is something uniquely durable and uniquely pernicious about anti-Semitism? I ask this because it is a question of debate. The General Assembly of the United Nations decided to hold a special session very pointedly on the problem of anti-Semitism, reflecting what is broadly believed to be the uniquely durable and pernicious nature of that evil.
I recall that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, through its ODIHR office of development, started a process about 15 years ago of a dialogue within the OSCE on anti-Semitism. However, some member states of the OSCE sought to dilute that focus by turning it into a general dialogue about xenophobia.
I, at least, believe that it is important to condemn all forms of xenophobia and to combat them all, but I also believe that it is important for us to recognize the uniquely durable characteristics of anti-Semitism. I wonder if the member shares that view or if he could comment on that.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 4:05 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Chair, I regret to say that I have been in meetings and was not aware of this, but regrettably this is not a novel incident if there were indeed expressions of anti-Semitic hatred. This is something we see all too often. Let us be honest. In the House we are also discussing these days the problem of global terrorism, particularly of the jihadi variety, and there have been planned attacks, thankfully prevented, against Jewish community installations in this country.
One thing our government has done is to create the security infrastructure project that provides 50% grants to vulnerable community installations, including synagogues and Hebrew schools, as well as facilities of other faith communities. If they have been subject to expressions of hatred or vandalism or threatened by this kind of terror, we will provide funding to upgrade their security facilities to help keep those communities safe, because that security, we believe, is in part a public responsibility.
This is not just about condemning rhetorical anti-Semitism; it is also about maintaining public security against the violent expressions of anti-Semitism.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 4:00 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Chair, the question was, should we not permit people to immigrate from Hungary? The answer is of course we should. We receive Hungarian immigrants every year. Any Hungarian nationals and people from any country in the world are free to apply for immigration to Canada and to be treated fairly under our rules.
I join the member in condemning the hatred perpetrated by Jobbik, that extremist party to which he referred in Hungary, and to the even more extreme violent manifestations of hatred in Hungary. We have raised these concerns directly with the Hungarian government. I have raised them directly with Prime Minister Orban and with Zolan Balog, the minister of social affairs and minister responsible for minorities, on several occasions. Indeed, I met with leadership of the Jewish community in Hungary. I visited the magnificent grand synagogue of Budapest as an expression of solidarity.
I will inform the member that Hungary will be taking over the gavel as chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance from the United Kingdom. Canada was chair last year. Hungary will be chairing the IHRA next year.
While we were concerned about a lack of sensitivity on the part of Hungary in recognizing its own history of anti-Semitism during the Shoah, I am pleased to report for the member that there has been a significant change of attitude in recent months, and we hope to work constructively with our partners to work with the Hungarian government in its chairmanship of IHRA.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 3:45 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
That this Committee take note of the troubling rise in anti-Semitism around the world, as discussed at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on January 22, 2015.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 11:55 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question and his leadership on this issue.
Indeed, I want to acknowledge the member for Mount Royal for proposing this important take-note debate this evening. It will allow us to discuss the rising wave of anti-Semitism across the world. We see incidents from Paris to Brussels to Copenhagen, as well as right here at home. It is deeply troubling and gives contemporary expression to the most ancient and pernicious and durable form of hatred, anti-Semitism.
It is not just the old anti-Semitism, with which we are sadly familiar, but the new anti-Semitism, which is often located in particular opprobrium for the Jewish homeland of Israel.
I invite all members to participate in this debate tonight. As Canadians, we join together in condemning the brutality of anti-Semitism.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 11:50 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, both the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are aware of this troubling case. The Canadian Forces health services group is conducting a full review of it. While this review is ongoing, both DND and the Canadian Armed Forces are continuing to cover her medical costs and meet her medical needs relating to her present condition.
As this is a health-related matter, it would be inappropriate for me, with respect to patient confidentiality and the Privacy Act, to comment further.
- MPconFeb 23, 2015 11:35 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, let us be clear: we have special forces in Iraq to help the Kurdish peshmerga forces. We also have the air force hitting Daesh and ISIL targets in Iraq. Thanks to our contribution, we have stemmed the growth of the Islamic State in Iraq.
We will consider the success and effectiveness of our military mission there shortly, as a government, before making any decisions. If we decide to extend the mission, we will move a motion in the House.
- MPconFeb 18, 2015 12:10 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Mount Royal:
That a take-note debate on the subject of the troubling rise in anti-Semitism around the world, as discussed at a special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on January 22, 2015, take place pursuant to Standing Order 53.1 on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
- MPconFeb 18, 2015 11:50 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, sadly, the comments of the Liberal critic echoed those of the so-called security expert of the Liberal leader, Mr. Leslie, who said that the biggest threat in the Middle East is those internally displaced persons, the refugees, the minorities, who have fled the death cult of Daesh. We could not disagree more profoundly. We do not think that it is overkill for Canadian troops and airmen to be striking this genocidal death cult that is seeking to kill tens of thousands of innocent people and that just decapitated 21 people because of their faith. No, this is responsible action by Canadians to defend international security and our own.
- MPconFeb 17, 2015 11:55 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
It is an important mission that the Liberal Party opposes, Mr. Speaker.
This government committed from the beginning that we would release the costs in the appropriate and normal parliamentary method, which we have done. It will be tabled this week as part of the supplementary estimates C: $122 million is incremental cost associated with Operation Impact.
The real issue is why the Liberal Party has turned its back on decades of responsible internationals, and why a party that used to stand for national security is now standing against our efforts to protect Canadians in opposing the genocidal terrorist organization ISIL.
We are proud of what our men and women in uniform are doing to combat that organization.
- MPconFeb 17, 2015 11:45 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our record. We have increased investments in the Canadian Armed Forces by 27%. Modern tools to help them do their job are important. We are taking care of our men and women in uniform.
However, the reality is that the NDP wants to drastically reduce the Department of National Defence budget and it does not support our soldiers' mission in Iraq, all against the wishes of Canadians. We are there to help and work with our men and women of the Canadian Forces.
- MPconFeb 17, 2015 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, this backlog is unacceptable. That is why, as of the beginning of this month, the Department of National Defence has asked its staff to process the back payment for reservists, and I have been assured that it will be done as soon as possible.
- MPconFeb 16, 2015 11:55 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, over the past three years, we have invested approximately $7 million to help maintain the existing infrastructure portfolio.
What is more, the Royal Canadian Air Force just set up the core of an air expeditionary wing, which will bring in an additional 230 people. More personnel are expected to arrive in 2015 to assist command and the wing's support elements.
I must add that the NDP is against all of our additional investments in the armed forces.
- MPconFeb 16, 2015 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Of course, Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric mass murder committed by the death cult, ISIL.
This morning I called the Coptic bishop in Canada, Bishop Mina, to express our condolences. This reinforces the reason why Canada is engaged in the fight against ISIL in the Middle East.
Last Thursday, Captain Forget from the joint operations command stated that ISIL has suffered a number of tactical setbacks and is pressed on a number of fronts and is struggling to sustain its military efforts, thanks in part to the air strikes of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the great work of our special operations troops, which we support.
- MPconFeb 16, 2015 11:35 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, first let me say as I rise in this place for the first time as Minister of National Defence what an honour it is to serve our men and women in uniform.
I begin this mandate proud of this government's achievement of rebuilding the Canadian Forces, with a 28% increase in funding from the decade of darkness of the Liberals.
Just last Friday, I was at CFB Trenton. I saw some of our new C-17 Globemasters—we have acquired four, and a fifth is coming, allowing us to project Canada's reach around the world—17 new Hercules series J tactical airlift, and 17 new Chinook helicopters.
We will not return to the decade of darkness.
- MPconFeb 05, 2015 11:50 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his strong support for family tax fairness, for lower taxes. We are delivering on that to 100% of families with children under the age of 18, with an average benefit of over $1,100. This means, for example, that a single mom with two kids making $50,000 will receive $1,000 in relief and benefits. Families earning less than $30,000, low-income families, will receive an average benefit of $1,200.
All of those benefits would be taken away by the opposition parties if they had their choice. We will not let them do that. Canadian taxpayers will support more support for families. That equals a stronger economy and more jobs.
- MPconFeb 05, 2015 11:45 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the temporary foreign worker program, the NDP continues to demonstrate remarkable hypocrisy.
In fact, the NDP opposed giving inspection powers to my department's inspectors so that they could conduct investigations without a warrant. Thousands of investigations have been conducted by my department's inspectors since the team was expanded. However, all employers co-operated and we did not need to conduct investigations without a warrant.
- MPconFeb 05, 2015 11:25 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, the NDP's so-called plan involves the accelerated capital cost allowance, which this government has delivered in three subsequent budgets, which in every instance the NDP voted against. It includes reducing taxes supposedly for small businesses, which this government has done and which the NDP voted against.
The NDP has about as much credibility in talking about tax cuts as a vampire does in pledging to become a vegetarian.
- MPconFeb 05, 2015 11:15 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, of course we all feel badly for those at that company who have lost their jobs. We have already reached out. In fact, within hours of the announcement made by this U.S. retailer, we reached out to the company and its employees, offering a special accelerated process for EI claims, offering job bridging and connections to jobs that are available through the Job Bank, and offering training programs. We will be there to support those individuals.
The most important thing is that we have a strong and growing economy so that there are alternatives when people lose their jobs. That is why we are cutting taxes to create those jobs, rather than taking the NDP's approach of raising taxes.
- MPconFeb 04, 2015 11:45 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, the NDP sees a plan, but voted against every single element of it.
They voted against cutting taxes for small businesses. They voted against cutting income taxes. They voted against cutting the GST. They voted against increased investments in job training. They have voted against every constructive measure: the Canada apprenticeship loan, the Canada job grant, and the incentive grant for new apprentices.
Everything that has helped this country have one of the best job creation records in the developed world has been opposed by the NDP, and their only solution is higher taxes, reckless spending, and more debt. That would lead to more jobs being lost.
- MPconFeb 04, 2015 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, sometimes the NDP's hypocrisy really is breathtaking. This is the party that demanded that we give permanent residency to every single temporary foreign worker in Canada, which would imply, by the way, doubling Canadian immigration levels. Canadians do not support that.
However, there are about 1,000 temporary foreign workers in Alberta with pending permanent residency applications who are about to fall out of status. We are just going to allow them to stay in Canada until a decision is made on their permanent residency applications, which is exactly what the NDP asked us to do.
Why can the socialists never take yes for an answer?
- MPconFeb 04, 2015 11:35 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, as I said, we obviously continue to provide access to the employment insurance program and the training programs that we have enhanced.
We will soon be launching a new job bank that will better match unemployed workers with employers who are hiring. We are working with the provinces to ensure that training programs are better aligned with the labour market.
Ultimately, we must continue to reduce taxes in order to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
- MPconFeb 04, 2015 11:30 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, we are obviously all worried about the number of people who have lost their jobs with Target after two years of failure by this American company in Canada.
We have contacted employees to provide all the services they need, including employment insurance, obviously, training programs and job notifications.
We will continue to help unemployed workers while creating jobs with our low-tax policy.
- MPconFeb 02, 2015 11:30 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, our jobs plan has resulted in one of the best employment records in the developed world since the global downturn. I will give the House a couple of examples: 500,000 apprenticeship grants that we have delivered, totalling over $700 million; the apprenticeship job creation tax credit; the tradespersons' tools tax credit; supporting Red Seal harmonization across the country; the new job bank; job alerts; micro-loans for foreign-trained professionals so they can get their credentials recognized; the targeted initiative for older workers; enhancements in aboriginal training programs, and on and on.
- MPconFeb 02, 2015 11:25 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the hon. member is absolutely wrong.
On the contrary, we continue to ensure that employment insurance is accessible to those who need it and have worked for a certain period of time.
In fact, 86% of workers who pay into employment insurance have access to the program, which means that the vast majority of those who paid premiums qualify for and receive benefits.
- MPconFeb 02, 2015 11:20 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is completely wrong, and he knows it, about that figure. He is also wrong, as the Liberal Party always has been, about taxes.
This government believes that allowing families to keep more of what they earn helps economic growth and helps job creation. The record is clear, which is why Canada has had one of the best economic growth records in the developed world since the global economic downturn and one of the best job creation records, with over 1.2 million net new jobs created.
If we followed the Liberal plan, with higher taxes, reckless spending, more deficits, and a growing debt, we would go in the wrong direction. We will not do that.
- MPconJan 28, 2015 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, the results are clear. Canada has one of the best job-creation records in the developed world, with the creation of some 1.2 million net new jobs since the global downturn. We of course regret when anyone loses a job, but the EI system is there for those individuals. In fact, 86% of unemployed people who have paid into the system access EI. We are working with the employees at Target to ensure that they get their claims treated in an accelerated fashion.
At the end of the day, none of those people would be helped by the NDP policy of higher taxes, reckless spending, and huge deficits, which is a recipe for jobs being killed, not created.
- MPconJan 28, 2015 11:35 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, we have given employers some breathing room by reducing their taxes to one of the lowest rates in the developed world. That is one of the reasons why about 1.2 million jobs have been created since the global recession.
We continue to lower the tax burden on small businesses, which are major job creators, by reducing EI premiums. We are making significant investments, through various employment funds, to help business owners provide more training, for example.
We remain focused on job creation.
- MPconJan 27, 2015 11:45 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Don Valley for his question and his support for tax fairness for families. The package introduced by our government of course will focus benefits, two-thirds of them, on low- and modest-income families. One hundred per cent of families with kids under the age of 18 will benefit, with an average benefit of nearly $1,200 a year. A family earning less than $30,000 will receive an average benefit of over $1,200. A single parent with two kids, earning $30,000, will receive over $1,500 in benefits.
This is one of the largest and most significant tax benefits for Canadian families ever. It will strengthen families. It will help parents with the cost of living. We are proud of our family tax cut.
- MPconJan 26, 2015 12:05 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, this government has significantly increased transfers to the provinces, and in particular to Quebec. We are talking billions of dollars.
Quebeckers want to see a decrease in their tax burden. They want their taxes to go down. The reforms we have made to help families will help 100% of Quebec families with children under the age of 18. These families will receive on average $1,200 a year, as a result of the benefits we increased. That is good for Quebec families.
- MPconJan 26, 2015 11:55 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that Statistics Canada has never surveyed reserves for the labour force survey, including under the 13 years of the previous Liberal government, because Statistics Canada statisticians advise that there are significant practical challenges to doing so.
I have raised this with Statistics Canada and have asked that it come up with suggestions on how it can get better labour market information from reserves, because we do know that unemployment rates are typically far too high on aboriginal reserves. That is why our government has invested record amounts in skills development and job training programs for aboriginal people to ensure that they can benefit from Canada's prosperity.
- MPconJan 26, 2015 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, in fact, this is a massive tax saving for families with kids to help them cover the cost of taking care of their children. We do not apologize for one minute for a package of tax relief and child care benefits that will support 100% of Canadian families with children under the age of 18. The average benefit will be nearly $1,200. Families with two kids under the age of six will be getting at least $3,800 in benefits annually.
We are proud to provide more support, because that is not the government's money. That money belongs to those working Canadian families.
- MPconJan 26, 2015 11:35 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. The NDP's only economic policy is to increase spending, taxes, the deficit and debt. All that does is kill jobs. The NDP's policy is wrong-headed.
This government will continue to balance the budget and support training for young Canadians and the unemployed. We will continue to reduce the tax burden to create new jobs.
- MPconJan 26, 2015 11:30 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance just said, 1.2 million jobs have been created since the global recession and we continue to make significant investments in labour market training.
For example, we just launched the Canada apprentice loan, which will increase the number of young Canadians who apprentice in specialized trades and end up in very good jobs.
We will keep making these investments and reduce the tax burden on Canadians in order to create jobs.
- MPconDec 10, 2014 11:55 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Elmwood—Transcona for his excellent work in fighting for the families of Winnipeg and asking for family tax fairness, which we are delivering through the family tax cut.
Together with the enhancement of the universal child care benefit, we are delivering real, tangible financial benefits to 100% of the some nine million Canadian families with children under the age of 18, who will benefit by an average by $1,200 a year, two-thirds of which will go to low and modest income families.
Finally we have a government that is respecting the choices families make, rather than taxing them for expensive bureaucratic programs that would only benefit 10%—
- MPconDec 09, 2014 12:05 pm | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me join all of our colleagues in welcoming the hon. member for Whitby—Oshawa to the House of Commons. We know that the member was elected by the hard-working voters of Whitby—Oshawa in part to deliver the family tax cut, the tax cut that will benefit 100% of Canadian families with kids under the age of 18. Two-thirds of its benefits will go to low- and modest-income families.
In fact, did members know that a single parent making $50,000 with two kids will see $1,000 in relief and benefits, and families earning less than $30,000 will see $1,200 in benefits—
- MPconDec 09, 2014 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, we are proud that there are more than 1.4 million fewer Canadians living under the poverty line than when this government took office. The number of Canadians living below the low-income cut-off line, at 8.8%, is at its lowest level in Canadian history.
The best strategy to address income inequality and to help people in low-income situations is to ensure that they have good jobs, and that is exactly what this government is focused on; jobs that would be killed by the NDP's idea of a massive hike in the minimum wage. Instead, we are cutting people's taxes.
- MPconDec 09, 2014 11:35 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger
Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister underscored, the NDP does not understand that we have an obligation to deliver public services efficiently.
We have done just that. We have reduced the costs for processing each EI application by 42% through automation and through smarter procedures. That is why the vast majority of EI applicants receive their benefits within the service standard of 28 days.
We are going to improve our service, because I am implementing many of the recommendations that I received from my hard-working parliamentary secretary from Nova Scotia. The NDP should be thanking us for that instead of criticizing us.
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