Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-02 17:29 [p.3982]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Cambridge for his fine speech and his bill, which is quite laudable and very hard to oppose. My question is very simple. I was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces for a few years. Every year we had to take a first aid course, so that we would be able to give first aid to anyone who might need it, whether it was during our missions or while on exercise in the forest.
My colleague wants to offer a tax credit for that. That is good. As members know, we on this side of the House love tax credits. In his bill, did the member include any guidelines or provisions to ensure that official, recognized organizations would be the ones to provide the first aid courses, in order to ensure that this tax credit does not become a means for private companies to set up shop simply to make money while offering poor-quality courses?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-02 18:35 [p.3991]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to participate in the adjournment debate, or what is known in parliamentary jargon as the late show, for the first time. I will learn how this works in the next few minutes.
I am also pleased to see that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, the hon. member for Kanata—Carleton, is here. I hope that she will be able to give me some answers.
I am here to share some concerns that have been expressed by Canadians in general, not just veterans. The House will understand why. Recently, the minister introduced new financial benefits for veterans under Bill C-12, which unfortunately no longer exists because those measures have now been inserted into omnibus Bill C-15.
These amendments include increasing the disability award, expanding access to the higher grades of the permanent impairment allowance, and increasing the earnings loss benefit. Veterans tell me that these improved benefits are worthwhile, but that the government could have made a better decision. For example, veterans would have liked the government to invest more in mental health clinics, provide more assistance for families, such as military spouses, and improve help for the transition from military to civilian life.
This evening, I will talk about the fact that the disability award was increased and that the increase is retroactive to 2006. We are talking about approximately $3.7 billion that will be spent on these retroactive payments. This expenditure is highly questionable.
I am going to tell a story that explains why I think that we need to ask questions in that regard. One of my constituents came to see me. She earns about $100,000 a year. She was a soldier and she has hearing problems. Although she will not do so, if she were to apply for a disability award from the Department of Veterans Affairs, she would be eligible to receive a cheque for between $5,000 and $10,000. I think that everyone here will agree that this person, who earns $100,000 a year, does not need that money and that her loss of hearing does not prevent her from working.
Imagine how many cases like that there are in Canada and how many people, in the coming months, without thinking of their fellow soldiers, will apply for disability awards for physical injuries that do not necessarily prevent them from working. Under the law, they are eligible for that money and it is good that the government is trying to help them. However, when it comes to veterans, there are urgent needs in many other areas, including those I talked about earlier.
My question for my colleague from Kanata—Carleton is very simple. According to her estimates, how much money will be paid out retroactively to 2006 for hearing-related injuries?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-06-02 18:43 [p.3992]
Exactly, Mr. Speaker, we want to work together.
I always thought that veterans affairs should not be a partisan issue. That is why I was pleased to see that the minister treated it separately in Bill C-12. However, that is no longer the case.
I would like to say to my colleague from Kanata—Carleton that unfortunately, she did not answer my question, which was on the amount of money that will be allocated retroactively to 2006 for hearing loss. The reason I want to know this sum is that Canadians are wondering if that was the right thing to do. Instead of making this retroactive payment, the government could have used this $3.7 billion implementing a lifetime disability pension effective immediately.
The concerns my colleague is talking about are indeed those of interest groups representing veterans. However, the veterans I meet in person talk to me about the lifetime disability pension option and not the disability benefits for hearing loss.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-30 14:01 [p.3700]
Mr. Speaker, in Quebec, the arrival of summer is synonymous with a brand-new season of outdoor activities in the vast green spaces of my riding, Beauport—Limoilou.
One of the most popular of these activities is the Festival de la pêche at the Rivière Beauport linear park, the 23rd edition of which will be held this Saturday, June 4. This is a major event, free for the whole family, that exposes the young and the curious to the joys of fishing right in the heart of Beauport—Limoilou.
The Education and Water Monitoring Action Group will stock the river with nearly 4,500 trout for the festival. This event is part of the provincial fishing festival, so people do not need a licence to come fish.
I invite everyone in Beauport—Limoilou to tie some flies, take some pictures, and eat some hot dogs with their neighbours starting at eight o'clock on Saturday morning at the Rivière Beauport.
I know I will be there.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-20 11:52 [p.3651]
Madam Speaker, during the election campaign, the Liberal Party solemnly promised in writing, and I have the proof in my office, to never force veterans to battle the government in court.
This government is so arrogant that it thinks it can browbeat veterans by increasing a benefit here and there, while not keeping its most important promises. The minister must keep his party's sacred promises.
When will he drop the Equitas lawsuit?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-19 14:53 [p.3597]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is being hypocritical when it comes to veterans. He made a solemn promise that they would never have to go to court against the government. Once elected, he reneged on that promise.
The Prime Minister is disrespectful toward our veterans and the members of the House.
Can he confirm right now that he will keep his word and drop the lawsuit in the Equitas case?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-19 14:54 [p.3597]
Mr. Speaker, the reality is crystal clear. The Prime Minister misled veterans during the last election. In contrast, our Conservative prime minister always did what he said he would do. He certainly never made false promises, offering false hope.
Canada needs a respectful and consistent leader, not a schoolboy who shoves his colleagues. Can the Prime Minister finally show some leadership and stop this legal fight with our veterans in the Equitas case?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-18 15:01 [p.3529]
Mr. Speaker, the press is reporting that the Equitas lawsuit between a group of veterans and the Canadian government is back in full swing.
The Conservative government managed to secure an agreement in this case. After countless broken election promises, such as reinstating the lifetime disability pension, the minister is getting his government involved in a case that seeks to reduce our veterans' rights.
How does the minister explain this affront?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-18 15:02 [p.3529]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs appears to be two-faced with respect to the Veterans Affairs files. The minister is now siding with the Department of Justice, which has chosen to prevent veterans from obtaining benefits that the minister and his party had promised during the last election. Does the Minister of Veterans Affairs no longer believe that the government has a sacred obligation to veterans?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-16 22:16 [p.3435]
Mr. Chair, I am pleased to rise this evening. I would like to start by seeking the unanimous consent of the members of this committee of the whole to share my time with the member for Yorkton—Melville.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-16 22:16 [p.3435]
Mr. Chair, of course the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada share many ties. I am pleased to speak to this committee of the whole as the official opposition critic for Veterans Affairs. The ties between the two departments stem from the fact that all soldiers will one day become veterans, and any cuts made to the Department of National Defence will have a direct impact on the well-being of our veterans.
I am a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. We are currently conducting three studies, specifically one on service delivery, one on mental health, and one on the transition from military to civilian life. My goal is to ask the minister and his officials a few questions and to get some answers in real time to some of the questions pertaining to our studies at the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.
The three topics I want to address with the minister have to do with the integrated personnel support centres, the veterans family centre pilot project, and finally, the medical diagnostics done by the Canadian Armed Forces medical corps.
The integrated personnel support centres were created to mentor serving members who are released from the Canadian Armed Forces. Soldiers sometimes have to leave the military because of mental or physical injuries that prevent them from meeting the demands of their job and the more general requirements of the department, such as the principle of universality of service.
These integrated personnel support centres have been in operation for a number of years now and so it is necessary to determine whether the mentoring is meeting its objective of preparing members to be released or sometimes helping them to fully reintegrate into their regiment, unit, or occupation.
My questions on this topic are as follows. First, could the minister tell me what is the total budget allocated by the Department of National Defence to all integrated personnel support centres?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-16 22:20 [p.3436]
Mr. Chair, can the minister tell us what the budget is for each of those centres or does the budget vary from one military base to another?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-16 22:21 [p.3436]
Mr. Chair, many veterans have told me on many different occasions about the problems in those centres. For example, there is not enough senior staff to mentor the members at the centres.
Does the department plan to increase the budget for these centres so that they can increase the number of senior staff who are there with the soldiers and officers?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-16 22:22 [p.3436]
Mr. Chair, I understand that we need to focus on prevention, but we also need to act immediately. Some of the members at these centres right now need more mentoring and staff.
How many suicides have occurred in these centres since they opened?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-12 14:01 [p.3262]
Mr. Speaker, today I want to commend an organization called La Bouchée généreuse, which helps fight hunger among the least fortunate in the greater Quebec City area.
La Bouchée généreuse, which is in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou, provides front-line services by helping to feed the least fortunate from all walks of life. More specifically, this independent organization helps people in need by giving them all sorts of basic food products and a bit of human warmth.
This organization stands out not just because of the noble work it does, but also because of its volunteers, who actively help improve the lives of their fellow citizens.
These volunteers very generously give their time to make La Bouchée généreuse a success. They also influence the strategic direction of the organization. Three of the volunteers sit on the board and report to the other volunteers on decisions that will affect the well-being of the recipients.
This organization is necessary for the well-being of my riding, and I am proud to contribute to it as a volunteer whenever possible.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-11 15:00 [p.3197]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals announced that a monument would be established in Ottawa to commemorate trade unions.
Unfortunately, we are still waiting for a monument to honour our veterans of the Afghanistan War. Clearly, even though some of our soldiers gave their lives for Canada, the Liberals simply cannot give priority to a tribute in their honour.
Why does this government have the political will to go ahead with certain monuments, when it is clearly incapable of honouring our 40,000 veterans of the Afghanistan War?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-10 15:05 [p.3148]
Mr. Speaker, this morning, the House Leader of the Official Opposition moved a motion to remove the provisions concerning veterans from the budget implementation bill and to immediately pass them at all stages. Unfortunately, the Liberals did not support that motion, so I would like to give them another chance to do so.
I therefore ask the House for unanimous consent for the following motion. “That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-15, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016 and other measures, be divided into two Bills, namely, Bills C-15A and C-15B, as follows: (I) Bill C-15A shall contain all the provisions of the Bill respecting the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act to, among other things, (a) replace “permanent impairment allowance” with “career impact allowance”; (b) replace “totally and permanently incapacitated” with “diminished earning capacity”; (c) increase the percentage in the formula used to calculate the earnings loss benefit; (d) specify when a disability award becomes payable and clarify the formula used to calculate the amount of a disability award; (e) increase the amounts of a disability award; and (f) increase the amount of a death benefit; and All the provisions that provide, among other things, that the Minister of Veterans Affairs must pay, to a person who received a disability award or a death benefit under that Act before April 1, 2017, an amount that represents the increase in the amount of the disability award or the death benefit, as the case may be, and the consequential amendments to the Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act, the Pension Act and the Income Tax Act; (II) Bill C-15B shall contain all the remaining provisions of Bill C-15 and retain the status on the Order Paper that it had prior to the adoption of this Order; and That Bill C-15A be deemed read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole, deemed considered in Committee of the Whole—”
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-06 13:06 [p.3021]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on her military service.
I think it is important to speak to members in this House about the specific measures in budget 2016 for veterans and how those measures will affect them. Nevertheless, before I address the more specific aspects of the budget, I want to note that my colleagues, the people of my riding of Beauport—Limoilou, and I all share concerns that the Liberal government is planning some exorbitant spending for this year and the years to come.
In light of Canada's current economic climate, the Liberal government's plan to run large deficits over many years is unjustified. Unfortunately, the government is essentially handing out money that has been borrowed instead of earned.
Furthermore, the government is breaking a number of its election promises, and we are just a few months in. This is surprising, since some of these promises were key planks in the Liberal platform. First, there was the promise to restrict deficit spending to a maximum of $10 billion, which has changed. I would remind members that the deficit spending was supposed to be used to invest in infrastructure, not to subsidize new recurring programs.
Then, the government promised to focus upcoming financial efforts on balancing the budget by the end of its term, which is no longer achievable. The other disappointment was the broken promise to lower the tax rate for small and medium-sized businesses, which create wealth for everyone.
I will set these concerns aside and get to the essence of my speech, which is the budget measures put forward to address the needs of our veterans.
I want to note that these measures were first presented separately from the federal 2016 budget, in Bill C-12, an act to amend the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. This bill was introduced barely one month ago. I thought it was a good sign that the Liberals introduced this legislation, since there was no notion of partisanship on veterans' issues.
As a result, as the official opposition veterans' critic, I was planning to support Bill C-12 and vote in favour of it to help this government take positive action for our veterans, even though I felt that some amendments were necessary to fix certain technical issues.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
This is also why I worked enthusiastically and passionately to urge my Conservative colleagues to do the same and vote in favour of Bill C-12, since, overall, it seemed that this bill would improve the well-being of our veterans.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Right now, though, that bill no longer exists. It is part of Bill C-15, the 2016 federal budget, an omnibus bill. As a result, since I will be opposing the 2016 federal budget for reasons of both content and form, and since the measures for veterans have been absorbed by that bill because of inappropriate partisanship, I will have to bear the burden of voting against those measures.
I would like to tell the veterans who are watching that my support for them is unwavering and that my vote against the budget in no way means that I am voting against measures that are good for them.
I will promise veterans this: raw, ruthless honesty that holds nothing back when necessary.
That is why I will be loud and clear today about which of these measures are acceptable to me and which ones are problematic and counterproductive.
No, the government’s approach to veterans’ issues is not perfect, and yes, it is my duty as the official opposition critic to identify major flaws.
Together, then, let us identify the measures put forward in the 2016 federal budget that will help veterans, measures that pertain to financial benefits in particular.
The budget proposes increasing the disability award, expanding access to higher grades of the permanent impairment allowance, and increasing the earnings loss benefit.
One observation immediately comes to mind regarding the political will and, in this case, the legislative will of the Liberal government to move forward with these improvements to allowances and benefits.
They are consistent with the approach that the Conservative Party of Canada had been taking since 2006, an approach that involves constantly improving the financial benefits that veterans are entitled to under the new veterans charter. The charter must be interpreted and amended through the lens of the living tree doctrine, which allows for changes in how our laws are worded and interpreted.
That is why, in recent years, in accordance with this philosophical approach, we in the Conservative Party brought forward various modifications and new measures with respect to this charter that have had a positive impact on veterans. Those measures include things like improvements to the permanent impairment allowance, the new retirement income security benefit, the new family caregiver relief benefit, and the new critical injury benefit.
Like us, the Liberals are adding benefits and allowances to the charter, in other words, increasing financial benefits here and there as the needs of our veterans evolve.
By all accounts, that is commendable. However, I think there are a few glaring problems arising from the Minister of Veterans Affairs's determination to proceed down this path. The improvements in budget 2016 do not address the urgent issues that individual veterans have brought to my attention.
As far as the disability award is concerned, the retroactive increase to the maximum payout draws on considerable financial resources, roughly $3.7 billion that could have been used more effectively. For example, that money could have been used to improve the assistance provided to family members of a veteran who is suffering, to enhance mental health services, and to implement a completely renewed approach to the transition from military life to civilian life and to the bureaucratic services provided to our veterans.
When it comes to these transition services, I very sincerely believe that we are currently at a crossroads regarding our veterans and the help we would like to give them.
Either we continue increasing the benefits, since that is the easiest thing to do, or we cut through the Gordian knot at the root of the problem that veterans are experiencing in their everyday lives. This is the next battle in their lives, the one they must wage in order to get help and an attentive ear at Veterans Affairs Canada, where they unfortunately face a systematically rigid and calculating bureaucracy.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
The minister says he wants to help veterans, and that is a good thing. Therefore, he must get rid of the department's sometimes abusive bureaucracy once and for all, as it is characterized by a structure that too often dismisses veterans' requests and needs.
We must acknowledge one irrefutable fact: our veterans suffered in battle and they often return with problems that give rise to terrible mental health issues or physical conditions. These men and women in uniform not only made personal sacrifices. Above all, they dedicated their lives to serving Canada by defending our political principles, which from time to time vacillate even here in the House.
That is why those who are forced to leave the Canadian Armed Forces for medical reasons more often than not feel bitter and betrayed and as though they have lost their country's support for their commitment and ultimately for themselves.
The current veterans' movement includes a multitude of groups and claims often involving an increase in financial benefits.
I truly believe that these financial claims are motivated by injuries that go much deeper and require systemic help that goes far beyond any specific amount of money.
Veterans want respect from their own department, Veterans Affairs Canada. This department, which is the main source of assistance for our veterans in need, has to make major changes to its administrative approach and its established culture. The government needs to take real action on this, not just make announcements with no real meaning.
I believe that the Minister of Veterans Affairs needs to launch a comprehensive review of his department's administrative culture, including a review of staff conduct and of the regulations and structures that determine employees' everyday practices as well as the type and nature of services offered to veterans.
The minister needs to change the status quo. That is the real task he needs to undertake.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-06 13:18 [p.3022]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his excellent question.
What I was trying to say in my speech is that the Liberals are implementing measures to increase financial benefits, which we did. It must be done because that is what veterans' advocacy groups want.
I am going farther than that today. I am saying that although the system that has been in place in Canada for the past 15 years is important because benefits have to be there, it must do more. We have to tackle one of the other problems veterans are facing, and that is their everyday relationship with Veterans Affairs Canada officials. Not only is the transition problematic, but there is a problem with having to fill in forms and the department's attitude toward veterans.
We have no choice but to tackle this issue. We are doing so in committee, and that is why I am talking about it today.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-06 13:19 [p.3023]
Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right; the bill is hardly all-inclusive.
I want to say to my colleague that I have no qualms about answering this in regard to omnibus bills. The problem with the Liberals is that they refuse to take personal responsibility. We never said that omnibus bills are necessarily bad; meanwhile, the Liberals say they are against them, but then turn around and use them barely six months later.
An omnibus bill might be introduced for partisan or rational reasons, for instance, to pass measures quickly before the end of a parliamentary session.
In this instance, I am convinced that the government included measures for veterans in this omnibus bill not for pragmatic or rational reasons, but rather for partisan reasons.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-06 13:21 [p.3023]
It is a lasting legacy, indeed, Mr. Speaker.
My colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska used an excellent metaphor.
When a couple goes to the bank to get a mortgage for their home, measures are taken to ensure that the couple's children will not be left to pay for the house later on, and that is exactly what a federal budget should do.
Unfortunately, we can see today that the Liberals are not making sure that the mortgage will be paid off before the kids get the house.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-04 15:08 [p.2865]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs has created six advisory groups whose mandate will apparently be to assess various urgent issues affecting our veterans and to advise the minister accordingly.
However, veterans themselves find that the mandate and membership of those groups remain nebulous. On April 22, 2016, right here in the House, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs remained silent when I asked her questions about this.
Can the minister share a few salient details about these advisory groups with the members of this House, in order to provide some clarity?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-04-22 11:47 [p.2594]
Madam Speaker, the Liberal government recently announced that it was setting up six ministerial advisory groups at Veterans Affairs Canada. Veterans are wondering about that and are talking to me about it more and more.
Can the minister explain to the House the precise mandate of these groups?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-04-22 11:48 [p.2595]
Madam Speaker, that is very good and quite commendable.
Nonetheless, beyond the mandate of these six advisory groups, the veterans want to know the following. Who will be part of these groups? What qualifications are needed to sit on them? Do members of the group have to sign non-disclosure agreements?
Veterans expect transparency. They want to know why the list of members of each of these advisory groups has not been made public yet.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-04-19 14:01 [p.2427]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend Centre d'action bénévole Aide 23 for the excellent work it has been doing for my constituents in Beauport—Limoilou over the past 40 years.
This organization's 160 volunteers help the community in many different ways. Their humanitarian mission is to provide services to vulnerable people and help them combat social exclusion.
Centre d'action bénévole Aide 23 plays a huge role on the front lines in my riding. It has received a number of honours and has a special relationship with Quebec City regarding all volunteering matters and issues. The organization's volunteers work very hard on many initiatives, including Meals on Wheels, which delivers nearly 5,000 meals a year to people who are unable to cook for themselves.
I commend Centre d'action bénévole Aide 23 for its involvement and the work it does, and I recognize that its dedication to the community serves as a model for similar organizations across the country.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-04-14 14:45 [p.2248]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs keeps repeating the words “care”, “respect”, and “compassion” when talking about our veterans. One veteran, Robin Brentnall, recently went on a hunger strike to protest the bad decisions made in his case by the department.
Can the minister confirm that he has been in contact with this veteran, that he has gone to visit him in order to save him before it is too late?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-04-14 14:46 [p.2248]
Mr. Speaker, this veteran is expecting more than just administrative procedures. He is expecting a visit, or at least a call, from the minister.
The 2016 budget provides for a retroactive increase in the maximum disability award.
Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs share with us today how much will be paid for loss of hearing, which many veterans suffer from?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-04-12 14:15 [p.2076]
Mr. Speaker, today I want to talk about an exceptional group that has helped many of our veterans. The group is called Wounded Warriors Canada and is a national leader in funding innovative mental health programs that help support our soldiers and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, their families, and first responders in the community.
Wounded Warriors Canada is able to offer programs thanks to the care, compassion, and generosity of Canadians and Canadian businesses. I therefore want to thank all Canadians for supporting our women and men in uniform when they need it most.
As the official opposition critic for veterans affairs, I want to thank Wounded Warriors Canada for the important work it does in order to help our veterans.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-03-11 11:44 [p.1761]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the minister did not attend the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs meeting as planned. Moreover, by failing to answer any of the opposition's questions, the minister is turning his back on veterans. After the mission in Afghanistan ended in 2014, we planned to erect a memorial in honour of our 40,000 veterans who served there.
Instead of leaving Canadians in the dark, can the minister tell us today whether or not this memorial will be erected?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-03-09 15:12 [p.1634]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Veterans Affairs indicated that he was working with the Department of Canadian Heritage to identify opportunities for advancing the construction of a memorial monument. However, we still do not know whether there will be a national monument specifically for the Afghanistan mission.
My question is for the minister. Will the budget include an envelope for the national monument announced by our Conservative government, yes or no?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-03-09 15:13 [p.1635]
Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the minister has insinuated several times over the past four months, the previous Conservative government did more for veterans than any other Canadian government since the Pension Act of 1919 was passed.
The Liberal government cancelled the community war memorial program. This clearly shows that this government is not interested in honouring our veterans. Properly honouring our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces is not militarism, it is quite simply a moral imperative.
Now that the Liberals are cancelling this program, how do they intend to honour the achievements of members of the Royal Canadian Air Force who fought against ISIS?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-03-07 14:38 [p.1502]
Mr. Speaker, 40,000 brave Canadian soldiers served in the war in Afghanistan. One hundred and fifty-eight of them gave their lives and many others were physically or psychologically wounded.
The former Conservative government announced a national memorial for these veterans, as well as a second memorial for the soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross. These plans are now obviously in limbo.
Will this government finally honour our veterans by committing today to follow through with building these two memorials?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-03-07 14:39 [p.1502]
Mr. Speaker, I have had enough. This House has been sitting for four months already, yet the minister has not been able to give me one real answer regarding the veterans.
We are talking about memorials for veterans. Will the Liberals honour our commitment to the Afghanistan memorial in the upcoming budget, yes or no?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-02-23 15:33 [p.1273]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to the unfounded and wrong-headed nature of the mission the current Liberal government has adopted in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
There is no doubt that this group poses a real and tangible threat. No one in this chamber can deny it. This armed terrorist group claims to be the equivalent of a sovereign state, although nothing could be further from the truth. This clearly illustrates its clear desire to be a lasting, structured organization.
To achieve that, this group and its acolytes have managed to embroil a region of the world that has never truly known peace even more deeply in extremely violent armed conflicts and by so doing, pushing that region even further away from becoming the just and peaceful society that every population in those imperilled areas certainly dreams of.
Peace defined as an in-between period is a consequence of war and not the opposite. Thus, before we prepare for peace, we must face war. For that reason, since the start of Canadian air operations in Iraq and Syria, there have been almost 250 air strikes resulting in the destruction of almost 270 fighting positions, 102 pieces of equipment and 30 explosives factories by only six Canadian jets. In light of this objective and factual statement, we will simply say that operation Impact is aptly named.
However, in light of these facts, I would like my dear parliamentary colleagues, especially those in government, to realize that this is not the type of record often associated with the fight against a simple terrorist group. On the contrary, we must unfortunately acknowledge that we are at war with an organized and well-funded group, not to mention one that is motivated by certain intangible spiritual considerations, obscure reasons and other irrational motivations.
This democratic institution of the Canadian Parliament must provide a qualified and strong response, that is, a response that makes use of the entire arsenal available to Canada.
As we have heard many times in this House, it is true that we have access to all kinds of advantages in this combat, but, from the beginning, our greatest advantage against the so-called Islamic State has come from the air. In all of the chaos caused by its recent appearance, this terrorist group has managed to get its hands on tanks, heavy machine guns, and a staggering amount of ammunition.
This is a sophisticated and well-armed enemy, which means that Canada's involvement must be equally aggressive. I have to wonder why this government insists on sending Canadians and, indirectly, our allies, an incoherent, inconsistent, and deceptive message.
The government claims to want to increase Canada's presence in the armed conflict and to consolidate our impact over there, yet is rushing to withdraw the one thing that has been hugely successful on the front lines, which, has, so far, made us a strong and effective ally. With foresight, retired General David Fraser rightly said that, although we would not win this war with only air strikes, we certainly would not win the war against ISIL without them.
As always, history is repeating itself. Obviously, the Liberals are trying to get out of the Middle East without getting their hands dirty and with a feeling of moral certainty that they did everything in their power to help our allies and the people who are being oppressed by an organization as abhorrent as ISIL.
However, I would like to give them some advice. How can they hope to achieve their desired goal with the contribution they have planned for Canada? In fact, the dice have already been thrown. The air mission has already been terminated, whether we debate it or not. Once again, the international approach being taken by the Liberal government shows its one-dimensional objective to create a utopian history for our country by denying our past military contribution and our combat expertise.
I would like to remind Canadians that, historically, Canada has participated in more combat missions than peacekeeping missions. A combat mission is not the antithesis of a peacekeeping mission. On the contrary, it is the foundation for a peacekeeping mission.
Canada has always been known for its fiercely hard-working and dedicated soldiers. That is still the case today. It is only since the Liberals decided to rewrite history that we have accepted the government's false claim that Canada has never helped countries in need by providing military support and engaging in direct combat.
What our allies are asking us to do today is not to claim that we are acting in good faith and brag about taking some sort of moral high ground in this conflict but to put our military expertise and professionalism to good use in fighting the enemy.
I took the time to mention that because, as I said at the beginning of my speech, the Liberals have never sent our country to war or waged one. What this government is doing is a blatant example: they want to send more troops on the ground without providing them with any domestic air support.
Our troops are going to wonder where Canada's planes are. With fewer resources and less support, we will be exposing our troops to elevated risk. Moreover, our Griffon helicopters are vulnerable to ground-based fire, in contrast to our fighter planes, which operate at higher altitudes out of range of lighter weaponry.
The Liberals' current strategy is utter nonsense. I will be asking the government for formal justification in the unfortunate event we experience Canadian losses because of this political mess.
Let us instead do the opposite. Let us show that Canada can make a strong contribution to the conflict. Let us send our allies a clear message. Need I remind the House that our allies considered us as equals when we showed our willingness to use necessary force in the context of a just war?
Here we are in 2016, and the Liberal government is claiming quite arrogantly that Canada is back in the international arena. However, quite unbelievably, it is doing so by positioning itself as vassal to an international coalition, not as a leader among leaders.
On another note, we have every reason to ask ourselves if this is a just war. The answer, although quite complex, is unequivocally yes. Long before our time, the philosopher Thomas Aquinas, the father of the school of Christian optimists , established a series of criteria for determining whether a war was morally justifiable. First, do we have just cause to go to war? Second, do we have a legitimate authority to wage war? Do we have a plan and formal intention? Lastly, are there any other possible, appropriate solutions to the problem we are trying to solve?
Like the world wars that Canada has had to face in the past, the answers to those questions, in the context of the conflict with the so-called Islamic State, are as follows: we have a moral obligation to fight, and in doing so, to provide any assistance that we can in this struggle in order to help those most affected by this scourge. We also cannot forget that this terrorist group is already on their doorstep and, in many cases, in their homes.
It is also important to note that beyond the combat mission, which is proving to be the most important part of our involvement in those distant lands, the Liberals have no plan for the distribution of food or the humanitarian resources it plans to send, and yet that aspect is a key element of their specific approach.
Need I remind this House that we have seen on many occasions that the organizational aspect of humanitarian assistance is needed to ensure success? How are we going to protect convoys of food supplies or ensure that medical services are provided at the heart of an active conflict?
The Liberals have simply forgotten that before preparing the land for peace, and enjoying it even a little bit, we must first win the war.
To sum up what I am submitting this afternoon, I can only reiterate how wrong the current government's decision is, and that it will have negative consequences for our troops on the ground and for the civilians we are trying to help. We have a duty to ensure that the so-called Islamic State stops hounding people in the world who want to live in peace and security. Finally, we have a duty to ensure that the so-called Islamic State never gains official state status.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-02-23 15:44 [p.1275]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question. I grew up in New Brunswick, so I appreciate any questions from members from New Brunswick.
In no way did I minimize the government's plan to provide more humanitarian aid and training on the ground. That is what our threefold mission was over the past two years: to provide humanitarian aid, welcome refugees, and provide military support in Iraq and Syria.
What we on this side of the House disagree with is the fact that this government is continuing with the plan but taking away the third component, or possibly the first, depending on your perspective. I am talking about the military mission itself, the mission undertaken by our CF-18s.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-02-23 15:46 [p.1275]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question. There are three reasons for that.
First, it is because it is dishonourable and shameful that has Canada has withdrawn from an ongoing mission for the first time in history. Second, it is because we committed to contributing our jets and we should keep our word. Third, it is because we need to be aware that we are no longer living in Pearson's internationalist era, when there was a power struggle and cold war going on between the United States and the former Soviet Union.
Today, Canada is more or less a world power. We deal with very significant emerging powers. It is time for Canada to muster up its courage and present itself as a leader among leaders. I think that is very important. That is why I mentioned it in my speech.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-02-23 15:47 [p.1275]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
First of all, the American president is required to be diplomatic in exchanges with other countries. However, according to other internal sources, the American government is not so happy with this government's decision. As I told the member's colleague, this is not a matter of providing more or less humanitarian assistance. This is about maintaining the CF-18 military mission, which could have been done.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-02-22 14:56 [p.1193]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is misleading Canadians. Contrary to what he said, it was the Conservative government that introduced important measures to fight veterans' homelessness.
We launched projects in Toronto, Calgary, Victoria, and London, which helped keep veterans off the street. Furthermore, it was our party that gave the department the specific mandate of helping homeless veterans.
Will the minister pledge today to renew this mandate?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-02-17 17:29 [p.1034]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his fine speech. I want to acknowledge that the government is holding this debate in the House and carrying on the tradition started by the previous Conservative government.
That being said, I was surprised by one of the statements made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I would like to know what my colleague to my left thinks about it. The Minister of Foreign Affairs talked about the fact that he wanted to put more emphasis on deradicalization in Syria and Iraq. We know that even here in Canada the various social sciences experts who study this phenomenon of radicalization, namely political scientists, anthropologists, and psychologists, all say that the root of the problem has not yet been determined and that we are far from finding the solution to this problem.
What does my colleague think about the fact that the minister wants to deradicalize people in a combat zone when we are having such a hard time doing that here at home?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-02-03 15:06 [p.777]
Mr. Speaker, acting on the ombudsman's recommendation, the Conservative Party promised to give personal identification cards to all veterans. The card would have been given to veterans upon discharge from the armed forces regardless of the length of their military service.
Today the government is talking about ceasing production of the old identification card, which is neither specific to veterans nor given automatically following discharge from the armed forces.
Will the government immediately replace the old card with an official identification card for veterans, not a discount card like it is planning to do with the proposed CFOne card?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-01-27 15:08 [p.485]
Mr. Speaker, we are still waiting for the Liberals to make good on the promises they made to veterans. At the same time, it is important to point out that the government will have to run annual deficits to pay for the new measures it has promised.
How does the Minister of Veterans Affairs intend to ensure the long-term viability of these promises when the government plans to run structural deficits?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-01-26 14:08 [p.436]
Mr. Speaker, since it was founded, Quebec City has had a port that plays a vital role in its economic prosperity. The word “Quebec” means “where the river narrows”, and that is even truer today because the port of Quebec is the last inland port that can accommodate offshore vessels.
According to KPMG, the Beauport 2020 plan, which was announced in 2015 by Quebec City port authorities and supported by the previous Conservative government with $60 million, will allow the port of Quebec to remain internationally competitive while creating nearly 3,000 new jobs in the region. It is important to note that expansion and revitalization of the port facilities are necessary to ensure the port's long-term viability.
Finally, a large part of this port is located in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou. I therefore encourage the current government to support the work being done by the Port of Quebec, particularly when it comes to this particular project. It is part of a vision for the future for Beauport—Limoilou, Quebec, and Canada.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 13:51 [p.233]
Mr. Speaker, like many of my colleagues, I want to speak in this honourable House today to talk about ISIS. To do so, I must first address some of the consequences of the very existence of this terrorist group, specifically for free societies around the globe. Second, it is important to discuss the need for us, Canadians, to respond decisively to the international challenges that can arise at any time, especially those that can have dangerous consequences for this country and for our allies.
As I have previously indicated, my family has served in the Canadian Armed Forces since the 1890s. It should therefore come as no surprise that many of the decisions recently made by this government regarding our armed forces and their overseas engagement are particularly important to me.
I am referring of course to the hasty decision made by this government to withdraw Canadian CF-18s from the combat mission currently under way in Iraq as part of a coalition led by the President of the United States.
Colleagues, for both historic and contemporary reasons, this decision strikes me as misguided and ill-considered. Need I remind the House that our country has never shirked its duty to the international community? Need I further remind the House of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere around the world?
Colleagues, ISIS controls several cities in Iraq, many of which are home to dozens or hundreds of thousands of people. In those cities, the so-called Islamic State has set up tax collection systems, a major economic activity within the area it controls. It has a stranglehold on the region's economy and even hands out parking tickets.
The self-styled Islamic State is pillaging many regions of Iraq and Syria, appropriating the resources and destroying cultural and historic property. Let us not forget one more important fact: this terrorist group collects billions of dollars a year, enabling it to recruit thousands of people to its cause around the world every year. Because of that, this group is a major threat to our country, Canada.
The election is over. As the President of France said, we are at war against terrorism. Canadians understand that. Does the Prime Minister understand that? Does the Prime Minister and this government realize that following the recent terrorist attacks on its soil, in the city of light no less, France effectively asked for help and expects us to stand by its side?
We on this side of the House want to know: when is Canada going to offer its unwavering support to a country that has been an ally at every moment of Canada's history?
Hon. members of this House need to understand that terrorist attacks are looming. The threat is not limited to some faraway place on another continent. On the contrary, terrorism can strike anywhere here in Canada, even at the heart of our democratic institutions. Need I remind hon. members that terrorism has already targeted us more than once and spit its venom right here in the Parliamentary precinct?
What the official opposition wants is simple. We are calling on this government to get serious on both domestic issues and international issues. We are calling on this government to take the right approach to terrorism, and to acknowledge that it is a serious problem and that ISIS is the brains behind these low-lifes.
We must remain strong in our belief that we are right. We must remain determined to make no concessions to those who want to destroy us. We must remain united in the face of this threat. That is why we must hit the terrorists precisely where they are plotting against us, before it is too late.
My colleagues opposite are saying that we need to combat ISIS more effectively. We agree. Indeed, we should help train local anti-terrorism forces. We should increase aid to the hundreds of thousands of poor people driven from their homes by terrorism. That is all good. We must increase our efforts, not reduce them. Everyone agrees on that, of course. However, that would also mean that we need to keep our fighter jets where they are. Our colleagues opposite keep repeating over and over that the Royal Canadian Air Force's participation is basically not very significant and that they simply do a few strikes here and there. I want to ask these members what they are waiting for to take action, to do something and to reverse their decision to recall the Canadian CF-18s currently participating in the mission. As a G8 country, should we not contribute to this international mission in every way we can?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 15:15 [p.247]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad I can continue my speech.
To explain my position to those of my colleagues who feel that we should be doing more, I said that we should reconsider the decision to end the CF-18 mission. As a G8 country, should we not contribute as much as we are able to this international fight?
Have we forgotten our traditional allies, our most precious alliances, and our friends? France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States have answered the call for air strikes. Other countries are sure to join them soon.
While the international community rallies to a common cause, will Canada beat a retreat? To withdraw our fighter jets and our courageous pilots would be to send the wrong message to ISIS. We might as well be saying that it is not important to fight terrorism and support our allies and that we could not care less about ISIS. We need to take this more seriously.
No self-respecting government can act on a whim, not when it comes to ISIS and certainly not when it comes to the safety of Canadians.
That the government think before it acts is not too much to ask. Let us wait before taking any ill-conceived action. We need to begin by listening to and consulting Canadians, our allies, and first and foremost, this House, in the spirit of collaboration and transparency.
Here on this side of the House, the only message we want to send beyond our shores is that Canada is standing up. If Canada will not stand up to ISIS, who else will?
We have the means, the materials and the equipment. Our soldiers are very well trained, and in that regard, as a former soldier myself, I know what I am talking about. We have everything we need to do our part with pride and conviction. Imagine what a difference we could make. After all, that is what Canadians expect from their government.
At the end of the day, what is the Prime Minister so afraid of? Is he afraid of terrorism or is he afraid of being wrong?
In closing, and in keeping with the mood here as this session begins, I urge all members of the House to reflect carefully on the thoughts and criticisms my colleagues and I have shared here today.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 15:19 [p.247]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the very good question.
If the member had been here for the beginning of my speech, he would have heard what I said about his government, namely that it should take note of how international relations are developing right now. As we know, there have been a number of attacks in recent weeks, including one in Paris.
Under the previous Conservative government, we had a three-pronged strategy: bring in refugees, provide humanitarian assistance to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and go into battle with our CF-18s.
Today we are not asking the government to break any promises. We are just asking the government to recognize the current chaotic reality of international relations and reverse its decision.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 15:21 [p.248]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, whose riding is quite close to Beauport—Limoilou, for his question.
I find that way of thinking shameful. I would like to reiterate that, in those 2% of cases, 100% of the individuals are serving our country and putting their lives in danger every day to protect our freedoms.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 15:22 [p.248]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for that very good question.
I will not comment on American politics or on the U.S.'s decisions on international relations. I do not understand “reconsider the focus” to mean redefining the U.S. air strike approach, so I do not see how that changes what we are saying here.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-09 14:51 [p.169]
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately there is more. On November 11, the Minister of Veterans Affairs sent an email bearing his title and promoting the Liberal Party. Not only was it inappropriate to use Remembrance Day for partisan purposes, but it was also clearly a violation of the Prime Minister's rules for cabinet.
Does the Prime Minister agree that it is inappropriate for his Minister of Veterans Affairs to use Remembrance Day to promote the Liberal Party?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:37 [p.59]
Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, hon. members of Parliament, and all Canadians.
I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville. I want to acknowledge my colleague and congratulate her on her election.
I want to start by congratulating all the members of the House on their wins and on their dedication, which is so important to keeping the democratic institutions that make up our political system alive and well.
I am honoured and extremely proud to rise here for the first time to address all Canadians, and in particular Quebeckers in Beauport—Limoilou. Because of them, I have the unbelievable privilege of being a member of this very important parliamentary institution.
If I am here today, it is also thanks to some important people in my life. First, there are my parents, without whom none of this would have been possible. They are the ones who, throughout my childhood, guided me, taught me, and most importantly, loved me. Then, there is my wife Pascale, who has been by my side for 11 years now and supports me in all of my incredible adventures, including politics. Finally, my daughter, Victoria Clarke, reminds me every day of what is important in this life here on earth. I would like to thank all of those who are dear to my heart, including my brother and my sister.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank all of our ancestors who built a country based on the principles of the rule of law and political freedom.
Canada, as a whole, is part of my identity. In fact, my parents are from opposite ends of the country. My mother is a French Canadian from Beauport, Quebec, and my father is an English Canadian from Victoria, British Columbia. Canada's duality, an undeniable part of our common history and our political past and present, is alive and well in me and is always driving me.
I do not want to boast, but I have believed from a very young age that having this personal characteristic meant that I had an inescapable duty to participate in Canada's political community.
That is why, since my teen years, my sole purpose has been to serve my country and my fellow citizens. This burning desire, coupled with an iron will, compelled me to become actively involved in Canadian politics at 18 and to join the Canadian Armed Forces at 24.
In recent years, I have been an active member of the Conservative Party of Canada, I have served as a member of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment in Lévis, I have worked with charities in my community, and, to better understand the significance of these activities, Canada's history, and our political system, I earned a master's in political science.
I applied for and received my discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces on November 11, Remembrance Day. On my father's side, fathers and sons have served in the Canadian Armed Forces since the 1890s. My great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father, my brother and I are all veterans.
That is why the privilege of being named the official opposition critic for veterans affairs is so deeply symbolic to me: it is linked to a long-standing, deeply rooted family tradition.
On that point, I want to thank our party leader for the trust she has placed in me. Our leader and all veterans in this country can rest assured that I take this role very seriously. I will remain politically invested every day, and I will work as hard as I have to in order to hold this government to account when it comes to veterans.
I would also like to present to the House my priorities as the member for Beauport—Limoilou. My team and I have three main objectives we want to achieve. We call them the three Ps: pursue, promote, and participate.
The first objective is about pursuing the economic revitalization of our riding. More specifically, it is about focusing on the development of these main arteries: d'Estimauville, Canardières and des Capucins, 1st Avenue, 3rd Avenue and Seigneuriale.
The second objective is to promote the flow of ongoing investments in local infrastructure.
The third objective is to participate in nurturing the personal growth of newcomers and those most in need by reaching out to them, by knocking on doors throughout my term, in order to meet their needs and, more importantly, overcome the feeling of social exclusion.
Last summer, the previous Conservative government announced its support for a very important project for my riding and the entire greater Quebec City region. I am talking about the Beauport 2020 plan to almost double the area of the port of Québec's wharves. This makes sense because “the port of Québec is a strategic transshipment point between the industrial and agricultural heart of North America and the world. The port is open to navigation year-round and is one of the largest ports in Canada in terms of tonnage and economic spinoffs.” Consequently, I would hope that the new government will stay the course on this crucially important project and ensure that it is completed in accordance with the strictest environmental criteria around.
On another note, I think nothing illustrates the ideal of serving one's country better than donning a military uniform and confronting the dangers that face any free society. We have courageous veterans who did just that for our country and our freedom during the 20th century in various places around the world, and more recently in Afghanistan. Today, in Canada, we have more than 700,000 veterans. If we include their family members, we are talking about millions of individuals. They all have served and serve Canada in their own way.
What amazed me the most when I met with veterans in recent years was the unwavering passion with which they spoke about serving their country and ensuring a better future for all of us, including the MPs in this House.
I was stunned that there was only one sentence about veterans in the Speech from the Throne that opened the 42nd Parliament on Friday. However, the Liberal government has used other communications tools to announce measures that will generate significant annual deficits in the coming years, even if the Canadian economy does well in the global economic context.
The government is proposing to post deficit after deficit, have Canada go into debt in a period of economic prosperity, increase taxes and thereby discourage consumption and economic growth. This will inevitably lead to a significant slowdown in job creation.
Furthermore, the government is proposing to create new measures and to improve others for veterans, which is a very good thing. However, that is where we part ways, because the Conservatives want to finance these measures with the money generated by a healthy economy and not by running deficits in future years.
Where is the long-term vitality of these measures? How can they be permanent if the government is incurring national debt to pay for them? How can the government be sure that these new measures will be sustainable in the long term when they are incurring a deficit to pay for them? Will it do so by raising taxes for Canadians and businesses?
My friends, this is a Liberal smokescreen designed to make Canadians believe that all of the new measures that have been proposed will be implemented. They will not be, at least not permanently. Veterans will be the first to doubt the Liberals' proposals, which I will refer to as the Liberal smokescreen from now on.
We, on the other hand, were and still are in favour of measures for veterans that are sustainable in the long term, measures that are not funded by incurring continuing deficits. In that respect, the previous Conservative government focused on the long-term sustainability of essential services for veterans. That is why we made major cuts to the department's bureaucratic red tape in order to make the department more productive. This measure also made it possible to make necessary cuts to spending and especially to bring about welcome improvements in services to veterans.
Our first priority has always been to ensure that programs and measures for veterans are sustainable in the long term, while maintaining a strong economy based on balanced budgets and, of course, continued tax cuts.
The holiday season is approaching. Soon, we will all gather with our families to celebrate, but also to remember the many sacrifices that our veterans made and are still making today. It is thanks to them that I am here today.
In closing, I would like to say that there is no doubt in my mind that everyone here only wants what is best for veterans. In that respect, when it comes to working for the well-being of veterans, the government will always find in me an ally.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:48 [p.61]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and I want to congratulate her once again on her election.
Like my colleague from Yorkton—Melville, I am comfortable with the new measures put forward. However, our concern is that these measures cannot become permanent because of the deficits announced by the new government. That is what is dangerous for veterans. They need long-term measures, not election-time measures.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:50 [p.61]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question, and I congratulate him on being re-elected.
I will reiterate what we said throughout the campaign. Canada Post is a public corporation that makes its own operational decisions. The previous Conservative government expressed concerns about decisions affecting mailboxes in ridings. I would say to my colleague that it is up to the current Liberal government to talk to the corporation to see what the priorities are and figure out how to reverse the decision.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:51 [p.61]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question, and I congratulate her on being elected.
As I said, we believe that, on the whole and in principle, the measures are laudable. When I talk to veterans, including family members and fellow members of the armed forces, they all want to see a model that prioritizes open-ended measures. The opposition, the Conservative Party and veterans want viable, long-term measures that they can count on now and for the rest of their lives, not electioneering.
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