House of Commons Hansard #78 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I thought there for a minute I missed a day this week.

Unemployment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance said in his budget speech that when new and significant savings were realized with respect to unemployment insurance, it would be possible to reduce premiums even further, and he would make sure that this happened. Well, this morning we are told that the minister is seriously considering raising the unemployment insurance surplus to $15 billion.

My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. Why does the minister want to accumulate a surplus of $15 billion in the unemployment insurance fund instead of reducing premiums, when he himself said that a reduction of seven cents would create 40,000 jobs over two years and that he would be able to reduce this payroll tax to a significant extent?

Unemployment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the report to which the hon. member is referring is a report by the chief actuary of the Department of Human Resources Development, who prepared a study that found that if we want to accumulate a surplus in the account, to avoid going through what the last government did, we would need a surplus of between ten and fifteen billion dollars.

That being said, I would like to point out to the hon. member that when we came to power, the previous government had intended to raise unemployment insurance premiums to $3.30. We froze them at $3.07 and then reduced them to $3 and reduced them again last year to $2.95. Last year, we reduced premiums by $1.8 billion, which saved taxpayers money on unemployment insurance.

Unemployment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal government came to power, it deliberately increased unemployment insurance premiums. It was the first thing it did as far as economic policy was concerned.

We are accused of not asking a whole lot of questions about jobs. I accuse the government of never having an answer on the subject. The Minister of Finance is more concerned about his millionaires than about the unemployed.

Here is my question, and I expect a reply. Does the minister realize that by wanting to accumulate a surplus of $15 billion in the unemployment insurance fund and by refusing to reduce premiums for employers and employees, he has deliberately ordered a tax of $15 billion on employment?

Unemployment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

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