House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was justice.

Topics

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

November 28th, 1996 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow up on the question from the leader of the Reform Party to the Minister of Labour which the Minister of Labour did not answer.

The Reform Party has offered to facilitate the government's passing amendments immediately and as quickly as possible to extend the provisions of the Canada Labour Code that allow a democratic vote of the workers of Canadian on the offer of the management on the basis of public interest.

There are provisions in the code right now that are too narrow for that but we would certainly be willing to extend them to these circumstances. Would the Minister of Labour be prepared to do that forthwith?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, right now there is a labour code that has been in the county for over 20 years. I would like to remind the member that we are in the process of amending the existing legislation which is before the committee. Therefore we are following the regular process.

Let me remind this House that what we are arguing about is not a collective bargaining system that we know and that we are trying to improve. Restructuring a company is a business transaction and both parties should find a way to reach an agreement without the government's having to intervene all of the time.

I am surprised that the Reform Party would ask such a question when not long ago the critic of labour for the Reform Party said that we should get rid of the Minister of Labour and any labour department. Now it is asking the Minister of Labour to intervene right away. Those members should make up their minds.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, what we are asking for is for the employees of Canadian Airlines themselves to be able to intervene in their own future rather than take the 100 per cent pay cut that some of their union leaders seem to want them to take.

Does the minister not realize that we have a public and pressing interest here? We do not have time for the games. The future of the company and jobs are at stake. We do not have time for a lengthy mediation. Will he introduce in this House legislation that will allow the workers to speak on their own economic future?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, in case the Reform members did not understand, I will repeat this is not a collective agreement negotiation. This is a restructuring business plan. I do not think it is the business of the government to interfere in the relationship between the membership of the unions and its leadership. Let the membership take care of its own leadership problems.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Monday, in the House, I asked the Minister to tell us when the new employment insurance regulations would be ready and available. He replied, and I quote: "I looked, among other things, at some interpretation documents concerning the act that will ensure everyone can properly inform beneficiaries in the coming weeks".

In light of the serious consequences that the new employment insurance provisions taking effect January 5 can have for unemployed workers, can the Minister of Human Resources Development tell us when the regulations will be ready, and whether they will include transitional measures?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we will shortly be making some very minor administrative changes to the regulations. Now, I would like to reassure the opposition that these changes will in no way affect service to our clients and that the regulations will be

communicated to our offices promptly. But the changes are extremely minor and will not affect service to clients.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the interpretation document the minister has referred to, the following appears, and I quote: "For claims effective January 5, 1997 or later, a minimum of 910 hours of work is required" to qualify, in other words, an increase from 26 15-hour weeks to 26 35-hour weeks. For the average person, this is a huge difference.

On January 5, will the minister enforce the legislation as it stands, or will there be transitional measures softening the blow for the average person?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have already explained on a number of occasions in the House that the system was of course going to come into effect at the beginning of January, as scheduled. Certain workers will, of course, receive less coverage, but those working under 15 hours will now be covered.

There are people who, until now, were caught in a cycle-

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

That is not what we are talking about.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Be serious for once.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Papineau—Saint-Michel, QC

But I am perfectly serious. I do not understand why the opposition does not want to hear the answer. They are asking me questions-

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

That is not what we are asking.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Papineau—Saint-Michel, QC

The system will take effect at the beginning of January. Interpretation measures have already been communicated to our main offices, and I can assure you that things will go very well.

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the finance minister, who has been the biggest obstacle to anti-tobacco legislation, has announced a hike in the tobacco taxes. I guess the finance minister and the health minister have kissed and made up.

Since the finance minister is now on side, where is the health minister's anti-smoking bill?

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am tempted to say very soon. Later this day I will be able to provide details in terms of the tobacco strategy of the Government of Canada.