House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the changes made to the employment insurance program following passage of Bill C-2, are clearly insufficient.

These changes leave too many of the unemployed still out in the cold. Lobby groups of the unemployed, the unions, even some Liberal MPs, acknowledge that something has to be done. But the government will not budge.

If the government has not already forgotten its election promises, can the Prime Minister commit to providing some help for the unemployed before the end of this session?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we had promised changes and we have introduced them. We did so with the very first bill we brought in when we came back.

The unemployed have lost six months because of the blocking tactics used by the Bloc Quebecois in connection with the employment insurance legislation before the last election.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is totally false. The government was the one that did not want to debate the matter, failed to introduce the bill, and preferred to call an election.

The election promises made went far beyond what was included in Bill C-2. The bill was passed. We are talking about something else. The situation is clear: the unemployed need help, but the political will to help is lacking.

Why is the government not in as much of a hurry to do something for the unemployed as it was to do something for the billionaires with their family trusts and to raise MPs' salaries? Why this double standard?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the House of Commons very clearly that, when we wanted to bring in the bill this past fall, it was the hon. member for Rimouski—Neigette—et-la Mitis who refused, three times in a row, to make the consent unanimous, whereas all members of the other parties were in agreement for us to proceed with the bill.

The ones that blocked the legislation were the Bloc.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's statement is completely false.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

The day before unemployed workers were to hold demonstrations in Shawinigan during the election campaign, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport were sent by the Liberal Party and the Prime Minister to promise these workers that the law would be changed in the spring of 2001.

Now that the session is drawing to an end and the minister has the time and money needed, is she prepared to keep the promises made by her two colleagues and implement the committee's unanimous recommendations before the end of this session?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the government is prepared to make adjustments to employment insurance based on conversations with Canadians and the information that we received from reports, including our annual monitoring and assessment reports. Bill C-2 is a clear example of this approach.

What is not clear is how the Bloc matches its rhetoric with its voting pattern here in the House. When it is given the option to change the employment insurance program in support of seasonal workers and families, it chooses to vote against it.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Liberal Party bent over backward to meet with union leaders.

But yesterday, these same Liberals were absent from the Standing Committee on Finance when it heard from union leaders.

Does the minister realize that the fickle attitude of her colleagues was summed up perfectly by Félix Leclerc “La veille des élections, il t'appelait son fiston, le lendemain comme de raison, il avait oublié ton nom”?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, absolutely I know the attitude of my colleagues. The attitude of my colleagues is one that works with the government to pass amendments like those in Bill C-2 that will reduce the number of hours required to receive special benefits and that will double parental benefits; and to meet with me and members with their communities to talk about economic development.

On this side of the House we know that employment insurance is important but we also believe in a balanced approach, which means diversifying economies in those regions of Canada that need our help.

Citizenship And Immigration
Oral Question Period

June 7th, 2001 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is shameful to note that the House failed to endorse the resolution to make Nelson Mandela an honorary Canadian citizen.

South African apartheid was a brutal racist regime. Nelson Mandela's long walk to freedom was a triumph for his people and an inspiration to all freedom loving people.

A petty parliamentary incident cannot be permitted to stand in the way of Canadians honouring this most respected of world leaders. If the House fails to remedy this embarrassment, what action will the Prime Minister take to make Nelson Mandela an honorary Canadian citizen?

Citizenship And Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased with the question of the leader of the New Democratic Party. From what I read in the paper I hope they were misquoted.

This man is a saint if we can have one in democracy. He spent 27 years in jail to fight apartheid and to have democracy in his country. Parliament will take all the steps after this incident to make sure he will become a Canadian citizen.

Citizenship And Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, a new immigration law is making its way through the House. It is a supreme irony that the law, if it had been on the books 30 years ago, would have meant that Canada was a not safe place for Nelson Mandela. A secret immigration board could have branded him a terrorist and deported him to face torture and imprisonment.

What will it take to persuade the government to change the immigration bill to protect people like Nelson Mandela from brutal, dictatorial regimes? Will the Prime Minister commit to making the necessary changes?

Citizenship And Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the immigration bill, as the legislation that has been in place for 25 years, has in place discretion available to the minister and the government to ensure that cases such as Nelson Mandela's are dealt with at the highest levels of government.

However I also want to point out that Bill C-11 which is presently before the House is no different from the legislation that has been in place for 30 years. The intention of the bill is to give Canadian authorities the opportunity to stop those who are inadmissible, at the same time allowing those such as Mr. Mandela access to our country.