House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was credit.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

December 7th, 2004 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the subcommittee on the employment insurance fund has met with workers calling for more generous benefits and more flexible eligibility criteria. The Conservatives are merely calling for lower contributions. Yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development announced a 3¢ decrease in EI contributions.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Would the minister rather listen to the recommendations of the Conservatives, who want only a cut in contributions, or to the parliamentary subcommittee examining this matter, which knows what the workers, union representatives and employers want?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we listen to them both. Neither one is excluded. We are also awaiting the opinion of the Auditor General, who has said the system needs to be better balanced. We are taking action now because the economy is doing very well. As the hon. member is aware, there are far more Canadians contributing to the economy, even in his riding and his province.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Yesterday we learned in the other place that apparently the government has no intention of keeping its election promise and throne speech promise to provide 5,000 more troops for peacekeeping, at least not in the foreseeable future.

I ask the Minister of National Defence, why are the Liberals breaking this promise and do they intend to break the promise on the expansion of the reserves as well?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it clear that it intends to increase the regular forces by 5,000 and to increase the reserves by 3,000. We always made it clear that this would require additional funds for the department. The Prime Minister has made it clear that when the budget comes, we will be getting funds to enable us to do this.

The admiral, yesterday in his testimony, made it very clear that this cannot be done overnight. The hon. member will appreciate that. We are laying out a timeframe, the ministry is getting ready and we look forward to recruiting these people. This is a responsible way to go. We are increasing our armed forces to be a better source for Canada.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, as part of an election ploy, the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party promised to add 5,000 regulars and 3,000 reserves to the military. A few weeks ago the chief of defence staff said it would take the department five to six years to recruit the soldiers. Yesterday the vice chief reconfirmed this embarrassing timeframe and said that the military simply does not have the money to recruit, train, equip and house the soldiers.

Is the government prepared to break another election promise, or will it provide the funds needed to recruit the soldiers now?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the hon. member's question is similar to the one I gave last time. If he waits for the budget, he will see the funding and then he can make his decision as to whether an election promise has been broken or not.

I can assure hon. members in this House that the Prime Minister and I and other members on this side are working hard to improve our armed forces, and we will do that.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the last election the government said it would increase the military without having any idea how it could be done, how it would be used and how it would be funded. This weekend the Prime Minister told CNN, “We are going to be increasing our troop level substantially, both our regulars and reserves. We are in the process of getting that underway”. Yet the number two in the military said it just is not so. Who are we to believe?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the vice chief of the defence staff made it very clear that we are examining the way in which we can go about this. The Prime Minister himself made it very clear that this is an important priority for our government. We will be getting the funding and moving ahead on this. The military is very excited about this prospect. I hope the hon. members will be as excited as we go ahead and build a 21st century military that responds to the needs of Canadians.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just announced that he is doing a stopover in Libya to shake hands with President Gadhafi. President Gadhafi just announced that he is cancelling the scheduled visit of the group, Human Rights Watch, which was supposed to be there for three weeks to investigate ongoing human rights violations in Libya.

Will the Prime Minister be in Libya longer than he was in Sudan? When he is there, will he specifically ask President Gadhafi to lift the ban on Human Rights Watch so they can do their work?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister never misses an opportunity to promote human rights. He has respect for human rights on every trip that he involves himself in.

I am confident that when he goes to Libya, it will be precisely to strengthen the process in which Libya has been engaged over the last few years and where we have noticed an improvement.

This is precisely to strengthen the process in which Libya has engaged and where more needs to be done.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister just missed an opportunity to answer a direct question.

Last week the human rights subcommittee right here in the House of Commons heard disturbing evidence from a variety of representatives of religious groups suffering extreme persecution in a number of countries around the world: Christians in Pakistan, Falun Gong in China, Buddhists in Tibet, and many others.

As the Prime Minister is meeting with many of these dictators, will he specifically speak up for the persecuted people within those regimes? Will he make the case for religious freedom? Other freedoms will follow if they have religious freedom.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in fact in a speech last night I indicated that in virtually every country that I have gone where there are questions of human rights violations, or where in fact there are restrictions on freedom of religion, I have raised the issue. That is an integral part of Canadian foreign policy. It is certainly an integral part of Canadian values which this government reflects.

The answer to the hon. member's question, which I think is very well taken, is yes, I will raise it in Libya and I will raise it in every other country where that is a problem.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment recognizes that the implementation plan to reduce greenhouse gases will be delayed. Following the minister's admission, we now have a better understanding of the comments made in Australia by deputy minister Anderson, when he said that Canada would not achieve even two thirds of its objectives on greenhouse gas reduction.

How could the Minister of the Environment downplay the deputy minister's comments last week, when he himself confirmed them through the admission that he made yesterday?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the member is not quoting me accurately. I never said that. On the contrary, the Kyoto action plan has been in effect since 2002. In the Speech from the Throne, we made a commitment to strengthen and closely monitor it.

Climate change is a new phenomenon. We are constantly learning more on how to deal with it. Canadians have already invested $3.7 billion, at the federal level alone, to deal with this issue.

We have had a very active plan for renewable energy and we will continue to have one.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister said he was prepared to sign an agreement with Quebec. However, he continues to give priority to oil companies and the automobile industry by taking a sectoral approach.

If the minister is serious when he says that we must be fair and set targets that are both rigorous and fair, what is he waiting for to give full control to Quebec over its territory, by signing a territorial approach with the province?