House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nation.

Topics

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I said last week, three boards are already set up in Canada: in Newfoundland, P.E.I., and Quebec. As we speak today, the Competition Bureau is investigating and checking to see if there is any price fixing in the petroleum industry across the country. It has received complaints from consumers. Every time it receives a complaint, it does the protocol and checks.

I have agreed to talk to gas consumer agencies in each of the provinces, and I am having further meetings and discussions with the industry. There is no need to go any further than that.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the same thing. Even though we know an election will soon be called, why does the government not take advantage of our offer to cooperate and create a petroleum monitoring agency? We could go through all the stages in this House in less than 24 hours and the agency would be created. What is the government's problem with this? When—

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Industry.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, what is the Bloc's problem, that it is so worried about an election?

This government is governing as it should for the public good. The Competition Bureau has decided to conduct a close examination of the entire gas and oil market. We will let the Competition Bureau do its job and then we will see whether in fact the gasoline prices are a result of collusion in the marketplace, or reflect the international situation.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week the government hinted at the possibility of loosening the qualifying rules for employment insurance. Last week Liberal MPs insulted Canadians who struggle in seasonal jobs by calling their EI concerns an irritant.

The HRDC committee recommended changes to modify EI over three years ago, and the government has ignored them. In a show of last minute compassion, the government is now miraculously ready to open the purse strings.

Why would seasonal workers believe a cynical pre-election ploy to try to buy their votes?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have indicated all along that I would take into consideration all the proposals that come forward. I indicated to the House that the Liberal task force on seasonal workers was in the process of making some recommendations and I would weigh them in the balance and come forward with appropriate measures. I will do that as time will allow.

Is the member opposite aware that in the process we also created some 50,000 jobs last month? I am sure he will want to compliment the government for doing a good job in this regard.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will give credit where it is due and that will be the private sector for creating those jobs, not the government.

The fact is it is no coincidence that swing voters in a number of ridings across Canada are seasonal workers. The fact of the matter is they are the ones who could make or break the Liberals in the next election campaign. The government has done absolutely nothing but neglect this file for years. Now it throws a Hail Mary pass in the direction of these seasonal workers who are struggling to make ends meet. It is heartless, it is cynical and it is typical Liberal.

Why will the government not admit that this is more an election strategy than it is an employment strategy?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite will find that the general public is a lot more intelligent in its approach than his criticism.

He will know that over the course of the last several years we have already taken appropriate measures to address the issue of seasonal workers. We have entered into agreements with several of the provinces where moneys have been put in for labour market development agreements, for example, in the province of Quebec, with which he might have scarce familiarity. There is some $600 million a year in that regard.

As well, we have put in place additional funds for seasonal workers in the forestry industry--

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Shefford.

Older Workers
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that older workers can continue to make significant contributions to the labour force and to their communities. The pilot projects have shown us this.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Given the success of these pilot projects, does the government intend to extend them or make them permanent?

Older Workers
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the Government of Canada has invested $45 million since 1999 through the Older Workers Pilot Projects Initiative. We have seen that these investments have been productive. The unemployment rate is declining and more than 175,000 jobs have been created since the beginning of 2003. I have always said in this House that, if there were any way to improve labour force participation rates, we would do what it takes to help everyone to participate fully.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

May 10th, 2004 / 2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, every time we raise questions about the Liberal policy of discrimination by postal code for jobs in Ottawa, where Canadians cannot work here unless they have a certain postal code, the government says that it wants to fix it. This morning the President of the Public Service Commission said that Treasury Board would not release the money to even develop a plan to fix it.

Will the President of the Treasury Board announce today that he is releasing the funds for the study, or explain to Canadians outside of Ottawa why Liberals do not want them working in Ottawa?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I certainly will not accept any of the preamble. I will look into the matter in question.

I met recently with the head of the Public Service Commission and she did not raise this item with me. In fact, they have a proposal and are working on e-recruitment. They are willing to meet with the member and any member of the House who wishes to talk about the policy at any time.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to talk about the policy. We want the funds released, as the President of the Public Service Commission asked for today.

The government has a new twist on this job discrimination. Under the federal student work experience program, there is a program to help full time students with summer jobs. The students are told that the program is only geared for students in the Ottawa area. The justice department is telling applicants that students from the capital region are placed first.

Will the government stop this offensive favouritism policy and open up all student jobs, all summer jobs, to all Canadians in Ottawa?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the second item was raised with me about a week ago. We are investigating right now, again to determine the veracity of it. One does not necessarily want to accept the first offer that comes across the floor.