House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was country.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, steps have been taken to make the fund more independent. Also, in the last budget an additional $300 million was applied in the general EI area. We now calculate the benefits on the best 14 weeks. It is much easier for workers on benefits to work without losing their benefits. We have extended the benefits in high EI areas where unemployment is over 10%.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, $300 million is peanuts compared with $47 billion in damages.

Three months ago, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities made 28 recommendations aimed at substantially improving the employment insurance program. According to advocacy groups for the unemployed, the current budget contains nothing of note for the unemployed. The government has turned its back on the committee's report.

Now that the Prime Minister has treated himself to a new Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, could he assure us he will give her free rein to correct the situation?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the minister is very grateful to the subcommittee for its recommendations. It is very grateful to the Prime Minister's task force of Liberals who made similar recommendations.

As I mentioned, the department has tabled a report on this matter. That report is now available to all members of the House.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the negotiations with the NDP, the Prime Minister once again wanted nothing to do with improving employment insurance.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether his human resources recruit negotiated only her own conditions of employment or whether she used the opportunity to negotiate the needs of the unemployed which she says she agrees with?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am here and pleased to answer questions on employment insurance, which is of great concern to the government. Matters such as this should be left to other forums.

I will repeat, EI has been improved by the government. The government, in the report that was tabled as recently as yesterday, makes even further improvements. We can be proud of what we have done and we continue to improve EI for the benefit of all Canadians.

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

May 18th, 2005 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans because we have no Minister of Justice when it comes to the case of Maher Arar. The hon. member for Halifax is testifying at the Maher Arar inquiry today and we share her concerns.

Could the minister please explain how justice is served when the people who are demanding an open and public inquiry here are referred to the Deputy Prime Minister who oversees the very organizations that trampled on the rights of Maher Arar?

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to a full and public inquiry while balancing the need for national security or international relations and the safety and security of police investigations.

This is a very important inquiry. I will not comment on the actual testimony before the commission, but it is important to let it do its work.

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, pardon me but this is a little difficult for people to follow now. The Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for CSIS and the RCMP. The justice minister is responsible for protecting people's rights from being trampled upon, but he is standing aside in the Arar case. He is passing the responsibility over to the fisheries minister who then abdicates all responsibility and passes it right back to the Deputy Prime Minister, who, by the way, wrote the law that tramples on rights and civil liberties and who oversees the security organizations involved.

What kind of government has no justice minister for Maher Arar?

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well what has happened and why it is my responsibility to answer questions in relation to this matter. He also knows that we have a responsibility to balance the important interests in this matter, the interest in openness, the interest in a full and complete inquiry and the interests of protecting Canada in terms of national security or international relations and the security and safety of police work.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to suggest that things must wait for the Gomery report before people can make up their minds about ad scam wrongdoing. Clause k of Gomery's mandate prevents him from telling who is responsible.

Yesterday government bureaucrats admitted they were not waiting for Judge Gomery's report to implement reforms to the system. Why should Canadians have to wait to make a political judgment on the government?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the circular logic over there is almost laughable. I know I am not allowed to say that was a stupid question because you chastized me once. That was an obtuse question.

The fact is that if we were not taking action, Canadians would have every right to be angry at us. We are doing the right thing by taking action and changing our processes to ensure better value for Canadian taxpayers, more open and competitive processes and accountable and transparent ones.

She is out to lunch if she actually thinks she makes any sense with a question like that.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I encourage hon. members to be judicious in their choice of language. The hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians would like to make some changes too in the government over there and they need the opportunity to do that.

The Prime Minister told Canadians on national TV that only Gomery could tell who was responsible for the organized ad scam scandal, but all the while he knew that clause k explicitly prevented Gomery from naming names.

Day after day televised evidence leaves no doubt that the stain on our nation's honour was put there by the Liberal Party. Gomery's report will just be a summary of facts we already know.

Is it not true that the government is just inventing excuses to hold off the day of reckoning?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, those members are attacking the mandate of Justice Gomery in another attempt to try to smear the work that he is doing. They realize that when he reports to Canadians, Canadians will have a balanced review and analysis of all the facts and that will be exactly the opposite of what they provide to Canadians on a daily basis on the floor of the House of Commons. Those members amplify and magnify the testimony that suits their particular partisan position.

Canadians want the whole truth and they trust Justice Gomery to give them exactly that. His mandate provides him with every opportunity to do that.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, a top Liberal has given sworn testimony at the Gomery commission that many court appointments in Canada have been based on political consideration and merit plays a secondary role. As long as the Liberal government controls the process, the political pedigree of any candidate will be the overriding consideration.

The Minister of Justice has stubbornly refused to turn the matter over to an independent body for examination when he knows Gomery has no jurisdiction. What is he afraid it will uncover?