House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was development.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, if Canadians are waiting for a straight answer from this minister, they are certainly wasting their time.

Let us try again. The government should actually have called this a “trust us” fund, but this House ordered the fund because trust was broken in the dirty ad scam money mess, which the Auditor General said broke every rule in the book. Is it not true that the recent bogus trust fund announcement amounts to nothing more than an empty PR exercise?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, to the contrary, the party has been clear from the beginning that any funds received inappropriately will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer. Beyond that, the party has cooperated fully with Justice Gomery. We are working with Justice Gomery's auditors. We are looking forward to cooperating with him and to achieving a result that is in the interests of the Canadian taxpayer.

Again, these are serious allegations, and anybody who used the brand of the Liberal Party for financial gain inappropriately ought to face and will face the full extent of the law.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

May 20th, 2005 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the 28 recommendations on employment insurance made by the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development, the government is still refusing to respond to Quebec's interests by implementing the improvements proposed by the committee, while more than half the unemployed have no access to EI benefits.

Does the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development intend to make some adjustments, improve the program and create the independent EI fund as recommended by the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if I could take some extracts from the committee report and the response of the government, the improvements we have made to EI are: the extension of maternity and parental benefits; the elimination of the intensity rule; the elimination of multiple waiting periods for apprenticeship programs; the new compassionate care benefit; and three new pilot projects expected to benefit 220,000 each year that will run in regions where unemployment is very high.

Those are a few of the examples of the improvements which this government has made to EI.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why half of the jobless still do not have access to EI benefits.

The government is refusing to act in the interests of Quebec. After breaking election promises, after having its hand forced into amending the throne speech, after voting in committee in favour of the creation of an independent EI fund, it is now shoving aside the recommendations in the committee report. As well, it rejected this question during the negotiations with the NDP.

What is keeping the government from proceeding with this fundamental reform which is in Quebec's interest?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in this budget alone, the one we voted on yesterday, there is $300 million in addition to the EI fund, helping 225,000 families across the country.

Further improvements include calculating EI benefits based on the best 14 weeks, increasing the working while on claim threshold to allow workers to earn more while they are receiving benefits, continuation of a second year of a pilot project providing an additional five years of EI benefits in regions of high unemployment, extension of the--

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Chambly--Borduas.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well that the amendments do not meet the needs of the unemployed.

I would, moreover, remind the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development that she has already voted in favour of the amendments to the throne speech and also supported the creation of an independent EI fund. I imagine the minister did not do so lightly, but was aware of the impact of her vote.

I would call upon the minister to show some consistency. Does she intend to proceed with these reforms without delay, in the best interests of the unemployed?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the fund, we have increased transparency. We have increased its independence.

I would point out to my colleagues, who frequently reference the Auditor General when speaking to us, that the fund is a part of the general revenues of Canada on the basis of advice of auditors general.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the last eight years, $47 billion have been diverted from that fund. It is high time it became independent again.

The time for studies has come and gone. The time has now come for implementation, for putting in place the measures on which the minister has already voted. The seasonal gap is hurting seasonal workers now. The minister has both the power to act and a duty to do so.

I am therefore asking what she is waiting for before showing some consistency and putting measures in place on which she has already indicated her agreement.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we cannot have it both ways. On the one hand, we have increased the power of the Auditor General. The Auditor General now produces reports every three months and the government responds to them.

In this particular case, the Auditor General said that this particular fund was a part of the general revenues of the Government of Canada. It has been so since the 1980s. We have made it more independent and more transparent but it is still part of the general revenues of the government.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the final adoption of the budget bill that was adopted yesterday. We worked very hard to improve that budget and now it has moved on to the next stage. We are prepared, certainly in our party, to work as long as it takes this spring to have this budget adopted and not have it dragged along like budget bills usually do.

What process, what strategy and what timeline is the government willing to commit to that will ensure that we are able to see this budget fully implemented this spring or early summer?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our commitment to ensure that the budget bills pass before the end of this session has been steadfast and has not wavered. Last night members of Parliament in this House passed the budget bills. They were approved in principle. They have now been referred to committee. They will go through the usual legislative process.

Members of Parliament in this House showed support for cities, child care, the environment, affordable housing and post-secondary education. We will do everything possible to ensure that this House gets these bills through and the budget becomes law before the end of this session.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the response. However, the problem with budgets and such bills is that it takes a long time for them to be passed at third reading.

We want to hear once more what the government is going to do exactly to ensure that these bills are passed in this session. We will be here to work. Is that the government's intention too?