House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, today we are calling on the Liberal leader to table in the House of Commons the special arrangement he is seeking with Elections Canada, including this. How much does he owe to the wealthy elites? What have the wealthy elites asked in return for their money? When will they be paid off? What penalty has Elections Canada applied for this breach?

The public has the right to know which vested interests are pulling the strings of the Liberal leader. It is time he came clean with Canadians.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I came to Parliament 11 years ago with some urgent priorities, the inferior status of women and fixing unemployment insurance among them. Perhaps it is because of the pathetic under-representation of women in the Conservative caucus, an unbelievable 11%, that the government refuses to fix employment insurance for women.

Let me rephrase the first ever question I asked in the House of Commons. Will the government set targets and timetables to fix the EI system? If not, will it admit that it has simply given up on those who desperately need its help?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, first, I know I speak on behalf of all members in congratulating the member on making her decision. We thank her for her service in this place.

I also know this party is very committed to ensure that women in our country have equal access to employment insurance today. Almost 80% of women have access to employment insurance and 98% have access to special benefits.

More important, we are ensuring that all Canadians, including women, have access to training that will help them step into a job in one of the hottest job markets in our history.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, a former deputy minister of finance in Nova Scotia has called the $54 billion removed from Canada's employment insurance fund the biggest theft in Canadian history.

Shouldering the greatest share of the burden, the EI fund needs $15 billion to support itself, yet only $2 billion is budgeted.

Will the government address the scandal that 68% of women contributing to EI are denied benefits when they become unemployed through no fault of their own, or is it determined to create a permanent legacy of discrimination against women?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

June 3rd, 2008 / 2:45 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, during the Liberal years, it was the Bloc and the NDP that were arguing to spend even more of that money taken from workers. Therefore, if it was the Liberals who were saying “stick 'em up” to hard-pressed workers, it was the Bloc that was standing as the lookout and the NDP that was driving the getaway car.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the first quarter drop in GDP means Canada could be halfway to its first recession in 16 years. Our first quarter performance was the worst in the G-7. Consumer confidence has plunged to a seven year low. Today GM has announced 1,000 more job losses in Oshawa.

With these devastating job losses in his own backyard, will the finance minister finally end his ostrich-like preaching that all is well and stop denying that the Canadian economy is in serious trouble?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member for Markham—Unionville could not be more wrong. The Canadian economy is strong. The economic fundamentals in our economy are strong. Our budget is balanced. We are reducing debt and taxes. We are certainly not going to impose a massive new punitive tax on Canadians through a carbon tax, advocated by the member for Markham—Unionville and by his party.

We have a strong labour market in Canada. We have 120,000 net new jobs this year alone. In fact, we have labour shortages in most regions of the country.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding these economic weaknesses, we on this side have great confidence in Canada, but Canadians have zero confidence in the minister. He told companies not to invest in Ontario. Today General Motors took his advice. He squandered an inherited $13 billion surplus, taking Canada to the verge of deficit.

I know the Prime Minister is short on bench strength, but since he will be filling the hole in foreign affairs, will he today commit to also fill the leadership void in finance?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we certainly advocate that the Government of Ontario reduce business taxes. We certainly advocate that it take that step toward harmonization and that it take the incentive we offered with respect to capital taxes, which was a good move by that government. The tax burden on new business investment in Ontario is the highest in Canada and that is not good for business.

However, if we look at the report on the first quarter, and I suggest my friend opposite read it, wages and salaries are up 6.2%, corporate profits are up 9.9% and business investment is up 2.2%.

Regional Economic Development
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps between trips in his flying limousine, the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec could come back down to Earth. The reality on the ground is that the gross domestic product, the measure of our economy, slipped in the last quarter—it did not increase, it slipped. If that happens again in the next quarter, we will be in a recession.

In that context, has the minister made any provisions to support our businesses and secure our jobs, or will he allow his budget to be slashed without saying a word?

Regional Economic Development
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier ever gets out of Montreal from time to time.

In the past three weeks, we have announced help to support the manufacturing industry and small and medium-sized businesses. In our 2008-2011 strategic plan, we have allocated $86 million in order to boost productivity for the next three years, $32 million in order to support innovation and $27 million to support export assistance for small and medium-size businesses.

Regional Economic Development
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the minister ever gets out of his bubble from time to time. To listen to him, one would think he either does not understand what is going on or he is copying the Minister of Finance who is burying his head in the sand and refusing to see reality.

In Quebec, the consumer confidence index has plummeted by almost seven points. That means that consumers are worried about the future, putting off purchases until later and spending less. Less spending means fewer sales, less production and fewer jobs.

Has the minister even thought for two seconds about a plan to stimulate the economy and save jobs?

Regional Economic Development
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, again I remind the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier that the budget envelope for Economic Development Canada is around $200 million a year.

Since we came to power in 2006, we have allocated $157 million to support various business projects and that has resulted in 18,000 jobs maintained—or jobs created—since our new tools have been in place.

We listen to the advisory committees that make recommendations, and our 2008-2011 strategic plan is based on these new tools being created to support our small and medium-sized businesses.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister responsible for official languages refuses to say whether or not she supports the appointment of a bilingual judge to the Supreme Court. The minister stated that she prefers to see the process run its course. In fact, she has demonstrated her lack of regard for francophones. The Commissioner of Official Languages, the Quebec National Assembly and the opposition parties are demanding that a bilingual candidate be appointed.

Will the government make bilingualism an essential requirement when appointing the next Supreme Court justice?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we have put in place a process that Canadians will appreciate.

Over the course of the next couple of months, I will be consulting widely with individuals and getting recommendations with respect to the appointment of a Supreme Court justice from Atlantic Canada.

We will present a list to a group of parliamentarians and we will have their input and ultimately there will be a governor in council appointment. I think that is an excellent way to handle this.