House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

First of all, Mr. Speaker, the government has frozen EI premiums for the next two years. At the same time, over time of course, the EI commission sets EI premiums and it does so in a way that, over the economic cycle, covers the cost of the program.

That is why it is important, when this government brings in help for workers and for the unemployed during a recession, that we bring in help that is temporary and targeted. We do not do things like create a permanent 45-day work year under EI because that would blow premiums through the roof.

Government Advertising
Oral Questions

October 6th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have asked the Conservative government repeatedly how much taxpayer money it has spent for its own self-promoting political advertising, but there are still no numbers and still no answers.

My question for the Prime Minister is quite simple today. How much money has the government spent promoting itself to get more votes instead of spending it on H1N1 prevention to save Canadian lives? Was it $60 million, $80 million, $100 million? How much was it?

Government Advertising
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I answered that question yesterday when I told the member that we do not spend money on self-promotion.

We do spend money on advising Canadians on important issues like H1N1, elder abuse, the home renovation tax credit, and Canadian Forces recruitment.

It is important that Canadians know about what the government is doing in respect of H1N1 so that the country is prepared. I do not understand why the member has a problem with disclosing that kind of information to taxpayers.

Government Advertising
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government is refusing to give exact numbers. Is that because it does not have them, or because it is hiding something?

Yesterday, the president of the Canadian Medical Association asked this government for an advertising campaign to explain how Canadians can protect themselves from the H1N1 virus.

Instead of spending millions of dollars to win votes with their partisan advertising campaign, can this government spend that money on the well-being, health and lives of Canadians?

Government Advertising
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I heard the question quite clearly. She is asking how much money was spent on self-promotion. The answer is zero.

Natural Resources
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Treasury Board guidelines require that all Government of Canada communications be objective and inform the public in an accountable and non-partisan way.

I have provided the President of the Treasury Board and the justice minister with a copy of a communication from the Minister of Natural Resources. It appears to seriously violate the Government of Canada policy in many ways.

Would the President of the Treasury Board investigate these apparent serious breaches and make his report public? If he will not, why not?

Natural Resources
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for providing me with that information ahead of time.

In response to the issue about whether this is objective or not, the letter itself that went to a homeowner here talks about the home renovation tax credit saying:

[It] may make it possible for you to save even more on your home retrofit, as well as on other renovations not eligible under the ecoENERGY Retrofit—Homes program. For more information on the Economic Action Plan please visit www.actionplan.gc.ca

Natural Resources
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, my constituent who received this communication from the Minister of Natural Resources is very upset because of this wasteful distribution of Conservative propaganda and because it represents a misuse of his personal information. All he did was apply for a government grant, and now he is being inundated with Conservative Party junk mail, all at taxpayers' expense.

Would the Minister of Justice, who is responsible for the Privacy Act, please investigate this apparent breach and make his report public? If he will not, why not?

Natural Resources
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the material that was provided to me indicates that we were thanking the particular homeowner for participating in the eco-energy retrofit homes program. In order to help the particular homeowner save even more money, it asks that homeowner to consider the home renovation tax credit. I think that is what every taxpayer wants, especially in a time of recession.

Instead of that member voting against programs that help the ordinary working Canadian, he does that.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services never denied that his government wanted to dip into the employment insurance fund to wipe out the deficit. The Conservatives even wrote in their latest economic update that they planned to take nearly $19 billion from the EI fund between 2012 and 2015.

Will the minister admit that, like the Liberals before them, the Conservatives are getting ready to eliminate the deficit at the expense of the unemployed?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members are aware, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission will be an independent body that will make decisions and set the contribution rate according to the benefits that are provided for workers who lose their jobs. We have decided to freeze that contribution rate for this year and next year so that people do not have to pay more during these tough economic times.

We have recently introduced four new measures to help the unemployed. The Bloc Québécois has voted against every one. What do the Bloc members have against the unemployed?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are coveting the employment insurance fund—that is very clear from the Minister of Finance's economic update—yet they refuse to consider the measures proposed by the Bloc Québécois to eliminate the deficit. They refuse to target bureaucratic spending. They refuse to target tax havens and gifts to big oil. They refuse to tap the wealthy.

Instead of going after the unemployed and the middle class, why does the government not take aim at the right targets to eliminate the deficit?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I also noted the Bloc's suggestions. They know that all their suggestions are nothing but hot air, because they will never take power and never be able to implement any of them.

It is easy to look good in front of people, but I am going to come back to the issue of military bases. The member said yesterday at a press conference that he wanted to cut the army's budget. Which military base does he want to close? The one in Bagotville? What does the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord think of that? His colleague wants to close the military base, yet recently he wanted to have all the Chinook helicopters. He is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, executives of Abitibi-Bowater in Dolbeau-Mistassini announced to workers that they did not know whether the plant would be able to reopen. The Roberval plant is also closed indefinitely. Two plants, two ministers, same results: nothing is happening.

What is the minister responsible for Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean waiting for to make the employment insurance system more flexible in order to help forestry workers?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to describe what we have done, for the benefit of the people who are watching.

We have introduced four different measures to help people who lose their jobs during the current economic difficulties. We are extending employment insurance by five weeks. They wanted an extra two weeks only. We are adding five, which is helping 289,000 people. They voted against that. We are extending work sharing arrangements by 14 weeks to help companies and employees who want to share their work time. They also voted against that. People who take workforce training for a new job can receive two years of benefits. They voted against that as well.