House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was legislation.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former employment insurance chief actuary proved the Bloc Québécois right by estimating that the contribution rate for Quebec's self-employed workers should be 41¢ for every $100 and not $1.36, as the government is proposing.

Will the minister acknowledge that the contribution rate for Quebec's self-employed workers is three times too high and that he should modify his bill to ensure that Quebec workers pay only for the services offered to them?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I want to inform that political party that we have taken the differences into account since Quebec already has its own maternity and parental leave plans, which did not exist in the rest of the country for self-employed workers. We have taken that difference into account. Instead of charging $1.73 for every $100 of income earned, we are asking for just $1.36 for self-employed workers in Quebec who want to benefit from health insurance and compassionate care insurance. This is on a voluntary basis and the cost is quite affordable.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

November 30th, 2009 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, finally, despite all the attempts to keep us in the dark, we have learned that there is an investigation underway at Public Works and Government Services. However, the minister will only confirm what is not being investigated.

We are not asking what is not being investigated, we are asking what is being investigated. Why all the secrecy?

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is well aware that we cannot comment on internal departmental staffing matters but we can say that federal departments have the tools they need to address them. We brought in the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act for the very purpose of protecting whistleblowers. That act was passed by this House.

Under our government, and in our new act, the lines of accountability are clear. The act has a clear reporting clause governing all departments. In addition, information is provided regularly and proactively.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, we appreciate the concern about whistleblower legislation, but given the government's track record of preventing members from receiving evidence or any other information allowing us as parliamentarians to do our job, I am quite sure that Canadians will understand our skepticism about the refusal of the minister to in fact tell us what investigation is going on at the Department of Public Works.

I ask again, we would appreciate information from the minister on the investigation that is currently going on at the Department of Public Works.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Once again, Mr. Speaker, there is a legal framework that we have to follow. We do not comment on internal departmental staffing matters but we do ensure that federal departments have the tools they need to address them.

We brought in the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act with the express purpose of protecting whistleblowers, an act that was passed by members of the House.

Under our government and our new laws, the lines of accountability are clear. The act has a clear reporting clause that all federal departments must strictly follow and the information is readily provided through a proactive disclosure. That is the law.

Housing
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, government inaction is jeopardizing our economy and the health of our nation. It was reported today that less than 1% of the stimulus money for social housing has been spent. Over 100,000 Canadians are homeless and thousands more lack stable affordable housing.

While vulnerable Canadians are waiting for the promised help, the government has wasted a year of opportunities. It opposes our national housing strategy. Its plan is a straw house with empty promises.

How does the government justify its inaction?

Housing
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, when we had in our economic action plan a provision for $400 million for seniors, the NDP members voted against it without even reading the budget. We had $75 million for the disabled and they voted against that. We had $1 billion for retrofits and energy upgrades, and they voted against that. Now they are complaining about what is happening.

We have entered into agreements with all the provinces and territories. They know the money is there and is available. As soon as the projects go forward and they bill us, the moneys will be there to pay the bills.

Housing
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the answer earlier was that the stimulus plan was inefficient and we should not be upset that 99% of the funding still has not been spent. That is exactly why we pushed for spending to go through the gas tax transfer.

Stable housing saves lives, improves the health and safety of our communities and stimulates our economy. Stimulus spending is more than photo ops and ad campaigns. Real Canadians are in real need.

After a year of inaction, do the Conservatives honestly expect us to believe that they really wanted to help?

Housing
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, funding is proceeding and going to over 300 projects.

What is important is that we have made billions of dollars of investments that are there ready, able and willing to deliver as soon as the provinces select the projects. It is their responsibility to select the projects, ensure the projects get built and then they invoice us. The money is there to pay it, moneys that would not have been there if the NDP members had their way.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has improved the employment insurance system for all workers and their families. We introduced Bill C-56, which would offer compassionate care and sickness benefits to self-employed workers in Quebec at an affordable and reasonable rate. That is a first.

As it stands, Quebeckers have access only to a private insurance program that can be very expensive. I invite the Minister of National Revenue to give the House an update on Bill C-56

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I can understand that our newly elected colleague may be a little baffled that there is a political party in this House, the Bloc Québécois, that systematically attacks the unemployed and self-employed workers. I will tell my colleague that he is in the right party, and we are helping the unemployed. We have implemented four different measures. We have also established another measure to help self-employed workers by offering them sickness and compassionate care benefits, in the event that one of their loved ones becomes sick. We support the unemployed. They are against them.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, we strongly condemn the decision of Nortel executives to reward themselves with millions in bonuses when employees are denied their severance, their pensions and their disability payments.

The federal government is now currently undertaking a review of the Nortel sale to Avaya.

Will the government commit to Nortel workers that they will ensure the pensions, the severance and disability benefits of Nortel employees are fully protected in the review of the Nortel sale?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the terms and conditions of the sale are pursuant to the sections of the Investment Canada Act.

However, I can tell the hon. member and this House that my colleague, the Minister of Finance and his parliamentary secretary, have been working hard with the provinces and the territories to ensure we have a comprehensive look at our pension legislation.

As I am sure the hon. member is aware, the Nortel pension is registered with the Province of Ontario, not with the federal government. We set up a provincial-federal research working group on retirement income and we look forward to its presentations to this chamber.

National Defence
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, about a hundred families in Sainte-Foy are worried about losing their homes. The Minister of National Defence has decided to tear down their houses and relocate the families to the Valcartier base 30 kilometres away. The Association des conjointes de militaires canadiens, a group of soldiers' wives, hopes that the government will reconsider this decision, which will have a negative impact on military families' independence.

Will the minister responsible for the region of Quebec advocate on their behalf to the Minister of National Defence?