House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vaccine.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, parental benefits account for 75% of the total cost of all of the special EI benefits, compared to 25% for compassionate care and sickness benefits. But self-employed workers in Quebec will pay more than their Canadian counterparts, simply to be entitled to sickness and compassionate care benefits, since they are already entitled to parental benefits from the Government of Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the contribution rate he will impose on self-employed workers in Quebec is unfair in relation to the benefits being offered?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the Bloc leader is saying is untrue. This is a voluntary program, paid for by contributions made by the self-employed workers, and these premiums are different, depending on the circumstances in Quebec.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the program is not voluntary.

The problem with this new bill on special benefits for self-employed workers is that it only takes Canada's needs into account, not Quebec's. Self-employed Quebec workers already have access to their own parental benefits system.

Does the minister understand that she should adapt her program to Quebec's existing social safety net, not the other way around?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see that the Bloc leader and his party agree that self-employed workers should benefit from these very important measures to provide special benefits, including parental and maternity leave. Until now, this has been available to all Canadians except self-employed workers. Now self-employed workers will be able to benefit from it, and adjustments will be made for Quebec.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-56 is unfair to Quebec's self-employed workers. They are already paying $0.86 per $100 to the provincial government for parental benefits, and now the federal government wants them to pay $1.36 more just to access sickness and compassionate care benefits, which cost the fund next to nothing compared to parental benefits.

Will the minister reduce contributions for Quebec's self-employed workers so that they are in proportion to the benefits they would be entitled to? It would only be fair.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member is confusing things. In all of the other provinces and territories, people pay $1.73 for employment insurance benefits, which include the things we just talked about. Quebeckers pay $1.36. The federal government already compensates Quebec for providing some services itself. Once we add the two new services, it will still cost $1.36, and in all of the other provinces and territories, it will cost $1.73. There is a difference. We have taken what Quebec does into account.

Health
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, regarding H1N1, the local health officials could do a much better job if they knew the funding would be there so they could deliver the vaccine on the ground.

When it comes to a natural disaster, federal funding is provided and local officials could get the kind of program out there to get the vaccine into the arms of the millions of Canadians waiting for it right now.

I have a question for the Prime Minister because his Minister of Industry would not answer the question yesterday. Will he backstop the funding of the delivery of the vaccine on the ground?

Health
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is paying the lion's share of the costs of the vaccine. That is our role. As far as I know and can see, the provinces are putting all the resources at their availability to ensure that this vaccine gets delivered.

It is a challenging process. We have never undertaken a vaccination program so large and so quickly in our country. We are working with our provincial colleagues to ensure that it rolls out successfully.

Health
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to understand the difference between a natural disaster and what we face with this disease.

The problem concerning H1N1 is the lack of leadership shown by the federal government. It blames either the provinces or the medical company. There is a serious lack of doses available on the ground.

The original contract, signed by the Liberals, stipulated a single producer and prevented the government from seeking legal recourse.

Can the Prime Minister explain why he maintained that sole-source contract?

Health
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is a 10-year contract.

I repeat, the facts are we now have over 6 million doses of the vaccine available. Next week, another 1.8 million doses will be available. This is much faster than the provinces are able to distribute at this time. Canada has the highest per capita availability of the vaccine of any country in the world.

Health
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are 34 million people in Canada. He is 28 million short. The exclusive 10 year contract for the vaccine was awarded to Shire Biologics by the federal Liberals in 2001, the same year they received a $57,000 donation from that company.

Shire has since been sold to GlaxoSmithKline. GSK's lobbyist is Ken Boessenkool, a personal friend of the Prime Minister. Was Ken Boessenkool the person who convinced the government that there was no need to go outside the contract with GSK to get additional supplies of the vaccine?

Health
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the contract was signed in 2001 for 10 years. The fact is, and I will repeat it, there are now over six million doses available. There will be another 1.8 million doses available next week. That means 8.5 million doses are available.

The pace of dose availability in the country is ahead of any other country in the world. The resources of the provinces are being stretched to the maximum to ensure this is being rolled out as quickly as possible. This is by far the largest scale and quickest vaccination the provinces have ever attempted in the country.

Rather than criticize them, we should encourage them in their work. They are obviously serving the highest priority groups first, but everybody will be getting a vaccine.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is confused. That contract was for a vaccine for avian influenza.

Under infrastructure funding agreements, the Conservatives are off-loading onto the municipalities the cost of the creation, printing and installation of signs to promote the Conservatives. These expenditures total $45 million, which the Conservatives are passing off to the municipalities.

Why are the Conservatives forcing the municipalities to do their dirty work, that is, spread their propaganda?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of question period, it was $5 million. Then it was $40 million. We are already up to $45 million. Inflation must be taking hold in the country, at least when it comes to the inflation of the truth from our Liberal friends.

What we have is a great partnership between the provinces and territories and the municipalities on infrastructure projects. We have an important responsibility to report back to Canadians on the real action taking place. We are creating jobs. We are building better roads and safer highways. We are going to have cleaner water and better public transit as a result.

We are working constructively with municipalities in every corner of the country. We are getting the job done.

Health
Oral Questions

November 4th, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is worse than it looks.

While millions of Canadians are still waiting to be vaccinated, the Conservatives are wasting $45 million on signs that are completely useless.

Will the Conservatives cancel their propaganda campaign and redirect those funds to help the provinces vaccinate Canadians as soon as possible?