House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

Human Resources and Skills Development
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker on Friday, the Minister of Human Resources insulted the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who, through no fault of their own, have been thrown out of work. When she was speaking about the employment insurance program, she said, “We do not want to make it lucrative for them to stay at home and get paid for it”.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his minister that unemployed Canadians are just looking for a way to stay at home and get lucrative payments from the government, or will he ask her to apologize?

Human Resources and Skills Development
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is a tragedy when anyone gets laid off from his or her job. We understand that on this side of the House, but we believe that in a time when across this country there are still many job openings, and in fact, companies cannot find enough people with the needed skills to fill those jobs, it is important that people get back to work, that they have the opportunities to get the skills to do the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow. We believe they should have that opportunity. That is what we are providing with our economic action plan.

Human Resources and Skills Development
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not think we heard an apology there. I think we saw a compounding of the problem.

The minister and the government seem to believe that somehow Canadians would rather sit at home and receive payments from the government than go out to work. It is simply not the truth. If the Conservatives spent some time with the hundreds of thousands of people who are losing their jobs now, they might understand that. People are not trying to sit at home and get paid. They are trying to protect their homes. That is what they are trying to do. They are trying to keep their jobs.

Will the minister at least stand up and apologize to the unemployed, whom she has insulted?

Human Resources and Skills Development
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want people to have the opportunity to work, to bring food home and put it on the table for their families, and to do that with dignity.

The apology should be coming from the hon. member and some of his cohorts who keep saying that people over 50 cannot learn new jobs. They want to put them out to pasture. We have faith in them.

Human Resources and Skills Development
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for employment insurance believes that people want to stay home, live the good life and live off the state. That is what she said and that is the root of the problem.

It reminds me of the time the Prime Minister referred to Maritimers as losers. It is the same kind of attitude.

The minister should apologize because the unemployed are insulted. They want real jobs, not insults from the minister.

Human Resources and Skills Development
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we are offering them. We are providing training so that they can have good jobs in the future.

We will be providing the training and they have voted against it.

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is unilaterally and without any consultation amending the equalization formula. The changes mean far fewer dollars will be flowing to provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador. This is no way to run a federation.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House why the government is managing the federation in a manner which is driving federal-provincial relations into the ground?

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, certainly one of the principles involved in equalization is that all provinces should be treated equally. That is indeed what we are doing. It is not open to one province to elect to have unrestrained growth of equalization sharing payments, whether it is through the accords or through formal equalization. That is exactly what is being suggested by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We believe in fairness across the board in Canada. That is why growth in the accord incomes and in equalization is fair--

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Vancouver South.

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister utters absolute nonsense.

The fact is no amount of evasion can change the fact that the federal government has a responsibility to make this federation work properly. The government is one big wrecking crew when it comes to federal-provincial relations.

How can the Prime Minister assure the House that the budget implementation legislation will not be used to settle political scores with any premier or any province?

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what the budget implementation bill will not be used for will be to permit one province to have unrestrained payments. We are calling on all of the provinces to be reasonable, that the growth in equalization payments will be equal to the rate of growth in the economy without exception, including Newfoundland and Labrador.

If the member from British Columbia does not understand the issue, I invite him to my office immediately after question period where we are having a briefing of the Liberal opposition on that precise issue.

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Shame on the Conservative government, Mr. Speaker, for changing the equalization formula without any consultations. The government's decision totally ignores the principles of accountability and transparency. The Prime Minister has challenged a majority of Quebeckers with this kind of attitude.

Need I remind the right hon. Prime Minister that he is the head of a federation, not a republic?

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if there was a question, but if it is a question about the fairness of equalization--

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Are you removing the option as to the 50% on natural resources?

Equalization Payments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. The Minister of Finance has the floor. We will have a little order in the House, please. The hon. Minister of Finance.