House of Commons Hansard #32 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the majority of people who need help from EI cannot get it from the government. The Prime Minister should learn to count. We are talking about real people here.

People work hard. They follow the rules. They contribute to employment insurance, as do their employers. However, 60% of them do not qualify. This morning's announcement does nothing to address the fundamental problem. The minister is not offering anything new.

Is the Prime Minister aware that 60% of people do not qualify? Yes or no?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party asked for two additional weeks of employment insurance benefits. We offered five weeks, but the New Democratic Party voted against that.

The problem with members of the NDP is that they are anxious to be against everything and never have any responsibility for anything but they vote against everything. That is why, at times like this, the workers of Canada never entrust their future to the NDP.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today's employment insurance numbers highlight very serious job losses in Canada. They are, indeed, sobering and Canadians are hurting.

Some 24,000 new EI recipients were processed in January but over 100,000 Canadians lost their jobs in January alone. That means tens of thousands of unemployed Canadians either do not qualify for EI or, if they do, are experiencing unacceptable delays in having their claims processed.

What does the minister have to say specifically to the many thousands of Canadians who have paid into EI for years but are unable to get it when they need it and when they deserve it?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, over 80% of those who pay into EI are able to collect the benefits. Our goal is to maintain the commitment we made in our economic action plan of ensuring that those individuals unfortunate enough to lose their jobs do receive their benefit in a timely manner.

I was pleased to announce this morning that we have committed over $60 million to decreasing the processing time, to dedicating more staff and to hiring new staff. We want to ensure Canadians in need get the supports they deserve from EI.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government has no sense of the urgency of this situation. Before Christmas, I raised this issue of unacceptable wait times with the minister. First, she ignored the problem. Then she denied it. Then she delayed it. Then she took baby steps. Now, the government is in full scramble mode.

If she takes months to address that single issue, what hope do those who are getting laid off now have? Excuses and promises do not feed families. They need action. How long will Canadians have to wait for the government to seriously address EI issues in our country?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that when we saw this global recession coming on, we immediately started bringing back retirees who specialized in EI. We recalled staff that had been on loan to other departments. We have been dedicating extra resources so we can meet our targets of delivering EI benefits to people on time. We have been doing that since last October.

Why have those members not even proposed any solutions? All they do is whine. We are delivering.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

March 24th, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, an important conference on Afghanistan is scheduled for next week.

I would like to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs a very simple question. What new initiatives will the Government of Canada be proposing at that very important conference?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that Canada was invited to attend that conference, to be held in The Hague next week, on March 31.

We are expecting the United States to unveil part of their revised strategy at that conference. Of course we intend to use the conference as an opportunity for Canada to confirm once again the position taken here in this House. We will also reiterate our priorities.

We will have to wait and see what happens as a result of the meeting, given its multi-regional dimension.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it sounds as if our country, which has sacrificed so much, is coming to this conference waiting for the United States to tell us where we are going to go. I think the people of Canada deserve better. They want a government that is going to lead, given the sacrifice that we have made as a country.

What are the new initiatives that Canada is going to be proposing, showing the kind of leadership and the kind of voice that we should have in the world?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where my hon. colleague has been over the last couple of months, but Canada has played an extremely important role in Afghanistan. Yes, we have lost Canadians. We are all sorry about that. However, our Canadian troops as well as our Canadian civil workers are getting the job done.

He knows full well we have six priorities. He knows that, on a quarterly basis, we are reporting back to the House. In fact, we are viewed by a lot of countries in the world, including the United States, for doing one heck of a job in Afghanistan.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Trade stated that “Export Development Canada is working with more than 90% of forestry companies.”

Will the minister explain what yesterday's statement really meant?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, more than 90% of forestry companies are working with Export Development Canada to obtain tax assistance in order to improve their position and be competitive in different situations, in a very competitive world where prices for forest products are not good. Export Development Canada will continue to support these companies.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, forestry companies are clamouring for loan guarantees to weather the crisis.

If EDC loan guarantees are legal for forestry companies that export, why are the same loan guarantees to help the forestry industry weather the crisis not legal?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, Export Development Canada is working with forestry companies and will continue to do so.

The simple fact that the companies are encouraged by their involvement with Export Development Canada is an example that there is a great deal of assistance and many opportunities for improving things. The situation is very difficult overall for companies. However, we will continue to work with companies.

Regional Economic Development
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' elimination of funding for not-for-profit economic organizations has hurt the economy in Quebec's regions. The Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) reversed only somewhat the unjustified decision of his predecessor when he said that a few of the organizations in Quebec eligible before November 2007 could apply.

By refusing to reinstate the total amount cut, does the minister realize that he will be continuing to harm Quebec's regions?