House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

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, we are all concerned about the needs of workers and the Abitibi-Bowater situation. We encourage the company to explore options available, including those provided by Export Development Canada.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

March 25th, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the numbers are staggering of foreclosures, bankruptcies, job losses and severances. Every day we are seeing the painful human face of this recession. In my riding, Ted, a father of four with a wife on disability, is worried that he will lose his home because he cannot get EI. He is 11 hours short of what the government demands.

Why are the Conservatives abandoning thousands of Ontarians like Ted, who worked hard, paid EI premiums, played by the rules and are now left to fend for themselves?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that our heart goes out to the Teds of the world right across the country. We took the actions we did in our economic action plan to help people like that. Even when people are not eligible for EI, there are programs to help them get the skills they will need for the jobs of the future and other programs to preserve jobs so that people do not get into that position.

We have expanded the work-sharing and have made it easier to get. We expanded the 38 weeks to 52 weeks to help companies get their employees through the tough times until they can bring them back full time, keep them on payroll and keep their skills going.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is no time for empty, cold-hearted Conservative rhetoric. EI claims are skyrocketing in Ontario. Bankruptcies are up 21%, with Ontario facing the biggest impact. In Mississauga, auto workers with 20 to 30 years' seniority have simply been dropped by their companies.

The Conservatives told investors not to invest in Ontario and now they have abandoned Ontario themselves. Why are the Conservatives leaving the provinces to fend for themselves?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us be honest here. The Liberals brought in the new system for EI. It was a Liberal program that set up the criteria for eligibility. We are continuing with that program but we are adding to it. We are adding to it so that we can help workers, especially long tenured workers, those who have been in a job, such as the auto sector, for many years and have lost their job but are too young to retire. We are providing them with up to two years of EI support while they invest in new training to keep the jobs of the future so they can transition and look after their families in the long term, even under the rules the Liberals created.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development says that 80% of unemployed workers receive benefits, but that is not true. The following figures are from the department's own website. In 2006, only 46% of all unemployed people received benefits, and only 68% of all those who paid into the plan received employment insurance. The 80% of claimants the minister is referring to are the only unemployed people who meet the very strict criteria set by the Liberals.

How can the minister continue to deny these figures?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the latest figures clearly show that more than 80% of people who have paid for employment insurance receive benefits.

We are working to help Canadians who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. We are providing the benefits to them. The system automatically adjusts to make it easier for them to get the benefits to which they are entitled. We are ensuring that they are getting those benefits as quickly as possible.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should read her own website.

In November, December and January, 234,000 people lost their jobs, but only 74,200 people applied for benefits. What these figures show is that 68% of unemployed workers will not receive benefits.

Given these figures, how can the minister claim that the current system is an adequate way to address the crisis?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately these are very difficult times for a great many people across the country. We are working with companies to avoid layoffs. That is why we have expanded the working-sharing program to preserve jobs. As some people have told me, they would rather take one day of EI benefits so they can keep working with their company than to be laid off permanently. We are working with employers and employees to ensure those options are there for people.

Let us not forget that we are also creating new jobs through our $12 billion in infrastructure. We are creating jobs so people do not need to apply for EI.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the government's failure to come to the assistance of the CBC has led to the elimination of 800 full-time jobs. By refusing to provide the corporation with financial flexibility, the minister has contributed to this disastrous situation.

In these hard times, will the minister not agree that his role consists in providing public institutions with the resources needed to retain jobs rather than helping, through his insensitivity, to abolish them?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said, announcements like this are never easy on workers or their families. Let us be clear, however, very clear: year after year our government has increased the CBC budget, that is from early 2006 to the present. We have raised the CBC budget.

The Bloc Québécois is talking about the 2009-10 budget, our budget for this year. We again increased the CBC budget. The Bloc Québécois voted against it. We made campaign promises and we kept those promises. We are delivering the goods to the CBC.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's attitude is paradoxical to say the least. While he is saying he is ready to help out private broadcasters and media, he is abandoning the CBC to its fate.

How can the minister justify his inflexibility toward the public sector and his openness to the private sector? Are we to see this unrelenting attack on the CBC as more fallout from his reform ideology?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the facts speak for themselves. We have increased the CBC budget year after year, and year after year the Bloc Québécois have been the ones voting against it.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In answer to a question yesterday, the minister said that he is waiting for President Obama's policy on Afghanistan. That means that Ottawa's policy, Canada's policy, is to be determined by Washington. Does the minister realize that?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is a strange way for the member and everyone in his party to see things. They supported a resolution in this House outlining six priorities for the government's action in Afghanistan.

We are delivering the goods. We are implementing those priorities.

I can assure the member that, if there are any changes to the policy, he and all members of Parliament will be informed, but in the meantime, we will carry on with our work.