House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghan.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, since last fall, when the Prime Minister said that there would be no recession, that the stock market was a good buy and that the government would not run a deficit, 300,000 Canadians have lost their jobs and another half a million are at risk.

Employment insurance claims have shot up but still tens of thousands of jobless Canadians do not have access to EI, even though they paid the premiums. The issue is eligibility.

Will the Conservatives change the rules to make EI benefits accessible now to those thousands who are already innocent victims of this recession?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I would have thought that the hon. member, given his years of experience here in the House, would understand the EI system by now. Eligibility is adjusted automatically every month, region by region, in 58 regions across the country.

As local economic conditions worsen, automatically every month the eligibility gets easier. People can claim EI benefits faster and for a longer period of time.

If we waited to do it through legislation or regulation, people would not get the benefits they are getting now.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the existing EI eligibility rules were devised for an economy enjoying the best economic growth since World War II. Those times have sadly passed. The nation has plunged into recession and the EI rules designed for boom times no longer fit.

Is it really the Conservative position that a worsening recession, destroying more and more jobs, is actually a good thing because that means more people will eventually become eligible for EI under the now outdated formula? Does the minister now recognize how cruel and ruthless that is?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the way the system works right now is best exemplified in Oshawa, which, unfortunately, has seen a lot of job losses in the last 12 months.

People in Oshawa right now can claim EI with two weeks less work time to qualify. They will get the benefits for four weeks longer, plus the five weeks that we have just added on through our economic action plan.

That system adjusted itself automatically to the worsening conditions. That is a good system. By the way, it was the Liberals who designed that system.

Health
Oral Questions

March 26th, 2009 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve to know that the food they are putting on their families' table is safe.

During the deadly listeriosis outbreak last summer, the government assured Canadians that 2,000 new meat inspectors would be put on the job. They were not. Now we hear that it has suspended the listeria testing program and that it does not know how many inspectors it really has. It is no wonder Canadians do not trust the government with the safety of their food.

How can Canadians feel safe when the minister's department cannot even tell the country how many meat inspectors it has?

Health
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite yammers on and on about the food safety system. I can assure Canadians that they are well-served by CFIA and, of course, public health across this great country.

We have added a number of inspectors and we have increased budgets for CFIA in the last three years.

That party keeps voting against those initiatives. Perhaps it should get down off its high horse and start realizing that the CFIA inspectors are doing a great job.We have added another 15% to the rolls since we took power and we will continue to do that in spite of that party voting against it.

Health
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only horse that was being ridden yesterday was by their filibuster. If the government wanted to protect Canadians, it would not have filibustered for over an hour in committee last night.

New Democrats proposed that we examine the outbreak to find real solutions and the minister stalled all the action. What is he afraid we will find out? The government is up to the same old tricks, but this time it is playing with the lives of Canadians.

Can the minister explain, and I do not mean run out the clock, why he will not allow the committee to do the work that Canadians want it to do?

Health
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, if we did not want the committee working, we could have just vetoed the whole darn thing up front. We actually are looking forward to a non-partisan report from the opposition, working in conjunction with our government members.

If opposition members want to play silly games and not get to the bottom of this, that is their problem. We are more than willing to sit extra days, extra hours. I am more than willing. I already said I would go to committee. They have blown that opportunity for next week because they still do not have the structure figured out.

When they roll up their sleeves and want to get down to work, we are already there working. We are happy to help facilitate that. I look forward to working with the committee to get to the bottom of all of this.

Seniors
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week in the Edmonton Journal the Liberal member for York West insinuated that the new horizons for seniors program was a waste of taxpayers' money and that we should cut funding to this program. She said that funding for this program was “like buying votes”. She also said, “I suspect there are much higher priorities for Canadians today”.

Can the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development comment on the Liberal Party's blatant dismissal of seniors and the new horizons for seniors program?

Seniors
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, seniors helped build this great country of ours and we believe that they deserve our respect and support.

While seniors may not be a priority for the Liberal Party and while the Liberals may dismiss the new horizons for seniors program, we support it. That includes providing over $24,000 in funding for the Caribbean seniors program in the Liberal-held riding of York West.

RCMP
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP commissioner told committee last month that taser use had been made more restrictive. We now learn that this was a deception, that the RCMP policy has in fact been weakened, that the specific prohibition from cycling tasers, an action potentially contributing to the death of Mr. Dziekanski, has now been repealed.

The government's response has been silence, a complete lack of action. While the commissioner misleads Canadians, Canadians demand clear action to stop further tragedy. Why do the Conservatives refuse to act? How many deaths, studies, inquiries does it take before they finally listen and restrict these weapons?

RCMP
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Minister of Public Safety

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker. I actually have in front of me copies of both the old RCMP policy and the new one, and there are significant differences.

The new RCMP policy on tasers indicates that they can only be used in response to a threat. There was no such restriction previously. It requires training annually. Previously, it was re-certification only, once every three years. It requires that they can only be used when force is necessary. There was no such restriction before. And, of course, it underlines that any use of tasers poses a risk. That was not there before.

It is a much more restrictive policy. We believe it is a step in the right direction.

Transportation
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, Quebec City's mayor, Régis Labeaume, criticized the federal government's reluctance to get on board with high-speed trains, saying, “We are way behind. That kind of attitude belongs in the stone age”. Those in the know politically and economically recognize the advantages of this mode of transportation, but the government is way behind the times.

Will the Prime Minister move beyond studies, demonstrate some political will and support a Quebec City-based high-speed train?

Transportation
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Yellowhead
Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Minister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that we conducting an intensive study. There is a report we are looking forward to with regard to high speed rail. I can tell the member also and remind everyone in the House that there are $407 million to speed up trains right across this country, specifically between Montreal and Toronto. I believe the member will be very pleased with the result of VIA Rail's announcement.

Campaign Advertising
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question again is to the Prime Minister. Given the report today that the Conservative campaign manager in the riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands has admitted that he purchased signs from a third party organization in the 2008 campaign, does the Prime Minister agree that the Minister of State for Sport should do the right thing and step aside from his ministerial responsibilities until the matter is fully resolved?