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

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the president and CEO of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation also said there would have been fewer job losses if they had received government assistance.

According to everyone involved, the cuts at the CBC will have devastating effects on the quality of its programming and will deprive the regions of an essential source of information by eliminating the local noon-hour broadcasts.

Does the minister think it is very smart to aggravate the problems the regions are already experiencing for purely ideological reasons by refusing to be more flexible toward the CBC?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, our government has increased the CBC’s funding every year in every budget.

Hubert Lacroix, the CBC president and CEO, also said he was convinced that the CBC will emerge from this situation in a strong position if it adheres to its long-term strategic priorities, as already approved by its board.

We are assuming our responsibilities and making the investments we promised in our election campaign. We are keeping our promises.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

March 26th, 2009 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians who lose jobs need help, not half-truths. Yesterday the minister stated that 80% of people who lost their jobs and had contributed to EI would be eligible for benefits.

Yet Statistics Canada tells us that, in fact, only 43% of people who lose their jobs are eligible.

Given that reality, will the government heed the wishes of Parliament and the Conference Board and eliminate the two week penalty and improve access to employment insurance?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to use figures responsibly. He is liable to add to the public's confusion because what he said does not reflect reality.

The reality is this. According to our figures and an employment insurance coverage survey, more than 82% of Canadians, who paid into employment insurance, are able to get the benefits. For those people, we are very pleased that our economic action plan is providing an additional five weeks of benefits at the end, just as Canadians asked for.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is playing word games when Canadian families have real needs. Instead of talking in theory about the number of people paying into EI who would be admissible, will she look at the facts as presented by Statistics Canada?

According to StatsCan, of the 300,000 people who have lost their jobs since the election, only four out of ten workers have qualified for EI. Parliament has spoken and called upon the government to reform employment insurance. Today, the Conference Board repeated that. Why is it doing nothing to help?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us not quibble about the statistics he is citing. Let us recognize that the number he is talking about includes everyone who is not working. We cannot take a look and say that people who have never worked in their lives are not getting EI fast enough. They have never worked, so they are not eligible.

The hon. gentleman should stop playing petty partisan politics with the futures of real people.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, in September, the Conservatives were saying that there was no recession and no deficit. In November, it was a technical recession and small surplus. In January, it was a recession and some deficit. In the past 24 hours, both the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the TD Bank are predicting record deficits and a long recession.

What purpose is served by continuing to misstate the facts, as she just did, on the deficit, on the recession and on unemployment? Start telling the truth to Canadians, start respecting the votes in the House and we can start implementing resolutions like the EI proposals adopted two weeks ago: start helping Canadians and stop lying.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member I am sure is aware that the use of such language is out of order. He will want to withdraw that after question period, but we will deal with that then.

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the budget that we presented only weeks ago in the House made economic assumptions that were more pessimistic than the average of the private sector forecasters. We will have a lot of opinions about the recession and about the rate of negative growth this year.

All of the economists have said that they did not see the recession coming. None of them saw the recession coming. That is why we have made assumptions below the predictions of the private sector economists.

I understand the member opposite is not familiar with that because he did not read the budget.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, CBC Cape Breton employs 25 people and it is the only outlet that really services the entire island. We got news today that half the jobs there will be cut.

We know the responsibility of the federal government is to allow CBC to deliver on its truly national mandate. These cuts will be devastating to the service. They will be devastating to my community.

I call upon the minister to please provide bridge funding so we do not lose these jobs and we do not lose this service.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the importance of regional media in our country, certainly for the CBC. That is why we have increased funding for the CBC.

However, I would ask my good friend from Cape Breton to read the speech presented today by the president of CBC. He said that even if a bridge loan were provided to CBC, it would still be cutting these jobs. This is a business decision by the CBC.

Our responsibility as a government is to follow through on our campaign commitment. We have done that. We have delivered to the CBC record funding this year.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was a dark day for public radio and television in Canada. Did the Conservatives have a score to settle with CBC? The answer is self-evident.

The Outaouais region will not escape the cuts unscathed; the excellent noon news broadcast in French with Nathalie Tremblay will be eliminated. This will not only deprive journalists of an outlet, it will also affect technicians and other workers in Canadian culture.

How can this government justify doing away with part of these services to the francophone audience?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, it always saddens us when jobs are lost. Clearly, everyone in this House shares the same reaction.

But where was this hon. member, the member for Hull—Aylmer, when his Liberal government cut 4,000 jobs at CBC?

This was the Liberal Party's approach, its programming, its policies. It cut 4,000 positions at the CBC, as well as over $400 million from its budget. We have raised its budget. It was the Liberals who cut it.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, we had strange facts from the Minister of Agriculture yesterday. The facts are these: one, we had the spectacle of the government announcing a new listeria policy without being able to implement it; two, the appointment of an investigator who was required by her own guidelines to provide those she interviewed with the right to edit her report before she tabled it; and three, the unbelievable farce of the government blocking a parliamentary committee from investigating the listeriosis crisis.

Will the Prime Minister accept his responsibility and allow Canadians an open and transparent hearing on the listeriosis crisis?