House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regions.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I stand by the decision that was made by the previous national defence minister to purchase this important equipment. As a result of that decision, we have been able to deploy into Afghanistan, 20 of these Leopard II tanks, some of the best tanks and best equipment available in the world. We will be able to put in 20 more reconditioned tanks in the future.

The important thing to remember from the member opposite is the incredible, skyrocketing hypocrisy coming from him. He said just a short time ago that Canada did not need tanks.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that he does not plan to do anything more to tackle the economic crisis. Economists tell us that the cash flow crisis is paralyzing the system. Eliminating the waiting period is one way to put cash directly into people's hands so they can pay their bills and boost consumption.

When will the government finally realize that eliminating the waiting period would kill two birds with one stone by providing immediate cash to the unemployed and stimulating the economy?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in fact, we have added a number of benefits to the EI program, including extending the benefits by five weeks, which puts more money in the hands of those who need it most. In addition to that, we have invested $60 million to ensure we have the resources to process those claims as quickly as possible.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the minister put herself in the shoes of an unemployed worker in a region where the unemployment rate is sky-high and there are no jobs? Denying her income for two weeks is just plain cruel.

Does the minister not agree that it is her duty to help that unemployed worker and thousands more by eliminating the waiting period?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely concerned with those who have lost their jobs or are about to lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

That is why, through the economic action plan, we have added a number of benefits, including the five additional weeks, longer training for those who need training, new training programs for those who do not qualify for EI, targeted initiatives for older workers and work-sharing agreements to ensure they can be at work longer.

These are a series of initiatives that will help between 400,000 and 590,000 Canadians to face their circumstances due to the economy.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, what a paradox. On the one hand, this government is refusing to abolish the waiting period for unemployed workers, and on the other, it is letting the rich use a tax loophole. Approving that loophole means sending money out of the country. In the midst of an economic crisis, we should be doing the opposite.

Can the Prime Minister explain why he is refusing to give to those who are most in need and why he is giving to those who already have so much?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, what we have done is frozen EI rates to ensure that workers and employers do not have to pay any more, while at the same time extending benefits.

For example, the five extra weeks of EI will cost $1.15 billion; longer-term training for long tenured workers, $500 million; training for those who do not qualify for EI, $500 million; strategic training and transition fund and extended EI training programs, $1 billion, a record additional investment to ensure that provisions are made for those who need it most.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has chosen his Bay Street buddies over the unemployed.

How will he explain that to the G20 countries, which plan to tighten the rules on tax evasion?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, allow me to comment briefly on the question on employment insurance that the member asked previously. When countries are in an economic downturn and there is talk of recession, it is important for people who lose their jobs to be able to receive employment insurance for a longer period. We are giving unemployed workers an extra five weeks of benefits instead of two weeks up front.

The waiting period has existed for 38 years, since 1971. Why reconsider such things when it is far more important to give people additional weeks of benefits?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the plight of the unemployed is getting worse.

Jodi was let go from her job in January. She is also pregnant. She is the key income earner because her husband suffers from multiple sclerosis. This past Friday she had to borrow money to pay her mortgage because she had heard nothing about her EI application. Jodi is facing bureaucratic red tape at every turn. She cannot get answers or help.

When will the Conservatives give help to people like Jodi who need it the most?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we are obviously concerned about every Canadian worker who needs to enjoy, work and make a living for their family. We are ensuring that we have the resources to meet them.

There are specific cases, and I will not get into any specific case. There may be reasons why that is so. However, we are putting the resources in to ensure that claims can be processed as quickly as possible.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians applying for EI in northern Ontario continue to face obstacles and delays in receiving their cheques. Meanwhile Service Canada officials are deprived of the resources they need to help.

The Conservative government continues to fail rural Canadians. With tens of thousands of Canadians losing their jobs, when is the government going to wake up and make EI more responsive in order to get the money where it belongs, which is in the hands of unemployed Canadians?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance program is so designed that it responds to regional interests. As the unemployment rate rises in a particular region, the benefits are longer and the qualifying hours are less. We are ensuring that it is responsive to the needs of the particular regions. Those that have the highest rate of unemployment have the greatest needs. That is where the funds flow more quickly.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

March 30th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Abdelrazik is a Sudanese Canadian who has been stranded in Khartoum for six years. The government now says that Mr. Abdelrazik needs to be removed from a UN watch list before he can come home, even though the watch list expressly allows for a citizen to return to his home country, even though CSIS and the RCMP have cleared Mr. Abdelrazik, and even though the government has a constitutional obligation to allow Mr. Abdelrazik to come home.

Will the Canadian government protect a Canadian citizen, respect its obligations under the charter and international law, and allow Mr. Abdelrazik to come home to Canada and be reunited with his family?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the hon. member that we continue to provide Mr. Abdelrazik with consular assistance.

Of course, as the minister has alluded to, he is on the no-fly list of the United Nations Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 1267. Therefore, he is subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.

As the matter is before the courts and under litigation, we cannot comment further on this matter.