House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was insurance.

Topics

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has an excellent record on pay equity, but the minister has proposed improvements to ensure that in the future, we will have pay equity decisions much faster than in the past. This is a good change, and I regret the Bloc's decision to oppose this change.

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the Bloc. All women's groups are opposed to this change.

Quebec's pay equity legislation is proactive, whereas the federal legislation turns back the clock. For example, the federal legislation makes pay equity a right that has to be negotiated as part of the collective bargaining process, which is not the case in Quebec's legislation.

Should the Prime Minister not take advantage of International Women's Day to do his homework again and introduce a real pay equity law?

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, what is happening today under the current legislation is that women's rights are being negotiated away. This proactive system will ensure that both employers and unions have an obligation to ensure that women's equity is achieved in the workplace and that exactly like in the Quebec provincial legislation, there is an independent tribunal that will look at that to ensure that women's equity is achieved.

We stand behind pay equity. We stand up for the rights of women.

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the Conservative government had any respect for women at all, they would not have tried to hide the pay equity issue in the Budget Implementation Act. This is just a strategy for avoiding public debate on the backwardness of the Conservative way.

Does the Prime Minister realize that in passing legislation to limit the application of pay equity to employment categories that are at least 70% female, he is setting the cause of women back?

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, what astounds me is why that member has not stood up before this whole issue and asked, why do women have to wait 15 or indeed 20 years in order to achieve pay equity in the workforce? That is simply not correct.

We are ensuring that women achieve pay equity on an ongoing basis, so that unions and employers cannot bargain away pay equity in the course of a collective agreement. That is why we are bringing this legislation forward and that is why that member should support this legislation.

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should do his homework and find out what the legislation is in Quebec.

The legislation passed with the connivance of the Liberals threatens unions with a $50,000 fine if they encourage women to file a complaint. It forbids personal and collective grievances and makes the right to pay equity negotiable.

Will the Conservative government finally admit that it is on the wrong track here and should immediately introduce real, proactive pay equity legislation?

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the member is twisting what the legislation says. What it means is that women are entitled to go to the independent Public Service Labour Relations Board in order to ensure that pay equity is achieved. There can be no prosecution of an employer or of a union without the consent of that independent board.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for an international high level meeting to find a global consensus on the future of Afghanistan.

Could the Prime Minister tell us whether the Government of Canada would be participating in such a meeting? Given Canada's important involvement in Afghanistan, would the government consider hosting such an important event?

Will the Prime Minister accept the American government’s suggestion and offer to hold this summit here in Canada?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the leader of the New Democratic Party.

I did read the comments made by Secretary of State Clinton. We have no details beyond those comments. Obviously Canada would be delighted to participate in any such gathering. At the same time, as the leader of the NDP would know, I had good discussions, indepth discussions, with President Obama on this subject when he was here.

All of our NATO partners will be discussing this at the summit in April.

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us hope that it can produce a comprehensive path toward peace.

In regard to the $3 billion slush fund, the Prime Minister does not have a blank cheque just because the Liberal Party supported his government for the 62nd confidence vote in a row. It really was the 62nd in a row.

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to be transparent? Why does he want to break his own law on accountability? And why does the Prime Minister want to betray people by using the same tired old recipe—

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, quite to the contrary, this government follows accountability principles. There will be reports on the expenditures from these funds in the June report, for example, before the House.

I do have to take issue with the leader of the NDP and quote what his member for Winnipeg Centre said this morning with regard to an infrastructure project in his riding, “I think all the rules should go out the window--”.

Let me assure the leader of the NDP that we will not be doing that on that project or any other project.

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the President of the Treasury Board stated in the House, in reference to the $3 billion slush fund, and I quote, “The Auditor General is not opposed to this--”. There is only one problem: it is not true. The Auditor General confirms that a discussion took place, but her office is unequivocal that she has not approved the slush fund.

Could the Prime Minister explain why the President of the Treasury Board is misleading the House and instead of making things up about accountability, why not just make things happen on accountability?

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, one minute the leader of the New Democratic Party wants every single project to come before the House of Commons for approval and then in the next minute his own member is saying he does not want any rules at all if a project is in his riding.

We will make sure there are good, broad rules that hold us accountable, not just to the Auditor General but of course to the people of Canada who want this money to flow to stimulate our economy.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

March 5th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the latest report on Afghanistan the government has said, “No prospects for early and meaningful reconciliation were apparent during the quarter”. We have just heard that Secretary of State Clinton has asked for an international conference.

I would like to ask the government once again, why is it refusing to appoint a special envoy to Afghanistan to make sure that the sacrifice of our troops is matched by our political efforts at finding a solution?