House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was grain.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in London, the Prime Minister also said, “So notwithstanding that the employment effects are...becoming very real on people, the worst aspects of instability...are behind us."”. In plain English that means Canadians are losing their jobs and we are not doing anything more to help them.

Why can the Prime Minister not speak plain English? Why can he not convey any understanding of what is happening to workers? Will he or will he not offer additional measures to help them?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

And that was plain speak, was it, Mr. Speaker? I noticed that he had a little trouble getting that out.

The Prime Minister has been very clear that we put in place an economic action plan that was necessary for Canadians. Not only will it stimulate the economy but it will put money in place to retrain those who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs.

We have extended EI by five weeks, which is very important for those who have lost their jobs. That will help bridge them through to where they can maybe find some new employment. That is critical to this government. Those people are important to us.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of thousands of Canadians are going to lose their jobs in the coming year. Employment insurance is failing unemployed workers. The IMF has downgraded its forecasts, and the Bank of Canada is getting ready to do the same thing, yet this government is still saying it has done enough.

Is that this government's vision: more obstinate indifference?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Canada is going through tough economic times, and we have introduced measures to help people who are losing their jobs. One of those measures extends the employment insurance benefit period by five weeks. Unlike the parties that want benefits to start and end two weeks earlier, we are proposing to add five weeks at the end. This is important, because people who lose their jobs may take longer to find new jobs. Our decision means that someone who is receiving $400 a week in employment insurance will get an additional $2,000.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the head of women's affairs at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said that western silence had been “disastrous” for women's rights in Afghanistan. She went on to say something that is very pertinent. She said, “If they had got more involved in the process when it was discussed in parliament, we could have stopped it”.

When was the government aware of the legislation being proposed with respect to women in Afghanistan and what did it do about it when it heard about it?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I was in Afghanistan only about two or three weeks ago and the officials in Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan were not even aware of this legislation coming at them.

We are very much aware of it and that is why the Prime Minister has taken a lead on the world stage by making it very clear that Afghanistan must live up to its responsibility to protect human rights, especially the human rights of women. We have made this very clear. We know it is in that process now and we are holding it to that.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

April 2nd, 2009 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, maybe the government will finally take a lead on this next story.

Despite the concerns raised by several senior courts, including the Saudi King's own supreme council, that the case of Mohamed Kohail must be seen as a matter of self defence and not murder, a lower court has once again reaffirmed its sentence of death on Mr. Kohail, which may also imperil the life of his brother Sultan.

The Prime Minister is with the King of Saudi Arabia in London today. Will he finally act directly and raise this serious miscarriage of justice with King Abdullah? What will it take for him to act and show some leadership?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are deeply disappointed at the reports that a Saudi court has upheld its decision to sentence Mohamed Kohail to death. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has requested an official review of the Saudi court decision when it is issued.

Canada continues to express its concern for a fair and transparent review of the wording and the sentence. Since 2007, we have remained in regular contact with the Kohail family, including their lawyer.

G20
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has contradicted himself. He allows himself to lecture his counterparts at the G20 by asking them to do more to combat the economic crisis whereas, in this very Chamber, he has told us that he has done enough. And yet, the economy continues to falter. We need only think of the difficulties experienced by Abitibi-Bowater and Bombardier.

After missing the G20 official photo, the Prime Minister is going to miss the boat. What is this government going to do to deal with the economic crisis? Will it do more or less?

G20
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have to reject the premise of that. I will quote from the IMF report. It states:

The mission supports the large, timely, and well-targeted fiscal stimulus in Budget 2009. The stimulus package is appropriately sized—well above the Fund’s benchmark of 2 percent of GDP. It is also prudently based on a worse economic outturn than private sector forecasts.

How can anyone in the opposition say that we have not done enough?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the OECD has asked that more be done to provide income support for laid off workers. The five additional weeks of benefits for unemployed workers is a good measure, but most unemployed workers will not benefit from that. The waiting period, which translates into the first two weeks of benefits, must also be eliminated, and that measure would affect all unemployed workers.

Does the government realize that it has the opportunity with such a measure to help all unemployed workers and inject money into the economy?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the opposition member, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, does not understand that when we are in a difficult financial situation, it will take people longer to find a job or to return to the job they had before.

As an example, consider the layoffs announced today by Bombardier. What the Bloc is proposing is that people's benefits start two weeks earlier and end two weeks earlier. That is not what we want. We want to ensure that those who lose their jobs will receive EI benefits for a longer period. Instead of two weeks, we are giving five. Five weeks more means about $2,000.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue is creating confusion by comparing the five extra weeks of benefits and the abolition of the waiting period. Abolition of the waiting period does not mean abandoning the addition of the five extra weeks. One measure does not cancel out the other, as the minister knows full well.

Instead of cultivating ambiguity, can the Minister of National Revenue not understand that the crisis is with us now and targeted measures, such as abolishing the waiting period, are needed now to help the unemployed while at the same time stimulating the economy?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, the hon. member would deprive those who lose their jobs, because they will be out of work longer in these times of economic difficulty. She wants to deprive them of five additional weeks of benefits. That is what they are proposing. They are proposing to start two weeks earlier and end two weeks earlier.

Not us. We are giving five extra weeks and it is important to do that at this point in time. That is the difference between their philosophy and ours. We do not want to impoverish people who lose their jobs, we want to help them longer.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are 295,000 fewer jobs since last October, and this morning Bombardier announced another 1,000 layoffs.

There are people behind those numbers, people in need, young families without incomes and with unpaid mortgages. Two weeks more benefits at the beginning can make all the difference.

Is the government aware that its inaction is making the crisis worse?