House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Lobster Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission
B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, obviously the member and some of his colleagues are missing the things that we already have done. In fact, if he read our economic action plan, he would see that we have already improved access to credit. We have already put in place a fund that will help with marketing. There are some conditions in the industry right now, such as a reduced demand, that have pushed prices down. This government has no control over those things. We are working on the things we can control.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

May 14th, 2009 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's answers, and especially the Prime Minister's, are full of lies. Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that an employment insurance eligibility threshold of 360 hours would give unemployed workers 52 weeks of employment insurance benefits. That is not true.

It is not true under the current system. It is not true under the bills the Bloc has introduced. It is not true under any mechanisms.

Can the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development explain how a 360-hour eligibility threshold would automatically give—

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. I regret to have to interrupt the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, but he used unparliamentary language, and I hope he will withdraw what he said the next time he asks a question.

The hon. Minister of National Revenue has the floor to reply.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, can the leader of the Bloc Québécois answer my questions?

When our government wanted to help people who are losing their jobs by giving them an additional five weeks of benefits, at a time when it is harder to find a job quickly because of the recession, why did the leader of the Bloc Québécois vote against that measure?

In addition, when we wanted to give people a $1,350 credit for home renovations in order to stimulate the economy and create work for the construction industry, why did he vote against that measure?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I used the same language the Minister of Public Works and Government Services used yesterday. If he can use it, I can use it.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

I ask the minister to stand up and explain the falsehood we heard yesterday.

How would 360 hours equal 52 weeks of benefits? That is not true.

The people who elected us expect us to tell the truth. I ask the question again. If the government has even a modicum of honesty, let her stand up and correct her answer.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. Minister of National Revenue.

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 employment insurance system is based on the unemployment rate in the regions of Quebec and Canada. The higher the unemployment rate, the fewer hours or weeks Canadians need to work to qualify for employment insurance. That is our model.

For example, in Gaspé, the unemployment rate often fluctuates around 20%, whereas in Quebec City, it is only 4%. Everyone understands that it is easier to find a job in Quebec City than in Gaspé. That is the basic principle behind our employment insurance system.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, under the Quebec bill, an eligibility threshold of 360 hours and a 16% unemployment rate would entitle people to a maximum of 36 weeks. That is far from the 52 weeks referred to by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Will the minister acknowledge her mistake and apologize to the unemployed?

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, there have been a number of employment insurance reforms over the years in this country. The program we have at present takes regional unemployment rates into account. The program is adapted so that the number of weeks worked to be eligible for benefits is lower in areas where it is harder to find a job.

The drawback to the system proposed by the Liberal party is that it would destabilize the foundations of our employment-based economy. It would even have another major drawback: encouraging people to work under the table rather than stimulate the economy of Canada.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister were the least bit honest, she would acknowledge her error and apologize to the unemployed.

Instead of ranting on about the opposition proposals for improving the system, the minister ought to acknowledge that the present system does not meet the needs of workers who lose their jobs.

Will she at last carry out a thorough reform of this program by setting eligibility at 360 hours, abolishing the waiting period, and improving benefits, as the Bloc Québécois is proposing?

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, while our economy is in difficulty, it is important to act on a number of fronts simultaneously. The first is to try to stimulate the economy. To that end, $12 billion has been earmarked to promote construction. the development of infrastructure just about everywhere in the country, and repairs to infrastructure that is, shall we say, in bad shape.

Then we are making money available to people for home renovations. We are also supporting workers. They proposed eliminating the two week waiting period, but we have given five more weeks of benefits to the unemployed, which is to their advantage. It means—

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.