House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was arctic.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was not that long ago that the House adopted the government's economic action plan which increased benefits to the unemployed and which provided additional funds for retraining, both for those eligible for employment insurance and not eligible for employment insurance.

This is not an abstract question of parliamentary right or wrong. This was real benefit for Canadian workers. The New Democratic Party should have been onside and should have been supporting those changes for workers.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem was the budget did not get the job done and talking to Canadians across this country makes that very clear. This brutal recession is making it very clear to workers that because of a generation of changes to EI, they are being left out. Women are not being treated equally. People in different regions across the country are not being treated equally.

The Liberal record is clear. Before the Liberals were in government, 75% of workers were able to get EI help when they needed it, but when the Liberals left government, it was down to 40%. Now is the chance to fix it.

Will the Prime Minister assist in fixing the EI system that--

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, when this government brought in five additional weeks of benefit, it did it for every region right across this country equally. There is no excuse for the New Democratic Party and the Bloc to vote against these benefits for workers.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, unemployment rates are reaching record highs across the country. The NDP is making concrete proposals to help people.

For instance, the bill introduced by the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing reduces the number of hours required to be eligible for employment insurance to 360, increases benefits and does away with the distinctions between regions.

Will the government and the Prime Minister support these changes to employment insurance?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for some time now, the employment insurance principle has been that when unemployment goes up in a given region, benefits are increased to help the sectors in difficulty. In our economic action plan, we added five weeks of benefits for all regions of Canada. This is a very important improvement for all Canadian workers. The NDP and the Bloc Québécois should have voted for those benefits, and not against the workers of Canada.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Foreign Affairs concerning the 25 Canadians being held in quarantine in China.

It appears that there is no public health risk to justify this decision by the Chinese government. What will the minister do for those Canadians at this time?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

I have asked authorities and our consular officials in China to go to meet those people and, first of all, ensure that they are properly served, as well as ensure that everything meets public health standards. I also asked them to make the necessary approaches to the Chinese authorities to clarify the situation.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, another drastic decision by the Chinese government is something on which the Canadian government needs to fight back, and that is the question of the Chinese government deciding that it will not accept importation of Canadian pork products.

There is absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever that either cured or cooked pork represents any kind of threat to the health and safety of anyone. I would like to ask the minister, if he agrees with me, why would he accept the pathetic words of the Minister of International Trade, who said that the decision by the Government of China was “disappointing”? It is more than disappointing, it is illegal.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is absolutely right. China is operating outside of sound science. China has received those assurances from the World Health Organization and the OIE. It has also received calls from the Minister of International Trade and me on that very issue.

We are looking for clarification as to why it has gone as far as it has. We will have a response to that very shortly. Should China continue on, of course there is the WTO challenge which we would not hesitate to initiate.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

May 4th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the victims of the economic crisis are growing. The Chrysler plant in Brampton has shut down. The Chrysler plant in Windsor has shut down. The result is 8,000 people who have no jobs. Those 8,000 Canadians face an uncertain future and will be looking to EI for help.

The Conservatives have already turned their backs on these thousands of unemployed Canadians. Will they finally show some compassion? Will they finally step up to the plate, take some leadership and reduce the eligibility requirements for EI so that these victims can actually get the help that they need now?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the member should keep up with the times. The accessibility has dramatically increased in Windsor for EI, as well as the length of the benefits.

We are there also with special programs for long-tenured workers, those who have been in the workforce for quite a while, who may be 40 years of age with little in the way of transferrable skills. We are helping those people get the skills they need so they can have jobs in the future.

It is time the Liberals caught up and stopped with the rhetoric, and stopped talking about raising nothing but taxes.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, May 1 has come and gone and if the minister has not noticed, the auto crisis is deepening.

All the support in the world will not help the auto industry if Canadians are not buying cars. The minister promised the secured credit facility would be ready by May 1 to help buy and lease cars, but it has yet to be deployed. The BDC admitted that it does not have the expertise to create or implement the facility and had to recently appoint a team to do so.

Did the Minister of Finance mean May 1, 2009, or May 1 some other year for this credit facility?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said in response to the hon. member last week, we have been consulting with Canadians carefully, with auto dealers, with the auto assemblers, with the auto parts people to frame this package in an intelligent way so that it will actually work for the industry. I look forward to making the announcement shortly.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has further isolated Canada by calling on California to abandon its plan to combat greenhouse gas emissions caused by automotive fuels. She has gone so far as to make veiled threats of judicial reprisals against one of the most progressive states in environmental matters.

Can the Minister of Natural Resources look beyond her role as minister of oil and realize that the oil sands operations are a complete environmental disaster?