House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was spam.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

May 7th, 2009 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the most painful part of a recession is lost jobs affecting hundreds of thousands of families.

The Conference Board of Canada said yesterday the jobless rate will skyrocket this year to nearly double digit levels, but thousands of these victims will not qualify for EI. Existing rules were designed for boom times, not a recession, but rules can be changed to fit the new reality.

Why have the Conservatives dug themselves in so rigidly on the uncaring side of this very human issue?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear here. The hon. member and his party designed the current system that he said, and has said prior in the House, was designed for boom times.

That member should understand that any one person who loses his or her job through circumstances beyond his or her own control is not living in boom times. Those are hard times for that person and for that person's family.

We are taking care of them. We are doing the job. We have expanded the benefits. We have expanded accessibility. All the Liberals are expanding is rhetoric and taxes.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, those are the Conservatives who solemnly promised never to tax income trusts and then broke that promise. They levied a brutal Conservative tax that destroyed $25 billion in the savings of over two million ordinary Canadians. Worse, they are now presiding over the biggest economic disaster since World War II, 380,000 full-time jobs destroyed. Because they are so uncaring and because the minister gives that answer all the time, this has become their Conservative recession.

When will they fix EI?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I said, any person who loses his or her job is a hard time story for that person and that person's family.

While the member opposite is calling for fixes to EI, we must remember that he and his party designed it.

The Winnipeg Free Press said, “--the Liberals were the architects of the distortions in the EI programs--”. The Ottawa Sun said that the Liberals gutted EI in the nineties.

We put forward our improvements to the EI system so that we could help those unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. The Liberals voted for it without a single amendment. All they want to do is raise rhetoric and raise taxes.

Pulp and Paper Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Fraser paper mill in Thurso has been forced to close its doors because of unfair competition from the Americans, who have been able to reduce their production costs because of a biofuels credit. So far, the Canadian government has done nothing to help the pulp and paper industry.

How long will the government carry on bowing and scraping to the Americans and not doing anything to help?

Pulp and Paper Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the issue the member raised. We are very concerned about the impact of these credits on Canada's forestry industry. We are looking into the matter and considering all possible solutions.

Pulp and Paper Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, paper mills in the United States have access to a tax credit that gives them an unfair advantage worth about $200 per tonne. Paper mills in Quebec and Canada cannot compete with that. That is why the Fraser mill announced plans to lay off 330 people in May.

When will the government put pressure on the United States to change the tax credit rules and get rid of this unfair subsidy?

Pulp and Paper Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we will consider all possible solutions. Allow me to share a comment someone made recently.

The government did not kill the forestry industry; the market did. The government did not drop the prices on wood or pulp and paper; the market did. Our solutions have to address the real problem: the fact that nobody can buy our products because we are in the middle of a global recession.

That is what Avrim Lazar, president of the Forest Products Association of Canada said.

Pulp and Paper Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the survival of the Thurso plant depends on diversifying its revenue through a program of cogeneration. Without funding, the company has been unable to proceed with its 35 megawatt project.

Will the Conservatives at last provide loan guarantees to the forestry industry so that the Thurso plant can move ahead on this and ensure its survival?

Pulp and Paper Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

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

As we announced previously, under the auspices of my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, we have put in place a Canada-Quebec task force in conjunction with the Government of Quebec, and it is working very hard on all forestry issues. We have entrusted it with six sectors of activity and it will be providing us with its findings by May 15. All of the data will be tabled before long.

Pulp and Paper Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will provide the minister with an update from the President of the Forest Products Association of Canada. This morning Avrim Lazar called upon the Conservative government to counter the unjustified U.S. black liquor tax subsidy and ensure industry has access to credit.

Will the Conservatives take off their blinders and provide access to credit through loan guarantees and tax credits?

Pulp and Paper Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, this is one of the subjects being addressed by the Canada-Quebec committee that is currently at work. But I too would like to quote Mr. Lazar.

He also said this morning:

Governments can provide a safety net that lessens the pain for displaced workers and prepares them for new jobs. They can also assist community adjustment. This is a role they are embracing and playing well and which was a large part of the last federal budget.

They need to look at what is in our budget, as Mr. Lazar said this morning.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's conduct in the case of Mr. Abdelrazik is truly appalling and absurd. He has been stuck in the Canadian embassy in Sudan for the past year, and Ottawa refuses to give him the documents he needs to travel.

According to the UN, there is nothing stopping the government from taking action. It has no court orders and no documents from the UN. It has no more excuses.

Why does the government refuse to do what is right and bring Mr. Abdelrazik back to Canada?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, this is an extremely complex case that emerged under the Liberal government.

This case is currently the subject of testimony and representations before the courts, and I will refrain from commenting further on the matter.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a bogus argument to suggest that Mr. Abdelrazik is on a list and that somehow prevents him from bring brought back to Canada. That has been made very clear by the United Nations official, Richard Barrett, who is the one is charge of the whole program.

Why is the Conservative government pursuing an argument that the UN Security Council says is wrong? Either it does not understand its rights and obligations under international law or, worse, it is deliberately misleading this House and the court at the same time. When will it stop and bring him home?