House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jurisdiction.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party cites the United States as its fiscal model. In the United States the deficit is running at four times the size of our deficit. It is a dangerous, long-term structural deficit that existed even before the recession began, one that will require tax increases eventually.

We have a proud fiscal record in Canada. That is not a direction we want to go because on this side, Canada, not the United States, is our country.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at taxpayers' expense, the Conservative government ran ads in all the weekend papers touting its recovery plan, the same recovery plan that contains nothing for the manufacturing industry in Quebec, nothing for the forestry industry, nothing for the unemployed, in short, nothing to really boost the economy.

Instead of spending taxpayers' money on advertising to tout an inadequate, ineffective recovery plan, would the Prime Minister not do better to shoulder his responsibilities and introduce a series of real measures modelled on our proposals?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, the economic action plan provides help for all those sectors, for both the manufacturing sector and the forestry sector. In the announcement of the report last week, I announced that 3,000 projects are now under way. It is important to our economy that, this Friday, Parliament pass the budget we need so that we can continue to spend to help Canada's economy this summer.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says that 80% of the projects are under way. Just because he put the money in the budget and projects are under way, that does not mean the money is flowing. We have reason to be skeptical, knowing that some projects announced two years ago in the 2007 budget have not yet been set in motion.

Does the Prime Minister realize that there are projects funded out of the 2007 budget that have not gotten off the ground, which means that he has made a lot of promises, but he has not accomplished much?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board has announced that we have used more than $2 billion of the $3 billion passed this spring. On Friday, we need more money to complete the projects that were announced in the report last week. These projects have been approved not only by this government, but by provinces and municipalities. Everyone is expecting this Parliament to act to ensure that this money goes into Canada's economy.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he presented his economic action plan, the Prime Minister stated that changes would be made to the employment insurance program. However, the next day he was contradicted by the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, who said that she did not anticipate any changes.

My question is very simple. Will changes be made to the employment insurance program, or not?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we did commit to monitoring the situation. We committed that right at the beginning, with our economic action plan.

We are proud in this country to have an entrepreneurial class that is alive and well. These self-employed individuals, though, are the largest single group that are not eligible for employment insurance.

In our campaign promises of 2008, we committed to looking for ways to help support those individuals in troubled times. That is exactly what we are looking forward to doing.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is indeed announcing changes to employment insurance. If the government is short on ideas, it should simply use the solution proposed by the Bloc Québécois, which is to eliminate the waiting period, lower the eligibility threshold to 360 hours and increase insurable earnings from 55% to 60%.

What changes will the government make to employment insurance? Changes are required now.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned, we want to help all those individuals who are hard hit by this recession. A large number of them are entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals who are not eligible for employment insurance.

During the 2008 campaign, we promised these people that we would find ways to help them with employment insurance. That is precisely what we are trying to do.

The Economy
Oral Questions

June 15th, 2009 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this weekend, the media reported that the money to stimulate the economy is locked away in federal coffers.

For example, the building Canada fund is behind schedule, based on the 2007 plan. Only one quarter of the money provided has been invested. Yet, the government said it would speed up the process, because of the crisis.

Can the Prime Minister explain why he has the foot on the brake pedal rather than on the gas pedal during this crisis?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the contrary and I can even quote the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, who said that things are beginning to move very quickly and that they are pleased by that.

All levels of government are working together to ensure that these construction projects begin this year. I encourage the opposition, including the New Democratic Party, to vote in favour and not against these funds, which are needed for projects that are important for the Canadian economy.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the funds are flowing slower than they were spelled out to flow in the 2007 budget.

Here is what the government's own numbers say have gone out: only 36% of the gateways and border crossings budget; only 27% of the money earmarked for major infrastructures and small communities; only 20% of the provincial and territorial base funding; and only 13% for the Asia-Pacific gateway and the corridor initiatives. It is pathetic. The Conservatives cannot get the money out of the door.

Is it because the Conservatives really do not believe it should be spent at all that they have their foot on the brakes?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, it is the NDP and the opposition that has been voting against the spending. All levels of government have been working together. I have produced a list of 3,000 projects that are under way and ready to go this construction season.

Therefore, the choice for the opposition is really very simple. On Friday, it can either vote to allow these things to go ahead or vote to block them. The Canadian people obviously want to see these projects continue to move ahead.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister seems to be blinded by his own press releases. The figures do not lie. The money is not flowing.

Here is what his own government officials are telling us. The five components of the building Canada plan that could be accelerated are worth $15.42 billion. They said that they would accelerate that spending. How much has been spent? The government has spent $3.8 billion, or 24% of the money. If that is acceleration, I would not want to be taking on those guys in any kind of a race. They would be at the back of the pack. They would not even compete.

Why will he not get the money out of—

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.