House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tobacco.

Topics

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, there are indeed cases currently before the courts and so we are going to wait for the results. However, it is also true that EDC has provided support for over 400 companies in Quebec amounting to more than $14 billion in the past year. We will continue to provide that support.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the job losses in the forestry industry are unacceptable. Over 200 communities are suffering at present, and 55,000 jobs have been lost in two years alone. What is the government’s response? It has no response. It is not giving any loan guarantees and it is making no effort to prepare a detailed strategy for setting a new course for the industry. There are no new markets.

Why is the Prime Minister turning his back on workers in the forestry industry here in Canada?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this government has given the industry considerable assistance for developing markets. We have provided communities with assistance through agreements with the provinces and training for the unemployed. Through EDC and the BDC, we have also increased the funds available for financing companies in that industry.

Once again, however, the question is why the New Democratic Party voted against all of those measures for that industry.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this recession is not new to forestry. It is not as though it just came in the last few months with the economic downturn. It has been going on for years. We have been raising this issue in the House for years.

If the approach of the government was working, there would not be thousands of workers out here on the streets demanding action for their families and for their communities.

What we need is some loan guarantees. What we need is a strategy to create markets in this sector. What we need is some fair trade for a change. What we need is to stop raw logs from going across the border and creating jobs down in the United States.

When will we see some real action from the government?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that the difficulties in the forestry industry are due to the dramatic decline in demand we have seen in the American market.

Yet, when the government brought in the softwood lumber agreement that gave us access to that market and $4.5 billion back from the litigation, the NDP voted against it. When we brought in measures to help workers and communities affected by layoffs in the forestry sector, the NDP voted against those. When we brought in measures to increase financing for EDC and BDC to help this sector, the NDP voted against them.

Why does the NDP not stand up for workers instead of just being a branch plant of the Liberal Party?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we voted against the softwood sellout. That is what we voted against.

I would ask the Prime Minister whether he has the courage to go out and give that answer to the workers who are outside right now. The fact is they have lost their jobs. They have worked trying to build this country for years.

He has refused to fix EI. He is not doing anything to protect their pensions, but he is perfectly happy to defend people who run a pension plan that loses $24 billion and give themselves millions of dollars in bonuses.

Why will he not stand up for the workers who have lost their jobs instead?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the leader of the NDP and his friends in the Liberal Party want to rip up the softwood lumber agreement, stop our access to the American market and give billions of dollars back to American lawyers, that is their choice, but nobody in the forestry industry wants them to do that and this government will not do it.

The Economy
Oral Questions

June 2nd, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to Statistics Canada, government spending decreased in the first quarter. Last year, $2 billion was not invested. That money should have been used for construction starts and to create jobs. Instead, 87,000 fewer construction workers are working this year.

What does the government have to say to the unemployed construction workers this year?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the newspaper report that the hon. member refers to is misleading. Federal government spending actually has increased. Relative to the last quarter of 2008, federal spending increased by $1.5 billion, or 2.4%, on an annualized basis.

What was different was that we had lower debt charges in the first quarter due to lower interest rates, and that had a significant dampening effect on growth, but spending on programs rose over $3.2 billion, or 6.2%, in the first quarter of 2009, relative to the last quarter of 2008.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was the finance minister on January 27 who said it was absolutely essential to get the projects going and the money flowing within 120 days, four months.

The deadline has come and gone and all Canadians have to show for it are photo ops with Conservative ministers. The construction season is well under way, but instead of funding speeding up, it has slowed down and no jobs have been created.

Canadians need to know, is it because the finance minister is wrong, or because the minister responsible for infrastructure is incompetent, or is it both?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if we look at the unprecedented investments made in every region of this country, it is indeed impressive.

We saw today the Minister of Public Works in Quebec announcing a deal where some $2.75 billion will be spent to help create jobs in the province of Quebec.

We are working very well with the member's premier in the province of Ontario, something that the member could never do. I see the Prime Minister working with the premier of Ontario providing leadership, making things happen and creating jobs. That is good news for this economy and that is good news for this country.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today the human resources minister claimed there was no need to change EI because the current bleak economic situation was making it easier to qualify. What she is saying is that the Conservatives' incompetence is enabling people to qualify for EI because the jobless rate is going up everywhere.

What in the world are the Conservatives telling the unemployed? To wait and not to worry because the Conservatives are making things worse all the time and eventually people will qualify? What kind of answer is that? Why not set a national standard for eligibility now? Why not get ahead of the game instead of having to wait for this Conservative recession to bring everybody down to the same level?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, what we will not do is what the Liberal irresponsible 45-day work year plan would do, which would increase job-killing payroll taxes in order to pay for it. That would hurt workers and kill business.

What we are doing is helping workers by making significant improvements to the employment insurance program, such as increasing the benefits by five weeks, expanding work sharing, freezing EI premiums and spending billions in expert training and skills upgrading.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have no plan to increase payroll taxes. We have been very clear.

What is the government saying? Let me quote from page 223 of the Conservative budget. Regarding EI, it says that starting in 2011, the premium rate is expected to rise. There is no secret there. Under the Conservatives, payroll taxes go up. They have already told us that. Do they not know that payroll taxes kill jobs? The member for Kings—Hants could tell them that. That is hypocrisy and incompetence in one untidy Conservative package.

Why can they not get serious and reform EI now?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the ill-advised, ill-conceived 45-day work year plan the Liberals have would cost billions of dollars. How are they going to raise those billions of dollars except by raising payroll taxes? That is the only way they can do it. They think the deficit is too big. How will they do it? They will have to raise taxes. That is what the leader said before, “We will have to raise taxes”. I would believe him in that regard.