House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, during the global recession, the G20 internationally has taken the leadership role, ensuring that we are coordinating our stimulus efforts, ensuring that we address issues like appropriate executive compensation.

That is exactly what the leaders did when they met in London not that long ago. They approved these three rules with respect to executive compensation. They are to be followed by all of the G20 countries, including Canada, and we are extending that to the public institutions in Canada.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development continues surprise us. She said that it was not necessary to change the employment insurance criteria, because the recession means that more people have access to it. Like the conservative economists who rely on the invisible hand to regulate the market, the minister thinks that the recession, all by itself, will settle the problem of accessibility to employment insurance.

What is the minister waiting for to do what everyone is calling for: to make comprehensive changes to the employment insurance system to meet the challenges of the current crisis, and, most importantly, to meet the needs of the unemployed?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois members certainly do not know how much money we are putting towards supporting our workers while there is a recession and other major economic difficulties. This year, we have put $7.3 billion towards supporting workers. Furthermore, we have taken action to make changes, by adding five weeks to EI, among other things. They were offering two. We offered five, and they even voted against it.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, announcing the same program twice is one thing, but making sure it produces the expected results is another.

The minister prides herself on having put $500 million towards a training program. But more than one week after her program was announced, we still have unanswered questions. The only tangible thing to come out of her announcement is false hope.

What will it take for the minister to realize that, without comprehensive changes to the employment insurance system, all of her short-term solutions will not do?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, this is a perfect example of the work we are doing to support people who are losing their jobs. During an economic crisis, a person could have worked 20 years for a company, when it is suddenly shut down. These people need much longer training. We are offering them this training through the program we set up this week. That is $500 million that will ensure that workers are paid for two years while they receive training.

In addition, there are 3,300 companies that take advantage of job sharing right now. We are taking action. We are helping our workers and people who lose their jobs.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

June 3rd, 2009 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, American black liquor subsidies may spell the end for many struggling Canadian pulp and paper mills.

On June 8, the Fraser Papers plant in Edmunston will close its doors and hundreds of workers will be unemployed for an indeterminate period. What has our government done? Absolutely nothing.

The Conservative government is again abandoning our forestry sector and its thousands of workers.

Why wait for people to lose their jobs before taking action? Why must more workers and families suffer before this Conservative government decides to act and save Canadian jobs?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, in terms of aid to the forestry sector, in our unprecedented cross-country consultations we spoke to both industry and communities about the best way to support them through Canada's economic action plan. We have developed the $1 billion community adjustment fund that is beneficial for that.

With respect to the black liquor, it is important to note that this was the result of a U.S. green tax and the utilization of mixing diesel with black liquor in order for paper companies to take advantage of it, which we find unacceptable, and we want the United States to know.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, cross-country consultations will definitely not bring back the thousands of jobs that have been lost and save those at Fraser Papers in Edmundston.

The American black liquor subsidy could be the final nail in the coffin for many struggling Canadian pulp mills. After having done nothing on the closure of AbitibiBowater in Dalhousie, now it is Fraser Papers that will be affected.

The Conservative government is letting down hundreds of workers while other countries are helping their industries. What is the Conservative government waiting for? How many other jobs have to be lost before it helps the industry?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, further on the black liquor tax credit for pulp producers in the United States, my colleague, Minister Day, of course has been working—

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. I am sure the hon. minister's whip will explain that the use of members' names in the House is contrary to the rules and that she will try to avoid that kind of reference, distinguished though the minister she referred to is.

The hon. Minister of Natural Resources has the floor.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be more careful with respect to names.

I want to indicate that the black liquor subsidy in the United States is of great concern. My colleague, the Minister of International Trade, has been working with the United States and bringing attention to the detrimental effect it has on the industry and what a distortion it is.

We are working across the border with our colleagues there, and we are working internally to determine the best options.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, Xstrata workers are again getting dinged by the government. This winter the Conservative government failed to enforce a signed agreement with the company not to lay off workers for three years. To soften the blow, Xstrata and CAW negotiated a sub-plan that would add an additional $175 a week on top of the worker's regular EI, but now the government is planning to claw back the first two weeks of this plan.

Why is the government taking money away from the unemployed when they need it most?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am unaware of the situation that the member describes, but we will look into it.

However, what I can tell the chamber is that as a result of our intervention, plans by Xstrata, which were mere promises, obtained the efficacy of a contractual obligation to the people of Sudbury and to the people of Canada to continue its investments and to reinvest in Sudbury.

That is the kind of negotiations we do. We do not get on our high horse and engage in rhetoric. We actually get the job done for the workers and the people of Sudbury and Canada.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, what about EI? The Catalyst Crofton pulp mill is laying off workers again. This is on top of forestry suppliers selling off equipment, timber companies going under and layoffs at sawmills.

There will be no severance package for Catalyst workers. Instead the employer is negotiating a plan to top up EI benefits, just like in Sudbury.

Could the minister explain whether these sub-plans will trigger clawbacks? If yes, why is the minister penalizing these laid-off workers?