House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2008 we put forward a proposal to have an independent, arm's-length employment insurance financing board that would determine premiums independently so that they would be on a break-even basis over a length of time. That was approved by this Parliament, so going forward, that will be the way that rates are set.

What we will not do, however, is set premiums so that we have a great surplus, as the Liberals did, which they spent on their pet political projects.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, these Conservatives say they will not raise taxes, while imposing what the C.D. Howe Institute says is a 43% increase in employment premiums. Canadians understand that EI premiums do not go up by magic. They go up because the Conservative government wants them to go up. A tax hike is a tax hike is a tax hike.

When it comes to simply telling the truth, how can Canadians believe anything the government tells them?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us face it, to stimulate our economy within our economic action plan, we froze EI premiums for two years. That has two advantages: one, it helps employers keep their employees without incurring additional costs; and two, it makes sure that Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money during these tough economic times.

The opposition supported that. We support that going forward. The Employment Insurance Financing Board will set rates at arm's length so that the fund will be balanced on an ongoing basis and not used, as the Liberals did, for pet political projects.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives, like the Liberals, propose the same lame solutions to eliminate the deficit, and once again want to siphon money meant for EI to achieve their goals. While unemployed workers are struggling, the oil companies are pocketing billions of dollars that the government is handing them through tax breaks.

We are in the middle of an economic crisis. How can the government justify giving obscene tax breaks to oil companies that clearly do not need them, and making unjustified attacks on unemployed workers?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the question that the member should be asking is whether her party will support our government and long-tenured workers, while we are proposing changes today to support long-tenured workers who have lost their jobs. I am thinking, for instance, of workers in the forestry industry. We want to give five to 20 additional weeks of EI benefits to these long-tenured workers who have been contributing to EI for a long time.

Will you support these workers, yes or no? Will you support the government, yes or no?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, we need a comprehensive reform of the employment insurance system.

Once again, the Conservatives who promised to do things differently are copying the Liberals and making the unemployed and the contributors to EI pay for the current deficit.

Instead of once again going after the unemployed by dipping freely into the fund, why does the government not look for ways to help workers by supporting the Bloc's Bill C-308, for instance, which we debated just this morning in the House?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would like to remind the member that we confirmed this morning that EI rates would remain the same for 2009-10, meaning that the premiums for workers will not increase.

Second, a few months ago, we implemented a measure granting an additional five weeks, to support workers during a time when our country is experiencing economic difficulties in this global recession. We also helped workers by allowing them to do job-sharing, a measure that 165,000 people have taken advantage of.

With respect to transitioning workers, we also helped those who want to take training. We gave $1.5 billion to the provinces to help them do so. There are all kinds of measures—

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Joliette.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, after much delay, the government finally seems to have decided to pass the home renovation tax credit, a measure that the Bloc Québécois had previously proposed. This delay concerns people who have renovated their home and could hurt the program and the economy.

Will the Conservative government dispense with trickery and put forward a ways and means motion this week to implement this tax credit without lumping it in with other measures that it knows the Bloc Québécois or other opposition parties do not agree with? That is the question.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue to implement budget measures. Yes, the home renovation tax credit is a very important part of the economic action plan for Canada. It is very well known around the country and many people want to use it, so I hope the House will support this budget measure when it is presented to the House by way of a notice of ways and means.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, as for the renovation tax credit, the government can act quickly by supporting the Bloc Québécois bill, which would increase the use of wood in federal buildings. The minister responsible for economic development said that he wanted to look at this bill first. It has now been three months since the bill was introduced, and a coalition to promote the use of wood will be launched tomorrow in Quebec.

Can the minister tell us today whether his government will support the Bloc Québécois bill?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, speaking of real measures that give results, Public Works and Government Services had a budget of $400 million, including $323 million for building renovations. That is how to stimulate the economy. Additional work is creating an increased demand for wood. It is the same thing with the home renovation tax credit.

But once again, the Bloc voted against these fine economic measures that produce results. It is shameful.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

September 14th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the Prime Minister, after analyzing his government's infrastructure promises, we now know why there has been so little real construction. It was his cabinet ministers arguing among themselves that has delayed things for months.

Of the top 10 ridings in Ontario receiving infrastructure funds, four are represented by his cabinet ministers, including the minister responsible, the Minister of Transport, and a fifth by his parliamentary secretary.

How does the Prime Minister explain to the 408,000 Canadian families who became unemployed since last fall that his cabinet is too busy trying to buy votes to create the jobs that are needed?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we of course are not a government that makes decisions unilaterally. We work on these projects with other premiers, such as Premier Williams perhaps, Premier McGuinty, and former premier Doer, and municipal leaders of all political stripes. Indeed, these projects are going across this land, not only in the ridings he mentioned; but of course, last weekend there were more projects for Cape Breton and Halifax, and new projects for Toronto, with half a billion dollars for more than 500 projects throughout the 416 region.

That is what we are doing for Canada. That is what we are doing for these regions and we are proud of it.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Prime Minister stayed glued to his seat, because the minister who got up gave himself 28 projects, five times as many projects to fix recreation centres as the average.

Across the country, the Minister of Transport's riding and the ridings of his two colleagues in Ottawa have an unemployment rate that is half that of the rest of the province, yet they are giving themselves two to four times as much money for infrastructure stimulus. They are leaving 400,000 people, a workforce the size of New Brunswick, abandoned across the country.

When his cabinet ministers are stimulating the country, why should anybody trust this government to help—