House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

March 9th, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government announced plans to eliminate 245 positions, 90% of which are currently vacant. This move is an attempt to hide the government's real plan for fighting the deficit. In the budget, the Conservatives recycled an old Liberal strategy by announcing that they intend to take $19 billion from the employment insurance fund between 2011 and 2015 to pad the federal treasury.

Does the minister agree that it is appalling to filch money from the pockets of unemployed workers while her government carries on giving all kinds of gifts to oil companies and the rich?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is correct: the Liberals cut a lot of transfers to those in need. That is not our way of doing things. We will figure out how the government can get the job done more efficiently. We will continue to use this approach. We will not do what the Liberals did while they were in power.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, seasonal workers in two Canadian regions will be denied employment insurance benefits if the government does not take action. Transitional measures are due to expire on April 10. These measures have already been renewed several times.

Will the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development turn these transitional measures into permanent measures to prolong benefits for workers in the regions that were penalized when the map of economic regions was changed in 2000?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would like to remind the Bloc members that, over the past few months, we have implemented no fewer than six new measures to help workers who have lost their jobs. We have also made a huge investment of $4 billion to support the economy and ensure that work on projects across Canada begins in the next few weeks and months.

Every time we have implemented measures to help workers, the Bloc has voted against us.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, by cutting funding for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, the Conservative government is threatening the activities of two major research centres in Quebec, one at UQAM and the other at the Université de Sherbrooke. To cut funding for scientists working in this field is to deny the existence of climate change, as the member for Beauce did quite proudly.

Why is the Conservative government sabotaging Quebec's efforts in the field of climate sciences?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences was created in 2000 with $110 million in public funding until 2011. We are not closing the foundation. We have extended its mandate until 2012. The foundation will still be able to report to the government on the work it has done with public funding. That is a great deal of money.

Climate change research is very important, but we have to ensure that funding is allocated efficiently.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, to save $10 million a year, the government is cutting climate research. That is the reality. Yet the government does not hesitate to hand out $3.2 billion in tax goodies to western oil companies while massively subsidizing carbon capture and the nuclear power production needed for tar sands development.

Is this not proof that this government answers to the oil companies, at the expense of Quebec's needs?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we are not closing the foundation, and the Bloc should support our efforts.

With the Copenhagen accord, our government is committed to fighting climate change. That is why we are taking real steps to meet those targets.

The Copenhagen accord is the first international agreement that includes major emitters. It is a pleasure to tell the House of Commons today that 104 nations have ratified the accord, which represents 80% of global emissions. Like the Bloc, the whole world supports the accord.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in budget 2009, the Conservatives falsely promised to consult with Canadians about pensions and report on their findings in 90 days. In budget 2010, they promised again to consult about pensions and report on their findings in 90 days. All talk and no action.

Several provinces and the Liberal Party have made concrete proposals, like the supplementary Canada pension plan.

Specifically, what is wrong with the supplementary CPP proposal, and why not right now?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is one of the few people in Canada who believes she has the sole correct answer on a very important issue for Canadians about retirement income.

In fact, last year consultations were conducted and, as a result of those consultations, we brought in regulations protecting pensioners by requiring companies to fully fund pension benefits on plan termination and certain other measures that arose out of those specific consultations dealing with those specific issues.

Now, working with the provinces and the territories, which I gather the member opposite is against, but working with other governments in Canada we will do these public consultations and then the--

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for York West.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will not hold my breath waiting for the answer.

The Conservatives have clearly missed it while they were on extended leave but Canadians started the consultations with us some time ago. We have heard from desperate Canadians all across Canada who are demanding action, not just more talk.

Changes to the bankruptcy act are urgently needed today to protect tens of thousands of Canadians who will lose their only source of livelihood at retirement while the Conservatives sit idly by.

Will the Conservatives get past their recycled promises and start taking action on pensions today, not tomorrow?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member may be aware, we have already amended the BIA, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, with the changes for super priority for unpaid wages.

As she may know, my colleague and his department are also conducting their cross country consultations and discussions with the provinces.

As the hon. member may be aware, 90% of all pensions are under the jurisdiction and competency of provincial governments but we intend to work with the provinces and territories on this very important issue on behalf of Canadians.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, for a long time, the Conservatives have been in the habit of hiding their tax hikes. In 2006, they increased the lowest tax rate, but they falsely claimed to Canadians that they had lowered it. In their 2010 budget, they are increasing employment insurance premiums every year for the next four years, but they refuse to admit it.

Why do the Conservatives not tell the truth when they increase taxes for Canadians?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, unlike the tax and spend views of the Liberal Party, we do not believe Canadians should be paying more taxes. Since coming to office, we have actually reduced the overall tax burden by an incredible number: $220 billion. Not only that, but we have no intention, like the party opposite, of increasing the GST.