House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was business.

Topics

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Richmond
B.C.

Conservative

Alice Wong Minister of State (Seniors)

Mr. Speaker, Canada's seniors have worked hard to build a better country, and our government believes they deserve a secure and dignified retirement. That is why we are providing the largest GIS increase in a quarter century to the lowest-income seniors who need it the most. Also, since 2006, the government has provided over $2.3 billion in annual tax relief for seniors and pensioners, removed 380,000 seniors from the tax rolls completely, and introduced pension income splitting.

We have also made significant advances in affordable housing--

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will have to stop the minister there.

The hon. member for Pierrefonds--Dollard.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly that is not enough. Canadians over the age of 65 are piling up debt three times faster than the average rate. Unfortunately, their savings are dwindling. While the stock market is free-falling and private pension plans are disappearing like snow on a summer's day, our seniors are on the ropes.

When will this government take concrete measures to ensure that our seniors can live in dignity?

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, that is a relevant question. I am glad that the NDP has recognized that there is more we can do to help seniors save for their retirement. That is why we have been working with our partners, the provinces, in developing a new form of a pooled registered pension plan that would provide an opportunity for almost 60% of Canadians, who now do not have a workplace pension plan, to help them save for their retirement.

Post-Secondary Education
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal government's own report shows that it will breach the legal limit for student loans by 2013. On average, Canadians are graduating with a debt of over $25,000, and tuition fees are still rising at four times the rate of inflation.

If the government is as serious as it says it is about securing Canada's economic future, why will it not commit to a plan to reduce tuition fees and take real action to reduce the debt that is burdening students and their families?

Post-Secondary Education
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about ensuring students have access to post-secondary education, whether it is colleges or universities. That is why we introduced the apprentice incentive grant and the completion grant. That is why we introduced the Canada student grants program, which is helping 190,000 more students than the previous Liberal plan. That is also why we have made scholarships and bursaries tax free, and made improvements in the registered education savings plan.

Sadly, the NDP has voted against every single one of those efforts to help students.

Post-Secondary Education
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the minister needs to do her homework. The reality is that tuition fees have never been higher, and by 2013, student debt will be more than $15 billion. The government is pushing an entire generation to the brink of bankruptcy.

Will the government finally take measures to reduce the burden of student debt by developing an education transfer for the provinces?

Post-Secondary Education
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we are doing right now to help them. We have given universities and colleges billions of dollars for infrastructure so that students have a place to study and acquire the skills they will need in the labour market.

We have made many efforts to help students through bursaries and tax measures. Unfortunately, the NDP has voted against every single one of these initiatives.

Air Canada
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, by threatening Air Canada's flight attendants with back-to-work legislation, the government interfered in the legitimate bargaining process between employees and employer. It made the situation even worse by using an unfair practice. Instead of promoting negotiations in good faith, the Minister of Labour intervened personally. That is a dangerous precedent.

Is making threats this Conservative government's new negotiation technique?

Air Canada
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, we are very disappointed that the two parties have not been able to attain their own collective agreement. Indeed, two times the parties at the table reached a tentative agreement and twice their membership rejected it in ratification.

I approached the member opposite on the concerns I had leading up to the second ratification vote and I asked that he work with me on this, and work with the union, because it is a serious matter which can be solved if the two parties come together and come to their own collective agreement.

Air Canada
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week a reprehensible crime took place here in Ottawa, but we will not have to bring in CSI Ottawa to find the guilty party. Organized labour in this country was bludgeoned by the Conservative government and the Minister of Labour's fingerprints are all over the weapon.

However, the real crime here is that, for the past six days, rather than bringing the groups together, she has driven them apart. What really needs an upgrade here is her mediation skills. What is she doing to try to bring these groups back together again?

Air Canada
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, since June 3 of this year, our government has been trying to give every facilitation available to the two parties.

I which the member for Cape Breton—Canso would be quiet. Although he is way the heck down at the other end of the House, I can hear him interrupting me and I know that the good people of Cape Breton would not appreciate that either.

That being said, we are doing everything we possibly can to get the two parties together. They have reached an impasse and, as such, we will protect the economy and act in the best interests of Canadians.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, an internal memo to DFO employees has laid out the government's plans to wind down large ocean management projects, slash funding for science, services, aquaculture and other crucial departmental responsibilities. It seems that fishing communities are caught in the middle of the Conservative attack on facts and evidence.

Will the government stop its plan to destroy DFO and destroy Canada's fisheries and coastal communities?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, of course nothing could be further from the truth. Science is an important part of fisheries management, and we honour that principle and will continue in the future gaining information from science to better manage our fisheries.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the minister is about to defend the gutting of $200 million from Veterans Affairs. I can see that he has his PMO script all ready to go. Why did Veterans Affairs spend $3 million on backdrops--