House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

A question has arisen with respect to the employment insurance decision by the government to raise employment insurance premiums by some $600 million next year in defiance of the reality that, in fact, the economy has been losing jobs recently and that the economy is definitely slowing down.

When we asked the Minister of Finance this question over many, many months, he kept saying that he had no authority or power over these increases.

Why did the government not go all the way and stop the increases as of January 1, 2012?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we have taken a number of steps to address the issues regarding the economy, particularly those with respect to employment insurance.

Our government's top priority remains getting Canadians back to work. That is exactly what we are doing. We are working to promote economic growth.

I do not know whether the hon. member heard or not but we have actually made announcements very much specifically dedicated to that effort. We are committed to providing timely service to all Canadians who do need that service.

That is what our minister has been doing. That is what our government's policy puts forward for the country.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that the Conservative government decided to increase taxes on workers and employers just as the economy is slowing down. It does not make any sense. No economist or theorist in the country would agree with such an approach.

The government has shown that it can cut tax increases by 50%. Why does the government not go all out and say that there will be no tax increases this year?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member has a point. Clearly, Canada is not immune to the global fluctuations that are occurring, especially with what we see happening in Europe. Of course, the European markets and what has happened in the United States definitely impact us.

I will say what the government will not do. It will not do what the member's party did when it had a surplus in the EI fund, which was to expropriate and actually steal that money to use it for another purpose.

I assure the House our government will not follow that example.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on another subject to the same minister.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Toronto Centre has the floor.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no point in trying to respond to that. This is on another question.

There was a third allegation today with respect to an RCMP officer in Alberta regarding a question of harassment. We have two serious allegations of harassment by two women in British Columbia.

It is clear from the allegations that have been made that this is now a systemic issue. It is not just one officer complaining; it is clearly a number of officers complaining, and others feeling that they are not able to come forward because of a systemic problem.

I ask the minister, what does the government intend to do to deal with an issue that is no longer one by one, but is clearly now a systemic issue in our national police force?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, like the interim leader of the Liberal Party, we in the government are very concerned about these reports. In fact, we expect that the new RCMP commissioner will be seized with this issue immediately.

I am assured by the Minister of Public Safety that this will be on the agenda the very first time he meets with that new commissioner, when that position is filled.

The government's policy, including the RCMP of course, is one of zero tolerance with respect to harassment in the workplace. That is expected of every department, particularly the RCMP.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the United States have chosen the right approach by wanting to ensure that the Keystone XL project respects the environment. However, the Conservatives refuse to adopt an action plan to respect the environment. Rather than sitting down with the Americans to see how to do things better, the government insists on going forward.

Will this government recognize that its inaction is harmful to our environment and to our jobs?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is an important objective of our government to diversify the market for our resources, which is why I visited China and Japan last week where there was an excellent reception.

The NDP has obviously not talked to Joseph Mancinelli of the Labourers' International Union of North America. Joe supports the XL pipeline because it would create jobs for his members.

When will the NDP stop supporting jet-setting Hollywood actors and European--

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Halifax.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Wow, Mr. Speaker.

Make no mistake, the Keystone decision is the result of six years of Conservative inaction. The Americans are outspending us 18 to 1 on renewable investments and 8 to 1 on clean energy. Instead of lobbying the U.S., why do we not look to it for an example? We should be creating jobs by diversifying our energy economy.

The government is refusing to show leadership on climate change and the economy. When will it wake up and work with the Americans to help us build a green energy economy?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, NDP members have never met a job creating private sector policy or project that they do not want to kill, a tax they do not want to raise, a regulation they do not want to impose, a freedom they do not want to curtail, an issue they do not try to use to divide Canadians, and a fictitious problem they do not want the government to solve at great cost.

That is why the NDP is not fit to govern.

Natural Resources
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, those answers clearly indicate how out of touch the Conservative government is.

Our biggest trading partners are concerned about exports of oil sands bitumen because Conservatives failed to listen to sensible health and climate concerns. The Prime Minister called this a no-brainer. The Americans and the Europeans call it a non-starter.

Will the government listen to the legitimate concerns of our trading partners instead of just threatening the Americans with taking our oil to China?