House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservative.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr., Speaker, it is true that this money should not have been spent by the national party because it had reached its spending limit. So this money transited through certain constituencies for operations which in many cases did not take place, and the Conservatives transferred invoicing responsibility to those constituencies. It was a real in and out scheme. I wonder, for example, why Elections Canada saw fit to carry out a search and prosecute the Conservative government. I find it revolting that the government would have us believe that members from other parties used in and out practices: that is totally false.

For example, did Elections Canada accept the expenses of other members from the other parties? They are the ones that were prosecuted, not the other members. The Conservatives were trying to create a distraction, but Elections Canada did not find in their favour. The Conservative Party should take a look at how it operated in its own constituencies during this campaign. For my part, I clearly remember the money that came into the ridings to be spent improperly there.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

March 10th, 2011 / 11 a.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say first that I will be sharing my time with the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca.

While the Bloc and its coalition partners are hatching schemes to trigger a pointless and expensive election, we continue to focus on the priority for Canadians, by which I mean the economy and job creation. Our government is taking measures to lay the economic and financial foundation for a strong economy and a robust job market.

In spite of the Bloc’s systematic opposition, we have been active throughout the recent global recession to ensure that Canada continues to have a stable economic base that will enable it to grow and prosper.

All of our investments have the same basic principle: the success of our country as a whole is essentially dependent on good economic management, which leads to success for individuals and families.

Canada’s economic action plan, which was implemented in 2009, provided for necessary, targeted one-time investments to meet the immediate and temporary needs created by the recession, and for permanent investments that will provide a foundation for the initiatives in place and improve those initiatives.

The effect of those investments has been that the Canadian economy came out of the recession stronger than a majority of the other G7 and G20 countries. I would point out that the Bloc systematically opposed all those measures. The Conservative government has demonstrated its flexibility in meeting the needs of the public. Canada came through the global recession in better shape than all of the other industrialized countries.

Labour market participation is key to the economic recovery and to Canada’s recovery. It benefits Canadians and their families, and contributes to Canada’s economic advantage both today and in the future.

A broad range of federal measures and initiatives has been put in place to encourage labour market participation among various groups of Canadians, and to ensure that they are able to meet their needs and their families’ needs.

We are investing as never before in skills training and development to enable Canadians to acquire and update the skills they will need throughout their lives, and to fill the jobs that are available now.

In 2008-2009, nearly 900,000 Canadians benefited from the programs and services subsidized under the labour market development agreements and labour market agreements signed with the provinces and territories.

The aim of those agreements is to support training for unemployed persons who are eligible for employment insurance and develop the skills of unemployed persons who are not eligible for employment insurance, workers who have been abandoned by the Bloc.

Under the economic action plan, the funding for labour market development agreements was temporarily increased by 500...

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order. The hon. member for Québec on a point of order.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I read the motion, I think the hon. member from the Conservative government has the wrong debate. He is not responding at all to the motion before us today. He is completely off base.

I want to call the hon. member to order with regard to the content of his speech. I ask that the hon. member stick to the motion being debated today or explain how his comments relate to the motion.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

I would remind all hon. members that whenever we are engaged in debate that we discuss the matter before the House. The opposition day motion today is broad. It touches on several issues. I encourage all hon. members to speak to that. I anticipate that while it may take detours getting there, all hon. members will speak relevantly to the motion.

The hon. Minister of State.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

That is exactly what we are doing, Mr. Speaker.

The Conservative government is also investing money to make careers in trades more attractive and encourage more apprentices to complete their training.

We are providing assistance of up to $4,000 to apprentices under the apprenticeship incentive grant and the apprenticeship completion grant.

In 2010-11, our government allocated more than $38 million to the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, a national centre of expertise that offers information and resources for improving adult literacy and essential skills. We are doing what we said we would do. We are respecting the workings of Parliament.

Our government believes that the strength of the economy and the labour market depends on a skilled and educated workforce and that is why we are investing in post-secondary education. In 2010, more than 400,000 post-secondary students across Canada received loans and bursaries from the government. In 2009, we implemented a new Canada student grants program. In 2009, the government also implemented a new measure to help students who are having difficulty paying back their loans.

We know that many things can happen in the lives of Canadians, and the recent economic slowdown has created additional problems for the unemployed.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Clearly, the member has no intention of directing his comments to the motion at hand.

Perhaps I have to read it for him:

That this House condemn the government’s use of all the tactics and tools at its disposal to exercise unwarranted control over institutions that must remain independent of the government in order to aggressively push its conservative ideology, namely Parliament, by abusing the power to prorogue and belittling parliamentary committees—

That is what he is supposed to be directing his comments to. So far, he has not said one word that addresses this motion today.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

An hon. member

That is the wrong motion.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order, please. I appreciate the point raised by the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona. He spoke to the intention of the hon. member. I would suggest that we do not know the intention of the hon. minister.

However, I would encourage members to speak to the motion before the House. I note that the motion is broad and has many components. I believe all hon. members know that it is the practice of the Chair to give the members speaking every opportunity to bring their speeches back to relevance and to the point of the business before the House.

The hon. minister of state.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not the ones who made it up, but the motion refers to Canada's economic action plan, so we are talking about Canada's economic action plan. We are often criticized for not using money wisely. We are showing this morning that Canadians' money is being invested for the good of Canadian society, to help people find jobs and to meet the government's commitments.

It can be difficult for members of certain groups, such as aboriginals, newcomers, persons with a disability, young people and older workers, to have access to labour market opportunities. We are therefore providing targeted support to a number of these groups, particularly for training and skills development.

As part of Canada's economic action plan, the federal government is investing $75 million over two years in the aboriginal skills and training strategic investment fund, in addition to extending the aboriginal skills and employment partnership program by—

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order, please. Is the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona rising on the same point of order or another point of order?

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member said that the motion talked about the economic action plan. If he read the motion, he would see that there is absolutely not one word on that. The economic action plan is not even mentioned in this motion.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

I thank the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.

Once again I would remind all hon. members to familiarize themselves with the business before the House and to make their comments relate to that. The Chair grants great latitude in terms of what can be related back to the business of the House. However, members' comments ought to relate to the matter before the House.

The hon. minister of state.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we have already said, we continue to use Canadian taxpayers' dollars wisely. For instance, we are investing $30 million in the opportunities fund for persons with disabilities, and that is just one example.

As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister has proven in recent days, all parties in the House of Commons have used the same tactics that we are being criticized for using. It was Conservative Party money, raised by Conservatives for Conservative advertising. As we know, rulings were handed down recently, which we plan to appeal. We have proven that all parties have used money to support local candidates.

Our government has always been very respectful of all government operations and we will continue respecting them. Proof of this lies in the significant economic success we have achieved: five consecutive quarters of growth in our markets, in the GDP and in Canada's economy. What Canadians want most is for our economy to continue to grow, despite some setbacks we have seen south of the border. We hope the U.S. economy improves. That is very important for us.

While the opposition is trying anything it can to trigger an unwanted election, on this side of the House, we are taking care of the economy, which is the top priority of Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just demonstrated that, after fostering a culture of secrecy by providing as little information as possible, this government developed a new strategy: dodging the issue. We have seen that the Conservative government does not really stick to this motion, but wanders off topic.

I would like to speak to him about the government's attitude, which is truly autocratic and undemocratic. Government employees were issued a directive at the end of last year to replace “Government of Canada” on all correspondence with the Prime Minister's name followed by the word “Government”. Speaking of autocracy, this makes me think of Louis XIV, who said, “L'État, c'est moi.” or “I am the State”.

What is going on? Have the Conservatives becomes so authoritarian, undemocratic and disconnected that they are not only giving speeches in the House that are not even related to the motion, but also withholding information and resorting to all sorts of wrongdoings? I would like to remind them that they are the ones who were charged by Elections Canada.