House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was smugglers.

Topics

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, since the end of the recession, 600,000 jobs have been created here in Canada. Canadians gave us a strong mandate to protect and pursue Canada's economic recovery. While the opposition is calling for tax increases that would result in the loss of jobs and harm the economy, the government has a plan to keep taxes low and focus on job creation for Canadians and economic growth.

We know that irresponsible spending and out-of-control debt are the main problems other countries are facing today. That is why the demands of the opposition will not be met.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, I am going to have to respond to the spokesperson for the President of the Treasury Board. The reality is that the cuts to public services will be carried out by private consultants and will cost taxpayers $20 million. As we saw with the F-35s, the Conservatives do not really like the tendering process.

When the public interest is not consistent with their ideology, they forget about the public interest. Can the President of the Treasury Board explain to us why this contract was awarded without a tendering process?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false, and Treasury Board's involvement with the private sector is an integral part of our plan to ensure that Canada avoids the economic and financial problems that have heavily hit many of the other countries in the world. Once again, fortunately, 600,000 new jobs have been created since the end of the recession, thanks to the good work of the world's best minister of finance, as he was named last year.

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are spending $90,000 a day for an outside consultant to plan cuts and that is their explanation. Canadians will not buy it. A day's pay for the consultant is more than a year's pay for front-line Service Canada workers. While Conservatives throw money away on high-priced consultants, they are forcing Canadians to accept cuts to the programs and services they rely on.

When will the government come clean on its cuts?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, under our government we have created about 600,000 net new jobs since the end of the recession which, as I said earlier, is the best record among the advanced economies. The opposition, on the other hand, is calling for higher taxes which would, of course, kill job creation in Canada and is the wrong way to go.

With respect to spending, we certainly are opposed to reckless spending. I think Canadians expect us to be prudent in the way we look at spending in Canada, so we are through the deficit reduction action plan. Private sector advice is valuable, important and essential and it is part of our task of appropriately—

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. I will stop the minister there as his time has expired.

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, warning signs about a possible recession are everywhere and yet Conservatives want to cut the front-line workers that help Canadians who have lost their jobs. This is not the time to cut services at EI processing centres. When times are tough for Canadians, they deserve to have those services to help them.

When will the minister take the service part of Service Canada seriously and stop cutting workers at EI centres?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should get her facts correct. Front-line service at Service Canada will not be affected with the plan we are bringing in. What we are doing is taking the backroom operations where EI gets processed and making it more responsive to the needs of Canadians.

Right now, most of the processing is manual paperwork. We are in the 21st century. We need to automate that. We need to make sure that the services we are delivering are efficient, effective and responsive to Canadian needs. We are protecting front-line service delivery.

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign, the Conservative slogan in Quebec was “Notre région au pouvoir”, or our region in power. The reality is that if you are not in power, the government will make cuts in your region. This summer, it announced that 600 jobs would be cut in employment insurance claim processing centres in Canada. These cuts will hurt the isolated rural regions of eastern Canada.

Why reduce employment insurance services when the ranks of the unemployed are swelling and the economic situation is deteriorating?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, during the global recession there was a large increase in the number of employment insurance claims. We responded by hiring a number of people to process the claims. We succeeded. Claimants received their benefits in a reasonable time. However, the good news is that more Canadians than before have found work and we no longer have to deal with so many claims. Therefore, we have adjusted our staff.

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, when people lose their jobs, they do not receive free Internet access as a bonus. Not everyone can file their claims over the Internet.

It is interesting to note that two Service Canada centres that were opened in Conservative ridings in Nova Scotia will remain open. Meanwhile, bigger centres in opposition ridings will close.

Will the government stop favouring Conservative ridings and start serving Canadians fairly?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I just explained that some people were hired on a temporary basis. That was understood at the time by those people and the unions. The demand for employment insurance has decreased. Consequently, we have to reduce the number of employees and make sound use of taxpayers' money. That is what we are doing. I can assure the member that the service provided to the public will not be affected.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, if cuts are made to Canada's ozone monitoring network, we will lose a third of the world's resources to monitor the growing hole in the ozone layer.

This network has been collecting research data for 45 years. It is a key player in international efforts to protect the ozone layer.

How will this government explain to other countries that Canada is withdrawing from an important monitoring mechanism that is provided for in the Montreal Protocol?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague is aware, since we took power, Canada has created nearly 600,000 net new jobs.

I must say that while Nature is a worthy journal, the story to which she refers is completely without facts or science. We are not cutting any ozone-monitoring services or closing the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre, which Canada has hosted for years. However, we are optimizing and streamlining the way we monitor and measure ozone, making the best use of taxpayers' dollars.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister says he is not cutting jobs with ozone-related research and yesterday he told the House that cuts to Environment Canada will only affect “surplus” workers. It is hard to imagine where he is finding surplus when key programs like ozone monitoring are now often run by only one person.

Before we take his word on what a “surplus” worker is, will the minister tell the House what analysis his department has done that shows the actual impacts of these cuts?