House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Canada-United States Relations
Oral Questions

September 21st, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

I think most of the noise was coming from the Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker.

I wonder if the minister could now explain--

Canada-United States Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canada-United States Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, order. I know it is a Wednesday, but we will have to listen to the question before we can listen to the answer.

The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Canada-United States Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

I did not know knuckle grazing could cause so much noise, Mr. Speaker.

I wonder if the minister could tell us, in negotiating with respect to perimeter security, why, when faced with the buy American problem, why, when faced with the labelling problem, would ending trade discrimination not be part and parcel of those negotiations?

Canada-United States Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Abbotsford
B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on reducing barriers to trade, not raising new barriers, as some parties in the House have suggested.

Sixty per cent of our GDP is comprised of trade. One in five Canadian jobs is directly or indirectly related to trade, so any suggestion that we should be adding to the barriers that face our businesses is absolutely wrong.

Canada-United States Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister misunderstood the question I asked. Being a charitable man, I will repeat the question in my second language.

What I am trying to say is very simple. At a time when we are facing a real risk of discrimination against the Canadian economy with regard to our exports to the United States, why not make this issue of discrimination part of our negotiations with the Americans on security?

Canada-United States Relations
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Abbotsford
B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the member listened to my answer. Had he been listening to the Prime Minister two days ago, he would know that the Prime Minister was very clear. The border vision initiatives are about deepening and strengthening the world's greatest trade relationship. Given our strong and mature relationship with the United States, we can separately address our concerns regarding the buy American provisions. This government will stand up for ordinary, hard-working citizens. Why will those members not?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are outraged that the government is spending $90,000 a day for a consultant to help plan cuts to services that Canadians rely on. If we add it up, we could keep 230 front-line employees on the job for over a year.

Why is the government throwing money at high-priced consultants while cutting staff who actually deliver services to Canadians?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know this would be contrary to NDP ideology, but there actually is some waste in government. Governments can actually reduce their expenses. We should not do it ourselves solely. We should get advice and expertise from the private sector. For every $1 of spending on experts, we expect $200 of savings, which is a pretty good deal.

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the International Monetary Fund has reversed its predictions about Canada's economy, and is now warning that our unemployment rate is just going to keep climbing. While Canadians worry about the economy, Conservatives are throwing $90,000 a day at high-priced consultants, planning even deeper cuts. The minister is turning his back on communities that depend on these positions. When will Conservatives focus on Canadian families instead of throwing money at high-priced consultants?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are focused as a top priority on jobs and the economy. The record on jobs is about 600,000 net new jobs as a result of the economic action plan.

Let us see what the IMF actually said. Here is what the spokesman said just yesterday: “Canada is actually matching up quite well on a relative basis...growth rates are 2%, the recession was not too deep, they haven't had a financial crisis to the extent that the U.S. has had or the Europeans are having it, and so, all in all, Canada is actually doing quite well.”

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are spending $90,000 a day for a high-priced outside consultant to plan service cuts. These cuts will have a direct and negative impact on Canadians, especially in rural regions. Seniors without Internet access and with limited access to public transit are being left behind by the government.

When will the government realize that paying private contractors top dollar to do its dirty work while short-changing seniors is certainly not the change Canadians were looking for?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the deficit reduction action plan is necessary as we move on the fiscal track to balanced budgets. The member opposite should know that there is some waste in government, that it is possible to review programs, that not every program should go on forever, that sometimes there are new programs, sometimes there are programs that have completed their usefulness.

Certainly, it is the obligation of government to get the best advice we can, including the advice we will get from outside consultants. As I said, for every $1 spent on experts, we expect $200 of savings.

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, our seniors deserve better.

By significantly reducing the services offered at Service Canada centres, the Conservative government is showing no consideration whatsoever for our seniors. Apparently, according to the minister, anyone who cannot communicate with Service Canada over the Internet is unworthy of the 21st century. That is unacceptable.

Can the minister tell us here today how the cuts to Service Canada will better serve our seniors?

Service Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to modernize our employment insurance system, especially the processing of claims. At this time, processing is done mainly on paper. This is not working. With an automated system, Service Canada employees will have more time to help seniors, and this will be more affordable for seniors. We promised Canadians that we would respect their money and that is what we are doing.