House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sector.

Topics

Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member for Brossard—La Prairie

Employment
Oral Questions

February 3rd, 2012 / 11:20 a.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, the reality is that the Quebec economy has lost 45,000 jobs in the past year. The unemployment rate is increasing in Montreal and Quebec City. The small number of jobs created are mostly part-time and low paying. There is not enough work for the growing labour force.

Why refuse to face facts? Why stubbornly persist with an inaction plan that does not work?

Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Saint Boniface
Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, as we have said, more than 610,000 jobs have been created since the downturn. Our government will definitely continue to provide businesses with an environment that is conducive to job creation. The private sector created 90% of these jobs and 80% of them were full-time jobs. What are we hearing from the stakeholders? Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters confirmed in a report that reducing the tax burden leads to job creation. Therefore—

Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order. The hon. member for Wascana.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, at a time when Canadian unemployment is worse, and again worse in the last hour with the closure of the Electro-Motive plant in London, when economic growth has stalled and even turned, when household debt is at a record high with the heaviest burden falling on older people heading for retirement, namely the baby boomers, why is the government now doing what it promised explicitly and repeatedly never to do? The government is threatening the old age pensions of those future retirees. Why is the government doing this, when the OAS is already fundamentally sound?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, the hon. member has it totally wrong. What we committed to Canadians was that we would protect their pensions, and that is exactly what we are doing.

However, we know that going forward the old age security system is not sustainable. With three times the expense of what we have right now and only half as many people to pay for it, it only makes sense that we have to take action right now not just to protect the pensions of our retirees of today, but those of future generations as well. That is exactly what we are going to do.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, Canadians are not buying the government's doublespeak. Future seniors are deeply concerned because the Conservatives are promising to slap them in the face. Over the next 10 years, 4.5 million Canadians will retire; 92% of them will need the old age pension and 75% will have incomes below $40,000. The scheme the Prime Minister announced in Switzerland does not make those human needs go away for those modest income seniors. It just dumps them onto provincial welfare. How is that any better?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, if we were to take the advice of the hon. member and do nothing, those poor seniors of the future would not have any OAS left for them. Is that what he really wants? That is what it sounds like.

That is not what we want to do. We want to ensure that all Canadians have a secure retirement in the future and that is what we are working toward. That is why we introduced the TFSA. That is why we increased the GIS for the most vulnerable seniors. Unfortunately, the hon. member across the way voted against those initiatives.

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lise St-Denis Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Madam Speaker, the Conservative government is not letting up in its attack on old age security, but it is swimming against the tide. Eighty-one per cent of Canadian women are against the government's proposed changes.

Considering the impact the proposed changes would have on Quebec's social assistance program, as explained yesterday by Premier Charest, will the Prime Minister tell us whether he plans to consult the provinces about this and what he thinks such measures will end up costing the provinces?

Pensions
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, as I have said repeatedly, we are working to maintain the old age security system for today's seniors and for future generations.

The old age security system is just not viable for the future. That is why we have to take action right now. It is the responsible thing to do. We will do it in a fair way. However, we will do it in a prudent way, so that we can support Canadians.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development told Canadians that the real reason Service Canada cannot keep up with EI requests is that there are too many unemployed people applying for benefits.

Now, it seems to me there is a solution here. Instead of letting the jobless rate rise, lower it with a job creation plan. Instead of cutting back on EI services, give Canadians the support they need.

Is the government just going to give us more excuses, or will it finally decide to act?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, we have done exactly that already. When we noticed there was an increase in demand during December and January, the spike season, and when the increase in demand was greater than what we had anticipated, we immediately put extra resources to help process EI claims.

We are seeing positive results from that. We are seeing the backlog come down. We are seeing Canadians get the benefits they need and deserve in a more timely manner. Our goal is to get those benefits to them when they need and deserve them.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, when will the government stop blaming unemployed people? They played by all the rules. The lack of empathy for thousands of unemployed Canadian families is stunning. This is not just about statistics, although the numbers will back me up here. This is about out-of-work Canadians being told it does not matter if they have to wait six or seven weeks just to get their EI cheques.

These are tough economic times. Why is the government making Canadian families wait?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Madam Speaker, we are trying to get those cheques to them just as quickly as possible. We understand how difficult it is when people lose their jobs due to circumstances beyond their control. We are trying to get the EI system to go faster. We are putting more people on the job to deal with the current problem. Over the long term, we are automating the system. We encourage employers to automate their filings, because it will go faster.

The real scheme is to create jobs. That is what we are doing. We have more jobs created in the last month. In fact, thanks in part to our action plan, there are over 610,000 more net new jobs in this country than there were at the pit of the recession.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, let us just take a look at the government's track record right now. The jobless rate just climbed another notch today, after months of bad news. The government's corporate tax giveaways cannot guarantee one single job. Across this country, Conservative-approved foreign takeovers are shipping Canadian jobs overseas or south.

Canadians are finding out they cannot even rely on EI, a service they spent their whole working lives paying into.

When is the government going to reverse its losing streak?