House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, for generations unemployed Canadians have had the protection of the law which was passed by Parliament with respect to when they could claim and how they could claim and how those claims would be adjudicated.

Now the government is saying that those protections will be taken away because the law is being repealed with respect to those issues. It is being replaced by regulations and no one knows what they are going to be. Not a single soul in this Parliament has a clue as to what the regulations are going to be.

The ideas are in the heads of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Human Resources. Give us the regulations.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party is inaccurate once again.

The government is changing the appeals body to find a more efficient way. Right now there are multiple appeal bodies within Human Resources Canada, and those are being consolidated. There will still be appeal processes for those who are seeking to claim benefits.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is absolutely wrong and is refusing to acknowledge what is really going on.

The Conservatives have made it clear to unemployed workers that their rights will no longer be protected by laws passed by Parliament, but by regulations approved and passed by the Prime Minister himself.

What are those regulations and those laws? Canada is not a dictatorship. It is a democratic country in which workers have the right to know which law will protect them.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are still protected by the law.

With respect to appeals, several bodies will be consolidated in the future to ensure a clearer, more efficient process for Canadians.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has stated that there is an affordability issue with respect to old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. That was what the Prime Minister said in Davos, and that has been said by the Minister of Human Resources and the Minister of Finance. The odd thing is that the government, neither the minister, nor the Prime Minister, can tell us how much money is going to be saved by the changes they are introducing in 2023.

If they cannot tell us how much money they are going to save, could they please explain to us why there is a crisis of affordability? It is a very simple question.

Pensions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as has been noted by all experts, old age security and guaranteed income supplement are by far the largest programs of the Government of Canada. These will continue to grow over time. In fact, they are projected to grow three times over the next generation, three times what they are today.

This is a program without a fund. That is why we are taking measures beginning in 2023 to make sure Canadians are prepared and that we have a system that is sustainable for future generations.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

May 16th, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' arrogance knows no bounds. The Conservative ministers are insulting Canadians by blaming them for having lost their jobs. The Conservatives are also planning to make major changes to employment insurance, yet they refuse to provide any details.

Will the minister tell Canadians what changes—hidden in their Trojan Horse bill—are planned for employment insurance, what the consequences will be and when these changes will take effect?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, the only changes that we are seeing are the changes in attitude in the House of Commons.

We on this side of the House do not think that Canadians working are, and I quote the leader of the NDP, “a colossal waste”. We think Canadians are proud to work, and they should be. We are making sure that they have opportunities to work.

It is a sustainable program that we put in place. We on this side of the House are proud of Canadians when they go out and find a job. There are unfortunately too many people still searching. We are helping them.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the biggest waste is Canadians who are unable to find a job because of the high level of unemployment created by the government.

I know Conservatives are busy doing damage control around the comments of the Minister of Finance, but in trying to fix one problem they are creating others.

The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development gave us some insight on why members of her government are being so tight-lipped about these changes to EI. They said they want “to make sure the legislation gets through first“. They do not want to tell us until after the changes are passed. That is not accountability.

Will someone in the government please outline right now what constitutes suitable employment?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I actually have some examples here of what constitutes suitable employment. A mining company in St. John's, Newfoundland is looking to hire 1,500 people through the temporary foreign worker program.

There are 32,500 people looking for work right now. That is why we are trying to make EI more effective, to help these mining companies get people to employ.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the budget implementation bill does not give any answers and the Conservative ministers are contradicting each other regarding the scope of the changes.

The Conservatives want to make major changes to the Canadian social safety net and they want to do it quickly and behind closed doors. The minster even said that she wants the bill to pass before she defines suitable employment. I will give the minister another chance.

Can she give this House the new definition of suitable employment?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I think I defined one suitable job, but I do want to clarify that the 32,500 people looking for work were actually in Newfoundland, as was the mining company that was looking for the 1,500 people.

Another example I will give is that Nova Scotia's recent shipbuilding contract will create over 15,000 jobs over the next 30 years and the provincial government is already talking about importing workers.

At this point there are 45,000 Nova Scotians looking for work.

Does the House want some more examples?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, with this philosophy, psychologists and teachers will be sent to work in the mines. The budget implementation bill—

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I am sorry to interrupt, but there is too much noise in the House. Order, please.

The hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was saying that with this philosophy, psychologists and teachers will be sent to work in the mines.

The budget implementation bill states that the Employment Insurance Act will be amended in order “to permit regulations to be made respecting what constitutes suitable employment”.

I just gave the minister the opportunity to clarify this amendment, but I still have not received a reasonable answer. The Minister of Finance is saying one thing, and the Minister of Human Resources is saying another.

Does she really think that the employment insurance system is too attractive? What will be the scope of the changes made to the definition of suitable employment?