House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our priorities are economic growth and job creation to benefit the country. But there are Canadians who want to work and who do not have information about available jobs. We want to help these people identify these jobs, find jobs and keep those jobs.

That is what we are doing to help people work for themselves, their families and the country.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that Conservatives are targeting the businesses, communities and people who rely on seasonal industries. Fishing, tourism, arts, forestry, agriculture are all under attack by the Conservatives. Work is easy to come by if one is a failed Conservative candidate, but for businesses, workers and communities in Atlantic Canada and across Canada, times are tougher.

The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador has asked to meet with the Prime Minister over the proposed changes, which leads me to wonder why the minister did not consult with premiers before making these sweeping changes.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is misrepresenting the facts. In fact, we are helping people who are in seasonal jobs to work longer and work more for their families so that they and their families will be better off. We are going to help them identify jobs within their skill range—sometimes scarce jobs within their region—and help them get those jobs. We are doing that so that they and their families will be better off and so that employers will be better off, and so will the country.

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, speaking of consultation and the government's back-to-work legislation, I would like to ask the minister very directly whether, instead of rushing the bill through the House, he would not finally see the wisdom of allowing the members of the unions involved as well as the company to have an opportunity to appear before a House committee.

Surely they have a right to explain to the House exactly what the impact of that legislation is going to be, what it is going to do to their bargaining power, what it is going to do to collective bargaining, what it is going to do their pensions and what it is going to do to their wages.

How can one take away pensions and wages without giving workers the opportunity to—

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Labour.

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we set out the best way to make sure that the trains get rolling as quickly as possible. We are in day six of a work stoppage, and the economic effects are going to accumulate from here.

In 1995, the Liberal government at that point in time sent it to committee, and it got stuck there because of the opposition. The Liberals could not get it out and had to cut a deal with NDP in order for it to happen.

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

An hon. member

That was you at the time.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

May 28th, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to go there.

Speaking of not consulting, I would like to ask this question very directly to the minister or to whoever is answering these questions today.

The changes in employment insurance will inevitably have a major impact on social assistance in all the provinces in the country, particularly those provinces with higher numbers of people who are currently covered by employment insurance. That is inevitable. That has been the impact since the 1990s. That has had the effect and had the impact.

I would like to ask the government this question: why did it not consult directly with the provinces and directly with the premiers whose costs are going to be directly affected?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, surely the member knows something about rising social assistance rates. When he was Premier of Ontario, it became the welfare capital of Canada.

Let me say this. What our initiatives are designed to do is assist unemployed Canadians in obtaining what they want: a job, a paycheque, the dignity of a job, the pride of being economically independent. That is exactly what these measures do. Rather than increasing the social assistance rate, what we hope will happen is that we will be able to move more people into the workforce, where they can contribute, pay taxes and help grow Canada's economy.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I feel as though I am being attacked by a wild sheep. This is serious.

He did not answer my question. He has to admit that there is a problem. It is not just the workers and the employers who will be affected by these changes. This is an issue that will also affect the provinces. This issue goes to the heart of what the federation is, to the essence of Canada.

Why increase costs for the provinces without even consulting them?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is our government that has helped the provinces and territories with the largest economic and fiscal transfers in order to help with social programs. We are very proud of that.

The purpose of our policy is to help the unemployed find jobs. That is why the bill is before the House and that is why we are taking action to help people find real jobs so that they can support their families.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, considering how this government is ravaging employment insurance, it appears to have declared war on the tourism industry in Quebec.

Just when restaurants, hotels and museums are completing preparations for the new summer tourism season, the government is slashing employment insurance, openly attacking the seasonal workers who keep the tourism industry running.

Can the minister explain why she insists on waging war against the tourism industry?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, across Canada, in the winter, in the summer, all year round, there is a labour shortage. That is a fact. At the same time, we have unemployed workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Yet employers need their talent and this labour source.

We are trying to get employers and unemployed workers to connect for the well-being of employers, unemployed workers and their families.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the reforms the minister is introducing will result in lower wages for workers.

The Conservatives' obvious disdain for seasonal workers is unbelievable. They are making senseless, useless economic decisions. They have no compunction about picking and choosing winning industries and losing ones, penalizing millions of Canadians for their career choices, and attacking whole regions.

Will the government call off this irresponsible plan before it destroys whole sectors of the economy, yes or no?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case.

What we are trying to do is connect people who have lost their jobs with available jobs in their local region that suit their qualifications. That is what we will try to do. We will ensure that if they work, they will earn more money than they do now, because they stand to lose money under the current employment insurance program.

We are introducing changes that will take effect on August 1.