House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Forest Fire Emergency Crews
Statements by Members

May 29th, 2012 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past week the people of Timmins—James Bay saw heroism up close. Our region was under threat from numerous fires, and we had over 1,500 people evacuated from the various fire zones.

In the case of Kirkland Lake 8, the fire reached within three kilometres of the town, and for nearly a week the emergency officials not only had to fight the fire but also had to prepare for the possible evacuation of an entire community. It was an enormous undertaking.

In the case of Timmins 9, this was a major firestorm that drew on all the resources of our provincial MNR fire crews. It was touch and go for days.

I had the great honour of working closely with the emergency teams, and their professionalism and dedication were beyond compare. I specifically want to thank the MNR crews, emergency measures, municipal officials, police, hydro, Red Cross and the many volunteers.

It is going to be a long, hot summer. I would like to thank, on behalf of the New Democratic caucus, all of Canada's fire crews who put their lives on the line in the summer to make sure that our northern communities are safe.

Global Centre for Pluralism
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night His Highness the Aga Khan hosted Her Excellency Roza Otunbayeva for a speech at the Global Centre for Pluralism.

Several Conservative ministers, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, were in attendance. They later joined Ms. Otunbayeva and the Aga Khan for dinner.

In her public lecture, Ms. Otunbayeva spoke eloquently about the challenges of promoting pluralism in the Kyrgyz Republic. Following unrest in 2010, Ms. Otunbayeva provided strong, stable leadership in challenging times. In many ways, Ms. Otunbayeva is the Margaret Thatcher of central Asia. She helped usher in parliamentary elections and a peaceful transition of power following her interim presidency. A video of her lecture will be posted on the Global Centre for Pluralism website, and I encourage all Canadians to watch her speech.

Our Conservative government has invested millions of dollars in the Global Centre for Pluralism and supports what His Highness is doing. Our Conservative government has also welcomed Ismaili refugees to Canada from central Asia, and our government looks forward to collaborating with His Highness the Aga Khan in the future.

Oslo Freedom Forum
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I recently returned from the annual Oslo Freedom Forum, described as the Davos of human rights, an inspired and inspiring gathering of pioneers and leaders, from former presidents to grassroots activists, who are involved in advocacy, policy, media, business and technology. They came together to bring humanitarian causes to the forefront of the global agenda; to shine a spotlight on repressed societies that warrant exposure; and to to enlarge, enhance and empower the international struggle for freedom. This year the forum engaged in a series of compelling and interactive exchanges on the Arab uprising, one year later; lessons learned from case studies of emblematic political prisoners; slavery in the shadows; and the impact of new technologies and paradigms in the protection of human rights.

We are witness to a growing criminalization of dissent, to systematic and systemic assaults on human rights and to a quarantining of human rights that is too often ignored, marginalized or sanitized.

Oslo took us out of the shadows of repression into the sunshine and the struggle for freedom, reminding us all of our individual and collective responsibilities for the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad, and particularly in the shadows of repression.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP agriculture critic has made unacceptable accusations against Canadian meat producers, claiming that road kill and dead stock would be allowed into the processing system.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The beef producers I represent have made Alberta beef the world standard.

The NDP allegations have threatened our world-renowned reputation. Producers in Quebec are appalled that the NDP leaders would have the audacity to make such accusations against Quebec pork.

This is the same New Democratic Party that is completely wrong in attacking Canada's energy and natural resource sector. It is now also recklessly hurting Canada's largest manufacturing sector with its wildly irresponsible and false claims.

The number of food inspectors on the front line is still growing, with $51 million from the economic action plan 2012. Of course, the NDP voted against it.

Our Conservative government is focused on protecting the economy, jobs and the quality—

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Prime Minister's Office
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday during a meeting with his constituents, the member for Kootenay—Columbia offered Canadians a sobering glimpse into the life of a Conservative backbencher.

He described how Conservative MPs were powerless to stand up for their constituents and admitted that he could not explain the details of the Conservative's Trojan Horse budget bill.

I remember a time when Conservatives allowed dissent, a time when that Prime Minister promised to give backbenchers a real voice, back in the forgotten days when they claimed to stand for the grassroots and believed in democratic reform.

Now the Conservative PMO silences dissenting voices—not just scientists and the media, but even their own members. Last week's heavy-handed overreaction by the PMO is bad for Canadian democracy.

How can Canadians trust that this Prime Minister will listen to their concerns when he is not even willing to listen to the concerns of his own MPs?

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, it seems these are lonely times for the Liberal MPs huddled in the far corner of the House of Commons. Apparently it is getting harder and harder to find friends.

At the special committee our government created to study the responsible resource development section of the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act, all parties had the opportunity to call witnesses.

Can members guess who the Liberal Party called? Did it call an independent expert in the field? Did it call a friendly NGO to defend its carbon tax, which has already been rejected by Canadians? Did it call an industry representative or an academic to discuss how this budget would create jobs and growth?

No, no, and no.

The Liberals could have called anyone in Canada, and they chose to call the Liberal member for Ottawa South.

That is right. When the Liberals were given a chance to hear from anyone they wanted regarding this important legislation, they chose to hear from themselves.

I guess even--

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands has a few seconds to finish his statement.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals had a chance to hear from anyone they wanted, regarding this important legislation, they chose to hear from themselves.

I guess even when they are talking to themselves, it is good have someone to listen.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative EI cuts will not only devastate seasonal workers, they will also hit Canadians working on temporary contracts, hundreds of thousands of people, not seasonal workers but those in precarious term jobs, at least in their own fields. These people work hard, pay into EI and should be able to access EI when they need it. Now they will be forced by the Conservatives to either take a 30% permanent pay cut or be kicked off EI.

Why is the Prime Minister going to force the most vulnerable workers into an even more precarious position?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that in many parts of the country, people have difficulty finding work, particularly in some parts of the country where much of the economy is seasonal and people have difficulty finding work off season. Of course, EI will be there for people who cannot find a job.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister does not seem to want to understand is that taking employment insurance benefits away from unemployed workers will not help them find jobs. This objective simply does not make any sense.

According to what the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development said last week, the real objective is to provide the McDonald's restaurants of this world with cheap labour. She named McDonald's. These workers will be forced to abandon their careers and skills and take a 30% pay cut. That will be their only choice.

Who is supposed to benefit from this reform—the workers or McDonald's?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since we are talking about jobs, I have to say that I just attended the G8 summit and Canada has the best track record for job creation of all G8 nations. It is this government's policies that are helping workers to find jobs. For those who are unable to do so, there will be employment insurance benefits.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is not a single aspect of this plan that will actually help anyone find a job. What unemployed Canadians can look forward to are threatening emails from the Conservative government telling them what low-paying jobs they must now apply for, at least until they get kicked off EI and then they will not even be able to pay for their Internet connections any more.

Can the Prime Minister explain why the Conservatives want to force unemployed workers to choose between a 30% pay cut or the EI benefits they have paid for and they deserve?