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

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, of course, it is the policies of this government which are helping Canadians get jobs. We have 750,000 more people working today than we did during the recession. I just attended the G8, where we have the best job creation record among that group of countries. We will continue to do our best to try and put some resources into helping people find jobs. At the same time, for those who still cannot find work in their seasonal industries and seasonal parts of the economy where people have difficulty finding work, there will, of course, be employment insurance as a safety net for those people.

Old Age Security Program
Oral Questions

May 29th, 2012 / 2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the Conservatives are attacking not only the unemployed, but also seniors.

The census data released this morning show that Canada is aging and that even more seniors are going to need old age security in the coming years. Seniors have followed the rules all their lives, but the Conservatives are now robbing them of $10 billion to make up for the F-35 budget deficit.

Why are the Conservatives making tomorrow's seniors pay for their mismanagement?

Old Age Security Program
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the census shows that the population is aging faster than before, but it is also true that those numbers show that the old age security program is not sustainable in the long term.

Furthermore, a number of organizations agree, for example: the Fraser Institute; The Institute for Public Sector Accountability; David Dodge, economist and former governor of the Bank of Canada; Fred Vettese, Chief Actuary for the consulting firm Morneau Shepell; the Canadian Taxpayers Federation—

Old Age Security Program
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

Parliamentary Budget Officer
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is simply wrong. Expert after expert says that OAS is sustainable. A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer reveals that Conservative budget cuts are actually twice what they have admitted publicly and now Conservatives are refusing to share even basic information with the PBO. Workers waiting to hear about the future of their jobs deserve the truth. The government has a legal obligation to provide information to the PBO.

Why are Conservatives so hell-bent on keeping Canadians in the dark about their planned budget cuts? Why?

Parliamentary Budget Officer
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, let me reiterate that we will continue to report to Parliament and through Parliament to Canadians through the normal means, which includes the quarterly financial reports, the estimates, the public accounts. All of these reports will be publicly available in due course.

They will report that we are on track with budget 2012 to deliver jobs and opportunities to Canadians. We are on track to reduce the deficit to zero in a moderate fashion. We are on track with all of our promises in the campaign.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Premier Dunderdale of Newfoundland is quoted as having said this about the situation with respect to employment insurance, “What is it that we have to do down here to get your attention? We try to co-operate; it doesn't work. We vote for you; it doesn't work. We don't vote for you; it doesn't work. What is it?”

The premier is expressing a frustration that is shared by other Atlantic premiers, indeed by premiers across the country, with respect to the lack of consultation by those jurisdictions that are going to have to pay the price for this downloading.

Is the Prime Minister prepared to meet with Premier Dunderdale and the other premiers?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I meet with premiers all the time.

In terms of the specifics here, no one is suggesting any downloading, quite on the contrary. We want to make sure the people who are getting EI or thinking of getting EI have the opportunity to work in the labour market. There are many cases where those labour market opportunities are not being taken advantage of and these reforms are part of a package to accomplish that. It is good for all parts of the country, including Newfoundland and Labrador.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the Prime Minister is not prepared to recognize the reality of the situation. If people cannot get employment insurance benefits, they will turn to the provinces for welfare. History clearly shows that that is what happens. That is why the premiers are insisting on discussing the repercussions of these cuts on the provinces.

I am asking the Prime Minister directly. Is he prepared to meet this country's premiers in order to deal with this problem, yes or no?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has one of the best job creation records in the entire developed world.

We want to make it possible for Canadians to fill existing positions. For example, if people are not able to find work in areas where employment is seasonal, we will make sure that employment insurance is available to them.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is almost as if these changes are being put out on the back of an envelope.

We still do not have the regulations that are in place. It is one of the reasons that we are hearing not just from employees who are concerned and not just from seasonal workers. We are hearing from farmers, from farm organizations right across the country, who are deeply concerned about the impact of these changes on their own employment practices with respect to temporary permits of people coming in from offshore.

Could the Prime Minister tell us why he will not withdraw these suggestions until such time as he has established a stronger national consensus for the kind of changes that this requires?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these changes are widely supported by employers.

Our philosophy here is different than that on the other side. We want to make sure people can get jobs when jobs are available rather than employment insurance. We want to make sure that when jobs are available Canadians get first crack at those jobs, not temporary foreign workers.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, we all know what usually happens when there is a labour shortage: salaries increase. That is the principle of supply and demand.

However, the Conservatives' plan to reform employment insurance will put downward pressure on the salaries of workers across Canada. This will be very bad for the economy. If EI is to be reformed, the changes should target accessibility and the processing of applications.

Why are the Conservatives ignoring the real problems?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the real question is this: why does the opposition want to give jobs to foreign workers rather than to Canadians?

The Conservatives want to help Canadians find jobs and apply for positions that exist in their regions and in their areas of expertise. This will help Canadians, before employers turn to foreign workers to fill those jobs.

We want to help Canadians because that is the best thing to do.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, last year, the Conservatives forced Mexican nationals wishing to work in Canada to obtain a visa in order to restrict their entry.

The Conservatives want to connect people to jobs by sending emails and text messages, but they have yet to say what they will do about families living below the poverty line who do not have cell phones or Internet access.

People in outlying regions have also been abandoned, whether they work in the fishery, tourism or forestry.

Why is this government using EI reform to attack communities that make their living from tourism?