House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was human.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are entitled to a clear answer to the question with respect to what the government's approach is.

Is it the Government of Canada's position today that as a result of the existing law there are people collecting employment insurance who should not in fact be collecting employment insurance?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we know there are jobs going begging in areas where there are people who are unemployed so we are trying to rectify that problem.

In terms of the specifics once again, which the leader of the Liberal Party asked me on employment insurance costs, I do not think he understands how the system works. Any reduction in the costs of employment insurance in any case do not accrue to the general revenue fund. They come off the premiums that are charged to Canadian workers.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the past two years, the government has increased EI premium rates for employers and employees. We have yet to get a clear and honest answer from this government. I will ask the question again.

As the minister herself said, is it the government's position that there are people across the country collecting employment insurance who should not in fact be collecting employment insurance?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government's position is that if jobs are available and the unemployed have the opportunity to work and be better off, then it is in everyone's interest that they do so.

The objective of this government is very different from the objective of the leader of the Liberal Party. Our objective is to get people back to work. The leader of the Liberal Party, when he was premier of Ontario, bragged that he had the welfare capital of Canada. Our objective is to have the job capital of the world.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, proposed Conservative changes to the employment insurance system will disproportionately hurt Newfoundland and Labrador. Nearly 80% of my province's EI claimants would be targeted because they have been on EI more than once.

The Conservatives did not even have the courtesy of calling the premier before they targeted Newfoundland and Labrador with their misguided changes. These changes run the risk of emptying rural Newfoundland and Labrador, as if the damage to the fisheries was not enough.

Why are the Conservatives punishing seasonal businesses and the hard-working men and women who keep them going?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it all wrong and his fear-mongering, frankly, is irresponsible.

We are letting Canadians know what their responsibilities are under the Employment Insurance Act, which is to look for a job. EI is a temporary support to help people while they are looking for work. That is right in the law. The difference right now is that we will help them understand that. We will help them find jobs that exist in their local area for which they are qualified. If those jobs do not exist, then EI will be there for those individuals as it always has been.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, at this time of year, many communities across northern Manitoba and northern Saskatchewan face annual forest fires and depend upon forest firefighters to keep them safe. We count on these firefighters to be ready and to keep our communities in a safe condition. However, now, when they return, they will targeted as frequent EI users and face the cuts that the government is putting forward.

Why did the minister not consult with northern and aboriginal communities and support the people who keep our communities safe?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is our government that recognizes the contributions that emergency services personnel, including volunteer firefighters, make. We are the ones who brought in support for those volunteer firefighters.

We are helping those people, if they want to work in the off-season of firefighting, to find jobs for which they are suited and find jobs in their own area so that they and their families will be better off. Part of the changes we are making will ensure that with the work they accept they and their families will be better off.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I invite the minister to come to northern Canada and visit the people who put their lives on the line to fight forest fires.

Firefighting, along with other seasonal work, like fishing, is the only industry that supports aboriginal and northern communities. In many cases workers would be forced to go on provincial welfare or to leave, making us lose critical skills like forest firefighting.

Will the government support the heroes we all need to keep us safe and withdraw its changes to EI that target seasonal workers?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are there supporting those individuals. We are supporting them all the way. If they lose their job at the end of the season, we will help them look for another job, one within their skill range and geographic area, because we do not want them uprooting their family. If they cannot find a job within those qualifications, then the EI will be there. However, if they can, we have changed the rules so that they will always be better off with finding that work.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, across the country, from Halifax to Rivière-du-Loup to Vancouver, tourism industry representatives are saying the same thing: they need seasonal workers in order to operate.

They are quite concerned about the Conservatives' cuts to employment insurance. Tourism injects billions of dollars into our regions each year and is often the largest source of revenue for our rural communities.

Before wreaking havoc with the employment insurance program, did the Conservatives take the time to consult industry representatives? If so, can we see the report from those consultations?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, according to a number of reports there is a labour shortage across Canada, in a few sectors in particular.

Employers currently have to look for workers outside Canada, even in regions with a very high unemployment rate. What we want to do is give Canadians with the necessary skills the opportunity to apply for those positions. That will be better for them, for the economy and for Canada.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

May 30th, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are some basic principles here that the Conservatives just do not understand.

One does not suddenly become a seasonal worker. It takes training, as well as a thorough knowledge of history and geography. Across the country, museums, parks, hotels and restaurants rely on competent seasonal workers to do business. Regional economies depend on them.

It is impossible to replace these skilled workers at a moment's notice without losing expertise that is essential to the regions. The Conservatives will be making life very difficult for them. It is irresponsible.

What do the Conservatives have to say to the hundreds of communities that rely on tourism and see the Conservatives directly attacking an industry that is unavoidably seasonal?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, of course we support seasonal industries and sectors. However, I have to wonder why the NDP does not want to help the people who work in these sectors find other jobs for the rest of the year, jobs that would improve their well-being, that of their families and even that of their communities.

Why does the NDP not want to help those people, those Canadians, find work and be better off?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, out of work Canadians are learning the truth about the Conservatives. They may have paid into EI their whole working careers but, if they have claimed EI more than once, the Conservatives are saying that it is their fault.

The Conservatives' attack on Atlantic Canada continues. The Conservatives are closing three DFO offices in Nova Scotia just days after they gutted the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research.

Is there no Conservative over there willing to stand up for Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada?