House of Commons Hansard #202 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sodium.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for the member for Vancouver East. I do not have a lot of respect for that question and the way she put it.

We are making reforms to employment insurance to help more Canadians move from employment insurance back into the labour force so they can provide for themselves and their families the dignity of a job. We provided substantial supports in that regard. There are no quotas; the member opposite is completely wrong. The only people who lose if the opposition stops us from rooting out EI fraud are the hard-working Canadians who are paying the price.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

February 1st, 2013 / 11:20 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that Service Canada has employment insurance reduction quotas. We are talking about $40,000 a month per investigator.

The Conservatives believe that all unemployed workers are fraudsters. That is why they are asking staff to cut benefits as much as possible for workers who have paid into employment insurance all their lives and who have just lost their jobs.

Why is the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development treating all unemployed workers like criminals?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. Departmental employees do not have individual quotas.

It should be noted that the department stopped $530 million in ineligible payments last year. However, the employment insurance program still lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of fraud.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the minister does not understand is that Service Canada staff are there to help claimants, not hunt them down like criminals.

Employers and employees pay into employment insurance. It is not another slush fund that the Conservative government can use as it sees fit.

The Prime Minister is meeting with the premier of Quebec today. Can the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs confirm that the issue of quotas will be discussed?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the employment insurance program, it is very important to note that, once again, the NDP is supporting the bad guys. If the opposition prevents us from rooting out EI fraud, the only ones to lose out will be the Canadians who are playing by the rules.

Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there were major job losses in Canada yesterday with the closure of Best Buy, Future Shop and other retail operations. The sales staff in those stores were largely young people; smart, tech savvy and getting their first job experience. Now, those jobs are gone, hundreds of them.

At a time when youth employment remains at punishing recession-like levels, draining more than $1 billion every year from Canadian incomes, what new initiatives is the government prepared to launch to give some hope and some help to jobless young Canadians?

Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government has brought forward a comprehensive job strategy to help all Canadians move back into the labour force. The good news is that more than 900,000 Canadians have found work since the bottom of the recession.

Statistics Canada released economic growth numbers for November and the economy grew well in November, but there is still much work to be done. We are going to build on initiatives that we have made such as the youth employment strategy, which has helped 50,000 students; a permanent increase to Canada's summer job program, which helped 36,000 students; the pathways to education program, which helped 10,000. However, every single time we stood up to help young people, the Liberal Party voted against these important measures.

Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, despite that spin, 225,000 fewer young Canadians are working today than before the recession, 45,000 more are jobless, and 185,000 more have just given up altogether. For young Canadians, there is still a recession.

Will the government stop increasing job-killing EI payroll taxes at the rate of $600 million every year and will it provide specific incentives to hire young Canadians, especially in their first jobs? Will those things be in the budget?

Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm to all members of the House and to all Canadians that job creation and economic growth for every single Canadian looking for a job will continue to be the centrepiece of this government's economic strategy.

When it comes to young people, we have one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the G7. If we look at some countries in Europe, they have staggering youth unemployment numbers. As long as there is a single young person in Canada looking for work, this government will remain focused on ensuring that they have the dignity of a job and the pride of independence.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, even worse than young Canadians, the education and job numbers for aboriginal people are appalling. That is partly because the government has a cap on the number of first nation youth who can get into post-secondary education every year, and the federal investment in the K to 12 learning of first nation children on reserve is only a fraction of what provincial governments invest per child in non-aboriginal kids. No amount of jiggery-pokery with the arithmetic will change that hard fact.

Will the government fix both the gap and the cap in this year's budget?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government has a strong record when it comes to supporting aboriginal Canadians. We have helped fund over 100,000 first nation students. We are consulting with first nations on a first nation education act. We have built or renovated 260 schools on reserve in this country. We are focused on improving the lives of aboriginal Canadians, and just as important, on improving accountability and transparency. However, the Liberal Party has not supported our efforts in that regard.

Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Employment insurance reform will be a central issue at the meeting between the Conservative Prime Minister and the Quebec premier. Since the changes were announced, workers have been protesting throughout Quebec to criticize the Conservatives. They did not consult the provinces before making their changes; that is the minister's job.

What will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs do to resolve this problem that the Conservatives have created?

Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance reforms are designed to help people find work within their skill set and in their region.

The employment insurance system has been under federal jurisdiction since 1940. We want to continue working with all of the province to meet our common goal of creating jobs.

Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I take it that since the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs will not take to his feet and answer questions about intergovernmental affairs, it means he is doing his job as well in the new year as he was in the last. The Prime Minister meets with the Premier of Quebec today on the heels of breaking news about troubling quotas being put on the backs of Canadians who need their services. This is on top of previous decisions to reduce eligibility and cut benefits.

Given that he has not consulted the provinces, can the minister tell us if the Prime Minister will ask the Premier of Quebec today for her views on Conservative cuts and quotas to the employment insurance program?

Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, to set the record straight, I am the minister responsible for employment insurance. I can say that we are making it more responsive to the needs of Canadians who want to find work. We are helping them identify those jobs.

As for the rest of what the member said, let us face it, there are no individual quotas for employees of HRSDC who are looking at EI. If it were up to the opposition, then the only people who would lose out are those who are paying into the system and following the rules. The opposition does not want us to root out the fraud in the system.