House of Commons Hansard #210 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regulation.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what we are trying to do is help people find jobs. This will be better for them, for their families and for the community.

This whole change is based on common sense. Workers will be better off if they work than if they do not work. If there are no jobs in their field in their region, employment insurance will be there for them, as always.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, seasonal industry representatives and NDP members are not the only ones opposed to the employment insurance reform. The Conservative government of New Brunswick is also raising its voice because Conservative members are not doing their job in Ottawa.

The deputy premier of my province, Paul Robichaud, says he is opposed to the reform as it was introduced by the federal government in the spring.

Is the minister starting to get the message? Will she suspend the reform, as the premier and deputy premier of New Brunswick have requested?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us look at what the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council said. It states:

Since about January 15 we have received more [job] applications than we received the entire summer and fall last year. The only change I can directly attribute this to is EI...implementation. It is great to finally have some good applicants from Newfoundland for our positions that have been vacant for a long time.

There are jobs. We have been trying to connect Canadians with jobs. However, if the jobs are not available for them, employment insurance will continue to be there.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, a skilled tradesman and temporary foreign worker working in Alberta for five years is in the process of seeking permanent residency. As required, he paid into employment insurance for all those years. However, he has been told he does not qualify to claim EI benefits because he is not available to work. He is keen to work but he cannot seek employment until he gets a new work permit, which could take three months.

Why is the government shunting yet another willing, skilled, experienced worker to the provincial welfare roles?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, there are requirements under the employment insurance program that benefits be available to support people while they are looking for a job. However, if they are not eligible to work then it is inappropriate that they receive the funding. We try to ensure, and I know the immigration department does try to ensure, that when people apply for a work permit or an extension they are granted that as quickly as possible. We want to make that happen because we want and need all of our talented workers as quickly as possible.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, for three days now the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development has failed to answer direct questions on the clawback of pensions for seasonal workers. Does she not know how the system works? Human Resources takes the annual Canada pension plan of individuals and divides by 52, which gives it the weekly calculation. Then when they apply for EI and they are out of work, the department claws back 50¢ on the dollar of their pensions. How can Conservatives accept this theft of people's pensions?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is suffering from selective memory. In this regard, the application of the EI rule is the same as what it was before any of the other changes were made. In fact, the application is actually the same as it was under the previous Liberal government. It is sad but true.

Employment insurance will be there for individuals when they need it, especially if work is not available in their area.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, it would be awfully nice if the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development would tell the truth to Canadians. The fact of the matter under the new system is that the Canada pension plan is clawed back 50¢ on the dollar. For seasonal workers who are earning little enough to begin with, waiting for those pensions so they would be able to supplement their family to get by, these changes are now clawing half the money back of their initial dollar. That did not happen before.

How can the Prime Minister condone this incompetence from this minister and this theft of pensions?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is not the CPP that is being clawed back. The member should remember from his days at the cabinet table how they applied the system, and that is the same way it is being applied now. The principles are exactly the same.

We are working to ensure we are connecting Canadians with jobs when they are available in their area. However, if jobs are not available, we are continuing to ensure that EI is there for Canadians as it always has been.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' failure on the economy is having a disastrous effect on mid-size businesses. Between 2006 and 2010, 17% of mid-size companies were lost. The decline is even steeper in Ontario, where one-quarter of these firms have shut down. Just like the Business Development Bank of Canada, New Democrats believe these numbers should be a call to action.

When will the Conservatives act? Or, will they just go on doing nothing while Canada loses these important businesses?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the member took a moment to look at the BDC study, he would see that the study covers a period which includes the great recession and only goes to 2010. He would also see that in the past three years the annual growth experienced by the firms is 7%, a growth of 20% or more during the same period; 4% average annual sales growth in the past three years. One has to remember, as members opposite tend to forget, that we did go through this world recession in 2008-09, and it did affect firms, but we have come back rather well in Canada.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives do not understand just how much medium-sized businesses contribute to the economy. They still account for 12% of Canada's jobs, despite the decline. They are slowly disappearing, which is very troubling. The most worrisome part of this whole thing is that the manufacturing sector is being hit the hardest. This sector has lost 50% of its medium-sized businesses.

Will the Conservatives finally bring in some measures to ensure that these businesses and jobs survive?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we did that and reduced the corporate tax rate, federally, to 15%. We encouraged the provinces to get their tax rates down to 10%. Most of them did, across the country, which has resulted in a combined rate of 25% as the base rate.

Here is what the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters actually had to say recently about this:

If federal tax rates had not been reduced, Canada's unemployment rate would have exceeded nine per cent in 2009 during the recession....

It is time we get the facts on the table. Business investment has been a key driver of economic and job growth over the past five years, and lower taxes have contributed—

The Economy
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

February 13th, 2013 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, our government has enormous respect for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of the Canadian armed forces. That is why, last May, we moved as quickly as possible to remove the Pension Act offset from the SISIP long-term disability benefits.

In January, we actually came to an agreement in principle with the veterans in question. However, today we have found out that the law firm representing the veterans in the class action law suit stand to walk away with as much as $66 million. Can the Minister of National Defence please inform the House of our government's position on these high legal fees?