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House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nation.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have indicated all along that I would take into consideration all the proposals that come forward. I indicated to the House that the Liberal task force on seasonal workers was in the process of making some recommendations and I would weigh them in the balance and come forward with appropriate measures. I will do that as time will allow.

Is the member opposite aware that in the process we also created some 50,000 jobs last month? I am sure he will want to compliment the government for doing a good job in this regard.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will give credit where it is due and that will be the private sector for creating those jobs, not the government.

The fact is it is no coincidence that swing voters in a number of ridings across Canada are seasonal workers. The fact of the matter is they are the ones who could make or break the Liberals in the next election campaign. The government has done absolutely nothing but neglect this file for years. Now it throws a Hail Mary pass in the direction of these seasonal workers who are struggling to make ends meet. It is heartless, it is cynical and it is typical Liberal.

Why will the government not admit that this is more an election strategy than it is an employment strategy?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite will find that the general public is a lot more intelligent in its approach than his criticism.

He will know that over the course of the last several years we have already taken appropriate measures to address the issue of seasonal workers. We have entered into agreements with several of the provinces where moneys have been put in for labour market development agreements, for example, in the province of Quebec, with which he might have scarce familiarity. There is some $600 million a year in that regard.

As well, we have put in place additional funds for seasonal workers in the forestry industry--

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Shefford.

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that older workers can continue to make significant contributions to the labour force and to their communities. The pilot projects have shown us this.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Given the success of these pilot projects, does the government intend to extend them or make them permanent?

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the Government of Canada has invested $45 million since 1999 through the Older Workers Pilot Projects Initiative. We have seen that these investments have been productive. The unemployment rate is declining and more than 175,000 jobs have been created since the beginning of 2003. I have always said in this House that, if there were any way to improve labour force participation rates, we would do what it takes to help everyone to participate fully.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

May 10th, 2004 / 2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, every time we raise questions about the Liberal policy of discrimination by postal code for jobs in Ottawa, where Canadians cannot work here unless they have a certain postal code, the government says that it wants to fix it. This morning the President of the Public Service Commission said that Treasury Board would not release the money to even develop a plan to fix it.

Will the President of the Treasury Board announce today that he is releasing the funds for the study, or explain to Canadians outside of Ottawa why Liberals do not want them working in Ottawa?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I certainly will not accept any of the preamble. I will look into the matter in question.

I met recently with the head of the Public Service Commission and she did not raise this item with me. In fact, they have a proposal and are working on e-recruitment. They are willing to meet with the member and any member of the House who wishes to talk about the policy at any time.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to talk about the policy. We want the funds released, as the President of the Public Service Commission asked for today.

The government has a new twist on this job discrimination. Under the federal student work experience program, there is a program to help full time students with summer jobs. The students are told that the program is only geared for students in the Ottawa area. The justice department is telling applicants that students from the capital region are placed first.

Will the government stop this offensive favouritism policy and open up all student jobs, all summer jobs, to all Canadians in Ottawa?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the second item was raised with me about a week ago. We are investigating right now, again to determine the veracity of it. One does not necessarily want to accept the first offer that comes across the floor.

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Food Inspection Agency recently decided to reinstate a rule on transporting compromised animals and did not bother to notify hog producers about it. As a result, a number of them were heavily fined and feel they were caught in a trap.

What measures does the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food intend to take to bring the Food Inspection Agency to order and make it stop this abusive and prejudicial treatment of farmers in my region?

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I was in Quebec last Thursday and Friday, where I met with the hog producers in Quebec. They brought this issue to my attention. I told them I would most certainly look into it. I have asked the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to look into this issue.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, we continually hear that a skills shortage is looming in Canada, or that employers are competing for skilled workers both within in our borders and internationally.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Would the minister inform the House of the government's involvement in the promotion of skilled trades for the country and for the economy?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is a full partner with industry, the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, the private sector and all levels of government in ensuring that skilled trades and technologies are a first career choice for young men and women.

This morning we had an indication of the success of this. We received a call from Hong Kong from the WorldSkills Competition. I am pleased to see that Canada has been acclaimed as the choice of location for the WorldSkills Competition in Calgary in 2009.

Order in Council AppointmentsRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, a number of order in council appointments made recently by the government.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness entitled, “Improving the Supreme Court of Canada Appointment Process”.

The report, which responds to the Prime Minister, the government House leader and proposals of political parties represented in the House, presents the views of committee members as we construct an appropriate role for members of the House of Commons in the process of appointments of judges to the Supreme Court of Canada.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is an honour for me to table a petition today from constituents in eastern Ontario. The petitioners draw to the attention of the House that the new bill, brought into effect in January 2004, that addresses the six week paid leave to caregivers of terminally ill persons should be amended to include a paid leave of absence, either from the same source or another source, to caregivers of critically ill dependants.

They go on to point out that there may be fewer instances of bankruptcies, marital separation, loss of permanent employment, social assistance, et cetera, if an income protection program were put in place that captured this unaddressed area of health care, which can affect many Canadians unpredictably. To provide peace of mind to those affected Canadians, there should be an official program that could protect them, and that would be accepted by all employers, like the current parental leave legislation.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation to amend the current bill, which went into effect in January, or to pass a new bill that will address this critical area of illness and health care in the country.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are nearly 10,000 signatures on this petition, which reads as follows:

We, the undersigned residents of Canada, beg to draw the House's attention to the following:

Whereas the situation in Palestine and in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon presents a real danger to the lives of those in these camps or returning to them;

Whereas Canada is a signatory to the convention relating to the status of refugees and thus has international obligations to protect refugee claimants;

Whereas numerous refugee claimants of Palestinian origin have applied for refugee status in Canada;

Whereas a number of refugee claimants turned down by the Immigration and Refugee Board will be returned to refugee camps in Lebanon or Palestine, barring a decision to the contrary by the authorities; and

Whereas three refugee claimants of Palestinian origin, namely Nabi Ayoub, Therese Boulos Haddad and Khalil Ayoub, are at present taking refuge in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce church in Montreal in order to avoid deportation;

Therefore, your petitioners call upon Parliament to intervene with the appropriate authorities to ensure that the three refugee claimants in question are awarded permanent resident status on humanitarian grounds, and that the removal orders for the other refugee claimants of Palestinian origin are suspended and their cases re-examined by the appropriate authorities.

As I said, this petition bears close to 10,000 signatures.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a series of petitions to introduce.

The first petition is from 204 of my constituents who call upon Parliament to respect the traditional common law definition of marriage as being a heterosexual union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, and they ask Parliament to pass legislation to recognize that definition.

The second petition is from 44 residents of Calgary who call upon Parliament to, if necessary, invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to maintain the heterosexual definition of marriage that has been respected by every major culture through all of recorded history.

The third petition is from several hundred residents of Peterborough and the surrounding area who call upon Parliament to take whatever action is required to maintain the current definition of marriage in law in perpetuity and to prevent any court from overturning or amending that definition.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, throughout this Parliament, I have presented petitions on behalf of people suffering from kidney disease, their families and researchers, and practitioners who try to help them.

Tens of thousands of people have exhorted Parliament to improve the situation for those with kidney disease in Canada: the fine work of the Kidney Foundation, the importance of organ transplants, the importance of the bioartificial kidney and the importance of good research in Canada for kidney disease.

In the second petition, the petitioners point out that kidney disease is a huge and growing problem. They know that real progress is being made in various ways of preventing and coping with kidney disease but they call upon Parliament to encourage the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to explicitly include kidney research as one of the institutes in its system to be named the institute of kidney and urinary tract diseases.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present a petition signed by a number of people from the Toronto area who call for family reunification. They point out that family reunification has long been and remains a cornerstone of Canada's immigration policy. The petitioners support Bill C-436 that would amend the act to allow a family member to sponsor a family member who would not otherwise qualify under the existing rules.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition signed by 362 people. The petitioners say that basically the elected members of Parliament should be making decisions rather than the unelected judiciary.

The petitioners also believe that the definition of marriage needs to be preserved and protected. They believe in invoking section 33 of the charter, the notwithstanding clause, if necessary to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition I would like to present in the House. It is from more than the requisite number of constituents in my riding.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 78 could be made an order for a return, the return would be tabled immediately.