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House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was development.

Topics

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The vote stands deferred until 5:29 this evening.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberalfor the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

moved that Bill C-23, an act to establish the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development and to amend and repeal certain related acts, be read the third time and passed.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

I am very honoured because this department is at the centre of issues about which I feel passionately. It is also at the centre of challenges that our country must meet if we want to continue paving the way to success in this 21st century.

As hon. members are aware, the Prime Minister announced the creation of the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development in December 2003 to better position the government, to strengthen Canada's social foundations and to build a true 21st century economy.

I am proud to be the parliamentary secretary of a department whose vision touches on the well-being and fulfilment of every single Canadian. That vision is a country where individuals have the opportunity to learn and to contribute to Canada's success by participating fully in an open and efficient labour market.

The department's mission is to improve the standard of living and quality of life of all Canadians by promoting a highly skilled and mobile labour force, and an efficient and inclusive labour market.

The bill that the House is considering today would give Human Resources and Skills Development Canada the legislative foundation we need to realize this comprehensive vision and mission.

Bill C-23 sets out:

The powers, duties and functions of the Minister extend to and include all matters relating to human resources and skills development in Canada over which Parliament has jurisdiction....

We will continue to work in partnership with the provinces and territories, employers and employees, and other key stakeholders.

The passing of this legislation will give the minister and the department and the Minister of Labour and Housing the authorities required to effectively fulfil this mandate.

Bear in mind that this legislation does not create any new programs or services. It only reflects changes to the machinery of the government announced by the Prime Minister in December. The bill also lays the foundations for a new harmonized code governing the disclosure of personal information. This code will be more efficient and more transparent and will reflect our commitment to ensure continued protection of personal information.

It would also enable us to strike a fair balance between the need to protect Canadians' privacy and the use of such information for the effective administration of programs and services.

The Privacy Commissioner has expressed her solid support for the privacy code in this legislation. She said, “We think this is a very positive measure. We urge you to adopt it”.

I would like to take the time to remind the House of the importance and breadth of the mandate of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. There are many reasons why the average Canadian is more likely to be in contact with the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development than most other federal departments and those reasons relate to the diverse programs that we offer.

The department is responsible for $20 billion in benefits for Canadians. By providing employment insurance benefits, for example, the department assists Canadians during times of transition, such as job loss or sickness. EI benefits also enable parents to be at home with a newborn or a newly adopted child or to care for a gravely ill family member.

Our employment programs, which include employment insurance active measures and the youth employment strategy, help thousands of unemployed Canadians each year to develop skills and fine good sustainable jobs.

Our workplace skills strategy assists employers across the country through initiatives like the sector councils and labour market information.

The department's learning programs, including the Canada student loans program and the Canada education saving grants program, help make post-secondary education more accessible to millions of Canadians.

I also want to mention particularly the National Literacy Secretariat which funds projects to support literacy across the country, in every community that is represented here, including my own.

Under its labour program, the department provides mediation and conciliation services to resolve labour disputes affecting the federal government.

Our programs for the homeless include many initiatives to help communities across the country address problems with housing and homelessness. The Regional Homelessness Fund and the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative represent two of these initiatives.

As I am sure the House will agree, all these programs have a very direct and positive impact on the lives of Canadians.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight how the department will be focusing its efforts in the future.

Given the demographic trends, the rate of growth of our labour force is slowing. Although this phenomenon is not unique to Canada, we lag behind a number of our international competitors in terms of positioning ourselves to enhance productivity. We can no longer rely on the quantity of our labour force to support economic growth. We, like many other industrial economies, must rely more and more on the quality of our labour force to remain competitive and to spur economic growth.

Therefore, Human Resources and Skills Development's priority will be the development of Canada's human capital. By human capital, I mean the sum total of all our citizens' skills. Canada's success as a nation and the well-being of us all increasingly depend on how we develop this human capital.

This will be the department's contribution to the government's broad objective of sustaining and enhancing a productive and innovative economy, a vibrant and healthy society, and an efficient and inclusive labour market. We want to see a nation where all our citizens can readily acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and where everyone adopts and values a culture of lifelong learning.

For individual Canadians, our focus on human capital will mean increased earnings, sustained employment and enhanced health and social well-being. For employers, human capital will mean a skilled, mobile labour force and increased investment in training and innovative workplaces.

We will build a human capital strategy on three pillars. The first is lifelong learning, which I have mentioned. The second is modernizing our employment programming. The third is a national workplace skills strategy.

Developing a culture of continuous learning is a prerequisite to ensuring the quality labour force the new economy calls for. At a very early age, Canadians have to have access to skills development opportunities. Moreover, they will have to develop and practice their skills throughout their working lives.

To support lifelong learning, Human Resources and Skills Development will continue to improve the Canada student loans program as well as enhance the Canada education savings grant to encourage low income and medium income families to start investing for their children's long term education. We will also be reviewing student debt measures and support for part time students.

We know we face some major challenges in our learning goals for Canadians. Eight million working age Canadians lack the literacy skills needed to meet the demands of the knowledge based economy. Raising literacy and essential skill levels will be critical to improving the quality of our workforce and contributing to Canada's social prosperity.

The second pillar of our human capital strategy will see the renewal of the department's employment programs to foster a productive, adaptable and resilient labour force.

We will develop an integrated labour market strategy to respond to emerging labour market trends and work with the provinces to update labour market programming to better reflect the realities of work in the 21st century. Part of this involves strengthening employment insurance and making it more responsive to the current labour market realities.

This is why the budget included a number of measures to this end, such as a new premium rate setting mechanism to increase transparency and accountability and to provide increased rate stability by setting a ceiling on employment insurance premium rates. This mechanism will ensure that the rates paid by workers will not exceed the current rates over the next two years.

In addition, unemployed Canadians will receive more support through three new pilot projects launched in high unemployment regions.

This is to allow clients new to the labour market, or returning after an extended absence from it, to access EI benefits after 840 hours of work rather than 910 hours, when linked with EI employment programs, and to calculate EI benefits based on the “best 14 weeks” of earnings over the 52 weeks proceeding a claim of benefits. This will mean that for individuals with sporadic work patterns, EI benefit levels do a better job of reflecting their full time work patterns. Last, it will increase the “working while on claim” threshold to allow individuals to earn the greater of $75 or 40% of benefits so that they can continue to work without reduction in their benefits.

Continuation of the pilot project that provides workers in high unemployment regions with five additional weeks of regular benefits is another improvement.

There is the extension of the EI so-called transitional boundaries in the economic regions of Madawaska-Charlotte, New Brunswick, and the lower St. Lawrence North Shore of Quebec for another year.

Of course, EI is only part of the answer since we also need to address the growth of self-employment and the requirements for continuous skills upgrading. As we need to enhance our employment programs in support of labour market participation, this means we will renew our efforts to bring in those at the margins of the labour force, like aboriginal Canadians, new Canadians and older workers. We want all Canadians to be able to develop and use their full skills and talents.

The third pillar for developing our human capital is our workplace skills strategy. We are focusing on the workplace because it is ideal setting for Canadians to gain skills, to re-skill and to up-skill for the new economy. The workplace skills strategy will encourage skills development and use through collaborative partnerships with business, unions, learning and training institutions, and sector councils.

Recognizing the important role workplace learning can have in improving labour market productivity and the quality of Canada's workforce, the recent budget announced significant new investments of $125 million over three years.

First, it will strengthen apprenticeship systems in Canada. The government will continue working with the provinces and territories and other partners to enhance interprovincial mobility in the skilled trades and support high quality apprenticeships for all Canadians

Second, it will also support the testing of new skills initiatives that are demand driven and targeted to employed people. A new workplace skills innovation initiative will encourage employers to invest in the skills development of their employees and inform them of government labour market policy and programming.

Third, we will also foster dialogue on workplace skills issues through the workplace partners panel, comprised of business, labour and training leaders. The new panel will be a forum for sharing best practices and innovations and increasing industry leadership and commitment in the area of skills development.

The strategy will also support workplace innovation through demonstration projects and enhance and refine existing tools to support skills development in the workplace.

The department also will continue to advance the government's foreign credential recognition program. Between 2011 and 2015, we expect that virtually all of Canada's net labour growth will come from immigration.

We must find new and better ways of attracting skilled immigrants and helping newcomers integrate into our labour markets so that they can apply the skills and work experience they bring with them. This is why we are investing $68 million over six years to help find better ways to assess and recognize professional credentials and work experience earned outside of Canada. Through the efforts of a broad range of partners we will develop foreign credential recognition processes that are fair, accessible, transparent and consistent all across the country.

These processes will also be rigorous in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians. For example, we have reached an agreement with the provinces and territories and key medical stakeholders on improved procedures for licensing foreign trained doctors. A similar initiative is underway for foreign trained nurses and consultations will soon begin with other health professions.

We are also supporting the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers on an action plan to integrate international engineering graduates more quickly and efficiently into the Canadian labour market. In addition, we will be working with employers and sector councils to find ways to recognize the skills and prior experience of immigrants seeking work in non-regulated occupations, which make up 85% of the Canadian labour market.

Our goals for human capital development will only be achieved by working closely with our partners, including the provincial and territorial governments, businesses, unions, sector councils, education and training institutions, community organizations and municipalities. We will continue to respect provincial jurisdiction while recognizing that the federal government has an important role to play.

The legislation under consideration today also will enable the department to continue its work on other priority issues that matter intensely to Canadians. A key priority issue is the renewal of the aboriginal human resources development strategy and work with communities through the urban aboriginal strategy to find solutions to the issues that aboriginal people face in our cities.

The department will also work to ensure that official language minority communities have the tools their members need to participate in and contribute fully to Canadian society.

I would like to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons With Disabilities for their work on the bill.

I believe I have demonstrated that the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development has a major role to play in helping Canada to address the challenges of the knowledge-based economy and provide an even better future for every person, community and business in the country.

With the mandate, authority and necessary tools this legislation provides, the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development will be able to assist individual Canadians to learn and continually develop their skills. This crucial investment will, in turn, enable our citizens to contribute to Canada's economic success and to their own well-being and sense of fulfilment.

The passing of the legislation will, therefore, help ensure that Canada continues to be internationally recognized for the quality of life we offer to our citizens and for its vital and innovative economies.

For these reasons and for the fact that a standing committee of the House and the House endorsed the division of the former HRDC department, I strongly support the legislation.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I sit with the member for Peterborough on the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons With Disabilities.

My question has to do with ministerial accountability. This is an issue I have raised before. As we all know, before HRDC was split into two ministries, there was a significant scandal in that ministry regarding the minister's inability to keep track of what was going on. The defence at that time was that the ministry was simply too large and it was impossible for one person to know everything that was happening there.

Since the ministry has been split, we have two separate ministries that are linked in many ways. They are not separate but connected in some ways. It raises an issue of ministerial accountability. Our system is based on the principle of ministerial accountability. Everything that happens in government, a minister is responsible for that.

I would like to hear comments from the parliamentary secretary. Would he agree that when we have programs under one minister but services being delivered by staff from another ministry, as will be the case between social development and human resources skills development, there may be gaps in the principal ministerial accountability?

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member and his colleagues for their work on the committee.

I know this is a very serious question because ministerial responsibility is something on which our system depends. In this case I would beg to differ. I supported the division of the former department, not simply because it was too large but because it was too diverse and there were too many cultures in it. That in itself created complexities and problems.

It is a bit like dividing Siamese twins, not that I have done it. It is a very intricate process to take two departments which have been linked for generations and then divide them. As my colleague put it, how does one maintain this ministerial responsibility?

I suggest a number of things to him. I think the division is appropriate and I suspect he does too. It is the right thing to do. There are formal overlaps in this legislation between the two departments, but they are not unique.

To give an example, in my speech I mentioned aboriginal affairs and education, and we have a Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. In a very real sense, our aboriginal division, although it is responsible to the minister of HRSD, is in fact delivering programs which are sort of developed in conjunction with another department.

As I see it, there are two formal overlaps at the moment. Call centres will be responsible for the new Department of Social Development and delivery on the ground is the responsibility of HRSD. I think decisions of ministerial responsibility will be made on the grounds of the programs which are being delivered, not in immediate response to them.

I hope that is a useful response.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the address by my colleague, the hon. member for Peterborough. He listed an enormous number of things that the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development of Canada presumably will be able to undertake, if this legislation is passed. That is what we kept hearing. I guess, if that is true, it speaks to how many wonderful things the department has not been doing so far. I say that somewhat tongue in cheek because the department has been doing most of those things thus far.

We have already seen the division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade under Bill C-31 and Bill C-32, similar to what we have with the legislation in front of us, which the government undertook a year and a half ago, and it was of absolutely no consequence whatsoever with the government. When it was finally implemented by the counterpart legislation for foreign affairs, it was defeated, yet the government forged ahead with the division in any event. It did not make any difference.

Are we not wasting our time today debating this, since it seems to have little consequence to what the government actually does?

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am faced with very well-informed people today because they are members of the committee. I thank my colleague for his work on it.

I will say first off that a big difference between the two legislations, and I know less naturally about the other legislation, is that this legislation has its roots in a unanimous report of a standing committee fully supported in the House of Commons. There was an inquiry into the previous department, as was mentioned by my predecessor.

We are looking at something which the House can be proud of because the House of Commons said that one of the recommendations of the committee report, which was accepted by the House, was that the old department should be divided. This is a serious matter from that point of view.

From the point of view of public policy, which goes back to the previous question, it is almost inevitable in our society that government departments operate on a silo basis. They work within themselves and have a mandate. One of the difficulties is reaching out between them. In this case, we have two more effective silos, but we also have useful links between them which help us with the problems which silos create.

It is a product of the House of Commons, not a government initiative. It has been carried out in an effective way. For this one department, it is my great hope, if one reads the mission statement of HRSD, that this will department become not the delivery mechanism but the point of contact for everything to do with lifelong learning in the federal system. That alone is something needed in Ottawa.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, one question I wanted to asked was touched on briefly by the parliamentary secretary in answer to another question about why we were doing this and was it because these good things were not being done in the past.

The parliamentary secretary very astutely pointed out that the government was listening quite attentively and implementing a unanimous recommendation made by a committee of the House of Commons, albeit in a previous Parliament.

Is this not an example of how well our Prime Minister has listened to the advice given by a committee of the House of Commons? It appears to me, very objectively, to be precisely the case.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I tried to make that point. As it happened, I was chair of the standing committee concerned and was very involved with it. Although this is a minority Parliament we are used to consultation and discussion to a certain point, in those days that was not common. There was a great deal of consultation in committee and it was agreed that a revision of some sort was one of the solutions to the problems at which the committee was looking. The House of Commons agreed to it.

I would agree that this was a large example of individual members of the House of Commons having an influence all the way through to massive changes in a structure which involved $60 billion in the previous department.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my colleague from Peterborough to make the following correction. The work of the Standing Committee—

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I regret to interrupt the hon. member, but the question and comment period has expired. Resuming debate. The hon. member for Chambly—Borduas.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is even better since I can make the correction myself. I think that my hon. colleague is seriously mistaken when he says that the other opposition parties also agree to divide the department into two.

I want to remind my colleague that the work done previously was conducted within a framework totally different from the one to which this bill refers. The bill makes reference to concepts with which the Bloc Québécois completely disagrees, in particular the Employment Insurance Commission and infringements in areas of jurisdiction relating to on-the-job training and so forth. I have already talked about this, as has my colleague for Québec.

Contrary to what the member opposite said, we disagree for very specific reasons. This bill ignores the consensus reached during the previous session of Parliament.

The Bloc Québécois will vote against the bill for many reasons. The first of which, as I mentioned, is that it infringes in areas under provincial jurisdiction. For Quebec, this is serious, particularly with regard to labour management.

And there is the EI fund also. The Prime Minister used the proposed division of the former Department of Human Resources Development into two departments to establish the Department of Social Development and maintain the EI fund in its present form, in spite of the opposition from all stakeholders in the Canadian society, and the Quebec society in particular. I will come back to that. This does not reflect the consensuses at all. In this regard, the Prime Minister is on the wrong track, as I will show.

The Prime Minister split the department the very day he was sworn in. He did so in a hurry,because of the recent election. It was obvious that the matter had been thought over for quite some time. I will come back later to the intention behind this decision, because it is clearly different from the one set out by our distinguished colleague from Peterborough.

This bill adds to existing bureaucracy. It does not introduce anything new or additional in terms of the services to be delivered through this Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, which will be duplicated, naturally, with the Department of Social Development.

One objective pursued by the government with this Department of Human Resources and Skills Development is to mobilize the private sector, non-governmental organizations and communities on community development, the social economy and social development. There are also plans for an adequate income security system for seniors, persons with disabilities, families and children and for integrated policy development and program delivery.

This adds nothing to the services currently provided. It only adds a second head, grafted on to the existing body, namely the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, and chops off arms. Nothing is added to the existing structure, but the unstated purpose is the one in the latest budget.

I remind the House that because this is about splitting a department in two, we cannot limit our discussion to Bill C-23, which concerns the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development. We must also, logically, discuss Bill C-22, which proposes the creation of the Department of Social Development.

I remind the House that there are currently 14,000 public servants in this department, which has a budget of $20 billion. The Department of Social Development will absorb 12,000 of these public servants, and have a budget of $53 billion. Up to that point, all is well. The same employees will be assigned to the same places, but spread out in service points across the country. These service points will include management of 105 employment insurance processing centres and 11 income security programs processing centres .

It is said that the Department of Social Development will use exactly the same channels to provide exactly the same services as before. What has changed, then? A minister has been added to a institution providing services under the social safety net, namely employment insurance, income security for the aged, job-related training, for a category of sectors, and more than I can mention.

Let us move on and look closer at what they want to do with that. The answer is found in the budget.

All stakeholders in our society are crying out for the creation of an independent employment insurance fund, with improvements. That fund would be managed by the two groups that contribute to it, namely employees and employers. We want contributions to cover employment insurance program requirement, on the order of $12 billion to $15 billion annually.

The surpluses accumulated in the employment insurance fund over the past eight years total close to $47 billion. What happened to these surpluses? They were used for other purposes. How were they generated? They were generated with the employment insurance benefits that were not paid to individuals who were entitled to these benefits and who had paid for them.

A claim is being made in this regard. I will get back to it later on, in the context of the bill and the standing committee.

My distinguished colleague often makes reference to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. On February 15, the committee tabled in this House a unanimous report recommending the establishment of an employment insurance fund administered by those who contribute to it, namely employers and employees. This committee, to which my distinguished colleague is referring, unanimously asked the government to put back in the employment insurance fund the $46 billion or $47 billion that have been diverted over the past several years.

Not only is this measure not provided in the budget or in this bill, the contrary that is confirmed. This bill provides for an employment insurance commission consisting of four commissioners. Just think: there will be one representative for employers, one for the some 18 or 19 million workers across the country who contribute to employment insurance, and two government representatives. This does not change anything in the current situation.

Needless to say the government will continue to divert the funds intended for employment insurance.

There are two stances. First we are told in this House that the issue of EI is a priority and the government will take care of it. Timid measures were presented suggesting that the best was yet to come. Nothing specific happens. When we look at the bill before us we realize they want to keep something that is unacceptable.

Let us move along. I come now to the budget. That is why I say we need to know exactly what this government is trying to achieve. Not only does it not want to put back into the EI fund what it took out, and not only does it not want to improve EI benefits, even though it has the means to do so, but it is giving the expenditure review committee the mandate to use various cuts to save $2 billion or $3 billion in the EI program. Where will this money be taken? It will be taken from the EI contributions.

In other words, the government is doing indirectly what the House will not allow it to do directly. Before the holidays, this House voted on a resolution as follows:

From now on, the employment insurance fund is to be used only for employment insurance purposes and the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, is given the mandate to recommend to the House the measures to take to ensure that this fund is indeed used only for employment insurance.

Instead of complying with the wishes of the House, the government is in the process of doing indirectly what the House told it not to do directly. This is totally unacceptable.

Where will this money be taken from? They say it will come from programs or structures. They say contributions might be reduced. Yet, that is not what those who are contributing to EI are saying. Maintain the contributions at the current rate and improve the program. What is happening now is totally unacceptable.

When we look at the unstated intention of this bill, to truly understand its meaning, we have to look at other documents. I have here a highly important document in which most of the recommendations were made unanimously. It is quite recent and concerns current factual data bases, not different data form the last Parliament. It is the report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

The first eight recommendations are unanimous. They recommend an independent fund so the government will no longer be able to dip into it for other purposes. It will be administered by the contributors and used to improve the benefits of those who pay into it. This has to mean something more solid than what the parliamentary secretary, the hon. member for Peterborough, is referring to.

In recent weeks in this House, we have also heard the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development delighting in the measures she had presented here relating to Employment Insurance. The Quebec lieutenant, the transport minister, added that any reasonable unemployed person would find the budget and the government's position excellent. They were about the only two to say so.

In connection with this, the minister referred to a New Brunswick worker who claimed to be delighted with it. If anyone wants to consult them, I have some letters here that are addressed to the minister.

They come from the Canadian Labour Congress. The president sent me a copy, along with a letter. The CLC represents 3 million workers. The Quebec component alone represents over 1 million. Many are going short everywhere in the country, in Quebec in particular: the jobless, youth centres, women's shelters, municipalities. Just about every group of society is represented among those millions of workers and people working with those who are suffering because of the government's inadequate, restrictive and inhumane measures.

It is unacceptable, and at the same time ironic. It is a clear illustration of what goes on in this place and the mess things are in. As we have seen, while the government has the ability to make people poor, it is, in a muddled sort of manner, proposing measures to the members of this House that will make them rich.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Our benefits have been reduced.

Department of Human Resources and Skills Development ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Yes, benefits can be reduced. As for the hon. member's benefits, perhaps he should explain that to the unemployed. His colleagues are not even able to meet the unemployed. Their Quebec lieutenant is incapable of meeting with the unemployed; he refuses to meet with them. Here, they say that the unemployed are happy. If they were happy, they would go to talk with them.

The people of Acadie—Bathurst, in the editorial in L'Acadie nouvelle , are giving the minister a rough ride over her position. In almost all municipalities where there are seasonal workers, editorials are saying that it is unacceptable and lacking in common sense. One journalist even suggested that we find a way to spend half an hour with the minister to try to get her to listen to reason. That is what is in the newspapers. The minister has not talked about that. She has said that everyone was happy with it. The Minister of Transport, the Quebec lieutenant, and the minister are not representative of what people are going through in rural ridings, especially with respect to seasonal employment in businesses, whether it is textiles, shoes, softwood lumber and our forest workers, seniors or the POWA. Recommendation 13 in the committee report, which I have here, was passed unanimously. There is nothing here, except insensitivity to these situations. It is inconceivable.

They could say there is no money. That is not true. Not only is there money, but that money belongs to the contributors. As a result, people are in need. Families have been impoverished this way, and here the government struts about, concerned about our salary increase and so on, when there are people in need who have paid their contributions. Really!

I would be embarrassed. I think they lack courage. Here, all is well. Passing measures like this that impoverish people, and then refusing—

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 23, 2004, as reported (with amendment) from the committee and of Motion No. 1.

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

March 23rd, 2005 / 5:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but it being 5:29 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division on Motion No. 1 at the report stage of Bill C-30.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

I declare Motion No. 1 carried.

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe if you were to seek it, you would find unanimous consent to apply the votes with Liberal members voting in favour of the motion before us, except for those who wish to be recorded against.

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Madam Speaker, members of the Conservative Party will be voting in favour of the motion.

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Madam Speaker, the members of the Bloc Québécois are opposed to this motion.

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Madam Speaker, members of the NDP will be voting in favour of this motion. Also, I would like to add the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley to the list.

Parliament of Canada ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Madam Speaker, I wish to be recorded as voting against the motion.