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House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I will gladly answer. I would ask my colleague from Newfoundland and Labrador if he would talk to his friends and aboriginal families across the country, including the chiefs of many of the groups across this great country. He should ask them what they think of the performance of this minister and the work we are doing with them to make sure that we have a part as we move forward in the fisheries of this country.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, that is his job; it may be mine later.

Confronted with anger over the PM's assault on aboriginal fisheries, the Minister of Indian Affairs says not to worry. The fisheries minister too has tried to soften his leader's vicious and unwarranted attack.

The Conservative Party policy on aboriginal fisheries depends on who one asks: the Prime Minister, the Minister of Indian Affairs , the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, or the member for Delta—Richmond East.

Let us get some clarity here. Does the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans share the Prime Minister's opinion of race based fisheries?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, there is one person responsible for fisheries in this country and that is the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Our policies are clear cut.

There is one way to move ahead in this country. We take all the players that are involved, bring them around the table and make sure that they agree to a process that suits everybody.

That is exactly what we are doing. The Prime Minister, myself and everybody else are in the one boat on this.

TransportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities with regard to the Toronto Port Authority.

Can the minister inform the House on the status of the review by Mr. Roger Tassé that this new government has commissioned?

TransportOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to the House and all the members that on October 16, Mr. Tassé submitted his report on the findings of the Toronto Port Authority. On behalf of the government, I would like to thank Mr. Tassé for his extensive work in preparing this report.

I will be reviewing the report and on completion of this review, I will be in a position to comment more fully. I can assure all Canadians that the government is open, accountable and transparent and will therefore make the report public, once I have reviewed the findings thoroughly.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, workers and unemployed individuals took part in a march from Montreal to Ottawa to protest the EI program and the Conservatives' inaction.

Years of successive Liberal and Conservative governments have resulted in a situation that is worse than ever.

The government has built up its largest surplus on the backs of workers. Yet, 68% of the women and 62% of the men who contributed to the EI fund are still being denied benefits.

Will the minister listen to workers and the unemployed and make changes? The need for the program—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for all the work that he has done on this issue.

As he knows, employment insurance is extremely broad, extremely complex. Any changes that are to be made, we have to make sure that they do not affect some other part of EI in an adverse way. That is why we are slowly going through and making sure we pay due attention to all the various aspects of EI so that it meets the needs of all Canadians.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, this government always finds some excuse to justify its lack of commitment to workers and the unemployed.

The Liberals and the Conservatives have been giving the same unacceptable excuses for the past 13 years. We have 800,000 workers who do not qualify for employment insurance. Also 1.4 million children are living in poverty. A fairer and more accessible EI program would help address that.

Yesterday, the government introduced a program that will do nothing to help workers. Enough already with laughing at people's expense.

What is the minister going to do to help this country's workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why we launched our program yesterday, because we do care. We recognize the needs of older workers who have been displaced through circumstances beyond their control. I would like to quote the president of the CPQ who said yesterday about our new program:

Between being given a fish and learning to fish, the choice is clear. We have to help the affected workers retrain in different areas, and the sooner the better.

This government is not going to write off older workers. We are going to help them.

Equalization ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, in Atlantic Canada alarm bells are ringing over the government's waffling on the Atlantic accords. Back when they needed votes in Atlantic Canada, the Prime Minister said in writing that no province would lose out to the changes in equalization, but now suddenly, he is not so sure and neither is anybody else.

Will the Prime Minister stand today in the House and admit that his signature is worthless?

Equalization ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, unlike the government before us, we keep our commitments. We are keeping our commitment with respect to the Atlantic accord. We are also following the process that was outlined in the budget papers in 2006; that is, we are consulting with the provinces. The finance ministers have met. We have received and we are reviewing and studying the various reports that have been presented. These discussions continue. We expect them to continue through the end of this year and into the new year and look forward to budget 2007.

Atlantic Canada EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is just the latest in a long line of policy reversals by the government. The Prime Minister of Canada gave his word. If that cannot be honoured, what can?

The government recently reannounced the Liberal Pacific gateway plan. It even used the same minister we did. Well Atlantic Canada is also a gateway to the world's richest markets. Atlantic Canadians know what the Prime Minister thinks of them, but are there any Atlantic Conservative MPs who will stand up for the Atlantic gateway, or are they afraid of getting the same treatment as the member for Halton?

Atlantic Canada EconomyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member of the opposition is absolutely right in underlining the tremendous work that was undertaken by my colleague in announcing last week with the Prime Minister and the premier of the province of British Columbia the gateway and the corridors.

We are also committed to the other initiatives in this country. As a matter of fact, we have already initiated some funding so that we can see this program and this project go forward.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week by having his staff leak confidential documents concerning Ottawa's signed light rail contract, the President of the Treasury Board inserted himself in a municipal election. Now he has his sights set on Toronto's waterfront revitalization project and a TTC contract.

How many more municipalities across this country will this minority government blackmail and bully before it hands over previously committed infrastructure funding?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, this government promised to change the way Ottawa worked. We promised more accountability. People across the country felt the Liberal standard on accountability fell short.

I do note that the relationship between the Government of Canada and the City of Toronto is working quite well. I am working quite well with the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, who just on Monday said that I was a friend of Toronto.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board, if he had read an article in the Ottawa Citizen, would have seen “people thought that this was purely political” when they were speaking about his actions in Ottawa. The new deal has become a raw deal and the minister responsible for infrastructure can do nothing about it.

Is this the new government policy, to breach confidentiality agreements, deny local democracy, use federal funding for blackmail and interfere in municipal elections?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the member for Kitchener Centre is obviously not reading the same stories in the Ottawa Citizen that I am reading. Here is what it said last week, “unprecedented scope of the investment...makes a final, ratifying endorsement entirely appropriate”. An Ottawa Citizen headline this morning said that the majority backed me on the light rail delay.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of using the $13 billion surplus—which includes $2 billion from the employment insurance fund—to initiate real reforms, the government chose to put it all toward the debt.

How can the government justify this to the unemployed people who ended their long march to Parliament Hill today? How can it explain that it would rather use its billions of dollars to give generous gifts to its oil company friends than to bring about real change to the employment insurance system?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, any surpluses in the EI account go to general revenue. Those are shared by all Canadians. The benefits of that go to help all Canadians, not just those unemployed but to help create new jobs in the country as well. That is important to keep our country going and growing.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the minister realize that this money belongs to workers and employers?

The government's attitude is incomprehensible. It lowered employment insurance contributions to help workers. It did nothing for the people who really need help, the people for whom the fund exists: the unemployed.

If the government is that short of ideas, will it at the very least support the two bills introduced by the Bloc Québécois, one to improve the EI system and the other to create an independent employment insurance fund?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as a new government, we are reviewing every program in every department. What we have to recognize is that Canada has registered almost record low unemployment rates, 6.4% last month. That is a miraculous achievement.

We have to focus on getting more people prepared and skilled and into the workforce. That is what we have to do. That is what we are focusing on. That is why we announced our new program yesterday to help older workers participate in the workforce, not pension them off and have them sitting outside. Let us let them contribute. Let us get everybody back to work.

Older workersOral Questions

October 18th, 2006 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

Why is he trying to hide behind the Quebec government? Minister Michelle Courchesne just said that she is disappointed with the program. It does not at all meet workers' expectations, it has an adverse impact on Montreal and Quebec City, and it is not an early retirement plan. In fact, his program is nothing but a band-aid solution to a serious problem, a bridge to welfare. Will the minister admit it?

Older workersOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the information that the hon. member for Outremont has is contradicted by what the Quebec government just told us moments ago, namely that it is going to take advantage of the program and that this is an interesting initiative for Quebec workers.

I want to ask the hon. member for Outremont what his government's priorities were? The former government had 76 priorities just before the House was dissolved. However, none of these 76 priorities was related to older workers.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is reported that Chinese border guards fired on a group of about 70 unarmed Tibetans who were attempting to cross the border from China into Nepal. A 17-year-old nun was killed. The guards also reportedly took some Tibetans into custody, mostly children aged six to eight.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House what representation has been made to the Chinese government and what measures are being taken to have these children returned to their families?