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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was americans.

Topics

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we had an illustration of the old methods of the “new” government. A $13 billion surplus is going toward the debt, without debate. A billion dollars in cuts will be made to various programs, without debate. In order to save $5.6 million, the government cut the Court Challenges Program of Canada.

Does the Prime Minister realize that this program allowed Franco-Ontarians to challenge in court the decision to close the Montfort hospital? Does he also realize that this very program allows Acadian communities to challenge the closure of their schools and that they will no longer be able to do so in future?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government intends to behave in a constitutional manner. We do not intend to adopt unconstitutional legislation. We intend to respect the Constitution, including the division of power between the federal government and the provinces. We do not intend to pay Liberal lawyers to challenge unconstitutional laws.

Nonetheless, the decisions we announced yesterday were made according to our budget, which the Bloc Québécois supported.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the budget was also supported by the two other parties, who were afraid of triggering an election.

That said, the Court Challenges Program of Canada also served the gay and lesbian community to challenge certain measures that infringed upon their rights.

Does the Prime Minister realize that through his ideological persistence he is in the process of considerably reducing access to justice to an entire sector of the population that does not have the means to assume the costs of such challenges?

Does this government think justice is reserved for the very rich?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, again, this government is not acting in an unconstitutional manner. We do not intend to pay lawyers; we intend to direct the funds in the interest of the taxpayers.

The leader of the Bloc is acting like a defender of francophone minorities in this country. Well, they want a strong Quebec in a united Canada.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the $13 billion surplus includes over $2 billion from the employment insurance fund surplus. It is deeply unfair socially to make Canadians, especially unemployed people who are denied benefits, pay $2 billion of Canada's debt.

Does this unacceptable situation not compel the government to immediately set up an independent employment insurance fund where contributors' money will serve contributors' needs instead of swelling government surpluses?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the hon. member is aware, we have a new procedure in place with a tribunal, with an EI commissioner and actuarial advice that will set new EI rates based on expected claims.

We had a better economy than we expected last year. That is something to celebrate. That is why the rates came down last year. That is why we expect them to come down this year.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance fund surplus is enough to make a substantial improvement in the protection of the unemployed.

How can the government refuse to improve employment insurance for the sake of those who need it, when the plan still has a huge surplus, as we saw yesterday?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, when the economy is good, jobs are good. We do not have as many unemployed. We are proud of that.

What we want to do is make sure that going forward we have EI revenues with the claims. We hope those claims are low because then we can reinvest in Canada.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has a $13 billion surplus and it cut funding for literacy; $2 billion for fighter jets in Afghanistan and it cut funding for women's programs; over $1 billion going to its friends in the big oil and gas companies and what does it do, it cuts funding for aboriginals and young people. Total arrogance, no consultation, no debate.

Does the Prime Minister believe that with these record surpluses, the ordinary Canadians who benefit from these programs are merely fat to be trimmed?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, despite all the hot air down there, the reality is that the new spending that this government has introduced in all of those areas far dwarfs any reductions the government made yesterday. The fact of the matter is we have made sure that we are spending money effectively to benefit these groups and that the money of the taxpayers is used properly.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government has acted arrogantly and irresponsibly. It is Parliament's job to discuss what should be done with the surplus, and the Prime Minister said the same thing when he was in opposition. But now we see the arrogant attitude of this government.

In spite of this, the Conservatives, in their own way, have decided to trim the fat. Youth, women, aboriginal peoples: that is fat, to the Conservatives.

Why does the Prime Minister not hit his friends, the big oil companies, instead of punishing the people who need help the most?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the statements by the NDP leader are completely false. In this budget, this government intends to increase spending on aboriginal peoples, women, seniors and other groups in society. At the same time, however, it has made decisions to control spending responsibly, in order to achieve real results in a targeted fashion.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, just as women's groups across the country have feared, the Prime Minister has broken yet another election promise. He said he would ensure that Canada fully upheld its commitment to women. Instead, the government cut 39% of their operating budget. This money means everything to organizations fighting for the equality of women.

Why did the Prime Minister break his election promise to the women of Canada?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. We are not making any cuts to women's programs. We are transferring funds used for administration and bureaucracy, not for programs that benefit women directly.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, an expert panel recommended to a parliamentary committee that funding for Status of Women of Canada needed to be strengthened significantly in order to be a better watchdog for women's equality.

Is the Prime Minister cutting their funding because these groups are promoting equality for women, rather than promoting his anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-equality agenda?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, this side of the House does not have to take lessons from that side of the House on support for women.

Despite their alarmist fearmongering and accusations never based on fact, the facts are that we are not cutting support for programming to women. We are finding efficiencies and streamlining the delivery to those women who really need the help.

YouthOral Questions

September 26th, 2006 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, no thanks to them the Conservative government inherited one of the largest surpluses in Canadian history. Despite the surplus, the Conservatives are cutting programs which actually help the youth of this country find jobs, the visible minorities, the francophones and the aboriginals. The Conservative government cut the very program, the youth employment strategy, which helped over 50,000 youth find jobs this past summer alone.

How can the Minister of Human Resources justify cutting a program that is helping Canada's young people?

YouthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member really should stop mixing her words and wixing her mords, because in fact the youth employment strategy has not been cut. We will continue to provide help for youth at risk.

What we are doing is saving taxpayers' money on summer job supports and subsidies for corporations that would have hired the students anyway. We are going to help the students who really need help because of where they live or other barriers they face.

YouthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister needs to check her facts because the Conservatives just cut $5 million in funding that was helping youth in this country.

The bottom line is that the Conservatives receive an F because they have abandoned the young people of Canada. The Conservatives could have made a choice to make youth a priority, but instead they chose to cut the very programs that help them. The Minister of Human Resources had a choice to ensure that she invested in young people, but instead she chose to slam the door in their faces.

Why did the minister not stand up to her boss to ensure that she would protect the interests of young Canadians?

YouthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, when the summer career placement program was brought in eight years ago, it was intended to help students who could not find jobs easily. Over eight years of Liberal government, that program just went crazy, so that corporations that could well afford to hire students and would have hired them without the program were hiring students.

We are going to help the kids who really need to get the jobs. We are going to help the kids, not the cronies.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, older workers who are affected by mass layoffs are the ones who are hardest hit by job losses, since most of the time it is impossible for them to find employment because of their age.

How can the government take money from the unemployed and at the same time refuse to put in place a real income support program for older workers, to bridge the gap between job loss and pension plan eligibility? Why does it refuse to do this?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as we have said in this House many times, I suggest that the member check the record.

During budget 2006 we committed to a feasibility study on ways to help long term unemployed older workers over the long term. We will be proceeding with that in the very near future.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government’s surpluses clearly show that the government also had available all the resources to put in place a real assistance program for the softwood lumber industry, which is in crisis. It has done nothing and the industry is experiencing very hard times.

What is the Minister of Industry waiting for to implement a set of measures to assist the softwood lumber industry, as the Bloc has proposed that it do, with an assistance plan that is complete, structured and even costed out?

When will the communities be getting some news from this insensitive minister?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

As soon as possible, I hope, Mr. Speaker, once this House has brought the softwood lumber agreement into effect. Companies in Canada, Quebec and Beauce will be getting more money than they ever got under the previous government, because the previous government never reached an agreement with the Americans.

The industry asked us to go and get their money. That is what we have done and we are proud of this agreement.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 30% cuts announced in Status of Women Canada’s budget is yet another example of this government making budget decisions that will affect the lives of millions of women, and making them behind closed doors. At the same time as the government is announcing surpluses it chooses to make cuts in activities that are already underfunded.

In making this ideological decision, has the Minister of Finance not allowed himself to be influenced by groups whose goal is to abolish Status of Women Canada, which works to achieve economic equality for women, to eliminate violence and to promote human rights?