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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was loans.

Topics

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government is going to act in the short term and in the long term. That includes tax reductions, as announced in the Minister of Finance's economic statement. The manufacturing sector in Quebec welcomed that statement and those measures, even though the Bloc voted against the tax reductions for that sector. This is another example where the Bloc is not representing Quebec's best interests.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, given the urgency of the situation in the manufacturing sector, the Minister of Finance must act immediately and go beyond the Prime Minister's rhetoric. He must establish short-term measures, such as creating a $500 million fund for research and development, and $1.5 billion in repayable contributions for businesses that invest, thus allowing them to remain competitive and protect jobs.

With a surplus of $11.6 billion this year, why does the minister not go ahead and implement the measures proposed by the Bloc Québécois and the Standing Committee on Finance and called for by the entire manufacturing industry? He has the means. He must act now.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister just said, there were very substantial business tax reductions for manufacturers so far this year, $1.3 billion in the March budget and then across the board long term business tax reductions, which are dramatic to 2012. These were welcomed by the manufacturers in Quebec. This is important long term relief, not millions of dollars but billions of dollars in tax relief for businesses across Canada, including Quebec.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, many manufacturing businesses in Quebec will never benefit from these tax cuts, the way the oil and gas companies stand to benefit, because they are not currently earning any profits.

The minister must be aware that 135,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Quebec, the equivalent of one in five jobs since 2003, including 65,000 jobs lost since the Conservatives came to power. This sad truth must be quite obvious to the minister.

Is the government's unwillingness to act to help manufacturers not just another demonstration of its indifference towards anything that does not help the tar sands development and the oil and gas industry in the west? Its choices are clear, but these are not Quebec's choices.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite suggests that manufacturers in Quebec did not welcome the business tax reductions. In fact, what the association in Quebec said:

“We’re pleased the Minister of Finance acknowledged the competitive challenges facing manufacturers.”

Competitiveness is important. Long term tax reductions, that is what the manufacturers and exporters of Quebec said right after the October 30 economic statement.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the figures released by Statistics Canada yesterday are worrisome. The number of people speaking French has gone down across the country, including in Quebec.

This is the result of years of ineffective Liberal policies. The government must renew its policy and strategy on official languages. It must do something to make the French language thrive and grow in Canada.

Appointing Bernard Lord to do work that has already been done is not a solution. What concrete action is the Prime Minister going to take for the French language?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, the government made a commitment to do more for Canada's new action plan for official languages. Mr. Lord will soon give us his recommendations.

I am very disappointed that the NDP voted against these measures and these commitments in the Speech from the Throne.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not serious. A few years ago, he said that:

As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It led to no fairness, produced no unity and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions.

The demographic weight of francophones is in free fall: less than 50% in Montreal and only 4.1% outside Quebec.

Does he realize what will happen if he does nothing? Yes or no? Will he take action?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has no control over the languages spoken by Canadians, but it can ensure that services and benefits are available for all communities and all linguistic minority communities in Canada. That is what we have done.

Immigrant WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, poverty among immigrant women in Canada is very high. It is 43% higher than among women born in Canada. It is very difficult for these women to achieve pay equity.

When will this government act to integrate immigrant women into our workforce?

Immigrant WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the government is very pleased to have worked with the provinces and our local service providers to provide services for new Canadians to help them adjust to Canadian life. We have invested $1.3 billion to that end, over five years. I should point out that the members opposite voted against that.

Immigrant WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the policies of the Conservative government are not working. Immigrant women need language training. They need to have access to programs to improve their skills. These very qualified women want to have the opportunity to fully participate in the Canadian economy, and we need them.

What does this government intend to do?

Immigrant WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, apart from investing $1.3 billion in settlement funding, funding that the Liberals froze for 10 years, last May we launched the Foreign Credentials Referral Office, which will help these new Canadians find out how to get their credentials evaluated so they can upgrade their skills to our standards even before they get here. Once again, the Liberals voted against that.

HousingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, four million Canadians have housing needs and most of them are women. To deal with this problem, the government cut $200 million for affordable housing and another $45 million from the budget of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Cutting funding for affordable housing makes no sense at all.

When will the government restore the money it took out of affordable housing?

HousingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, that is a complete fabrication. This government is spending more on affordable housing than any government in history.

When we came to power, one of the first things we did was to provide a $1.4 billion housing trust so vulnerable Canadians, men and women alike, would have the chance to have a roof over their head. Today we are spending more than any government in history precisely because we are concerned about the plight of these people.

The member should reflect on the Liberal Party's own record, a record that saw it cut and download the housing file to the provinces in—

HousingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Beaches--East York.

HousingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, we should deal in reality. The finance minister even admitted last year, in a speech in New York, that the federal government should get out of the housing business. Hardly surprising, given he is the same minister who once suggested that the homeless should be thrown in jail.

Instead of putting up roadblocks, why will the Conservative government not deal with the affordable housing barriers facing women?

HousingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, in 1995 the Liberals downloaded all the housing to the provinces. They cut $25 billion out of the Canada social transfer, the deepest cuts in Canadian history to our social safety net. I think actions speak a lot louder than the member's words.

Obviously those members think that vulnerable Canadians are the ones who should be targeted for the cuts. Meanwhile, they maintained big pots of money that became the sponsorship scandal. Shame on them for their history.

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, while everyone has been waiting for months for the federal government to do its homework and announce immediate measures to help the manufacturing sector, yesterday, the Minister of Industry had the gall to tell us that he was pleased that Quebec had finally put a plan in place. I do not want to hear the minister tell me about tax cuts. Companies without profits do not pay income tax.

Instead of shamelessly attacking Quebec, which has done its part, when will the minister finally come up with a plan for the manufacturing sector?

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we have already said that the manufacturing sector is a pillar of the Canada's economy.

I noted the comment about tax cuts, but our government is continuing to create a climate for that industry. We realize that the current situation is not easy, but the industry has to innovate and make investments.

Each level of government has to do its part.

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the number of job losses and plant closures in the forestry and manufacturing sectors keeps growing in every region, including in the Mauricie region and in Trois-Rivières, where this month alone, 710 jobs were lost; yet the minister is not acting. The Minister of Industry should implement the plan put forward by the Standing Committee on Finance, which yesterday endorsed the 22 recommendations of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to help the manufacturing sector.

How many committees will have to endorse these 22 recommendations before the minister finally decides to take action?

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are taking action. The Minister of Finance in particular has put forward a fiscal plan that is strong, that will produce in Canada the fiscal policy framework for us to succeed, to be globally competitive. That is what it is all about.

The Canadian economy continues to be strong. There continue to be challenges in certain sectors in response to changing global demand patterns, but we continue to create more new jobs in Canada. We are on pace to create some 345,000 jobs this year, the same as last year. Our unemployment rate is at a 33 year low. Industry can and will adapt.

Older WorkersOral Questions

December 5th, 2007 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development claims that we lack faith in the people of Quebec. He, however, lacks compassion. Older workers have been losing their jobs because of numerous closures in the manufacturing and forestry sectors. Those aged 55 and over who, for the most part, have neither training nor experience in other areas cannot find new jobs.

I will therefore repeat my question: What is the government doing for these people? When will it come up with a real income support program to help them?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is last month the most successful job seekers across the country were older workers, so the member is flat out wrong. Older workers do have the ability to get new jobs, to adapt new skills. We see that reflected every month in the job numbers.

I just have to tell the member, I reassert my claim that he really does need to have faith in the people of Quebec. We have tremendous faith in their ability to pick up new skills and transition into new industries. I wish the member would have the same faith in his own constituents.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, for people from Alberta like him, everything is great and the oil companies provide lots of jobs. But in Quebec, the manufacturing sector is tumbling down like a house of cards.

What is the government's plan for older workers who cannot find work? Will it tell them to move to Alberta to help the oil companies, as suggested by the member's colleague in the regional development agency? Or will it fund a POWA at a cost of $60 million out of the $1.7 billion employment insurance fund surplus?