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House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was opposition.

Topics

Economic and Fiscal StatementOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, actually, the short answer to that would be, no, absolutely not.

It is unbelievable how the hon. member can dismiss the fact that this actually created the stimulus that has put Canada in the enviable position of the strongest growth in the G7. That, I might add, was without the support of the opposition because it could not see far enough ahead to see that it was the positive, right thing to do. It voted against it.

Economic and Fiscal StatementOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the deficit daddy finance minister has fudged his books to bury the deficit that he fathered. Now he is trying to pass off his illegitimate surplus as the real thing.

Why will the minister not come clean to Canadians and admit what everyone knows, which is that he has engineered a surplus just to say he has one and that the Conservatives mismanaged Canada's finances during the good times and put Canada into deficit even before the global economic slowdown?

Economic and Fiscal StatementOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about mismanagement, we are reminded of the days when the Liberals downloaded all the deficit cutting that they were trying to do onto the backs of the provinces and bragged about it, and where they knee-capped the transfer payments to health care and to social programs.

We will not do that to Canadians. We respect our provincial partners too much and we respect Canadians too much to do that.

Economic and Fiscal StatementOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, to hide his deficit, the finance minister is now selling Canadian assets at a time when the prices are low.

Why are the Conservatives counting the money before they have even made the sales, before they even know what assets they will sell? Why are they letting the same finance minister who bungled the Highway 407 deal, losing Ontario taxpayers billions of dollars, to cut the same kinds of bad deals for Canadians just to hide his new Conservative deficit?

Economic and Fiscal StatementOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is a little rich coming from that hon. member who, when he was not part of that Liberal side of the House, criticized the Liberals for their ridiculous spending.

We have put in place an expenditure review process that has actually set out $15 billion of expenditures within government departments that were not necessary. To put it in plain language, these were old programs that were no longer necessary and were not a good use of taxpayer money.

We are now looking at other ways to save taxpayer dollars.

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, the Minister of Immigration announced further details of the Conservative action plan for faster immigration, as well as immigration levels for 2009.

Under our action plan, skilled workers, such as nurses and doctors, will be able to come to Canada in six to twelve months, down from the five to six years wait under the Liberals.

Would the Minister of Immigration please tell the House about his exciting announcement today.

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, while other countries in the developed world are actually cutting immigration, I am pleased to announce today that Canada will maintain historically strong levels of immigration in 2009.

To help continue to fuel the economy, I have also announced ministerial instructions under our action plan for faster immigration to accelerate skilled foreign worker applications in 38 high demand occupations, like health care and skilled trades. This will allow us to more closely align our immigration with our labour market needs going forward to help reinforce the Canadian economy at this time.

Rights of WorkersOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's economic updated failed to stimulate the economy and it did nothing to create jobs, and this at a time when countless families around the country have no access to employment insurance.

Canada Post workers are striking because the employer wants to slash short-term disability claiming workers can just use employment insurance. They cannot. And nothing in this update fixes the problem.

Why did the Conservatives use the economic update to attack the fundamental rights of workers?

Rights of WorkersOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are well aware that the Union of Postal Communications Employees is currently without a contract. There is a collective bargaining process that should be followed. We are closely monitoring the situation.

Let us be clear. For the opposition, this is about protecting their entitlements, and that is what the questions are all about.

This is a government that is protecting the Canadian economy, protecting jobs and protecting the future of all Canadians.

Rights of WorkersOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, instead of attacking the recession, the government is attacking workers and women.

The economic update takes away the right to strike, overrides collective agreements and removes the right for women to achieve equal pay for work of equal value.

We needed stimulus and we needed investment but instead we got a tax on the fundamental rights that have taken us decades to achieve.

How will these attacks create jobs, protect consumers and help families make ends meet? Who do these attacks really help?

Rights of WorkersOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, it is very important that women are entitled to fair rates of compensation, which is why there is a pay equity scheme. The problem with the pay equity scheme is that it takes so long to actually put into place.

We are putting forward a proposal that would ensure that employers, like the federal government and the unions, are responsible for negotiating pay equity so there are fair rates and that legal obligations in that respect are met in the context of the collective agreement.

Status of WomenOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and his government deliberately decided to go after women by making pay equity a negotiable right. As though the principle of pay equity were negotiable. This is the government's way of announcing that it does not want to have to pay retroactive adjustments, and that the principle of pay equity will from now on be part of collective agreement negotiations.

Could the new Minister of State (Status of Women) explain how she can go along with this disastrous setback for women's rights?

Status of WomenOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, pay equity is not under negotiation. It is our intent to ensure that there is a mechanism to determine pay equity on a timely basis. Why should women have to wait 10 or 15 years in order to achieve what is, frankly, theirs?

The government in Ontario and the government in Manitoba, whether socialist or liberal governments, have put in place exactly the same type of format to ensure that women get their rights recognized in a timely fashion.

Status of WomenOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the positions taken in the past by the Conservatives do not bode well for women. The Conservatives have gone after pay equity, threatened the right to abortion, cut the court challenges program, and shut down Status of Women Canada offices, stopping at nothing. And at their convention, they continued their retrograde and misogynist behaviour.

How can the Minister of State (Status of Women) explain these repeated attacks on women, except to say that it is purely for ideological reasons?

Status of WomenOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, is it not interesting that when it comes to their entitlements in respect of their political parties, those members want to ensure that their money is there right away. When it comes to women and pay equity, they are content to allow women to wait 10 or 15 years before they achieve pay equity.

We are putting a mechanism in place to ensure that both the employer and the union have a responsibility to address pay equity issues in a timely fashion.

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, to pad their books and hide the deficit, the Conservatives are sitting on $3 billion in the Building Canada fund.

Instead of putting shovels in the ground and creating jobs, the Conservatives have tangled infrastructure programs into a web of red tape.

In Mississauga, infrastructure projects are ready to go. When will the Conservatives cut the cheques?

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the question from the member because it gives me an opportunity to talk about some of the things the government is doing.

In a time of global economic uncertainty, we on this side of the House understand that it is vital to invest in infrastructure that will create jobs today, tomorrow and in to the future.

The member should listen to the mayor of Toronto who said:

That money is going to ensure thousands of jobs are created and maintained.... It's exactly the right time to build infrastructure because the contracts are going to come in for less because the economy is softening.

We are getting the job done.

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Mississauga, Conservative red tape is holding back $52 million for the bus rapid transit system; $30 million for downtown revitalization; $20 million for Sheridan College; $10 million for the Burnhamthorpe Library; $8 million for the fire halls; and $4 million for park pathway lighting, and that is just in my riding. Thousands more are stalled across the country.

When will that money start flowing?

InfrastructureOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, the money is already flowing, but this is not about money flowing. This government has made the largest infrastructure investment of all time. What this is about is their entitlements. They want their entitlements.

We on this side of the House are working toward a strong future for Canadians and that is why we have invested so much in infrastructure and why we are moving forward with Building Canada. No matter whether it is Liberal, NDP or Conservative, all mayors across this country recognize that we are getting the job done in infrastructure and we are making the investments necessary.

Forest and Mining IndustriesOral Questions

November 28th, 2008 / 11:50 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, instead of attacking the recession, the government's economic statement failed B.C.'s families who work in the forestry and mining sector.

Since January 2007, 34 mills in B.C. alone have closed and 10,000 jobs have disappeared. Our forestry families needed help, they needed economic stimulus, but all they got from the economic update was blatant partisanship: no new jobs, saving no mills and no offer of hope for the future.

Why did the government put its partisan interests ahead of B.C.'s working families?

Forest and Mining IndustriesOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, if the NDP were ever to make any suggestions, it might suggest that we stabilize the softwood lumber communities. We did that with the softwood lumber agreement. It might suggest that we put money into lumber communities. We did that with a $1 billion community trust. It might suggest that we focus on innovation for the future. We have already done that. It might suggest that we focus on market research and market development. We are already doing that.

We are protecting the economy. We are talking about that today. Members on the other side are only concerned with protecting their own entitlements. We will get the job done for Canadians.

Forest and Mining IndustriesOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should visit the communities of Terrace, Burns Lake and Hazelton that have lost mills under his watch. The government has failed B.C.'s forestry communities. It forgets somehow that 62% of Canadians rejected their efforts on the economy, 62% of Canadians rejected the Conservatives' so-called vision for the future of this country.

Conservatives continue to pit the environment versus the natural resources sector. It is time for them to wake up, smell the coffee and get with the program. When will they invest in a green economy for green collar jobs?

Forest and Mining IndustriesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, 80% rejected them. We do not need to get any lectures from them about support by Canadians for this government.

Our government has acted to help workers. We are acting to help their families who are facing uncertainty. We have supported the Canadian forest industry by getting that softwood lumber deal done. We have supported the community development trust, which is putting money back into those communities.

Again, this government is working to protect Canadians and working to protect this economy. All we hear from opposition members today is that they are working to protect their entitlements. They should be ashamed of themselves. We will get the job done for Canadians.

TerrorismOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week Canadians have watched with horror the terrible events unfolding in Mumbai, India. These appalling terrorist attacks have killed well over 100 people, with hundreds more injured.

We stand behind the people and the government of India against those who have decided to terrorize the people and violate fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Many Canadians are deeply worried about family and friends in India. Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs update us on the situation in Mumbai and what the government is doing to assist during this extremely difficult period?

TerrorismOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure Canadians and families affected that the Government of Canada continues to deploy every effort to assist Canadians in Mumbai, including assistance in travel documents, replacing documents that might have been taken away, facilitating the departure of those wishing to leave through commercial means and, of course, providing financial assistance to those in need.

We must remain vigilant and that is exactly what we are doing.