This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 40th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economy.

Topics

Older WorkersOral Questions

December 1st, 2008 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, factories are closing and workers are losing their jobs, and not everyone can be retrained. Only the government refuses to see this reality. That is why the Bloc Québécois is proposing the creation of an income support program for older workers who have been the victims of layoffs, to allow them to bridge the gap until their retirement.

Since the government refuses to bring in such a measure, is this not proof of its insensitivity toward the victims of this economic crisis? We are talking about $45 million a year for all of Quebec and Canada.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House believe in the older workers who have been laid off because of circumstances beyond our control. That is why we introduced the targeted initiative for older workers, in order to help them prepare for another job. We have had some success. It is not enough, but we are continuing our efforts.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of tackling the crisis, this government opts instead for a laissez-faire policy toward the victims and, in particular, refuses to help out the unemployed by eliminating the two-week waiting period for employment insurance.

Why did the government not use the plan presented by the Bloc Québécois, dropping its laissez-faire ideology and taking a proactive approach by eliminating the waiting period? That would not have cost very much and would have really helped the victims of the economic crisis.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are always looking for ways to improve the ways in which Canadians receive the assistance and support they need. That is why we enlarged the employment insurance system through four pilot projects. We are still looking for ways to improve the system. I already thanked the Bloc for its suggestions. We are studying them in order to continue improving the system for those who need it.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are waking up to the fact that the Conservative Prime Minister cannot be trusted.

A report to be released this week will indicate that car sales are much weaker than the rosy picture the Conservative Minister of Finance is trying to paint. Instead of meaningful help to the auto sector, the Conservatives have chosen to play political games.

The Prime Minister when speaking to the world at the APEC summit promises meaningful stimulus, but when speaking to Canadians introduces only cuts. How can he be trusted any longer?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, indeed we have been working on the auto file with our colleagues in the Liberal Ontario government to work out a plan of action. That is why I, along with my colleague, Mike Bryant, minister of economic development in Ontario, sent a letter to the automakers, so that we can get a plan on the table.

Maybe members on the other side like giving away money without any plans, but on this side of the House we believe in a plan, we believe in the taxpayers and we believe in the people of Canada.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the facts catch up to the rhetoric, it is clear that the Conservatives have no meaningful plan to help Canada's auto sector. Auto workers have been ignored for too long. Their families are struggling and the Conservatives just do not care.

The Prime Minister called an election in violation of his own law. How can Canadians trust him?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in fact we have been dealing with the auto sector. The previous budget, budget 2008, was the start of our plans.

The fact of the matter is that we have done more in the Government of Canada for automakers than south of the border. That has been recognized. We have been there for the auto sector, but we will not give money for nothing. That is not part of our agenda. That is not part of being responsible to the people of Canada. We want to see a plan. That is why we are proud to be Conservatives.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of taking action to protect the jobs and savings of Canadians, the Conservatives preferred to cling rigidly to their dogma.

Instead of protecting the jobs of people who work in our manufacturing industries, whether automobile parts or aeronautics, the Conservatives have attacked union rights and pay equity for women.

Why should Canadians have confidence in the Prime Minister?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the bulk of the public service has chosen not to exercise a strike option. It has done so by entering into collective agreements on terms that are fair and reasonable to both the taxpayers and public servants.

We also want to ensure that women are entitled to appropriate pay in terms of pay equity. That is why we are bringing in legislation that ensures there is a timely resolution of those types of disputes.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the effects of the recession are already being felt on Main Street. When people lose their jobs, how can they pay their mortgage, their rent, their groceries?

Instead of creating jobs by breaking ground on new infrastructure projects, the Conservatives are delaying them and are sitting on $3 billion to hide their deficit.

How can we possibly have confidence in the Prime Minister when he is so cruelly lacking in common sense?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the hon. member knows, because I am sure she looked at the news this morning, we in fact continue to perform in Canada better than our G7 partners. We perform better because we took steps in advance. We prepared. We reduced the GST effective January 1 this year. The United Kingdom just did it last week.

The good news is that the Canadian GDP, gross domestic product, grew 1.3% in the third quarter of this year.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, during a global economic crisis, the secret Bloc-Liberal-NDP cabal is plotting behind closed doors to plunge Canada into a political crisis. The opposition plotters, composed of socialists and separatists and led by a rejected Liberal leader, will jack up business taxes and impose a massive carbon tax within days of seizing power.

Their panicky backroom deals will lay ruin to the Canadian economy. Now is the time to stand up for Canada, not seek its ruin.

Could the finance minister tell this House what we have done to bolster the economy? What stimulus have we already injected?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have taken a steady, stable, long-term view to economic development in Canada. We have also acted promptly and in advance of the serious economic slowdown globally this year.

We cut taxes across the board last fall, keeping money in the economy right now. And yes, tax cuts do stimulate the economy by leaving money in the hands of people in Canada so they spend it, and businesses so they can reinvest it and create jobs.

That stimulus is 2% of GDP, 30 days from now in Canada, the doubling of infrastructure spending, 30 days from now in Canada--

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Outremont.

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, steady? Stable?

Last Thursday, the finance minister read his economic statement. On Friday, he said it could not possibly be changed. On Saturday, we learned from the mouth of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities that there would be a major revision concerning the financing of political parties. On Sunday, it was the right to strike that was restored.

Today is Monday. Could we know whether the government intends to restore women's right to equal pay for work of equal value?

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud that we were able to resolve a number of the pay equity complaints that have been outstanding for quite a number of years. This shows that what we have been doing in terms of working together with the union in the context of collective bargaining is the appropriate way to resolve pay equity. Women should not have to wait 10 to 15 years in order to have those pay equity complaints resolved.

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, has the minister even read the economic and financial update? I will read a part of it for him. “This costly and litigious regime of 'double pay equity' has been in place for too long”.

These are rights. We do not contract away rights. We do not litigate away rights. We do not legislate away rights. We respect rights. Does he not get that?

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, it is not an issue of contracting away rights. It is in order to ensure there is an appropriate mechanism to recognize rights. For a woman to wait 10 to 15 years in order to realize her rights is not correct. That is why we are bringing in this legislation. That is why we are resolving these issues.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, before the election, the former minister of Canadian Heritage said that cultural programs that were cut would be replaced. Now, after the election, we discover that the government has no intention whatsoever of revisiting this decision. Moreover, there is nothing in the economic update about restoring the funding programs for the arts and culture.

Can someone in this government explain the reasons for such an attack and such hostility towards artists and the cultural community which, far from being a burden, provide a great deal of stimulus to the economy?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we understand that it is important to our country and also to our economy and that is why our government increased support for the arts and culture by 8% to $2.3 million. We have programs and part of our cultural funding helps artists show their work on the international stage. Every time we presented a budget here, in the House of Commons, that increased spending on the arts and culture, the Bloc Québécois voted against it. That is shameful.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, begins today, yet the Conservative government still considers the Kyoto protocol to be a burden while the forestry and manufacturing industries see it as a solution. They want the government to use 1990 as the base year and set absolute reduction targets to establish a carbon exchange.

Why are the Conservative government and the Conservative Party still ignoring common sense, and why are they refusing to adjust their attitude toward the Kyoto protocol?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with much of that, but the real question for the House is how this poisonous and temporarily happy alliance will advance Canada's interests at all, specifically in the context of international conventions.

The NDP has a policy supporting a cap on trade. The leader of the Liberal Party supports a carbon tax. The Bloc supports only the breakup of our country.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister once again is playing political games instead of taking action for Canadians in need.

For the past three years, the Prime Minister has broken promises on an economic plan for forestry workers. The industry is suffering and communities across B.C. and Canada are looking for leadership.

With all this talk and no action, how can Canadians trust the Prime Minister?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, a year ago the government acted decisively, introducing the community development trust, a $1 billion trust fund that was put in place in recognition of the global economic uncertainty and also in recognition of the need for transition for skills development and to help other workers.

That is what we did. We continue to do so. We continue to work on the program and we continue to ensure we serve Canadians and serve them well.