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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was troops.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Industry and others have admitted to the House, there certainly have been job losses in some sectors in some regions. At the same time, the creation of jobs across the country has far outstripped any job losses.

We do talk to people who work in the real economy in this country. We believe they are saying to maintain the balanced approach.

They are saying, yes, spend where the government needs to spend, make the investments the government needs to make to help people and help communities, but at the same time keep getting those taxes down and keep getting that debt down. That is what this government is doing.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should start using the real numbers: a third of a million good jobs lost. Those families are suffering right now.

I have been travelling across the country and when I met with medical students in Halifax they said that they were being crushed by student debt.

We were in Sault Ste. Marie where the emergency room is having to close. That is a crisis being faced across the country in terms of health care, along with prescription drugs that people cannot afford for their families. There are millions of Canadians with no doctors.

The Prime Minister said he would do something about health. Why will he not?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has made important investments in health care, including launching important projects on wait times and getting wait time guarantees in place in this country.

In terms of employment, the numbers are clear. Yes, there have been job losses. We are dealing with those. There have been job increases that far outstrip those job losses.

The problem the opposition has is that it is not all doom and gloom out there. Where there are problems, this government is acting, but this government is making sure that we do not simply blow the spending in this country but that we keep this economy growing.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

February 25th, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last year in the finance minister's infamous $122,000 budget speech, he falsely claimed that “a long, tiring, unproductive era of bickering between the provincial and federal governments is over”. Yet, he spent all of last week insulting the Premier of Ontario, the very man who had to clean up the $5 billion mess that the minister left behind in that province.

Why will he not partner with the Premier of Ontario and provide real help to the manufacturing sector instead of unprovoked attacks and bickering?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in terms of working together with industry, it is very clear that we are working together with the province of Ontario to finalize the community trust agreement but we are also working together with all of the industries. The auto sector in particular comes to mind.

It is based on a sound fiscal framework. Public finances, that are the envy of the G-7, are attributable to this government. We create a sound framework. We work with industry. We will create jobs.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, economists across the country agree that it is the strong Canadian dollar and the faltering U.S. economy that have hit Ontario's economy hard. These are clear areas of federal jurisdiction.

Why does the federal finance minister continue petty attacks against the Ontario premier and thumb his nose at the hardships faced by hard-working Ontario families?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the hon. member is in such a poor mood. Actually, last week I was in her riding, in London. There is a very successful company in that riding.

Diamond Aircraft Industries Inc. is doing remarkable things. It is one of the most remarkable companies in the Canadian aerospace industry. It is creating hundreds of jobs and is working together with the government to do so.

What the member really wants to do is to spend the country into a deficit. We will not let that happen. That is what the Liberals are up to.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, since the aerospace industry receives subsidies around the world, I have no problem with government support for that industry. My problem is with the government's selective application of laissez-faire principles.

Why is direct support for aerospace okay while direct support for the auto industry in Ontario is not okay? Why is it dollars for aerospace and laissez-faire, do not care, for Ontario?

How can the government possibly justify this blatant unfairness to the people of Ontario?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, is it not classic that the Liberal Party and the hon. member would try to pit Canadian against Canadian and region against region. That is something the government will not do. That is something we do not do in building the country.

We are working with the aerospace industry. We are having success. We will continue to do so. I encourage the member to be patient. We will get the job done with the auto industry as well because it trusts us.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, he does not get it. I have nothing against subsidizing aerospace. I say do it in a consistent way. If the government is going to subsidize one industry, subsidize another industry. Why is that point not understood?

It is about consistency and fairness to the people of Ontario. Why does the minister insist on policies that are flagrantly unfair to the people of Ontario?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I think it is pretty clear from the member opposite and from his party that what they call consistency is that they would subsidize everyone. They would subsidize the public purse into a deficit.

There are nothing but promises from the Liberals amounting to $98 billion over the course of the next four years. There are no answers about where that is going to come from. All they would do is subsidize and subsidize, and put the country into a deficit.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in the manufacturing and forestry sectors is affecting a lot of people, including many workers over 55 who, in many cases, do not have basic education. The Conservatives have told these crisis victims to get training and find new jobs, to move to Alberta, or to live in poverty while waiting for their pensions.

What is stopping the Minister of Finance from funding a program that would really help older workers who, unfortunately, do not have the option of retraining?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, obviously, we have great sympathy for people who are taken out of their jobs because of sectoral change, like in the forestry industry and manufacturing, but we do not accept the doom and gloom from the Bloc.

The fact is that older workers overwhelmingly have been more successful than the rest of the population in terms of finding jobs. We are supporting them and helping make those changes by providing big investments in training.

I really have to say to the member from the Bloc that he should have a little bit more faith in the people of Quebec. Ultimately, the people of Quebec should have a lot less faith in the Bloc who cannot do anything to help the people sitting on that side.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer is totally irresponsible. I would like to see him tell that to the workers in person. I would like to see him say that to the Donnacona workers and all of the other crisis victims.

All it would take to help workers over 55 is $60 million. We have a $10.6 billion surplus.

The government should help these victims by funding an income support program out of that surplus. Does the government realize that such a program would cost barely one-half of 1% of its surplus?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, there the Bloc goes again, reaching back to the 1980s for some ideas.

The fact is this government is helping workers today. Whenever there is a layoff, Service Canada provides information so that people know where the new jobs are, what training initiatives there are and, of course, what kind of income support is available. We provide new training arrangements.

But, most important, the finance minister and the Prime Minister are providing the hottest labour market in Canadian history, so that the people of Quebec can step into those jobs. We are helping them do that.

KosovoOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, now that Kosovo has declared its independence, the Government of Canada should follow the lead of several European countries and the United States and support the nation's decision to take control of its own destiny.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us whether Canada intends to recognize Kosovo's independence?

KosovoOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, we note that the parliament of Kosovo has adopted a declaration of independence. We are assessing the situation. Canada has consistently supported UN efforts to broker a peaceful solution and we encourage all sides to remain calm.

TV5Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, France has just unilaterally decided to take complete control of TV5 by affiliating it with its holding France-Monde. Quebec, Belgium, and Switzerland are questioning this decision, which threatens the future of an important voice for the Francophonie.

What does the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages have to say about the deafening silence of the Canadian government on this matter?

TV5Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the meeting that was held this weekend between representatives of the partnering governments on TV5 was a perfect occasion to highlight that TV5 is an important tool in promoting the culture and values of international Francophonie, and that it must remain a Francophonie project.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has broken its promise on the Atlantic accord. It made claims of spying on the cabinet of Newfoundland and Labrador and now lashed out at Ontario in its time of need.

Last week Premier Williams defended Premier McGuinty, calling the Conservative government out on its blame game, and divide and conquer tactics. Remember, it was only last year the Minister of Finance famously announced to all Canadians that there was an end to the years of federal and provincial bickering.

Why does the Minister of Finance not measure up to his own incompetence and admit he is truly the small man of Confederation?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we can always expect some interesting comments out of that hon. member in the form of a question.

However, I remind the hon. member that it was this Conservative government that finally brought a peaceful settlement to the fiscal imbalance that the Liberals would never even admit to, $39 billion.

We have signed the accord with the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. We are happy to have those onside.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

I thank him for his confidence, Mr. Speaker. That was very kind of him.

Shall we continue the list? Conservatives have claimed that Premier McGuinty is the small man of Confederation for upholding democracy and now blame Ontario for the rising dollar and faltering U.S. economy.

Perhaps the finance minister is following the lead of another person in the House, when this person looked at Danny Williams and said that in the next election he did not need Newfoundland. Who said that? The Prime Minister.

When will the Conservatives stop bickering and smearing the reputations of our premiers?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear. I said absolutely no such thing in that meeting or at any time.

I will say that I was delighted to see Newfoundland and Labrador opt into the new equalization formula that this government created, that the Nova Scotia government also opted into.

Far from not needing Newfoundland and Labrador, the contributions made by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and his colleagues have been indispensable for this government.

KosovoOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, over a weak ago Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Since then a number of countries have formally recognized Kosovo's independence; others have not.

A few minutes ago the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs announced a non-position.

Can the Prime Minister tell us what his government's position is?

KosovoOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, obviously the hon. member is not quick enough on his feet to come up with a different question, so I will give him the same answer.

We are assessing the situation. We have consistently supported the UN efforts to broker a peaceful solution and we are encouraging all sides to remain calm.