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House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was recovery.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

First of all, Mr. Speaker, the government has frozen EI premiums for the next two years. At the same time, over time of course, the EI commission sets EI premiums and it does so in a way that, over the economic cycle, covers the cost of the program.

That is why it is important, when this government brings in help for workers and for the unemployed during a recession, that we bring in help that is temporary and targeted. We do not do things like create a permanent 45-day work year under EI because that would blow premiums through the roof.

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

October 6th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have asked the Conservative government repeatedly how much taxpayer money it has spent for its own self-promoting political advertising, but there are still no numbers and still no answers.

My question for the Prime Minister is quite simple today. How much money has the government spent promoting itself to get more votes instead of spending it on H1N1 prevention to save Canadian lives? Was it $60 million, $80 million, $100 million? How much was it?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I answered that question yesterday when I told the member that we do not spend money on self-promotion.

We do spend money on advising Canadians on important issues like H1N1, elder abuse, the home renovation tax credit, and Canadian Forces recruitment.

It is important that Canadians know about what the government is doing in respect of H1N1 so that the country is prepared. I do not understand why the member has a problem with disclosing that kind of information to taxpayers.

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government is refusing to give exact numbers. Is that because it does not have them, or because it is hiding something?

Yesterday, the president of the Canadian Medical Association asked this government for an advertising campaign to explain how Canadians can protect themselves from the H1N1 virus.

Instead of spending millions of dollars to win votes with their partisan advertising campaign, can this government spend that money on the well-being, health and lives of Canadians?

Government AdvertisingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I heard the question quite clearly. She is asking how much money was spent on self-promotion. The answer is zero.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Treasury Board guidelines require that all Government of Canada communications be objective and inform the public in an accountable and non-partisan way.

I have provided the President of the Treasury Board and the justice minister with a copy of a communication from the Minister of Natural Resources. It appears to seriously violate the Government of Canada policy in many ways.

Would the President of the Treasury Board investigate these apparent serious breaches and make his report public? If he will not, why not?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for providing me with that information ahead of time.

In response to the issue about whether this is objective or not, the letter itself that went to a homeowner here talks about the home renovation tax credit saying:

[It] may make it possible for you to save even more on your home retrofit, as well as on other renovations not eligible under the ecoENERGY Retrofit—Homes program. For more information on the Economic Action Plan please visit www.actionplan.gc.ca

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, my constituent who received this communication from the Minister of Natural Resources is very upset because of this wasteful distribution of Conservative propaganda and because it represents a misuse of his personal information. All he did was apply for a government grant, and now he is being inundated with Conservative Party junk mail, all at taxpayers' expense.

Would the Minister of Justice, who is responsible for the Privacy Act, please investigate this apparent breach and make his report public? If he will not, why not?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the material that was provided to me indicates that we were thanking the particular homeowner for participating in the eco-energy retrofit homes program. In order to help the particular homeowner save even more money, it asks that homeowner to consider the home renovation tax credit. I think that is what every taxpayer wants, especially in a time of recession.

Instead of that member voting against programs that help the ordinary working Canadian, he does that.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services never denied that his government wanted to dip into the employment insurance fund to wipe out the deficit. The Conservatives even wrote in their latest economic update that they planned to take nearly $19 billion from the EI fund between 2012 and 2015.

Will the minister admit that, like the Liberals before them, the Conservatives are getting ready to eliminate the deficit at the expense of the unemployed?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members are aware, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission will be an independent body that will make decisions and set the contribution rate according to the benefits that are provided for workers who lose their jobs. We have decided to freeze that contribution rate for this year and next year so that people do not have to pay more during these tough economic times.

We have recently introduced four new measures to help the unemployed. The Bloc Québécois has voted against every one. What do the Bloc members have against the unemployed?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are coveting the employment insurance fund—that is very clear from the Minister of Finance's economic update—yet they refuse to consider the measures proposed by the Bloc Québécois to eliminate the deficit. They refuse to target bureaucratic spending. They refuse to target tax havens and gifts to big oil. They refuse to tap the wealthy.

Instead of going after the unemployed and the middle class, why does the government not take aim at the right targets to eliminate the deficit?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I also noted the Bloc's suggestions. They know that all their suggestions are nothing but hot air, because they will never take power and never be able to implement any of them.

It is easy to look good in front of people, but I am going to come back to the issue of military bases. The member said yesterday at a press conference that he wanted to cut the army's budget. Which military base does he want to close? The one in Bagotville? What does the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord think of that? His colleague wants to close the military base, yet recently he wanted to have all the Chinook helicopters. He is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, executives of Abitibi-Bowater in Dolbeau-Mistassini announced to workers that they did not know whether the plant would be able to reopen. The Roberval plant is also closed indefinitely. Two plants, two ministers, same results: nothing is happening.

What is the minister responsible for Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean waiting for to make the employment insurance system more flexible in order to help forestry workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to describe what we have done, for the benefit of the people who are watching.

We have introduced four different measures to help people who lose their jobs during the current economic difficulties. We are extending employment insurance by five weeks. They wanted an extra two weeks only. We are adding five, which is helping 289,000 people. They voted against that. We are extending work sharing arrangements by 14 weeks to help companies and employees who want to share their work time. They also voted against that. People who take workforce training for a new job can receive two years of benefits. They voted against that as well.

Pulp and Paper IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservative government is busy coming up with all kinds of useless advisory committees, mills like Dolbeau-Mistassini are closing, and pulp and paper workers are still losing their jobs. Réjean Paradis, a union representative, condemned the fact that both of the ministers from the region failed to take action while workers were being hit hard on all sides.

When will the government finally offer reasonable loan guarantees so that these Quebec companies can get back on their feet?

Pulp and Paper IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I think that the most important thing now is not to play politics at workers' expense. All the member knows how to do is play politics at workers' expense. Speaking of mill closures, there have been two in his riding. We never heard him say anything about it at the time. The important thing now is to take care of workers—both unionized workers and managers—who have lost their jobs.

Yesterday, we contacted the survival committee to make sure that workers would be getting the help they needed. Dolbeau-Mistassini employees know that we are behind them and will continue to support them. Export Development Canada has spent $16 billion to support the forestry industry over the past two years, which is something those members will never be able to do.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday at health committee Canada's doctors and nurses identified significant gaps in the response to H1N1.

The health and safety of health care workers and clearer consistent advice to all Canadians were at the top of their list. Unfortunately there is an absence of federal leadership. Inconsistent policies and conflicting messages are leaving Canadians and our health care workers both worried and vulnerable.

Will the government listen to Canada's doctors and nurses and immediately fix the gaps they have identified?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we developed a plan back in 2006, which we are implementing with the provinces and territories. We provide weekly briefings to all Canadians on H1N1, and we will continue to do that.

The chief medical officers of the provinces and territories, which are responsible for the delivery of health care, continue to do the same thing in their jurisdictions, .

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the United States became the third country to begin pandemic vaccine immunization. China started on September 21 and Australia began last week. However, nothing will start in Canada for another six weeks at least.

Why is the Minister of Health leaving Canadians vulnerable in the face of H1N1?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are not delaying the vaccine. As the Chief Public Health Officer of our country has stated time and time again to Canadians, the vaccine will be widely available to all Canadians during the first week of November.

We are on schedule. We will continue to work with the provinces and territories to implement the rollout of the vaccine.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, every time the Minister of Health answers a question about the H1N1 virus, people get more and more confused and uncertain. A recent Canadian study found that people who had received a seasonal flu shot were two times more likely to contract the H1N1 virus.

What is the minister doing to reassure people? Should Canadians get both vaccines, and if so, which one should they get first?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the only individual creating uncertainty is that individual. We have been very clear to all Canadians in regard to the rollout of the H1N1 vaccine.

The Chief Public Health Officer has also stated many times to Canadians, on a weekly basis, that the safety of all Canadians is most important.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C. is at the centre of the second wave of H1N1, but the Conservatives have failed to have vaccines ready in time.

We know that front line doctors and nurses have little confidence in the Conservatives' pandemic plan. Their plan does not even provide for protective masks for nurses, who are rightly worried that their safety will be at risk.

If our nurses, who are our first line of defence for sick Canadians, fall ill, how can Canadians expect to be safe from H1N1?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, under the Liberal government, there was no plan. In 2006 we developed a pandemic plan and we are implementing that. We are working with the provinces and territories.