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House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-50.

Topics

Bill C-56Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce that this morning our Conservative government introduced legislation that will provide maternity and parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits to self-employed Canadians on a voluntary basis. Our government is not only delivering on its campaign commitment to small business, entrepreneurs and family, it is exceeding it.

Members of the House know the challenges of balancing work and family. This legislation means that self-employed Canadians no longer have to miss those important family moments, whether it is spending time with a new baby or an elderly relative. Everyone in the House knows that in life it is all about family, and our government is taking responsible steps to help more Canadian families.

Now 2.6 million more Canadians who are so vital to our economy will no longer have to choose between their families and their business responsibilities. I just hope that for once the Liberal leader will put aside politics, stop trying to obstruct all the good work our government is doing and help us pass this important bill.

Death of Three MinersStatements by Members

November 3rd, 2009 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday evening I was shocked and saddened to learn of the disappearance of three miners at the Bachelor Lake mine in Desmaraisville in my riding.

Bruno Goulet, 36, Dominico Bollini, 44, and Marc Guay, 31, were working in one of the mine shafts when it flooded. The three men had descended around 11:30 p.m. to levels 11 and 12 of the mine, or roughly 485 metres below ground. Help was sent immediately when the elevator that carried them came back up empty.

Unfortunately, the three miners have since been found dead.

This is a terrible tragedy and there are no words to describe what all of Abitibi is feeling.

All of my colleagues in the Bloc join me in expressing our sympathy at this difficult time to the families, co-workers and friends of Bruno, Dominico and Marc.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, increasingly Canadian and international issue action groups use full and partial nudity of female employees, models and former celebrities as part of their fundraising and publicity campaigns. This is indeed a very disturbing trend.

Lush Cosmetics recently used an employee of the company to pose nude in a public area of downtown Toronto to promote one of the company's product lines. While the employee herself was nude save for makeup, the company attempted to wrap itself in a cloak of virtue with a thinly veiled association with marine mammal populations.

Other activist organizations such as PETA, competing with other groups for donations, regularly use attention-grabbing female nudity to draw attention to themselves. Former B movie celebrities are contracted as prime spokespersons. They are often people whose only achievements have been simply to surrender themselves to public female objectification.

I would like to remind the House and all Canadians that treating women as objects is wrong, and exploiting women by presenting them as nude objects of attention purely for commercial purposes and without any overarching artistic merit is wrong. It is vile.

The EconomyStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to implement Canada's economic action plan to help combat the effects of the global recession.

Infrastructure projects across the country are up and running, and 4,000 have begun in the first six months of our 24-month plan.

We have reduced taxes on families and businesses and implemented measures such as the home renovation tax credit and the first time home buyers' tax credit. We are helping the unemployed by extending EI benefits, making it easier to qualify and expanding EI training programs. All these measures and programs are to help steer Canada through the global recession. This is what Canadians want and expect.

What they do not want is constant mudslinging, constant threats of an election and massive new spending that can only be paid for through tax hikes. These are the priorities of the Liberal leader and the Liberal Party.

We are putting the country first, and Canadians can count on us to get the job done.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today we learned from the Auditor General that for its entire time in office, the government has failed to develop any national emergency preparedness plan. That includes planning for epidemics and pandemics like H1N1. Does that not begin to explain why the government's response to this crisis has been so slow and so confused?

We have heard from the Minister of Health. When will we begin to hear from the Prime Minister? When will he stand up, take responsibility for the government's mistakes and correct the situation?

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, let me dwell in the realm of facts. The fact of the matter is that six million doses of H1N1 vaccine have already been delivered to the provinces and territories. That is enough for all the priority groups that have been identified by public health officials.

We currently have more H1N1 vaccine per capita than any other country in the world. The vaccine is being distributed as quickly as it is being produced, and there will be sufficient H1N1 vaccine available in Canada for everyone who needs or wants to be immunized.

Those are the facts on the ground. In fact, we are working with provincial and territorial officials.

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if there is all this vaccine about, why are there eight-hour lines? Nobody can understand the gap between what the minister is saying and what Canadians are actually experiencing.

Not only did the government not have a pandemic plan, but it also did not have any plan for a national emergency. That is what the Auditor General is saying. Now that we are seeing these vaccine shortages across the country, and families waiting in line, how are we supposed to believe the government when it says that there will be sufficient distribution and supply of vaccine in the weeks ahead?

HealthOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in fact I can use the hon. member's home province as an example. Some 2.2 million doses have been distributed already in the province of Ontario. In fact, that is the case per capita with the rest of the provinces as well.

The fact of the matter is that the vaccine is being produced. It is being distributed. As I said, over six million doses have been distributed to date. This is simply week one of the most massive immunization campaign in the history of this country. It is a campaign in which we are working with health officials across the country.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is responsible for ordering vaccines. It is also responsible for coordinating the distribution of these vaccines. Providing information is another federal government responsibility.

But all we see is a vaccine shortage, long lines and confusion. The government needs to stop blaming everyone else, take responsibility and do something about the situation.

What is the Prime Minister—and not the Minister of Health—waiting for to take action?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that 6 million doses of vaccine have been sent to the provinces and territories. Now, there are enough doses for all the priority groups. We have more doses of the vaccine per capita in Canada than in any other country in the world.

We are working with our provincial and territorial counterparts. We are working with the public health officials. I hope that the hon. member is not trying to politicize the issue, because that would surely be beneath him.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, leadership is the key to disaster management, with a clear chain of command and defined roles. We are currently in response mode for H1N1.

Where is the Prime Minister on this issue? Why has the Prime Minister not spoken directly to Canadians to reduce their anxiety, confusion and mounting frustration? Why has he not made available the $400 million from budget 2006 for pandemic response?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we do have a pandemic response. As the Minister of Health, I was pleased to revise the pandemic response program that was done by previous governments to make sure that it was the most modern, most up to date and most consistent with the World Health Organization as well as our continental pandemic planning.

That is what has been done by this government in anticipation of any pandemic. We are proud of that record, but right now we are focused on working with public health officials and provincial and territorial authorities to do the right thing for Canadians, and that is exactly what we are doing.

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second wave of H1N1 arrived in some parts of Canada before the vaccine.

The government cannot tell us how many people were actually vaccinated the first week and there are shortages this week. The Conservatives are telling us that it will take until Christmas to have enough vaccine for all Canadians, but health experts predict the second wave of H1N1 may peak well before Christmas.

How did the Conservative government get it so wrong?

HealthOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

In fact, Mr. Speaker, we operate with the best advice in the country from public health officials from across the country and from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

That is why we in a very important way and in a controlled way made sure the vaccine was safe for Canadians, made sure it was tested, made sure it was allocated according to a plan. That is what we have done. We have worked with the provinces and territories and the best public health officials in the country to make sure it was the right thing to do.

If the hon. member has a problem with that, she should say so, but if she does, she is politicizing the issues.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has said that the government is on the wrong track when it claims that economic growth alone will bring down the deficit. That is true but that does not mean however that they should stick with ill-advised measures such as those of the Minister of Finance who, in his economic update, indicated that he plans to take $19 billion out of the employment insurance fund by 2015.

Will the government admit that, in the end, its plan is to have the unemployed pay for the deficit?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, our government made the difficult decision of incurring a deficit. Why? To look after the economy, the unemployed and the people in need. If the Bloc had its way, we would be holding an election right now. There would be no economic action plan and no assistance for the unemployed. The leader of the Bloc should explain to the unemployed in Rivière-du-Loup, for example, why he opposes Bill C-50, which would extend employment benefits by 5 to 20 weeks. That is what the unemployed are waiting for.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, let the Prime Minister come to Rivière-du-Loup to have a debate and explain that seasonal and forestry workers do not qualify and that all benefits will go to southern Ontario. I am up for that any time.

Rather than going after the unemployed, why does he not go after the oil companies, those that have the means, the big banks? Why does he not eliminate tax havens? Why does he not stop handing out presents to oil companies? Why does he not impose a 1% surtax on those who have taxable income of $150,000 or more? I am prepared to debate these measures in Rivière-du-Loup but not measures that serve Ontario and western Canada to the detriment of Quebec. He is welcome to do so any time.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the question is, why does he not stop the fearmongering? I will say one thing. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said and I quote: “...the Canadian economy has weathered the global recession better than most economies, posting the second strongest performance among the G7”. That is action, not an election that no one wants.

I will again ask the leader of the Bloc to go and explain to the unemployed in Rivière-du-Loup why he opposes extending unemployment benefits by 5 to 20 weeks.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will do it anytime.

Instead of making unemployed workers pay down the deficit by stealing $19 billion from the employment insurance fund between now and 2015, the government should improve the employment insurance system. It is urgent that we make the system more accessible and improve benefits. For example, we have to eliminate the waiting period and increase coverage from 55% to 60%.

When will the government realize that employment insurance needs a complete overhaul?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is odd. We have Bill C-50, which will give between five and 20 extra weeks of employment insurance benefits to long-tenured workers. These are people who have rarely collected employment insurance benefits.

First they ask our government for help, then they turn around and vote against it. At the same time, they stand up and ask for employment insurance measures. This is the fourth measure we have announced, and today, we announced two more for self-employed workers in Quebec who can now collect sickness benefits and compassionate care benefits. Is the party her going to vote against that too?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's self-employed workers already have access to the Quebec parental insurance plan. Now more than ever, we need a complete overhaul of the employment insurance system to help seasonal workers, young people, women in unstable jobs and self-employed workers.

If the government really wants to help unemployed workers in Quebec, it should propose comprehensive changes and promise to compensate the Government of Quebec for the parental benefits it already provides to self-employed workers. When will it take action?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I must inform the member that today, we announced new measures for self-employed workers, including 15 weeks of sickness benefits that Quebec's self-employed workers will be able to collect. We are also making six weeks of compassionate care benefits available to self-employed workers in Quebec if they are interested.

I should also point out that we are compensating Quebec for what it offers in terms of maternity, parental and paternity benefits because, instead of paying the $1.73 contribution rate, they pay $1.36. That has already been done.

HealthOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General says that the government cannot plan for disasters. The people standing in line for vaccine must be saying to themselves, “No kidding”.

Let me offer a constructive suggestion. Under the plan that is available for financing of natural disasters, the federal government steps forward with 90% of the cost so that the people locally do not have to worry about how they are going to pay for it to get the job done. Why not do that for H1N1 and do it now?

Will it cover the cost of H1N1 vaccination?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are actually focused on the results on the ground. The results on the ground are that there have been six million doses thus far that have been allocated to the provinces and territories, that have been delivered to the provinces and territories thus far. That is enough for all of the priority groups in and of itself. It is more per capita than any other nation that is distributing the vaccine. The vaccine is being distributed as quickly as it is being produced.

There will be a time and a place for his discussion. It is not now. Our responsibility is to help our public health officials deal with this situation and that is what we are doing.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's obsession with lowering corporate taxes means that the effective tax rate in Canada is dropping below the rate in the U.S. What that means is that any money in American companies--