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House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was self-employed.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government committed to holding a vote in the House for all troop deployments abroad. However, this morning, RDI reported that the Minister of Foreign Affairs remains open to the possibility of prolonging Canada's military presence in Afghanistan beyond July 2011. That contradicts statements by the Minister of National Defence, who said yesterday that the mission for all Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan will end in 2011.

Can the government clarify its position?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, for the 211th time, the mission in Afghanistan, as far as the military combat mission is concerned, ends. In 2011, the mission ends.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government promised to be more transparent. It also promised to consult Parliament on the deployment of Canadian troops.

Since the military mission will end by July 2011, can the government commit to working with the opposition starting now to ensure that, in future, Canada's presence in Afghanistan will be for humanitarian purposes only?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the member and the Bloc do not support this mission. Our party and all other parties in the House of Commons support the Canadian Forces, the diplomats and all of the people working on the ground in Afghanistan.

We are very proud of the work that is being done to improve quality of life for all of the Afghan people.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, taking advantage of the update to the economic action plan, the Conservative government confirmed that it plans to use the employment insurance fund to pay down the deficit. In addition to the $54 billion it has already stolen from this fund, the government plans on taking another $19 billion between now and 2015.

Instead of collecting excessive premiums and making the unemployed pay down the deficit, does the government not think it is time to improve the employment insurance system?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, how can the member ask us to improve the employment insurance system, when in the past few months, we have implemented five different measures to help the unemployed? Every Bloc Québécois member of Parliament voted against every one of these measures to help the unemployed.

I do not understand the member's question. We offered help five times, and they voted against it five times.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, self-employed workers in Quebec and the other contributors will be paying too much in EI premiums for the coverage they receive. According to the calculations of the former EI chief actuary, they are being asked to pay three times too much for access to sickness and compassionate care benefits.

When will this government stop diverting employment insurance funds that could be used to improve the EI system?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we want to offer benefits, such as sickness and compassionate care benefits, to self-employed workers in Quebec. In the private sector, it would cost 30% of the individual's income to get the same protection we will offer. In fact, self-employed workers will have to contribute $1.36 for every $100 of insurable earnings, instead of 25 times more. It will be much less expensive for self-employed workers in Quebec.

Why are they trying to prevent us from offering something that self-employed workers want—benefits when they are sick or when they must take care of a sick child or family member?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives love their weasel words.

Today the Conservatives are saying that 97% of infrastructure credits have been implemented. However, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and economist Dale Orr, only a third, or even less, of infrastructure projects have really begun.

What makes the Conservatives think they can fool Canadians by playing with words?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there have been great partnerships. We have put partisan politics aside with every provincial government and every territory.

We particularly worked well with the municipalities. The member opposite quotes the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Let us look at what Basil Stewart, the president of FCM, said:

[T]hings have worked out well. And they've worked out well in other parts of the country as well. We have no complaints with the way things are going.

We believe that municipalities are up to the challenge of building infrastructure. We do not believe that municipalities need to be micromanaged as they have in the past. We are proud of our partnership. Things are happening in every part of this country and we are awfully proud of it.

FinanceOral Questions

December 2nd, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, we all remember that the previous Conservative report card road shows cost taxpayers more than $100,000 each.

Can the government tell us what it is spending today to fly the finance minister to Winnipeg to release a report that was secretly tabled last night and already unveiled by the Prime Minister while flying 30,000 feet above Siberia? By the way, does this attest to the Prime Minister's commitment to Siberian-style accountability?

FinanceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as he was with the first three reports to Canadians, the Prime Minister was very pleased to release the fourth report. It explains the great success we have with working with provinces and with municipalities.

The Minister of Finance was very proud to travel to Winnipeg. I know there are not a lot of Liberals in Winnipeg any longer. They have a one member caucus in Winnipeg. We believe it is important to work with Canadians in every part of the country. The Minister of Finance was proud to be in Winnipeg, proud to be talking about our accomplishments. We make no apologies for getting out to western Canada.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities admitted for the first time that he has failed to create jobs in a timely way. Buried in his fairytale update today on page 71 is a reduction of 36% in spending plans for this year, over $1 billion less compared to September.

The minister has done such a poor job of getting infrastructure stimulus funds into Canadian towns and cities, his budget has been slashed.

Will the minister now apologize to Canadians, and the families of the unemployed in particular, for having misled them over these many months?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we do not apologize for working with the provinces. We do not apologize for making partnerships with municipalities. We do not apologize for the huge number of infrastructure projects that are going on in every part of the country.

Let us look at what one mayor, the mayor of Windsor, Eddie Francis, said:

When you compare this [Conservative] government to the previous government, these guys don't want to just talk about it -- they want to get it done.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister has a greater duty than clowning around in this chamber. He has billions of dollars of borrowed taxpayers' funds, taken to supposedly create jobs for Canadians out of work, and he has failed.

His budget has been cut because he could not get his own job done. Thousands of Canadian families are paying the price.

My question is simple. Will the minister come to committee today, be accountable and release all the information he has about the failure of his job creation program, or will he just continue to clown around in this place?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am not a member of the transport committee. I do look forward to going this afternoon. I hope the member will show up, because he is not a frequent visitor to that committee, despite being a member.

We are proud of the partnership with municipalities. We are proud of our partnerships with governments. Every single day, more and more projects begin, more and more jobs are created. We announced a major $60 million project in the member's own city just yesterday, and jobs are already being started today.

Olympic Winter GamesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government has supported all aspects of the Olympics, from the torch relay to our athletes, but at every turn the Liberal Party has attempted to politicize the games.

Will the Minister of State for Sport please share with the House the Liberals' latest attempts to make the games about them and not about the athletes?

Olympic Winter GamesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of State (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the member for his unwavering support for our athletes.

I am holding an email from the official spokesperson for the Liberal Party, intended for its own members. It starts out by saying, “The Liberal Party must capitalize on the positive publicity”.

I want to remind the member that this is not about parties. It is not about politics. It is about our athletes who have worked and trained for decades for this golden moment to win that gold medal.

Even worse, the memo goes on to raise a number of what they perceive to be negative talking points. Nowhere does it mention the great work that our athletes are doing, how hard they are training and to get behind them.

This is about Canada. This is about our athletes. Let us all cheer them as they go for gold.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago we learned that the Conservative government will kill the point of sale exemption for first nations.

So, when it comes to introducing the HST, some people get the carrot and some get the stick. The province of Ontario is getting a $4 billion carrot and first nations in Ontario are getting the short end of the stick, despite their treaty right to tax exemption.

Why is the government abandoning long-established treaty rights just to make a cash grab from some of Canada's poorest and most vulnerable?

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, once again this government stands steadfastly behind its provinces and their ability to make their own decisions.

I would encourage the hon. member to speak to her government officials.

Our government believes in lowering taxes, unlike that party opposite. We have cut over 100 taxes despite the fact that the NDP members have voted against every one of those tax cuts.

We cut the GST from 7% to 5%. They voted against that both times. We will take no lessons on taxes from that party.

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, for most people in northern Ontario, HST is simply a new gas tax.

In Parry Sound today, gas without HST is 98.9¢ a litre, with HST, $1.07 a litre; in Sioux Lookout it is $1.05 without HST and $1.14 with HST; in New Liskeard it is $1.04 without HST and $1.13 with HST.

Why does the government and in fact why do Liberal MPs want to punish their constituents with this new gas tax? Why are they voting to enable HST in Ontario?

Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we on this side actually do respect provincial autonomy.

We have some very interesting quotes. I would like to read one from the leader of the New Democratic Party:

Tax cuts...have no basis in terms of moving the economy forward...are not a wise choice....

That is the leader of the official New Democratic Party who stands in the House every day and talks about taxes, but the NDP members continue to fight against any tax cut that we put forward to help Canadians.

Labour RelationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, since an agreement between CN and the Teamsters appears to have just been reached, can the minister confirm this news? Does she plan to go ahead with the back to work legislation?

Also, can she tell us what she plans to do now about the striking museum workers?

Labour RelationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, yes, I can confirm that we just received word from CN and Teamsters that they have signed an agreement.

If I do have any time left, I would like to thank the opposition labour critics and the opposition parties who worked very hard with the government to apply pressure to both sides to reach this agreement.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, in its fourth report, the government reiterated that infrastructure projects not approved by January 29, 2010, will not be funded by the infrastructure stimulus fund.

The Fédération québécoise des municipalités and the Union des municipalités du Québec fear that many infrastructure projects in Quebec will not be funded if the federal government insists on maintaining these arbitrary deadlines.

Given that the federal government is partially responsible for the delays, and in order to prevent abuses, does the government plan to show some flexibility?