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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat that it is a pilot project established by the previous government. Food safety is our primary concern. The health of Canadians comes first for us and we will naturally continue with that approach.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is more clear than ever that the government is betraying workers who are losing their jobs. Economists, labour leaders and social policy groups called for dramatic and immediate action on EI. The government chose not to increase access nor to speed up payment.

The minister said she does not want to make EI too lucrative. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian who manages to qualify for benefits receives $331 a week. Could the minister tell us at exactly what dollar level does EI become too lucrative?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, after our consultations, we followed up on what Canadians asked us for. They asked us for help in getting trained for new jobs, jobs that are going to last a long time. That is why we are making substantial investments in training and retraining so that people will have jobs in the health care sector and other areas that are going to last a long time.

We are also adding five weeks of benefits for those who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. We are there for Canadians.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, even the conservative C.D. Howe Institute said that it is surprising the government could not find ways to ease access for laid-off workers.

It seems that everybody except the government sees that EI is critical for families right now, and it is the perfect stimulus for the economy as well as the unemployed.

When will those out of touch Conservatives respond to the needs of our workers who are on EI not because it is lucrative or because they want to be, but because they need it to feed their families in a difficult time? When will the minister stop changing the subject, stop making excuses, and start doing something for Canadian workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, almost a third of the initiatives in our economic action plan are to help workers get back to work. They are also to help them keep the jobs that they already have by expanding our work sharing program. We are providing training, not just for those who are on EI but also those who have been out of the workplace for a long time, such as parents, seniors and the self-employed.

We are expanding the benefits and making it more easily available through a system that works. We are getting the job done. They need to support it so we can get those benefits delivered to Canadians.

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the President of the Treasury Board misled the House by suggesting a resemblance between Manitoba and the Conservative government on pay equity.

The fact is that the Manitoba government pioneered pay equity. The Conservative government is killing it. It is not only eliminating the right of women to seek justice before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, it is also redefining pay equity out of existence.

What does the government have against paying women what they are worth?

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, what does the member have against women that she would make them wait for 15 years in order to resolve a pay equity complaint? It is a disgrace.

In Manitoba, in Ontario, in Quebec and in fact the Liberal task force in 2004 said that we need a proactive mechanism in order to resolve these complaints quickly. That is what we are doing. We are getting the job done.

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board is perpetrating a fraud on this House and the people of Canada. It is an insult to women everywhere.

The Manitoba NDP government brought in pay equity way back in 1985, first in the public sector and then began implementing it in school divisions, municipalities, health care facilities and the private sector. Any woman at any time can take a complaint on pay equity to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

When will the government stop its macho politics and stop turning the clock back on women's rights in this country?

Pay EquityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the fact that the member shouts and yells from the other end of the House does not change the facts. The fact is that we need a mechanism to ensure we resolve these complaints in an equitable and a quick way.

I was the legal counsel for the Manitoba government in 1986 when we passed that legislation. I understand what that legislation says and I understand what we are doing here today.

I am proud to be a part of a government that puts the interests of women ahead of lawyers.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the NDP proposed to reintroduce a climate change bill that would see Canada abandon our shared targets with the United States. This would put in jeopardy our plan for a joint North American climate change strategy.

Could the Minister of the Environment comment on how the bill would adversely affect the global fight against climate change?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let me compliment my friend on his reasoned language and on his chairmanship of the environment committee of the House.

The NDP bill would have Canada diverge dramatically from the common targets that our government has put forward and that President Obama has put forward. The NDP would lead us down a path toward isolation that would exacerbate the economic downturn.

The NDP clearly does not get it. Everyone agrees that we need climate change policies that are measured to work together in partnership with other members of the international community.

For our part, we will continue to work with the new U.S. administration on this task. I encourage opposition parties to do the same.

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, with 6,000 child care spaces expected to close in Toronto, child care workers are concerned about their jobs. The waiting lists for spaces are over two years long. Children currently in those spaces will soon have nowhere to go. Where will that leave their parents?

Because the Conservatives will not fund child care, it becomes a vicious circle of job losses. At a time when we should be creating jobs, why is the government actually causing more jobs to be lost?

Human ResourcesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, this is the government that has done three times as much for early learning and child care as the previous Liberal government ever did. We brought in the universal child care benefit. We are transferring $250 million to the provinces through the social transfer for the funding of the creation of child care spaces.

The hon. member should realize that the creation of child care spaces is the jurisdiction of the provinces. We are helping them do that and that funding is increasing.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Quebec City area implied that the water system in Shannon would be rebuilt with money from the infrastructure program.

Are we to understand that she intends to dip shamelessly into the infrastructure envelope and use funding that could go to other projects in order to clean up the contaminated water table, for which the army bears sole responsibility?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member for Québec has made two things very clear here today. First, she is not concerned about the supply of drinking water, but about a constitutional and jurisdictional issue. Second, she voted against our economic action plan, which includes important infrastructure measures.

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Swiss-based Xstrata wanted to buy Canadian-based Falconbridge, it had to commit to no layoffs for three years. The three years are not up and yet 700 workers are being laid off. This is a clear violation of the agreement and another reason why so many Canadians are concerned with foreign takeovers.

The minister has an obligation to ensure that Xstrata upholds this agreement and he has the authority to say no to these layoffs. Will the minister truly stand up for Sudbury families and say no to these illegal layoffs?

Mining IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, obviously we are disappointed with these layoffs. We feel for the families in Sudbury and the surrounding region who are affected by them. The member knows or should know that these are challenging times for mining companies.

As a result of our efforts over the weekend, Xstrata is committed to investing between $290 million and $390 million in the Sudbury area over the next two years. That is standing up for Sudbury.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

February 10th, 2009 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, for some time now, the municipality of Shannon has been dealing with a TCE contamination issue in many of its drinking water wells. Nobody can deny that this is a serious problem.

The residents who have to cope with this problem now get their water from the water supply system on the Valcartier military base.

Can the minister responsible for the Quebec City region tell us what the government has done to fix this problem?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his compassion for the people of Shannon.

I have had many opportunities to say that this issue is a priority for our government. Today, I am pleased to announce that our government will invest $13.3 million in building new permanent water supply facilities for the people of Shannon.

Once again, the Conservative government is delivering concrete results to the people of the greater Quebec City region, but what are the member for Québec and the Bloc members doing? Nothing.

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

There is a bias in the tax system against some seniors but not others earning the same level of income. The OAS clawback kicks in faster for those seniors whose income is tilted more toward dividends than toward interest or other sources of income.

Is the minister aware of this bias and, if so, will he correct it, or does he wish to encourage seniors to sell their stocks? Will the minister synchronize the tax system and treat all seniors equally or does he think this is a good time to sell as opposed to a good time to buy, as the Prime Minister said?

TaxationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member opposite know, there is provision in the budget and in the budget bill to make a 25% one time change for 2008 in transfers outside of the RRIF. That takes into recognition the diminution in markets during 2008.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, we now learn that in the 2008 federal election up to 450,000 Canadians were denied their right to vote. Senior citizens, students and first nations people were arbitrarily disenfranchised, thanks to the government's disastrous electoral identification legislation.

However, the Conservatives did not just blow it once, they blew it twice and, in both cases, they ridiculed witnesses, ignored evidence and relied on those twin pillars of conservativism, which are indifference and incompetence. The result is that numerous close races may have been compromised.

What steps will the government take to redress and to ensure that every Canadian who has the right to vote is able to vote?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to be heard and all Canadians will be heard through the voting process, which is exactly what this government has ensured by ensuring there is integrity in the voting system. All party support for our colleagues on the committee on procedure and House affairs was followed through on by this government. Perhaps they are sad that they only get one vote but everyone gets one. We are pleased to ensure that our country remains strong, democratic and free.

The House resumed from February 5 consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion--Canada-United States RelationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. It being 3:02 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, February 5, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Kings—Hants relating to the business of supply.

The hon. member for Cape Breton--Canso is rising on a point of order.