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House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has now overseen the largest single monthly job loss in Canadian history, 129,000 jobs lost in January alone. That makes one-quarter of a million jobs lost in the last 90 days. That means we have lost more jobs in the last three months than the government's so-called stimulus package is supposed to create over the next two years.

Will the Prime Minister finally admit that the stimulus package that has been put together is not going to do near enough for the vulnerable who are being left behind, to protect the jobs of today and to create the ones we need for tomorrow?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member and his party had their way, there would be nothing flowing to Canadians. It is an embarrassment that we share the House with two parties that refuse to act when they are given the opportunity. We had the broadest consultation ever across the country. The NDP did not deliver one written piece of advice whatsoever. Now its members have the audacity to say that they will vote against it.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly the government was not listening to the people who were being thrown out of work when it came back with its stimulus package. With one-quarter of a million Canadians thrown out of work just in the last three months, far too many of them are unable to get the help that they need. Let me quote Ken Georgetti of the Labour Congress, who said that more 60% of the unemployed were not able to get benefits prior to this budget and they still would not be able to get benefits now.

The fact is the government is not taking the action for the people who need it the most. Will the Prime Minister finally acknowledge that he has to allow more people to get the help that the EI system should be giving them and their families right now?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member really should cite somebody who has his facts accurate. In fact, over 80% of those who pay EI premiums are able to collect on them, and we are working hard to ensure they get even more benefit. That is why in our economic action plan we are extending beyond the regular benefits an extra five weeks of benefits for the next two years. That is why we are extending the work sharing program, so people can keep working.

We are taking action to provide training so people can get the jobs of the future. We are getting it done. NDP members are trying to stop it.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, people need help, and they need it now. In January, 129,000 people lost their jobs, and he and his government are at the helm. Not only do 60% of workers who lose their jobs not have access to employment insurance, but they have to wait at least two weeks to get help. It is unfair.

Even though he is refusing to help more people, will the Prime Minister at least agree to help the rest by eliminating the two-week waiting period now?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are the ones who want to take care of people who have been laid off. That is why, after holding consultations across Canada, we are providing an extra five weeks of employment insurance benefits. The NDP does not want any part of that. It is asking for two weeks at the beginning. We are offering five weeks. Why will he not take yes for an answer?

The EconomyOral Questions

February 9th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in December, the number of personal bankruptcies had risen by 50% as compared to last year, this, just after the government failed to provide support to Canadians in its fall economic update. Just back in November, the Prime Minister kept saying that the books were balanced because Canada was shielded from the global economic turmoil.

How could he be so blind to the economic plight of Canadians?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the economic statement of the fall of 2007 addressed a lot of those issues. We provided tax cuts to Canadians, individuals and businesses, which have put them in a much better position to be able to withstand the economic downturn.

As much as members of the opposition would like to suggest that they knew what was coming, they knew nothing more about what was coming than anybody did. This was no fault of Canada, but we have been proactively getting Canadians prepared for these challenges.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite government spin, the finance minister was clearly contradicted by the Prime Minister, whose message was clear: the budget is it, no more measures.

Yesterday the head of the IMF said that the United States, Japan and Europe were now in depression.

Will this chilling statement finally convince the government to speak with one voice at this time of deepening economic peril?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is very troubling to hear the glee in the voice of a member of Parliament talking about tough economic times for Canadians.

This is a very serious matter. If the hon. members of the House would understand how important it is when one Canadian loses one's job, we need to get on with the job handed to us. We have an economic plan in place. I would encourage all hon. members, instead of ramping up the rhetoric, to ramp up the parliamentary process and get the budget bill passed.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, my home province of B.C. lost 68,000 full time jobs last month, the worse drop in 30 years and proportionately higher than anywhere else in Canada: Tembec, 1,000 jobs gone; Teck Cominco, 400 jobs gone; Western Canadian Coal Corporation, hundreds of jobs gone.

Thousands of men, women and their families have lost their jobs and are in danger of losing their homes and their life savings.

I ask the Prime Minister to stand in his place, look Canadians in the eye and tell them what he is doing for them.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the current worldwide global recession has definitely had a very serious impact on Canadians right across the country, not just in the member's riding.

That is why our economic action plan takes several steps forward to ease the credit so people can get the financing they need to keep their houses or even to buy new ones. We are stimulating the economy by creating jobs, through infrastructure, through the development of social housing to help the most vulnerable. We are expanding our EI program to help those most in need.

We are taking a lot of steps so Canadians can cope better with this worldwide recession.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is not my riding; it is my province and my country.

There is a real cost and real suffering. Tembec's sawmill in Chetwynd shut down a week ago. Canfor just announced a temporary closure of several mills.

It is beyond numbers, it is beyond statistics, it is beyond words. It is about the men and women and their families who have lost their jobs and are in danger of losing whatever they have earned all of their lives.

I ask the Prime Minister to stand in his place and say what is he doing for them.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to help Canadians who are suffering through global recession. We are expanding our work sharing program so they do not have to lose their jobs. We are expanding, in quantities never done before, training available to help those unfortunately who lose their jobs so they are prepared to take the jobs of the future so they can support their families, take it home and put it on the table for them.

We are providing them with a lot of extra support in terms of credit availability and education so they can deal with this recession and come out stronger at the end of it.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 2009 budget implementation bill will increase foreign ownership limits on Air Canada stock from 25% to 49%. Furthermore, it will allow acquisition projects valued at under $1 billion to be exempt from verification by the minister.

How can the Minister of Industry support the blind deregulation that is being proposed when we see the drastic results of such an approach in the United States?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Canadian trade must remain competitive in today's global economy. That is a fact. The changes proposed in this bill will encourage new investments from abroad and will ensure that those investments do not pose a threat to national security. It is a good bill and I encourage all members to support it.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the case of the Rio Tinto acquisition of Alcan, the government made the mistake of not demanding any conditions.

Is the minister aware that by raising the limit for automatic review as set out in the budget implementation bill, he is pushing deregulation a little further by taking away all possibility of intervention?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, no, there are many opportunities in the investment process. Part of this bill allows the opportunity to review this situation. I can also say that it is important to have investments from within Canada as well as from abroad. In this global economic crisis, it is very important to have investments.

Now more than ever we need these investments in this country. That is what the bill is designed to do.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ontario intends to harmonize its sales tax with the federal GST. When New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador harmonized their taxes, the federal government provided compensation. It refused to do so for Quebec, thereby adopting a double standard.

Does the minister intend to financially compensate the province of Ontario if it harmonizes its sales tax with the federal GST?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, discussions take place on a regular basis between the provinces and the Canada Revenue Agency, which collects these taxes. I certainly do not wish to provide advance information about matters under discussion.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, no matter what the minister's future decision with respect to Ontario, will he commit to treating Quebec fairly and providing retroactive compensation for harmonizing its sales tax with the federal GST between 1992 and 1994?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note that the member is also concerned with what is happening in the other provinces. It is interesting and also unusual to note their concern for the collective good because generally they only look out for Quebec and are not concerned with what is fair for the other provinces.

Discussions with Ontario are ongoing and we shall see what happens next.

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, food safety is of the highest concern to Canadians, yet last week the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food defended the fact that a new poultry inspection system reduces the federal inspection agency's role in poultry rejection to the sidelines. In fact, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is taking the government to court for violating its own meat inspection regulations.

Will the minister now admit that privatization of food inspection is rapidly becoming government policy and Canadians are the losers?

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of Canadians is always a number one priority for our government.

There are three points I would like to bring up. First, this is a pilot program that was originated under the Liberals in 2004. Second, the government will not implement this program unless it is scientifically proven to improve food safety. Third, under this government, Canada has never had more veterinarians doing more inspections.

Food SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, food safety is not an issue for government spin.

Twenty people died as a result of listeriosis. In the United States eight people died because of salmonella in peanuts and some of that food ended up on Canadian store shelves. The Auditor General last week found shortcomings with the inspection agency on inspections at the border.

When is the government going to stop undermining our food inspection system and stop putting political spin on what it is doing? When is it going to take Canadian food safety seriously and do something?