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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judges.

Topics

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, everyone in the Liberal Party knows it would be idiotic to raise taxes in the middle of a recession.

In the budget, the government promised to create or save 190,000 jobs over two years, but Canada's economy has lost over 200,000 jobs in January and February of this year. The government's goal is not nearly enough.

Why did the government not even mention that goal in its quarterly report? Has it abandoned Canada's unemployed workers?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as members know, the difference between the Liberal opposition and the government is that we have an economic action plan. All we hear from the opposition is criticism and talking down the Canadian economy. That is not what Canada needs now.

We need to pull together as Canadians to comfort those and help those hardest hit by the recession, and to build for the future. That is exactly what our economic action plan does. We are implementing it. We are building Canada's future.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, again and again, the government refuses to answer questions about its disappearing 190,000 job target. The cornerstone of the budget was to stimulate the economy and protect jobs, but it will not even tell Canadians where it stands on the 190,000 job target.

I ask the minister again. Does he stand by that 190,000 job target? Has he abandoned it? Has he given up? Does he care? Canadians deserve answers to these questions.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is rich. This is from the party that did not even understand that if it did not pass the budget promptly, employment insurance would not have been available. The Liberals did not even understand that until we raised it in the House a couple of weeks ago. Then, they did the flip-flop and told the senators that they had better pass the bill, which the Liberal senators did.

We are on track. This is a difficult time. There is a global recession. However, we have a plan to help Canadians, which is more than I can say for the members opposite.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec Forest Industry Council has received a very clear legal opinion about loan guarantees to forestry companies: they are legal, period. Yet the Prime Minister is stubbornly refusing to face facts. Again last week, hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the office of the member for Jonquière—Alma, demanding a support program for the forestry industry.

Instead of stubbornly denying the legality of loan guarantees, will the Prime Minister admit he was wrong and immediately provide loan guarantees for the forestry industry?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 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, as we said recently, the issue of the loan guarantees provided by Investissement Québec and Ontario is currently in arbitration. We will therefore not comment any further here.

The legal opinion my colleague just referred to has, of course, been turned over to the government's legal counsel, and they are examining it. We will have their decision at a later date.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is litigation involving Canada and the United States. Canada is paying lawyers to defend its case, while the Prime Minister and his minister are contradicting the lawyers they themselves are paying.

Is it not time to stop sabotaging the work of the lawyers who are defending Canada in the court in London and start defending Canadian and Quebec firms?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc continues to be concerned about lawyers, but we are concerned about workers. That is why Export Development Canada is working with more than 90% of forestry companies. We will keep on working with companies in order to help them.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the lack of liquidity is pervasive and does not apply just to businesses. Workers, and especially unemployed workers, are also affected. The employment insurance plan must be improved, as demonstrators in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area called for last week.

What is this government waiting for to improve employment insurance so that the unemployed can weather the storm and stimulate the Quebec economy?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I assure you that we are looking after the unemployed throughout Canada. That is why, in our economic action plan, we expanded our program for older workers. That is why we increased training. That is why we improved so many programs to help the workers he is talking about.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the time it takes to process an application continues to increase, and in some cases has reached about 55 days. After a certain period, and until the problem is solved, should the government perhaps pay interest to the unemployed who experience such delays?

If this measure is appropriate for income tax, should it not apply to the unemployed as well?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

It is unfortunate but true that more people are unemployed than before. That is why we have taken steps to hire hundreds of employees to speed up payment of employment insurance benefits and why we have increased automation to provide assistance more quickly, so they can receive the benefits they deserve.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in February alone, 9 of the 10 economic indicators in the composite index of economic indicators declined.

That means real job losses for real people. Since coming to power, the Prime Minister has presided over the loss of 300,000 jobs in Canada—300,000 family tragedies.

Will the Prime Minister take off his rose-coloured glasses and recognize that the situation is getting worse, not better?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada has experienced significant job losses. This government is very concerned, and that is why we have included measures in our economic action plan.

What people are having a hard time understanding is why the New Democratic Party votes against helping the unemployed and Canadian workers.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, real people are losing real jobs, yet Canada is not seen as part of the global solution here. We see Great Britain ranking Canada in the lower tier of the G20 countries. Meanwhile, in February housing and stock markets posted the largest declines, manufacturing jobs were lost in increasing numbers, and there are extensive shutdowns in the auto industry.

Why is the Prime Minister in such a state of denial about this? Has the blank cheque given to him by the leader of the Liberal Party blinded him so much that he cannot see the 300,000 people who are out of work?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the only state of denial around here is the leader of the NDP. No matter what Parliament wants to do for Canadians to help the economy, to help embattled sectors, to help unemployed families, all this leader wants to do is oppose everything. Without even reading it, he says he is going to oppose everything, no matter what is in it. That is an irresponsible attitude and Canadians understand that.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with 300,000 jobs lost, here is what we proposed in this House before we rose and which was adopted by this House: a mandate for this government to fix employment insurance, eliminate the two week waiting period, adjust the minimum to qualify, include self-employed workers, increase the wage replacement rate, and provide more training.

There are tens of thousands of hard-working Canadians who play by the rules and work hard, and now they find themselves out of work. They turn to get money from the EI fund that they have paid into for decades on the ends of their pay stubs, and the door is slammed in their faces.

Will the Prime Minister change the rules so people can get some--

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government brought in five additional weeks for unemployed Canadian workers. This government froze EI premiums. This government brought in billions of dollars for additional training for unemployed workers, both those eligible for EI and those not eligible for EI. This government has added additional resources to make sure that EI claims can be processed more efficiently, and every single time, we can count on the NDP to stand up against the unemployed and vote against these things. It is disgraceful.

The NDP used to stand for something. Now it is just against everything.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, this past week we met with 300 auto workers in Cape Breton who just lost their jobs. They are not receiving EI benefits yet and therefore they are not eligible for training assistance. The minister must realize that the current EI system is not working for them. These are hard times but these workers are facing hardships.

Will the minister waive the rule requiring workers to be on EI in order to get training assistance?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, obviously the hon. member did not read the budget, which he supported. Within that budget is an additional $500 million targeted at helping those very workers who do not qualify to help them get the training they need to qualify for the jobs of tomorrow.

This money and assistance is available to those who are not EI eligible, specifically because those people need and deserve our help too.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, unless they are on their severance and they do qualify but not yet, then they do not get the job training.

Last December, Mrs. Pacquet, who lives in my riding, was laid off. She waited 84 days for her first employment insurance cheque. She had a hard time putting food on the table for her family. But the government carries on singing the same tune, saying that everything is fine and there is no problem. People are desperate.

When will the Conservatives do something to minimize delays so that people can get their employment insurance—

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, those facts are wrong.

I just made it very clear that there are $500 million specifically in our economic action plan to help those who do not qualify for EI.

As far as processing, we are getting the job done. We have hired several hundred people back into EI to get the processing done quickly. We are increasing computerization because we want these people to get their benefits just as quickly as possible.

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

March 23rd, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of State for Science and Technology falsely claims that the Conservatives have invested $5.1 billion in science, technology and innovation in budget 2009. We know that $2 billion of that funding is actually for bricks and mortar infrastructure projects that do nothing to directly support scientists.

Why do the Conservatives insist on misleading Canadians about science and research?