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House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development says that 80% of unemployed workers receive benefits, but that is not true. The following figures are from the department's own website. In 2006, only 46% of all unemployed people received benefits, and only 68% of all those who paid into the plan received employment insurance. The 80% of claimants the minister is referring to are the only unemployed people who meet the very strict criteria set by the Liberals.

How can the minister continue to deny these figures?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the latest figures clearly show that more than 80% of people who have paid for employment insurance receive benefits.

We are working to help Canadians who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. We are providing the benefits to them. The system automatically adjusts to make it easier for them to get the benefits to which they are entitled. We are ensuring that they are getting those benefits as quickly as possible.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should read her own website.

In November, December and January, 234,000 people lost their jobs, but only 74,200 people applied for benefits. What these figures show is that 68% of unemployed workers will not receive benefits.

Given these figures, how can the minister claim that the current system is an adequate way to address the crisis?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately these are very difficult times for a great many people across the country. We are working with companies to avoid layoffs. That is why we have expanded the working-sharing program to preserve jobs. As some people have told me, they would rather take one day of EI benefits so they can keep working with their company than to be laid off permanently. We are working with employers and employees to ensure those options are there for people.

Let us not forget that we are also creating new jobs through our $12 billion in infrastructure. We are creating jobs so people do not need to apply for EI.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

March 25th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the government's failure to come to the assistance of the CBC has led to the elimination of 800 full-time jobs. By refusing to provide the corporation with financial flexibility, the minister has contributed to this disastrous situation.

In these hard times, will the minister not agree that his role consists in providing public institutions with the resources needed to retain jobs rather than helping, through his insensitivity, to abolish them?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said, announcements like this are never easy on workers or their families. Let us be clear, however, very clear: year after year our government has increased the CBC budget, that is from early 2006 to the present. We have raised the CBC budget.

The Bloc Québécois is talking about the 2009-10 budget, our budget for this year. We again increased the CBC budget. The Bloc Québécois voted against it. We made campaign promises and we kept those promises. We are delivering the goods to the CBC.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's attitude is paradoxical to say the least. While he is saying he is ready to help out private broadcasters and media, he is abandoning the CBC to its fate.

How can the minister justify his inflexibility toward the public sector and his openness to the private sector? Are we to see this unrelenting attack on the CBC as more fallout from his reform ideology?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the facts speak for themselves. We have increased the CBC budget year after year, and year after year the Bloc Québécois have been the ones voting against it.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In answer to a question yesterday, the minister said that he is waiting for President Obama's policy on Afghanistan. That means that Ottawa's policy, Canada's policy, is to be determined by Washington. Does the minister realize that?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is a strange way for the member and everyone in his party to see things. They supported a resolution in this House outlining six priorities for the government's action in Afghanistan.

We are delivering the goods. We are implementing those priorities.

I can assure the member that, if there are any changes to the policy, he and all members of Parliament will be informed, but in the meantime, we will carry on with our work.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister gave the very clear impression yesterday that before the Government of Canada would have a policy, it was waiting for direction from Washington. The minister has lost his battle to have a special envoy. When he was in Europe, he said that he thought a special envoy was a good idea. The minister of state said that he thought it was a bad idea. Apparently the Prime Minister agreed with the minister of state and not with his Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Who is going to be our special envoy? Richard Holbrooke.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if I recall correctly, my colleague's question yesterday dealt with the meeting on March 31 in The Hague. I told him at the moment that the information we had was the Americans would release their position. I understand President Obama will release that position.

However, a year ago in the House, we determined what our policy was, and that is exactly what we are doing. We are building schools. We are building the Dahla Dam. We are helping that country build a secure environment so it can proceed with the elections. Why do—

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Kings—Hants.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister was unable to answer my question yesterday concerning the conference sponsored by his department, at which Canadian entrepreneurs were told that if they want venture capital, they should move to the United States.

Can the minister tell us why the government wants to send our innovators to the United States?

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, one of the many things we are doing to enhance our global commerce strategy is having our trade commissioners, of which there are about 960 around the world, offer sessions and seminars, pulling people together and networking.

The hon. member took a comment from a blogster who had heard from someone who was at one of the sessions that someone there was quite properly encouraging investment, saying “here is a way you might want to consider investing”. One person was offering one option. That camouflaged as research is no way to help people who are looking for work. The member should clean up—

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Kings—Hants.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the only person ignoring the facts is the minister. Yesterday he thought that this was an EDC file. It is not unless EDC stands for endorsing Delaware corporations.

The fact is last week his department held these sessions, where Canadian IT entrepreneurs were told that if they wanted venture capital, they should incorporate in Delaware and move to the United States.

Why is the Conservative government giving up on Canada's venture capital industry and why is it sending Canada's best and brightest to the United States instead of supporting venture capital here in Canada?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, at some time he should admit the fact that he took the information from one blogster who was commenting on one person who was offering investment opportunity. Through the work of EDC, serving over 8,600 customers alone, $85 billion of financial activity was facilitated. This year alone there has been $9.6 billion of financial activity with more than 200 new customers.

Today 575,000 people are working because of the efforts of EDC, and that will continue.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dona Cadman Conservative Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party of Canada campaigned on a promise to restrict courts from giving extra credit for pretrial custody. Our government believes that the credit for time served before the trial should be restricted.

At a federal, provincial and territorial meeting of justice ministers, the minister committed to working on this issue. If news reports are right, it looks like the minister will deliver on this promise.

Could the Minister of Justice confirm his intention to limit credit for time served?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that I have instructed officials to draft legislation that, when introduced into the House and if passed, will finally get rid of the double and triple credit system that is applied in our country when convicts are convicted. It is finally time to get rid of that.

This is one of the things on which this party has run. It is an important plank and I encourage members of the opposition, especially those born-again Liberal crime fighters, to get behind this important legislation and stand up for the issues that affect ordinary Canadians.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, massive cuts to CBC funding are the result of this government's conservative ideology. The minister refused to work with the CBC. As a result, 800 jobs were lost and local, regional and national services will be scaled back. This is the Reform Party's revenge.

Why is the minister attacking the rural and francophone communities that need local service from the CBC?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. We have increased funding for CBC. We made a very specific campaign promise to either maintain or increase funding for the CBC, and that is exactly what we have done.

Whether we are talking about the CBC, agriculture, justice, defence or the economy, our Conservative government was elected in 2006 because the Liberals failed. We were re-elected in 2008 because we have delivered for Canadians.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, he is sitting on $60 million of appropriations, while it is starting to shut out the lights in the regional bureaus. Those are the facts, but this is typical of the kind of games he has played around CBC. He has misrepresented its request for bridge financing. He has played games with its request for a reasonable plan to get through this. The results are now massive job losses across our regions.

Why will he not just be honest and say he is using the pretext of the economic downturn to attack the public broadcaster because his government and his base have been fundamentally and ideologically opposed to public broadcasting from the beginning?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, again, that is ridiculous. We have increased funding and support for the CBC. We have maintained our campaign commitment.

The member talks about playing games. In the budget this year, we have increased the budget to the CBC to a record level of $1.1 billion. Every year we have been in office, we have increased funding for the CBC. Every year we have been in office, the NDP has voted against those budgets to increase funding for the CBC. Now he says that he wants us to increase funding for the CBC. If we did that, he would vote against it again.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I asked him about the right to proceed in French before the IRB in Montreal, the minister answered that “the government obviously expects all agencies and boards to comply with the letter and spirit of the Official Languages Act”. Yet a month later, the Canada Border Services Agency has written a letter in which it categorically refuses to translate the documents pertaining to the case in question into French.

How can the minister explain such a disconnect between what he has said and his government's behaviour?