This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghan.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in terms of accountability, these Conservatives ignore the Auditor General's advice and refuse to tell Canadians, even in the broadest terms, how they propose to spend $3 billion of taxpayers' money. Then they boycott the Parliamentary Budget Officer and tell Canadians they will only get the information that the Conservatives want them to get.

Given that this probationary Prime Minister used to dress himself up as God's gift to accountability, is there no limit to his double standard?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, is there no limit to that member's indignity? He is standing ferociously, criticizing something for which he voted in favour. He voted in favour of the $3 billion. Apparently, he did not know that happened already.

Now he is standing up to criticize that very expenditure. We, on this side of the House, have passed the economic action plan to help us get through these difficult times by lowering taxes, creating jobs, building roads, bridges, hockey arenas, and other important projects.

We are getting the job done. He should study those results in the library.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 2001 the CBC has received a $60 million fund dedicated to Canadian programming. As of today, we still do not know if the CBC will get this funding for the next fiscal year. There is no confirmation from the government, so we should be worried.

If the answer is no, more people will lose their jobs. Will the government tell the CBC today, right now, if it will get that funding, or will it just say, “We don't care. Let more Canadians lose their jobs”?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we have already communicated to the CBC that it will be receiving its full allocation, a record amount from this Conservative government.

Let us look at the Liberal record for losing jobs at the CBC. When the Liberals ran for office, they said, “Finally, a Liberal government will be committed to stable multiyear financing for...the CBC”.

Then what happened next--

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The Minister of Canadian Heritage has the floor.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

That is what they promised, Mr. Speaker, and that is how they applauded during the campaign, but what did they do in government? They cut the CBC by $414 million. They cut 4,000 jobs at the CBC.

So they talk a good game on the CBC. They cut them by $400 million and cut 4,000 jobs. Shame on them.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government refused to loan money to the CBC, and now 800 people are losing their jobs. That number could increase significantly if the CBC does not sell $125 million worth of assets. However, selling assets requires government authorization.

Will the government say yes, or will it just close that door and say, “to hell with Canadian content, to hell with the regions, to hell with francophones, and to hell with the CBC“?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, where was this member's passion for the CBC when it was the Liberals cutting the CBC by $400 million? Where was this Liberal member and his passion when the Liberals cut the CBC by 4,000 jobs?

We have increased funding for the CBC. They cut it.

Not only that, here is what one person said:

I see our efforts as a struggle against the...assumption by existing public broadcasters, including CBC, that their audiences are fools who can't think for themselves.

Who said that? The leader of the Liberal Party.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Kevin Page, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, declared that the federal deficit will be much greater than the government anticipated. He also indicated that the government's recovery plan is inadequate given the deepening of the economic crisis.

Will the Prime Minister remove his rose-coloured glasses and face the economic reality by providing financial assistance to sectors that he has completely ignored to date, such as the manufacturing and forestry industries, as well as the cultural sector, including the CBC?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Don Drummond, the economist at the Toronto-Dominion Bank, said the other day that to its credit in January 2009 the government did not believe the average of private sector forecasts and revised the forecast down.

That is indeed what we did in the budget on January 27. We are going to get different views from different economists at different times about the economy. We are comfortable with the reality which the Liberals opposite supported, that we assumed growth at a lower rate than the average of the economists in January.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has aggravated the crisis with his ideologically driven decision not to help the CBC, resulting in the direct loss of 800 jobs, not to mention the fact that every job lost at the CBC represents three jobs lost in private production companies. All that our public broadcaster was asking for was a simple cash advance.

Will thePrime Minister admit that he made an ideological decision with grave economic consequences?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is untrue and Hubert Lacroix himself, the CBC president, said today in Montreal that jobs would have been lost even if the government had loaned the CBC $125 million. That is not a solution to the problems at the CBC.

All the public and private broadcasters have seen their advertising revenues decline. It is a real problem for them. All that the government can do is increase its investment, and that is what we have done: an unprecedented $1.1 billion for the CBC this year.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the current downturn in its advertising revenues, the CBC has actually seen a decline in its budget in real terms over the last 20 years, regardless of what the minister says. The refusal by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages to be flexible will result in the loss, both directly and indirectly, of 3,200 jobs in the television industry, according to the president and CEO of the CBC, Hubert Lacroix.

Does the minister realize that in times of economic crisis, we need a government that creates jobs and not one that causes them to be lost?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, does she realize that what she is telling the House is totally false? Hubert Lacroix, the president and CEO of the CBC, said today in Montreal that even if there had been an additional grant of $125 million, jobs still would have been lost. That is what he said in his speech.

If she is in favour of the CBC, which is an important institution to Canadians and Quebeckers, she should vote for our budget, which provides $1.1 billion for the CBC, an amount that is totally unprecedented in Canadian history.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the president and CEO of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation also said there would have been fewer job losses if they had received government assistance.

According to everyone involved, the cuts at the CBC will have devastating effects on the quality of its programming and will deprive the regions of an essential source of information by eliminating the local noon-hour broadcasts.

Does the minister think it is very smart to aggravate the problems the regions are already experiencing for purely ideological reasons by refusing to be more flexible toward the CBC?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, our government has increased the CBC’s funding every year in every budget.

Hubert Lacroix, the CBC president and CEO, also said he was convinced that the CBC will emerge from this situation in a strong position if it adheres to its long-term strategic priorities, as already approved by its board.

We are assuming our responsibilities and making the investments we promised in our election campaign. We are keeping our promises.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

March 26th, 2009 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians who lose jobs need help, not half-truths. Yesterday the minister stated that 80% of people who lost their jobs and had contributed to EI would be eligible for benefits.

Yet Statistics Canada tells us that, in fact, only 43% of people who lose their jobs are eligible.

Given that reality, will the government heed the wishes of Parliament and the Conference Board and eliminate the two week penalty and improve access to employment insurance?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to use figures responsibly. He is liable to add to the public's confusion because what he said does not reflect reality.

The reality is this. According to our figures and an employment insurance coverage survey, more than 82% of Canadians, who paid into employment insurance, are able to get the benefits. For those people, we are very pleased that our economic action plan is providing an additional five weeks of benefits at the end, just as Canadians asked for.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is playing word games when Canadian families have real needs. Instead of talking in theory about the number of people paying into EI who would be admissible, will she look at the facts as presented by Statistics Canada?

According to StatsCan, of the 300,000 people who have lost their jobs since the election, only four out of ten workers have qualified for EI. Parliament has spoken and called upon the government to reform employment insurance. Today, the Conference Board repeated that. Why is it doing nothing to help?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us not quibble about the statistics he is citing. Let us recognize that the number he is talking about includes everyone who is not working. We cannot take a look and say that people who have never worked in their lives are not getting EI fast enough. They have never worked, so they are not eligible.

The hon. gentleman should stop playing petty partisan politics with the futures of real people.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, in September, the Conservatives were saying that there was no recession and no deficit. In November, it was a technical recession and small surplus. In January, it was a recession and some deficit. In the past 24 hours, both the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the TD Bank are predicting record deficits and a long recession.

What purpose is served by continuing to misstate the facts, as she just did, on the deficit, on the recession and on unemployment? Start telling the truth to Canadians, start respecting the votes in the House and we can start implementing resolutions like the EI proposals adopted two weeks ago: start helping Canadians and stop lying.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member I am sure is aware that the use of such language is out of order. He will want to withdraw that after question period, but we will deal with that then.

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the budget that we presented only weeks ago in the House made economic assumptions that were more pessimistic than the average of the private sector forecasters. We will have a lot of opinions about the recession and about the rate of negative growth this year.

All of the economists have said that they did not see the recession coming. None of them saw the recession coming. That is why we have made assumptions below the predictions of the private sector economists.

I understand the member opposite is not familiar with that because he did not read the budget.