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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regions.

Topics

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will try another question.

Can the Minister of Industry tell us if the Conservatives are establishing the same loan conditions for our auto industry as our American neighbours? More specifically, has Canada established the same interest rate and loan repayment schedule as the United States?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there are some differences. Indeed, two or three months ago, the United Stated decided to accelerate loans to GM and Chrysler. However, I repeat, it is important to have strict conditions in these cases, and GM and Chrysler must be accountable if any money is to be transferred to those companies.

National DefenceOral Questions

March 30th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about a $1.3 billion matter. The former Minister of Defence had this to say on April 12, 2007: “Equipping Canada’s soldiers with the best protection is my top priority. By immediately acquiring stronger and more heavily protected tanks, our soldiers in Afghanistan have the best equipment possible...”

That was two years ago. Are the views of the current Minister of National Defence on protection and immediate procurement the reason why, of the 100 tanks purchased two years ago, 60 are presently in Europe and 40 are sitting idle at the Longue-Pointe base in Montreal?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the government and I are on the same page. Our government and the department always look for the best way to protect equipment and, above all, soldiers in their important day-to-day work. We are continuing to do so. The same goes for the tanks and other equipment. That position is very clear.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, if he wants to protect the equipment, he had better get out the anti-rust paint because 40 tanks have been sitting at Longue-Pointe for two years. Our armed forces cannot use these tanks or train with them because they do not have the equipment.

We have learned that one of the reasons the 60 tanks remain in Europe is that the Conservatives, through a bureaucratic trick, plan on tinkering with the existing budget and ensuring that Germany or Switzerland will obtain the contract for upgrading the tanks.

However, on April 12, 2007, his colleague announced:

“All of the work will be done in Canada”.

Why has the current defence minister changed his mind?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I stand by the decision that was made by the previous national defence minister to purchase this important equipment. As a result of that decision, we have been able to deploy into Afghanistan, 20 of these Leopard II tanks, some of the best tanks and best equipment available in the world. We will be able to put in 20 more reconditioned tanks in the future.

The important thing to remember from the member opposite is the incredible, skyrocketing hypocrisy coming from him. He said just a short time ago that Canada did not need tanks.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that he does not plan to do anything more to tackle the economic crisis. Economists tell us that the cash flow crisis is paralyzing the system. Eliminating the waiting period is one way to put cash directly into people's hands so they can pay their bills and boost consumption.

When will the government finally realize that eliminating the waiting period would kill two birds with one stone by providing immediate cash to the unemployed and stimulating the economy?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in fact, we have added a number of benefits to the EI program, including extending the benefits by five weeks, which puts more money in the hands of those who need it most. In addition to that, we have invested $60 million to ensure we have the resources to process those claims as quickly as possible.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the minister put herself in the shoes of an unemployed worker in a region where the unemployment rate is sky-high and there are no jobs? Denying her income for two weeks is just plain cruel.

Does the minister not agree that it is her duty to help that unemployed worker and thousands more by eliminating the waiting period?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely concerned with those who have lost their jobs or are about to lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

That is why, through the economic action plan, we have added a number of benefits, including the five additional weeks, longer training for those who need training, new training programs for those who do not qualify for EI, targeted initiatives for older workers and work-sharing agreements to ensure they can be at work longer.

These are a series of initiatives that will help between 400,000 and 590,000 Canadians to face their circumstances due to the economy.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, what a paradox. On the one hand, this government is refusing to abolish the waiting period for unemployed workers, and on the other, it is letting the rich use a tax loophole. Approving that loophole means sending money out of the country. In the midst of an economic crisis, we should be doing the opposite.

Can the Prime Minister explain why he is refusing to give to those who are most in need and why he is giving to those who already have so much?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, what we have done is frozen EI rates to ensure that workers and employers do not have to pay any more, while at the same time extending benefits.

For example, the five extra weeks of EI will cost $1.15 billion; longer-term training for long tenured workers, $500 million; training for those who do not qualify for EI, $500 million; strategic training and transition fund and extended EI training programs, $1 billion, a record additional investment to ensure that provisions are made for those who need it most.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has chosen his Bay Street buddies over the unemployed.

How will he explain that to the G20 countries, which plan to tighten the rules on tax evasion?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, allow me to comment briefly on the question on employment insurance that the member asked previously. When countries are in an economic downturn and there is talk of recession, it is important for people who lose their jobs to be able to receive employment insurance for a longer period. We are giving unemployed workers an extra five weeks of benefits instead of two weeks up front.

The waiting period has existed for 38 years, since 1971. Why reconsider such things when it is far more important to give people additional weeks of benefits?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the plight of the unemployed is getting worse.

Jodi was let go from her job in January. She is also pregnant. She is the key income earner because her husband suffers from multiple sclerosis. This past Friday she had to borrow money to pay her mortgage because she had heard nothing about her EI application. Jodi is facing bureaucratic red tape at every turn. She cannot get answers or help.

When will the Conservatives give help to people like Jodi who need it the most?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we are obviously concerned about every Canadian worker who needs to enjoy, work and make a living for their family. We are ensuring that we have the resources to meet them.

There are specific cases, and I will not get into any specific case. There may be reasons why that is so. However, we are putting the resources in to ensure that claims can be processed as quickly as possible.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians applying for EI in northern Ontario continue to face obstacles and delays in receiving their cheques. Meanwhile Service Canada officials are deprived of the resources they need to help.

The Conservative government continues to fail rural Canadians. With tens of thousands of Canadians losing their jobs, when is the government going to wake up and make EI more responsive in order to get the money where it belongs, which is in the hands of unemployed Canadians?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance program is so designed that it responds to regional interests. As the unemployment rate rises in a particular region, the benefits are longer and the qualifying hours are less. We are ensuring that it is responsive to the needs of the particular regions. Those that have the highest rate of unemployment have the greatest needs. That is where the funds flow more quickly.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Abdelrazik is a Sudanese Canadian who has been stranded in Khartoum for six years. The government now says that Mr. Abdelrazik needs to be removed from a UN watch list before he can come home, even though the watch list expressly allows for a citizen to return to his home country, even though CSIS and the RCMP have cleared Mr. Abdelrazik, and even though the government has a constitutional obligation to allow Mr. Abdelrazik to come home.

Will the Canadian government protect a Canadian citizen, respect its obligations under the charter and international law, and allow Mr. Abdelrazik to come home to Canada and be reunited with his family?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the hon. member that we continue to provide Mr. Abdelrazik with consular assistance.

Of course, as the minister has alluded to, he is on the no-fly list of the United Nations Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 1267. Therefore, he is subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.

As the matter is before the courts and under litigation, we cannot comment further on this matter.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact that this case is being litigated does not absolve the government of its responsibility to follow the law. There is no closed hearing on this case, and Canadians have a right to know.

How does the government purport to justify its action when international law allows Mr. Abdelrazik's return and our own Constitution compels it?

Will the government respect the rule of law? Yes or no?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated before, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that Mr. Abdelrazik has been on the UN Security Council's resolution 1267 list and is therefore subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze. That is the situation as it stands right now. As the minister has said, it is up to Mr. Abdelrazik to take his name off that list.

Again, I must remind my hon. colleague that I cannot make any further comment due to litigation.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, half a million Canadians are employed directly or indirectly in the auto industry, an industry that accounts for almost one-quarter of Canada's total manufactured exports.

Earlier today the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Finance, along with the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, announced the next steps this government will take to ensure the long-term viability of this important Canadian industry.

Can the Minister of Industry please inform the House of some of the details of this announcement?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, today in fact we did announce that we have completed our review of the restructuring plans submitted by GM and Chrysler. It is clear that both need to do more to fundamentally restructure. They will not be getting any long-term loans or long-term support until they can demonstrate a viable plan to maintain Canada's 20% production share.

Two days ago the Liberal leader, in British Columbia, said he did not want to support the auto sector. I wonder what his solution is for the 500,000 Canadian families affected by his decision.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, moments ago, the minister responsible for Quebec told the leader of the Bloc Québécois to stop muddying the waters, and that this happened because there is no harmonized sales tax. Does he know what he is talking about? Documents that have gone back and forth between the federal government and Quebec for a decade prove that his theory is totally false. The minister should realize that nobody has ever said that that is the real reason. What people do talk about is the percentage difference. He made up that nonsense about two laws to support his case.

How are we supposed to live harmoniously in this country if harmonization gives other provinces billions of dollars while Quebec gets nothing?