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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 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, I will not get into the specifics of that particular case. We understand that people are going through difficult times. To the extent that we are, we have made modifications to the EI program that will bring benefits to many people, benefits of $2 billion to $4 billion.

We are taking three approaches: we are strengthening benefits for Canadian workers, we are enhancing the availability of training and we kept the employment rates frozen so there is no additional cost to employers and employees.

If the member has a specific issue, she can bring it to my attention after question period.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, since October the number of unemployed Canadians has risen by 295,000. According to the OECD, it will continue to rise.

A young mother in my riding took on an internship to get Canadian experience. Her employer has just cut the program, leaving her on the street. She has 724 hours, but because she lives in Ontario, she does not qualify for EI.

What plans does the government have to bring EI into the 21st century?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 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 dealing with the EI program. The variable rate requirement for hours was set in 1997 by the previous government, but we are enhancing it significantly to deal with the issues in the economy at the present time.

We will be benefiting 400,000 Canadians by extending the EI program by five additional weeks, not two, and by extending training programs for people who do not qualify for EI, those who need enhanced training, by a total of 190,000 people. This is looking after those who are in need at this time.

AfghanistanOral Questions

March 31st, 2009 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is disturbing news from Afghanistan today that laws passed by the Karzai government will make women even more vulnerable. Afghan women's groups and the UN say these new laws restrict a woman's right to leave her home, permit child marriage and, most disturbingly, legalize rape.

The government claims that protecting Afghan women is at the heart of our combat mission, yet with these laws women have never had it so bad.

Will the government, in no uncertain terms, let President Karzai know that this is totally unacceptable?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, if these reports are true, this will create serious problems for Canada. The onus is on the government of Afghanistan to live up to its responsibilities for human rights, absolutely including rights of women. If there is any wavering on this point from the government of Afghanistan, this will create serious problems and be a serious disappointment for us.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is true, these laws explicitly give men all the rights in child custody, in divorce, in inheritance, but most horrifyingly is the fact that these new laws legalize rape within marriage. At a time when the world is coming together to hammer out a new international consensus on Afghanistan, women's rights in that country are being dealt a death blow.

How can we say that our soldiers are there to protect women's rights when the western-backed leader of this nation pushes through laws like this? Allowing women to be treated like a piece of property, is this what we are fighting for? Is this what our people are dying for?

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, if these prove to be true, it will create serious problems for the Government of Canada, for the people of Canada. Absolutely, the onus is upon the government of Afghanistan to live up to its human rights responsibilities, absolutely including the rights of women.

If there is any wavering on this point, as we have said, this will create serious difficulties, serious problems for the Government of Canada. We expect this to be addressed. We expect the government of Afghanistan to live up to its responsibilities to protect the rights of people and to respect the rights of women.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, our government is supporting Quebec's aerospace industry in this time of global economic uncertainty. Today Bombardier announced a new $1.5 billion purchase agreement for its new CSeries plane, in which our government is a partner and investor.

My colleague, the hon. Minister of Industry, was in Montreal this morning to announce new investments in the aerospace industry. I am anxious to hear about the results of his trip to Montreal.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

This morning in Montreal, I announced a repayable investment of $250 million to support CAE Inc.'s development of innovative modelling and simulation technologies used in the aerospace and defence sectors. This government recognizes that the Canadian aerospace industry is one of the best in the world and now, with our economic action plan and the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, I have no doubt the industry will be very successful in the future.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. minister knows very well that he must not use the names of other members. This is not permitted in either questions or answers.

The hon. member for Mississauga East—Cooksville now has the floor.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has said that unemployment must never be lucrative. Here is another sample of its success. In Toronto, a car accident forced a veteran to leave his job after 30 years. When he turned to EI, he was denied the maximum benefit and was cut off after only 15 weeks, not enough time to find a job in today's Ontario. He ended up losing his car and his apartment.

When will the government finally make EI fair for this veteran and Ontario workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 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 certainly can empathize for the particular situation the member raises and we are doing whatever we can to enhance the EI program that was instituted under her government.

We have made additions to it to make sure that there are benefits that are available to people by extending the program in a number of ways such as the five week additional benefits and ensuring that those who do not qualify for EI are eligible for retraining.

We have put dollars into that with the provinces as well. We appreciate that there are cases that will be difficult, but overall, we are trying to attend to it to deal with the situation as best we can.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the Bonn conference on climate change, the EU denounced Canada's lack of leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and failure to use 1990 as the reference year.

Vicki Pollard of Climate Change Strategy and International Negotiation has deplored the fact that there are no greenhouse gas reduction regulations in place.

Can the minister tell us when he will put in place his new greenhouse gas regulations?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. The Bonn conference is currently underway and these meetings are just one stage before the Copenhagen meeting. The member opposite knows the Canadian Ambassador for Climate Change, Mr. Michael P. Martin. We have had discussions and meetings in Poznan and Mr. Martin is leading a team in Bonn to ensure that Canada is one of the leaders in fighting climate change and introducing a global plan.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am afraid the time for questions has expired.

I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Abdullahi Ahmed Abdulle, the Minister of Diaspora Affairs for Somalia.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order please. The hon. member for Bourassa is rising on a point of order arising from Oral Question Period.

I give the floor to the hon. member for Bourassa.

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, these past two days, during Oral Question Period, a tendency has been exhibited in this place, especially between the Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party.

I find it totally unacceptable, and I say so as a Quebecker, to see members from either side question the legitimacy of members of Parliament. Today, the member for Saint-Lambert, like the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie yesterday, referred to “token Quebeckers”. The member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière also questioned the legitimacy of the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie by referring to him as “the token member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie”.

I find it unacceptable that members of Parliament be described as “token”. Every member of this House serves adequately his or her constituents. Some may be less competent than others, but the legitimacy of members should never be questioned. I therefore ask that, from now on, no reference to token Quebeckers be made in this House.

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. whip for the Bloc Québécois on this point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's remarks, but I should point out to him and to the House that such expressions are part of the vernacular in Quebec.

I refer to page 522 of Marleau and Montpetit, under the heading “Rules of Order and Decorum”, and nowhere do I find the expression “token Quebecker” mentioned in the definition of unparliamentary remarks.

I submit this very respectfully.

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Lévis—Bellechasse, on the same point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice to the others in this House who feel that personal attacks and slurs from all sides contribute nothing to the debate, particularly in this time of economic crisis when people expect a minimum of decorum and also expect us to debate issues in depth and not just superficially.

I believe that expressions such as “token Quebecker”, “clown” and “stooge” have no place under the circumstances. I would particularly encourage the hon. members for Laurier—Sainte-Marie and Outremont, to focus on the priorities of the people of Quebec and to change the level of their speech in this House accordingly.

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Yes, Mr. Speaker, just an observation, if I may.

I understand the challenges that you have as Speaker of maintaining decorum in the House. In this particular instance, it goes well past the issue of politics. It goes to the issue of the very essence of this nation when the people who come to the House, as the Bloc Québécois come here, preface their address to members of our government. I do not have an understanding of French, but my understanding is, as if they were servants of the government. These members of the government are at the service of the people of Canada.

It is deeply regrettable when we get to a point where members of the Bloc Québécois are clearly casting aspersions. I would hope that you would see fit to rule that they stop this practice immediately.

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Bourassa wishes to add something on this point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoint of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make it clear. We are not waging an attack against the Bloc Québécois today. The member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière called the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie the “token member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie”.

Today we have to raise the level of our game somewhat. I too am not without fault. But to call people “tokens” even if claiming it is just common parlance, when coupled with the tone and attitude that went along with it, can be construed as an attack against their legitimacy.

It is not a matter of one against the other. All members in this House need to act responsibly.