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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was human.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's GDP has shrunk for the sixth consecutive month providing confirmation, as though we needed it, that we are in a recession. The OECD forecasts that Canada's unemployment rate could reach 10.5% next year and is asking that more be done, especially in the way of income support for laid-off workers.

What will it take for the government to realize that, if it were to eliminate the employment insurance waiting period, it could help not only workers who are laid off but the economy as well?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Bloc Québécois has been asking the same question about the waiting period for 18 years. It does not look at the whole picture.

Take, for example, a worker who has 30 weeks of employment insurance. If we eliminate the waiting period, the only thing that happens is that benefits start two weeks earlier and stop two weeks earlier.

However, on top of these 30 weeks we are adding five more. If the individual receives $400 in employment insurance, that results in $2,000 more in his pockets compared to nothing for the other scenario.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, only a small number of the unemployed will benefit from an additional five weeks at the end of their benefit period whereas 100% of the unemployed will benefit from the elimination of the waiting period. Furthermore, the two measures are not mutually exclusive.

How can the government defend a measure that leaves the unemployed reeling and without financial resources for two weeks at a time when they need it most

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat that we conducted extensive consultations before presenting our action plan. People asked for additional help in terms of employment insurance.

We decided to provide five additional weeks to workers who lose their jobs at a time when our country is in a difficult economic situation because we believe that it is clearly more beneficial for them. Our proposal will help 400,000 individuals who have lost their jobs or are at risk of doing so over the next few months.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, “some corporations, both foreign owned and Canadian, have taken advantage of Canada’s tax rules to avoid tax. Others, especially wealthy individuals, use tax havens to help them hide income and evade tax. In all of these cases, working Canadians and small businesses, among others, are left having to pay more tax than they otherwise should. This is simply not fair.”

If the Minister of National Revenue agrees with those statements, why does he allow tax loopholes for billionaire companies?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, tax havens are indeed a very serious problem.

We tell Canadians that, of course, no matter where they earn their income, they must declare it and pay their fair share of income tax. That said, we are working with an international committee to try to move forward on this issue. We are even trying to organize a meeting with several countries in the near future to see how we can work together to resolve this issue or make some progress in order to protect our tax base.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the statements I quoted earlier were those of his colleague, the finance minister, on page 239 of the budget plan 2007.

If the Minister of National Revenue is worried about people using tax havens to avoid paying the income tax they owe to the Government of Canada, how can he explain the about-face by his government, which is re-implementing a tax loophole that it promised to abolish?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to have a cheerleading section, but let me answer the question.

We are cracking down on tax havens. In fact, it is a topic of discussion at the G20, as we speak. We are working with other countries to make sure that we provide protection for taxpayers, so taxpayers are taxed on an even basis, whether they are in the country or whether they are in another country. We are providing more resources to National Revenue to make sure that it is able to police these transactions.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of International Trade said there would be serious consequences if the Afghan government maintained its retrograde, reactionary plan with respect to women in Afghanistan. I have a very specific question to put to the minister. What are those consequences?

AfghanistanOral 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, I will just briefly preface my response by extending our sympathy to the people, especially in Kandahar province. Only a few hours ago their provincial council building was destroyed by a suicide bomb and their provincial director of education and deputy director of public health were both killed. We extend our sympathies and absolutely condemn this activity.

We are also taking a very strong line against any law in Afghanistan which in any way diminishes the rights of women. We are asking for clarification. Afghan officials are still in the process of clarifying that and our position is very clear.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister talked about the very serious consequences. I asked him what the consequences are and he has not told us.

The question is quite simple. What is Canada going to do to lead the coalition of those people who understand that the passage of these kinds of laws throws into question not only what has happened for Canada but for the Dutch, the French, the British, the 60 countries that signed the Afghan Compact, and all those who sacrificed so much? What is the minister going to do about that? Where is the Canadian leadership?

AfghanistanOral 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, we could not be clearer. We have expressed in no uncertain terms that we expect the government of Afghanistan to live up to its international treaties to protect the rights of all people, especially in this case, with this law that is before them, to do the right thing and protect the rights of women.

The Afghanistan legislators themselves are still dealing with it. We have sent a message that is very clear. None of the other countries, which are involved in helping Afghanistan, have suggested that they are taking unilateral preemptive action. I do not think even my friend across the way would suggest unilateral preemptive action.

However, we have made our position very clear.

Airport SecurityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, imagine, Transport Canada is allowing individuals with criminal links access to restricted areas at airports. One person is even under investigation for murder.

The minister, feigning outrage, says he will come up with a security solution within 10 days, but the minister knew about the Auditor General's report before yesterday and his government has known about the security issues since 2006.

What is the minister going to accomplish in 10 days that his government was unwilling or unable to accomplish in three years? What is his plan?

Airport SecurityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in December the Minister of Public Safety and I announced a five point plan to give the RCMP the tools it needs to keep Canadians safe. We are working on a memorandum of understanding with the RCMP. The discussions, in my judgment, have gone on far too long.

We have given 10 days for an agreement to be signed or the RCMP will be called in for discussions with both my colleague and the Minister of Public Safety.

Airport SecurityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know how those breaches will be resolved. They are not interested in what the Auditor General says about departmental turf wars, lack of criminal intelligence distribution, legal constraints on information sharing, or differences between the RCMP and Transport Canada, or any other excuses.

What Canadians want to know is when are the Ministers of Transport and Public Safety going to work together to fix these outstanding and longstanding problems. Are their egos more important than the safety of Canadians and the security of the country?

Airport SecurityOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are taking the following actions to drive organized crime from Canadian airports. I have spoken of strengthening information, a sharing agreement between Transport Canada and the RCMP.

We are exploring legislative initiatives to enhance search and seizure methods. We are reviewing existing security clearances and examining new clearance levels. We are revoking the security clearance when RCMP have provided evidence that a person may pose a security risk. We are working toward strengthening legal provisions for organized crime and ensuring that serious offences are met with serious penalties.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is very fitting that yesterday, on the last day of Fraud Awareness Month, our government introduced identity theft legislation in the senate.

Law enforcement has identified identity theft as one of the fastest growing crimes in North America, with almost 1.7 million Canadian victims. The Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus has estimated that identity theft costs $2.5 billion a year to both consumers and businesses.

Could the Minister of Justice explain if this legislation is similar to that introduced during the last Parliament that created three new offences for identity theft?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc for all the work that he has done on this issue. We all owe him a debt of thanks on this issue.

This bill is similar to Bill C-27 that we introduced in the previous Parliament, but we are not able to get it out of committee because of the tactics of the opposition. I hope that changes. Canada needs new ID theft legislation, like this one.

This is one more step in our fight against crime in this country, and it should have the support of all members of the House of Commons.

Canadian Security Intelligence ServiceOral Questions

April 1st, 2009 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that intelligence extracted through torture is wrong. The RCMP says that it is by definition unreliable. The Arar inquiry condemned it. Even the Conservative government has said that Canada has stopped even considering it as useful. Yesterday a senior CSIS official admitted that the spy organization does not rule out the use of information obtained through torture.

If the government still believes that information through torture is wrong, when will it rein in CSIS and stop this policy?

Canadian Security Intelligence ServiceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, this government does not condone the use of torture in any way. It certainly does not have a place in any kinds of inquisition techniques.

CSIS has made it quite clear that it does not practise the use of torture in information gathering and intelligence gathering. The head of CSIS, Jim Judd, has made it quite clear, as well, that he personally considers torture to be morally repugnant. That is the leadership that CSIS has provided and that is the practice of CSIS.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government must come out unequivocally against torture. The Afghanistan Human Rights Independent Commission cites the use of torture, get this, by law enforcement agencies in every province of Afghanistan. Among the practices that it has reported are: electric shocks, hot iron rods, and the use of cable beatings. That is not what we are there fighting for.

How can Canada be an accomplice to the use of torture by the police and the army? Will the government, in no uncertain terms, tell President Karzai that Canada will not support the use of torture?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House certainly embrace the concept that the member has said. We absolutely condone the use of torture.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

This particular issue has been discussed on occasion.

By the way, the enhanced agreement that this government put in place does ensure regular inspections. This requires close collaboration with the Afghan government, which ultimately bears the responsibility for this. We continue to have close contact with them on a whole myriad of issues, including this.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American representative in Bonn, Todd Stern, said in regard to the negotiations, “the United States is going to be powerfully and fervently engaged in this process”. The Conservatives have always hidden behind the excuse that they needed to wait and see what the United States was going to propose before they could act.

Now that we know President Obama is determined to make progress in the fight against climate change, what is the government waiting for to do the same?