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House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I was in Afghanistan only about two or three weeks ago and the officials in Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan were not even aware of this legislation coming at them.

We are very much aware of it and that is why the Prime Minister has taken a lead on the world stage by making it very clear that Afghanistan must live up to its responsibility to protect human rights, especially the human rights of women. We have made this very clear. We know it is in that process now and we are holding it to that.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

April 2nd, 2009 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, maybe the government will finally take a lead on this next story.

Despite the concerns raised by several senior courts, including the Saudi King's own supreme council, that the case of Mohamed Kohail must be seen as a matter of self defence and not murder, a lower court has once again reaffirmed its sentence of death on Mr. Kohail, which may also imperil the life of his brother Sultan.

The Prime Minister is with the King of Saudi Arabia in London today. Will he finally act directly and raise this serious miscarriage of justice with King Abdullah? What will it take for him to act and show some leadership?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are deeply disappointed at the reports that a Saudi court has upheld its decision to sentence Mohamed Kohail to death. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has requested an official review of the Saudi court decision when it is issued.

Canada continues to express its concern for a fair and transparent review of the wording and the sentence. Since 2007, we have remained in regular contact with the Kohail family, including their lawyer.

G20Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has contradicted himself. He allows himself to lecture his counterparts at the G20 by asking them to do more to combat the economic crisis whereas, in this very Chamber, he has told us that he has done enough. And yet, the economy continues to falter. We need only think of the difficulties experienced by Abitibi-Bowater and Bombardier.

After missing the G20 official photo, the Prime Minister is going to miss the boat. What is this government going to do to deal with the economic crisis? Will it do more or less?

G20Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have to reject the premise of that. I will quote from the IMF report. It states:

The mission supports the large, timely, and well-targeted fiscal stimulus in Budget 2009. The stimulus package is appropriately sized—well above the Fund’s benchmark of 2 percent of GDP. It is also prudently based on a worse economic outturn than private sector forecasts.

How can anyone in the opposition say that we have not done enough?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the OECD has asked that more be done to provide income support for laid off workers. The five additional weeks of benefits for unemployed workers is a good measure, but most unemployed workers will not benefit from that. The waiting period, which translates into the first two weeks of benefits, must also be eliminated, and that measure would affect all unemployed workers.

Does the government realize that it has the opportunity with such a measure to help all unemployed workers and inject money into the economy?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the opposition member, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, does not understand that when we are in a difficult financial situation, it will take people longer to find a job or to return to the job they had before.

As an example, consider the layoffs announced today by Bombardier. What the Bloc is proposing is that people's benefits start two weeks earlier and end two weeks earlier. That is not what we want. We want to ensure that those who lose their jobs will receive EI benefits for a longer period. Instead of two weeks, we are giving five. Five weeks more means about $2,000.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue is creating confusion by comparing the five extra weeks of benefits and the abolition of the waiting period. Abolition of the waiting period does not mean abandoning the addition of the five extra weeks. One measure does not cancel out the other, as the minister knows full well.

Instead of cultivating ambiguity, can the Minister of National Revenue not understand that the crisis is with us now and targeted measures, such as abolishing the waiting period, are needed now to help the unemployed while at the same time stimulating the economy?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, the hon. member would deprive those who lose their jobs, because they will be out of work longer in these times of economic difficulty. She wants to deprive them of five additional weeks of benefits. That is what they are proposing. They are proposing to start two weeks earlier and end two weeks earlier.

Not us. We are giving five extra weeks and it is important to do that at this point in time. That is the difference between their philosophy and ours. We do not want to impoverish people who lose their jobs, we want to help them longer.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are 295,000 fewer jobs since last October, and this morning Bombardier announced another 1,000 layoffs.

There are people behind those numbers, people in need, young families without incomes and with unpaid mortgages. Two weeks more benefits at the beginning can make all the difference.

Is the government aware that its inaction is making the crisis worse?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, do you know how long that two week waiting period has been in existence?

It has been around since 1971, some 38 years ago. When people take out insurance on their car or anything else they have a deductible, a waiting period.

They do not want to give anything more; they just want benefits to start two weeks earlier and end two weeks earlier. Not us. We want to give five extra weeks to those who lose their jobs. It is important when people lose their jobs to have the possibility of drawing five more weeks of benefits, and people agree with us on that.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the laws that President Karzai is bringing forward are devastating steps backward for women in Afghanistan. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that these laws are a “clear indication that the human rights situation in Afghanistan is getting worse, not better”.

This latest assault on rights is not new. The House passed a unanimous motion to support Afghan journalist, Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, who received a life sentence because he wrote about women's rights. That is not what we are fighting for.

What concrete consequences will there be for--

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of International Trade.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about this situation, which is why, upon learning of it, the Minister of Foreign Affairs immediately called upon his counterparts to ask what they were intending to do.

The Prime Minister was one of the first world leaders to make a public statement of indignation on this subject. We are saying to the government in Afghanistan that it has certain obligations that are very clear under international treaties and that it must live up to those, and especially to protecting human rights, including the human rights of women. We are holding it to that.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the economy, it seems that the Prime Minister is always late. He was late to recognize the recession, late to recognize the job loss crisis, and was in denial about it, and he was even late for the photo op.

He also has a problem when it comes to saying one thing on the world stage and another one here in Canada.

Here is the latest example. The G20 rightly spoke out against tax havens and said that there needs to be action. However, the Conservative government, with the help of the Liberals, just loosened the rules for tax havens in its budget.

Which Prime Minister should we believe: the one speaking at the G20 or the one taking action to the contrary here in Canada?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the only ones late in this session are the NDP members. They still have not read the budget and probably have not yet read the declaration that Canada signed on to this morning. This is a G20 joint declaration which states that non-cooperative offshore tax havens will be named and shamed if they do not agree to international rules. Is that not clear enough, or should I take it over so he can read it?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, rather than take the economic crisis seriously, during the Prime Minister's visit to London, he had his picture taken with a soccer player and took tea with the Queen.

But back here, he is beating the Mulroney record for poor economic performance.

Nevertheless, as a percentage of the GDP, Canada is investing less to stimulate the economy than China, Germany, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, Russia or the United States. Why?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, why on earth would he ask a question like that when in fact we took early pre-emptive action?

I will quote from something else that I assume the hon. member has not yet read. It is the 2007 fall economic statement. It is probably right underneath that budget in that stack of unread books. It reads:

Given this global economic uncertainty, now is the time to act. Our strong fiscal position provides Canada with an opportunity that few other countries have—to make broadbased tax reductions....

That is what we did but I think they voted against that too.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the G20 the Prime Minister tries to curry favour with President Obama by saying everyone should do more to stimulate the economy. Here at home he tries to curry favour with his Conservative base by saying Canada has done plenty. Now it is true, he has been all over the map for months.

Does he really believe this juvenile attempt to mix his messages will fool either President Obama or his Conservative base here at home?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is failing to recognize the fact that there is only one party in this House of Commons that actually put forward a plan to deal with these difficult economic times. This is a worldwide recession, and as I just quoted, we took pre-emptive action starting as early as the fall 2007.

We waited, we waited, and we waited for the opposition to put forward a plan. We are still waiting.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are waiting, waiting and waiting for one dollar of their infrastructure money to get out the door.

In light of yesterday's photograph, maybe I should have said the G19 rather than the G20.

In any event, the Prime Minister switches from depression talk two months ago to Pollyanna talk two weeks ago, and today he said that he hopes there will be a recovery eventually. Even after the Great Depression of the 1930s, the economy recovered eventually. Is that the best Conservatives have to offer?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, talking about offering, as I said, we still have not had any offering of anything constructive. That hon. member and his colleagues continue to stand in this House and decry the fact that there has not been a dollar of new spending out this year. It just started yesterday. This is only April 2. We are moving the money out.

The hon. transport minister assures us that this money is going out as fast as he can get it out. That is to stimulate the economy. That is to get people working again.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it appears that AbitibiBowater will not be able to reach a restructuring agreement. It also appears that this global forestry giant is headed for bankruptcy.

Will the Conservatives admit that the forestry industry is in crisis and that a clear strategy to support AbitibiBowater and the entire forestry industry is urgently needed?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, the government is very aware of what is happening to AbitibiBowater and all the companies in Canada's forestry industry. We are monitoring the situation closely. Naturally, we are concerned about the fate of AbitibiBowater's 7,500 employees in Quebec and the single-industry communities where these companies are located.

However, AbitibiBowater is continuing to operate. These are business decisions, and we are monitoring what is happening to this company very closely. Of course, we hope that it can continue working in this wonderful industry.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the initiatives the government is talking about do not benefit the forestry industry. Witnesses heard today by an industry subcommittee told us that they had no access to credit, research and development assistance or other federal programs. Plants continue to close, communities continue to be hard hit and families are losing their livelihood.

Why have the Conservatives not tabled and implemented a clear forestry strategy?