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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, that is a truly ridiculous question with no basis in fact. We are spending $22 million this year to help our artists on the international scene. This is an unprecedented amount, and the member voted against it. We are investing $13 million in the Canada Council to help our artists tour. As well, the Government of Quebec has created a new $3 million program to help artists tour. The Parti Québécois and its cousin, the Bloc Québécois, voted against these initiatives. We are investing in artists, and the Bloc Québécois is voting against that.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the minister can brag that the Canada Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage are spending money to export cultural products, but the fact is that there is no program to support foreign tours by performing arts organizations.

What does he have to offer Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, which has to honour contracts in June in the Middle East? Nothing.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, once again, this is completely false. Every time we make investments to help our artists, the Bloc votes against that. The Parti Québécois votes against it in the National Assembly, and the Bloc Québécois votes against it here in the House.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Arts and CultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

They can yell all they want, but it is the Conservative Party, the Conservative government, that is making unprecedented investments to help our artists here in Canada and on the international scene.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, last year, the government was slow and reluctant to approve an extension to the EI benefits for fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador. They were unable to go fishing due to ice conditions. Ice is now again posing severe problems for fishers in the area. EI claims have now ended and fishers are without an income.

Is the minister aware of this critical situation? Is she now in a position to announce an extension to EI benefits for fishermen affected by ice conditions or does she feel that this would be too lucrative?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, obviously the fishers do have special circumstances both within their employment and under the EI rules. That is why we are working with the Department of Fisheries to make sure that we are looking after these individuals, and we will be addressing that situation very soon.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' neglect of unemployed workers is a farce.

An accountant, whose husband just underwent heart surgery, told me that she was laid off over a month ago and has not received any severance pay. She was told that her employment record was lost. This woman is still waiting for her first employment insurance cheque.

When will this government put some order in the employment insurance system?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we inherited a system from the previous government. We are working on that. In fact, that is why we have added an additional five weeks of benefits, and in these challenging times, where unfortunately too many people are losing their jobs, we have hired hundreds more people to help process claims so that situations like this do not happen.

We will be hiring hundreds of additional people to make sure that Canadians in need get the benefits to which they are entitled. If the hon. member has a specific problem, I invite her to bring it up with me after question period.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is Earth Day. To celebrate, Ontario is following Quebec's lead and banning the use of pesticides that can cause cancer and neurological problems and affect the reproductive system, especially in women and children.

Dow Chemical is threatening to take legal action, citing the potential loss of profits under chapter 11 of NAFTA. Why is this government meeting with Dow Chemical to discuss this matter? Is it choosing the company over protecting people's health?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is completely committed to the chemicals management plan. We recently announced the release of the draft assessment and risk management scopes of 18 chemical substances included in Batch 4 of the 200 high priorities for action under the chemicals management plan.

We are cleaning up the Canadian environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, on the environment, for this government it is simply delay, denial and dithering. That is all it does on the environment.

Today is Earth Day. We have, essentially, Ontario following Quebec's lead by adopting a ban on 250 chemical products, not bowing to pressure by the pesticide companies. We need a federal government that will defend the ban on lawn pesticides and ensure Canadians' health is not compromised by profit-driven demands from Dow Chemical.

The question again is very simple: Why is the government meeting with Dow Chemical behind closed doors instead of standing up to protect the health of Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, when this became an issue some weeks ago, we were very clear. It became an issue related to Quebec and a view that they were taking on pesticides. We said, and we made it clear and we will continue to do this, that under NAFTA, provinces and in fact municipalities have the ability to protect, related to their concerns on issues such as pesticides, issues related to health, and we will support them in doing that.

Government AssistanceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, residents of Manitoba have come together this year to fight one of the most serious floods in recent history. Our government has been working very closely with the provincial and municipal governments to ensure that everything we can do to assist is being done.

Could the President of the Treasury Board, the minister responsible for Manitoba, tell us what other actions our government is taking to help Manitobans at this tough time?

Government AssistanceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question and for being there on the ground personally helping Manitobans protect their properties from flooding.

Our government understands that Manitobans are concerned about protecting their homes and families right now. That is why we have taken action to reduce that hardship for Manitobans.

Last Friday, the Minister of National Revenue announced an extension of the personal income tax filing deadline to June 1, 2009, for Manitobans affected by flooding. On behalf of Manitobans, I would like to thank the minister for taking that action.

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadian merchants are struggling to survive in the most painful downturn in generations. Employers are forced to lay off workers just to stay afloat. Credit is limited, but there seems to be no limit to the fees that merchants are charged for credit card service.

The Retail Council of Canada, representing more than 200,000 businesses, states that Canadian merchants pay some of the highest rates in the world. Many governments have taken action to limit interchange fees, while the Conservative government ignores our merchants.

When is the government going to stand up for merchants and business, and stop sticking it to them?

Financial InstitutionsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member knows there is a regulatory power contained in the economic action plan. Regulations will be forthcoming for public consultation.

At the same time, he should know the Competition Bureau is looking into this matter as part of its responsibility to ensure adequate competition with respect to the provision of credit, credit cards, and the protection of merchants and customers.

In Canada, the issue is also being examined by committees both of this House and in the Senate, and we are monitoring these developments closely.

Agri-food IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are determined to move ahead with the unrealistic limit of 98% in order for a product to be labelled “Product of Canada”, despite the concerns of the agri-food industry, which fears that this rule will have irreversible repercussions, particularly loss of market share. The Minister of State (Agriculture) says he has held consultations, but no one agrees with this rule, not the producers, not the consumers, not the processors. In my opinion, consultations were limited to his caucus.

Does the Minister of State (Agriculture) realize that his decision is doing considerable harm to the entire agri-food industry in Quebec?

Agri-food IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the various stakeholders in the processing field were consulted. We also wanted to protect consumers by ensuring that they are able to know whether a product is a Canadian product or a product processed in Canada. For example, if a product has a Canadian content of under 98%, a company can indicate that it is made with Quebec blueberries and was processed here. Moreover, we are listening to the processors and if we perceive along the way that the intended goal has not been achieved, it will always be possible—

Agri-food IndustryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas.

Government SpendingOral Questions

April 22nd, 2009 / 3:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, there was a time when unreported extravagant ministerial travel would make a Conservative's head spin, but no more. We know that the former minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec spent over $65,000 on 13 trips on privately contracted planes in the first half of 2008 without disclosing that spending. It is not the first time the minister has failed to follow the rules.

Will the President of the Treasury Board explain why his colleague gets to break the rules yet again?

Government SpendingOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is always surprising to hear that kind of question from a member. What is the department's name? Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. This means that the minister's responsibility is to travel to the regions of Quebec. A person cannot travel in a single day to Gaspé, the Magdalen Islands, Havre-Saint-Pierre and Sept-Îles without taking charter flights, which are always in small aircraft.

People in the regions are entitled to see the minister. They are entitled to talk to him and they are also entitled to know the great things that are being announced for their region.

VolunteerismOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week, we pay tribute to our fellow Canadians who take the time to make a difference in the world through volunteerism. Both at home and abroad, this government is making a difference every day through its many volunteer programs. Canadian volunteers are Canada's ambassadors, often living in remote villages and rural communities. They live and work side by side with the people they have gone to assist.

Would the Minister of International Cooperation tell Canadians what the government is doing to support these remarkable Canadians?

VolunteerismOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have always volunteered to work with those living in poverty around the world. This reflects the best of our Canadian values.

I am pleased to tell the House that I have renewed CIDA's volunteer co-operation program for five years so more Canadians can volunteer and make a difference.

During International Volunteer Week, our government recognizes the work of caring, brave Canadians working in their field in many challenging circumstances. I look forward to continuing to work with Canadian volunteers and Canadian organizations.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.