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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farm.

Topics

National Nursing WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, throughout this week, I encourage my colleagues to have a special thought about some of the hardest-working Canadians: our nurses. Let us all honour those who care for us in our time of greatest need during National Nursing Week because. The slogan for this year's nursing week is, “Nursing: You can't live without it!”

National Nursing Week is our opportunity to extend special thanks to all those who care for us and our loved ones through the trials of illness “with heart and skill”, as this year's slogan says.

National Nursing Week is timed to coincide with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who defined the modern role our nurses play.

Even though nursing has changed a great deal since the Crimean War, when Florence Nightingale redefined the nurse's role, it is still a huge and difficult job. That is why, on behalf of all the members of this House, I want to say thank you to all these dedicated people.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, at the annual policy convention, the Liberal Party passed a motion reaffirming its support for a job-killing carbon tax.

Even during these times of economic uncertainty, we should not be too surprised to see the carbon tax back on the front page of the Liberal platform, considering that overtaxing Canadians regardless of the economic situation is encoded in the Liberal DNA.

There is more. Not only is a job-killing carbon tax in the works but the Liberal leader also committed his party to raising even more taxes when he said, “We will have to raise taxes”.

What taxes does he want to raise, a new tax on Canadian families, a crushing tax on businesses? We have no details on this new Liberal tax scheme. What taxes do the Liberals want to raise? Who would be affected? How would the Liberals go about raising these taxes? Why do they refuse to tell Canadians?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the unemployment rate is the highest it has been in eight years. Over 300,000 Canadians have lost their jobs since the fall. These Canadian families are the ones bearing the brunt of the Conservative recession, but the government has done nothing to address regional inequalities in the employment insurance system.

When will the government establish a national eligibility threshold that is fair to all Canadians, at 360 hours?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about people who have been unlucky and lost their jobs through no fault of their own. That is why we extended benefits. It is now easier for people to collect benefits, and they can collect them for a longer period of time. For example, people in Kitchener can collect employment insurance five weeks earlier than last year. They can collect benefits for 14 weeks.

They are all about rhetoric and raising taxes; we are about increasing benefits.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, we already know that the Conservative government has a frustrating tendency to break its promises: income trusts, income tax. Last fall, the Conservatives promised to make employment insurance available to self-employed Canadians. They have not done so.

The government seems to be counting on Canadians to create their own jobs, so when will it keep its promise and give them access to employment insurance?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are looking at alternatives. Of course we are. One of the things that we committed to Canadians we would evaluate are what options exist for people claiming maternity benefits or parental benefits when they are self-employed. We committed to establishing an expert panel to study that and we look forward to doing that.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, if excuses were gold, the Conservative government could pay off its humongous deficit in a matter of a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, excuses do not count for much when the power is shut off at home because one's EI cheque has not been delivered. Excuses do not put food on the table and they do not pay for children's clothes.

Why has the government sat on its hands while hundreds of thousands of Canadians face financial ruin? Why?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberals are so dissatisfied with the EI system, why did they wait 13 years while they were in power and do nothing about it?

Canadians deserve to get the benefits for which they have paid. That is why we brought on another 900 people, to make sure that they get those benefits quickly. We are hiring 400 more to make sure that those who are unfortunate enough to become unemployed through no fault of their own are getting the benefits. We have expanded those benefits.

Meanwhile, the Liberals are only expanding their rhetoric and they want to increase taxes to go with it.

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, violence continues in Sri Lanka today while Tamil Canadians mourn death after death. Civilians are being massacred and Canada has failed to step up to the international plate. Yesterday the UN called this conflict a “bloodbath”, but the UN is still not allowed a role in securing safety for civilians.

Specifically, what instructions has the government given to our UN ambassador and our high commissioner to aggressively pursue a ceasefire and to ensure an international humanitarian presence?

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, our government has taken significant steps. We have continually asked for a ceasefire and unhindered access for humanitarian aid. We have increased our humanitarian aid support.

I was in Sri Lanka last week. I gave instructions to our high commissioner there to diligently pursue the call for a ceasefire. We have engaged with the humanitarian organizations that are working there. We will continue to support the innocent civilian victims.

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, volunteers are today digging mass graves for Tamil women and children killed by Sri Lankan army shelling. Tens of thousands more have been herded into government detention camps where British television exposed horrific living conditions, murders, disappearances and rampant sexual abuse of women.

I ask the government why it has been so late and so lame in the defence of women and children against this brutality.

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, our government is very aware of the impact this is having on innocent women and children. That is why we have called for unhindered free access for humanitarian organizations, who are being kept out of the no-fire zone, who are being kept out of the refugee camps.

We are taking significant steps and we are joining other concerned countries in the pressure we are applying for a ceasefire and help for the innocent victims.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, just as we are learning that Canada could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020, the government appoints an individual who has denied the existence of climate change to the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council. This same government has called climate change a socialist plot. I would like to remind members that the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council provides funding to scientists who study climate change.

By appointing a person who does not believe in climate change to a scientific research council, is the Prime Minister plotting with the oil companies this time?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we are making progress on greenhouse gases.

I would like to inform the House today of a disconcerting fact. The Bloc environment critic has spent his political career criticizing the oil sands and considering himself an expert in environmental issues. However, when given the opportunity to travel to Alberta with the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development and to form his own ideas about the oil sands operations, he refused the invitation and remained in Ottawa. Why?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am having some difficulty understanding this answer.

I would like to come back to the fact that this appointment is absurd. It is like appointing someone who does not believe in the existence of cancer to a medical research council.

Will the Prime Minister admit that by appointing people who dispute a scientific reality, in this case climate change, he is once again taking an ideological approach?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. Our government is currently working with the Obama administration on a plan with the same underlying principles as those of the United States. We share the same economic and environmental space as the United States and we will continue to work with them.

The Bloc should abandon its partisanship and work with the government.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a new study reveals that Canada could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020, if only there were a will to do so. The situation is especially interesting since it could be achieved through proven techniques without having to resort to carbon capture and sequestration, a technology that has yet to prove itself.

Does the Minister of the Environment plan to use that report as an opportunity to finally announce a real shift in the fight against climate change?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, here is a real shift. The Bloc member no longer has the necessary credibility to talk about technologies and the oil sands, since he was given the opportunity to see the oil sands development project in Alberta for himself but refuses to go.

I do not think Quebeckers want to have a representative who forms his opinions in his living room.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will stay in this House this week because I want to be here for the unveiling of the environment commissioner's report tomorrow, which will form a judgment on this government's attitude towards the Kyoto protocol. That is why we are staying here.

If the government wants to be taken seriously about the fight against climate change, why does it refuse to follow the Bloc's proposal and implement dynamic measures to develop biofuels like cellulosic ethanol? This would be beneficial not only for the forestry regions, but also for the fight against climate change. That is the reality.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. The Bloc Québécois must do its homework. We have a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. We have a strategy for this issue. For instance, we have adopted stricter targets, like the Americans. That is why we have established a mechanism for dialogue with the U.S. on clean energy, green energy, hydro and other issues.

Sri LankaOral Questions

May 11th, 2009 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Sri Lankan civil war is rapidly becoming a bloodbath. This weekend, indiscriminate bombing has killed hundreds, perhaps even thousands of civilians, a hundred of them children, by reports we are hearing.

Canada's 300,000 Tamils are calling, writing, appealing and are in the streets asking for our government to help.

We simply cannot stand by and watch this slaughter continue. Will the Prime Minister or his senior government officials agree to meet with respected leaders of the Tamil community to discuss the crisis, and will he be in touch with the President of Sri Lanka to call a halt to the bloodbath?

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, first let me commend the leader of the NDP for the help he gave in defusing the situation in the demonstrations yesterday in Toronto.

We will continue to have discussions. Many of the government members have met with the Tamil community. We share their concerns. We will continue to dialogue with them. We will have meetings with any Tamil community representative who is not part of a terrorist organization.

We are working to enhance the ability for members of the government at a senior level to meet with this community.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that response.

On another topic, in January the government promised to invest $4 billion in infrastructure, but all it did was announce old projects from the 2006 budget. The cities and provinces are ready to get going on new projects, but they are still waiting for the money. However, unemployed workers and their families are especially in need of help at this critical time.

Will the Prime Minister and his government promise to take money from their coffers now, by means of a gas tax transfer, to create jobs this summer?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, we are working very closely with our provincial counterparts and municipalities right across this country to make sure that we get the dollars out the door. We want to make sure that we employ people, not like the Liberals who will raise taxes and destroy that opportunity.

We are working very closely with them to make sure that we get the money out the door. That is actually what we will do.

We have a significant amount started. A number of projects right across this country have actually been announced, but more than that, we are just revving up the engine. Stay tuned. We are about to roll it out very fast.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with responses like that, it is no surprise, then, that the OECD has named Canada as one of the countries that is not getting out of the recession, while others are turning a corner.

The government has missed the boat on the creation of employment through a stimulus program this summer. It has missed the summer construction season.

Will the Conservatives at least do something to save the fall construction season by transferring the rest of the funds directly to the municipalities, using the gas tax formula that is there, and put people back to work?